Illinois hunting and fishing

A buck and a doe at sunset Wednesday evening. Firearm hunters will be back in the field Thursday. Photo by Chris Young.

Firearm hunters head back to the woods

November 30, 2011 at 11:03 AM

Thousands of blaze-orange clad deer hunters will be back in the field for the second part of the seven-day firearm season starting Thursday morning.

The season starts a half-hour before sunrise Thursday and concludes Sunday evening, a half-hour after sunset.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources issued more than 327,000 permits to firearm deer hunters.

During the first weekend of the firearm season, hunters killed a preliminary total of 66,501 deer.

During 2010, deer hunters killed 98,944 during the entire seven-day season, more than half of all deer taken in all seasons.

Pike County hunters registered the most deer killed with 1,917.

Locally, hunters in Sangamon County tallied 524.

Hunters are reminded to register their deer by 10 p.m. on the day of harvest by calling (866) 452-4325.

Hunters in Boone, DeKalb, Grundy, Jo Daviess, Kane, LaSalle, McHenry, Ogle, Stephenson and Winnebago counties must take their deer to county check stations by 8 p.m. on the day of harvest.

DNR is collecting samples to look for instances of chronic wasting disease in these counties.

State parks users should be aware that state sites open to deer hunters often are closed to other uses during firearm season.

Visitors should call ahead or check at the site office to find out which areas are open to hunting.

Other deer-hunting opportunities remain.

The muzzleloader-only deer season is Dec. 9-11.

The late-winter antlerless-only firearm deer season and the CWD deer season are Dec. 29 -Jan. 1 and Jan. 13-15.

Archery deer season is open through Jan. 15.