SPRINGFIELD – Firearm deer hunters in Illinois took a preliminary total of 99,324 deer during the seven-day firearm deer season on Nov. 16-18 and Nov. 29-Dec. 2, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) announced Thursday. This year’s preliminary firearm season harvest total compares with the 97,820 deer taken during the 2011 firearm season.
The preliminary second-season (Nov. 29-Dec. 2) harvest total was 27,213, compared with the 31,259 deer taken by hunters during the second segment of the 2011 season. This year’s preliminary first-season (Nov. 18-20) deer harvest was 72,111, compared with a first-season harvest of 66,501 in 2011.
The preliminary harvest totals include deer taken in all counties in which firearm deer hunting is permitted, as well as at Chain O’Lakes State Park in Lake County.
“If you enjoy deer hunting in warm, spring-like weather, this was the season for you,” said IDNR Forest Wildlife Program Manager Paul Shelton. “One of the benefits of having a split firearm deer season is that we typically avoid getting caught in a single weather pattern that might negatively impact the overall harvest. This year, conditions were much more favorable during the first season and less so during the second, but I think we’re right on track with our harvest in most areas.”
Preliminary harvest reports show the top five county totals for deer taken during the seven-day firearm season were Pike (3,068), Fulton (2,815), Adams (2,534), Jo Daviess (2,534), and Randolph (2,221).
Locally, Bureau County hunters harvested a total 1,399 deer, up from 1,280 a year ago. The second season had a 385 kill.
Continuing and upcoming deer hunting opportunities in Illinois include:
The archery deer season, continuing through Jan. 20, 2013;
The seven-day split late-winter firearm antlerless-only deer season and special CWD deer season are Dec. 27-30, and Jan. 18-20, 2013.
Permits for both the late-winter and special CWD seasons will be available over the counter through DNR Direct license and permit vendors beginning Dec. 11. Archery and remaining muzzleloader-only permits are also available over the counter from DNR Direct vendors. Vendor locations by county are available on the IDNR website at this link: http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/LPR/Pages/LicensePermitVendors.aspx.
For detailed information on the late-winter and CWD deer seasons, including information sheets listing open counties and permit limits, check the IDNR website at this link: www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/deer.