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Illinois hunting and fishing

Mixed reviews for Illinois dove opener

September 02, 2009 at 03:40 PM

Two unseasonably cold nights after an unseasonably cold summer had dove hunters on pins and needles heading into today’s openers.

In some areas, the fretting was unfortunately on the mark.

In other areas there was no reason to worry.

Jeff “Springer” Idleman of Carlock reported a very good shoot on private ground in McLean County, where four hunters shot limits in an hour in a 1-acre field. “We were attacked. It was one of the best openers we’ve had,” Idleman said. “I’ve hunted the same field for eight years and it’s the best I’ve ever seen. For some reason the planets just aligned.”

But there were plenty of slow reports, as well. Reports out of Johnson-Sauk Trail indicate very slow shooting this morning. “The sunflowers look great, there’s just no birds,” said Brian Rushing of Elmwood. Rushing went on to Snakeden Hollow for the afternoon hunt and managed to bag a few birds and heard plenty of shooting from adjoining fields.

At Banner Marsh, fields were not in good shape and hunting was slow as expected. A group of 45 hunters managed just 12 doves in a morning shoot.

“That’s as low as (site manager Bill) Douglass can remember in his 20 some years here,” said Rice Lake staffer Bill Kapitko. “But we heard a lot of slow reports from this morning.”

That included parties that did not have much action on private ground in Fulton and Mason County, Kapitko said.

Not far from Banner Marsh, Chris Brackett shot six doves with his bow. He was hunting a 3.5-acre sunflower field. “I got my flowers in early and they were pretty much ready when we started cutting them,” he said. “We had hundreds of birds.”

That wasn’t a statement made by many Tuesday morning. Here’s a fairly complete rundown on opening day totals from Illinois public areas. We will update additional numbers as needed.

Edward Madigan SP
14.7 doves per hunter
30 hunters, 441 doves
“All but two shot limits. We were late getting sunflowers in but we’ve got a good farmer who knows how to plant sunflowers and they came out pretty good. There’s been a lot of birds here for the last two weeks,” site manager Ron Wilmore said. “We usually hold some until the middle of the month.”

Horseshoe Lake (Madison County)
12.96 dph
50 hunters 648 doves, Bend Road
15 hunters on day 2 had checked in with limits by 2:50 p.m.
“We did lose some birds, but there’s still plenty out there.”

Iroquois County
12.02 dph
69 hunters, 830 doves
36 limits
“A lot of the sites didn’t get their sunflowers in on time (because of the wet spring),” site super Frank Snow said. “(Even so), I really surprised they did so well with the two nights of cold weather.”

Hidden Springs SF
11.9 dph
34 hunters, 406 doves
“We were delayed but we switched to an earlier maturing flower and the fields are in good shape.”

Crawford County
9.5 dph
2 hunters, 19 doves
No sunflowers in, just wheat and millet.
Theres birds in there, just no people.

Sam Parr
9.3 dph
60 hunters, 558 doves
Total is better than last year’s opener.

Jim-Edgar Panther Creek
8.75 dph
123 hunters, 1,076 doves
121 permits issued, 75 people on standby, 35 got in
Shooting on the second day was good. “Even numbered fields usually seem better than odd fields.”

Shelbyville SFWA
8.4 dph
156 hunters, 1,305 doves

Ten Mile Creek
“Everybody seemed pretty happy. We had a lot of fields the doves were using. Last week we were loaded with doves and the weather kind of moved a lot of them. But then we had doves on fields we hadn’t had before,” Jim Eaton said.

Matthiessen State Park
8.21 dph
100 hunters, 821 doves

Green River
7.24 dph
115 hunters, 833 doves
Barrington’s Mark Pawlowski raved to Dale Bowman: “I thought I was in Argentina. Birds flying left & right, buzz bombs flying over all day. Couldn’t even eat my lunch. I got my limit of 15 at about 3:00 p.m.”

6.4 dph
35 hunters, 224 doves

Snakeden Hollow
5.36 dph
112 hunters, 600 doves
“I think we’ve been losing birds for a couple of weeks,” site manager Rick Knisely said. “The first time I noticed was between the first and second weeks of August. When these 40-degree nights started we definitely lost some birds.”
The five-year average for opening day is 8.0
last year 3.8 opener

Double T
4.9 dph
112 hunters, 549 doves
“I think we shot two doves out of the buckwheat fields,” site staffer Rick Valois said. “I think a big push of birds left Sunday night. I really do. Before that we were covered with doves.”

4.89 dph
64 hunters, 313 doves
103 hunters were in the drawing
2,031 shots
“I think a combination of things,” site manager Steve Moser said. “The wet spring to where we didn’t get the sunflowers in. I think the storms had something to do with the dove reproduction, blowing nests over and that. And then the cool weather drove some away.”

Kankakee River
4.25 dph
40 hunters, 170 doves

Hennepin Canal
3.74 dph
57 hunters, 213 doves
1,253 shots

Big Bend SFWA
3.53 dph
150 hunters, 530 doves
That total is about half last year’s opener.

Silver Springs
2.85 dph
111 hunters, 316 doves

Mackinaw River
2.64 dph
55 hunters, 145 doves (NOTE: Corrected totals)
“We didn’t hunt our two best fields because we held those for (this weekend’s) youth hunt. But it was still very disappointing. The sunflowers looked OK and we got the seed on the ground, we just didn’t have any birds,” Mackinaw site manager Stan Weimer said.

Des Plaines
1.66 dph
109 hunters, 181 doves

Chain O’Lakes
1.66 dph
15 hunters, 25 doves

Shabbona Lake
0.9 dph
60 hunters, 54 doves

Jubilee College SP
0.9 dph
29 hunters, 26 doves
24 of the birds came out of a field along Thousand Dollar Road.

Johnson-Sauk Trail
0.39 dph
90 hunters, 35 doves
“We had a bad dove opener. It’s not even worth mentioning. The fields were ready and nice and clean. We just didn’t have any birds,” Melinda Kitchens said.

Banner Marsh
0.27 dph
45 hunters, 12 doves

0.23 dph
26 hunters, 6 doves


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

me and a buddy hunted for 3 hours today and had 26 dove. pretty good opening day if you ask me

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/01 at 10:32 PM

10 Of us shot a field in Taz county we all shot out.  Hundreds of doves. Great shoot!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/02 at 07:20 AM

Had permission to hunt wheat field with lots of dove and some geese till week before opener when property owner called and said his neighbors were “dead set” against any hunting for geese or doves. Closeset house was over half mile away. Ended up at Big River. Picked wrong field, got 9 between 2 guys. Saw below average numbers.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/02 at 01:18 PM

Hunting near Springfield, we shot 40 doves between 7 hunters - but it was an all-day affair.  Generally, everyone limits in a couple of hours.  It did pick up noticeably from 5-6PM - bad days became average.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/02 at 01:31 PM

I noticed you left Jubilee out of the harvest totals? grin

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/03 at 02:28 AM

And Mackinaw River.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/03 at 12:43 PM

Got those totals in the field yesterday and wrote them on a box of shells. Then I couldn’t find the box. Found it today. Jubilee 29 hunters, 26 doves, Mackinaw 55 hunters, 45 doves. Both were very poor.

Posted by Jeff Lampe on 09/03 at 12:50 PM

Hunted Johnson-Sauk Tuesday morning and didn’t fire a shot.  All but six guys in our field had given up and gone by 9:00.  Almost zero birds on a great field.  Did get to witness an unnecessary dog fight, though.  Hunted Snake Den Wednesday afternoon.  What few birds there were were skirting the field well wide of the shooting line and choosing a mowed prairie grass field instead.  Got 2 birds.  Most guys got 1 or less.  Hunted private ground Tuesday afternoon and got five, but it took all afternoon.  Saw one dove on that private ground all of Wednesday morning.  How did Buckhorn do?  They’re further south of where I was.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/03 at 01:30 PM

So, I answered my own question.  Buckhorn did 9 birds for 22 hunters over three days.  They didn’t get their ‘flowers in.  Why not?  Everyone else got theirs in, so it looks more like poor management or indifference on the part of Siloam Springs’ site superintendent.  The weeds were mowed.  Barely.  If there had been birds there you would have had to be VERY selective on your shots or have a dog, because most downed birds would be lost.  It appears that there was no effort made.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/03 at 04:46 PM

Never take notes on a shotgun shell box. The correct total for Mackinaw River is 145 doves, not 45. While that’s a bit better, it’s still well below usual.

Posted by Jeff Lampe on 09/04 at 09:59 AM

it has to be due to global cooling of the atmospheric temperatures. fellas, look for dove hunting to be down for years to come, while polar bear hunting in illinois will be on the rise

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/07 at 08:28 PM

Do they send out applications for the Polar Bear hunt ?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/07 at 10:50 PM

Is there any information on where doves may still be hunted with some success?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/25 at 12:23 PM

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