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Illinois To Limit Deer Hunting Permits

Flickr user "jonnnnnn" (Creative Commons)

Efforts to reduce the number of deer in Illinois have been so successful that the state plans to reduce the number of hunting permits this year.

Illinois already met its goal of reducing the deer population statewide a few years ago. But some counties still had herds deemed problematic — causing car accidents and crop damage.

Now, in more than 40 counties, officials at the Department of Natural Resources want to see the number of deer go up by anywhere from one to 29 percent.

DNR spokesman Tim Schweizer says Illinois' deer harvest dropped significantly last year, partly because of weather and disease.

"Illinois wasn't alone in that. A number of Midwest and Great Lakes-region states saw their deer harvest decline as well," Schweizer says. "The Department considers that in making regulations for the following deer season, and for deer seasons ahead."

The change will apply to hunters who use firearms, not bowhunters.

Sangamon County is targeted for an increase in the deer population of nearly 11 percent. (A complete list of the affected counties can be found on this PDF.)

DNR is asking hunters to take a survey on the proposed changes.

Brian Mackey formerly reported on state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. Before that, he was A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
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