Bucks comin’ in: Illinois bowhunting

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The change is coming with buck deer in Illinois. Last week, the percent of bucks taken by bowhunters jumped to 62.7 percent. And harvest shot up dramatically to 37,380 for the season, but that is well off the pace of 2005 and ’06.

Here’s the word from forest wildlife program manager Paul Shelton:

Preliminary archery deer harvest totals through Sunday, November 8 stand at 37380, compared to previous year totals of 33923 (2008), 36748 (2007), 39090 (2006), and 39343 (2005). Hunting conditions were excellent last week, and deer activity has continued to increase. However, significant amounts of unharvested corn remain in the fields, which will have a dampening effect on harvest. Top five counties are Pike (2102), Fulton (1075), Jefferson (856), Adams (835), and Peoria (822). Daily harvest rates were much improved this week, with 1153 deer/day taken during the period Monday-Friday. Rates over the weekend stood at 1969 deer/day. While good, these rates are below the average of the previous four years. Harvest sex ratios continued to shift toward bucks, with sex ratios for the week at 37.3% does to 62.7% bucks. Overall sex ratios to date are 56.5% does: 43.5% bucks.

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