As expected, the IDNR reported a low harvest for the first firearm deer season, which ended Sunday. The 66,126 is even below the 71,894 taken in first season in 2008.
Here’s the released from the IDNR:
First Weekend Preliminary Firearm Deer Season Harvest In Illinois Totals 66,126 Hunters will resume firearm deer season Dec. 3-6 SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) reports that hunters in Illinois harvested a preliminary total of 66,126 deer during the opening weekend of the 2009 Illinois Firearm Deer season, Nov. 20-22. The second portion of the firearm season will be Dec. 3-6. The preliminary total for the first three days of the 2009 firearm season compares with the first weekend harvest of 71,894 deer during the 2008 deer season. The top county harvest total last weekend was in Pike with 2,012 deer, followed by Fulton (1,725), Adams (1,614), Jefferson (1,606), and Randolph (1,576). For the entire seven-day firearm season in 2008, hunters harvested 106,018 deer. The preliminary first-season figures reported for each county include those deer taken on special hunt areas within that county as well as on private land. Standing corn was a significant factor affecting hunter success for the first weekend of firearm deer hunting this year, said IDNR Forest Wildlife Program Manager Paul Shelton. The wet weather this fall has delayed corn harvest in many locations, and that makes it tougher for hunters to find deer. Only 60% of corn had been harvested statewide during the gun season, while the 5-year average is 98% harvested at that time. The good news is that there is still a lot of deer hunting left, so loads of opportunities remain for Illinois hunters. The IDNR has issued more than 360,000 firearm deer hunting permits for the 2009 season. Most hunters register their deer harvest online through the IDNR web site or by phoning 1-866-ILCHECK (1-866-452-4325) by 10 p.m. on the day of harvest. Hunters in Boone, DeKalb, Grundy, Kane, LaSalle, McHenry, Ogle, Stephenson and Winnebago counties take their deer to county check stations where the IDNR registers the deer and conducts sampling for chronic wasting disease (CWD). Sixty percent of the deer taken during the first weekend of firearm hunting were bucks, compared with 59 percent bucks taken during the first weekend of the firearm season in 2008. The Illinois firearm deer season concludes Dec. 3-6. The muzzleloader-only deer season is Dec. 11-13. The expanded, split Late-Winter Antlerless-only Firearm and the Special CWD deer seasons (both in select counties only) are Dec. 31-Jan. 3, 2010 and Jan. 15-17, 2010. The state’s 2009-2010 Archery Deer Season continues through Jan. 17 (except closed in firearm counties during the second firearm season Dec. 3-6). The table below provides preliminary county harvest totals for the first segment of the firearm season and comparable figures for the first season in 2008. Preliminary First-Season Illinois Firearm Deer Harvest (Nov. 20-22, 2009 compared with Nov. 21-23, 2008)