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New to IL and Chicago area looking for advice.

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New to IL and Chicago area looking for advice.

Old 08-18-2013, 08:14 AM
  #1  
Spike
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Default New to IL and Chicago area looking for advice.

I recently moved up from the Southeast to Chicago for work. I've been a whitetail hunter my whole life and i'm from SC where we had a very long season and not many restrictions (weapon type, baiting, long season). Am I too late in the season to get a tag (antlered and anterless)? I will be setting up a residency since the Non Resident tags are so expensive vs. the non resident tags in SC. I currently live in north chicago in Lakeview. Is there any public land within 1.5 hrs and is it worth messing with? I'm not opposed to joining a club to be able to hunt private land. I cover from Evanston to IL/WI border with my job so I see that my best change may be north? Thoughts/advice are much appreciated. I will mainly stick to bow hunting since the season looks to be longer than the firearm season.
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Old 08-19-2013, 07:30 PM
  #2  
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Archery tags are over the counter, so you can still get them. They are good throughout the state (unlike rifle tags, that are limited to a particular county or public site). If you are on the north side of Chicago, any public land within an hour and a half will can get fairly crowded. The closest sites to you are Chain of Lakes, Volo bog, and Morraine Hills, the latter 2 require you to draw a permit at the site in addition to you archery tag (details at IDNR website). There's some public land, probably more like 2+ hours to the south and west (again, see the IDNR website). I'm not sure how long it takes to establish Illinois residency, but if you can't by the time you have to buy permits, they will be very expensive. Your right that your best options may be to the north. Wisconsin has a lot more public land (not sure about an hour and a half, though) and they don't gouge nonresidents the way some states do.
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Old 08-21-2013, 05:34 PM
  #3  
Spike
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Thanks for the info.
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Old 08-22-2013, 08:25 AM
  #4  
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Like mentioned Morain Hills or Volo are options but even if you draw a tag that will only give you a 4 day pass to hunt. The Chain has public but it is a circus trying to get out and hunt it. I would either look north in Wisconsin or hit up Midewin in Joliet. Passes for Midewin are free and will be available in 2 weeks and with a ton of land and few hunters it will probably be your best bet. If you want to travel a bit farther Mathisin/Starved Rock are in LaSalle Co and has some big bucks. I hunted that area alot a few years back and hardley ever ran into other hunters.
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Old 08-22-2013, 05:04 PM
  #5  
Nontypical Buck
 
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Originally Posted by JFergus7 View Post
Like mentioned Morain Hills or Volo are options but even if you draw a tag that will only give you a 4 day pass to hunt. The Chain has public but it is a circus trying to get out and hunt it. I would either look north in Wisconsin or hit up Midewin in Joliet. Passes for Midewin are free and will be available in 2 weeks and with a ton of land and few hunters it will probably be your best bet. If you want to travel a bit farther Mathisin/Starved Rock are in LaSalle Co and has some big bucks. I hunted that area alot a few years back and hardley ever ran into other hunters.
He hit it on the head. The chain only allows bow hunting on Monday and Tuesdays and you have to stay within 50 yards of a designated marker. I hunt down near Peoria and due to Bridge construction I've had to drive through Midewin and the Arsenal and there is a lot of land to cover. It gets some pressure but if you are willing to put in a little scouting (on foot and on the computer) you can find some spots. There are deer out there and some above 130" you just have to be smart and out think other hunters. I've also seen some decent bucks at Des Plaines SP while pheasant hunting. They are smart but i've personally seen a couple 130". They hold like pheasant too, I've came within 20 yards of both the big bucks I've seen.

I live in the West Loop so I feel your pain. There isn't much around the city but it makes you appreciate it more when you are out in the woods. Good Luck!
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Old 08-22-2013, 05:54 PM
  #6  
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To bad you northerners couldn't hunt all the cemeteries up north of I-80. My in laws live in Lombard and when we make the journey north I always see deer all over the place feeding in the cemeteries and in all those preserves.

I would consider planning a few hunting trips to central and southern IL to some of the state parks around here. While they also have alot of hunters there is still a lot of land and you can scout out a good spot away from others.
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Old 08-22-2013, 07:09 PM
  #7  
Typical Buck
 
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Starved Rock is decent, but I believe it's antlerless only until November (and earn-a-buck for gun season, but it's a fairly easy site to walk on to if you don't have a tag (they distribute any unclaimed tags at 5 a.m. at most state sites)). But if you're going to drive 2+ hours, I'd look to south east and south central Wisconsin (especially if you are paying nonresident rates). Look west of Janesville/Madison, or around Portage (which is a little north of Madison). Wisconsin has a deal where if you are a first-time hunter there, your license is half price.
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Old 08-23-2013, 01:49 PM
  #8  
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Bcrider, my sympathies for moving here from SC! You may want to take a look at the programs at the McHenry County Conservation District. It's too late now for their archery program application, but firearm application deadline is in Sept. You may also want to look at some of the public sites in JoDaviess County(but that's even further). If you ever find private land in Lake or Cook County to hunt on, hold it like gold.
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Old 08-23-2013, 02:33 PM
  #9  
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Its late August...it'll be late November before you are a legal resident as applies to the state DNR rule.

Why limit yourself in one of the best deer states in the country to a 1 1/2 hour radius? Buy a tent or small pop up and head 2 1/2 hours south. Plenty of places to hunt and with less people. Kickapoo State Park, Middlefork (right next to Kickapoo) Clinton Lake, Sam Parr State Park and other places.
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