Deer stories: Illinois Hunting Report

SHARE Deer stories: Illinois Hunting Report

This is the first time I’ve been sunburned in 40 years of deer hunting, But there are plenty of stories from Illinois’ first firearm deer season, which ended Sunday, to lead this week’s Illinois Hunting Report.

During the hunting seasons, the extended online version of the IHR, which comes at the end of the Midwest Fishing Report in the Sun-Times on Wednesdays, is usually posted here on Tuesdays.

If you have suggestions, email me at or post in the comments.


Buck of the Week goes to a nomination from Chicagoan Jason Kolecke of his dad David, who bagged a running 16-pointer near Stockton. As soon as I post BOTW, I will put a link in.

As for myself, I didn’t see a single deer the first two days, then Sunday morning the buck I was waiting on came through. Unfortunately, the 10-pointer was 150 yards away. There’s always second season.

So it didn’t help to get this note from Chicagoan Joe Sierocki, who was hunting a few miles east of me in Kankakee County, and bagged his biggest buck, an 11-pointer, early Saturday.

Freddie March (above) bagged an 11-point Saturday morning in Ford County. Proud Dad Fred March Jr. forwarded a nice photo and a true quote, “His Christmas came early this year.”

It wasn’t just the unpicked corn making things difficult, Some Downstate areas resembled swamps more than anything. Kurt Kowalczyk of Will County went to his Downstate spot, but he reported, “The land I hunt is flooded still from October. Did not see a deer all three days.”

John Farmer reported doing well in Pope County with cool mornings warming into the 60s that far south. “The deer still moved well early and late,” the Crete man said. “From Friday morning to Saturday evening, six hunters put seven deer on the meat pole. We shot five on Friday, two on Saturday. . . . We did not put any bucks on the ground, and [13-year-old son] Grant and I only saw one that was chasing a doe, and it was out of range and in too thick of cover for a shot.”

There’s always bowhunting and second season.

FIREARM DEER NOTES: The big change in regulations this year is that remaining permits will be sold over the counter up until the end of the second firearm season. . . . Winnebago County hunters need to remember the check station was moved to Rock Cut State Park.


(ADD) As expected, harvest for the first firearm season was low at 66,126, down even below the 71,894 taken in first season in 2008.

The report on the preliminary numbers for first firearm season are posted here.

Second firearm deer season is Dec. 3-6. Muzzleloader-only season is Dec. 11-13.

Remember to participate in the Illinois Sportsmen Against Hunger program. To find a list of processors and more information go to


If you have an entry for Buck of the Week, e-mail the photo and story to The stories and photos run in the outdoors page of the Sun-Times on Wednesday, and the expanded online version is usually posted here on Tuesday.


On Sunday, there will be youth pheasant hunts at Des Plaines CA near Wilmington and Kankakee River SP near Bourbonnais. Check-in at Des Plaines CA is 7-8 a.m.; at Kankakee River SP, 8-8:30 a.m.

For directions, application instructions, and other information go to


Thanksgiving has become the major flight time in Illinois, what Veteran’s Day used to be.

And it does look like a weather change is coming on Thanksgiving, but I am not sure it will be enough to truly spark a major influx of ducks.

Remember the daily bag is now six ducks not to include more than four mallards (two of which can be hens), three wood ducks, two redheads, two scaup (entire 60 days this year), one canvasback (full 60-day season), one black duck and one pintail (full 60-day season).

The daily bag on Canada geese is two.

The DU Migration Map is posted at


Things remain tough with nearly 2/3 of the corn still in the fields. William Powers was very slow last week. It is open Thanksgiving.

Duck season runs through Dec. 15; Canada goose season, through Jan. 9.


Corn in the field, nearly half is unpicked, continues to limit action.

The Mazonia units had a fair week last week with 36 ducks, Braidwood reported 63 ducks.

Canada goose season reopened today and runs through Jan. 31. White-fronted goose season is open and runs through Jan. 31. Duck season runs through Dec. 29.


Duck season runs through Jan. 12. Canada goose and white-fronted goose seasons reopen Sunday and run through Jan. 31.


The slow picking of corn continues to make for tough hunting, especially for pheasants.


North zone ends Jan. 8. South zone ends Jan. 22.


Hunting for cock pheasant, gray partridge and bobwhite quail ends Jan. 8 in the north zone, Jan. 15 in the south.


Bowhunting is open through Jan. 17, except it is closed during the firearm deer seasons in those counties open to firearm deer hunting.


Season ends Monday.


Season runs through Dec. 20


Season ends Feb. 15, except it is closed during firearm deer seasons in applicable counties (Nov. 21-23 and Dec. 4-7). Squirrel hunting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. The daily limit is five squirrels with a possession limit of 10.


Season runs through Feb. 28.


Hunting season ends March 31, except it is closed during firearm deer seasons in applicable counties.

Trapping reopens June 1.


Hunting is closed during the two firearms deer seasons in those counties open to firearm deer hunting. Hunting ends in the north zone on Feb. 10; in the south, on Feb. 15.


Hunting is closed during the two firearms deer seasons in those counties open to firearm deer hunting. CORRECT/ADD: Except for those with unfilled deer pemits, for whom coyote hunting is allowed during deer hunting hours.


Hunting ends on Jan. 31. Hunting is also closed during the two firearms deer seasons in those counties open to firearm deer hunting.


Trapping seasons are open across the state for all the usual furbearers: muskrat, mink, raccoon, opossum, striped skunk, weasel, coyote, badger, red and gray fox, and beaver.

Trapping for muskrat, mink, raccoon, opossum, striped skunk, weasel, red and gray fox, coyote and badger ends in the north zone on Jan. 20; in the south, on Jan. 25.

Trapping for beaver ends statewide on March 31.


For IDNR hunting info, click here.

For the Illinois 2009-10 Digest of Hunting & Trapping Regulations, click here.

For the 2009-10 Digest of Waterfowl Hunting Regulations, click here.

For the 2008-09 Illinois Public Hunting Areas Report, click here.

For Illinois crop reports (generally posted Monday afternoons, holiday weekends are the exceptions), click here.

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