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Southern Illinois Hunting #4115663
04/11/24 03:40 PM
04/11/24 03:40 PM
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 3,265
Lawrence Co. AL
jdhunter2011 Offline OP
8 Point
jdhunter2011  Offline OP
8 Point
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 3,265
Lawrence Co. AL
Never been myself but it looks like due to several reasons we wont be applying in South Dakota. I got a buddy who has hunted the Crab Orchard area a couple times with kinda low success. Any insights about hunting would be appreciated. With the shorter distance I could make a couple trips if needed. Whats the best time season opener or Thanksgiving after the gun hunt? Is is a thanksgiving rut like everywhere else Ive hunted out of state. Would taking a boat and using the lake up our odds? Just any general info is appreciated. Nothing else to talk about this time of year.


Its not the will to win but the will to prepare to win!
Re: Southern Illinois Hunting [Re: jdhunter2011] #4115692
04/11/24 05:02 PM
04/11/24 05:02 PM
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 9,999
Hampton Cove
foldemup Online content
14 point
foldemup  Online Content
14 point
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 9,999
Hampton Cove
November 5 through first gun season

Last edited by foldemup; 04/11/24 05:03 PM.

If you want to always win, never play anyone better than you!
Re: Southern Illinois Hunting [Re: foldemup] #4115708
04/11/24 05:24 PM
04/11/24 05:24 PM
Joined: Sep 2012
Posts: 14,406
ArmPit of the south
D
DeerNutz0U812_ Offline
Booner
DeerNutz0U812_  Offline
Booner
D
Joined: Sep 2012
Posts: 14,406
ArmPit of the south
Originally Posted by foldemup
November 5 through first gun season
Nov. 1, through first shotgun season in my experience also...after that, the deer where we hunt seem to go underground...


Did you know that Beer Nutz are over a Dollar...and Deer Nutz are under a Buck...


Re: Southern Illinois Hunting [Re: jdhunter2011] #4115887
04/11/24 11:05 PM
04/11/24 11:05 PM
Joined: Jan 2020
Posts: 152
Rock Creek
P
PYhunter Offline
3 point
PYhunter  Offline
3 point
P
Joined: Jan 2020
Posts: 152
Rock Creek
My buddy and I had several leases in Richland County for a number of years. Our experience was same as the other guys, get there on Nov. 1st and leave on the day shotgun season opened.

If I were going to hunt around Crab Orchard or Rend Lakes I would definitely take a boat. Those spots typically get a lot of pressure from the out of state guys so a boat should help get to some isolated spots.

We found a good processor in Louisville. Made it a lot easier on us when we were staying 9-10 days.

Basecamp has a few leases left that look decent and are fairly cheap. That might be an option to avoid the pressure as well.

Re: Southern Illinois Hunting [Re: jdhunter2011] #4115939
04/12/24 06:33 AM
04/12/24 06:33 AM
Joined: Apr 2024
Posts: 43
Walker
N
nate409 Offline
spike
nate409  Offline
spike
N
Joined: Apr 2024
Posts: 43
Walker
My grandfather lives in Jackson County and they kill some damn good deer on their leases. I want to try to get up there this year to hunt with them.

Re: Southern Illinois Hunting [Re: jdhunter2011] #4116044
04/12/24 09:59 AM
04/12/24 09:59 AM
Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 4,751
Michigan
S
Sasquatch Lives Offline
10 point
Sasquatch Lives  Offline
10 point
S
Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 4,751
Michigan
I know a dude who shot a booner with his bow down there.

Re: Southern Illinois Hunting [Re: jdhunter2011] #4116068
04/12/24 11:19 AM
04/12/24 11:19 AM
Joined: Oct 2023
Posts: 149
Alabaster
M
murf205 Offline
3 point
murf205  Offline
3 point
M
Joined: Oct 2023
Posts: 149
Alabaster
I gun hunted in the Swanee National Forest and I have'nt see that much orange since I went to a Tn. football game. Bow hunting in the Union Co refuge is a lot better. I didn't kill it but I put my hands on a dead 200" deer a friend killed. Lots of agriculture in this area and the deer are a fat and healthy as hoggs.


Remember: It aint what you shoot...it's how you shoot it.
Re: Southern Illinois Hunting [Re: murf205] #4116404
04/13/24 12:18 AM
04/13/24 12:18 AM
Joined: Aug 2018
Posts: 5,380
Georgia and Missouri
Semo Offline
12 point
Semo  Offline
12 point
Joined: Aug 2018
Posts: 5,380
Georgia and Missouri
Originally Posted by murf205
I gun hunted in the Swanee National Forest and I have'nt see that much orange since I went to a Tn. football game. Bow hunting in the Union Co refuge is a lot better. I didn't kill it but I put my hands on a dead 200" deer a friend killed. Lots of agriculture in this area and the deer are a fat and healthy as hoggs.


These are not the deer you are looking for...

Re: Southern Illinois Hunting [Re: jdhunter2011] #4116454
04/13/24 06:39 AM
04/13/24 06:39 AM
Joined: Jul 2010
Posts: 234
huntsville, alabama
U
ultratec00 Offline
4 point
ultratec00  Offline
4 point
U
Joined: Jul 2010
Posts: 234
huntsville, alabama
I have friends who lease several Ill farms west of Peducah. They routinely harvest quality deer. Lots of agriculture and open farmland, which can make hunting challenging. Last I knew, archery license was over the counter. Gun and muzzleloader tags via lottery. Gun/ML seasons tend to overlap and actually shared a weekend last I hunted in Ill. The fact gun season and ML shared a weekend, yet are separate tags was a rip off. All three are separate fees. You'll be close to $1000 for all three and either sex for 3 deer total unless you can get a bonus antlerless tag.

Another acquaintance hunts the WMAs in that area and said they don't get much pressure during archery, but the towns turn orange for gun season.

Re: Southern Illinois Hunting [Re: jdhunter2011] #4116477
04/13/24 07:45 AM
04/13/24 07:45 AM
Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 9,093
Colbert County
T
Teacher One Offline
14 point
Teacher One  Offline
14 point
T
Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 9,093
Colbert County
I have spent some time in Southern Illinois and it is truly the land of giants! The miles and miles of corn and beans are only broken by creeks and waterways. The widest spot of hardwoods I was in was less than 100 yards wide and the corn field to reach the creek was a mile long. I don't know how they hide out like they do, but they can hide from you. First doe I ever laid eyes on in IL seemed as big as a yearling calf! She was larger than any buck (body size) than any buck I ever saw in AL.

Hunt private and it is expensive. Land prices here cant hold a candle to lease prices in IL!


I can't stand a thief.
Re: Southern Illinois Hunting [Re: jdhunter2011] #4117082
04/14/24 08:59 AM
04/14/24 08:59 AM
Joined: Feb 2024
Posts: 72
SE Tenn/NE Ala
G
Gav-n-Tn Offline
spike
Gav-n-Tn  Offline
spike
G
Joined: Feb 2024
Posts: 72
SE Tenn/NE Ala
I’ve passed through Paducah/Metropolis area during the season and the number of out of state license plates is insane. Most of them from the Southeast. Makes you wonder how there’s enough room for everyone in the woods. When I was a kid, I went deer hunting with my uncle on public land. The number of people in the woods and shots ringing out everywhere was pretty unnerving.

Re: Southern Illinois Hunting [Re: jdhunter2011] #4117517
04/15/24 07:32 AM
04/15/24 07:32 AM
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 13,807
Hoover
burbank Offline
Booner
burbank  Offline
Booner
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 13,807
Hoover
I killed a nice buck in the National Forrest. It can be done. Scouting is the key. I basically had one pushed to me from another hunter. It was a thing of beauty the way it worked out.

Re: Southern Illinois Hunting [Re: jdhunter2011] #4117526
04/15/24 07:57 AM
04/15/24 07:57 AM
Joined: Apr 2024
Posts: 43
Walker
N
nate409 Offline
spike
nate409  Offline
spike
N
Joined: Apr 2024
Posts: 43
Walker
I may try to go hunt on my grandfather and uncles land for deer this year. How much is the total cost to deer hunt in Illinois as a NR. Looks to be about $500, but I might be missing something.

Re: Southern Illinois Hunting [Re: ultratec00] #4117565
04/15/24 09:03 AM
04/15/24 09:03 AM
Joined: Apr 2021
Posts: 749
Louisiana to Central AL
Antelope08 Offline
4 point
Antelope08  Offline
4 point
Joined: Apr 2021
Posts: 749
Louisiana to Central AL
Originally Posted by ultratec00
I have friends who lease several Ill farms west of Peducah. They routinely harvest quality deer. Lots of agriculture and open farmland, which can make hunting challenging. Last I knew, archery license was over the counter. Gun and muzzleloader tags via lottery. Gun/ML seasons tend to overlap and actually shared a weekend last I hunted in Ill. The fact gun season and ML shared a weekend, yet are separate tags was a rip off. All three are separate fees. You'll be close to $1000 for all three and either sex for 3 deer total unless you can get a bonus antlerless tag.

Another acquaintance hunts the WMAs in that area and said they don't get much pressure during archery, but the towns turn orange for gun season.


I bow hunted on a private farm about 8 yrs ago and its exactly how you explain it, it was really challenging because of the large agriculture fields, we saw lots of deer and some good bucks but never could close the deal, once they get in those fields its tough, I saw a stud my first morning on stand in a hardwood strip, only problem is he was chasing a doe and he never got into now range, he stayed about 100yds out and when she decided to leave that was it......still was a lot of fun though.

Re: Southern Illinois Hunting [Re: jdhunter2011] #4118034
04/16/24 10:08 AM
04/16/24 10:08 AM
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 3,265
Lawrence Co. AL
jdhunter2011 Offline OP
8 Point
jdhunter2011  Offline OP
8 Point
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 3,265
Lawrence Co. AL
When we hunted KS last year my partner said it reminded him a lot of Crab Orchard. Basically what yall are saying about the ag fields. Seeing deer wasn't an issue but getting in on a good buck was another story. Im looking at the areas near the lake that look like big woods with poor access except by water. I know it will take some scouting. I feel like going in by water and focusing on wooded areas away from the ag crops in Nov might pay off. But boats can bring in new challenges as well. I just enjoy hunting new places and the challenge of looking at maps before I have ever set foot in a spot. If you harvest it makes it very rewarding. He knows some guys that actually had success after the gun hunt which is opposite of everything I heard. I will be off work the whole week of the season opener so that's exciting. I could also likely take off a few days and get in a 6 day hunt from Nov 6-11th. 2 trips should greatly increase my odds of arrowing a good buck. Anyways I love an adventure and once you hunt out of state you realize our hunting in Alabama cant compare. At least not 99% of the time.


Its not the will to win but the will to prepare to win!
Re: Southern Illinois Hunting [Re: nate409] #4118049
04/16/24 10:50 AM
04/16/24 10:50 AM
Joined: Sep 2012
Posts: 14,406
ArmPit of the south
D
DeerNutz0U812_ Offline
Booner
DeerNutz0U812_  Offline
Booner
D
Joined: Sep 2012
Posts: 14,406
ArmPit of the south
Originally Posted by nate409
I may try to go hunt on my grandfather and uncles land for deer this year. How much is the total cost to deer hunt in Illinois as a NR. Looks to be about $500, but I might be missing something.
That $500 should cover your non-resident hunting license for the year ($57.75) along with non-resident Deer Combo Archery permit and tags($411.00)....Add an additional ($300.50) for non resident deer firearm OTC county permit, ... shocked and another ($300.50) for non-resident deer muzzleloader OTC county permit... shocked You got to PAY to play in the land of Giants.... laugh Regardless of the price, if you have access to hunt private land in Illinois you really should try to take advantage of it, IMO....no matter the price of tags....02....Heck, You never know, all your dreams of shooting a monster buck could very well come true..... thumbup thumbup


Did you know that Beer Nutz are over a Dollar...and Deer Nutz are under a Buck...


Re: Southern Illinois Hunting [Re: jdhunter2011] #4118365
04/17/24 04:19 AM
04/17/24 04:19 AM
Joined: Mar 2016
Posts: 2,719
Alabama
OlTimer Offline
10 point
OlTimer  Offline
10 point
Joined: Mar 2016
Posts: 2,719
Alabama
Check out Little Grassy Lake campground. It's just south of Crab Orchard. There's a group of guys from Tallahassee, Florida that kill some 150's every year archery hunting. They have a large trailer they pull with gear that has "The gut bucket" painted on the side. They are hard core and have hunted the area for years. They are down to earth and love talking deer hunting. I hunted in Makanda for 5 or 6 years in Jackson county. They carried boats and would go across the lake to access harder to reach property. No ag to speak of in that area but some very nice deer. Largest I got was a 140ish.

Re: Southern Illinois Hunting [Re: OlTimer] #4118561
04/17/24 11:42 AM
04/17/24 11:42 AM
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 3,265
Lawrence Co. AL
jdhunter2011 Offline OP
8 Point
jdhunter2011  Offline OP
8 Point
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 3,265
Lawrence Co. AL
Originally Posted by OlTimer
Check out Little Grassy Lake campground. It's just south of Crab Orchard. There's a group of guys from Tallahassee, Florida that kill some 150's every year archery hunting. They have a large trailer they pull with gear that has "The gut bucket" painted on the side. They are hard core and have hunted the area for years. They are down to earth and love talking deer hunting. I hunted in Makanda for 5 or 6 years in Jackson county. They carried boats and would go across the lake to access harder to reach property. No ag to speak of in that area but some very nice deer. Largest I got was a 140ish.

Thats great! Thanks ol timer. I had looked at Lil Grassey and Devil's Kitchen on a map. Like Devil's Kitchen even more and its right beside it. Looks like a good excuse to take a boat up there in June for a couple days and fish/camp/Scout.


Its not the will to win but the will to prepare to win!
Re: Southern Illinois Hunting [Re: jdhunter2011] #4122674
04/26/24 12:07 PM
04/26/24 12:07 PM
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 5,009
Covington County
Squeaky Offline
12 point
Squeaky  Offline
12 point
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 5,009
Covington County
I lease right at 600 acres and have hunted Southern IL exclusively since 2013. A lot has changed over the years, mostly the quality of the deer. Don't get me wrong, there are still big deer in the area I hunt, but they aren't as many as there once was. It has become very challenging to see one over 150". It has reached a point to where the cost of leasing along with other expenses do not justify hunting the area if looking for 150's or better. Now if you are looking for 120" to 140" deer that will be a reasonable expectation and you should see some bucks in that score range and if you are lucky something bigger may stroll by. Since IL has legalized the use of crossbows and most recently certain calibers of rifles, I suspect the quality will continue to suffer.

I am of the opinion public land will offer you a better opportunity at a better quality deer. There is in most cases a larger amount of land and some bucks simply avoid being killed and get older. I have got to old and just not that mad at them to put in the work on public that it usually takes to find the above average quality deer. If I were younger there is no way I would pay what I do for a private lease in the current times.

Like many above noted and to answer your question anytime from end of October through November you can expect to see rut activity. My favorite week is Novemebr 6th -13th. The break between the first and second season can be really good. Also if you can locate a good food source late season can be awesome hunting.


"Tomorrow is the most important thing in life.
Comes to us at midnight very clean.
It's perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands.
It hopes we've learned something from yesterday."
Re: Southern Illinois Hunting [Re: jdhunter2011] #4124349
04/30/24 05:51 AM
04/30/24 05:51 AM
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 3,851
North Bama
demp17 Offline
10 point
demp17  Offline
10 point
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 3,851
North Bama
I’ve hunted southern Illinois at different times. If you want a true rut hunt then hunt a cold front in those Nov 5-15 dates, if not and you want a great opportunity with less pressure go at the last week of October or hunt the 2nd rut which usually falls around the 2nd gun hunt or 1st weekend of December. I’ve killed a few good ones on public with my bow in those November dates but I’ve got a buddy who has stacked some absolute studs (160-180s) during that 1st weekend of December.


We are not perfect, only forgiven!!!

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