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Heartland Outdoors cover November 2017

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Jeff
JEFF
LAMPE

Scattershooting

Illinois deer harvest down

Wed, November 22, 2017

I remember my first few times hunting an Illinois shotgun deer season, years ago. As legal shooting time approached, shots rang out in the timber all around me.

The same thing happened toward dusk, as deer started moving again and hunters fired.

That was on private land. Crazier yet was a deer hunt one year at the Mackinaw State Fish and Wildlife Area, where hunters seemed to be crawling all over one another and kept deer moving all day. There too, shots fired out frequently.

Compared to those long-ago memories, last weekend was pretty quiet in the corner of Knox County we were hunting for the first weekend of shotgun deer season. There were occasional shots, but nothing like the barrages of old.

The most shooting we heard was likely nearby hunters sighting-in their guns Friday afternoon.

Given that and given Saturday’s inclement weather, it comes as no surprise that deer hunters shot just 51,365 deer in the first Illinois firearm season, down from 54,452 last year.

To me, there’s another factor at work here, too: the legalization of crossbow hunting.

Statistics show that more and more Illinois hunters are picking up the crossbow, with 28.86 percent of the archery harvest done with crossbows so far. An impressive 11.8 percent of those folks are new bowhunters and many are no doubt converted gun hunters.

Plus, it’s nice to have a long season that allows you to pick and choose when you hunt – instead of being forced to hunt in driving rainstorms, thunder and cold weather, as many endured this past weekend.


COUNTY
2016 Total
2017 Total


ADAMS
1642
1408
ALEXANDER
283
291
BOND
390
441
BOONE
87
82
BROWN
645
663
BUREAU
704
632
CALHOUN
482
505
CARROLL
529
425
  County
2016
  2017
CASS
475
429
CHAMPAIGN
165
133
CHRISTIAN
420
360
CLARK
715
775
CLAY
784
760
CLINTON
457
495
COLES
388
382
CRAWFORD
656
673
CUMBERLAND
494
478
DEKALB
79
67
DEWITT
192
180
DOUGLAS
105
96
EDGAR
387
365
EDWARDS
282
273
EFFINGHAM
589
580
FAYETTE
1050
1008
FORD
72
64
FRANKLIN
807
854
FULTON
1344
1270
GALLATIN
296
282
GREENE
660
641
GRUNDY
214
157
HAMILTON
786
779
HANCOCK
1079
1082
HARDIN
605
646
HENDERSON
372
319
HENRY
404
356
IROQUOIS
326
297
JACKSON
1562
1487
JASPER
675
663
JEFFERSON
1276
1328
JERSEY
444
410
JODAVIESS
1306
1155
JOHNSON
1166
1091
                           
  County
2016
  2017
KANE
18
19
KANKAKEE
125
118
KENDALL
67
52
KNOX
820
697
LAKE
5
3
LASALLE
537
431
LAWRENCE
375
394
LEE
359
328
LIVINGSTON
293
246
LOGAN
256
206
MACON
170
150
MACOUPIN
967
945
MADISON
444
493
MARION
1051
1081
MARSHALL
382
424
MASON
305
231
MASSAC
367
282
MCDONOUGH
597
525
MCHENRY
168
151
MCLEAN
363
324
MENARD
238
226
MERCER
605
518
MONROE
704
661
MONTGOMERY
551
509
MORGAN
508
452
MOULTRIE
134
138
OGLE
538
443
PEORIA
639
524
PERRY
814
815
PIATT
75
69
PIKE
1346
1187
POPE
1096
1092
PULASKI
281
221
PUTNAM
213
232
                           
County
2016
2017
RANDOLPH
1582
1603
RICHLAND
528
481
ROCKISLAND
552
455
SALINE
618
618
SANGAMON
385
391
SCHUYLER
901
871
SCOTT
264
196
SHELBY
782
733
STARK
136
135
STCLAIR
480
477
STEPHENSON
597
417
TAZEWELL
351
333
UNION
1060
977
VERMILION
392
330
WABASH
131
123
WARREN
382
328
WASHINGTON
672
695
WAYNE
1035
977
WHITE
547
497
WHITESIDE
390
393
WILL
168
153
WILLIAMSON
1060
1048
WINNEBAGO
217
161
WOODFORD
417
404
TOTAL
54452
51365

(0) COMMENTS

Crossbows legal, signature or not

Thu, August 24, 2017

SPRINGFIELD – While Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner had not yet signed a bill making crossbows legal for all hunters during archery season, that law will be in effect with or without his signature come Oct. 1 when bowhunters take to the timber.

“If it does get signed it will go into effect immediately,” said Ed Cross, director of communications for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. “If it goes to the deadline date of Sept. 22, it will be the same thing and will be effective immediately.

“Either way, crossbows will be allowed to be used this season.”

House Bill 2893 amends the Illinois Wildlife Code as such: “Provides that any person may use a crossbow to take wildlife during the appropriate archery season. Repeals crossbow provisions limiting the use of crossbows to specified conditions, together with a related definition. Effective immediately.”

That wording will not appear in the Illinois Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations, which has already been printed.

House sponsors of the bill were Rep. Jerry Costello, II (D-Smithton)  and Jeanne M. Ives (R-Wheaton). Sen. Neil Anderson (R-Andalusia) was the Senate sponsor.

“Expanding hunting opportunities for sportsmen and women in Illinois is crucial to the future,” said Rep. Costello. “Allowing the full-inclusion of crossbows in our state will help the recruitment, retention, and reactivation of hunters from all walks of life who may prefer to use a crossbow.”

Their bill passed with overwhelming support in the legislature – the bill passed 76-29 in the House and 51-3 in the Senate – if not from archery groups and some deer hunting groups concerned that crossbows will increase deer harvest.

The bill was sent to Rauner on July 22, which is late in the process according to Springfield insiders. He has 60 days to sign the bill before it automatically becomes law, Cross said.

Crossbow use has been steadily expanded in Illinois over the years.

Starting in 2012, any legally permitted hunter was allowed to start using crossbows from the second Monday following Thanksgiving through the end of archery season.

Prior to that, crossbow use had been restricted to persons age 62 or older or or those whose meet physical disability requirements and were issued permits.

After 2012, the law was changed again to allow anyone 18 and under to use crossbows during archery season.

(25) COMMENTS

Duck drawing moved by tornado

Tue, July 18, 2017

Due to the excessive storm damage in Delabar State Park and surrounding area last week, the Mississippi River Pool 18 Duck Blind Drawing will need to be conducted at the Big River State Forest site headquarters office on Saturday, Aug. 5.

The office is located five miles north of Delabar Park.

There will be a sign posted at the entrance of Delabar State Park informing the public of the change. 

Registration still begins at 10:00 a.m. and the drawing will begin at 2:00 p.m.

(0) COMMENTS

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