Late November Deer Hunting Tactics in Illinois

Post rut whitetail hunting in Illinois Thanksgiving Week Whitetail Hunt

Our Thanksgiving week archery hunt is a great way to spend the holiday weekend with friends and family at deer camp. We have several repeat hunters that have made Thanksgiving week an annual tradition!

The weather conditions are typically good for deer movement as the average daytime temperatures begin to drop considerably at the end of November and beginning of December. As the temperatures drop, and whitetails phase out of the “lock-down” period of the rut, mature buck movement starts to increase.

Late November Whitetail Hunt

Corey Wilkenson, one of Heartland’s team members, sums up late November deer behavior: “To the casual observer the rut is over. The deer herd seems to go back to their normal routines. My feeling is that this is one of the best times of the year to kill the biggest and baddest your area has to offer. The chaos of the rut is over, and this could bring out some upper age class bucks that aren’t as active participants in the “main event”. There will also be some very aggressive mature bucks, who didn’t get their fill during the peak breeding, who could still be on the prowl. If you watch the internet closely this period produces pairs of giant bucks locked up from fighting every year. That should tell us something.”

Agustin Rubio was able to harvest the nice buck pictured above during our Thanksgiving archery week in 2023!

Late November Deer Hunting Tactics

Sitting all day can still be productive during this time frame as mature bucks seek out estrous does. During this phase, we tend to hunt thick funnels and pinch points near known doe family group bedding areas trying to intercept bucks as they scent check the downwind side. Evening hunts can once again be productive over food sources as does begin to congregate around our food plots, corn or soybean fields. During this time frame it seems like we will have new bucks pop up on trail camera as food sources change and deer shift into their winter ranges.

late november deer hunting strategy

One of my favorite tactics during this time frame is finding a quality food source that bucks have “re-opened” all the scrapes around. This is typically a sign of two things, a doe is either in estrous or getting close to coming in, and she is frequenting the food source often or core bucks are coming back into their early fall ranges. This may be the most under-rated time of the year to hunt trophy bucks across the Midwest!

Kyle Sahs’ Late November Hunt Testimonial- “It’s become a tradition of mine to spend my Thanksgiving week hunting with Heartland Lodge. What started as a quick getaway to deer hunt has turned into something much bigger. Every year I come down and it’s not just a deer hunting trip to me, it’s a deer hunting trip with my Pike County family…”

If you are interested in a pre-rut hunt this fall, call 217-982-4039 or E-Mail me today at for last minute whitetail cancellation hunt spots available and special pricing!

I hope to see you at the lodge this season!
-Zach Jumps

More Information on Illinois Rut Hunts

General Whitetail Information

Illinois Archery Hunts