A random sample was drawn of 3,000 Illinois residents with a 2018 Illinois deer hunting permit and/or were drawn for a 2019 deer lottery permit on public land. Selected individuals were mailed an 8-page self-administered questionnaire designed to understand attitudes, constraints, and related behaviors regarding deer hunting in Illinois. We received 1,417 questionnaires for a 49% response rate. A majority of hunters participated in the archery (66%) and/or firearm seasons (82%), and 15% participated in the muzzleloader season. Deer hunters on average harvested 0.5 deer/hunter during the archery season, 0.6 deer/hunter during the firearm season, and 0.3 deer/hunter during the muzzleloader season. Respondents reported that the most essential items for deer hunting (aside from license, permit, bow or firearm/ammunition) were: (1) tree stands (71%), (2) binoculars (39%), (3) cover scent (39%), and (4) range finders (39%). A majority of respondents believed that the deer population in the county where they hunt deer most often was about right (61%), 24% believed the deer population was too low, and 15% believed the deer population was too high. Most hunters (83%) were satisfied with their overall hunting experience during the 2019-20 deer hunting season. Respondents believed that the most important strategy for the IDNR to take in managing CWD in deer in Illinois were: (1) use all methods necessary to manage CWD (47%), (2) use existing hunting seasons alone to manage CWD (16%), and (3) take no action and let nature take its course (6%).
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- management preferences
- hunter attitudes
- deer hunting policy and regulations
- deer hunter