Whitetail Deer Hunting
2015 - 2016 Whitetail Deer Hunting Report
August, 2015 - A favorite evening pass time in the summer for locals that live in Pike County is looking at the whitetail bucks that frequent the bean fields in the summer. The last two evenings I drove around and was very impressed with the number of nice bucks in the fields. Over the two evenings I saw a total of 54 bucks and 20 of them being shooters already with a month left for antler development. There were 10 studs that are going to be very impressive this fall. The corn is at that "sweet stage" that whitetails enjoy so these numbers will increase once the corn hardens. A positive from all the recent rains in our area is that whitetails have everything they need for maximum growth and development. Make sure you are in a tree stand somewhere in Illinois this year! Gary Harpole
July, 2015 - We are seeing a lot of nice bucks in bachelor groups. It has been the best summer for big buck sightings that we have had in the last 2-3 years. Recently we saw a group of three bucks running together and all will go over 140+, one close to 150 and its only July 9th. Matt saw another group of bachelor bucks two days ago with 5 bucks all 130+. Early trail camera photos are coming back with more big whitetails than we have seen in several years. If you are deer hunting in Illinois this year you picked the right year. We can't wait until the season gets here! If you haven't booked a hunt yet it's not to late. Go to 2015 Whitetail Hunts>>
Be sure to watch the video and listen to John Brewer's amazing hunt. John has shot two bucks out of the same stand almost one year to the day apart. He stayed positive, hunted hard and his persistence paid off with these two Illinois Whitetails of a lifetime! If you would like to read more about John's amazing two year run, you can read the blog about John Brewer's buck.
Whitetail Deer Hunting at Heartland
Visit Heartland Lodge for legendary Pike County Illinois deer hunting, in one of the finest whitetail deer hunting lodges & outfitters in the country! Heartland Lodge is located in the middle of incredible Illinois deer hunting country. Located between the Mississippi and Illinois River drainages, Heartland provides habitat that is perfect for large whitetail bucks. The four key ingredients to having a quality deer herd are all found at Harpole's deer hunting lodge & outfitter. You must have genetics, food, habitat, and a good age structure to produce monster bucks and quality whitetail deer hunting. The genetics here in Illinois are the best in the country. The food and habitat could not be better. With a strict management program in place to preserve growth, Heartland has it all when hunting for incredible whitetail bucks.
Harpole's Lodge owns and leases thousands of acres of the best hunting ground in Pike County, Illinois' deer hunting territory. The land is scouted year round, thus Heartland is not just a seasonal operation. We are working for you not only in the fall, but all year to assure you the best deer hunt possible. Heartland's reputation precedes itself as one of the finest whitetail deer hunting lodges & outfitters ever opened to the public.
Our goal is to have 100% satisfaction for each deer hunter. Compare us with other whitetail deer hunting lodges & outfitters. You won't be disappointed. We are among the finest in the country - and the only Orvis-approved hunting lodge in Illinois.
A Hunting Tradition
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.
Click the sections below for more information.
Deer Hunting Outfitters
When looking for a hunting outfitter, especially a whitetail deer hunting outfitter, you need to make sure you do your home work. There are so many Illinois outfitters and many are located in Pike County and West Central Illinois. New deer outfitters are popping up every year and whitetail hunters should make sure they have been in business at least 10 yrs. When hunting with an outfitter make sure you ask all the questions and if it sounds to good to be true it probably is.
Watch this video of Ron Way's 192" Monster Whitetail!!
Read more about Ron's Massive Buck Here>>>
Illinois Bow Hunting Packages
Six night, five-day package - Arrive the night before between 3:00p.m.-5:00p.m. Hunt five full days and depart after breakfast on your sixth day. Archery deer hunts are what we specialize in. If you are an archery hunter, you will feel at home at Heartland. Our Illinois bow hunting deer packages are the hunt of a lifetime!
Four night, three-day packages - Available in October, December and January. (Whitetail deer hunting in January is a local favorite.)
Seven night, six day archery-muzzleloader combo package - Arrive on Monday between 3:00p.m.-5:00p.m. Hunt three full days of archery and then hunt three full days of muzzleloader. This whitetail deer hunt usually falls on the second week and weekend of December.
Ask about our Doe Derby deer hunts in December & January.
Fall Turkey Hunt Option - Enjoy bow hunting an elusive gobbler while in your stand. You can have the option of hunting both turkeys and whitetails during your fall hunt.
Illinois Gun Hunting Packages (Shot gun or muzzleloader)
Four night, three day November package - Arrive on Thursday between 3:00p.m.-5:00p.m. Gun hunt three full days and depart on Monday after breakfast. This Illinois firearm deer hunt usually falls the weekend before Thanksgiving.
Five night, four day December package - Arrive on Wednesday between 3:00p.m.-5:00p.m. Hunt four full days and depart on Monday after breakfast. This Illinois gun deer hunt usually falls the weekend after Thanksgiving.
Four night, three day muzzleloader package - Arrive on Thursday between 3:00p.m.-5:00p.m. Hunt three full days and depart on Monday after breakfast. This Illinois muzzleloader deer hunt usually falls on the second weekend of December.
Seven night, six day archery-muzzleloader combo package - Arrive on Monday between 3:00p.m.-5:00p.m. Hunt three full days of archery and then hunt three full days of muzzleloader. This archery and muzzleloader deer hunt usually falls on the second week and weekend of December.
Four night, three day firearm doe hunts - There are two doe only gun seasons in Illinois. The first doe hunt normally starts on the last Thursday of the year and ends on Sunday. Doe hunters arrive on Wednesday and depart on Monday. The second doe season our hunters arrive on Thursday between 3:00p.m.-5:00p.m. Hunt three full days and depart on Monday after breakfast. This deer hunt is in January.
* For all gun tags you need to contact the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). Please call 217-782-7305 to have the application sent to you, or visit them online at http://dnr.state.il.us.
Whitetail Deer Shed Hunting
Enjoy hunting for some of the largest whitetail buck sheds in North America. All you have to do is book a room at the lodge and you have access to our properties on the days you are staying. Go to our shed antler hunting page for more info>>
The buck pictured on the right is called the "Goody" buck. This buck was found while shed hunting. If you would like to read the amazing story, just go to "The Goody Buck"
Please call our office at 1-800-717-4868 or you can email us at email@example.com to book whitetail deer hunting reservations.
Where Are We?
Heartland Lodge is in Pike County, Illinois, (Illinois deer hunting capital) northeast of St. Louis, Missouri and southwest of Springfield, Illinois. Click here for directions and a map.
All of our hunts are booked double occupancy. Private rooms and luxury suites are available, for an additional charge. Please view our virtual tours of the Original Lodge, New Lodge and Rooms to get a better idea of our accommodations.
Groups - Size And Level Of Experience
We welcome seasoned veterans and those who are just learning how to deer hunt. With deer hunting tips and strategies from our guides, your group is sure to have an incredible time. We limit our whitetail hunters to 12-16 per week, depending on the time of year. Additional upland and waterfowl hunters may be staying at the lodge during your hunt.
How To Secure A Spot Every Year?
You may reserve a spot each year by signing a year-to-year contract. Please ask about this if you are interested.
A payment of 50% of your total hunt is due when making your reservations.
If you cancel before June 1st of year arriving at Harpole's Heartland Lodge, your deposit will be refunded less 10% of total hunt. No refunds are given after June 1st.
Airport transportation is provided by "Hubb's Transportation." St. Louis, Lambert airport, is the closest major airport. For private planes, Quincy and Pittsfield airports are the closest. For more information you can contact Hubb's Transportation at 800-201-0707. Visit our directions page for directions for driving to the lodge.
Important Whitetail Deer Hunting Information
- All whitetail are free roaming.
- All hunts are fully guided. Guides take you to and from the stand. Guides do not sit in the stand.
- We hunt on approximately 5,000 acres located in Pike and Calhoun Counties.
- The average opportunity rate is approximately 60%.
- We only harvest deer scoring 130 Pope & Young or better. Some areas are 140 or better.
- We encourage the harvesting of does.
- Cross bows can be used by attaining a special permit from the IDNR or if you are over 62yrs old.
- Slugs are used with shotguns. Buckshot is not allowed.
- All guns must be plugged and can only hold 3 shells at a time.
- All guns and bows must be in cases while in the vehicle.
- When a deer is wounded, a possible 48-hour search may be required, before hunting is resumed.
- Gun hunters must wear a solid orange cap and vest.
- Average tree stand height-15'-18'. Higher and lower stands are available. Ground blinds are also available. Please call ahead to let us know any special requirements.
- We use tree steps and stacking sticks with our lock on stands.
- Ladder stands are available.
- Guides will field dress your deer.
- Processing - A local processor can process your deer or you can process your deer yourself at the lodge.
- Caping-There is a fee paid directly to a local processor.
- Smoking Policy-No smoking in lodge, tree stands, or in guides' vehicles.
What To Bring
- Your bow or gun
- Gore-Tex or rain gear
- Knee high rubber boots recommended
- Orange hat and vest (Gun only)
- Bow or gun case
- Rattling antlers (Optional)
- Grunt tube (Optional)
- Pull up rope
- Safety belts are required
- Binoculars (Optional)
- Flashlight (Optional)
- Hand warmers (Optional)
- Camera (Optional)
- Cooler (Optional)
- Slippers or heavy socks (Shoes are removed in mud room)
- Range finder (Optional)
Harpole's Heartland Lodge strives to give our guests the best experience possible. We understand that your upcoming trip is a significant investment. We offer trip insurance through North America's leading provider of Travel Insurance called "Travel Guard".
There are many circumstances that could change your plans. Please take a few minutes to learn how you can protect yourself. If you choose to decline this valuable coverage, you are assuming any financial loss associated with a cancelation or a change in your travel arrangements.
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