Late Season Whitetail Hunting in Illinois
January 24th, 2023 – Pike County, IL Outfitter Report – “Hunting the late season at the lodge can be a very entertaining hunt as whitetails begin to herd up during the colder temperatures. Although it has its challenges, hunting the late season can be a great whitetail hunting experience! The late season can also be a great time to help us out on doe management and fill your freezer with venison! Read more on our Doe Hunts Here >>. You are more than welcome to bring a non-hunter as well to enjoy the lodge and surrounding area! We offer several luxury suites and private cabins with two-person hot tubs and fireplaces to enjoy on a cold winter’s day. Call us today for more information at 217-982-4039 or E-mail Zach@HeartlandLodge.com. Don’t miss out on a great late season whitetail hunting experience!”
Hunting late season whitetails can be a very interesting time to be in the deer woods. In Illinois, we consider late season deer hunting all of December through the middle of January. There can be a huge difference in deer hunting from the beginning of December to the middle of January. There are several different whitetail phases during this time. There is the post rut, secondary rut and getting ready for winter phases.
From the last week of November until around the 10th of December, there is still some rutting activity going on. Those big whitetail bucks are looking for the last does that did not get bred, or that came in very early and were not bred, so they are back in heat. This can be a great time to harvest the dominate trophy whitetail buck in the area since he will be out looking for the last does that are in heat. The average highs in Pike County, Illinois during this time is the upper 40’s and average lows are in the high 20’s.
Illinois’ second gun season and late muzzleloader-only season falls during this period. Illinois’ second gun season normally is the first weekend in December and lasts 4 days. This deer hunt starts on Thursday and ends on Sunday. Many gun hunters take advantage of the extra day and gun hunt whitetail during this time. The Illinois muzzleloader-only deer season is normally the following weekend. This whitetail hunt starts on Friday and ends on Sunday. We offer an archery/muzzleloader combo deer hunt during this time of year.
The whitetail does that did not get bred during November start to come back in during this secondary rut time period. This is a time when big trophy whitetail bucks are still looking for those does that come back into heat. When a doe comes into heat in the area you are hunting, you may see the dominate buck reappear. This can be very productive in killing a monster whitetail.
Also, during this time, many of the bucks are starting to build back their fat reserves for winter. Going through the rut they have lost a lot of weight and need to build back what they lost. As a result of these factors, patterning bucks from bedding and feeding areas can be very productive during this time. The average temperatures drop a little during this period to the mid 40’s as a high and mid 20’s as a low.
This is one of the favorite times for the guides and staff at Heartland Lodge to hunt. While most hunters are done for the year, Heartland starts dialing in on whitetail bucks that are getting ready for winter. Setting up on bucks traveling from bedding to feeding areas can be very productive. Unless weather moves in, hunting the early morning hours and late evening hours are the most productive during this time of year.
Heartland Lodge also offers a Doe Derby for archery hunters in December and January. This is a great way to enjoy four nights and three days of whitetail deer hunting for a very reasonable price. You can still harvest a buck, but you don’t have to pay for it unless you do. You can also harvest an unlimited amount of does. This is a great way to enjoy some time in the woods or check us out for an October or November hunt for the following seaosn.
- Wear the proper gear and dress warm. This may sound simple, but you can’t shoot a whitetail if you are cold.
- This is a good time to layer your clothes. Wait until putting on the outer layer until you are in the stand. Sitka clothing offers a great layering system.
- Patterning bucks from bedding to feeding areas is easier during this time.
- Food, food, and more food. Late season is all about the food. If you have a food source, you are going to have whitetails.
- Plant some late season food sources that will still be there when all other food sources are gone. Brassicas are great before any heavy snow arrives. Standing corn and milo or sorghum are both excellent if you can keep the deer from touching it until late.
- Have the poundage of your bow set at the poundage that you can comfortably pull back during cold weather. It’s much harder to pull your bow back when it’s cold, so make sure you don’t have too high of poundage.
- Practice shooting wearing the same gear that you will be wearing while hunting. Heavy coats, gloves, etc., should also be worn while practicing.
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|
|October 14th-16th ( 3 Days of Hunting)||$2,150|
|October 18th–20th, (3 Days of Hunting)||$2,150 (3 spots remaining!)|
|October 23rd-27th, (5 Days of Hunting) Click Here For More Info.||$4,150|
|October 29th-November 2nd (5 Days Hunting)||$5,250|
|November 4th-9th (7 Nights, 6 Days Hunting)||SOLD OUT!|
|November 11th-15th (5 Days Hunting) Click Here For More Info.||$5,250 (2 spots remaining!)|
|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)||$5,500|
|Nov. 30th–Dec 3rd (Shotgun, Rifle or Muzzleloader) 4 Day Hunt Click Here For More Info.||$4,150|
|December 8th-10th (Muzzleloader Only) 3 Day Hunt Click Here For More Info.||$2,950|
|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.