I don't care what any publications say. Those of us who have extensive experience hunting multiple public land properties across multiple midwest states (IL, IN, WI, KS, MO & IA) for 25 years know the reality. Not only hunting, but scouting as well. I love hiking and fit some scouting in during all my business trips. And not just one region. I work the entire states of Illinois & Wisconsin. I Live by Chicago yet will be turkey hunting near Cairo, because I got work down there! I've scouted countless public in between, as far from roads as is possible. Anyone who seriously thinks Illinois public holds a candle to Iowa public is clearly blowing smoke up your arse. Having an Iowa tag is like having a primo private land lease in IL, which will cost you $3,000+ these days. Thus it's easily worth the $650.
Public Land?Contributors to this thread:
Just recently got stationed in Northern Illinois for the Navy, I am currently active duty and recently discovered public land hunting is like finding a needle in a haystack stack or it's over run! If anyone has any tips or ideas or even if anybody is willing to let me tag a long or even allow me to hunt some land would be perfect! Thanks!
Sorry but the remnants of quality remaining from 20 years ago were pissed away this year by our legislators new 3 month gun season through the entire rut. That will snuff out anything remaining. Best bet now is save for a lease, seriously. Next will be expansion of the fake nonresident quota. Watch for that next year.
There are still many publis spots worth hunting but you have to donyour homework and be willing to put some miles on your boots and stay mobile. Couple of us will be out all day every day next week on some public spots. I will post what we see and harvest. Good luck and be safe
Well I appreciate it guys, I'm hunting chain o lakes today and will definitely be putting some miles on the boots, will also post about what I see I wish y'all luck!
BirchBuck...depending on what county you live in you can apply for that counties draw system. For example both Kane and McHenry county have hunting programs associated with their forest preserves. In summary, each winning applicant gets an entire forest preserve issued to them two weeks before bow season and forfeits hunting rights to the preserve two weeks after the season. This time is allotted to allow hunters to setup and takedown their stands. It does cost some money but nothing remotely close to what a lease would cost. I hunt private property but will be applying for the preserve program in my county in 2018. Also note that you get preference points for harvesting does which go into consideration for the following year's draw. All state hunting laws apply and potentially some county specific ordinances have to be followed.
Depending on how long you will be stationed here, I'd also recommend getting preference points in Iowa. Deadline is in June. Even their worst public land is better than our best. The unit right across the river from quad cities can be drawn in 2-3 years. It's not that long a drive straight west. Cost is about $650 including the point fees. Great quality. I just got back from there. Had a zone 5 archery tag.
Although Iowa has many good public spots, ne need to spend that much time and money traveling out of state to find deer. A few of us have many opportunities to harvest nuce deer around the upper 1/3 of the state year after year. Is it easy? No, but if you do some scouting,hunt smart, and walk further than most the deer are here to be had. Some choose to complain and some choose to hunt smarter and harder. Guess the decision is yours. Best of luck!
It’s odd to me that Illinois has more typical and non typical entries than Iowa, but some guys think it’s the place to go. Maybe Kenny is trying to get everyone to go to Iowa so he can Illinois all to himself. IDK.
Jim- what does the entries for the last ten years look like? What is the trend? I remember the deer classic back in the late 90s was full of giant bucks and the last one I attended had a very small number. This state is going under and the deer herd will go first. I will be in Kansas paying lower taxes and seeing an occasional mature buck. You will be here reading the record books and not noticing they year in which they were killed. Don’t forget to turn the lights off when you leave
Steve, it is the last 10 years. Most people I know are tired of the deer classics and showing of everything to the nonresidents. Some of the biggest deer I know of have never and will never be on public display. Good luck in Kansas, wish you the best.
"It’s odd to me that Illinois has more typical and non typical entries than Iowa, but some guys think it’s the place to go."
You still living here?