Saturday, December 9th, 2023

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

Saturday, December 9th, 2023

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

Ralph Loos

How much will use of rifles during Illinois’ deer season impact participation, harvest?

How use of single-shot rifles will affect harvest during this year’s Illinois firearms deer season remains the big unknown, as does how it impacted harvest numbers during the October statewide youth hunt.
A month later, DNR has yet to report on the youth harvest. This was the first year rifles were allowed. The regular firearms season, which runs Nov. 17-19, also will allow rifles, the result of a new state law that went into effect Jan. 1. 

The debate rages on among Illinois hunters: get the lead out, or not?

A front page article in the Oct. 20 issue of Illinois Outdoor News shared a finding that surprised many hunters around the state and perplexed at least a few biologists who have helped manage the state’s wildlife.
The result: my email box runneth over. If you missed it, the story reported on an Illinois Natural History Survey study regarding dove hunters’ beliefs about lead versus non-lead ammunition. Basically, surveys returned to INHS revealed that 81% of Illinois dove hunters were opposed to a ban on lead shot.

Bass weighing 8 pounds signifies Lake Sara strategy in Illinois’ Effingham County

A largemouth bass that weighed a tad under 8 pounds was pulled out of Lake Sara in 2022, basically backing DNR’s strategy in 2017 to implement a protected slot limit on bass.
The 8-pounder, which was caught during one of the 52 tournaments held on Sara last year, was not the only large bass weighed in. There was one that weighed 7.2 pounds, and another that came in just under 7 pounds (6.9 pounds). There were a handful of bass caught that topped 6 pounds.

Illinois firearms hunters took more bucks last year – and took ’em early

Six out of 10 deer taken during last year’s shotgun season were bucks, according to DNR’s published report on the 2022-23 harvest.
The exact harvest ratio of 59.2% males to 40.8% females was not exactly breaking news – Illinois shotgun hunters have harvested 55% to 60% bucks over the past decade or so. The deer harvest report, authored by Deer Program Manager Peter Schlichting, also confirms another ongoing trend among Illinois firearms hunters: a serious reluctancy to waste time.

Largemouth bass consume carp in Illinois River, but hopes they could reduce invasive carp are doubtful

There is new evidence that largemouth bass regularly dine on silver carp in the Illinois River, a finding that could potentially help manage invasive fish.
Potentially being the key word here. There are plenty of caveats: bass in the La Grange Pool of the river appear to be rather picky about portion size – they prefer silver carp that are roughly 40% to 45% their own size. Also, there are plenty of other food options in the river that largemouths prefer. In summary, scientists investigating the possibility of “carp cleaning bass” are mostly doubtful.

CWD deer cases skyrocketed in Illinois this past year, partly due to more testing

A dramatic spike in CWD-positive deer discovered in Illinois this past year could be enough to trigger bells and whistles . . . and maybe even alarms.
But so far, loud noises have been held at bay by the uncertainty of what caused the spike. What is known is that between July 1, 2022, and June 30, 2023, a total of 369 deer with the disease were identified in 18 counties. That was up from 218 positive cases the year before. The 69% bump in positive deer represents the largest year-over-year increase since DNR began monitoring the deer herd for CWD 20 years ago.

Need deer season theme song? Try ‘The Sound of Silence’

We spend a lot of time and effort worrying about the smell of our boots, the color of our Carharts, the reflection of the rising sun and whether or not the buck we’ve been scouting for two years was just scared off because we passed gas while sitting down on a plywood bench 10 feet above the ground.
The buck probably didn’t smell that thing we did. But he probably heard it.

Illinois’ youth deer hunters, archers reporting plenty of activity

Numbers from the first three weeks of archery season and the early October youth deer hunt have not been made available by DNR, but reports from hunters up and down the state indicate a solid start.
An uptick in the use of crossbows during the Oct. 7-9 youth hunt was noted. This year also was the first time the youth hunt allowed use of single-shot rifles. Some believe crossbow and rifles will put more hunters in treestands this season and boost the overall deer harvest. Last year’s harvest of 157,854 was up from the 146,438 taken in 2021-2022. 

‘Tis the season: Be safe – and leave the drone at home this Illinois hunting season

I had to chuckle – chuckle, not laugh – and raise an eyebrow at a line written by Richard Perry over in the Letters to the Editor section.
Perry, of Brownstown, spilled a lot of ink questioning the state’s requirement of single-shots for the relatively new and overly confusing rifle deer hunting opportunity in Illinois. In summing up some of his points, particularly on hunter safety, Perry points out, “Fact is, falling out of treestands and heart attacks are far more dangerous to a deer hunter than the danger of being shot by another hunter.”

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