Firearm season: Deer harvest numbers down in area counties

Prior to last week’s shotgun season, deer hunters in the Illinois Valley said cold weather in early November triggered the rut early. That, they said, resulted in successes for archers who braved the cold weather — but they predicted hunters would have a tougher time during the firearm season Nov. 22-24.

The hunters’ worries came true.

According to Illinois Department of Natural Resources, hunters in Illinois harvested a preliminary total of 50,173 deer during the first weekend of the Illinois Firearm Deer Season. Hunters took 58,836 deer during the first firearm weekend in 2018. Illinois’ seven-day Firearm Deer Season will conclude Dec. 5-8.

In Bureau County, hunters shot 622 deer last weekend, 127 fewer than in the first shotgun season last year.

In La Salle County, the total stood at 469 — 86 fewer than last year.

More totals: Lee County 311 (380 in 2018), Marshall County 402 (460 in 2018) and Putnam County 250 (254 in 2018).