Illinois Hunters Harvest 85,000+ Deer

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Hunters in Illinois harvested a preliminary total of 85,490 deer during the opening weekend of the state’s 2007 firearm deer season, Nov. 16-18, Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Acting Director Sam Flood announced today. The second portion of the firearm season is Nov. 29-Dec. 2.

The preliminary total for the first three days of the 2007 firearm season compares with the first weekend harvest of 85,452 during the 2006 deer season. 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.

Illinois and a dedicated group of hunters, it appears the first season in 2007 was a success,” said Flood. “We thank those hunters who participated in the first segment of the firearm deer season and wish all hunters a safe and successful time in the field when the season concludes Nov. 29 through Dec. 2.”

Illinois has issued more than 378,000 firearm deer hunting permits for the 2007 season. Most hunters register their deer harvest online through the IDNR web site or by phoning 1-866-ILCHECK (1-866-452-4325) by 10 p.m. on the day of harvest. Hunters in Boone, DeKalb, Kane, McHenry, Ogle, Stephenson and Winnebago counties take their deer to county check stations where IDNR conducts sampling for chronic wasting disease (Kane Co. hunters check in their deer at the DeKalb Co. check station).

“Hunting conditions were excellent, with temperatures ranging from lows in the 20s and 30s to highs in the 40s in northern Illinois to 50s and 60s in southern Illinois. Traces of rain occurred to the north on Saturday, but not significant enough to impact hunter participation, said IDNR Forest Wildlife Program Manager Paul Shelton. “Excellent weather conditions and the fact that virtually all the corn crop has been harvested were positive factors for hunting opportunity. Thanks to hunters for participating in the season, for registering their harvest through the online and phone systems – and a special thank you to all the hunters in the northern counties who allowed us to sample their deer as part of our CWD surveillance program,” said Shelton .

Illinois counties participating in CWD testing that mandatory check stations will be open during the second season. In addition, because of the discovery of CWD in LaSalle County near the Grundy County line this past summer, a new voluntary check station is open for the firearm season this year in Seneca for registering and sampling deer taken by hunters in LaSalle and Grundy Counties . While the LaSalle/Grundy check station is not mandatory (hunters may choose to report harvest from those counties using the automated system), hunters are encouraged to bring their LaSalle/Grundy deer to this check station to allow them to be tested for CWD.

The 2007 firearm deer season concludes Nov. 29-Dec. 2. The muzzleloader-only deer season is Dec. 7-9. The Late-Winter Antlerless-only firearm deer season and the Special CWD deer season are Jan. 18-20, 2008. The state’s 2007-08 archery deer season continues through Jan. 17 (except closed in firearm counties during the second firearm season Nov. 29-Dec. 2).

The top five counties first season firearm harvest were Pike (2,610), Adams (2,140), JoDaviess (2,055), Fulton (2,003), and Jefferson (1,997)