It’s a mixed bag for Illinois hunters.
Harvest by archery deer hunters is lagging behind last year, and epizootic hemorrhagic disease is back (though not as bad as last year).
Despite being the first one of three days, the youth deer hunt had a harvest of 2,988, down from 3,118 last year.
Hunting for ducks and Canada geese opens Saturday in the north zone. The youth waterfowl hunt in the cental zone is Saturday and Sunday.
The hope is the forecast fronts will bring fresh birds to join the resident wood ducks. The lone aerial count in northeastern Illinois showed more ducks and Canada geese than the 10-year average.
The new launches are in at Heidecke Lake, but water levels are low. Williams W. Powers State Recreation Area had a decent Sunday for the youth (14 hunters, four geese, two mallards, two coots, a blue-winged teal). As of Saturday, blind-builders there may occupy blinds at 5:10 a.m. and non-blind-builders a half-hour later.
Through Monday, Illinois archery deer hunters had a harvest of 8,619, compared with 11,154 at the same time last year. As of Sept. 30, 403 deer deaths from EHD had been reported from 51 counties, compared with 2,043 EHD deaths from 76 counties at the same time last year.