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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Whitetail Deer Shed Antler Hunting

Hunting Shed Deer Antlers

What is shed hunting for antlers and why do we do it? Shed hunting is simply searching for antlers that have fallen off of whitetail deer, mule deer, elk, and other antlered species usually in the late winter to early spring. A deer will usually start the shedding process after the breeding season when his testosterone level has dropped. In Illinois, some whitetail bucks will shed their antlers as early as Christmas and some may carry them until April.

Deer Shed Antlers Found in Pike County IllinoisWhy do we spend countless hours walking around searching for these antlers sheds?  Besides the thrill of finding a large whitetail shed antler there are some practical reasons for the search as well. Collecting these shed antlers, post season, helps the land manager take inventory of bucks that have survived.  They also provide valuable insight to the habits of the animal that dropped them.  This information could be quite useful for the future pursuit of a particular animal.

Spending hours shed hunting a farm also allows you to see all of the sign that the deer herd has created during the fall.  This is the time of year to thoroughly scout your properties and investigate all of the sanctuary areas that you have set aside the rest of the year.  Stand locations picked at this time of the year are usually much more accurate than during the summer months, as the deer sign from the hunting season is quite visible.  The location of the shed antler can also reveal a possible location to ambush that buck the following winter.

Deer antler shed hunts can be done with friends, family or solo. It's a great way to spend some time in the outdoors. Deer hunting is normally done alone in a tree stand. Hunting sheds is a great way to spend some time with your hunting buddies. What you learn finding dropped sheds will make you a better woodsman in the fall.  

Where to Focus your Search for Deer Sheds

  1.  Southern exposure areas: The south facing side of a hill receives the most amount of sunshine in these months and also helps protect the deer from pre-dominate northwesterly winds.
  2.  Scattered evergreens: Pines, cedars, and spruce trees will block some wind and will provide some shelter in snow and ice.
  3. Bedding: This time of year bucks re-form their bachelor groups. If you can find the areas where these bachelor groups are bedding you stand a very good chance at finding multiple shed antlers.
  4. Shed Antler next to a fence in Pike County ILFood Sources: Available food sources are dramatically reduced during the winter months.  If you have a food source such as standing corn, beans, or winter wheat these should be considered high probability locations.  Other areas such as alfalfa/clover fields and acorn flats should also receive considerable scrutiny. 
  5. Water: This time of the year, most of the water sources are gone or frozen. Areas of available water such as creeks and ponds can yield positive results.  Deer often use their hoofs to break open areas of ice to access water.  This exertion can often cause their antlers fall off.
  6.  Trails and fences: Clearly defined trails should be present around any of the areas that the deer herd is actively using.  Follow these trails from the feeding areas to the bedding areas to search for antlers.  Pay particularly close attention to areas where these trails intersect a fence or ditch.  The jumping motion, to clear these obstacles, may result in the dropping of an antler.


Whitetail Shed Hunting Tips

  1. The most important part of shed hunting is to slow down. Take your time moving through the woods. 
  2.  Keep your eyes down to the ground. Most sheds are found within a few feet of you.  If you are looking out ahead as you walk you are probably missing antlers.
  3. Look for shapes and colors out of place. Don’t look for a whole shed, look for a tine or something that doesn’t blend into its surroundings. Look for a “v” from tines coming off a beam or a “c” pushing off the ground from a main beam.
  4. Binoculars: Carry a light weight pair of quality binoculars to help cover more ground and to help you discern a stick from a tine. Glassing your surroundings will also help slow you down when moving through the woods.
  5. Also, when shed hunting and focusing on the ground, you can easily go a little further then you expected.  Carry some bottle water and snack items so you don’t have to cut your excursion short to retrieve them from your vehicle.


Shed Hunting at Heartland Lodge

Late January through March are the best times to shed hunt in Illinois and the entire Midwest. To gain access to Heartland Lodge’s properties for shed hunting all you need is an overnight reservation.  As if the food and accommodations weren’t enough of an incentive, thousands of acres await the motivated shed hunter.  This is a great way to spend a winter weekend or check out the lodge for a future hunt.  Make your reservation today and bring some good hiking shoes.



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