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Illinois DNR Suspends Late Deer Hunting Season

Wikimedia Commons
Environmental Protection Agency

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is dropping the late winter antlerless-only deer season in 20 counties, including Adams and Hancock.

The season would normally run from late December through early January. It’s primarily for population control.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources reviews the number of deer-vehicle accidents in each county to determine if the season is needed.

DNR spokesman Chris Young said there have been fewer of those accidents in the 20 counties over the last two years.

“We’ve found this is a very accurate way to judging the number of deer, and it ties in very well with our hunter harvest numbers so we know that it’s accurate. So it’s become a very good index for us to use.”

Credit Screen Cap / Illinois Department of Natural Resources
Illinois Department of Natural Resources
Late-Winter Deer Hunting Season Map

The target deer-vehicle accident rate in Adams County is 503 accidents per billion miles traveled. It was 442 accidents in 2012 and 445 in the year 2013.

The target rate in Hancock County has been 733 in 2012, 713 in 2013 and 736 in 2014.

"When counties have reached that goal or been below it for more than two years," Young said. "Then they are usually removed from that late winter season to give the deer numbers a chance to come back up because we have a level that we are trying to maintain.”

According to the DNR, there will also be 11,300 fewer deer hunting permits issued this year. That’s about 4% fewer than last year.

Emily Boyer is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.