Solid muzzleloader season boosts deer-hunting harvest numbers in Illinois

Bear and deer hunting regulations could become more lax in West Virginia, where antlerless-deer regs would become more liberal in 18 counties or parts of counties.

Muzzleloading fans were able to make up a little ground in what has been a disappointing deer season for Illinois gun hunters.

According to DNR’s figures, the Dec.9-11 muzzleloader season produced a harvest of 3,297 deer, up significantly from last year’s total of 2,403. This year’s effort is considered a bounceback, pulling numbers closer to the 2014 harvest of 3,475 and the 2013 harvest of 3,536.

In wake of a sluggish shotgun season – Illinois hunters harvested about 8.5 percent fewer deer compared to 2015 – some say the spike was not a surprise.

Shotgun hunters harvested 79,429 deer during the seven-day season, a decline from the 2015 harvest of 86,847. This year’s total is still above the 2014 harvest (74,575) and the 2013 harvest ( 74,318).

A total of 54,452 were taken during the first weekend (Nov. 18-20) and 24,977 were taken during the second weekend (Dec. 1-4).

Adams County had the top firearms harvest this year at 2,358. 

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