ILLINOIS

Deer Forecast 2004 -- MIDWEST

Outdoor Life Online Editor

Hunters in Illinois bagged 104,000 deer during last year's firearms season alone, and Department of Natural Resources (DNR) deer biologist Paul Shelton considers 2003 to have been a very good season overall. For 2004, additional hunting opportunities include a firearms deer season in the western third of suburban Chicago's Kane County and 15,000 nonresident archery tags, up from 12,800. Shelton notes a "slight upward creep in the deer population the last couple of years," toward 800,000 deer statewide. Trophy-buck aficionados usually do very well in the triangle formed by Adams, Brown and Pike counties in west-central Illinois. Central counties like Fulton, Knox and Peoria make big contributions to state record books, too.