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Deer harvest takes sharp drop

The first season of shotgun deer hunting is over and the second season starts today. I think the real surprise in statistics is the overall drop in the state’s deer harvest number.

Last year after the first season, the harvest number totaled 72,111 whitetails. This year, the total reached 55,708. Most of us can understand a drop in the harvest number but we didn’t think it would be more than 15,000.

I talked to several hunters who hunted locally and as far as Adams County. Most claimed they did not see as many deer this year as in 2012.

For Bureau County, the drop in numbers was 284, dropping from 1,014 to 730. Some hunters thought the rain lowered their chances while others thought the wind was a deterrent. Still others thought blue tongue was a problem. I am sorry, but I know very little about blue tongue, I promise to do some research on it. Apparently it is a source of whitetail deaths.

Here are the top five whitetail counties with 2012 and 2013 harvest totals.

Pike, 2,108, 1,535

Jackson, 1,621, 1,526

Randolph, 1,665, 1,436

Fulton, 2,048, 1,409

Adams, 1,938, 1,393

Here are several local counties their harvest totals.

Bureau, 1,014, 730

Henry, 592, 458

LaSalle, 887, 588

Lee, 565, 385

Putnam, 389, 278

Whiteside, 648, 482

Stark, 247, 156

The Illinois harvest as indicated by gender was 59 percent were bucks. Last year, it was 60 percent.

The remainder of deer season will be today through Sunday for shotgun. The muzzleloader season is Dec. 13-15, while the split season for antlerless and CWD will be Dec. 26-29 and Jan. 17-19.

Wear an extra layer cause it is going to get cold.

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

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