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Late-winter deer season extended

May 07, 2009 at 04:38 PM

Firearm deer hunters will gain four additional days of hunting and archers can spend three more days in the timber as part of proposals for the 2009-2010 Illinois hunting seasons.

The Department of Natural Resources unveiled changes for the upcoming deer season that include adding four new days of antlerless-only gun hunting.

Instead of stretching the late winter season to nine days, as had been recommended by a task force on deer population control, DNR Director Marc Miller and staff countered with a split season to run Dec. 31 to Jan. 3 and Jan. 15-17.

“Some had concerns about bucks being harvested that had shed their antlers. We listened to those concerns,” Miller said. “From our perspective this accomplished a number of things. That’s why we listened to constituents and came up with a compromise.”

Miller said the extra four days will allow “more children to go out and hunt with their parents” since school will be out. Weather might also be more temperate than it would be in mid-January, Miller said.

Expectations are the extra days of gun hunting will boost overall harvest by an estimated 10,000 deer.

Bowhunters gain three more days of hunting so their season will close at the same time as the late-winter hunts.

During the late-winter antlerless-only season, hunters can use unfilled youth, firearm or muzzleloader tags in the counties for which they were issued. Permits will also be sold over the counter starting Dec. 1.

Compromise or not, many trophy hunters remain unhappy the DNR did not move the antlerless hunt to September. Others question the need for additional seasons in light of continued harvest increases over the past decade.

They note that in 1999, Illinois hunters killed 136,534 deer in all seasons. Last year’s kill total was 188,425 whitetails.

Some hunters question whether the deer herd is growing fast enough to justify the sale of more permits. Some even report seeing fewer deer in recent years.

Others point to a series of questionable deer-management decisions in the past decade — decisions even the DNR has termed “reactionary.”

For instance, if county-by-county population control is so important, why did the DNR opt to close check stations?

And if deer management has become almost impossible in counties dominated by outfitters, which it has, why was the non-resident archery permit cap raised to a level where it is irrelevant and allowed outfitting to spread? Why not institute earn-a-buck regulations in counties with too many deer?

Then too, there are legitimate questions about where additional money from deer permit sales has gone? Why wasn’t that money used to keep check stations open? Why wasn’t that money used to increase access for residents displaced by leasing and outfitting?

Valid questions, most of them.

As to the issue at hand, the late-winter season, DNR biologists say they are still trying to manage on a regional and not a statewide basis. Only 73 counties are open to the late-winter hunt and only a “handful” of those will allow hunters to purchase unlimited numbers of late-winter permits. In most counties hunters will be limited to one late-season permit.

That determination will be based on deer-vehicle collision rates according to John Buhnerkempe, head of the wildlife division. “We have a different goal for all counties and different tools will be applied in each county,” Buhnerkempe said.

Under the proposed changes, other deer hunting permits will also be easier to obtain.

Unsold firearm and muzzleloader tags will be available over the counter at shops that sell licenses. And permits for the Oct. 10-11 youth hunt will be sold over the counter.

While the above changes are “proposals,” expectation is they will be approved. Public comment will be accepted through June 22.

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

Thanks for sharing, Jeff. Those are valid questions, indeed.
Reading the article, you’ll see that one reason for the DNR’s decision to extend the LWS was to “...allow ‘more children to go out and hunt with their parents’ since school will be out” [Christmas Break]
I have a hard time seeing how 3 school-free days in the winter (over a holiday nonetheless) will attract more kids than a weekend hunt (Fri-Sun) in September when the weather is better for kids. I would think that parents that are most likely to participate are just as likely to do so on a September weekend as they are on New Years Eve. Am I wrong?

Regardless, adding and lengthening seasons when numbers show a declining deer herd - It doesn’t make much sense no matter which way you look at it (trophy vs deer quality).
Take conservation into your own hands ... think twice before pulling the trigger.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/08 at 08:33 AM

Jeff:  This whole LWS deer season scenario amounts to nothing more than more “non-scientific” politics-based decision making by the IDNR. In the first place, the criteria for having this season was supposedly based upon the need to harvest more does in Counties where the existing seasons did not harvest the “necessary” quota of does to maintain the deer herd in that County at an acceptable level.  This sounds like it certainly is following legit wildlife management principals, until you realize that the term “acceptable level” has nothing to do with science or hunting for that matter.  Acceptable level for the IDNR has nothing to do with the scientific term “carrying capacity” of a habitat, rather, it has everything to do with “complaints from special interests groups.” We are managing the Illinois Deer Herd based upon “Cultural Carrying Capacity” defined as the maximum number of deer that can coexist compatibly with local human populations.  The criteria for a LWS County should be based upon scientifically collected data like the number of nuisance permits requests that IDNR receives from farmers with crop damage in that County, the number of roadkilled deer that the IDOT picks up in that County, the percentage of buck to doe ratio found in that County’s harvest data from the year before. Instead, the criteria for a LWS County has become:  Can we open this County and sell more permits to generate more money for our programs and who cares if it might hurt the deer population in that County?  Has a County ever been taken off of the LWS designated season list?  What is the criteria for taking a County out of LWS?  Let’s see those figures on here.  If we want to kill more deer in a specific County, why not just simply set a quota for the County, open up the gun season and let hunters kill deer until that quota is met.  With the current phone-in system of reporting harvest, there is absolutely no reason to have a January deer hunt.  The biologists have data reported instantaneously and should be notified daily as to what the harvest information is.  Then they can stop the season with a press release when it has reached the quota.  There is no need to stress the deer in January any more than they are already stressed by the winter weather, lack of food sources, disease, and predation.  It’s about time to start managing the deer herd in Illinois with scientific based principals instead of “Special Interests” mandates!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/08 at 08:38 AM

Right on, BigD.  You said “...Acceptable level for the IDNR has nothing to do with the scientific term “carrying capacity” of a habitat, rather, it has everything to do with “complaints from special interests groups.””
That’s exactly what we’re dealing with…

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/08 at 08:42 AM

Extending the late winter season? What a dumb idea! Who comes up with this stuff?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/08 at 10:14 AM

thank’s Jeff for the update…as a archery hunter only ,i would give up my last 10 day’s of archery season..if they would give up on this late season.. [gun]...move it to Sept…3 more days at the end of archery season with the gun hunters out there don’t mean crap to me….

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/08 at 12:09 PM

“Expectations are the extra days of gun hunting will boost overall harvest by an estimated 10,000 deer.”

OK lets take a logical look at what we can expect to see, as a direct result, of our IDNR’s new addition to their reduction program. The another antlerless gun season & one that will have a bigger effect then the one we have now.
Remember this one will be one day longer, have OCT tags, some unlimited quotas, included 2 weekday holidays along with the 2 weekend days 2, no kids in school or college & take place 2 weeks earlier.
I think, the increase could easily be higher, to much higher, then 10,000 more antlerless kills. But lets just go with the 10,000 additional antlerless kills estimate.  ( easy math too)
Lets use IDNR’s own numbers, that 20-25% of those antlerless kills, will be antlerless bucks.
We will go with the low side even & say that 2,000 antlerless bucks will be killed. Most will be button bucks, since very little shedding will have happened by this time.
2,000 MORE button bucks, EVERY year, will be taken in our IDNR’s newest herd reduction season.
So our states buck quality will continue to go down, EVERY year.
REMEMBER, our IDNR is doing nothing to augment the lose of these or any of the other button bucks killed do to their ever increasing herd reduction program aimed directly at ANY antlerless deer.
Now to the 8,000 additional does killed, every year, from ANOTHER herd reduction season.
93,401 total doe kill for 2008 ( highest ever for the state )
8,000/93,401 = an 8% increase in total does ( state wide )
Now the additional 8,000 is only coming from the over 3/4 of the gun counties in the LWS.
So those counties, will probably see over a 10% increase in total doe kills.
Do 3/4 of our gun counties really need over a 10% increase in total does kills, AFTER an already record doe kill, on a herd that is already declining ???????
Remember, it takes a few years to see & feel ALL the effect of a big increase on the doe population.
Sure, their are some counties or areas that might need a 10% increase, BUT 3/4 of the state ???????
So the numbers tell the real facts about what WILL happen in IL in the coming years, as a direct result of IDNR’s ever increasing,  herd reduction programs.
The herd quality & quantity will continue to downhill, just at a much faster pace now.
You don’t have to listen to any opinions, on this one folks. The numbers tell the story, more then clear enough.
You know when you start heading down any hill,  it is usually smart to keep your foot on the brake pedal, NOT just keep increasing on the gas.
Makes you kind of wander if anyone is awake at the wheel, on this one ???
Maybe they are turned around &  listening way to much to the people in the back seat on this one ????
Sad thing is that we are all in the passenger seat & nobody is really listen to us & we are just along for the ride down this big hill. 8^(

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/08 at 12:18 PM

WHO COMES UP WITH THIS YOU ASK?  WHY THE SAME PERSON WHO MAKES THIS STATEMENT “Weather might also be more temperate than it would be in mid-January, Miller said” Its the same weather! the Avg high has a 1 degree difference! in that 2 week stretch.  I mean why make up positives?  When it comes down to it… its made for the holidays when some factories are shut down and when people have a chance to be home with the family. If they wanted to help the “children” make the antlerless season in SEPT when the “children arent at risk of dying of hypothermia.  I mean jesus every time the DNR makes a statement its like listening to a democrat talk! wait a minute i think im onto something here…

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/08 at 12:38 PM

“Public comment will be accepted through June 22.”

Let them know your comments. Marc Miller Acting Director 217/785-0075.

Posted by Marc Anthony on 05/08 at 12:39 PM

Listening to politicians talk makes me sick really.  Throwing words out there about the “children”.  I got an idea for you miller how about lowering the NR cap so the “children” have a place to hunt!

Lynn…. no one is at the wheel that has a clue how to run the truck.  Its like someone got this truck going 70 down a hill and turned it over to an 8 year old kid whose never drove and said ok its all yours. That is what our management program is like in illinois.  But hey… atleast the Children have a good friendly time to hunt from dec 31 to jan 3rd. 

I mean if you wanna say you did it for less shed bucks to be shot… FINE.  Might wanna move the other season too then huh? If you say you did it because its a time of the year where people might be back home to take advantage of hunting (increase participation)I agree.  If you say you think the children can participate because of more temperate weather… You sound like a complete idiot who wants to act like your thinking of the kids when your just making things up

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/08 at 12:48 PM

What else can be said after BigD’s comments. Managing our deer herd by strictly using DVA’s amounts to quackery.  JB claims there is no pressure from special interests groups, Is he serious?  Thats how the wheels go round and round in this state.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/08 at 02:47 PM


Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/08 at 04:25 PM

The dnr is trying to blindside us again!!  Now they want us to clean up the mess they created by issuing to many out of state permits so outfitters can control to much ground.  The heard would not be so out of whack if every joe from out of state would not be coming here to kill a buck.  Lets face it they are not ruining their hunt to shoot a doe while their could be a buck following it let alone outfitters want their hunters to see tons of deer each hunt.  Now the dnr is trying to double dip off every other hunter by issuing more LWS permits to clean up the mess they created.  So everyone go out and buy more permits to hunt in a season when all the deer are laying low or just plain are not
around!!!  What a joke I hope u guys realize whats going on and BOYCOTT this LWS all together!!  Atleast for the sake of a few deer to hang around for the next season…

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/09 at 09:36 PM

I remember everyone saying give Miller a chance, after all he had his picture taken with a fish and a deer. Nothing that comes from Cook county can be trusted, including anyone that is friends with a Cook county politician. Of course Mr. Miller is just doing what he needs to so he can get his tax payer funded pension. All the state department heads are nothing more than high price whores. Nothing will change with the DNR until someone is elected who really cares about the agency or the deer herd. Unfortunately that may be never.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/10 at 06:34 PM

At least in my area it doesn’t seem that many people hunt the late season.  As long as this continues I don’t think that it will make a huge impact on the herd.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/11 at 10:51 AM

But that’s one of the problems, jcurri. This proposed change is following a number of other “small” changes that have worked to hurt our deer herd. Some of us also don’t live in areas that attract a lot of NR interest - so some of us don’t feel as strongly about the DNR increasing the NR cap. But some of us do. In isolation, these individual decisions by the DNR aren’t much for concern. Taken together over a short timespan (10 yrs or so), however, and we see a totally different picture that is cause for concern…

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/11 at 12:54 PM

Maybe I have missed it but I do not see where the 3 extra days of archery season is either sex, or does the 3 extra days become antlerless only for archers also? If a person is still allowed to take antlered deer by bow and not by firearm for those 3 days, I foresee more “antlerless” deer being taken by “bow” during those 3 days. If the DNR truly cares about QDM, I cannot see how they can impliment such a change without having check stations again.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/11 at 01:23 PM

I was commenting on the late season hunt not the increase in NR permits.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/11 at 02:47 PM

Me too. NR was just another example.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/11 at 03:23 PM

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