Illinois’ deer population is down by almost 100,000, thanks to the just-concluded firearm season. Paul Shelton, forest wildlife program manager for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, says the preliminary total of deer harvested is 97,760. That compares to 98,944 last year, and Shelton says he expected it to be in the neighborhood of 100,000.
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Shelton says rainy weather during part of the first weekend held down the hunt, but there were enough good days for a good season. The seven days of firearm deer season are two long weekends with a 10-day break (including Thanksgiving) separating them. Counting all of the other deer seasons, Shelton estimates the overall total will be as much as 190,000. Archery season continues through Jan. 15, and the muzzleloader season is Friday through Sunday (Dec. 9-11).