Guided Deer Muzzleloader Hunts in Illinois

Whitetail harvested during muzzleloader season Illinois offers a 3-day muzzleloader only whitetail season in the Middle of December. The muzzleloader hunt takes place over the weekend starting on Friday and ending Sunday. Muzzleloader tags are applied for online during the lottery period or purchased over the counter after October 15th (if there are any left). Muzzleloader tags are county and season specific in Illinois. Deer hunters will also have to purchase a hunting license and habitat stamp, both can be purchased online or over the counter. Muzzleloaders can also be used during the other Illinois deer firearm seasons.

Muzzleloader/ Archery Combo Hunt

At Heartland Lodge, we offer a muzzleloader/ archery combo hunt. It’s a 7-night, 6-day hunt. You will arrive 4 nights prior to the muzzleloader weekend (arrive Monday evening) and archery hunt Tue-Thur, and hunt with a muzzleloader Fri-Sun, depart Monday morning. This hunt is a great way to extend your whitetail hunting getaway and do so at a great value. You will need to purchase an archery tag as well as the muzzleloader tag for this hunt.

Whitetail Hunting Strategy During Muzzleloader Season

During the Illinois muzzleloader season, whitetail bucks are typically in a bed to feed pattern. During the morning hours, we focus our clients on hunting transition/ bedding areas in the hardwoods. Evening hunts will generally be over some type of food plot or food source. If we have cold weather, hunters can see high deer numbers as the deer herd congregates close to quality food sources. It was during our late season muzzleloader hunt a few seasons ago, when one of our hunters harvested an 194-inch buck (pictured)!

During the muzzleloader season, we hunt out of ladderstands, ground blinds, pop-up blinds, tower blinds or permanent deer blinds. Stand location during the muzzleloader season will depend on wind and weather conditions, scouting reports from the guide and whether or not the hunter plans to sit all day in the same stand (which we typically recommend, weather dependent).

Weather Conditions During Muzzleloader Season

Illinois buck during muzzleloader season Weather during the Illinois muzzleloader season can vary from frigid cold to mild temperatures. Average day time highs are usually in the 30-40’s and lows in the 20-30’s. We recommend bringing quality gear and several layers of warm clothes. It seems that clients that are well-prepared for late season hunting conditions are the ones that have the most enjoyable and successful muzzleloader hunts.

Sighting in Your Muzzleloader

On the evening before muzzleloader season, we have all the hunters shoot their guns just to double check that their scopes hadn’t been bumped during transportation to the lodge. On numerous occasions we’ve had to make small adjustments after arrival even though the hunters had their muzzleloaders sighted in when they left their home. We sight the guns in at 100 yards from a stationary shooting bench.

Muzzleloader Season Checklist

  • Muzzleloader
  • Extra Sabots & Gun Powder
  • Rain Gear
  • Insulated Rubber Boots or Pack Boots
  • Orange Hat (required) – has to be solid orange, no “camo orange”
  • Orange Vest (required) – has to be solid orange, no “camo orange”
  • Muzzleloader Gun Case (required) -state law in Illinois when transporting to and from the field
  • Rattling Antlers (optional)
  • Grunt Tube (optional)
  • Pull Up Rope – all of our stands should have these, but it might not hurt to throw one in your pack
  • Treestand Safety Harness & Strap that goes around the tree (required when hunting out of stands)
  • Binoculars
  • Flashlight (required)
  • Hand Warmers
  • Camera
  • Cooler
  • Slippers or Heavy Socks (shoes are removed in mud room)
  • Range Finder (recommended)

Muzzleloader hunting in Illinois Book Your Muzzleloader Hunt Now

We offer 4-night, 3-day muzzleloader hunts in legendary Pike and Calhoun County, Illinois. 5-star lodging, home-cooked gourmet meals and professional guides will make for a once in a lifetime muzzleloader hunting experience! We intensely manage 5,000 acres for bucks over 140 inches. Start a new tradition this year with friends and family with a muzzleloader hunt this season!

2024 Muzzleloader Hunt Dates/Rates

December 13th-15th (Muzzleloader Only) 3 Days of Hunting Click Here For More Info. Muzzleloader Only Promotion! $300 OFF! Regular $3,150
7 night, 6 Day Dec. Archery/Muzzleloader Combo Hunt Dec. 10th- 15th (Limited Time Promotion $500 OFF! Few spots remaining!) Regular $4,900

**includes guides, meals, accommodations & game cleaning

All bookings are double occupancy in regular room at the Original Lodge, unless other arrangements are made. Private rooms can be arranged if available. All rooms have private baths. As part of the care and maintenance inside our lodge, we ask that you bring slippers or wear socks. Boots and shoes are removed in the mud room. The Original Lodge is for hunters only October – December 25th. Prairie Ridge Lodge is for hunters only the entire month of November.

  • Non-hunting guests are welcome. The rate is $150 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. (This option is not available during rut weeks or regular firearm seasons, late-October thru mid-December- we have limited space in guide vehicles)
  • Private rooms are available upon request.
  • All Lodges/ Cabins have WIFI
  • $150 for a private regular room 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


For more information give us a call at 217-982-4039 or E-Mail to book a hunt! We typically sell out for this hunt every season, book now!


For Dates & Rates on our Muzzleloader Hunts, Click Here>>

General Whitetail Hunting Information>>

Archery Hunts>>