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      Deer numbers top 2011 harvest

      Hunters in Illinois have something to brag about.

      Deer harvest statistics for this year's season are up by more than 1,500 over 2011.

      Hunters across the state took in 99,324 deer during the seven-day firearm season from Nov. 16 to 18 and Nov. 29 to Dec. 2, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources said Thursday.

      The preliminary harvest reports show that Pike and Adams counties came in first and third respectively for the number of deer shot.

      â??This year, conditions were much more favorable during the first season and less so during the second, but I think we're right on track with our harvest in most areas,â?? IDNR Forest Wildlife Program Manager Paul Shelton said.

      Continuing and upcoming deer hunting opportunities in Illinois include:

      The archery deer season, continuing through Jan. 20, 2013.

      The three-day Illinois muzzleloader-only deer season is this week on Dec. 7 to 9, 2012.

      The seven-day split Late-Winter Firearm Antlerless-only Deer Season and Special CWD Deer Season are Dec. 27 to 30, 2012 and Jan. 18 to 20, 2013.