The Commercial-News, Danville, IL


December 20, 2012

Late season hunts bring new challenges

DANVILLE —  The end of 2012 is closing in fast and the 2012-2013 deer season has less than a month to go. The archery season is set to end Jan. and there are two remaining firearm seasons left in Illinois this hunting season.

The two firearm seasons left for deer are called the Late-Winter Anterless Deer seasons and are open to shotgun, muzzleloader and handguns. These two seasons are put in place to reduce the deer herd in specific counties that has been determined to be an overabundance of deer.

These two seasons are set for De. 27–30 and Jan. 18-20.

An anterless deer is defined as a deer with no antlers or a deer having antlers less than 3 inches in length. Only one of the two antlers needs to be over 3 inches in length to be considered an antlered deer.

Any hunter with a valid deer tag from the earlier seasons may use it during the Late Winter Harvest Season providing he or she abides by the anterless only rules mentioned above.

Hunters view this late season hunt in two ways: Some want to reduce the herd as is intended by the hunt, still others know that the does are carrying next year’s young and worry about taking out a potential trophy buck during this hunt.

Have a safe and enjoyable final month of the deer season and help provide food for those less fortunate by offering some of the extra meat to a needy family nearby.

Upland Game numbers taking at hit

I’ve talked extensively with several Upland Game hunters and, once again, the pheasants, quail and rabbits are scarce this season. Most find pheasants and rabbits in clusters in areas where there is still good habitat but the numbers are down.

Many area hunters have gone to “put and take” areas where pheasant and quail are placed into the environment before the hunt.

If you are looking to hunt one of these areas here is a link to a list of hunting preserves on the IDNR website: Another website for the Illinois Hunting & Outdoor Sports Association can be found here: Both of these website are useful for finding a place to hunt.

Deer totals

Through Tuesday, Illinois archery deer hunters harvested a preliminary total of 53,413 deer. Last year’s preliminary harvest for the same period was 56,219. During most of this year’s archery season, harvest numbers have compared very favorably to prior years’ numbers.

However, archery harvest rates drop significantly once gun hunting begins, and this year’s firearm season fell on its earliest possible date. As a result, the archery season offered one weekend less than it typically does before the gun season. Hunters lost a few days of very significant harvest because of that, and have been running slightly behind ever since.

The harvest to date consists of 49 percent does and 51 percent males (26,020 F; 27,393 M). The top five counties to date are Pike (2,496), Fulton (1,763), Jefferson (1,232), Adams (1,199), and Peoria (1,039).

Vermilion County archery hunters have harvested 823 deer compared to 966 last season at this time.

Sam Van Camp writes about the outdoors on Fridays and Sundays. Call him at 662-6559. Fax: 446-6648. E-mail:


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