SPRINGFIELD – Beginning Friday, hunters will have one final opportunity to participate in the 2006 deer hunting season. The Late-Winter Firearm Deer Season, open Jan. 12-14, 2007, is an antlerless-only season designed to help increase the harvest of female deer, thus helping to better manage the state’s deer population. This year marks the first year hunters will be able to utilize their unfilled permits from the 2006 firearm and/or muzzleloader-only deer hunting seasons under a new law signed by Gov. Blagojevich last summer. In order to be legally used, leftover permits must have been valid for one of the counties open for the Late-Winter Deer Season.
Counties that will be open for the Late-Winter season are: Adams, Bond, Brown, Bureau, Calhoun, Carroll, Cass, Clark, Clay, Clinton, Crawford, Cumberland, Edgar, Edwards, Effingham, Fayette, Franklin, Fulton, Greene, Hamilton, Hancock, Henderson, Henry, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Jersey, Jo Daviess, Johnson, Knox, LaSalle, Lawrence, Lee, Macoupin, Madison, Marion, Massac, McDonough, McLean, Menard, Mercer, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Peoria, Perry, Pike, Randolph, Richland, Rock Island, Saline, Sangamon, Schuyler, Scott, Shelby, St. Clair, Stephenson, Tazewell, Union, Vermilion, Wabash, Warren, Washington, Wayne, White, Whiteside, and Williamson.
Changes for the upcoming hunting season include:
• All permits will be valid only for the county for which they were originally issued, except for unfilled landowner property-only hunting firearm deer permits, which will be valid only for the farmlands the person to whom the permit was issued owns, leases, or rents within the open counties/portions of counties. The change will apply to both resident and non-resident permits.
• Unfilled firearm or muzzleloader deer permits that were originally issued for Special Hunt Areas (public land sites for which permits are specifically issued during the firearm and/or muzzleloader season) are not valid during the Late-Winter Deer Season. These sites often have multiple hunts, and allowing the use of unfilled permits on them could lead to overcrowding.
• During the Late-Winter Season, hunters using unfilled muzzleloader deer permits may only hunt with muzzleloading rifles. Hunters using unfilled firearm deer permits, or Late-Winter Season permits, may use all firearms allowed during the Late-Winter Season (shotguns, muzzleloaders, handguns).
• Under the law, the only deer legal to harvest during the Late-Winter Season are antlerless deer (i.e., no antlers, or antlers less than 3 inches in length), so persons using an unfilled firearm or muzzleloader deer permit valid for the previous firearm or muzzleloader deer season (including landowner permits) may only harvest antlerless deer even when using an either-sex permit. One antlerless deer may be harvested per legally authorized permit.