Late Season Pheasant & Quail Hunting in Illinois

Late Winter Upland Bird Hunting- Quail & Pheasant

upland hunting lodge

Tis’ the season! We’re entering into one of the best times of the upland hunting season here at the lodge… the Late Season. This is when we see our Northern upland hunting brothers and sisters flee the chill and deep snow of the North and arrive in Pike County, Illinois for yet another great pheasant hunt before the shotguns are put away for the year.

Late Season Upland Hunts- It’s worth the drive!

Great Group of Friends Hunting

If you shoveled snow this morning instead of heading out the door to hunt pheasants or quail, we think you should probably load up the truck and head South but stop well short of the coast. Here are five reasons why:

  1. Because there’s this wonderful place called “Georgia” full of Bobwhite quail, BUT it is 20 hours away. The best upland hunting in the Midwest is found right here in West-Central Illinois. An abundance of native prairie grasses mixed with fields of milo present the ideal habitat for late winter and early spring upland bird hunting. Our upland fields hold plenty of pheasants and quail this time of year as we manage several of our farms specifically for our late season upland hunts. We offer an exciting mixed bag of hard flying bobwhite quail and pheasants, and we are only 5 hours down the road from Minnesota, Wisconsin or Michigan.  Here at Harpole’s Heartland Lodge, we offer our exciting and challenging upland hunts through the middle of April!
  2. The only blizzards here are at the Dairy Queen. The average temperature during February and March in Pike County, Illinois normal sees highs between 42-52 degrees with the lows hitting between 23-32 degrees. And maybe more importantly is the fact that on average only 5 days of rain per month during this time of the year.
  3. Don’t shove all your hunting clothes to the back of the closet for the next 7 months just yet! Here are a couple of packing tips for hunting upland birds during the late winter months. Too many pheasant hunters bundle up in heavy clothes, then overheat after an hour of chasing the birds. You want to feel a little chilly while you’re standing by the truck getting ready; you’ll warm up soon enough. Pheasant hunting rarely requires heavy boots or brush pants in Central Illinois. It may be better to wear something lightweight and easy to move around in. Wear several lighter, thinner layers up top, rather than a heavy coat so you can shed layers as needed in the upland fields.Orvis endorsed wingshooting lodge logo
  4. And there’s another wonderful place called “New Orleans.” Can you say, Mardi Gras, cher? Here at the Lodge, you can enjoy the “party” without the out all the people. Harpole’s Heartland Lodge is a 5-star Illinois Bed & Breakfast and Resort. Couples in search of an unforgettable experience will find themselves indulging in some of the many relaxing activities available at our upland hunting lodge.
  5. All your neighbors are heading down to enjoy the late winter upland hunt, and you don’t want to be the only one freezing while they’re sleeping in, lounging by the fireplace with a hot cup of coffee, and enjoying three homecooked gourmet meals at the lodge.
  6. If your hunting club is hard to get into, covered with snow or closed this time of the year, we encourage you to make the short trip down and check out what Illinois upland bird hunting is all about!

Advantages of Late Season Upland Bird Hunting in Illinois

  • No bugs!! I’m assuming most of our Northern friends know a thing or two about mosquitoes, black flies and midges. Don’t worry, they do not make their appearance here until later in April and May -no snakes either!
  • Comfortable hunting conditions- the guides and the dogs at the lodge enjoy hunting the colder weather during the late season. You do not have to worry about dogs overheating and the guides can wear their favorite pair of pants and jackets without overheating as well!
  • Upland birds during this time frame are typically congregated around quality cover and food sources. Finding pockets of several pheasants or coveys of quail makes for an exciting hunt!

Late Winter Pheasant Hunting Tipslate season pheasant hunting

Many people believe pheasants linger on the roost on freezing cold winter days. Don’t waste a lot of time getting up early on subzero mornings trying to find sleepy pheasants still on the roost. In fact, when it’s freezing cold and days are short, pheasants head for the fields at first light to load up on high-energy grain, so hunting their bedroom on a bitterly cold morning is a waste of time. A nasty, windy, wet morning is a different story: Hunt the roost early when it’s spitting and blowing, and you may well catch pheasants reluctant to leave their warm, weedy roosts.

The birds can become educated this time of the year. It is important to remember a few tips that will make your trip more successful:

1) Don’t slam doors or be loud in the parking area.

2) Leave the bells at home.  Most of the time, late-season cover is normally a little light making it easier to see the dogs.

3)  Open chokes.  I have heard so many times… tighten up for the late season.  I don’t agree with this.  I find birds holding tight and the dogs able to pin them down easier this time of the year.  Most shots are 15-20 yards.

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For more information on our Upland Bird Hunting Packages please CLICK HERE>> or give us a call at 217-734-2526!