Illinois hunters harvested more than 51,000 deer during the first firearm weekend in the state, according to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
In a news release, the IDNR said hunters harvested a preliminary total of 51,365 deer statewide during the weekend of Nov. 17 to 19. Hunters took 54,452 deer during the first firearm weekend in 2016.
Hunters in Randolph County harvested 1,603 deer during the first weekend to lead the state. Jackson County hunters took home 1,487 deer in second place, while Adams County - which includes the Quincy area - was third with 1,408.
Perry County hunters got 815 deer, one more than last year.
"It was definitely a good deer season," said Randolph County Sheriff Shannon Wolff, a hunter himself. "I think, in my opinion, deer were in the peak of the rut during shotgun season and that probably helped the numbers.
"It gets the deer moving when they're in the rut like that."
Randolph County's numbers were up slightly from a year ago, with hunters harvesting 21 more deer in 2017.
Illinois' seven-day firearm season will conclude with the second weekend, Nov. 30 through Dec. 3. Muzzleloader-only deer season is scheduled for Dec. 8-10.
Other upcoming seasons:
• Late-winter antlerless-only and CWD deer seasons (first segment) in select counties only on Dec. 28-31, 2017.
• Late-winter antlerless-only and CWD deer seasons (second segment) in select counties only on Jan. 12-14, 2018;
• Archery deer season continues through Jan. 14, 2018 (archery is closed Nov. 30-Dec. 3 in counties open for firearm deer season)
For details on deer hunting, open counties, and other information, check the IDNR website at www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/Pages/DeerHunting.aspx.