News & Promotions

  • Muzzleloader Deer Hunt Special
    8/27/2014
    Muzzleloader Deer Hunt Special
    Posted by admin
    We are offering our 2014 Muzzleloader only hunt at a special rate for a limited time. This hunt is normally $2,450 and we are offering it for $1,950. There are limited spots and are available to the first hunters who call in. If you are reading this post
  • 12/5/2013
    Book Your 2014 Whitetail Hunt Now!
    Posted by admin
    Now is the time to reserve your 2013 deer hunting dates, especially if you want to come during a prime time. We have some great whitetail hunting dates available, but they won't last long. Most of our prime dates fill up early. We had a good 2012 white
  • 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
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Recent Blogs

  • LOCAL ARCHER SHOOTING FOR THE STARS
    8/23/2014
    Local Archer Shooting for the Stars
    Posted by admin
    Northeast Missouri teenager Brooke Miller took up the sport of archery 4 years ago. Since then, she has won multiple local, state and national titles. The rural Ewing, Missouri archer now has her sights set on something even higher, a spot on the USA
  • Lining Up For Ducks - Understanding Long Line Decoying
    1/28/2014
    Lining Up For Ducks - Understanding Long Line Decoying
    Posted by admin
    We were not chasing typical high flying mallards or whistling wood ducks. These were wildly colored diving ducks. Pushing down from the arctic as the deadly weather of winter encompasses the landscape, bluebills, goldeneyes, redheads, old squaws and the
  • 12/3/2013
    Watch for Trailing Bucks During the Whitetail Rut
    Posted by admin
    Nothing gets a whitetail hunter’s blood flowing faster than an all-out rut fest. Does flying out from every inch of brush like they were shot out of a pinball machine and bucks act as barriers trying to corral them. Logs snap like tooth picks and any o
  • Building Brush Blinds for Whitetail Deer Hunting
    11/17/2013
    Building Brush Blinds for Whitetail Deer Hunting
    Posted by admin
    Building Brush Blinds Where and how to properly build a brush blind Scrub brush, briars, vines and saplings growing wildly well above the head of a grown person create near impenetrable landscapes for huma
  • View All

Testimonials

  • 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
  • Always love coming to Heartland.  The staff makes you feel like family.......Like coming home.
    - Geoff Duncan
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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.

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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.

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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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Illinois Archery Hunts                                          More videos & pics of succefull hunters

Whitetail Deer Hunting Main Page                      Illinois Gun Hunts

Early Season Whitetail Hunting                           Hunting the Illinois Rut

Late Season Whitetail Hunting                            Real Estate

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