Illinois Hunting Reports


Canada geese cupped and committed.

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  1. I just received an report concerning the teal migration.

    September 9th, 2015 – Aerial Waterfowl Inventory Blog
    We had a major influx of teal into the Illinois and Mississippi rivers this week. The increase was likely due to the weather system that passed through the prairies over Labor Day weekend. This week’s teal total (62,265) along the Illinois River was 143% above the 10-yr average (25,603). Teal abundance along the Mississippi River nearly quadrupled this week and were estimated at 20,455 birds. We are way ahead of normal for the second week of September with duck numbers 125% above average for the Illinois and 258% above average for the Mississippi River. I even saw a few gadwall, American wigeon, and ruddy ducks on Wednesday’s flight. As nightly low temperatures in North Dakota dip into the upper 30’s and low 40’s over the weekend, I am sure we will see even more migrating ducks heading our way.
    Ducks undergo multiple feather molts at various times of the year. Ducks even molt their flight feathers after the breeding season which renders them flightless for a few weeks during summer. During this flightless period, a duck’s feathers are very drab and brown in color. In fact, a drake mallard loses that brilliant green head during summer and resembles a female at this time of year. For this reason most of the birds during the September flights appear as “brown ducks” from the airplane. To estimate species abundance in September, I sometimes intentionally flush ducks from the water so I can see their wings and identify them. This photo from Wednesday’s flight shows the wing color and size differences in a few of the species I encounter. You should be able to find blue-winged and American green-winged teal, mallards, northern pintail, northern shoveler, and maybe even an American black duck in the picture. For more information about the waterfowl survey, check out our webpage at
    Good luck teal and Canada goose hunting and stay tuned for more updates next week

  2. Well with the very wet spring and most of the summer there is plenty of water in the public area of Carlyle lake. The hot temps didn’t keep the itchy duck hunters from cashing in on a good amount of teal. The first few days resulted in good numbers for those who wanted to brave the hot and humid September days. A rain shower and cooler temps today will be the start of a decent cool down for the next several days with the hope of new blue rockets arriving before the end on Sept. 20th. The local goose population has been taking a little beating here too, I have reports of several limits of canadas taken in the freshly cut corn. With the reports north of us and from our Canadian neighbors things are looking about the same for the waterfowl as last year as far as their population goes, just hope mother nature reads the script for a successful season. Good luck and keep us posted.

  3. Well the conservation season came and went, we actually had more snows here in S/W Illinois in January that we normally do in March. The snowy cold February kept them south of us and when it was time to head north they made a quick jump out of the area. Early March there were several good days but it didn’t last too long. The rest of the month the birds were there but not in typical March numbers. Our second last day while planning to pickup the decoys we ended with four birds, one of which was a double banded 10 year old male the originated out of the artic circle. I guess you never know.
    Will update you throughout the summer on the planting and progress in the Carlyle impoundments, time now to chase Mr. Tom in the woods and cheer on Cardinals baseball.

  4. Well a few weeks ago I would have thought there was about half of the snow goose season left because of the snow population was here in force. Mother nature threw us a curve and the 500K plus that were visiting made a return trip to warmer areas south of Illinois. The last few mornings were below zero and about 4-5 inches of snow on the ground with ice and snow predicted this weekend, needless to say the conservation season has been put on hold at least through February. The month of March should be a monster month with birds heading north the first warming wind that comes from the south. Make sure the gun is clean and the shells are bought, should be fast and furious.

  5. With the regular goose and duck season in the rear view mirror things are looking up for the 2015 snow goose season. After an early cold snap in February and then a nice warm-up the birds retreated back to southern Illinois just in time for the sounds of e-callers and shotgun blasts. The last couple of days there have been a significant increase in the snow population and the bags are overflowing with white feathers. The recent cold snap had the impoundments and low water areas around Carlyle Lake frozen, but the 60 plus degrees over the weekend has made the ice history. The temps are going to hover back and forth the next 7-10 with nothing extreme which should keep the tundra geese in the neighborhood. If your aren’t chasing them now you aren’t a snow goose hunter. Bring some extra shells. Take em…….

  6. After a couple week hiatus the DNR made an aerial survey report. They indicate 44,000 ducks and 41,500 snows and blues. They are not showing any white fronts, but after being there today that is a mistake, there are ample amounts of specks on and around the lake. I know a crew or two that are setting up in fields and hunting specifically for the specks. Leaving the lake the other days I spotted a field that was holding 500-750 of them. We are just getting our first artic shift and in all likelihood there is going to be some hard water the next day or two, that could effect the healthy snow and speck population. But we have had good numbers of geese unlike years past, now if we could only get some dark geese to take their place….. Happy Hunting and Happy New Year……………

  7. Dirt Clods Die Too

    Hey Kevin….Yeah, that survey is probably a little off??!! LOL!! I was there all weekend…..They’re pretty thick up there right now.

    On the weather front…specifically, no freeze up in sight. Check out the 14 day trend..

    If this holds true, gonna be a freeze up.

    Shoot’em up, pal!!

    • Hey Stevo I think your right, when I looked at the graph and temps it was 5 and sometimes -7 -10 till I figured out it was Celsius they need to put that in American terms man, you know I ain’t the sharpest toolin the shed……Go get em bud.

      PS you off for now, or did the Misses want to keep you at home……just saying.

      • Dirt Clods Die Too

        I’m home this week. Then, off to dad’s at Lake of Egypt for Christmas down there this weekend. The “Mrs.” and I are driving separate though. On Sunday when we leave, she and the baby are headed home, while daddy heads up to the lake. Gonna be up there pretty much all week. One final Hoo-Rah! To her credit….she did pretty dam good this year with me being gone, and us having a 4 month old child at home. She may be looking elsewhere for a substitute father, but she’s hiding it well. LOL!!!

    • I expect to be up there too after X-mas, have to look you up, I will be over at Steve’s most the time, nothing happening at Highland, so get over there, might get a new batch of fowl in there by weekend with winter storm watch and snow up there south of Chicago where those golf course geese hang out.

  8. I attempted to buy “buy one get one free” on the mallard motel and snooze lucky 7 site. The site wouldn’t calculate the 2 for 1 so I contacted them. They responded and said there was a problem with the site and it would be fixed in the next few days. So anyone wanting to take advantage of this good deal be patient and the matter will be resolved quick. I am going to snag the snooze lucky seven snow goose tree.
    On to hunting news, I was out setting up snow goose decoys and there is a dramatic increase in the snow and blue population as well as increasing numbers of specks, no freeze-up in sight, so the birds should increasing in numbers in the near future. Illinois DNR did an aerial survey that indicated 31,000 snows, don’t believe it, while setting up our spread I saw 40-50 K before 10 AM…….go get em.

  9. Miller thanks for the response, sorry about not posting lately but been up a tree lately trying to get ole buck Henry, but that hasn’t worked out real well either.
    There are a pretty good amount of ducks in the area around Carlyle, problem is they have been here for quite some time, nothing new has shown up for awhile. There are getting to be decent numbers of snows and specks in the area and with open water everywhere, meaning they should stick around for some time too. The weather has been mild for the past week and a half but some colder air with brisk wnw winds are arriving as we speak. A few minor snow events are predicted the next week or so that could get the waterfowl more in a cooperating mood, lets hope so it has been a tough 10 days and it’s time to start banging them.

  10. Been doing pretty good around the Grundy Co. area. 2 full limits last weekend, and almost one full one yesterday. I see alot of birds moving.

  11. Kevin you seam to be the only one left on this site, i hunt north and have been piling birds up, geese and mallards and lots of them. Ponds are all froze up today so only geese. Did see some ducks in large numbers but working fields to my west. Used to be a lot of activity on this site but has certainly been lacking last couple years. Always enjoyed your reports! We have silly numbers of geese in northern illinois. Back at it tomorrow.

  12. Hunting has been pretty good in the SC Zone, with the recent front(s) that have passed thru. I know there are still large amount of the teal families in the area along with an abundance of woody’s still hanging around, and the divers are filtering thru. Not much for the geese and the mallards although some success is happening on mallards. While hunting yesterday there were flight after flight of migrators SB with the strong N NW wind. Looks like a good NW wind the next several days that should continue to send birds our way.

  13. Any updates in the south central zone? Hunted this past weekend in New Athens and seen only 200-300 ducks tops. What are you boys seeing with this cold front pushing through?? Suppose to get a foot of snow in Wisconsin too!

  14. Anyone doing any good in the central zone, around Morris?

    We did ok on the opener, 2 ducks, and 2 geese. Only 1 duck the second weekend. Saw alot of geese everyday.

  15. In the middle of bow season but not too far away is the south/central and south duck season. Thought I would give a little update on the crops in the impoundments at Carlyle Lake.
    It was a decent planting season for the 644 acres of crops planted in the sub-impoundments, roughly 260 acres of corn, 140 acres of milo and 140 in Jap millet and a mixture of buckwheat, smartweed, duckweed in an additional 118 acres and a lot of native grasses, wild millet, nut grass, water hemp etc. Last years lack of food and early cold snap had the birds here for a short time before continuing their journey south. Hopefully this year with the abundance of food and help from mother nature they will stick around for sometime and many bags will be filled…

  16. Opening weekend was slow on puddle ducks. The boys got limits of geese and a few red heads and a mallard. It begins.

  17. Anyone do any good in the N. zone last weekend? I haven’t been hearing anything good yet.

  18. Tic toc… Tic toc.

    Geese are flying again and not a moment too soon. Two weeks baby. Two weeks.

  19. The last aerial flyover was conducted this week with good results. The survey reported 1.1 million snows in and around the Carlyle lake area. This number is by far more geese than we have enjoyed for this time of year in a long, long time. The folks at the weather bureau have just issued a winter storm watch for the southern half of Illinois so I anticipate the geese to remain or even backtrack a bit depending on the severity of the winter storm. The timing is good for me since I will be enjoying the Cardinals down in Jupiter Florida for the next two weeks, hopefully when I return there will be a good number of geese remaining to the finish line April 1. Go Cards………….

  20. With the recent warm-up the snows are getting here in large numbers. a lot of the open pockets of water have increased in size due to the snows roosting and warmer weather. Should be decent hunting for some time around Carlyle Lake. The speck population isn’t hurting either, there are 10’s of thousands of speck in the area as well.

    • Do you know of any good spots to hunt snows? Is this Kevin that worked in Collinsville?

      • Choco, Yes I worked out of Collinsville for ISP , but retired in 2006, that’s why I chase these snows….

      • Sorry forgot to answer your question, I hunt on private property with a pit but know a lot of the farmers in the area, there are tons of snows in the Tamalco/Keyesport area last count by IDNR 400,000 plus send me a PM.

    • The last aerial flyover was conducted this week with good results. The survey reported 1.1 million snows in and around the Carlyle lake area. This number is by far more geese than we have enjoyed for this time of year in a long, long time. The folks at the weather bureau have just issued a winter storm watch for the southern half of Illinois so I anticipate the geese to remain or even backtrack a bit depending on the severity of the winter storm. The timing is good for me since I will be enjoying the Cardinals down in Jupiter Florida for the next two weeks, hopefully when I return there will be a good number of geese remaining to the finish line April 1. Go Cards………….

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