West Central Illinois will be full of hunters from around the globe this weekend as firearm season opens today. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources says it is the most popular and busiest hunting season in the state and for some rural Illinois counties, it’s one of the most economically busy times of the year.
The five-year average deer harvest during the firearm hunting season was 80,811, according to the IDNR. IDNR also reminds hunters that they need to report their deer harvest by 10 p.m. on the day the deer was killed. Hunters can either use the IDNR website or call 1-866-IL-CHECK. IDNR suggests that hunters wait until the deer is properly tagged and pulled from the woods before calling to report the kill. The most common reason hunters are not able to complete their report on a cell phone is because of a bad cell connection.
Hours for hunting go from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset. Drivers in rural areas are reminded to pay careful attention during these times, as they will be presented with the heaviest amount of deer movement across roads and highways. Last year, Pike County was the number one county for harvested deer with over 4400 during all seasons. Adams and Fulton County came in second and third respectively with just over 3900 during harvests last year. Greene and Macoupin counties ranked within the top 10% of counties last year.