Illinois enters deer hunting season

Emily Stieren, Assistant News Editor

The State of Illinois’ first firearm deer season was Nov. 17 – 19. Although hunters have different motives for engaging in the outdoor sport, they all have one thing in mind, to shoot and kill a deer.

 Brandon Weidner, 21, of Waggoner, Ill., shot and killed a 10-point buck, his biggest deer yet, on the last day of the state’s first hunting season.

 “It felt great,” Weidner said. “It was the best feeling ever because I hunted all weekend, and I didn’t get the chance to see many deer. All of a sudden, this 10-point buck comes jumping along, and I shot it. Now I am going to get the skull and the antlers mounted on the wall. It’s going to be a good decoration that’s going to be in me and my girlfriend’s house.”

 While most hunters participate for the elated feeling, some just enjoy the calm and quiet atmosphere of deer hunting. Alex Brockamp, 21, of Morrisonville, Ill., who has been hunting since he was 12 years old, favors the outdoor environment. 

 “I like getting out and sitting in the woods,” Brockamp said. “Now that I’m going to an in-town college, I don’t really get the chance to be outside and clear my mind, so it’s good to go out and just be by myself for a little while.”

 Brockamp said he does end up eating the venison (deer meat), as do many hunters. Weidner said he enjoys a variety of aspects of deer hunting, including eating the meat after it has been processed.

 “I like hunting deer because it’s an outdoor activity that I get to use my knowledge of the outdoors and my skill with a gun to take a deer legally,” Weidner said. “The benefits are that I get a trophy deer rack that I can put up on a wall and remember that hunt, and that I get to use the meat to feed my family all year around.”

 However, some participants hunt for a different purpose. Kevin Waldeck, 44, of Waggoner Ill., chooses to partake in the activity to lower the deer population to prevent any further destruction they cause.

“Deer do an incredible amount of damage,” Kevin Waldeck said, “They do hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage in this county (Montgomery) alone in vehicle damage and property damage.”

 Deer are known to eat crops, ruin gardens and run into moving cars. Kevin Waldeck said he thinks the deer population could be lessened by expanding the time allotted for deer hunting in Illinois.

“(Nov. 18) the weather was so bad that it wasn’t fit to hunt,” Kevin Waldeck said. “That is why I think that instead of giving people two permits and telling them to go hunt these two weekends out of the year, they should just allow one permit and let them hunt for two months until they get their deer.”

 Yet, Weidner disagrees and does not think that the firearm deer season should be extended for population purposes.

 “Hunting with a gun is quite a bit easier than hunting with a bow and arrow,” Weidner said. “Normally when you gun hunt, you can typically get a deer. As I saw this year, the deer population, I would say, is probably down. It’s fun for everyone to hunt, but if everyone got a deer with their gun, there would be no deer left.”

 Doug Waldeck, 67, of Farmersville, Ill., has been hunting for approximately 30 years. He believes that deer hunting is a good sport for all ages. He said he thinks that everyone should have experience with handling guns.

 “I just think that more people should get involved with hunting, firearms and firearm safety,” Doug Waldeck said. “It’s just me being a good member of the NRA (National Rifle Association).”

 Weidner agrees that more individuals should have an open mind toward guns, especially if they are used in an appropriate manner, such as hunting.

 “My guns are my guns,” Weidner said. “They are not just guns, they’re my property, my collectibles, they cost a lot of money and I like them. I would have guns even if they didn’t work because they are something cool to look at, and they’re an investment as well. Without guns, I wouldn’t be able to go deer hunting or any kind of hunting really. I would have to get a bow and arrow.”

 Illinois’s second firearm deer season for this year is Nov. 30 through Dec. 3.