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
View More Testimonials

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.


Click the sections below for more information.

View Rates

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.


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

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>>>


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.


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.


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.