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!
    12/9/2014
    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!
    11/4/2013
    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
  • View All

Tips from our Experts

  • Here Comes the Fall...
    8/27/2014
    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
    5/23/2014
    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
    1/15/2014
    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
  • View All

Recent Blogs

  • A Hunting Honeymoon = The Perfect Honeymoon
    1/14/2015
    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?
    1/13/2015
    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
    1/13/2015
    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
    1/13/2015
    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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Testimonials

  • The experience was absolutely great!! While my son and I didn't shoot a deer, we had a great time.  We could have shot deer but chose to wait on a trophy. We can't wait to come back!!
    - Eric Stratman-Quincy, IL
  • 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
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Hunting The Illinois Whitetail Rut

 

Bow or gun hunting during the whitetail rut can be one of the most exciting times to be in the deer woods. The Illinois deer rut falls during the month of November. Hunting the Illinois deer rut can be divided up into three different hunting times: the end of the pre-rut, the rut, and the start of the post-rut.

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Click the sections below for more information.

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Whitetail Photos

Trail Cam Photos

Orig Lodge Virtual Tour

New Lodge Virtual Tour

Rooms Virtual Tour

 

Illinois Pre-Rut/Rut Archery Season (November 1st-5th)

This week can be one of the most exciting weeks to be in the Illinois deer woods! Many does are beginning to enter their estrus cycle and the big bucks are out looking for them. It's a transition week from the pre-rut into the peak rut. Whitetail bucks are very responsive to calling during this period. Rattling, doe in estrus bleats, and chasing/ tending grunts can all produce great results. The weather is typically ideal for whitetail deer hunting. Cooler temperatures in the mornings can get the bucks out trolling, looking for does.

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Peak Illinois Rut Whitetail Hunting (November 6th-20th)

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This is the most popular time for bow hunters to be hunting whitetails in Illinois. This is considered the chase phase and peak breeding period for whitetails in Illinois. Bucks are constantly chasing does. Many times, it's the smaller bucks chasing, as the bigger bucks will stay with a “hot” doe until she is bred. But once he is finished breeding her, he will be back on the search for another “hot” doe.

Illinois first gun season normally falls at the end of this period. Having a short firearm season during the deer rut allows many bucks to make it though the Illinois gun season. For those who enjoy gun hunting, this can be a very exciting three days!

Watch this video of Ron Way's 192" Monster Whitetail!!
Read more about Ron's Massive Buck Here>>>

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Illinois Post-Rut/Rut Whitetail Hunting (November 21st-30th)

This week is the end of the peak rut and the start of the post-rut. Like the pre-rut, it can be very productive, particularly with those bigger bucks looking for the remaining does to come into estrous. Some years, this week has more deer rut activity than any other period in November, especially if unusually warm weather is present earlier in the month.

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Top Whitetail Rut Hunting Tips

  1. Illinois Rut Whitetail Pike CountyFind transition areas and funnels between doe bedding areas and feeding areas. Bucks will be scent checking these areas at all hours of the day.
  2. The more time you spend in the woods the better. So if you are able to, pack a sack lunch and sit in the woods all day, as that trophy whitetail buck could come by in the middle of the day just as easily as he could in the morning or evening.
  3. Stop the buck before you take a shot at him. Bucks can be unpredictable while chasing does and moving animals will most likely result in poor shot placement. Do whatever it takes to stop him before you release your arrow.
  4. The month of November experiences drastic weather variations. Temperatures can vary from 80 degrees down to the teens, and rain and snow are also both a possibility. Hunters must come prepared to endure a variety of conditions to be able to remain in the woods.

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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.

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