SPRINGFIELD, IL – Hunters are prohibited from harvesting antlerless deer during the first 15 days of the Illinois Archery Deer Season in five east-central Illinois counties as part of an effort to grow the deer herd in the region, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) announced today. Antlerless deer are defined as deer without antlers or deer having antlers less than three inches long.
The regulation being implemented for the 2018-19 archery deer season establishes a Restricted Archery Zone consisting of Champaign, Douglas, Macon, Moultrie and Piatt counties. Hunters in those counties may only take antlered deer from October 1 through October 15. Antlered deer are deer that have at least one antler that is three or more inches in length.
The IDNR established the Restricted Archery Zone through an amendment to the Illinois archery deer hunting regulations (17 Illinois Administrative Code 670) that was approved this week by the Illinois General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR):
“The Illinois Restricted Archery Zone shall consist of Champaign, Douglas, Macon, Moultrie and Piatt counties. During the period October 1 – October 15, only antlered deer may be harvested in the Restricted Archery Zone, regardless of permits in possession. An antlered deer is defined as a deer having at least one antler of a length of 3 or more inches.”
Deer population levels in the five east-central Illinois counties are below currently-adopted county goals in the region. Similar harvest restrictions for archery deer hunters during the late 1990s and early 2000s were effective in boosting the size of the deer herd in east-central Illinois.
In addition to the Restricted Archery Zone requirements, public land hunters in Piatt County should note that the IDNR Piatt County Unit of Weldon Springs State Park will be closed to all archery deer hunting from October 1-15. The site has a regulation requiring the taking of antlerless deer prior to the taking of antlered deer. As a result, the Weldon Springs Piatt County Unit will open for archery deer hunting on October 16.
The 2018-19 Illinois Archery Deer Season dates are October 1, 2018 to January 20, 2019. For more information on deer hunting in Illinois, check the IDNR website at https://www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/Pages/DeerHunting.aspx.