Illinois hunters bagged 180,811 whitetails last fall, continuing an ongoing downward harvest trend in the Land of Lincoln since 2007. Last summer, epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) killed whitetails throughout Illinois. Officials estimate over 3,000 deer in 87 counties succumbed to the disease.

Nonetheless, about 700,000 whitetails still call Illinois home, so hunters should have plenty of opportunity to fill their freezers in 2013.

“There are some West-Central and Southern counties that still have too many deer,” said Tom Micetich, deer project manager for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

Regulation Changes
There are no major regulation changes in Illinois this fall. Hunters in the 10 counties where chronic wasting disease has been discovered must take their harvest deer to a designed deer check station during the firearm seasons by 8 p.m. of the day the deer was killed. And all hunters must report their harvest by calling 800-IL-CHECK or online. Non-resident hunters need to be aware of the state’s restriction of using a shotgun not capable of firing more than three consecutive slugs.

Public Land
Numerous public hunting areas can be found throughout the state, with Regions 4 and 5 alone offering nearly 200,000 acres. Illinois’ Purple Paint Law continues to give landowners and lessees the option of marking their property with a series of purple paint markers on trees and posts. If you’re a public land hunter and you see these marks, you’ve probably wandered onto private land and can be prosecuted for trespassing.