Deer harvest in Illinois and Iowa expected to be average for 2017

white tailed deer photo from fws.gov

With the firearm deer hunting season right around the corner and archery hunting underway in both states already, biologists in Illinois and Iowa are predicting a business-as-usual deer harvest this season.

State officials estimate Illinois hunters will harvest about 150,000 deer this fall and winter.

Paul Shelton of the Illinois  Department of Natural Resources’ Forest Wildlife Program said that over the past four years hunters have harvested 144,000 to 155,000 deer annually.

Shelton says over the long term there’s usually not “a lot of change between individual years.”

Epizootic hemorrhagic disease still plagues some areas in the east central part of the state. But Shelton says there were few reports of the disease until archery hunters took the field this fall. He says overall the health of the herd looks good.

DNR observers say southern and west-central Illinois counties are likely to be your best bets for bagging trophy deer.

In Iowa, biologists are calling for similar harvest numbers to 2016, which was just over 101,000 deer. Hunting hot spots in the state are expected to be in the northeast and south-central parts of the state.

Illinois hunting season dates and bag limits can be found here.

Iowa hunting season dates and bag limits can be found here.