Hunting The Illinois Whitetail Rut
September 26th, 2023 – Pike County, IL Outfitter Report – “If you are interested in a 2023 pre-rut or peak rut hunt, now is the time to book before we are completely sold out! We have a few PRIME hunt spots remaining at the end of October and in the middle of November during the peak of the rut! These are prime hunt spots that won’t last long! Call 217-982-4039 or E-Mail to inquire about our guided rut hunts today!”
Bow or gun hunting during the whitetail rut can be one of the most exciting times to be in the deer woods. This is traditionally the best time to be in the deer stand. As the leaves begin to fall and the weather starts to drop, mature deer start to become more and more visible during daylight hours searching for estrous does. 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.
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, using buck decoys, 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.
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!!
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.
For more information on our Thanksgiving Week Archery Hunt Click Here>>
Transition areas – Find transition areas and funnels between doe bedding areas and feeding areas. Bucks will be scent checking these areas at all hours of the day.
Time in the woods – 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.
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.
Be prepared – 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.
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.
|2023 Archery Dates Available:|
|More on our Archery Hunts>>|
|October 1st–5th (Opening Week - 5 Days of Hunting) Click Here For More Info.||SOLD OUT!|
|October 9th-12th (4 Days of Hunting)||$2,650 (1 spot remaining!)|
|October 14th-16th ( 3 Days of Hunting)||SOLD OUT!|
|October 18th–20th, (3 Days of Hunting)||SOLD OUT!|
|October 23rd-27th, (5 Days of Hunting) Click Here For More Info.||$4,150 (1 spot remaining!)|
|October 29th-November 2nd (5 Days Hunting)||$5,250 (1 spot remaining)|
|November 4th-9th (7 Nights, 6 Days Hunting)||$5,750 (3 spots remaining)|
|November 11th-15th (5 Days Hunting) Click Here For More Info.||$5,500 (2 spots remaining! Peak Rut!)|
|November 24th- 28th (5 days of hunting) Click Here For More Info.||$2,550|
|6 Night, 5 Day Dec. & Jan. Hunt||$2,250|
|4 Night, 3 Day Dec. & Jan. Hunt||$1,750|
|4 Night, 3 Day Dec. & Jan. Doe Reduction Hunt Click Here For More Info.||$1,250|
|Fall Turkey Hunt Option (More Info Here)||$250|
|2023 Firearm Dates Available:|
|More on our Firearm Hunts>>|
|November 17th-19th (Shotgun, Rifle or Muzzleloader)||SOLD OUT!|
|Nov. 30th–Dec 3rd (Shotgun, Rifle or Muzzleloader) 4 Day Hunt Click Here For More Info.||SOLD OUT!|
|December 8th-10th (Muzzleloader Only) 3 Day Hunt Click Here For More Info.||$2,950 (1 spot remaining)|
|7 night, 6 Day Dec. Archery/Muzzleloader Combo Hunt Dec. 5th- 10th||$4,700|
|**includes guides, meals, accommodations & game cleaning|
Click Here For More Info. on Legal Rifles
- Non-hunting guests are welcome. The rate is $125 ($150 in the fall) for each night for a regular room. Call for pricing on other rooms.
- Non-hunting guest meal package is $80 per night.
- If non-hunting guest would like to sit in the stand with hunters, the fee is $150 per hunting day. (we have limited space in guide vehicles)
- Private rooms are available upon request.
- All Lodges/ Cabins have WIFI
- $125 for a private regular room (Jan-September) each night at The Original Lodge.
- $150 for a private regular room (Oct-Dec) each night at The Original Lodge.
- $175 for the Angler room (Queen Bed) each night at The Original Lodge.
- $200 for the Whitetail suite (King Bed & Whirlpool) each night at The Original Lodge
- $250 for the Luxury suite (King Bed, Whirlpool, & Fireplace) each night at Prairie Ridge Lodge
- $350 for the Private Luxury Cabins (King Bed, Whirlpool, Fireplace & Private Deck) each night at the Luxury Cabins
Enjoy one of our Luxury Suites during your stay. For only $125 per hunter (per night – based on double occupancy) you can stay in one of these incredible rooms. Each spacious room has two king size beds, Whirlpool, fireplace, gun holders, private decks and entrance. Prices are valid only when purchasing a hunt package above, otherwise our regular room rates apply.
If you are looking for a rewarding and fulfilling job as a whitetail hunting guide at one of the best whitetail hunting outfitters in the country, look no further than Heartland Lodge!
All of our whitetail hunting guides are experienced, accomplished deer hunters. We manage over 5,000 acres of the best whitetail hunting habitat in the country for trophy whitetails. We put in several acres of food plots, run trail cameras and scout year-around. Whether it be glassing summer bean fields in July or shed hunting in February, you will be hard-pressed to find more compassionate deer hunting guides. Our guides take great pride in our ability to pattern deer, and give our clients the best guided deer hunting experience available. Please follow the link below for more information.