News & Promotions

  • 12/10/2014
    Gift Certificates - The Perfect Deer Hunter Gift
    Posted by admin
    Still have to play Santa and need a good idea for the hunter in your family? A gift certificate for a whitetail hunt at Heartland Lodge is a perfect Christmas gift for that special someone on your list! This unique gift will be one that they will never fo
  • Book Your 2015 Whitetail Hunt Now!
    Book Your 2015 Whitetail Hunt Now!
    Posted by admin
    Now is the time to reserve your 2015 whitetail deer hunting dates, especially if you want to come during a prime time!! We have some great hunting dates available, but they won't last long! The 2015 season should be one of the best in many years. If yo
  • Two Awesome Bucks Out of The Same Treestand!
    Two Awesome Bucks Out of The Same Treestand!
    Posted by admin
    For the past two years John Brewer has spent the first week of November at Harpole’s Heartland Lodge. Many of our hunters have a favorite week, and they return to camp at that time every year. The reason for creating this habit may be based on previous
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Tips from our Experts

  • 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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  • Every time I come it's harder to leave.  I feel like this place is my home away from home!  I always speak highly of this place and do my best to get the word around.  It means a lot to me that everyone on staff treats me as their friend.  The personal touch and getting to come hunt with my friends is what keeps me coming back
    - Jim Palermo
  • Thank you so much for a wonderful stay (again).  Your staff is impeccable and like family.  Many thanks to Yankee for all he does for the guest. Many thanks to your incredible chefs, I now fear I will starve to death when I go home.
    - Geoff Duncan, Decatur, IL
  • We didn't know what to expect when we arrived.  It didn't take long to realize that we had made an Excellent decision to come here!  Everything is wonderful: food, rooms and the staff is off the charts!!!  Our entire experience was so nice.  A return visit is for sure in our future!!
    - Gil Hubbard, Sugar Grove, IL
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Early Season Whitetail Hunting

The Illinois whitetail archery season begins on October 1st. Most of the month of October is considered early season whitetail hunting in Illinois and the entire mid-west. October deer hunting can be divided up into three different hunting times: opening week, mid October, and late October (considered pre-rut).

Click the sections below for more information.

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Whitetail Photos

Trail Cam Photos

Orig Lodge Virtual Tour

New Lodge Virtual Tour

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Opening Week of Illinois Archery Deer Season (Oct 1st-5th)

October 2nd WhitetailThis is a very exciting week to be in the woods hunting whitetails! There is something special about being the first hunter in a deer stand on opening day of the archery season and the anticipation can be very high. In Illinois, the weather during this time is normally perfect for morning and evening hunts. The average lows in the mornings are in the 40’s, and in the evening, the temperatures are typically in the 60’s. In a normal year, most of the crops are already harvested or are being harvested during this week. This can stimulate some extra deer movement as the deer adjust to the changing landscape. Whitetail deer are sometimes still on their summer routine and can be patterned during this time. Opening week is normally a very good time for bow hunters to be in a tree stand in Illinois.


Mid October Whitetail Hunting in Illinois (Oct 7th-18th)

Hunting in the middle of October is a transition time for deer. Whitetail patterns change from a summer to a fall pattern. This is normally a result of a change in their food source. In Illinois, their favorite food, acorns, start hitting the ground and most of the agriculture crops are harvested by this time. Whitetails are gearing up for the rut, and during this mid October time, bucks seek out the acorns that will supply them with all the nutrients they need to sustain them through the long rut. Whitetails can lose up to 25% of their body fat during the rut and acorns are full of nutrients, including protein, carbohydrates, and fats to help replace this body fat. Deer hunters that understand what is happening during this time of the year can be very successful in harvesting large whitetails if they focus on acorns and hunting around oak trees during mid October.

More scrapes and territorial rubs are also found during mid October as the whitetail bucks are starting to establish their dominance. As a result, light rattling or grunting can sometimes be productive at this time, especially towards the end of this hunting period.


Late October Whitetail Hunting in Illinois-Pre Rut (Oct 19th-31st)

Bow hunting in late October can be one of the best times to be whitetail hunting in Illinois! The weather is perfect, the trees are in full color, and the pre-rut is in full swing. If you like calling, then make sure you pack your rattling antlers and grunt tube as whitetail bucks are establishing their dominance and respond well to calling during this time. Early breeding also is happening during this phase of the rut. Bucks start traveling their rub routes checking scrapes. A few does do come into estrous at this time. If you are lucky enough to have a “hot” doe around you while bow hunting, you are going to also see a lot of buck movement as well. This is a very good time to harvest the dominate buck in that area as he is going to want to breed those first few does that come into heat. For the does that are not in yet, a lot of chasing starts to happen, especially with immature bucks. As a result, experimenting with scents and decoys can be productive during this time.


Early Season Bow Hunting Tips

  1. Opening week: Pattern a buck during the summer and try to harvest him during the first week while he is still on his summer pattern. 
  2. Mid October: Head to the acorns. Archery hunting close to acorns can be very productive! 
  3. Late October: It’s time to be a little aggressive. Try calling, rattling and using scents.


Fall Turkey Hunt Option

Enjoy bow hunting an elusive gobbler while in your stand. You can have the option of hunting turkeys and whitetail during your fall deer hunt.

It’s nice to be sitting in the stand and if a flock of turkeys come in, you have the option of shooting one with your bow. Your fall archery turkey permit is an either sex tag, so you could shoot a hen or a gobbler.


For more information on our deer hunts go to our main Whitetail deer hunting page.