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Illinois hunting and fishing

It’s a deer time of year for hunters

November 22, 2008 at 11:23 AM

Deer seasons

  • Legal hunting hours are a half-hour before sunrise to a half-hour after sunset.
  • The first weekend of firearm deer-hunting season begins this morning and closes a half-hour after sunset Sunday.
  • The second weekend of firearm deer-hunting season will be Dec. 4-7.
  • Archery deer season began Oct. 1 and continues through Jan. 15, although archery hunters have to stay on the sidelines during firearm season or hunt with a shotgun, muzzle-loading rifle or handgun.
  • Hunting with muzzleloading rifles only will be Dec. 12-14.
  • The antlerless-only season for firearms will be Jan. 16-18, after the close of archery season.

The car heading north on U.S. 67 toward Macomb on Saturday stopped dead in the middle of the road. The driver’s head craned in the direction of a harvested cornfield to his left.

Standing tall, less than 100 yards off the highway, in the company of three does, was a nice buck. His antlers — at least a dozen points — stretched skyward.

The cornfield buck could focus on his courting rituals Saturday. But that changed Friday when about 200,000 hunters clad in bright orange hats and vests swarmed into Illinois woods and fields for the first weekend of firearm deer-hunting season.

Some hunters are looking for a trophy, the deer that looks great mounted above the fireplace. Others are hunting to fill the freezer with lean meat.

David Jostes of Rochester is one of the latter.

He said he hunts 30 to 40 times throughout the state’s various deer seasons to feed his family with five girls from age 3 to 16.

“That’s my first priority,” Jostes said. “I try to fill up our freezer. I’ve got five girls, and that’s all they eat.

“And I’ve got several friends and family members that I get deer for if I can.”

Jostes said he had a hunting location picked out for today where he had spotted a nice buck, but the wind is forecast to be out of the wrong direction.

“That may affect where I end up,” he said. “I’ve shot three small ones so far (during bow season), and I’ll be out bright and early (today).”

Jordan Snyder, 14, of Virginia already has tasted success this season, bagging a trophy-sized, 14-point buck with a bow last weekend. He can afford to be picky this weekend.

“I only plan on shooting a buck if it’s a nice-size deer,” he said. “It’s going to be hard to beat the one I killed on Nov. 16.”

Some hunters complain that firearm season is starting later this year and the peak of deer breeding activity may be past.

“It’s a bit later than usual, and some hunters fear they will miss the peak of the rut,” said Paul Shelton, forest wildlife program manager for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

Archery season always opens on Oct. 1, so it is a set date. But firearm deer-hunting season always is the weekend prior to Thanksgiving.

“So it moves forward or backward depending on how it hits those calendar dates,” Shelton said. “Nov. 16 was the opener last year, and that’s as early as it can get. So this year it is five days later.”

Still, for Snyder — who got his bow just a few weeks ago — having a big buck wander into range was an exciting experience.

“When I saw this deer, my heart started racing, and when it started making its way to me, I told myself I was going to have to calm down,” Snyder said. “I didn’t realize it was that big until I saw it up close.

“Then we made a lot of calls and photos, and everyone’s told me it was a once-in-a-lifetime deer, and I may never get a chance at something like that again.”

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

Hey guys & Gals, Didn’t see many deer being turned in at thw Wyanet locker, also didn’t here to much shootin. i woul;d have to say the harvest wasn’t very good from what I heard and saw. How bout the rest of you guys?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/22 at 08:37 PM

Hunted Sandy Ford near Streator and would have to agree with you.  Sat on a more open, higher area on opening morning & saw nothing.  Awful windy, so moved to the bottom of a little ravine with plenty of sign for the afternoon, saw nothing again.  Heard very little shooting.  One shot sounded like it came from on the property, and one vehicle was out of the parking lot before noon when I moved, so I assume one was taken.  Overall, seemed light; suppose the high winds didn’t help.  Can’t get out today, so good luck to all.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/23 at 09:06 AM

I talked to a friend who hunts 600 acres and he has not seen much. Of course that is a vast area with lots of hiding spots. I got one opening morning peoria county and i did not hear much shooting. Normally it sounds like a warzone.I have talked to several people that have not scored yet. I am not shure how hard these people hunt though.I am afraid some people are missing the primetime because they are eating breakfest or lunch.Part timers i call them.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/23 at 09:26 AM

I for one had a awesome opening morning.  It was the most deer I have ever seen while in a stand in a very long time.  Bucks were all over the place chasing them girls hard.  That was the most rut action I have seen all season so far.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/23 at 04:31 PM

Hunted private land in Pulaski Co.. Deer movement was at a all time low for me . Saw nothing on Fri. , nothing Sat. morning . Finally Sat. evening things started moving Squirrels and birds . Shot my deer at 4:41 pm. only saw that one and the shooting in the area was down. Did not see many deer on the way home Sun.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/24 at 07:12 AM

My sons and I hunted Thursday (bow) and all weekend.  One son got one shot, missed, other one and I got no decent opportunities.  Saw very few deer, all at a distance.  Heard very few shots in neighboring areas (usually down in Fulton where our little farm is it sounds like a war zone).  The previous two weekends I had bowhunted and nearly got a shot at a 12, an eight, and did get one at a spike. I think most of the deer were tired out from the rut, looks to be over in our area, and were hunkered down.  It was pretty windy on Fri/Sat too.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/24 at 08:49 AM

I was disappointed in the number of deer I saw this weekend.  I expected Friday to be perfect with the cold temps, no wind, and the activity I had seen earlier in the week, but I had one deer in shooting range, and it was a young buck that I passed on.  Only saw 5 deer in the morning and none that night.  Saturday was more of the same.  I saw a few deer, but the were 300+ yards away and were not in the same areas they were all week.  Sunday was more normal movement and I did have a shot on a doe, but the muzzleloader misfired because of a bonehead move on my part.  I did have a nice buck at 100 yards in the evening, but there was a woven wire fence between him and me, and I didn’t want to take a chance either missing or injuring him.  He did come back into view right at dark and was chasing a doe, so I don’t know what to tell ya’ll on rutting.  Very few shots around me the entire weekend, and others I’ve talked to from different areas said the same… It will be interesting to see the “official” numbers from this weekend.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/24 at 12:05 PM

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