Waterfowl hunters have something to be excited about this week as a major cold front pushed across the northern tier of states and waterfowl populations will now be headed southward in earnest. It takes some cold weather to the north to move the majority of the birds in a southerly direction and this, as we well know, was a major drop in temperatures.
It takes a pretty hearty person to be in the boat before the crack of dawn, heading across the cold water in a boat, just to be ready for the early morning influx of birds. My hat goes off this brave bunch; I’ll be drinking my coffee in the warmth of my house, so have at it.
Through Monday, Illinois archery deer hunters harvested a preliminary total of 36,645 deer. Preliminary harvest through the same period last year was 41,021.
Rainfall on Tuesday and Wednesday last week dampened efforts on those days, but harvest rebounded well later in the week. Almost 5,000 deer were taken on Saturday and Sunday.
Total harvest to date has consisted of 53 percent does (19,568) and 47 percent males (17,077), although buck harvest during the past week rose to about 63 percent. Top five counties were Pike (1,646), Fulton (1,057), Jefferson (898), Adams (807), and JoDaviess (767). Vermilion County archery hunters have harvested 648 deer compared to 671 at this time last season.
As of Wednesday, 93 percent of the corn had been harvested state-wide. This is good news ahead of Illinois’ first firearm deer season beginning next Friday, Nov. 22.
One of the largest archery deer called in to me this season was taken by Brandon Jackson of Bismarck. The 21-point buck field dressed at over 200 pounds.
Hunters are encouraged to donate whole deer to the Illinois Sportsmen Against Hunger program – part of the IDNR ‘Target Hunger Now!’ initiative. Participating meat processors turn the donated deer into ground venison for delivery to food banks and charities in Illinois. For information on ‘Target Hunger Now!’ and the Illinois Sportsmen Against Hunger program, check the IDNR Web site at http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/programs/ISAH/Pages/default.aspx or by email tracy.shafer@Illinois.gov or write to: Illinois Sportsmen Against Hunger, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL 62702-1271.