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Pike County Illinois Deer Hunting

Pike County Illinois Deer Hunting

Pike County, Illinois has been the talk of the whitetail deer industry for many years. In fact Pike County, Illinois deer hunting has been displayed so much on Outdoor Television, magazines, and in DVD’s that some questions have arose whether Pike County, Illinois deer hunting is on the decline or not. Over the course of this article we will discuss where Pike County, Illinois is located, the history of Pike County Illinois, what archery and gun seasons are offered in Pike County, Illinois, whether or not Pike County, Illinois deer hunting is as good as it used to be, what Pike County, Illinois whitetail outfitters are credible, and just the area in general regarding terrain, whitetail deer herd numbers, hunt success, hunter harvest rates, real estate in Pike County, Illinois, and agricultural business and land terrain therein. So sit back and let’s venture into a detailed narrative regarding Pike County, Illinois deer hunting.

Where is Pike County, Illinois Located
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 849 square miles (2,199 km²), of which 830 square miles (2,150 km²) is land and 19 square miles (48 km²) (2.19%) is water. Pike County, Illinois, is one of the few counties in the United States to border as many as nine counties. Illinois has two such counties--Pike County and LaSalle. It is also one of the few counties in the United States to border its namesake in another state--in this case, Pike County, Missouri, across the Mississippi River.
Pike County, Illinois is located on the highlands between the Illinois River on the eastern border, and the Mississippi River on the west. It has one interstate highway, I-72, with bridges spanning both rivers to enter the county.
Townships within Pike County Illinois include Atlas, Barry, Baylis, Bedford, Cincinnati, Chambersburg, Detroit, EL Dara, Fishhook, Florence, Griggsville, Kinderhook, Levee, Martinsburg, Maysville, Milton, Montezuma, Nebo, New Canton, New Hartford, New Salem, Pearl, Perry, Pittsfield, Pleasant Hill, See Horn, Summer Hill, Time, Valley City
History of Pike County, Illinois
Pike County Illinois was formed on January 31, 1821 out of Madison County. It was named in honor of Zebulon Pike, leader of the Pike expedition in 1806 to map out the south and west portions of the Louisiana Purchase. Pike served at the Battle of Tippecanoe, and was killed in 1813 in the War of 1812.
Prior to the coming of the first European settler to Pike County, French traders, hunters, and travelers passed through the native forests and prairies. Originally Pike County, Illinois began on the south junction of the Illinois and Mississippi rivers. The east boundary was the Illinois River north to the Kankakee River to the Indiana State line on north to Wisconsin state line and then west to the Mississippi River to the original point at the south end. The first county seat was Cole's Grove, a post town, in what later became Calhoun County. The Gazetteer of Illinois and Missouri, published in 1822, mentioned Chicago as "a village of Pike County" containing 12 or 15 houses and about 60 or 70 inhabitants.
The New Philadelphia Town Site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 2009. It was the first town founded by an African American before the American Civil War. Frank McWorter was an early free black settler in Pike County, Illinois. He had invested in land there sight unseen after purchasing the first few members of his family out of slavery. In 1836 he founded the town of New Philadelphia, near Barry, Illinois. He was elected mayor and lived there the rest of his life. With the sale of land, he made enough money to purchase the freedom of his children. After the railroad bypassed the town, its growth slowed and it was eventually abandoned in the 20th century. The town site is now an archaeological dig.
In the early 21st century Pike County Illinois known notability as a center for the whitetail deer hunting industry, especially bowhunting.
Illinois' deer population has increased to its current level, which is estimated to be about 800,000. There are parts of Illinois in which the number of deer exceeds levels acceptable to the public. Many such counties can be identified by their rates of deer/vehicle accidents. These deer population issues cannot be resolved unless there is a commitment by commercial hunting interests and by landowners to allow hunters access to assist with adequate deer harvest. Without access to these areas to achieve a proper level of doe harvest, concerted efforts at responsible deer management in those localities will be effectively neutralized.
It surprises some newcomers to Illinois to learn that for much of the first half of the century, whitetail numbers were so low that the state prohibited deer hunting. It wasn't until 1957, they learn, that Illinois reopened its deer hunting season.
Since then, Illinois' deer population has increased to its current level, which is estimated to be about 800,000. There are both positive and negative aspects to having a white-tailed deer population of that scale, and the Department of Natural Resources is constantly striving to achieve a proper balance for the state's herd.
The deer management goal is to provide a healthy deer herd, capable of affording recreational and viewing opportunities to people, while at the same time controlling herd size in order to limit the number of negative interactions people have with deer, such as deer-vehicle accidents and crop damage incidents.
In 1991 the Department began promoting antlerless-only permits to emphasize harvesting females as a way to control herd size. The concept is achieving its desired effect. The trend for hunters to "hold out" for a buck, which had progressively increased from the reopening of the modern deer season and peaked in the late 1980s, has been reversed. Female deer currently make up a much larger part of the harvest as compared to 5-10 years ago. Last year's harvest of more than 142,000 whitetails consisted of a balanced mixture of bucks and does, as well as old and young, attributable in large part to antlerless-only permits.
As a result of the emphasis on doe harvest and careful control of county quotas, yearling bucks are not as large a part of the antlered buck harvest as they were in the past. This means that more bucks in our herd have been getting older. And this means that the odds of harvesting a mature buck have actually increased.
I know there are hunters out there who will say, "We just don't see the big bucks like we used to." But data disproves that conjecture. The number of mature bucks-those at least 3 1/2 years old, which would be considered trophies by most hunters-has gone from just a few hundred 25-35 years ago and a few thousand as recently as the 1980s to more than 7,000 in 1995 alone. Those figures prove that while controlling herd size through the issuance of anterless-only permits, the Department has maintained the big bucks that Illinois is famous for.
Although some people feared that having no limit on the number of over-the-counter archery permits would result in abuses of they system, we found that about 99 percent of archery hunters purchased only one or two of the combination permits. In order to safeguard against local impacts on the number of bucks, however, the Department has set a harvest limit of two antlered bucks for the 1996 archery season. No limit has been placed on the number of over-the-counter permits that may be purchased, but a hunter who has an either-sex permit after taking two antlered deer may only use the permit to harvest an antlerless deer.
Pike County Illinois Deer Seasons and Tag Purchase Information
Pike County, Illinois offers whitetail hunters the opportunity to harvest two bucks per year and unlimited does. This can be done by taking one buck with a bow and arrow while the 2nd buck must be taken with shotgun or muzzleloader only.
Pike County, Illinois archery hunting begins on October 1 and ends on January 15. These archery tags are sold via telephone in May at 888-6PERMIT. To pursue whitetail deer in Pike County, Illinois with a bow the hunter needs to purchase the non resident archery tag, a habitat stamp, and a non resident hunt license. Total cost is an estimated $315.
Pike County, Illinois offers three periods of time during the deer season when whitetail deer hunters may pursue animals with firearms. The 1st Gun Season is designed to allow hunters to pursue whitetail deer in Pike County, Illinois during the rut or mid November. To participate in this hunt the hunter needs to obtain a Full Season Gun Tag and name the County of his or her choice to hunt. Along with the purchase of the deer tag the hunter must also buy a habitat stamp and a 5 day hunt license. Estimated costs of tags is $315. This hunt is normally 3 days long and begins on or about Nov 20.
Pike County, Illinois also allows the hunter to pursue animals with firearms during the 2nd Gun Season is which is designed to allow hunters to pursue whitetail deer in Pike County, Illinois during the 2nd rut or early November. To participate in this hunt the hunter needs to obtain a Full Season Gun Tag with option checked for 2nd season as “yes” and name the County of his or her choice to hunt. Along with the purchase of the deer tag the hunter must also buy a habitat stamp and a 5 day hunt license. Estimated costs of tags is $315. This hunt is 4 days long and normally begins on or about December 3rd.
Pike County, Illinois offers a muzzleloader only season for whitetail deer hunters on or about December 11 that last for 3 days. To participate in this hunt the hunter needs to obtain a Muzzleloader Only Tag and name the County of his or her choice to hunt. Along with the purchase of the deer tag the hunter must also buy a habitat stamp and a 5 day hunt license. Estimated costs of tags is $315.
Harvest Rates of Pike County, Illinois Deerhunters
Hunters in Illinois completed the 2008-09 deer hunting seasons by taking a preliminary total of 12,525 deer during the last three days of firearm deer hunting on Jan. 16-18, while the archery deer season ended with preliminary harvest slightly above that of the 2007-08 archery season.
Hunters in Illinois took a preliminary total of 64,955 deer during the 2008-09 archery deer season (Oct. 1, 2008-Jan. 15, 2009), compared with the archery deer harvest of 64,260 in 2007-08.
The preliminary harvest total of 12,525 for the January 16-18 gun hunt, which included both the Late-Winter Antlerless-only Deer Season
Hunters took a preliminary total of 105,595 deer during the 2008 Illinois Firearm Deer Season (Nov. 21-23 and Dec. 4-7), 4,310 deer during the 2008 Muzzleloader-only Deer Season (Dec. 12-14), and 1,040 deer during the 2008 Illinois Youth Deer Season (Oct. 11-12). For all seasons combined, the 2008-09 harvest totaled 188,425 deer. Illinois’ record deer harvest occurred in 2005-06, when 201,301 deer were taken.
Hunters in Illinois harvested a preliminary total of 105,595 deer during the
seven-day firearm deer hunting season Nov. 21-23 and Dec. 4-7.
The preliminary second-season (Dec. 4-7) harvest total was 33,701, compared with the 31,218 deer taken by hunters during the second season in 2007. This year's preliminary first-season (Nov. 21-23) deer harvest was 71,894, compared with a first-season
harvest of 85,490 in 2007. The preliminary harvest total includes deer taken in all 99 counties in which firearm deer hunting is permitted, as well as Chain O'Lakes State Park in Lake County. Preliminary reports show that Pike County once again topped the county deer harvest totals for the firearm season as hunters there took 3,342 deer.
Is Pike County Illinois Deer Hunting on the Decline?
Some whitetail deer hunters would say that Pike County, Illinois may be on the decline and that trophy whitetail hunting in Pike County, Illinois is not what it used to be. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are a variety of reasons why some hunters are talking about this issue. Namely because with the commercialization of whitetail deer hunting in Pike County, Illinois over 500 Pike County Illinois Whitetail Outfitters are in operation. The majority of these Pike County Illinois Whitetail Outfitters and Guides are inferior operations presenting hunts on the cheapest leases in below average lodges, inferior stand locations, without a genuine concern for the success of their hunters. Thus when hunters travel to Pike County, Illinois for a deer hunt with an inferior Pike County Illinois Outfitter or Guide and have a bad experience these hunters believe it’s the fault of the region and not the whitetail outfitter. It seems almost every country boy in the County wants to be a whitetail outfitter. Its not that these operations are dishonest, however they are operations that simply cannot finance the premium farms and are therefore unable to introduce whitetail hunters to what Pike County, Illinois really has to offer the whitetail hunter.
With all due respect to whitetail hunters, many are totally fixated on the price of their Pike County, Illinois hunt rather than focusing on a credible Pike County, Illinois whitetail outfitter. This is the biggest mistake any hunter can make when selecting any hunt. Just several weeks ago I had a hunter call me seeking an Pike County, Illinois hunt to book. He called me back several days later and stated, “I have my choice of outfitter narrowed down between you and one other whitetail outfitter.” I responded by asking who the other Pike County, Illinois whitetail outfitter was he was considering. He told me. (Due to slander laws I cannot name the other whitetail outfitter he was considering.) I ask the hunter if he was near a computer. He said, “Yes”. I then ask him why he was considering another whitetail outfitter. He said, “Because the other whitetail outfitter told me they kill 180 inch whitetail bucks all the time.” Having been a whitetail deer outfitter for 13 years I knew this wasn’t true. I ask the hunter to travel to the opposing whitetail deer outfitter’s website. When he arrived at the website I told him to take 10 minutes and tell me how many 180 inch deer were on this opposing whitetail deer outfitter’s website. Things got quiet for a while and then the hunter stated, “None”. I then asked the whitetail hunter to travel to my website at I told him to count how many deer were on my website scoring better than 170 inches. After a few moments he said “Oh my God there is a ton of them.” I replied by saying, “I’m not telling you that your going to kill a 170 inch or better buck with us but I will tell you this. Don’t you think if the opposing Pike County, Illinois whitetail outfitter was killing 180 inch deer all the time their might be one photo on his website of a 180 inch deer.” Needless to say the hunter submitted a $500 deposit and booked a hunt with us here at IMB Outfitters.
The “bare knuckled truth” is in Pike County, Illinois there are many poor choices to make when selecting a whitetail deer outfitter.
Select a Credible Pike County Illinois Whitetail Outfitter
Thus based upon the aforementioned information its easy to see that Pike County, Illinois may be stronger than ever but to truly experience the majesty of the location you must select the right whitetail outfitter or risk losing your hunt money and the dream of going on what I refer to as the “Super Bowl of Deerhunting.” Sure hunters will research and call references and hear all kinds of carpet bagger speechs from a variety of Pike County, Illinois whitetail outfitters, however when push comes to shove IMB Outfitters is the most solid selection any hunter could make when hunting Pike County, Illinois. They are located at
IMB Outfitters has been in Pike County Illinois deer hunting for 12 years from a 4 Starr Lodge on the farms in the County. We are so selective about what land tracts we lease that it is my belief we pay landowners more money for land leases than any other Pike County, Illinois whitetail deer outfitter in the area. If its not awesome we simply won’t sign it up.
IMB Outfitters has literally been recognized for 7 years in a row as one of the top 44 hunts in the entire world by Petersen’s Hunting, has been inducted into the Hall of Fame, been in business 12 years, and sports 34 major hunt companies that sponsor us. Fortune 500 Companies like Mossy Oak, Nikon, Mathews Bows, etc, etc. FACT: You can’t be selling bad deer hunts and accomplish these things. IMB has become such a threat to the other Pike County, Illinois whitetail outfitters that we have even caught other outfitters posting fraudulent hunt reviews on the internet. We have caught other Pike County, Illinois whitetail outfitters stealing our hero photos off our website and posting our photos on their websites. We have seen several outfitters pattern their business after ours. Employees that were released by IMB Outfitters have tried to develop whitetail outfitting services in the same general area under the same guidelines we use to operate our business. While we give God the credit, I guess Mathews Bows may say it best, “Catch us if you can.” The long lasting record of quality surrounding IMB Outfitters simply speaks for itself, and best of all our prices do not reflect it. We are affordable. Very affordable.
To touch for a minute on whether Illinois is on the decline or not then note this. Over the summer of 2009 we viewed 133 different record book whitetails from our Pike County, Illinois division in a mere 2 weeks. Many of which were Boone and Crockett. To see some of the video footage from our farms go look at our video highlights page at

Pike County Illinois Hunt Land Real Estate
Again due to the laws surrounding slander I can’t mention any names, however a new trend has developed in Pike County, Illinois that makes me sick. Three of four brand name Pike County Illinois Whitetail Outfitters have figured out a new way to make big money off non resident whitetail hunters. In fact these whitetail outfitters are even advertising on Outdoor Television with a “spin” on real estate sales in Pike County, Illinois through hunt celebrities. (Oh how I wish I could name these individuals.)
The scam works several different ways. You book a hunt with one of these Pike County, Illinois whitetail outfitters. As the outfitter begins to “mingle” with the hunters in camp they consciously select who they believe has the mean to purchase Hunt Farms in Pike County, Illinois for sale. They take these clients and make sure they are put in the best locations for hunting, pose as a friend, and then reel the client in for a Pike County, Illinois real estate sale. Needless to say the commission from a real estate sale can be incredible. You might wanna check to see if the whitetail outfitter you are considering has a real estate license in the State of Illinois. Believe me these whitetail outfitters that are selling real estate or hunt farms in Pike County, Illinois have an agenda.
Everything would be just fine if the richest clients didn’t get special treatment with these outfitters in an effort to groom them for purchasing a Pike County Illinois hunt land tract, and if the farm they were being sold was awesome. Problem is, these whitetail outfitters are selling average land tracts and telling the non resident hunter he is buying one of the best farms in Pike County, Illinois.
Research shows a local bank in Pike County, Illinois has had to close their doors due to a scam similar to this due to unsecured farm loans that are of average quality in deer hunting. Some of these scam artists are actually selling farms to one another frequently just to be able to show non resident hunters that land is selling at a certain price in Pike County, Illinois. (This is called a “land flip”.) Before all this is over with just wait and see in the next couple years if somebody isn’t sitting in a Federal Prison somewhere. STAY AWAY WITH ANY WHITETAIL OUTFITTER IN PIKE COUNTY ILLINOIS THAT HAS A REAL ESTATE LICENSE.
To feel them out, when your booking your hunt just nonchalantly ask if the whitetail outfitter ever hears of any land tracts for sale. If the outfitter becomes overly assertive regarding this issue then you know that your heading for a real estate promotion hunt rather than a credible whitetail deer outing.
Pike County Illinois Terrain Description and Agricultural Business
Illinois' 76,000 farms cover more than 28 million acres -- nearly 80 percent of the state's total land area. The large number of farms, coupled with the diversity of commodities produced, makes it difficult to describe a typical operation. However, statistics provide some indication about what it means to farm in Illinois.
The average size of an Illinois farm including hobby farms is 368 acres. Most farm acreage is devoted to grain, mainly corn and soybeans. Nearly 10 percent of Illinois farms have swine. Beef cows are found on about 23 percent of farms, while about 3 percent have dairy cows. Some farms produce specialty crops and livestock, including alfalfa, canola, nursery products, emus and fish. Many farming operations also support recreational activities such as hunting and fishing.
Pike County Illinois is about a 35 to 65 percent timber to agricultural field ratio. This provide Pike County Illinois deer with all the cover they need, making them easy to pattern, as well as a steady diet of high nutrient crops for consumption.
Illinois is a leading producer of soybeans, corn and swine. The state's climate and varied soil types enable farmers to grow and raise many other agricultural commodities, including cattle, wheat, oats, sorghum, hay, sheep, poultry, fruits and vegetables. Illinois also produces several specialty crops, such as buckwheat, horseradish, ostriches, fish and Christmas trees.

Marketing of Illinois' agricultural commodities generates more than $9 billion annually. Corn accounts for nearly 40 percent of that total. Marketing of soybeans contributes about one-third, with the combined marketings of livestock, dairy and poultry generating about 23 percent.
Billions more dollars flow into the state's economy from ag-related industries, such as farm machinery manufacturing, agricultural real estate, and production and sale of value-added food products. Rural Illinois benefits principally from agricultural production, while agricultural processing and manufacturing strengthen urban economies.
With more than 950 food manufacturing companies, Illinois is well-equipped to turn the state's crops and livestock into food and industrial products. Food processing is the state's number-one manufacturing activity, adding almost $13.4 billion annually to the value of Illinois' raw agricultural commodities.
Illinois' agricultural commodities also provide the base for such products as animal feed, ink, paint, adhesives, clothing, soap, wax, cosmetics, medicines, furniture, paper and lumber. Each year, 274 million bushels of Illinois corn are used to produce more ethanol than any other state -- about 678 million gallons. Illinois also markets other renewable fuels, including soybean-based biodiesel.
Illinois measures about 400 miles from its northern border to its southernmost tip. Temperatures generally vary by 10 to 12 degrees from one end of the state to the other. Cold, fairly dry winters and warm, humid summers with ample rainfall allow the land to support many kinds of crops and livestock.
Much of Illinois is comprised of fertile flat loess, left behind by glaciers and wind millions of years ago. About 89 percent of the state's cropland is considered prime farmland, ranking the state third nationally in total prime farmland acreage. Prime farmland is important because it provides an environmentally sound base for crop production. The central three-fourths of the state are especially well suited for growing crops, while hilly areas in the northwest and south provide excellent pasture for livestock.
Although Illinois' food and fiber industry employs nearly 1 million people, there are only 76,000 farm operators, down from 164,000 in 1959. During the same time period, the average farm size more than doubled as sophisticated technology made many aspects of the industry less labor-intensive. Illinois farmers are generally more than 50 years old. About 39 percent hold jobs off the farm and consider farming their secondary occupation. Family farms still dominate, though some of these have incorporated.

Illinois has a competitive edge over many other states due to its central location and superior transportation system. More than 2,000 miles of interstate highway and 34,500 miles of other state highway make trucking of goods fast and efficient. Chicago is home to the largest rail gateway in the nation, connecting eastern and western United States. The state boasts some 1,100 airports, landing areas and heliports, including Chicago's O'Hare International, through which more than 65 million travelers pass annually. Illinois' 1,118 miles of navigable waterways, including the Illinois and Mississippi rivers, make barge traffic an excellent option for shipment of grain to the Gulf of Mexico.
Illinois ranks second nationally in the export of agricultural commodities with nearly $4 billion worth of goods shipped to other countries each year. Exports from Illinois account for nearly 7 percent of all U.S. agricultural exports. Illinois is the nation's second leading exporter of both soybeans and feed grains and related products. More than 44 percent of grain produced in Illinois is sold for export. The Illinois Department of Agriculture promotes items produced, processed or packaged in Illinois through international and domestic marketing exhibits, trade missions, industry tours, publications, the Illinois Product Logo program and an electronic database for trade leads.ranks second in food processing.

Darrin Bradley

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