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Illinois dove-hunting opener: Annual check on field conditions at public sites

Overall, the annual check on field conditions around local sites and select Downstate ones ahead of opening day for dove hunting in Illinois looks better than some years; whether that translates into doves being around for the opener depends a lot on the weather.

The view on opening day last year at Johnson-Sauk Trail State Recreation Area, a familiar one for dove hunters at public sites around Illinois. Credit: Dale Bowman
The view on opening day last year at Johnson-Sauk Trail State Recreation Area, a familiar one for dove hunters at public sites around Illinois.
Dale Bowman

Dove hunting opens next Wednesday, Sept. 1, in Illinois. Here’s the breakdown of field conditions in anticipated order of opening-day success at local sites and a few select Downstate ones.

Jim Edgar/Panther Creek SFWA: Traditional top spot looks good; wheat burnt, sunflowers being mowed and there are birds. No longer first-come, first-served in opening days, now permit holders sign up for draw from 8-10 a.m. Back to alternating fields: 1-3-5 for opener, 2-4-6 for Day 2.

Green River SWA: Sunflowers good, some proso millet, mowed.

Matthiessen SP: Sunflowers good, mowed, field No. 1 a little weedy.

Des Plaines SFWA: Fields look good, flowers dried, one mowing done.

Iroquois County SWA: Good sunflowers, deer browsing made some spottiness.

Silver Springs SFWA: Rotation year, half sunflowers/half wheat, less weeds than last year.

Shabbona SP: 29 acres of sunflowers “look best in last seven years, very clean of weeds.”

Kankakee River SP: Proso millet planted late, starting to head late, natives (foxtail, smartweed) need to fill in until millet matures

Chain O’Lakes SP: Fields mowed

Marseilles SFWA: No planted fields, closed Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.