Illinois Deer:  An estimated population of 650,000 deer in 2016 based on hunting data.  About 670,000 deer in 2015, 650,000 in 2014, and 645,000 in 2013 estimated using hunting data.  The 2016-17 preliminary deer hunt numbers fell by 7.1 percent. Updated hunt numbers.   Herd analysis at right.   Historical Illinois deer hunting data and news archive.
Illinois Deer News

Lake County, Deer management column sparks debate over county practices December 8, 2017 Chicago Tribune
...  the forest preserves contracts with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to hire sharpshooters using infrared equipment to take out deer after closing time from certain preserves at a current annual cost of $75,000... comments on Facebook ...

Hunters harvest more than 80K deer during firearm season December 7, 2017 Illinois, 13 Your News Leader
... the preliminary total for the seven-day season that ended Sunday was 80,021 deer. Last year hunters harvested 79,559 deer...

Nothing to fear during Lake County's deer management season December 5, 2017 Illinois, Chicago Tribune
... between 100 to 130 deer were culled each year in the decade leading up to 2010, when the program was expanded to more preserves and the number came in above 200 annually... a density goal of 15 to 30 deer per square mile ... In the 2014-15 season, the forest preserves reported a total of 234 deer culled ...

Deer Numbers Slightly Down November 30, 2017 Illinois, thejournal-news.net
... Hunters in Illinois harvested a preliminary total of 51,365 deer during the first weekend of the Illinois firearm deer season on Nov. 17-19. We are a little down on the numbers this year as hunters took 54,452 deer during the first firearm weekend in 2016...

Illinois conservation police cite illegal deer hunting November 25, 2017 fox2now.com
... a major focus of the Nov. 8-9 detail was on unlawful feeding of white-tailed deer and hunting in baited areas...

... Hunters took 54,452 deer during the first firearm weekend in 2016...

Deer pierced by arrow wanders Moline November 8, 2017 Illinois, Quad City Times
... a large buck has been spotted by several Moliners, wandering ravine areas with an arrow protruding from its bloody shoulder. Some say the buck was the target of a poacher, but they have no way of knowing who the archer was. It sounds better to say, "It wasn't one of the city's licensed hunters. No, ma'am." ...

... a preliminary total of 27,703 deer, compared to 22,985 for the same period in 2016... has consisted of 52% does and 48% males ...

Deer culling to continue in Kane County even as disease drops October 27, 2017 Illinois, Chicago Daily Herald
...  the state's culling found five deer with the disease, three fewer than the preceding year... state officials admitted they have not taken an accurate count of deer in county preserves for two years ...

Deer herd healthy; average harvest expected October 26, 2017 Illinois, The Southern
... “We hit our highest peak probably 13-14 years ago,” Shelton said. “About 2003-04, that was about the time of the highest statewide deer population. We implemented the current objectives in 2008... The majority of counties have either come down to goal or gone down below goal..,

New studies attempt to predict deer activity October 25, 2017 Illinois, The Herald Bulletin
... An Illinois study of pregnant road-killed does determined peak breeding occurs Nov. 8-11...  “As the photoperiod changes, testosterone increases in a buck. It’s a domino effect.”   A direct correlation exists between the eyes and the pineal gland which releases a hormone that tells the testes to produce more testosterone..,

Stage set for big firearm deer hunt October 23, 2017 Illinois, www.riverbender.com
... Though deer populations are still well short of the state's carrying capacity, other important issues like landowner tolerance must also be considered when managing whitetail numbers. White-tailed deer often cause significant damage to crops, orchards and nurseries... Biologists say the statewide deer population has remained relatively stable the past few years..,

Drivers urged to stay alert during deer-mating season October 22 2017 Illinois, Peoria Journal Star
...  41 percent of crashes in Illinois involving deer in 2016 occurred in October, November, and December ... “We see almost more deer collisions in the Chicago area than downstate because of the urban sprawl,” said Missy Dundov, a spokeswoman for State Farm Insurance Co. “The deer just have no place else to go.” ...

A CWD meeting: The few who heard about the herd, Illinois deer October 2, 2017 Illinois, Chicago Sun-Times
... CWD, an always-fatal neurological disease, first was documented in whitetail deer in Illinois in 2002 near Roscoe. In the 15 years since, it has spread across northern counties, 17 so far ..,

Moline approves deer hunt inside city limits September 26, 2017 Illinois, Quad City Times
... Liz Press said the deer cull seemed "kind of half-baked" because there was no Department of Natural Resources study saying where herds are located or how many there are. She said she had heard the city wanted to have a hunt because of deer-related traffic accidents ....

Deer Playing in the Water at Loud Thunder Lake George - August 14, 2017


Moline deer hunt? Maybe August 11, 2017 Illiinois, Quad City Times
... the deer harvest is more about protecting gardens than it is motorists, a point Interim Police Chief John Hitchcock pounded home when detailing statistically insignificant changes in deer-vehicle collissions after neighboring cities started culling herds...
     Moline aldermen approve urban deer hunting August 8, 2017 Illinois, Quad City Times
...  a 5-3 vote ... Alderman Michael Waldron, 7th Ward, said it sounds as though people are angry about the deer eating their hostas and are not taking responsibility for keeping deer off their property.  Alderman Quinten Rodriguez, 1st Ward, had concerns that a proper counting of the deer has not been done....
     Moline Council delays action on deer hunt August 1, 2017 Illinois, Quad City Times
... Aldermen were told that instead of using sharpshooters with DNR permission, a public hunt would cost the city virtually nothing and could be a revenue source... Tim Preuss, urban deer project manager for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources... explained to the council the dangers of too many deer ... spread of parasites and tick-borne diseases such as Lyme disease in humans [deer density not generally related to Lyme disease risk] ...

... The Illinois Department of Natural Resources conducts its own culling and disease sampling... has not released its testing results, which come after the close of the state's fiscal year Friday.  Last year, the state program found eight deer testing positive for chronic wasting disease...

... Several comments on the post questioned the necessity of killing the deer in preserves. The Forest Preserve District answered, citing that culling efforts help keep deer herds healthy ...
... . A gaggle of geese in the water nearby swam towards the deer as it struggled on the shore. “They kept squawking at it and scaring it or encouraging it ... Either way, the deer eventually made its way up the rocks and onto a nearby walking path. “If it wasn’t for [the geese] I don’t know if the deer would have made it up the bank ...

went down to the lake. What I came across was shocking, a deer in the lake without an easy escape.


Effects of human state park visitation rates on escape behavior of white-tailed deer NM Sutton, EJ Heske - Human–Wildlife Interactions, 2017, Illinois
... The buffer distances were higher in a high-visitation park and lower in a low-visitation park. Other social (sex, group size, presence of juveniles) and environmental (cover, weather, season) variables that might aff ect escape behavior did not account for the relationships with park attendance. These results suggest that deer within state parks either habituate to human activity or spatially segregate based on personality (e.g., degree of shyness or boldness). Based on our fi ndings, high levels of human visitation in parks can have a signifi cant impact on the behavior of local wildlife...

Peoria man was at his mother's house to celebrate the holiday, when their family wound up rescuing what they estimate was a newborn fawn. Julie Foster says she heard a noise Sunday, but initially thought it was a bird. Then, they noticed a mother deer hanging around the house. And as they got closer they quickly realized mom was close by for a reason, there was a fawn stuck in Foster's window well. - May 17, 2017, Illinois


White-Tailed Deer Website to Debut by April March 10, 2017 Illinois, U.S. News & World Report
... State officials are preparing to launch a website dedicated to the white-tailed deer in Illinois...

Reproductive characteristics of female white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in the Midwestern USA ML Green, AC Kelly, D Satterthwaite-Phillips… - Theriogenology, 2017
... We found maternal age to have an important influence on several reproductive factors. Approximately 66% of tested females (n = 3884) were pregnant and pregnancy rates increased with increasing maternal age, from 20.5% in fawns to 85.8% in adult deer. Litter size ranged from 1 to 5 fetuses per pregnant female.  The average litter size was 1.9 ± 0.54 fetuses per pregnant female and also increased with age, from 1.2 in fawns to 2.0 in adults, respectively ...

Illinois ‘managing’ deer population to keep CWD in check February 7, 2017 ilnews.org
... state sharpshooters will stay in the field until mid-March to try and stop Chronic Wasting Disease from spreading... about 1 percent of hunter-harvested deer in Illinois test positive for CWD ...
    Hunters in Illinois harvested a preliminary total of 144,150 deer during all 2016-17 seasons, which concluded Jan. 15. The total preliminary deer harvest for all seasons compares with a total harvest for all seasons of 155,229 in 2015-16.  During this year’s deer seasons, hunters took 44 percent does and 56 percent males...

... Hunters in Illinois harvested a preliminary total of 144,150 deer during all 2016-17 seasons, which concluded January 15th. That's down more than 11,000 from the 2015-16 total, which was 155,229...

Record deer numbers taken in Rock Island January 20, 2017 Illinois, Quad-Cities Online
... the 22 hunters participating in the fourth annual hunt took 51 deer. That compared to 37 in the 2015-16 season, 50 in the 2014-15 hunt and six during the initial five-week hunt in 2013-14...

Department of Natural Resources tracking deer disease January 2, 2017 Illinois, AdVantage News
... DNR has found chronic wasting disease in 16 of Illinois’ 102 counties. Most of the cases are contained in northern Illinois, near the Wisconsin border ...

Hunters kill fewer deer in Illinois December 19, 2016 Chicago Tribune
... More than 79,000 deer were killed in the state's two firearm hunting seasons this year, Nov. 18-20 and Dec. 1-4 .... nearly 87,000 deer killed during last year's firearm seasons ...  more than 114,000 deer ... in the 2006 firearm season ... last year's deer-motor vehicle crashes totaled 15,754  ... 25,491 deer-motor vehicle crashes recorded in 2006...

State deer harvest down December 13, 2016 Illinois, Bureau County Republican
... Hunters harvested a preliminary total of 79,429 deer during the seven-day Illinois Firearm Deer Season that closed Sunday, Dec. 4. That figure compares to the final total of 86,847 deer harvested during the seven days of the firearm season in 2015...

Wasting disease a threat to state's deer population December 10, 2016 Illinois, SJ-R.com
... primarily north of Interstate 80, but experts warn it's just a matter of time.  "Given time, chronic wasting disease will spread throughout Illinois. I don't think there's any question about it," ... Rivers seem to have served as a major traveling route for the disease from Wisconsin to Illinois ...

Hunters claim IDNR culling too many deer out of county December 8, 2016 Illinois, MyWebTimes.com
... Since the first case of CWD was discovered in Illinois nearly 15 years ago, IDNR, according to its website, started a "targeted surveillance program" for CWD in wild deer.  "The culling program is to reduce the density of the deer population to limit the spread of CWD," ...

Gun hunters kill 79,000 deer December 7, 2016 Illinois, News Tribune
... a preliminary total of 79,429 deer during the seven-day firearm deer season, an 8-percent drop from last year’s season ...

Social and Environmental Influences on Female White-Tailed Deer Dispersal Behavior, Illinois, CM Nixon, PC Mankin - Great Plains Research, 2016
... Dispersal behavior is primarily a male-biased behavior in white-tailed deer ... Dispersal probability was high for females born to subordinate mothers (25 of 26) and for fawns paired with a sibling that also dispersed (25 of 31). Females that dispersed came from populations with similar densities as those of females that remained sedentary...

Deer harvest down, as expected: Illinois firearm deer season November 23, 2016 Chicago Sun-Times
...with the herd down and the significant weather change ... deer harvest was down ... a preliminary total of 54,452 deer during the first weekend of the Illinois Firearm Deer Season on Nov. 18-20. Hunters took 57,870 deer ... in 2015...

Deer harvest promising November 18, 2016 Illinois, Macoupin County Enquirer Democrat
... After stable harvest rates over 180,000 deer during the early to mid 2000s, a sharp decline during the 2013-14 season of 148,614 deer alarmed many hunters. Since then, harvest numbers are climbing again. The 2014-15 seasons’ harvest was 145,720 and then the 6.46 percent increase of last year indicated a more stable deer population...

Keep an eye open for deer November 4, 2016 Illinois, Commercial News
... According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois had 15,754 reports of deer-vehicle crashes in 2015 ... 

Illinois deer harvest continues drop: Latest archery figures October 31, 2016 Chicago Sun-Times
... Through Sunday, October 30, 2016, Illinois archery deer hunters harvested a preliminary total of 16,763 deer, compared to 19,567 for the same period in 2015 ...

Archery harvest stays down: Illinois deer hunting October 24, 2016 Illinois, Chicago Sun-Times
... Through Sunday, October 23, 2016, Illinois archery deer hunters harvested a preliminary total of 12,387 deer, compared to 14,773 for the same period in 2015... track the data ...

Springfield, For first time, hunters will be allowed at Springfield Nature Center October 25, 2016 Illinois, Springfield News-Leader
... “We don’t want to eliminate deer from the Nature Center because we know seeing them is one reason visitors come to our facility,” ... managed archery hunt ... Managed archery hunts have taken place on City Utilities properties at Fellows Lake since 2009 and Lake Springfield since 2011...

Riverside Cops Free Deer Stuck in Hammock October 20, 2016 Illinois, NBC Chicago
...  It took five tranquilizer darts to sedate the deer so the netting could be cut... [moved] to a safe location at an animal shelter in Chicago Ridge ... [image from Riverside police]

The face of Illinois’ youth deer hunt: A record year October 16, 2016
Chicago Sun Times
... the youth hunters harvested a record 3,259 deer. The previous record was 3,123 in 2012. Last year, the total was 2,841. Click here for more information ...

Deer-killing program not the right way to address disease October 12, 2016 Illinois, SaukValley.com
... They are not killing deer that have CWD; that would keep them sitting forever. They are just killing as many deer as they can.  The problem is that their approach is far from proven, very expensive ...

Illinois Deer Forecast for 2016 October 11, 2016 Game & Fish
... The record deer harvest in Illinois took place during the 2005-06 season, during which 201,209 deer were taken...  downward trend of harvest ...there were 2.79 deer harvested per square mile in Illinois... 

Chronic wasting disease on the rise in Ogle County October 8, 2016 Illinois, SaukValley.com
...CWD, normally found in southeastern Ogle County, lately also has been found in the northwest, near Forreston and German Valley  ... First documented in Illinois in 2002 near Roscoe ... 

Localized removal affects white‐tailed deer space use and contacts  MI Tosa, EM Schauber, CK Nielsen - The Journal of Wildlife Management, 2016
... We monitored space use and contacts among adult female and juvenile deer in southern Illinois during 2011–2014; midway through each study season, we removed all members except 1 collared deer from centrally located groups and left control groups intact. After group removal, remnant adult females shortened duration of contacts with neighboring groups, whereas remnant juveniles responded with greater shifts in space use and appeared to join neighboring groups ...

... President Judy Mitchell proposed a three-year program [there is no three-year program, see examples] ... “The damage to our crops continues to escalate,” she said...

Moline, No deer kill in Moline, DNR says September 23, 2016 Illinois, Quad City Times
... "The problem is, Mr. Harris was quoted as saying there are too many deer," Tom Micetich, deer project manager for the DNR said in May. "There never was a formal population assessment done." Despite having his firearm-use waiver, Harris' request for a permit to kill our deer has been denied...

Illinois hunters asked to report suspected deer virus cases September 22, 2016 Champaign/Urbana News-Gazette
... The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is asking hunters to be on the lookout for possible cases of a virus that can cause die-offs of white-tailed deer... So far this year, there have been 53 suspected cases of epizootic hemorrhagic disease ...
... The worst year for the disease in Illinois was 2012 when more than 2,000 cases were reported across 76 counties... 

CWD, 7 area counties included in special deer hunting seasons September 16, 2016 Illinois, MyWebTimes.com
... La Salle, Livingston, Kendall, Grundy and DeKalb are among 14 Northern Illinois counties that will be open for special chronic wasting disease seasons ... intended to help control the spread of CWD and to reduce surplus deer population  ... 

DNR plans deer disease meetings September 15, 2016 Illinois, Kankakee Daily Journal
... CWD recently has been been detected in the counties of Kankakee, Livingston, Grundy and Will, and previously in 12 others — Jo Daviess, Stephenson, Winnebago, Boone, McHenry, Lake, Ogle, DeKalb, Kane, DuPage, LaSalle and Kendall...

Illinois gets 'B' as deer hunting state September 8, 2016 Quincy Herald-Whig
... the annual harvest peaked at more than 200,000 deer taken in 2005, there truly was no better place to be.  Since then, the harvest numbers have declined, the availability of public lands to hunt has dwindled and the proliferation of outfitters has sullied the state's reputation... 97 percent of the state's hunting property is privately owned with just 836,000 acres of public land...

Will County narrowly approves expanded deer culling program September 8, 2016 Illinois, Chicago Tribune
... The program has been a source of controversy since its inception in 2010. On Thursday, with eight commissioners absent, the board voted 10 to 8 to continue the program, and cull 200 deer in nine preserves...

Southern Illinois deer herd stable September 8, 2016 The Southern
... The 2008 Joint Deer Task Force mandated Illinois’ deer population be reduced by 14 percent due to the number of deer-automobile collisions in the state...  the state’s deer herd is near the state mandated levels ... The Southern Illinois deer herd has been particularly stable...

... In May, Harris successfully convinced the Moline City Council to grant him the right to hunt deer on his wooded property in the center of Moline. ... Late in August ... [IDNR] reversed course on the best solution... "only after all other abatement options have been seriously employed and exhausted can an IDNR official consider or issue a Deer Removal Permit (DRP)...

Will County, Deer population control debated again by Will County forest preserve committee August 31, 2016 Illinois, The Herald-News
... the board approved a 2010-11 plan ... that sharpshooting was to be used to manage the deer population ... Howard said he’d like to see a moratorium on deer culling until more information is collected. Hunters in District 1, which covers five townships in eastern Will County, have commented to him they are seeing fewer deer ...

4 new laws expand hunting, fishing opportunities in Illinois August 22, 2016 Illinois, Northwest Herald
... Under Senate Bill 3003, the department can offer free landowner hunting permits for deer and turkey as long as the landowner has at least 40 acres...

Illinois Data:  The deer population declined in 2016 to around 650,000 deer.  About 670,000 deer in 2015, 650,000 in 2014, and 645,000 in 2013 estimated using harvest data.  After a 25 percent drop in the 2013 harvest, the number of deer licenses for 2014 were reduced by 4.1 percent to 592,457.  Reduced again in 2015 to 577,244.  Reasons for the decline include adverse weather conditions, herd reduction efforts and deer mortality due to outbreaks of epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD). Deer management goals are generally maintaining to increasing the herd.   The 2014 harvest was 47 percent does, 49 percent in 2013.   About 750,000 to 800,000 deer in 2012.   
     The dramatic harvest declines have become a major issue. In 2008 the population was estimated at 800,000 to 1 million. About 750,000 in 1995, the peak during the 1990s. The herd population had been under a managed decline since 2005 after a population peak in 2013-14. The Illinois General Assembly decided deer management should be linked to the number of auto-deer accidents. In 2008 the Task Force on Deer Population control recommended a 14 percent reduction in the rate of deer vehicle collisions from peak levels, the IDNR began increasing the harvest to achieve that goal in 2009. The 2017 deer population was well below the state's carrying capacity, but populations are being managed with regard to social issues such as crop damage and deer-vehicle collisions. 
     Peak of the rut is November 8 - 11.
     Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) was first discovered in the deer herd in 2002 near Roscoe.
     History:  Illinois forests were filled with deer as settlement began.  Over hunting during early settlement led to the virtual extinction of deer in Illinois by the late 1800's.  Deer hunting was limited in about half the state by 1873 with the last open season in 1900.  They were reintroduced by bringing in deer from other states.  A census in 1957 showed about 15,000 deer concentrated in the far northwest of the state with some in the southern forests and the first modern firearm season opened.  Even by the 1970's, it was rare to see a deer.  History  

    Bobcat, once nearly extinct, the population grew to around 5,000 by 2014.


Department of Natural Resources News


White deer seen near Shumway, Ill. on 4/10/2013