Deer hunting season: As the Cubs say, there's always next year
As the 2013 Illinois deer season wraps up, I can say with a fair amount of certainty, that this season, at least in southern Illinois, was, well, ho-hum at best. Illinois deer hunters opened the season in a full forced frenzy but most were left with more questions than an actual harvest.
My season summary is not very summarized and goes something like this:
1) In early summer of 2013 I purchased a new bow. I also switched from aluminum to carbon arrows. I immediately began target shooting with my new bow as to be proficient for the fall archery season. Soon after, I switched from fixed blade broadheads to mechanical, expandable broadheads. I have never had the opportunity to use mechanical broadheads or carbon arrows on a successful archery hunt before this season and as of this posting, I still have not.
2) In October, I had the fortunate chance to take 13 year old Luke Zelasko on his, and my, first firearm youth deer hunt. Deer movement was very light but steady for our weekend adventure and although Luke was able to get a shot on a mature doe, we were unsuccessful.
3) Mid November had me in full rut mode. I had taken a week of vacation during what I believed to be the peak rut. Bowhunting from sunrise to sunset was the plan. Mother Nature, however, had different ideas and blew me out of the stand for 2 days as tornadoes and thunderstorms ripped through Illinois in rare November fashion.
4) The first firearm deer season came and went without a “bang”, literally. Weather conditions were once again on the poor side but yet I managed a tree stand perch the entire weekend only to be left wondering what a deer actually looked like. The only deer I had seen the entire weekend was a tagged doe in the back of my hunting companion’s pickup truck on Saturday afternoon.
5) Second firearm deer season again finds poor weather and falling temperatures. It too, came and….went.
6) Late winter antlerless season came….and went.
7) Second late winter antlerless season and the end of archery season is approaching but will also… go. I have lost interest in deer hunting for the year. I will sit this one out as Illinois deer season closes its door and leaves me with unfilled tags.
In a nutshell, my deer hunting season sounds very familiar to a lot of my fellow southern Illinois hunters. Those hunters lucky enough to find success, found it in a big way. Several hunters report bagging trophy whitetails in the 150 inch range and some even topping the charts with 160 and 170 inchers and a few even larger than that. Overall, deer hunters in the State experienced a bust with the 2013-2014 season.
Although final numbers from the DNR have not been tabulated, early indications predict that overall harvest numbers are well below harvest numbers of years past.
So as I close out this season with this blog, I’m reminded of the most used phrase in sports; “There is always next year”. As for me and my fellow southern Illinois deer hunters, you can bet we are already looking forward to next season!