Illinois is the homeland land of giant whitetail deer, and these are the five places where you want to hunt in the Prairie State.
Illinois is consistently thrown in the discussion for one of the best deer hunting states.
Put aside recent population declines and high priced out-of-state permits, and Illinois is a dream destination for big whitetails.
So without further ado, we’ve compiled five places in Illinois we’d love to deer hunt. Take note, not all of these places legally allow hunting, but that won’t stop us from wishing we could hunt there.
1. The ‘Golden Triangle’
The golden triangle in Illinois consists of three premier counties that have racked up insane number of record buck entries. The magical triangle of counties include Pike, Brown, and Adams county and is nestled between the Mississippi and Illinois River.
Those three counties make up strong percentage of record book entries for the entire state. However if someone wants to hunt in these counties, it’ll be extra pricey compared to other places in the state.
2. Shawnee National Forest
Illinois doesn’t boast a large amount of public ground, but what is available can be good. Pack your hiking boots, because the Shawnee National Forest has a steep terrain and to get from other hunters you’ll have to go the extra mile.
Aside from that, this public forrest holds some mature whitetails anyone would be happy to harvest.
3. Cook County Forest Preserve
Cook County is the home of Chicago, but aside from tons of people and skyscrapers, big bucks still roam.
In 2015, a video of behemoth non-typical whitetail surfaced and caught the eye of hunters. Every year people report finding huge shed antlers from the preserve. Unfortunately the preserve is off limits for hunting, but for now we can just dream about it.
4. Mississippi River Pool 24
This area might be the best kept secret of Illinois public ground deer hunting. This area is located on the Mississippi River between Illinois and Missouri and mainly consisted of islands.
So grab a boat and head to the water to hunt Illinois prime hunting ground. The pool consists of 10,211 acres of thick river islands.
5. Anywhere That’ll Take Us
Illinois can be challenging to get a place to hunt. If you’re lucky enough to get permission to hunt a chunk of land, be extremely thankful because hunters in other states would be more than happy to take the spot. Most places in Illinois will give a hunter a chance of seeing plenty of deer.