HomeOutdoorsNewsIllinois Hunters Harvest Staggering 52,000 Deer in First Weekend of Firearm Hunting

Illinois Hunters Harvest Staggering 52,000 Deer in First Weekend of Firearm Hunting

by Lauren Boisvert
(Photo by Wayne Lsn/Getty Images)

Hunters in Illinois harvested a huge number of deer in just the first weekend of the firearm hunting season this year. The first weekend of the season starts on Nov. 18 and goes until Nov. 20, and local hunters bagged a preliminary total of 52,354 deer. In 2021, hunters took 48,964 deer that same season.

The firearm deer season will end from Dec. 1 to Dec. 4, concluding the seven-day season. Though, that doesn’t mean deer season is completely over in Illinois. There are additional opportunities to bag a deer if you live in the area.

Dec. 9 to 11 is muzzle-loader-only deer season, while Dec. 29 to Jan. 1 and Jan. 13 through 15 are late-winter antler-less-only and Chronic Wasting Disease deer seasons. Archery hunting continues through Jan. 15, but is closed during the Sec. 1-4 firearm season. Courtesy of WGN9 out of Chicago, there is also a preliminary chart of the number of harvested deer by county. Additionally, the chart contains numbers for 2022, 2021, and 2020.

Meanwhile, Colorado Officials Are Investigating 8 Cases of Deer and Elk Poaching

At least 8 deer and elk have been killed and left to rot in Colorado from Oct. 30 to Nov. 15, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials are investigating the string of poachings.

There were three cases of dead mule deer, two cases of dead bull elk, and another dead bull elk alongside two dead cow elk. The incidents occurred in Dry Creek Basin, at the Dan Noble State Wildlife Area, and in the Callan Draw area, respectively.

“In any activity that people enjoy, most of the time things go well and the participants behave in the appropriate legal, moral and ethical manner,” said CPW District Wildlife Manager Mark Caddy in a statement. “Sometimes, however, there are one or two people who show up and act in a manner that no one inside or outside of the activity can condone. Evidently, these types of individuals showed up in GMU 70 [an elk hunting area in Colorado] during the recent hunting seasons.” 

Caddy said that after investigating the scenes, in all 8 cases there were no reasons that any ethical hunter would leave these kills behind. All wounds were instantly fatal, and in the case of the female elk, it looked like the poachers were coming back to harvest the carcasses. But, they stopped halfway through and left their equipment.

Local hunters in the areas alerted CPW to the dead animals, and in most cases, the carcasses were very near a main road. These cases are confusing, and CPW is looking for help wherever they can find it. Anyone in the area with information should call Colorado’s Operation Game Thief tip line. Additionally, the phone number can be used anytime acts of poaching are committed, not just in these cases. Operation Game Thief is available in 48 states, each with its own unique phone number.