News & Promotions

  • Early Summer Whitetails…What Should(‘nt) I be doing?
    Early Summer Whitetails...What Should(‘nt) I be doing?
    Posted by admin
    For many of you die hard whitetail hunters there is an itch that you feel right now. An itch that, you so very much, would like to scratch. Turkey season is over, you have already drowned several dozen nightcrawlers, the green fields are growing, and th
  • Before the Spring Thaw…
    Before the Spring Thaw…
    Posted by admin
    As we enter the last week of February most people grow anxious for the warmth of spring. Although I share in this enthusiasm I know that there is work to be done before the flowers start to bloom. This is the optimum time of the year to make habitat imp
  • 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
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Recent Blogs

  • A Hunting Honeymoon = The Perfect Honeymoon
    A Hunting Honeymoon = The Perfect Honeymoon
    Posted by admin
    In just a few days, some friends of ours will celebrate their 7th wedding anniversary and of course, seeing their anniversary on the calendar reminded me of their wedding back in 2008. The groom is an avid hunter…and the bride was (and still is) his perfe
  • Are Deer Drives a Thing of The Past?
    Are Deer Drives a Thing of The Past?
    Posted by admin
    “Loop around this wooded funnel in the corn field and walk through, push something to me.” My father had just given a near holy task to me as a 12 year old boy, push a deer to him. As a young boy, spending a morning freezing with my dad was darn special
  • Building Your Waterfowl Blind Bag
    Building Your Waterfowl Blind Bag
    Posted by admin
    Building Your Blind Bag Wind howling, my brother and I looked at each other and traded our gear out quickly. Taking the bows out of the truck, we loaded our duck decoys, shotguns, boats and headed for the swamps. Mallards flew high, teal whistled b
  • Deer Hunting with a Climber Tree Stand
    Deer Hunting with a Climber Tree Stand
    Posted by admin
    Breaking from traditional stands and venturing to new areas offers hunters the chance to discover un-pressured animals and territory. Often times your traditional spots go cold part way through the season leaving you frustrated and discouraged. Don't
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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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