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Low deer population results in fewer late season "open" counties

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It appears that the reduction in the whitetail deer herd has resulted in the reduction of open counties for the late season. The only open county in our east central Illinois area is Shelby according to the DNR map provided on their website. It’s obvious that the deer numbers are down in most of our areas and the recent outbreaks of diseases associated with whitetail deer are also of concern. Just when we seemed to be making some progress in the rebuilding of the herd this is a setback.

The late winter season is “antlerless-only” and that may seem a bit backwards. Since the antlerless (does) are the ones that reproduce it would seem more practical to take a young buck during the late season if in need of winter meat. They certainly aren’t going to increase the herd size. One buck can service many does with ease. But that’s not for me to decide; the law prevails. Actually, I’ve read some on the diseased areas but have not heard of any confirmed cases of diseased deer here in east central Illinois. Some northern counties and some counties in the far south were afflicted.

All is not gloom in our hunting world however. The actual numbers for the 2018/19 seven day seasons were pretty consistent with the past, indicating that our herd is not too bad or the hunters have become more proficient. The preliminary harvest total for the regular seven-day seasons was 80,896. This compares to the final total in 2017 of 80,117. Coles County hunters harvested 657 this year compared to 594 last year. Cumberland tied their previous total with 776. Shelby had a total of 1131 compared to 1069 in 2017.

The total numbers for the entirety of the seasons will probably be consistent with those of the past few years based on these trends. The archery season continues thru Jan. 20, 2019 so there’s still lots of time to put some meat in the freezer or a trophy on the wall.

I’ve been hearing lots of reports of nice crappie catches at our local lakes all thru this fall/winter yucky weather. I saw several boats bound for the lake just this morning. Get out your bow or your fishing pole and get into the action.

It’s Faith, Family and Fishin.


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