News & Promotions

  • Save On 2016 Whitetail Hunts!
    Save On 2016 Whitetail Hunts!
    Posted by admin
    Now is the time to reserve your 2016 Whitetail Hunt. Prime dates get filled a year in a adance so don't wait to book your
  • 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
  • Trail camera not just for big game
    Trail camera not just for big game
    Posted by admin
    Nowadays, just about everyone is using trail cameras for hunting, but the real question is, “Are you getting your money’s worth out of your camera and using it to its full potential?” Most hunters dust the camera off about mid-August to early September, s
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Tips from our Experts

  • 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

  • Connecting the Dots on Your Target Buck
    Connecting the Dots on Your Target Buck
    Posted by admin
    I’m flipping through hundreds of trail camera photos of does, yearlings, and small bucks using the small spring fed water hole in the late August heat and finally BOOM! A massive velvet toting rack fills my computer screen. After a few mesmerizing seconds
  • 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
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  • Anticipation!! I booked my hunt with Heartland Lodge in July of 2014 for the last week of October 2015.  I must say I have never had to endure a wait this long or this exciting.  My wife says I'm unbearable to live with.  I have all of my gear packed and ready to go (except my bow, got to practice) and can't wait to get to Illinois for my first ever Mid-West hunt.  I guide whitetail hunts in South Texas and I'm really looking forward to being the one guided this time!! I promise to write about my experience with Gary and Heartland Lodge when my hunt is complete at the end of October.  Ahh the ANTICPATION is killing me!! Happy hunting and shoot straight!!
    - Rick Myers-Beeville, TX
  • 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
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Illinois Archery Hunts

Illinois bow hunting for whitetail deer is as good as you will find anywhere in the country. Archery hunters enjoy bow hunting in Illinois because of its generous season dates and quality of whitetail deer. If you enjoy whitetail archery hunting, then Illinois is the state for you!

Bow Hunting Whitetails at Heartland Lodge & Outfitter

We take archery hunting very seriously at Heartland. All the guides working at Heartland are avid and accomplished archers. Even our housekeeper is a diehard bow hunter. (She currently holds the world record for largest turkey ever taken with a bow by a female!) Bow hunting for whitetails is a year-around job: trail cams, scouting videos and shed hunting in the spring are all part of our annual whitetail scouting program. You won’t find anyone more passionate about whitetail archery hunting than the staff at Heartland Lodge!

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

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 Archery Season

Illinois archery season for deer opens October 1st and runs through the middle of January. Illinois has a very short gun season, which comprises only three days during the rut. This reduces the chances of our large whitetail bucks being harvested with a firearm increasing your bow hunting opportunities. Illinois also has a later gun season than other states that falls around the first weekend of December. Both gun seasons are shotgun or muzzleloader only. All of these factors combine to make Illinois primarily an archery hunting state.


Illinois Whitetails

What makes Illinois such a great bow hunting state to pursue whitetails? There are many factors, but low pressure and great genetics, along with a healthy age structure, make Illinois the best destination for hunting mature whitetails. Within Illinois, Pike County is the premier county for trophy whitetails and we are located in the prime countryside of Pike County. Pike County is located in between the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers offering superb habitat. This fertile land has all the minerals whitetails need, along with an abundance of agriculture mixed in with just the right amount of hardwoods and cover that whitetails desire. All whitetails are free roaming when hunting at Heartland Lodge.


The Heartland Lodge Difference

What makes us different than all the other hunting outfitters in Illinois and the Mid-West?

  1. Long-term deer management. Most of our whitetail properties have been under our management for 10+ years. Some for 20+ years!
  2. No smoke-and-mirrors marketing. All of our deer photos and trail cam photos are from our hunters and properties. Many outfitters post photos of friends’ and families’ deer, along with trail cam photos on properties you will never be hunting.
  3. Our guides do not hunt the properties. Many outfitters allow their guides to hunt the same stands and properties as the hunters decreasing your opportunities.
  4. Personal Service. We stay “small” by choice and only have one deer camp/lodge. We like to develop long-term friendships with all of our hunters. You will see the owner every day at the lodge. Low pressure and low volume on our properties keeps those mature whitetails from going nocturnal. Many outfitters run a high volume operation and you are just a number to them. We want you to be just as excited to return to Heartland as when you first arrived. 
  5. Hunting Tradition - Your stay with us is more than a deer 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 at Heartland with your family or friends and carry on a tradition that started many years ago.  


Archery Permits in Illinois

Purchasing your archery tag and hunting license is a very easy process. Beginning in June, all hunters can purchase their archery permit online, or alternatively through the mail using our outfitter number. All of our hunters have received their archery permits when applying before June 30th. All leftover tags are then sold directly online or at one of the IDNR licensed venders. There are normally plenty of deer permits even until the end of the season.

Nonresident archery permits come with an either-sex tag and an antlerless-only tag. Nonresidents are limited to one buck during the archery season. But there are no limits to the number of does you may harvest.

Resident hunters can purchase their hunting license direct at any license vender or through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources web site. All resident hunters can harvest two bucks and unlimited does.


Top Whitetail Archery Hunting Tips

You can hunt in the best location, have an incredible stand set up, and have that buck of your dreams standing at 20 yards, but if you are not prepared, it may not turn out the way you played it in your head over and over. We want to make sure you are successful, and the following archery tips will help you be better prepared:

  1. Practice, Practice, Practice – This is the first tip for a reason, you don’t want the chance of a lifetime to be an errant shot.
  2. Practice shooting at longer ranges – This makes the closer yards seem like a chip shot.
  3. Practice shooting from different elevations – Many hunters just practice from a standing position on the ground. If you are going to be in a tree stand or may even shoot sitting down, practice this.
  4. Practice shooting with the same clothes on that you will be wearing during your hunt. This includes gloves!
  5. Practice using your range finder and estimating yardages. When you arrive in your stand, make sure you use your range finder and have all your yardages down.
  6. If you are able to sharpen your broadheads, then practice with the same broadheads that you will be hunting with. This builds confidence and assures that your arrows are flying properly.
  7. Practice shooting in low light conditions dusk/dawn. Shoot until you cannot see your pins. Try to stretch it until dark. Many opportunities happen first thing in the morning or at last light.
  8. The power of visualization….. When you are practicing, visualize each shot as if you are shooting at that whitetail. Then when you are in the field and are getting ready to shoot, visualize the shot going exactly where you want.
  9. The most important tip is, regardless of how the hunting ends up, to still have a great time. It’s not all about the harvest, it’s about creating great memories that will last a lifetime.


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.