SPRINGFIELD, IL- The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) expects nearly 200,000 hunters in the field this weekend as the 2006 firearm deer season opens across Illinois. Over 335,000 permits have been issued for this year’s season, which is a slight increase over last year.
“Illinois enjoys a nationwide reputation for having an outstanding, quality deer herd,” said Acting IDNR Director Sam Flood. “The seven-day firearm season is our most popular hunting season and we’re looking forward to another good year when hunters take to the field this weekend.”
Last season, hunters in Illinois harvested a preliminary total of 114,209 deer during the seven-day firearm deer-hunting season. The preliminary harvest total compared with the record-setting harvest total of 116,675 deer taken during the 2004 firearm season.
Hunters should enjoy decent weather conditions to start the season.
“The good news is that it looks like the wet weather will be over before Friday with some cloudiness remaining over the weekend,” said State Climatologist Jim Angel with the Illinois State Water Survey, a division of IDNR. “High temperatures will range from the low 40s in Northern Illinois, mid 40s in Central Illinois, and near 50 in Southern Illinois. Low temperatures will be in the upper 20s for Northern and Central Illinois, and around 32 in Southern Illinois. These temperatures are fairly close to normal for this time of year.”
The first year hunters in most counties registered the deer they harvested by going online (www.dnr.state.il.us/vcheck) or by phoning 1-866-ILCHECK (1-866-452-4325) was 2005. Hunters in seven northern Illinois counties (Boone, Dekalb, Kane, McHenry, Ogle, Stephenson, and Winnebago) where IDNR is conducting chronic wasting disease
(CWD) testing are required to take deer they harvest to a county deer check station. Kane County hunters will check their deer in nearby DeKalb County.
Check station locations for the CWD Deer Season:
• Boone County - Boone County Fairgrounds, Rt. 76 and Business Rt. 20, Belvidere.
• DeKalb County - Shabbona Lake State Park, 4201 Shabbona Grove Rd., Shabbona
• McHenry County - Sportsman’s Choice, intersection of Routes 14 and 47, Woodstock.
• Winnebago County - Rockford Speedway, Hwy 173 at Forest Hills Rd.
• Ogle County - Castle Rock State Park, Rt. 2, 3 miles S. of Oregon
• Stephenson County - County Fairgrounds, Rt. 26 and Fairgrounds Rd., Freeport
While not thought to be contagious to humans or livestock, CWD is known to spread from animal to animal among deer and elk. The disease affects the brain of the infected animal, causing it to become emaciated, display abnormal behavior, lose coordination and eventually die.
Illinois expanded its chronic wasting disease surveillance effort in 2002 following the discovery of CWD in neighboring Wisconsin. For updated information about CWD, check the IDNR web site at: http://dnr.state.il.us/cwd/index.htm. Hunters who participated in the CWD sampling can check the status of their deer at this site. Hunters who provided samples from deer that test positive are notified by the IDNR.
A county-by-county breakdown of last years state wide firearm deer harvest is below:
ROCK ISLAND 953
ST CLAIR 1176