Springfield – The magic number for those watching the state’s
annual deer harvest: 198,544.
That’s how many bucks and does were take during the six seasons
that began with archery on Oct. 1 and ended with the late-winter
antlerless season on Jan. 20.
The total of 198,544 is slightly more than the 197,287 deer
harvested during the 2006-07 season. It is about 4,000 fewer than
the 202,492 harvested during the record season of 2005-06.
DNR entered the 2007-08 season hoping for a record harvest.
Unclear is if an outbreak of Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease in
the southern part of the state played any part in the final harvest
“Every year before the season starts people ask what kind of
harvest we expect and we always say ‘right around 200,000′ and so
far we’ve been right,” Paul Shelton, deer herd manager for the DNR,
A record 378,000 permits were issued for the firearms season
alone, yet the harvest increased by fewer than 1,500.
The two firearms seasons accounted for 116,708 of the deer
harvested, up slightly from last year’s 115, 279.
A slow start to the archery season – at one point the harvest
was behind last year’s by more than 4 percent – was evened out by a
fast and furious finish.
Still, archers took fewer deer this year. The season, which
ended Jan. 17, resulted in a harvest of 64,217. Bowhunters took
65,120 during the 2006-07 season.
DNR officials said that nearly 51 percent of the deer taken
during archery season were bucks.
The Youth Hunt in early October resulted in a harvest of 897
deer, compared to last year’s total of 1,099.
The number of permits for the 2007 Youth Hunt was up
dramatically to 5,206 over the 2006 total of 3,654.
Warm weather greeted the under-16 deer hunters, as temperatures
reached 80 degrees in some parts of the state.
Pike was the top county, with 39 deer taken by youth hunters.
Jefferson (34), Fulton (33), Marion (31) and Macoupin (27) rounded
out the top five.
For the first time, youth hunters were allowed to take antlered
deer, and 46 percent of the deer taken by the youngsters were
Muzzleloader hunters battled snow and ice in early December to
harvest 4,333 deer, a decline from last year’s total of 5,943.
The top counties were Pike (199), JoDaviess (141), Fulton (115),
Hancock (110), and LaSalle (107).
And finally, 11,506 deer were taken during the late winter
season and the 883 taken during the special Chronic Wasting Disease
All in all, it was an average deer season in Illinois.
“We had some poor weather during the second half of the firearm
season, but all things considered we came out pretty well,” he