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Did the cold move doves on? Mixed bag on opening day in Illinois

Dove on a wire, stock photo.
Credit: Dale Bowman


It sure looks like the cooler weather moved doves on, especially in northeast Illinois. At least some sites Downstate had good opening days for dove hunting.

Some of the sites expecting very good opening days were not only slow, but very slow. Most notable was Iroquois County State Wildlife Area, which is often near the top in northeast Illinois, where only six doves were bagged opening day.

Jim Edgar Panther Creek State Fish and Wildlife Area again came through with outstanding days on both opening days. There the fields are opened on alternating days.

The surprise is Johnson-Sauk Trail State Recreation Area, which nearly matched Jim Edgar Panther Creek. “The farmer got the sunflowers in just right and the birds cooperated,” Kim Meyers said.

Here are the opening day numbers that I have.


(Northeast Illinois public sites, and select Downstate sites)

Sites: Doves, hunters, doves per hunter

Jim Edgar Panther Creek SFWA: 1,431, 135, 10.6 (Day 1), 1,575, 133, 11.7 (Day 2)

Johnson-Sauk Trail SRA: 663, 62, 10.7

Green River SWA: 775, 131, 5.9

Matthiessen SP: 464, 84, 5.5

Des Plaines SFWA: 243, 66, 3.7

Silver Springs SFWA: 257, 83, 3.1

Shabbona Lake SRA: 100, 38, 2.6

Kankakee River SP: 28, 26, 0.9

Chain O’Lakes SP: 3, 19, 0.2

Iroquois County SWA: 6, 49, 0.1