If you got a deer this year, you’re ahead of many of the folks out hunting Bambi through the woods.
Lousy weather and other factors brought the number of deer taken in the 2013 firearm deer season down almost 25%.
Firearm deer hunters in Illinois took a preliminary total of 74,191 deer during the seven-day firearm deer season on Nov. 22-24 and Dec. 5-8, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) announced today. This year’s preliminary firearm season harvest total compares with the 99,546 deer taken during the 2012 firearm season.
The preliminary second-season (Dec. 5-8) harvest total was 18,483, compared with the 27,213 deer taken by hunters during the second segment of the season last year. This year’s preliminary first-season (Nov. 22-24) deer harvest was 55,708, compared with a first-season harvest of 72,111 in 2012. The preliminary harvest totals include deer taken in all counties in which firearm deer hunting is permitted, as well as at Chain O’Lakes State Park in Lake County.
During the second segment of the firearm season (Dec. 5-8), opening day saw falling temperatures and gusty winds throughout the state, and southern Illinois saw rain/freezing rain turning to snow that continued through Friday with substantial accumulations. Frigid temperatures persisted Friday and Saturday, with single-digit lows throughout the state on Saturday and highs that reached 20 degrees only in the south. Temperatures increased slightly on Sunday, with snow falling through much of the day in northern Illinois. Windy conditions prevailed throughout much of the season.
“Clearly this year’s preliminary firearm harvest numbers are below previous seasons, and while bad weather conditions throughout the state played a role, it cannot be the only factor. Once all deer seasons are complete, our biologists will evaluate deer management goals on a county by county basis to achieve stability in our deer herd,” said IDNR Director Marc Miller.