Premier Whitetail Outfitter In Illinois
There are many whitetail outfitters in Illinois to choose from. Making the right choice is not always an easy one. Every year there are new Pike County, Illinois outfitters popping up and old ones trying new “tricks” to get your business. There are many reasons why Harpole’s Heartland Lodge is known as the premier Illinois whitetail outfitter.
Heartland Lodge is a western Illinois outfitter located in Pike County, with a dedicated full-time whitetail manager, full-time assistant whitetail manager, supporting staff and guides. Our outfitter staff is working on your hunt not only while you are here, but year-round to ensure that you have the most successful hunt possible. The outfitting staff begins in winter scouting the bucks that survived the fall hunting season and looking for new tree stand locations. Late winter and early spring is spent walking the woods looking for whitetail sheds, over-seeding our clover food plots and continuous scouting. Early spring is spent planting new food plots. Summer is spent maintaining food plots, glassing & video taping deer that come into the fields, and checking trail cam photos. Late summer is spent planting our brascca food plots and new clover plots. When fall arrives, all the work has been done and all that is left is to hang the stands. In contrast, many outfitters don’t start preparing for your hunt until the week before you arrive. You won’t find a more diehard whitetail outfitter in Illinois than Heartland Lodge and our whitetail crew.
If you are looking for a bow hunting outfitter, then Heartland Lodge is the right deer hunting outfitter for you. Archery hunting is a passion shared by our entire whitetail staff. We shoot our bows all year and look forward to spending time in the woods with the archery hunters that hunt with us each year.
Not only is Heartland Lodge a serious archery outfitter, but the entire state of Illinois is designed for bow hunting. Illinois has a short three-day gun season during the rut and a later gun season after the rut. These short gun seasons give whitetails in Illinois the opportunity to mature and develop into monster bucks!
Heartland Lodge has chosen to stay a “small” focused whitetail outfitter so that we can get to know and take care of each hunter that stays with us like friends and family. Your hunt is a large investment and we want to make sure that when you leave, you feel like we have given you 100%. It’s our opinion that taking a large number of hunters is counterproductive to the hunting experience. We only take as many hunters as we feel we can provide a high quality hunt and get to know on a personal basis.
There are no smoke-and-mirrors marketing tactics used at Harpole’s Heartland Lodge. Everything you see on our web site is 100% real and unstaged. All of our deer photos and trail cam photos are from our hunters and our properties. Be wary of whitetail outfitters in Illinois who don’t put the names of the hunters or dates and times on their trail cam photos. Most of their deer pictures are not from actual hunters and trail cam photos are from many years prior or on properties you will never be hunting.
This is normally last on the list because most hunters think they could sleep in the back of their truck as long as the hunting is good. That may be true, but a good night’s sleep and a good meal are just as important to your hunt as good stand placement. If you are fatigued, it may make the difference between harvesting a buck of a lifetime and missing the chance of a lifetime. Heartland’s accommodations and meals are in a class of their own. You will look forward to the comfortable beds after a long day’s hunt and you will awake fresh and ready to go each morning. Please view our virtual tours of the Original Lodge, Prairie Ridge Lodge and Rooms to get a better idea of our accommodations.
Heartland has been guiding quality whitetail deer hunts for 19+ seasons. The majority of our hunters are repeat clients from previous years. Our goal is when you leave, that you tell us your hunt was everything you thought it was going to be and more. Most of our hunters reserve their spot for next year before they leave.
Long term deer management is critical to growing mature whitetail bucks. Most of our whitetail properties have been under our management for at least 10+ years, some for 20+ years.
Our guides do not hunt the properties you will be hunting. Believe it or not, many outfitters in Illinois allow their guides to hunt the same land as the hunters do. Many times you will find their guides in their trophy galleries! Avoid these outfitters at all costs!
Your stay with us is more than a deer hunt. It’s part of a strong hunting tradition that started back when Heartland’s owner, Gary Harpole, was a child. Each year new traditions are being created by our guests. It’s our hope that you create your own memories at Heartland with your family or friends and carry on a tradition that started many years ago.