Deer hunters in the Sauk Valley took 95 fewer deer during the first weekend of the rifle season than it did last year.
It was the second straight year of decline.
The numbers were down in all four counties: Lee had 314, down from 316; Whiteside had 335, down from 348; Ogle had 356, down from 394; and Carroll had 331, down from 373.
The 2022 hunt so far is 1,336. That’s down from the first weekend harvest of 1,431 in 2021 and the harvest of 1,558 in 2020.
But statewide, the deer harvest was up. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources said the preliminary figures showed a harvest of 52,354 from Nov. 18-20. In 2021, hunters took 48,964 deer.
The state’s deer season for firearms will conclude Dec. 4. However, muzzleloading hunters will be out Dec. 9-11 and the archery season lasts until Jan. 15. There is also a late-season hunt for antlerless deer and those with chronic wasting disease that will take place Dec. 29-Jan. 1 and Jan. 13-15 in select counties.
A table of preliminary Illinois firearm deer harvest totals by county for the first weekend of the 2022 season, and comparable totals for 2020 and 2021, can be found below.