Illinois Pheasant Hunting
Hunting pheasants in Illinois, especially at Heartland Lodge, has been a tradition that goes back many years. The native prairie grasses that surround the lodges is ideal habitat for pheasants. With the introduction of food plots and additional cover, pheasants flourished on Heartland’s property.
Heartland’s owner, Gary Harpole, hunted pheasants in the fields that surround Heartland Lodge long before the lodges were built. These farms were full of overgrown fence rows, native grasses and grain fields. The traditional pheasant hunt began with Gary and his favorite dog Bo, walking out his back door to the pheasant fields. Pheasant hunting began at daybreak and continued until dark, walking along fence rows, watching Bo lock up and anticipating the wild rooster flush. Many fond hunting memories were made this way, created with family and friends, and passed down to future generations of pheasant hunters.
These same traditions continue on at Heartland Lodge. The “Lodge Farm” is still one of the favorites of our guests. This farm, and the other farms we hunt, still have the old fence rows, native grasses, and a mixture of food plots and grain fields. This prime habitat ensures that pheasants are scattered across all of our properties.
Come step back in time with us and continue the tradition of pheasant hunting that started here many years ago. We invite you to share and create your own memories along with starting a new tradition of pheasant hunting with friends and family at Heartland Lodge.
Click the sections below for more information.
Pheasant Hunting at Heartland Lodge
Our guided pheasant hunts are the best you will find. Even though all of our fields have both pheasants and quail, some areas hold mostly pheasants. Hunting pheasants behind our pointing dogs can be an exciting experience! We hunt along fence rows, food plots, and native prairie grasses. The scenery on each hunt will take you back in time to a simpler way of life. Go to our Main Upland Bird Hunting Page for more details on how to reserve your next pheasant hunt at Heartland Lodge!
South Dakota Pheasant Hunts vs. Illinois Pheasant Hunts
Pheasant hunting can be one of the most enjoyable things to do in the outdoors. Our pheasant hunts are as good as you will find anywhere in the mid-west. Most of our guides here at Heartland have had the pleasure of hunting pheasants in many states, including South Dakota and Illinois. There are many pheasant hunting lodges in both states. All the other states fall into either one of these two "styles" of pheasant hunting. Following is a brief description of each style and the pros and cons for each.
South Dakota is well known for its pheasant hunting and for good reason. Thousands of acres of flat fields filled with pheasants makes hunting South Dakota a treat for any hunter. The most common style of hunting pheasants in South Dakota is by using flushing dogs with handlers who walk a field and "push" the birds to the other end. Waiting at the end are "blockers" and once the pheasant see the blockers they flush and things can get pretty crazy for a few minutes. Sometimes multiple birds flush and the action can be fast and furious.
The pros of hunting South Dakota are the amount of birds found. There is no doubt you should be able to find plenty of birds. The cons are safety and the style of hunting. Having blockers and shooting over the heads of people, dogs, and their handlers can be risky at times, especially if there are inexperienced hunters in the group. The style of hunting is an individual choice between hunters. Many do not like the style of pushing birds into blockers, while others find this fun and enjoyable.
Illinois pheasant hunting is much like hunting “Uncle Charlie's farm” when you were young, with fence rows, timber edges, and CRP fields. Pheasant hunts are mostly done behind some type of pointing dogs. These dogs go on point and the hunters either walk in and flush the birds, or a flushing dog is used. Since most of Illinois from the central part north have both pheasant and quail, you never know what might flush. The anticipation can be very exciting!
The advantage of hunting Illinois for pheasants is the style of hunting. Hunting behind well trained pointing dogs is something we never get tired of here at Heartland Lodge. Watching them work the habitat and then lock on a bird adds another element to the entire hunting experience. There are pheasants in both South Dakota and Illinois, if you choose the right location and guide, you should be able to limit out in either state on your pheasant hunt.
Larger Group Pheasant Hunts
Heartland prides itself on the personalized service it provides to everyone hunting with us. Single, double and small groups are very special to us, as we get to know the hunters on a personal basis. But our offerings aren’t limited to small groups alone. Heartland is equipped to handle larger groups and provide the same exceptional service to each hunter within a larger group. We have plenty of birds, fields, guides and dogs to make Heartland the ideal location for larger groups.
Illinois Pheasant Hunt Easy Travel
Another advantage to pheasant hunting in Illinois, is the traveling. Traveling to South Dakota can take an extra day if you are driving, and flying into South Dakota is not always the easiest. Most of our guests fly into St Louis, Missouri and enjoy the scenic drive up the Mississippi River to our lodge. Go to our Directions Page to see how we are conveniently located.
Sunrise in the Pheasant Fields at Harpole's Heartland Lodge
For more information on our quail hunts, go to our main upland bird hunting page or directly to Illinois quail hunting. For more information on the other hunting trips that we offer, from whitetail deer to ducks, check out our main Illinois hunting page.
As most know, the male pheasant is called a rooster or a cock and the female is known as the hen. But here are a few facts that may not be as well known.
- An average rooster will weigh between 3.5 - 4 lbs. while the hen’s average weight is between 2 - 2.5 lbs.
- The average length of a rooster is 36 in. and the hen is 20 in.
- Pheasants can survive on the moisture from insects, vegetation, and the morning dew.
- A rooster will accumulate a harem of 3 - 7 hens.
- Pheasant chicks start growing flight feathers right after hatching and in two weeks are capable of short flight.
- Pheasants control their body temperatures by rapid inhalations and exhalations. This allows the body to rid itself of excess heat.
- Pheasants do not migrate. They usually stay within a 1-2 mile radius.
- Pheasants can run at a speed of 8-10 miles and can fly 35-45 miles per hour.
- A hen will nest up to four times in a nesting season.
- Pheasants are not native to North America. They were brought into the U.S. in 1881.
- The annual survival rate of a pheasant is 30%. Only 2-3% will live as long as 3 years.
- Fox, raccoon, skunk, hawk, owl, and man are the pheasant’s primary predators.
- Approximately 35% of pheasant chicks die in the first 6-10 weeks of life.
- Hen pheasants will adopt chicks that have been abandoned or lost their mother.
- A hen pheasant will lay an average of eleven eggs. A range of 1-20 eggs can be in a clutch.
- Pheasants have extreme eyesight and hearing.
- Pheasants can dig through a foot or more of snow to get to food.
History of Pheasants in Illinois
Pheasants are not native to North America and were successfully liberated from Asia in 1881. In 1890, Illinois had their first successful pair of ringneck pheasants reproduce in the wild.
Read more about the history of pheasants in Illinois>>
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