What happened in Illinois?!


New Member
I've been out hunting the past two days in stinging wind and only saw four deer (or possibly the same doe/fawn pair twice). Last year there was near-constant deer traffic on the same property, with groups of does browsing the field edges and single bucks crossing the field several times. I also heard very, very few shots from neighboring properties this year compared to last, so it's not just me having trouble.

Is the rut even a thing this year? Did the vicious wind suppress daylight movement? Or is it just a bad year here in Illinois?

Sadly, I have a two-hour drive each way to our land, and Sunday I can't leave home until about noon, leaving me a maximum of two and a half hours to hunt. Is there any reason to think the calm breeze in the forecast will make the difference?

If you're hunting Illinois this year, what's been your experience so far this gun season, and what are you planning on for Sunday?
It's been a funky weather year with record highs, which I don't think helps. I had a buddy hunt public ground ou there this year with a group and they had a similar report. They hunted the 4th -11th.

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We went from temperatures in or around 70 degrees to Friday opening day having warm temps and then a major thunderstorm roll through. Over the night temperatures dropped +30 degrees and the wind picked up to gusts in the mid 30 mph area. Those extreme weather differences had them laid up IMO. We still saw a few good deer but they just never did move. When we saw the better bucks they were either in the bedding areas or on the fringes of it. We did see several mature bucks locked down as well but would see an occasional cruiser right before sunset in the evenings. It was a very slow weekend for sure. There has been very little rutting activity (due to heat) and it has come in spurts of good days then bad. We have had days where we saw as many as 20 different bucks cruising and chasing to days where we might see 2 or 3 in which none are a mature buck.

I killed mine I believe on the 8th and he didn't pay any attention to the does that were in the field that night. He was 100% on a feeding pattern although he did work a few scrapes as he came down the edge of the field to me. Hopefully second gun season will open up a bit for everyone. Good Luck!
You don't say where in IL you are,but in my experience pretty much nothing shuts down deer movement like howling wind. Look for the sheltered hollows and draws and sit on or near the ground. I commend your enthusiasm for sticking it out. As a rule , if you don't like sitting in the wind deer won't either. I did an all day sit Friday in a box stand and saw 2 at 4:30. Saturday I slept in and let it blow itself out and went out at 2:00. Between 4:00 and 5:00 the wind laid down and I saw and took 2. Also I have noted in my years that during full moon deer tend to move most at last light,not much in the morning, so I hunt right on field food sources on the full moon at last light while gun hunting. Over all it's been too hot, for too long for good hunting. The early season harvest is down. On a positive note after our herd collapse of a few years ago ,I'm hoping a few more make it through the season for next year.I saw a buck chasing a doe Sunday morning so the rut is on. You'll get another chance in 2 weeks. Sometimes it is not to be. Enjoy the experience as a time for reflection and all your blessings.