Review of deer season surprises few

Springfield — All in all, there are no surprises to be found in DNR’s annual deer season review – except perhaps for the fact the state sold fewer permits for the 2013-14 campaign.

According to the review, DNR’s permit office issued 618,575 deer permits for all seasons last year, including both lottery-issued permits and over-the-counter permits. This number represents a decrease of about 2.5 percent from the 634,166 permits issued for 2012-13. The youth deer hunt was the only season that saw an increase, as permit sales for that three-day hunt jumped by 10.9 percent.

As for the harvests, they’ve been well-documented. And the DNR review did not vary from the original overall harvest of 148,614.

Broken down by season, here is what the 2013-14 deer season looked like:

Firearms

According to DNR, conditions were “less than ideal, with below average temperatures during both seasons.” Opening day of the first season saw rain or snow over parts of the state, with high winds the first two days. The second season also began with high winds on the first two days, followed by temperatures plummeting into the single digits.

Parts of southern Illinois received up to 14 inches of snow and ice during the early part of the second season.

The corn harvest was virtually complete (98 percent), except for a few locations in northern Illinois, DNR noted.

The deer harvest came in at 74,318. The sex ratio was 55.8 percent male and 44.2 percent female. The top five counties were: Pike (2,270), Jackson (1,932) Fulton (1,894), Jo Daviess (1,887), Randolph (1,787).

Archery

The season was open 111 days (104 days in counties open to firearms deer hunting) with all 102 counties open.

Non-resident combination permits were limited to a quota of 25,000 and issued via lottery, with any remaining permits available over-the-counter.

The archery harvest was 57,364 The sex ration was a perfect 50 percent male, 50 percent female. The top five counties were: Pike (2,508), Fulton (1,614), Jefferson (1,427), Adams (1,210), Jo Daviess (1,060).

Muzzleloader

Hunters with muzzleloader permits were also allowed to hunt with a muzzleloader during the second firearms season. Those with landowner permits (for their own property only) valid during the firearms deer season were allowed to use those unfilled permits during the muzzleloader season, as long as they used a muzzleloading rifle.

The harvest was 3,536. The sex ratio was 45.3 percent male and 54.7 percent. The top five counties were: Pike (189), JoDaviess (100), Union (95), Jackson (88), Fulton (86).

Late winter

The seven-day late winter season was open in 55 counties. Hunters with unfilled permits for the firearms, muzzleloader, or youth deer seasons were allowed to hunt the late winter season to harvest antlerless deer, as long as the permit was issued for an open county. Persons with an unfilled muzzleloader permit had to use a muzzleloading rifle.

The harvest was 8,920. The sex ratios were 21.2 percent male and 78.8 percent female. The top five counties were: Pike (513), Jefferson (458), Randolph (422), Fulton (405), Perry (370).

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