Does anyone hunt on public land in Illinois.I am from Ms and want to hunt public land I have 2 places in mind already.Just wondering if anyone has any experiences they might share from hunting public land there.Or any suggestions all help is much appreciated!!
Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois and a few State Parks in the surrounding areas! Camping in a few State Parks available also!....I use to hunt all these areas back 'in the day'! (60's & 70's and 80's, etc.) I haven't been down there and hunted though since 1992! 225 mile drive for me now to hunt there, just too far now in todays economy!
I live here in So. Il. and have hunted Shawnee when I was younger. But now if you want to get away from the other hunters you need to really get off the beaten paths, and get farther in the Shawnee, it's just like everywhere else you may hunt it does get it's pressured areas. But it covers alot of area so you could still find good places to hunt it's there you just need to do your homework.
J-Rod, On your way north to Pike county Illinois where there is a monster Buck behind every tree, you could stop at Wayne Fitzgerald State Park in Franklin County where the 60 lb deer eat out of your hand, either way come on up we need the money:)
I have hunted public land in the NE part of the state. It is really, really good. Missed a 140" 8-point my first day ever hunting there. Most guys will not go more than a couple hundred yards from their truck. Walk a little ways and you will see lots of deer, and big ones.
I hunted north of Quincy 2 years ago. My buddy and I made it down for 3 or 4 trips. One day he saw a huge buck and I saw a decent buck. Mine was out of range and his was across the fence, out of public land. It had some weekend pressure, but not bad. About half of the locals (online and in person) had a problem with us "out of staters"...lots of remarks like, "Don't you have land you can hunt back home? Why are you hunting in MY State?"
If the license wasn't so darn expensive, I'd go back.
All the recent stuff is hd video and my blown out hard drive cant handle it.
We've had some good years in IL but for the most part it is a tough hunt. You go days without seeing a deer and if there's no mast and it's a warm year you could end up not seeing a deer all week in Shawnee.
The last two years Ive spent Thanksgiving weeken in IL and thats all. I have the whole month off and dont give IL much of it at all anymore. When comparing IL to KS,IA and OH it kinda sucks. It's always to hot early and mid Nov. Late in the month is best but that's the best time everywhere, I only spend it in IL because I love the people out there and have a blast on Thanksgiving day with the families who put us up.
This year I'll be starting a new Thanksgiving tradition with my boys who are now hunting age and my wife, in KS, not IL.
In the future I dont plan on hunting IL unless the acorns are knee deep. When the acorns fall in shawnee all hell breaks loose and it's a blast. This happens about every 3 or so years, in the off years there's many better place to spend your time.
Calhoun County 'land owners' pay YOU to hunt! They are over run with deer and want them all killed! They are a nuisance animal and you even have to drive 'thru them' at times even in towns. The local Farm Bureau (Country Companies) office will even give you a list of land owners that pay YOU and they (FB) also pay out to hunters to control the deer numbers. 189 deer per sq. mile ..............(SORRY...not true)
NOT TRUE!....this was a 'play on words'...for "Foodplots" comment above mine (some where above it). Calhoun County is over run with hunters. Duck and Geese and a few deer hunters and most land is taken up too and the deer population is DOWN and the Quality is suffering also as for Big Buck Population!....sorry, for the ones that "PM'd me about this remark.....Farm Bureau and Illinois Politics and our own DNR (fish & wildlife) are doing major damage to the Illinois deer herd and the people that hunt them!...Illinois is NOT what it was 10 years ago in many places! It's all about $$$$ now, so 'hunter beware'!
"where you can lease property in pike County? On the cheap"
there is a place right next to the archery shop where you can buy a new 2010 hoyt for $169. Wait to fiil up your turck at the gas station across from it as well........yesterday they had 93 octane selling for 59.9 / gallon
Bou'bound - Is that gas station the one where the young, hot co-eds are are lining up in bikini's with samples of their best cooking/baking creations and fighting over every guy that comes through looking for any man who will take them as their wife?
The second buck is private land thats open if you take the time to ask. It's surrounded by public, that deer came off public to get where I was. Lot's of that available if you take the time to ask.
Those last two pictures are from a day I had 9 bucks parade past me the day before Thanksgiving. I shot a buck the next day, the landowners son tagged his first buck (PnY) that morning and his friend missed what he said was the biggest buck he's ever seen. That stuff only happens consistently around Thanksgiving. Bucks roam the woods desperate for that last doe. It is the ONLY time mature deer wander.
No disrespect to tuckerman, but you couldn't pay me to hunt southern IL the first week of Nov.
I lived in Illinois for a couple years in the service. I saw and killed some pretty nice bucks all on Public land. There are some real sleeper spots. I remember pulling up and going..... Man, what a place! My two best were a perfect 5x5 and a 6x5 with stickers.
I found that late in the year, when the crops are down, find a river.
I live in east central illinois, and have been hunting the same area for 25 yrs, I do agree, that we do not have the deer that we used to. but back 20 yrs ago i only knew a hand full of hunters and now every Tom, ____, and Harry is out there, and only about 2 handfuls that I would call actual hunters.
We hunted west central the first year out there in early Nov. and it snowed. The weather was perfect and we had a great hunt.
We've been hunting as south as you can get for the last 13 or so years and it just keeps getting hotter and hotter. The first time it hit 80 in early Nov. was the last time we went out that early.
The week Herm's talking about was the week we moved our hunt to but it's still too warm. When its warm the and the breading's peaked nothing moves. Those bucks pair up at night and the big woods are just dead all day.
1st season would be the ideal weekend to start a 10 or 14 day hunt. The weather is starting to change and a hot doe is getting harder to come by.That 1st season really throws a wrench into an otherwise perfect time to be a bowhunter.
I think a hunt deep in Shawnee and a central IL hunt are apples and oranges, totally different game.
As far as the gunners ruining the last week of Nov., I haven't seen it.
Ya know how many bowhunters go a mile in? Very few.
Know how many gun hunters will go a mile in? None.
'sunsignarcher'....James I just find it hard to hunt the 'after 1st gun season' as being good. I use to hunt the lower part of Illinois also for maybe 20 years. Now where I live it's even tough bow hunting here after gun season. Illinois just isn't what it 'use to be'! We had some great years and it's all going down hill now. Tag Prices and Politics and The Farm Bureau and DNR and just too many hunters with too many tags....especially gun tags! We/they are depleting our Illinois deer herd....in Quality and Quantity!
As for all my years of BOW hunting though, it's always been Nov. 10th thru the 18th for best big buck movement and being able to 'work them'!...jmho
I won't post any 'pics' because it promotes more hunting....outfitters are good about posting 'pics'. But you have to realize those Dead Bucks are gone now! Removed from that area! They 'were there' but now they aren't! It takes a lot of years and breeding and nutrition to get to be a big buck.....most don't make it past 2 1/2 years of age now! That Is A Shame!
Someday, we'll be hunting fawns because that's all we are going to have left!......again jmho!
Public Land that I know of is over hunted! Too many hunters with too many tags to fill. We don't have to kill them all and fill all those tags.....do we??
I have hunted Southern Illinois and the Shawnee the last 12 years. I agree with Headhunter. The best time is the week or so leading up to the first gun season. I have also had some good luck around the first of Dec. The last few does are coming in and the I have counted as many as 8 bucks chasing a single doe then.
I personally would not waste my time hunting any earlier than 8th or 9th of Nov. I have tried it many times and the weather is simply too unpredicitable for high temps.
Illinois has gone from a top trophy state to a over hunted state ,, the outfiiters have whored all the land ,any up and coming buck with head gear of 110 inch is a prime target ,,
Sorry u missed the boat in illinois by about 5 years ,, I first hunted state land RAY Norburt in pike 1998 , back then the public land wasnt hunted, The locals didnt want to hunt public because they had all there private ,,but as the outfiiters moved in , pushed locals out of there hotspots more and more folks hunted this park soon it was a joke ,, i then found some private , and had it good for about 5 years , in this time the state of illinois granted more and more tags for NR hunters ,, more and more young bucks were getting killed ..
In pike county alone there were 72 reg outfitters at one time ,, thats not the mom pop farmer types that didnt register with the state ,,
Illinois was best when the locals had it all to themselves , they mangaged it for mature bucks ,
DNR gives out way to many tags tags equal dead deer ,, Illinois needs a break . but u see all this tv hype internet crab has ruined the best deer spot on the earth ..
If they go to a real draw system like iowa and lower there tag numbers then maybe ,, but at there current tag prices i wouldnt venture there
I've been hunting here in Illinois for 17 bow seasons. I must agree that Illinois is not what it used to be when it comes to deer hunting. Nothing against Non-residents, but there needs to be a limit. Our DNR got rid of this limit years ago. They just keep giving out more and more tags, and lightening up the weapons restrictions and more and more deer are being killed. There are certain areas like Pike County that are probably still pretty good, but the average guy simply cannot hunt there since most land is now leasing for about $40/acre. Don't get me wrong, Illinois is still one of the best places on earth to kill a true monster whitetail, but it saddens me to see how things have gone down hill. As far as public land goes, send me a P.M. and I will tell you which places I feel are decent. I've hunted a lot of them here in Illinois since I have very little private land to hunt. Good luck in your searching!