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Lee Wahlgren

Young hunters experience buck fever

About a month ago, the Bureau County chapter of Pheasants Forever invited youths from Bureau County to participate in a live pheasant hunt at Hickory Grove. The young hunters were hunting over experienced bird dogs along with experienced handlers. The weather was good, the hunting was good and the young hunters had a great time. Special thanks to the Bureau County Pheasants Forever for serving the youth of Bureau County.

Several weeks ago I talked to the parents of some youth deer hunters and I asked them: “How did your kid react to their first deer harvest?” Their answers were about the same in each instance.

“They were shaking when the deer approached, and they were shaking even more after they shot the whitetail.” This is the age old condition known as “buck fever.” You are so excited you can hardly control your body. And this isn’t limited to the young people. Some of you veterans can think back to your first hunts and I’ll bet you experienced the same thing.

• The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is reminding hunters to make safety a priority as they head to the field for the start of the Illinois Firearm Deer Season this week. The seven-day firearm deer season opens Nov. 22 through Nov. 24, and will conclude on Dec. 5 through Dec. 8.

“The firearm deer season is a great part of our hunting heritage in Illinois,” said IDNR Director Marc Miller. “Thanks to so many safety-minded hunters, hunting is one of our safest forms of outdoor recreation, and we want to remind hunters to make safety their first priority for deer season, and whenever they’re hunting.”

The legal hunting hours for the firearm season are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. Hunters successful in taking a deer during the firearm season in most counties must register the deer they harvest online through the
IDNR website at http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/Pages/HarvestReporting.aspx or by phoning 1-866-IL-CHECK. Hunters using the online or phone-in system must register their harvest by 10 p.m. on the day they take the deer.

Other upcoming firearm hunting seasons in the state include the three-day Muzzleloader-only Deer Season on Dec. 13-15, and the seven-day split Late-Winter Firearm Antlerless-only Deer Season and Special CWD Deer Season on Dec. 26-29 and Jan. 17-19, 2014.

• The Spring Valley Walleye Club’s Members Only Tournament will be held at 8 a.m. Nov. 30 at Barto Landing. First-prize payout is $750 based on a 50-team field. This is a catch and release event.

Lee Wahlgren is the BCR Outdoor Columnist. Contact him at pdub51@gmail.com