SPRINGFIELD - Deer hunters bagged 85,490 white-tails during last weekend's opening of the Illinois firearm season, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources announced Tuesday.
The total is nearly identical to the 85,452 taken during the first weekend of the 2006 deer firearm season when harvest got off to a record pace. Last year's season was slowed, however, by cold weather during the second half. The final 2006 tally with shotguns was 115,379 compared to the record 124,560 in 2005.
Last weekend, the top five counties were Pike (2,610), Adams (2,140), JoDaviess (2,055), Fulton (2,003), and Jefferson (1,997).
Totals in counties in the Pantagraph area were Champaign (272), DeWitt (320), Ford (123), LaSalle (1,127), Livingston (498), Logan (401), McLean (541), Peoria (1,317), Tazewell (625), and Woodford (837).
"With great weather throughout Illinois and a dedicated group of hunters, it appears the first season in 2007 was a success," said IDNR acting director Sam Flood.
Paul Shelton, IDNR forest wildlife program manager, agreed.
"Excellent weather conditions and the fact that virtually all the corn crop has been harvested were positive factors for hunting opportunity," he said.
The second half of the 2007 firearm season is from Nov. 29 to Dec. 2.