Pike County Illinois Deer Hunting

Pike County Illinois Deer Hunting Heaven

Pike county Illinois is deer hunting heaven.

There are a lot of great places that I would love to deer hunt. I have seen them in the Team Realtree videos or some of the great hunting shows on television. Whether it be the Milk River in Montana, or the brush country of south Texas, or Ohio, or Iowa. There are so many great places to go deer hunting, but there’s one place that I would like to go more than any other in the United states, and it’s Pike County, Illinois. It seems like heaven right here on earth to me. With the big bucks that you consistently see taken from there, it just seems like the place I would love to be able to hunt the most. Year after year, you hear about trophy bucks being harvested there.

Pike County Illinois

Pike County, Illinois is located in West Central Illinois, and is the largest county in the state. It consist of over a half a million acres, and is 849 square miles. It is bordered by the Illinois River on the east, and the Mississippi River on the west.

Over half of the county is pasture and cropland which are planted in wheat, corn, soybeans , and alfalfa. Which are not very big compared to some of the other mid-west states crop fields. And a lot of them are separated by creek bottoms, and brushy timber lots and overgrown fields, it’s prime big buck habitat. Plenty of food and water, and plenty of cover. A lot of the land is Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).

Pike County Illinois, corn field

Deer hunting Pike county Illinois cornfields sure sounds good to me.

With a buck to doe ratio of about 4 to 1 it is a great place to see a lot of mature bucks rutting and chasing does during the rut. It is not uncommon to see three or four bucks chasing one doe. It makes for some great trophy hunting. Rattling, grunting, and using scents, and decoys are very effective ways of taking big mature trophy whitetails in Pike County, Illinois. There is a lot of heavy rutting that takes place during the rut there. So you can use these different tools to your advantage to score on a big boy, if you use them at the right time.

Some people say that the increased hunting pressure has taken a toll on the number of big bucks being taken there, but it is not true, the number of big bucks being harvested there has increased, and is very impressive. Every year there are a number of very large bucks harvested there.

Although I have never been deer hunting in Illinois you can bet that it  is on my wish list of places that I hope to visit and hunt someday. Hopefully, in the very near future. I am looking at going on a bow hunt there soon.

You can go to the Illinois state wildlife resources website  to find out more information on hunting in Illinois.
 

Big Buck Rubs Deer Sign

deer sign

I found these big buck rubs along a travel corridor.

Big Buck Rubs

I love to find a big buck rubs when I’m deer hunting. Seeing a big one really gets me fired up. When you first see one, usually you make a b-line straight to it, to check it out, then you start scanning the immediate area for more rubs or scrapes.

Locating And Interpreting Deer Sign

A lot of times when you find rubs you will find scrapes also. If you find an area that has a high concentration of big buck rubs, and or scrapes, or a rub line, you should hang a stand downwind of this area and hunt it.

Late in the summer to early fall the bucks begin to rub to remove velvet from their antlers. At this time they are usually in bachelor groups. Then as fall approaches their testosterone levels increase, they separate and get more aggressive. They strengthen their neck muscles by rubbing and sparring with other bucks. They leave their scent when they make rubs. They have forehead scent glands, and when a dominant whitetailleaves his scent on a rub, it let’s the other deer know that he is way up the social ladder. A buck that is out looking for love during the rut can scent check a rub and usually tell if there is a more dominant buck in the area.

Rubs can help you determine which direction a buck was traveling. If the scarred side of the tree is facing the feeding area, usually that would be when he exited his bedroom in the evening to go feed. If the scarred side is facing the bedding area, that would be when he is returning to his bedroom early in the morning.

When I was sixteen, I went deer hunting at my uncles house in Madison county in Georgia. It was the day before Thanksgiving and I had discovered my first rub line on a hardwood ridge, that was beautiful. I was so excited to hunt the spot I drove over an hour by myself early that morning. When I got there it was starting to break daylight. I had just enough time to get my portable Baker tree stand on the tree, and get up the tree.

big buck rubs

Rub lines can be a great place to hunt.

I was now overlooking the first rub line I had ever hunted over. It was a cold frosty morning and I could hear the buck making his way towards me down the ridge. I shot him at about forty yards. I didn’t realize it at the time but the rub line was leading from the feeding area to the bucks bedding area. I was an inexperienced deer hunter back then, but I knew this spot was special when I saw those rubs leading the way down that ridge. It was the first racked buck I had ever taken. And man I was proud. I had to drag that big boy out all by my self. When I called my dad to tell him I got it, I think I made it seem a lot bigger than it actually was. I was excited. I’ll never forget that day. It all probably wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t found those big buck rubs. 

 

Public Land Deer Hunting

Big buck taken deer hunting public land,Flint River WMA buck
If you are trying to find a place to harvest trophy whitetail deer, public land deer hunting may be the way to go for you.

Public Land

Some places are not hunted that much, and have some very large bucks roaming around on them. If you do your homework, you can find some great places to find a big boy, that nobody else hunts.

There are many great opportunities in just about every state,  to harvest a trophy buck, I found a great article on public land deer hunting that is very informative and it tells a little about the different opportunities for taking a mature trophy whitetail buck, in a lot of different states.

I have hunted a few public lands in Georgia, and have harvested a very nice buck, and came close to getting a big monster whitetail buck, but he saw me before I saw him. That was on BF Grant Wildlife Management Area. It is a great place to hunt. My grandmother grew up very close to BF Grant in a little town called Godfrey, and one day I hope to harvest a big buck there close to where my grandmother grew up.

I harvested a big 9-pointer that hangs in my living room on Flint River Wildlife Management Area. I did my homework, and got drawn for a quota hunt, and did the scouting, and harvested my biggest buck of my 27 years of hunting. Some of the places are hard to get drawn for, but may well be worth the wait. It took me three years to be drawn for the hunt on Flint River Wildlife Management Area. But I am so glad that I was patient, and persistent, and eventually got drawn. What a great place to hunt big bodied, big racked whitetails.

I have had the chance to hunt different whitetail habitats and see a lot of different parts of the state of Georgia, thanks to public land deer hunting. Without these places, I wouldn’t have been able to hunt along the Flint River in south Georgia. Or the Piedmont region with the rolling hardwood ridges, without paying a pretty penny to do so.

I am facing the possibility of transferring out of my home state with my job, and you can bet if I do, I will definitely checkout some of the different deer hunting opportunities to hunt big bucks on the states different areas open to the public.

I recently saw an article in my Georgia Outdoors News, where a guy from Georgia and some of his buddies went to Kansas and he took a 300 pound eighteen pointer that scored 199 7/8. And he will be listed in the B&C and P&Y record book. Now that is something that any serious trophy hunter dreams about. And where do you think he took this trophy whitetail? Public land!

Now I am not going to sit here and tell you that some times hunting these places can’t be frustrating, I have had other hunters all around me while hunting certain places. But you just have to try to get off of the beaten path, and be willing to get where other hunters are not willing to go. If you do your homework and are willing to do some hard work, you can score that trophy buck of a lifetime on land that is open to the public.

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