Preliminary totals compiled by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources show that fewer deer were killed during the 2016-17 season than the previous season.
According to IDNR statistics, Illinois hunters harvested 144,150 deer during all 2016-17 seasons. That’s a 7.1 percent decrease from the 2015-16 preliminary total of 155,229.
During this year’s seasons, which concluded Jan. 15, hunters took 44 percent does and 56 percent males.
Hunters in Randolph County killed the most deer among area counties with 3,511 taken this season. That’s a 1.1 percent increase from the county’s 2015-16 total of 3,470. The only other area county to see an increase in its deer harvest was Monroe County, which had a 3.2 percent increase with 1,418 deer taken this season.
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Here’s a look at how other metro-east counties fared during this season’s deer harvest: Madison County (1,456, down from 1,717 in 2015-16), St. Clair County (1,236, down from 1,406), Clinton County (963, down from 988), Washington County (1,486, down from 1,526) and Bond County (941, down from 1,053).
A breakdown of Illinois deer hunting seasons
▪ Archery: Archery deer hunters in Illinois took a preliminary total of 53,479 deer from Oct. 1, 2016 through Jan. 15, 2017. That compares with the harvest of 56,767 during the 2015-16 archery season.
▪ Youth: Young deer hunters harvested 3,259 deer during the youth season held from Oct. 8-10, 2016, compared with 2,850 deer harvested during the 2015 youth hunt.
▪ Traditional Firearm Season: Hunters took a preliminary total of 79,429 deer during the firearm season, which was Nov. 18-20 and Dec. 1-4, 2016, compared with 86,847 deer taken during the 2015 firearm season.
▪ Muzzleloader: Hunters using muzzleloading rifles harvested 3,297 deer during the muzzleloader-only season Dec. 9-11, 2016, compared with 2,403 in 2015
▪ Late-Winter Seasons: The 2016-17 late-winter antlerless only and special CWD deer seasons concluded Jan. 15, with a combined preliminary harvest total for both seasons of 4,686 deer, compared with a harvest of 6,362 deer taken during those seasons in 2015-16. Season dates for the Late-Winter and CWD seasons were Dec. 29, 2016-Jan. 1, 2017 and Jan. 13-15, 2017.
There were 14 northern Illinois counties open to the special CWD Season in 2016-17, the same counties that were open for the 2015-16 seasons. The CWD season is used to assist in slowing the spread of chronic wasting disease in the Illinois deer herd.
There were 24 counties, including Madison and Monroe, open for the late-winter antlerless season this season. Four counties open previously for the late-winter season were closed for 2016-17 because they had reached deer population goals, while one county was added to the late-winter hunt. Counties that are at or below their individual goal for two consecutive years may be removed from the late-winter season.