Guided Deer Muzzleloader Hunts in Illinois
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.
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
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 there guns just to double check that there 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 there muzzleloaders sighted in when they left there home. We sight the guns in at 100 yards from a stationary shooting bench.
Muzzleloader Season Checklist
- 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)
- Flashlight (required)
- Hand Warmers
- Slippers or Heavy Socks (shoes are removed in mud room)
- Range Finder (recommended)
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. For more information give us a call at 217-734-2526 or E-Mail to book a hunt! We typically sell out for this hunt every season, book now!