Illinois deer hunting: First firearm season for 2012

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As expected, the first firearm season was a strong one for Illinois deer hunters.

A lot of deer were checked in, such as Dan Kirk (above) did at Gebhard Woods State Park Friday morning.

Here are the preliminary breakdowns for the first firearm deer season:

Illinois Firearm Deer First-Season Harvest Totals Over 72,000 Deer Increase of more than 5,000 over last year’s first weekend SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) today reported that hunters in Illinois harvested a preliminary total of 72,111 deer during the opening weekend of the 2012 Illinois Firearm Deer Season, Nov. 16-18. The second portion of the firearm season will be Nov. 29-Dec. 2. The preliminary harvest total of 72,111 for the first three days of the 2012 firearm season compares with the first weekend harvest of 66,501 deer during the 2011 deer season. The top county harvest total last weekend was in Pike with 2,108 deer, followed by Fulton (2,048), Adams (1,938), Jo Daviess (1,877) and Randolph (1,665). For the entire seven-day firearm season in 2011, hunters harvested 98,820 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. Hunters enjoyed near perfect conditions during our first firearm weekend, said Paul Shelton, IDNR Forest Wildlife Program Manager. Temperatures were cool, winds were calm, crops were out of the fields, and rutting activity was ongoing. We hope hunters enjoyed their time in the field. Approximately 60 percent of the deer taken during the first weekend of firearm hunting were bucks, compared with 61 percent bucks taken during the first weekend of the firearm season in 2011. The IDNR has issued more than 334,000 firearm deer hunting permits so far for the 2012 season. For information on remaining permits, check the IDNR website at this link: Remaining firearm deer hunting opportunities in Illinois include the second segment of the firearm season on Nov. 29-Dec. 2, the three-day Muzzleloader-only Deer Season on Dec. 7-9, and the seven-day split Late-Winter Firearm Antlerless-only Deer Season and Special CWD Deer Season on Dec. 27-30, 2012 and Jan. 18-20, 2013. Hunters are reminded that 10 fewer counties will be open for the Late-Winter season in 2012-13 (see map): For more information on Illinois deer hunting regulations, check the IDNR web site at this link:

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