News & Promotions

  • Here Comes the Fall...
    Here Comes the Fall...
    Posted by admin
    This time of the year is an exciting time for whitetail hunters. September marks the start of many states deer hunting season and for others it is the final month countdown to go time. With all of this anticipation there is usually a flurry of activity
  • The Quiet Gobbler
    The Quiet Gobbler
    Posted by admin
    Well as sad as it is for me to say this; my turkey season has now come to a close. The 2014 Turkey Season was a successful one and added many new stories that I will treasure for years to come. From successful youth hunts, some first time gobblers, and s
  • Deer Herd Health in the Midwest
    Deer Herd Health in the Midwest
    Posted by admin
    I guess one could say that I stay in tune with the whitetail deer hunting world all year long. I visit hunting forums, social media, websites, read magazines, and subscribe to various blogs and e-articles. I don’t have outdoor television programming at
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Recent Blogs

  • Four Keys to Opening Weekend of Whitetail Gun Season
    Four Keys to Opening Weekend of Whitetail Gun Season
    Posted by admin
    4 keys to Opening Weekend of Gun Season Opening Weekend of gun season has a special engrained meaning in the hearts of all hunters. Food, fellowship, anticipation for the first light of opening morning. When the initial shot crashes the air
  • 3.5 Things to Do When You Kill a Doe
    3.5 Things to Do When You Kill a Doe
    Posted by admin
    3.5 things to do when you kill a doe Shooting does, we understand the importance for herd management, the fantastic eating and confidence boosters. We also understand what they mean to big bucks. But are we really taking full advantage of does on
  • The Tools for Deer Scrape Manipulation
    The Tools for Deer Scrape Manipulation
    Posted by admin
    The Tools for Deer Scrape Manipulation Nurse……Scalpel. You hear line this in many TV hospital dramas. Doctors have many instruments to choose from when in the operating room and when it comes time to doctoring a scrape, do you have the proper instru
  • 9/30/2014
    Checking A Tree Stand
    Posted by admin
    Checking A Stand In theory, we should all have checked our tree stands before the hunting season starts, to cut shooting lanes, and to check on the status of your stands. But what if you haven’t had time? I fully understand many hunters do not have
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  • Third time with Terry. He is a great guy and very professional guide. Matt and Allen were also very helpfull. I will be back in the fall!
    - Scott Sprague, Naperville IL
  • With thousands of acres of prime eastern gobbler habitat within shouting distance and extremely low hunting pressure, Harpoles offers some of the BEST turkey hunting anywhere in the US.
    - Jack Robertson-Springfield, IL
  • Nicest lodge & accommodations I have visited. Guides look & act professional.
    - Ronald Petty-Elk River,MN
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Youth Turkey Hunts

Youth Turkey Hunting at Heartland

Youth turkey hunts are a favorite among all the turkey guides and the entire staff at Heartland Lodge. Seeing the next generation get involved in turkey hunting is something we all enjoy.  The smile on their faces tells the entire story. Our spring turkey hunts are normally very successful and a great way to get youth hunters involved in hunting.

A good way to start out a youth turkey hunting, is with an experienced guide. Most guides gain more knowledge in one year of guiding turkey hunts than a hunter will achieve in five years on his own.  All of our turkey guides enjoy teaching others how to become a better turkey hunter. Using a guide your first year or two will save you many years of mistakes and possible frustration.

When taking youth hunters out for the first time, we like to have them hunt out of ground blinds.  This gives the youth hunter, parent, and guide plenty of room.  It also allows the youth hunter a little more movement when waiting for that gobbler.

A Turkey Hunting Tradition

Your stay with us is more than a turkey hunt. It’s part of a strong hunting tradition that started back when Heartland’s owner, Gary Harpole, was a child. Each year new traditions are being created by our guests. It’s our hope that you create your own memories with your family at Heartland and carry on a tradition that began many years ago.

Click the sections below for more information.

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Illinois Youth Turkey Season

Illinois youth turkey season falls the weekend before the regular spring turkey season begins. (This is normally around the first weekend in April.)  The special youth turkey season is a great time to be in the turkey woods. The majority of our youth turkey hunters come during the regular spring turkey season, so dad or mom can hunt too.

Brothers youth turkey huntAnyone born after 1980 is required to have a hunter safety card to hunt in Illinois. If you do not have a hunter safety number, Illinois offers a one-time Apprentice License that is good for a year. Turkey permits have to be purchased in advance. Depending if you are resident or nonresident will determine when you apply for your turkey permit. As long as you apply before the applicable deadlines, you should not have any problems obtaining a spring turkey permit. Tags for the special youth turkey season are sold over the counter.

Our youth turkey hunts are half price when hunting with a paid adult. At Heartland Lodge, we considered anyone 16 yrs. or younger a youth hunter. For the special youth turkey season, the IDNR requires the youth hunter to be under 16 yrs. old.  The adult and youth will be hunting together with one guide and both hunters can harvest a turkey. If you would like for the youth hunter to have their own private guide, this can be arranged but the youth discount then would not apply.

Youth Turkey Hunting Tips

1)      Have an adult shoot the gun before the hunt with the heavy loads the youth will be hunting with. Make sure it patterns well and you know the maximum distance the gun will shoot.

2)      Use light load shells when youth are practicing as the biggest fear for most youth is how much the gun kicks. Use the heavier loads for hunting that were sighted in by an adult. The youth will not notice the kick when they pull the trigger on that gobbler!

3)      Make sure your youth hunter is wearing full camouflage and a facemask. Even if you are hunting out of a ground blind, you never know when you may need to move.

4)      Teach your youth hunter how to sit still. Don’t make them sit still the entire time but pick out 10 or 15 minutes and have them sit completely still.

5)      Teach your youth hunter to walk quietly in the woods. Teach them not to drag their feet and step on sticks, leaves, etc.

6)      Hunt out of a ground blind.  This allows a lot more flexibility than hunting in the open.

7)      The youth hunter should hunt with an experienced guide or hunter until they harvest their first bird. This will provide a positive experience.

8)      Have your youth turkey hunter bring a book or something fun to do in the blind. The main thing is for them to have a positive experience. When the hunting gets slow, make sure they don’t get bored.

9)      Don’t over hunt them. Sitting in a blind for long hours is difficult for an adult let alone a child. If they start to get bored, end the hunt. You want to make sure they are always having a good time.

10)   A great way to break up the morning is to take your youth turkey hunter out for breakfast during that lull period. This normally is after the birds fly down off the roost and when the gobblers are still with the hens.  Make sure you get back for the late morning action when those gobblers are coming back looking for that hen (you) they heard off the roost.

11)   Have your youth hunter watch turkey hunting videos before they hunt. Good turkey hunting videos are a great way to gain a lot of knowledge in a short amount of time. You will be amazed how much they will pick up from hunting videos.

12)   Give your youth hunter some turkey calls to play and practice with when you are not hunting. Slate and box calls are both great turkey calls to get your youth hunter involved.

13)   The most important tip is to teach youth hunters that hunting is not about harvesting an animal but about enjoying nature, the outdoors and time with family. If you harvest an animal, it is just a bonus.  The big picture is the memories that will be created and the beginning of a tradition that will last a lifetime.

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