BY SAM VAN CAMP
Illinois firearm deer hunters are in the field today through Sunday hoping to bag a deer during the first of two firearm deer seasons. The second part of the firearm season will be held Nov. 29-Dec. 2. Hunters hope to eclipse the 97,886 deer harvested during the 2011-2012 season which saw 181,411 deer harvested throughout the state during all of the different seasons offered to hunters.
If you take a nice deer this season, a deer that you want to mount; take the time to learn what to do so that you don’t ruin it before you get it to the taxidermist. I’ve seen many a disappointed hunter bring in a deer with a ruined cape to my shop when I was a taxidermist.
Some simple tips I can give a hunter include not dragging your deer, especially with a rope around its neck. Hang a deer by the antlers to dry out and not by the neck as a rope around the neck will tear hair and ruin the mount. Don’t cut your deer cape too short; if you don’t know what you are doing, take the entire deer to the taxidermist. Another problem for hunter is the warmer weather; if you leave your deer hang too long, the hair will slip and the mount will be ruined.
Ask before you cut would be the best advice I could give a hunter that has never caped a deer out before. There are hunters and taxidermists that will help you learn exactly where to cut.
It will be interesting so see what the harvest will be this season as I have talked to some hunters that don’t believe there are as many deer as in the past while others claim there are more. I do know that hemorrhagic disease was very prevalent in our area this year as well as throughout the state and its effect may well be noted in the final harvest count.
For all the hunters sitting in a deer camp this weekend, I just want you to know that I remember those like it was yesterday; the stories, the food, the fun all come back to me this time of the year. Just remember to enjoy the moment, be safe this firearm season and respect the game you hunt.
Cold weather slows
Weather conditions remained generally good this past week, except for passage of a cold front on Sunday that brought rain and strong winds, followed by much cooler temperatures. As a result, harvest on Sunday was depressed somewhat.
Through Sunday, Illinois archery deer hunters harvested a preliminary total of 41,025 deer. Last year’s preliminary harvest for the same period was 40,509, and the five-year average for 2007-2011 was 41,727.
Harvest to date (for all weeks) consists of 51 percent does and 49 percent males (20,919 F; 20,106 M), but male harvest continued to climb during the past week as rutting activity increased. Males comprised about 66 percent of the weekly harvest total. The top five counties to date are Pike (1,867), Fulton (1,366), Jefferson (924), Adams (920), and JoDaviess (846). Vermilion County archery hunters have harvested 671 deer so far this season as compared to 747 at this time last season.
Sam Van Camp writes about the outdoors on Fridays and Sundays. Call him at 662-6559. Fax: 446-6648. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org