Through Dec. 18, Illinois archery deer hunters had harvested a preliminary total of 53,413 deer.
Last year’s preliminary harvest for the same period was 56,219. During most of this year’s archery season, harvest numbers have compared very favorably to prior years’ numbers.
However, archery harvest rates drop significantly once gun hunting begins, and this year’s firearm season fell on its earliest possible date. As a result, the archery season offered one weekend less than it typically does before the gun season. The state lost a few days of very significant harvest because of that, and have been running slightly behind ever since, according to an Illinois Department of Natural Resources press release.
Harvest to date consists of 49 percent does and 51 percent males (26,020 F; 27,393 M). The top five counties to date are Pike (2496), Fulton (1763), Jefferson (1232), Adams (1199), andPeoria (1039), according to Paul Shelton, manager of the forest wildlife program for DNR.
Harvest numbers in 2012 compared to (2011) were as follows, in La Salle County 841 (927), Putnam County 259 (291), Bureau County 710 (686), Marshall County 305 (336) and Lee County 402 (450).