Geese, waiting, rut, firearm deer: Notes on Illinois hunting

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Credit: Dale Bowman

Obviously, the big news in Illinois hunting is the first firearm deer season, Friday through Sunday. I will have more on that in my column for tomorrow.

But there is other hunting going on. Well, sorta. Here are some odds and ends of notes on hunting, especially in northeast Illinois.

WATERFOWL: With this run of balmy stable weather, even hunting for Canada geese had slowed.

The second season for Canada geese reopened in the central zone and I noticed almost immediately when geese started showing up again on our town pond (photo above), seeking sanctuary. I will give geese this, they are sharp, quick studies in life-and-death matters.

Considering that it is not even iced up yet to the north, I am not sure whether the weather change later this week will be enough to spark a push of birds.

As to nearby public sites, things remain slow, but Sunday was the best day. At Heidecke Lake, eight boats reported 22 ducks; at Braidwood Lake, 22 ducks were bagged; at Mazonia South, five ducks; at Mazonia North, one duck.

Hunters at Wolf Lake were blanked over the weekend. Ouch.

DEER: At least note there are some over-the-counter permits remaining for firearm deer seasons, at least by the latest on-line posting.

Click here for the update on archery deer harvest through Sunday, which is up over last year as might be expected with a couple decent weekends over the rut.

UPLAND GAME: The good news is that harvest is virtually complete (97 percent statewide); though I am still seeing some corn picking going on in northeast Illinois. But even here, I suspect harvest will be virtually done by the weekend.

I have seen exactly two upland hunters since the season opened Nov. 5. Ouch. And I get around quite a bit driving in prime pheasant country in Will, Kankakee, Iroquois and Grundy counties.

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