Waterfowl seasons opened in the north zone last Saturday, Oct. 18; the central zone opens this Saturday, Oct. 25.
As the Canada geese in the partially harvested soybean field near North Aurora show, key was finding harvested fields.
Harvest is picking up, but remains far behind last year (corn was 32 complete by Sunday, compared to 89 last year; soybeans, 63/91.) In northeast areas, soybean harvest is doing much better, 87 percent complete by Sunday.
State waterfowl biologist Ray Marshalla offered this hope as central zone waterfowlers:
There are plenty of harvested cornfields in the central part of the state so field hunting should be good. I have seen several bunches of field feeding mallards and geese lately.
Public sites had fair opening weekends in the north.
At William Powers, 48 hunters took 10 geese and five mallards on Saturday; down to 28/4/2 on Sunday. At Heidecke, 79 hunters took 24 ducks and six geese Saturday; down to 40/19/9 on Sunday.
During the hunting seasons, the extended online Illinois hunting report is posted here on Tuesdays. Otherwise, the Illinois Hunting Report comes at the end of the Midwest Fishing Report in the Sun-Times on Wednesdays.
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Full report follows.
Remember the changes. Canvasbacks are closed for the year. The daily bag on wood ducks increased to three. Scaup bags are split, daily bag of one, except for 20 days, in each zone, see zone reports for two-scaup dates.
The daily limit of six ducks may include no more than four mallards (two hens), three wood ducks, two redheads, one black duck, and one pintail. The daily bag on Canada geese is two.
The aerial survey around the cooling lakes/three rivers area showed 4,705 Canada geese, compared to the 5-year average of 5,595. Ducks were counted 690, compared to 1,138.
The DU Migration Map is posted here .
CENTRAL ZONE WATERFOWL
Seasons open Saturday. Remember the Canada goose season in the central is split; the first is Saturday, Oct. 25-Nov. 9. Also, white-fronted geese in the central do not open until Nov. 21.
At Braidwood, draws begin at 5:47 Saturday, Oct. 25, and 5:48 Sunday, Oct. 26. Braidwood has hunting Wednesday-Sunday. At the weekend youth hunt, Braidwood/Mazonia had 42 kids bag 37 ducks and a goose.
Daily scaup bag in the central is one, except from Nov. 11-30, when it is two.
NORTH ZONE WATERFOWL
William Powers is open seven days; Heidecke is open only Wednesday through Sunday.
Daily scaup bag in the north is one, except from Nov. 4-23, when it is two.
Also, remember white-fronted geese do not open until Oct. 31 in the north.
Random daily drawings for firearm/muzzleloader deer permits run through Nov.7. Wednesday, Oct. 22, is the last day to apply for first season deer permits
Archery season opened Wednesday, Oct. 1. After the record start the first five days, harvest slowed dramatically.
Forest wildlife program manager Paul Shelton sent this:
Harvest so far this year is 14053, compared to 11322 (2007), 16714 (2006), and 16161 (2005). Archery harvest this year had been relatively slow since the first 5 days of the season, but began to pick back up late last week. Harvest sex ratios this year so far remain good (69.1% female; 30.9% male), although they are beginning to drop as we approach rut. Top five counties are Pike (696), Peoria (386), Fulton (364), Jefferson (305), and Marion (282).
First season ends Friday, Oct. 24.
Archery season opened Wednesday, Oct. 1.
Saturday, Oct. 25 to Nov. 2 is the fall firearm season.
Season opens Nov. 1.
Season opens Nov. 1.
Season, for Sora and Virginia rails only, runs through Nov. 14.
Season ends Dec. 21.
For the few hunters trying, conditions are better with cool weather, leaves are falling and vegetation thinning.
ILLINOIS HUNTING ONLINE
For IDNR hunting info, click here.
For the Illinois 2008-09 Digest of Hunting & Trapping Regulations, click here.
For the 2008-09 Digest of Waterfowl Hunting Regulations, click here.
For the Illinois Public Hunting Areas Report, click here.
For Illinois crop reports (generally posted Monday afternoons), click here.