Illinois Deer:  An estimated population of 660,000 in 2017 and 650,000 deer in 2016 based on hunting data.  About 670,000 deer in 2015, 650,000 in 2014, and 645,000 in 2013.   Herd analysis at right.   Historical Illinois deer hunting data and news archive.
Illinois Deer News

Illinois hunters kill 1 percent more deer than last year December 6, 2018 Illinois, Herald & Review
... Illinois hunters killed 80,896 deer during the seven-day firearm season that concluded on Sunday, a 1 percent increase over the total killed a year ago...

Deer populations rebounded; season good so far for Coles County hunters November 28, 2018 Illinois, Journal Gazette and Times Courier
... 2012 was the worst year for EHD in Illinois, when 2,043 cases were reported from 76 counties... The disease devastated a good chunk of the local population and since then, that population has rebounded ..,

Jefferson County fifth highest deer harvest in state November 26, 2018 Illinois, The Shoppers Weekly
... a total of 58,836 deer were harvested throughout the state during the first weekend ... higher than the harvest during the first weekend of firearm season in 2017, when the total was 51,450 ...

Deer harvest in archery stays ahead of last season November 27, 2018 Illinois, Chicago Sun-Times 
... Through Monday, November 26, 2018, Illinois archery deer hunters harvested a preliminary total of 51,025 deer, compared to 50,738 for the same period in 2017.   Harvest for the last seven days was 2,918, with 611 deer taken on Saturday and 403 taken on Sunday...

Illinois hunters take 58,836 deer during opening firearm weekend November 21, 2018 Illinois, The State Journal-Register
... The three-day total was 14 percent higher than last year’s opening weekend for firearm hunting...

Opening day of Illinois’ firearm deer season November 17, 2018 Chicago Sun-Times
... more than 200,000 hunters were expected in the fields ... More than snow cover (which makes it easier to spot deer) ... Nov. 16 was the earliest start to firearm season, so more rut activity was expected...

Archery harvest stays ahead of 2017-18 November 13, 2018 Illinois, Chicago Sun-Times
... Through Monday, November 12, 2018, Illinois archery deer hunters harvested a preliminary total of 42,654 deer, compared to 41,345 for the same period in 2017... 47% does and 53% males ...

Deadly Deer Disease Nears Indiana's Borders November 13, 2018 Illinois, WFY
... about 25 miles from Newton County... DNR encourages hunters in the northeast and northwest corners of the state to get their deer tested before eating them...

Deer rescued from CTA tracks euthanized November 13, 2018 Illinois, WGN-TV
... because of multiple fractures, (a) severely broken back leg, open wounds and low likelihood of survival in the wild ...
... deer got stuck ... appeared to be OK and unharmed...

EDH outbreak plagues Illinois deer November 3, 2018 Illinois, WAND
... As of October 29, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) has received reports of 432 suspected cases of Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) in white-tailed deer ... The worst year for EHD in Illinois was 2012, when 2,968 cases were reported from 87 counties..,
... hundreds of reports across 49 counties of white-tailed deer who may have died from epizootic hemorrhagic disease ... In 2012, the hottest year on record in Illinois, the state saw its worst epizootic outbreak ..,

Public lands are Uplands hot spots October 30, 2018 Illinois, RiverBender.com
... Wildlife populations have thrived due mainly to various habitat enhancement programs... food plots containing corn, sorghums, millets, lespedezas, sunflowers and a wild game food plot mixture provide wintering populations with a nutritious source of feed... game populations at these sites seem to maintain their numbers ...

Deer harvest really picks up for bowhunters October 22, 2018 Illinois, Chicago Sun-Times 
... Through Sunday, October 21, 2018, Illinois archery deer hunters harvested a preliminary total of 13,068 deer, compared to 10,912 for the same period in 2017.  Windy conditions slowed the weekend harvest on Saturday (10/20), but Sunday (10/21) yielded the highest daily harvest to date (1,717 deer)...

IDNR gives deer harvest update for 2018 October 12, 2018 Illinois, Monticello Herald Journal 
... Through Oct. 8 Illinois archery deer hunters harvested a preliminary total of 2,583 deer, compared to 4,950 for the same period in 2017.  Harvest to date has consisted of 70 percent does and 30 percent males ...

IDNR tracking EHD cases in white-tailed deer October 11, 2018 Illinois, Annanews
... The Illinois Department of Natural Resources, IDNR, reported on Sept. 19 that it had received reports of 55 suspected cases of Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease, EHD, in white-tailed deer so far in 2018... EHD was virtually absent in 2014 and at low levels in 2015, 2016, and 2017..,

Illinois drivers face slight increase in likelihood of deer collisions October 2, 2018 Rochelle News Leader
... Illinois drivers have a slight increase in likelihood of hitting a deer compared to a year ago. Chances of hitting a deer in Illinois have increased to 1 in 200 ...

IDNR prohibiting archery harvest of antlerless deer September 27, 2018 Illinois, Journal Gazette and Times Courier 
... 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...

Rauner vetoes plan to study supplemental deer feeding September 26, 2018 Illinois, Fox2Now 
... says that the study’s scope should be better defined ...

IDNR Issues Heads-Up For Deer Hunters September 26, 2018 Illinois, Alton Daily News 
... low deer numbers in Champaign, Douglas, Macon, Moultrie and Piatt counties ...

... 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..,

Report Suspected Cases of EHD in Deer September 19, 2018 Illinois, Illinois.gov
... The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has received reports of 55 suspected cases of Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) in white-tailed deer so far in 2018, with EHD appearing at low to moderate levels in counties on or near the Illinois River ... The worst year for EHD in Illinois was 2012, when 2,043 cases were reported from 76 counties... Infected animals develop a high fever, and dead animals often are found near water sources..,

New laws make penalties for poaching stiffer September 11, 2018 Illinois, Quad-Cities Online
... Illinois now has a scaled system were any antlered deer is an $1,000 fine plus a multiplier depending on the number of points it has.  For example, a 12-point buck likely would start with a restitution ticket of around $10,000...

...new house bill requires people who illegally capture or kill white-tailed antlered deer to pay restitution to Illinois Department of Natural Resources...

Illinois Public Land Deer Hotspots for 2018 August 20, 2018 Game and Fish
... It has been found that deer-and-vehicle accidents are an accurate barometer of herd population trends. The Illinois Department of Transportation manages one of the most comprehensive databases in this field for the entire country...

Will feeding Illinois deer hasten their demise? Bill ignites debate over bucks, does August 1, 2018 Illinois, Chicago Tribune
... a bill that would launch a trial program to see what might happen to the state’s wild herd if Illinois lifts a 15-year-old rule that makes it illegal to feed deer ... “Is supplemental feeding, on balance, more supportive of the deer population even if it means there will be a few more cases of CWD or not?”... said Rose, a Republican from Mahomet ...

... Specific nucleotide variations in the prion protein gene (PRNP) sequence have been associated with reduced susceptibility to CWD in white-tailed deer. Though genetic resistance is incomplete, the frequency of deer possessing these mutations in a population is an important factor in disease spread ... In north-central Illinois where CWD was first detected, counties had a low frequency of protective haplotypes (frequency <0.20); whereas in northwestern Illinois counties, where CWD cases have only more recently been detected, the frequency of protective haplotypes (frequency >0.30) was much higher (p < 0.05)...

... After weeks of robust discussion and a parliamentary hold on the legislation, lawmakers are now moving forward with an effort to hopefully enhance the health of the deer population in Illinois by providing supplemental nutrition... allows the University of Illinois Prairie Research Institute to conduct a five year study on the health effects of supplemental deer feeding...

... House Amendment 002 was proposed on May 21 and would provide for different parameters for the supplemental feeding study. These include prohibiting supplemental feeding during the first year of the study. In each subsequent year, feeding could occur from Feb. 1 to Aug. 15.....

 ... the deer gave birth to the fawn "shortly after she died." The fawn had broken its leg in the womb ... fawn was recovering and had stood up despite its cast and broken leg...

 ... the deer gave birth to the fawn "shortly after she died." The fawn had broken its leg in the womb ... fawn was recovering and had stood up despite its cast and broken leg...

Deer feeding bill gets massive makeover, passes Senate May 3, 2018 Illinois, Outdoornews
... Senate Bill 2493, which originally stated “a person may supplementally feed deer with items otherwise prohibited by the Wildlife Code when not in active deer hunting season . . .” was amended on Tuesday to become a call for a study on feeding wild deer by the University of Illinois...

Setting Fires and Restoring an American Landscape April 23, 2018 Illinois, New York Times
... For thousands of years, indigenous Americans ignited the landscape. Fire, they knew, brought bison and deer to hunt, and berries and tubers to harvest.  European colonizers took these strategies and practiced them for centuries — but things changed in the early 20th century... The United States Forest Service started the Smokey Bear campaign, which portrayed all fire as destructive...

  McLean's neighborhood deer relocated to a new home April 19, 2018 Illinois, WEEK
... A white-tailed doe who had become friendly with residents of the village of McLean was relocated Wednesday to a new home...

... State Sen. Chapin Rose recently told lawmakers in Springfield that there are veterinarians who say feeding deer outside of hunting season will help keep the animals healthy... They voted to approve the plan ...

This whitetail deer conspiracy is just too outrageous to believe February 16, 2018 Illinois, Northwest Herald
... a man who told me that IDNR sharpshooters had killed every deer in a particular county near Chicago. He claimed that every single deer was gone. He told me that the IDNR was responding to the deep pockets of the auto insurance companies ...

...  (Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease)... 66 reports were received from concerned landowners and hunters totaling 169 deer from 32 counties ... 2012 was the worst year for EHD in Illinois with 2,968 dead deer reported to IDNR from 87 counties..,

...Chronic wasting disease is caused by a prion, a sort of mutant protein ... the amount of clay in a given soil was a major determining factor to predict where the disease was more likely to persist... Soils with more than 18 percent clay were associated with a steep drop in cases of the disease...

... Hunters in Illinois harvested a preliminary total of 147,535 deer during all 2017-18 archery and firearm seasons, which concluded on Jan. 14. The total preliminary deer harvest for all seasons compares with a total harvest for all seasons of 144,303 deer in 2016-17.  During the 2017-18 deer seasons, hunters took 44 percent does and 56 percent males..,

Deer harvest during archery season stays up: Illinois deer hunting January 9, 2018 Illinois, Chicago Sun-Times
... Through Monday, January 8, Illinois archery deer hunters harvested a preliminary total of 56,648 deer, compared to 52,263 for the same period in 2016.  Total harvest to date has consisted of 45% does and 55% males (25657:30991).  During the past 7 days, harvest sex ratios have been 59% female and 41% male...

Trooper gave civilian his shotgun to shoot wounded deer January 7, 2018 Illinois, Peoria Journal Star
... An Illinois State Police trooper has been disciplined for lending his service shotgun to a civilian to put down a wounded deer...  its hind legs incapacitated ... the Journal Star has contacted state police headquarters in Springfield and requested any written firearms policy. There has been no response...

Deer harvest up and down in region December 16, 2017 Illinois, Jacksonville Journal-Courier
... Most west-central Illinois counties saw an increase in the number of deer harvested during firearm season ... Scott County ... saw a decrease, going dropping more than 18 percent from last year’s harvest... decreased numbers from last season were Pike County ... and Cass County ..,

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...

Illinois Data:  The 2017 harvest data indicate of stable to slightly increasing population of about 660,000 deer, an increase in west-central counties.  A large decline in Scott county.  In 2018 antlerless restrictions for east-central counties to grow the herd.  A deer population  in 2016 of around 650,000 deer based on harvest data.  About 670,000 deer in 2015, 650,000 in 2014, and 645,000 in 2013 estimated using harvest data.  By 2018, some regions the herd have rebounded from the state's worst outbreak of EHD in 2012.
     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.  97 percent of the state's hunting property is privately owned with just 836,000 acres of public land.
     Peak of the rut is November 8 - 11.
     Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) was first discovered in the deer herd in 2002 near Roscoe.  
     Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD)  Some EHD mortality occurs every year, but is worst in drought conditions when deer congregate around muddy areas where the midges that spread the disease are found.  The worst recent outbreak was in 2012 when 2,043 dead deer reported to IDNR from 76 counties.  EHD nearly absent in 2014 and at low levels in 2015, 2016, and 2017.  Over 400 died in 2018.
     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.  "Prior to the 1950s, occasional escapes and releases of deer from privately-owned preserves, translocations conducted by the Illinois Department of Conservation (currently IDNR) and the United States Forest Service, and possibly immigration of deer from adjacent states led to the reintroduction of white-tailed deer in Illinois." History
     "By 1950, white-tailed deer were known to inhabit 68 Illinois counties, and 33 counties were opened for deer hunting in 1957."  An estimate of 2,550 in 1949-1950 and more than 3,075 in 1950-1951 (p. 12). 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   "... during the 1980s while (firearm) hunter success appeared to stabilize at 45-47 percent. During the 1980 firearm deer season, 20,700 deer were harvested by 75,800 permittees statewide compared to a peak harvest of 123,792 deer with 329,940 permits in 2005. Projections based upon population trend data indicate a stable to slightly declining statewide population from 2004 through 2008."

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