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Illinois muzzleloader hunters shoot 4,697 deer

December 16, 2009 at 11:29 AM

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Hunters participating in the 2009 Illinois Muzzleloader Deer Hunt harvested a preliminary total of 4,697 deer during the season conducted on Dec. 11-13.  The harvest compares with the 4,310 deer taken by hunters during the 2008 muzzleloader season and is the third-highest total on record, behind 2006 (5,973) and 2005 (4,879).

The top county harvest totals for the 2009 muzzleloader season were in Pike (221), Fulton (124), Jo Daviess (114), Hancock (109), and Jefferson (103) counties.

Both firearm and archery deer hunting opportunities are still available for hunters in Illinois prior to the end of the 2009-2010 deer hunting seasons on Jan. 17, 2010. 

The expanded seven-day split Late-Winter Firearm Antlerless-only Deer Season and Special CWD Deer Season are Dec. 31, 2009-Jan. 3, 2010 and Jan. 15-17, 2010.  The statewide Archery Deer Hunting season continues through Jan. 17, 2010.  Permits are available over the counter through DNR Direct license and permit agents for each of these seasons.

Hunters are reminded that not all counties are open for the remaining firearm seasons.  For more details on which counties are open for the Late-Winter and Special CWD seasons, and for other deer hunting regulations information, click here.

The table below includes preliminary county harvest totals for the 2009 Illinois Muzzleloader Deer Season and the comparable county harvest totals for 2008.

County 2008 2009
Adams 70 81
Alexander 34 33
Bond 19 30
Boone 10 7
Brown 83 72
Bureau 77 96
Calhoun 66 91
Carroll 51 56
Cass 28 39
Champaign 22 44
Christian 30 27
Clark 53 62
Clay 51 46
Clinton 19 24
Coles 24 16
Crawford 56 40
Cumberland 24 26
DeKalb 8 17
DeWitt 30 29
Douglas 6 12
Edgar 35 43
Edwards 16 25
Effingham 35 23
Fayette 70 60
Ford 7 7
Franklin 43 48
Fulton 93 124
Gallatin 49 42
Greene 60 57
Grundy 18 23
Hamilton 45 54
Hancock 82 109
Hardin 54 67
Henderson 22 27
Henry 39 56
Iroquois 49 47
Jackson 62 81
Jasper 55 62
Jefferson 136 103
Jersey 24 34
JoDaviess 112 114
Johnson 68 67
Kane 5 3
Kankakee 12 14
Kendall 10 14
Knox 66 85
LaSalle 55 71
Lawrence 21 28
Lee 21 47
Livingston 24 30
Logan 21 19
Macon 37 32
Macoupin 65 56
Madison 40 33
Marion 103 68
Marshall 26 35
Mason 52 34
Massac 15 41
McDonough 38 64
McHenry 20 18
McLean 38 49
Menard 24 25
Mercer 28 50
Monroe 25 24
Montgomery 32 36
Morgan 43 39
Moultrie 32 28
Ogle 46 58
Peoria 57 68
Perry 37 37
Piatt 7 10
Pike 219 221
Pope 47 63
Pulaski 37 36
Putnam 37 37
Randolph 70 82
Richland 25 22
Rock Island 38 43
Saline 44 56
Sangamon 46 45
Schuyler 95 93
Scott 20 27
Shelby 71 53
St. Clair 21 40
Stark 17 22
Stephenson 44 37
Tazewell 20 31
Union 80 79
Vermilion 50 52
Wabash 12 11
Warren 26 29
Washington 28 37
Wayne 81 79
White 69 61
Whiteside 34 50
Will 22 26
Williamson 44 50
Winnebago 29 23
Woodford 49 55
Total 4310 4697

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

these numbers CANNOT be correct. I have been listening to Don Higgins, Clint harvey and marc anthony tells us for months how the herd is in a huge downward spiral and on the verge of becoming extinct.

There is no way these numbers are accurate, because if they are then Don higgins and clint harvey have a lot of explaining to do!!!!!!!!!!!!!

THE ONLY THING THAT CHANGED BETWEEN THE FIREARM SEASON AND MUZZELOADER IS THOUSANDS OF ACRES OF CORN WERE HARVESTED!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/16 at 12:53 PM

Wrong lunbuster, many more tags sold genius! Do the math.

Posted by Marc Anthony on 12/16 at 01:17 PM

show me how many more muzzleloaders were out there this year.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/16 at 01:59 PM

ohh and also the other 2 top years were 2006 and 2005 was there a huge increase in tags then also? man shelton is doing a horrible job if he has top 3 ML seasons on records when he supposedly hasnt done crap in 20 years.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/16 at 02:02 PM

I never thought I’d say this, but I’m actually going to agree with lungbuster on this one.  The deer around me seemed to be on more normal movement patterns this weekend than I’ve seen them all year.  The only difference was less corn in the fields, and almost no moonlight at night.  Don’t forget that 2nd season was under a full moon and raise your hand if you have luck hunting during a full moon…
  BTW, my tag filled this weekend was a landowner tag left from the firearm season.  I didn’t purchase extra muzzleloader only tags this year.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/16 at 02:39 PM

Ok I am confused. If the shotgun season numbers where low because the DNR issued too many permits over the last few season and therefore the deer herd is too small. Then how is it that issuing extra permits resulted in an increase kill during the muzzleloader season? After all there are fewer muzzleloader hunters than shotgun.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/16 at 02:49 PM

amen sfcs….. but the experts here will somehow try and manipulate the facts

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/16 at 03:23 PM

Basically speaking, the more permits sold, the more hunters in the woods thus chances of more deer killed would be greater. With hunters seeing less deer in the last several years and with permits sales at an all-time high, it’s inevitable that more deer are being killed.
...
Now on the standing corn issue, I for one do believe that standing corn affects the deer harvest numbers, I just don’t think it’s because the deer live in the corn. Myself, being a ground hunter, notice that when the corn is standing, I can’t see across the fields to cut any deer off. That affects my hunting. For others, the standing corn changes the routes of the deer when they feed. Most hunters won’t move their stands when the corn is standing, and with the deer being re-routed, makes for a less harvest. In other words, there is no funnel for an ambush site. With the corn down, deer will graze harder and more move. So in essence, some of the lower numbers are because of hunter technique because of the standing corn. I hunted a piece of ground this year that has had the corn out for several weeks before gun season and it was just plain pathetic.
...
I’ll agree, all of Illinois is not the same, which is why some of us have demanded a regional management plan. The bottom line on the deer harvest though is the fact that we are at a record high with permits sales and the numbers just keep coming in lower, that’s my biggest concern. I for one, was hunting back when you weren’t sure if you were going to be able to draw a permit because the deer numbers just weren’t there. I hate to admit this but I’ve seen more deer in the same spots then, than I do now. Illinois’s deer herd is changing and I’ve been around long enough to see it come and go.

Posted by Marc Anthony on 12/16 at 03:23 PM

well the muzzleloader number didnt come in lower, you seem to contradict yourself by saying that the numbers are up during muzzleloader because of more permits but the numbers are down during firearm cause of less deer. which one is it?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/16 at 03:42 PM

Marc I agree that the deer herd is changing in response to what we as hunters are doing. Hunters are learning more about deer habitat and are changeing their property to make it hold more deer. Then the same hunters are reducing the numbers they kill on their own property. With the thought of growing and killing the next monster. When a person changes the habitat it will effect how the deer move and reduces the sighting in the traditional places. Some of the marginal areas are now dealing with reduced sightings because of how their neigbors have changed the habitat. Wouldn’t this also lead to a lower number of deer killed.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/16 at 03:46 PM

All the more reason to look at things holistically. A 6,176 decrease in firarms harvest between 2008 and 2009 was countered with a 387 increase in muzzleloader harvest. Too many explanations for this to mention but some of them include weather, corn, deer behavior, increased muzzleloader participation due to unfilled shotgun tags, increased tags issued by DNR, etc. Seasons ARE dependent upon one another within a given year! Gotta wait until all is said and done before we draw any meaningful conclusions.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/16 at 04:03 PM

sfcs, yes, I think so but just not this season. One important fact I didn’t bother to post in my last comment was the fact that deer will move on a “change”. This could be why we just saw an increase in harvest numbers for the muzzle season. The “change” of terrain is a major cause for movement, the change of climate/temperature, the change of landscape all will cause the deer to move momentarily, which is why I think we saw some good numbers here.
...
At the cost of sounding like I just threw this in at the last moment, I want you to know that I wrote in my blog last month my forecast of the second season to be better than the first and also wrote that I thought the corn was causing problems, just not the same problems that the DNR was claiming. Now I know you’re not just trying to be argumentative, which is why I’m enjoying exchanging ideas with you. I obviously missed the prediction by 2 weeks but nevertheless, the muzzle season did turn out good.
...
You’re right on the money with regard to changing habitat, which is why some hunters really oppose baiting. They feel baiting will cause a change of patterns, especially when one depends on the deer’s previous habits.
...
So, here we are, back to the numbers again and the big question on whether there is less deer or not. Given the degree of information we have now, I do believe we are in a decline. FYI, I’m not sure the DNR will argue that point as they are actually trying to decrease the numbers to satisfy the collision numbers. Overall, we will be down again this year.

Posted by Marc Anthony on 12/16 at 04:10 PM

Wayne 81 79
White 69 61
Clay 51 46
Jefferson 136 103

Surrounding counties and my county.  Sure looks down to me?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/16 at 04:32 PM

Calhoun 66 91
Adams 70 81
Cass 28 39
Hancock 82 109
Here is what the data shows… nothing we didnt already know.  The DNR is doing a terrible job controlling the population of whitetailed deer in the “red zone”...While counties around me are droping fast.

Pope 47 63
Williamson 44 50
Saline 44 56

These are counties near shawnee where there is tons of cover and tons of deer.  This data actually says exactly what i have been saying.  The DNR is doing nothing about heavily outfitted land and destroying other places…VERY good data and clear to read

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/16 at 04:45 PM

there we go the expert manipulating numbers….how do you explain the other countys then clint..and the 3rd highest muzzleloader season ..

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/16 at 04:47 PM

friggen incredible there is an increase and these so called experts like clint still blaming dnr…at least marc anthony is admitting the corn and deer movement could be partially responsible for lower firearm harvest. people like clint and don blame it 100 percent on dnr even with higher numbers overall..

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/16 at 04:49 PM

i think the muzzleloader season has gained a lot of popularity in just the last five years due to the advent of muzzleloaders that are capable of near high powered rifle accuracy out to 200+ yards.  i would venture a guess that one of the reasons the muzzleloader numbers are highest from 2005 to 2009 is the fact that the muzzleloader itself has become so popular and effective.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/16 at 05:00 PM

Fulton 93 124
Knox 66 85
Adams 70 81
Pike 219 221
heres the numbers for the 4 counties i hunt
Waiting for someone to tell me muzzloader hunters are better hunters. Am i seeing a shift in the corn conspiracy here

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/16 at 05:04 PM

grace that maybe be true but if there is so many less deer like some people claim then the numbers should still be down.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/16 at 05:06 PM

grace your dead on about the accuracy of muzzloaders t/c encore accurate to 200yds easy I hunt with one during the regular shotgun season as well.One big reason people hunt during muzzleloader is less people in field

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/16 at 05:10 PM

johnh… I showed you where the increase came from… thats all i can do it show you.  If you arent smart enough to understand it then i cant help you.  My county has decreased ALL 3 seasons.  WE had no corn problems all 3 seasons.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/16 at 05:15 PM

shelby hunter not sure i understand what your saying here increased muzzleloader participation due to unfilled shotgun tags,?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/16 at 05:16 PM

Hunter770,

Do you factor in 3 of those counties are the most heavily outfitted? And if the 1st and 2nd gun season harvests were down, then its likely more numbers of deer and hunters were around, and perhaps more pressure for muzzleloader, hence driving more deer movement. Or is this to logical to grasp?  And for god’s sake, were only talking less than a 400 number increase, whats that 4% than last year.


Please you and your buddy johnh keep sniping all you want, but learn how to use a period every now and then.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/16 at 05:21 PM

yeah i missed Fulton.  Dnr is doing a great job reducing the red zones… Just a wonderful job….

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/16 at 05:32 PM

here i can manipulate numbers also.
Champaign 22 44
lots of outfitters there and the number is doubled. In case someone does not realize that is sarcasm.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/16 at 05:43 PM

no numbers manipulated i showed multiple counties that connected… you find one unexplainable piece of data.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/16 at 05:46 PM

hmm all the increase came from 4 counties you say clint? i see 52 counties with increases along with another half dozen that stayed the same

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/16 at 05:47 PM

Does anyone have a count of how many muzzleloader tags were sold??? You would think that the harvest by percentage would yield a more accurate view of what is happening with the herd. If 50 thousand tags were sold last year but 75 thousand were sold this year for example that would be a huge decrease in kills by percentage. Not taking sides, but can we at least get the data before we squabble.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/16 at 05:48 PM

clint you can make up all the reasons you want to explain data. if it was up 100 k you would still be blaming dnr and making excuses. 4 counties do not make up the whole state. just cause your area is down doesnt mean the whole state is down

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/16 at 05:48 PM

john, you do have to admit deer numbers are down from say, 4 years ago, eh?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/16 at 05:49 PM

yes i have never argued that. my whole point is this is not the armegeddon and end all of the deer that some people are forcasting. there is still plenty of deer out there and always will be.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/16 at 05:51 PM

I concur.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/16 at 05:52 PM

reddog i am not buying into any of the numbers simply reprinting the numbers provided.I guess i am missing something here If someone doesnt fill there tags during shotgun they can just hunt the muzzloader season with their unfilled tags? i thought you had to apply for muzzloader tags in addition to shotgun.You must not hunt with a muzzloader or you would knoow the answer about pressure way fewer hunters even on outfitter grounds.And as far as periods ils c what i can do

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/16 at 05:52 PM

LOL. john you ain’t right!!!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/16 at 05:55 PM

I know, work with, and talk to alot of hunters in Pike, Scott, and Schuyler Counties. They all agree they aren’t seeing the deer the past 2 years like they did 4, or 5 years ago. These are all “golden triangle”/outfitted zones. If this is true, I feel for the hunters in central Illinois that are not in the triangle.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/16 at 06:06 PM

ad, im aware there are good DNR employees… Im talking about the DNR as a whole…

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/16 at 06:10 PM

ok check this out i got a question for ya clint… how many deer do you think illinois would have if we didnt have dnr at all? i will tell ya.. very friggen few, so count your blessings that you do have a dnr.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/16 at 06:11 PM

It’d sure be nice if this board would figured out the Gov., Gen. Assembly, special interest groups, and Wildlife are in charge of this program. No other DNR divisions, or personnel are involved.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/16 at 06:13 PM

You guys are wearing me out. Settle down with the name-calling. Except for Don Higgins and lungbuster. I am letting them keep sniping at each other for no apparent reason. But the rest of you, settle down.

Posted by Jeff Lampe on 12/16 at 06:14 PM

Jeff, I’m just discussing. No foul here.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/16 at 06:15 PM

i see no name calling

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/16 at 06:17 PM

this is all tiger woods fault anyway

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/16 at 06:17 PM

john, what part of the State you hunt?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/16 at 06:19 PM

I deleted all the name calling. I hate to delete things, but sometimes in the interest of my sanity (and my job) I have to.

Posted by Jeff Lampe on 12/16 at 06:30 PM

ad, i live in champagne county and hunt my own land here in champagne county and vermillion county.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/16 at 06:33 PM

Hunter 770, you can not use unfilled shotgun tags for the muzzleloader season even if you carry a muzzleloader. They would have to be unfilled landowner tags to be legal. Marc, I agree with you that the deer numbers are definitely down. I think we can all surely agree on that. How much is anybody’s guess. The number of muzzleloader hunters were pretty scarce around me. I think that if IDNR would hold some public informational meetings to let everyone know what their target goal for herd reduction is, maybe we could see the light at the end of the tunnel. The unknown future IDNR goals is what worries me the most. I suspect that is what you may have been saying all along. I gather from all of your posts that you really care about the future of the Illinois Deer herd, and not just for your sake. I don’t think that some people can grasp that concept. I personally think hunter/kill ratios will obviously go down with the addition of more hunters and that doesn’t necessarily mean there is alot less deer.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/16 at 06:45 PM

john, how are densities looking over your way? Down 10-15% or so?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/16 at 06:51 PM

Except for Don Higgins and lungbuster. I am letting them keep sniping at each other for no apparent reason….......entertainment value is reason enough….

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/16 at 07:00 PM

Hunter, it’s entirely possible that hunters that buy both shotgun & muzzloader permits may get a little lazy during ML season if they have a successful shotgun season. The exact opposite may be true for those that have a poor shotgun season. That’s all I was referring to. Entirely possible, but then again anything is possible.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/16 at 07:02 PM

no i would say maybe 5-6% or so max over the last 5 years maybe on my champagne county property. my land in vermillion county is adjacent to kickapoo state park and is basically loaded with deer, i wouldnt say there is a decrease there at all but i dont observe or hunt it as much as i do with the land i live on so i wont say for sure. almost every night i have a herd of deer out in my fields the most i ever counted was 36 at one time and that was 5 years ago and most ive seen this year is 32 so not much of a difference really. usually averages around 20 or so now compared to maybe 22 or so a few years back. i used to keep numbers on it but gave that up.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/16 at 07:04 PM

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