Illinois Hunters Harvest 98,700 Deer During Firearm Season

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Hunters in Illinois harvested a preliminary total of 98,700 deer during the seven-day firearm deer season on Nov. 19-21 and Dec. 2-5, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) announced. A total of 99,419 deer were taken during the 2009 firearm season.

The preliminary second-season (Dec. 2-5) harvest total was 30,663, compared with the 33,293 deer taken by hunters during the second segment of the season in 2009. This year's preliminary first-season (Nov. 19-22) deer harvest was 68,037, compared with a first-season harvest of 66,126 in 2009. 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.

"Harvest results for this year's firearm deer seasons were remarkably similar to last year," said IDNR Forest Wildlife Program Manager Paul Shelton. "Fifty-one counties saw increases in harvest, while 49 counties declined. Management efforts aimed at controlling deer herds while maintaining recreational opportunities are paying off."

Preliminary reports show that Pike County once again topped the county deer harvest totals for the firearm season as hunters took 3,130 deer. Other top county harvest totals were Fulton (2,495), Adams (2,468), Jo Daviess (2,285) and Randolph (2,192).

Deer hunters in Illinois still have opportunities to take to the field in the coming weeks. The archery deer season continues through Jan. 16, 2011. The three-day Illinois muzzleloader-only deer season is this week (Dec. 10-12), while the seven-day split late-winter firearm antlerless-only deer season and special CWD deer season are Dec. 30, 2010-Jan. 2, 2011 and Jan. 14-16, 2011.

Permits for both late-winter and special CWD seasons are now available over the counter through DNR Direct license and permit agents.

Permits for the late-winter season will be issued in two categories based on deer management needs in individual counties. For 12 select counties with a need for significant increases in deer harvest, hunters will be able to purchase late-winter permits without limit. In 58 other counties open for the late-winter season, hunters will be limited to purchasing one late-winter deer permit. There are 27 counties closed for the late-winter season.

As in years past, unfilled 2010 firearm, muzzleloader, youth and landowner firearm permits will be valid for the late-winter season provided that they were issued for an open county, but only antlerless deer may be taken. For more information, please visit http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/Pages/ResidentLateWinterAntlerlessDeerHunting.aspx. Successful hunters should report their harvest by 10 p.m. on the same calendar day the deer was taken by calling 1-866-452-4325 (1-866-ILCHECK) or by accessing the online check-in system at www.dnr.state.il.us/vcheck.

Hunters in Boone, DeKalb, McHenry and Winnebago Counties and a portion of Kane County west of IL Rt. 47 can participate in the seven-day special CWD deer season on Dec. 30, 2010- Jan. 2, 2011 and Jan. 14-16, 2011 to help control deer densities and the spread of chronic wasting disease. Special CWD season antlerless-only permits are available over the counter for $5.50 each at participating DNR Direct license and permit vendors. In addition, hunters with unfilled 2010 firearm, muzzleloader, youth firearm deer season or archery deer permits valid for one of the open counties may use those permits to hunt during the CWD season. Hunters using unfilled permits from the 20010 firearm, muzzleloader, youth or archery season for the CWD hunt may take deer appropriate for that permit (antlerless-only or either-sex). There will be no manned check stations during CWD season. As in the late-winter season, harvest must be reported via telephone or online. Successful hunters are encouraged to have any adult deer tested for CWD by taking it to a cooperating meat processor.