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Archery deer harvest set to peak

November 14, 2008 at 01:27 PM

All signs are pointing toward this as being the peak for harvest of the 2008 Illinois archery deer hunting season.

Bucks are running does. Temperatures should drop. And bowhunters have precious time left until firearm hunters take over the woods for their Nov. 21-23 season.

Given all that, Illinois deer biologist Paul Shelton is expecting to see the year’s highest harvest totals this Saturday and Sunday.

“I figure this weekend we’re looking at 3,000 plus (deer per day) if the weather cooperates,” Shelton said. “Typically (the peak of archery harvest) is the weekend before gun season, no matter where it falls.”

Harvest was certainly good in the past week, when bowhunters shot 2,650 deer on Saturday, Nov. 8 and then arrowed 2,800 on Sunday, Nov. 9 despite relatively nasty weather. That has carried through to this week, as Monday showed about 1,900 deer, Tuesday was a little over 1,500 (and ahead of the opening day total) and Wednesday was a little over 1,300.

Among the nice bucks shot are the pair pictured below, taken by Scott Crabtree and Curt Crabtree at their Brown County ground, the Haley Hunting Club. Scott Crabtree took a nice 8 pointer on Nov. 8.  Not to be outdone by his father, Curt brought in a nice 10-pointer on the morning of Nov. 10.

Illinois hunting and fishing

The Crabtrees were not alone in taking deer this week. Here’s a chart showing an in-depth look at daily archery harvest totals: Daily_Archery_Harvest.pdf

And here’s another nice buck, shot by Mandy Brummel in Adams County on Nov. 12 around 4:30 p.m. Writes Mandy, “We have hunted harder this year than any year before! I was ready to throw in the towel. We have trail cam pics of this deer, and seen him distantly in the field about a month ago. He was chasing a doe, came into about 30 yards and I took the shot. He was quartered to me (which is not the best angle), but I hit the heart and both lungs!  He ran in the open field about 60-70 yards and went down. No tracking to do, cause I could see him in plain site! Unofficially he is 157.5 imches.”

Illinois hunting and fishing

In addition to killing more deer, bowhunters are killing more bucks. Shelton anticipates that bucks could make up more than 70 percent of the harvest some days in the next week. Here’s a look at the daily sex ratios so far: Daily_sex_ratios.pdf.

“The crop harvest has kind of slowed us down on the archery hunt, but we’re going to be OK,” Shelton said. “Even though we’re printing out reports saying we’re running behind (previous years in terms of harvest), you’ve got to consider, we’ve got an extra weekend coming.”

So look for archery numbers to bump ahead of last year’s pace when they are issued early next week. We’ll post those numbers as soon as they are available.

In other deer-related news, Shelton said testing has turned up a few cases of chronic wasting disease in archery-killed deer. But none of those cases have been outside the core CWD area.

Your CommentsComments :: Terms :: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

I can almost gaurantee that harvest numbers are down this weekend as compared to last weekend.  I say this for one reason…. the breeding is already occuring.  During this time it is nothing but luck to harvest a big buck.  Deer are layin in creekbeds, fencerows, and open pastures.  They aint interested in coming through the woods. It is one of the hardest times of the year to hunt.

Not sure who else agrees with me, but i have seen less bucks cruising and/or chasing does this year than in any years past.  Of course there will be big bucks shot, but if I had to guess it would be down tremendously from years past. I have hunted hard, and this rut quite frankly has sucked.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/14 at 05:11 PM

I would aggree about the rut sucking, I think the weather got to warm when the most of the seeking took place.The big boys moved at night, Also there are not the quality of bucks being shot compared to last year. One year ago today Jeff did a article on Big bucks of Illinois. There was a picture of 6 bucks over 200in. all taken by bow at Emkens taxidermy. I havent’ seen or heard about many 200in. being shot this year. Unless something changes I would aggree with lungbuster also that there won’t be squat taken this weekend either. Things are very quiet the past 3 days.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/14 at 07:08 PM

I’ll disagree.  I’m seeing more movement in the past week than I had the rest of the season.  I think things are running slow this year between that big warm up and the amount of corn still standing.  Last week I saw mature bucks moving in daylight and this afternoon I saw one of them chasing a doe.  I have yet to see one buck standing over a doe in a field so I don’t believe they are breeding quite yet.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/14 at 07:21 PM

I have to agree with sns.  I don’t think alot of the breeding has occured.  I am running a bunch of cameras now and still see alot of our mature bucks are moving in the dark.  I haven’t seen one buck tending a doe.  Alot of chasing by the younger deer but not seeing the big boys running. High temps sure in the hell isn’t helping matters and high winds will slow movement to almost a halt.  Lets see what happens this weekend.  I think next week is going to be the ticket and maybe I am completely wrong and its gonna suck.  Thats one thing we will never know unless we crawl into a deers head.  Good luck to all of you who are chasin hard.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/14 at 09:29 PM

Good info.  Your response though kind of proves what i’m thinking.  You are seeing younger deer but not the big boys.  It is a messed up rut.  I saw a big buck tending a doe on Nov. 3rd and haven’t seen any rut action since.  I shot a doe with 2 fawns last night and she showed no signs of being in estrus because she woulda been flying solo if she was.  Instead of 5 days or so of hot action like typical years maybe this year will be more like a 3 week pain in the acehole

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/14 at 10:06 PM

Nice buck Mandy! Nice to see a young gal out stealing the show…

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/15 at 07:27 AM

I saw big boys chasing Tuesday around noon havent seen one since lots of does no bucks? Shotgun hunters are going to have a field day on the big ones

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/15 at 09:10 AM


I remember the article Jeff did from last year but I believe those bucks were a mix from bow and gun season. I don’t think all six 200 inch bucks were bow kills. Maybe Jeff can clarify. Good huntin!!!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/15 at 05:00 PM

I AGREE! This year sucks. i have been bowhunting for 15 years and this is by far the worst!the weather went from cold, than to hot, than to hot and cold and rainy! i have talked to LOTS of bowhunters this past week and its the same! no movement, no big bucks! i just dont understand but its driving me and my ole man nuts to the point of quitting! your right…the shot gun hunters always have it there way, every year! i just dont get it, very confusing

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/15 at 05:11 PM

12 hrs in the deer woods today not a single deer, in a area that typically is loaded! this has been a messed up year for bowhunting!!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/15 at 09:02 PM

I spent Friday evening and Saturday in Schuyler county and the rut was rocking: we saw no less than 8 different bucks. Great weekend for hunting down there.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/15 at 09:55 PM

Yep, that article last year included gun and bow kills. Does seem like there were more really big bucks out of Illinois last year, though.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/16 at 08:24 AM

I agree ckeever. I saw alot of action Saturday, in schuyler county.  Didn’t see a single doe all bucks. I was in the oak flats and they were just feeding along, not really doing anything special. Arrowed a 10 point 120 class on public ground.  Good luck and keep huntin hard.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/16 at 12:50 PM

Rutting moon was the thirteenth. The seeking phaze of the rut is suppose to run from about 2 days prior to 2 days after the full moon then starts the chasing phaze of the rut. After about 5 days of chasing starts the breeding. These are in general terms. Weather, hunting preasure, and buck to doe ratio also can affect the rut. Not all does are ready at the same time. In fact their is usally an old doe or two that will come in heat early. And those first few wiffs will get the buck’s checking out other does. Doe fawns come into heat late. There are so many things that affect deer. Maybe a neighbor planted a food plot this year, or maybe a pack of dogs ran the deer off the night before. Maybe the white oakes across the road are producing this year in mass, and last year it was the oakes where you are at. I’ve done some driving around and checking last couple day’s and haven’t seen alot of buck activity. Thursday I know I saw bucks either chasing or just checking out the does. What’s the barometer doing. Deer generaly don’t like a low preasure system. Too many what if’s and too little time. Just hunt, you get what you get. You don’t get anything setting at home whinning about it.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/16 at 06:58 PM

time in the woods and it will eventually pay off. you will drive yourself crazy trying to figure ou the whitetails!!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/16 at 08:31 PM

I saw a 185 inch buck breeding a doe in cass county on 7th. And have saw mature bucks standing over mature does for the past 10 days in scott & cass county. The bucks are already locked down with does. It is about a week to 10 days earlier this year.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/17 at 11:44 AM

The deer are moving and the big boys are chasing in Knox County.  I had a nice big 10pt charging hard from about 300 yards away to my rattling and grunting yesterday afternoon.  He hung up about 160 yards downwind of me and turned back to chase does.  I had another nice buck that was out cruising respond to a grunt call and came right into my decoy.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/17 at 09:05 PM

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