Rut and snow — or melting snow — colored Illinois’ first firearm deer season. With the earliest possible start to the firearm season Nov. 16, there was some rutting activity.
‘‘Down here in Clark County, rut is full-blown, bucks chasing does day and night,’’ Ken Jahnke messaged. ‘‘All the snow has melted. Been in the 40s all weekend.’’
Chris Cammack had a different experience and messaged: ‘‘Seems like no rut, per se, down there, Cumberland County. All bucks were just seeking. No chasing seen at all and no pairings, either.’’
It was a rare opening weekend when virtually the entire state had brushes with snow. Parts of northern Illinois had fresh snow Saturday and Sunday.
I think snow flying makes it feel like real deer hunting.
‘‘Here in Mason County, we got a [seven-pointer] and a nine,’’ Tim Howe messaged Friday. ‘‘Several does spotted, but no shots at them. Four inches of snow when we got here [Thursday], but melting quick now at 3 p.m.’’
‘‘Headed home,’’ Gary Bloom messaged Sunday. ‘‘Great hunting weather: nine hunters, seven deer, four bucks, three does, one fawn. Had a 13-year-old girl kill her first deer.’’
Bloom and his crew were hunting in Edgar County, where Luke Brewster arrowed his huge non-typical buck Nov. 2. Click here for that story.
‘‘Very quiet opening day as far as shooting in the area. . . . we all saw deer (not many), including some bucks and rutting action’’ Bob Coine emailed from Ogle County. ’“Attached is a young buck who was out looking for does at high noon, nicely cooperating on a photo op at 20 yards.”
Coine said even a young buck was out looking for does at high noon.
Such are the memories building.
Preliminary harvest numbers will be posted at chicago.suntimes.com/section/outdoors when they arrive.
Sandhill cranes are migrating through in time for a Thanksgiving break at Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area (23,727 on Tuesday), southeast of Valparaiso, Indiana.
Bears defensive end Akiem Hicks is to the gridiron what a 45-inch northern pike is to a weed line.