Hunters ready for gun season

Springfield — Shotgunners are hoping to catch some of the same magic bowhunters have found when the three-day firearms season opens Nov. 16.

The second firearms season will be held Nov. 29-Dec. 2.

Deer hunting has been good so far in 2012, evident by the quick start archery hunters have gotten off to. Archers had taken 30,956 deer through Nov. 4. That’s above the harvest for the same period in 2011 (28,198) and more than 1,500 deer ahead of the five-year average of 29,381.

As DNR noted in its regular weekly update on the deer harvest, the male to female ratio gap is closing. As of Nov. 4, hunters had taken 56 percent does and 44 percent bucks.

The top five harvesting counties were Pike (1,309), Fulton (998), Jefferson (685), Peoria (671) and Adams (656).

With crops almost entirely out and mostly favorable weather conditions, gun hunters are expected to have a big year. Last year’s total firearms harvest was 97,760 deer, a slight drop from the 98,944 deer killed during the two gun seasons in 2010 and the 99,755 killed in 2009. The three years prior saw a decrease from 114,722 deer in 2006 to 106,018 in 2008.

Hunters killed 66,501 deer during the first firearms weekend last year. They took 31,259 during the second gun season.

Usually, more than 90 percent of the corn is out of the field by the time gun season rolls around. This year that percentage is higher.

The last time there was a lot of corn in the field – only 60 percent had been harvested in 2009 – the kill dropped off by more than 6,000 deer from the year before.

DNR has noted a reduction in the state’s deer herd, but is still expecting a good season.

Muzzleloader-only season is set for Dec. 7-9.

“I’m not looking for a record harvest, but I think in the range of what we’ve seen in the last few years,” Deer Program Manager Tom Micetich said. 

Categories: Hunting News, Social Media, Whitetail Deer

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