8 Reasons Illinois’s Pike County Has the Best Deer Hunting in the U.S.

Written by Kristin Hitchcock
Updated: November 2, 2023
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Illinois’s Pike County has the best deer hunting in the U.S. With its picturesque landscapes and thriving whitetail deer population, this county has earned its reputation as one of the ultimate deer hunting destinations in the country. You may want to visit Pike County for deer hunting this year for many different reasons.

Many people describe these hunts as successful even if they don’t bag a deer simply because of the beauty of the area.

Below, we’ll look at some of the reasons Pike County in Illinois has the best deer hunting in the U.S.

1. Abundant Whitetail Deer Population

white-tailed deer

There is a healthy deer population in the area, improving the chances of a positive hunt.

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©Tom Reichner/Shutterstock.com

Pike County, Illinois, boasts an enviable claim to fame in the world of deer hunting: an abundant whitetail deer population that draws hunters year after year. Because this county has such a big population, there are tons of opportunities to bag a deer each year. Therefore, this county has more productive hunts.

The deer-to-hunter ratio surpasses most of the other areas in the region, making it a prime destination for those looking to fill their tags and make memories in the great outdoors.

That said, this place does seem to be a bit more popular than other options. Therefore, it may be a bit more crowded, which can be a bad thing. You have to decide whether or not you want to deal with the potential crowds.

2. Trophy Buck Potential

White-tailed deer buck in velvet

Because of the large population, tons of bucks are around, too.

©Jeramey Lende/Shutterstock.com

The abundant deer population also means tons of trophy buck potential in the area. That’s one reason why so many people flock to this area. There are simply more options for trophy bucks, which many people are after. You may find several magnificent bucks in the area, increasing the odds of getting a buck.

While these aren’t the biggest bucks in the country, they still absolutely count as trophy animals. These bucks often have massive antlers and an impressive body size, making for some extraordinary hunting trophies.

Several factors drive this growth. Firstly, the region has rich and diverse food sources, including fertile farmlands and abundant natural vegetation. Plus, there are also tons of water sources available, allowing the deer to grow and develop impressive antlers.

3. Prime Hunting Ground

McDowell Footbridge

There are lots of hunting areas in Illinois.

©EAGiven/iStock via Getty Images

The hunting area in Pike County is also great, allowing for easier and more successful hunting. Even if you don’t bag a deer, the diverse, beautiful terrain can make the whole trip worth it.

There are tons of diverse terrain in the area, offering hunters the chance to always have a new, interesting experience. From rolling hills and dense woodlands to open fields and winding waterways, the county’s landscape is a patchwork of natural beauty that deer call home.

The woodlands are a traditional home for deer, making it the preferred hunting area for many hunters. However, there are also plenty of other hunting areas, like open fields and agricultural land. These may also provide opportunities for hunters, especially those who prefer long-range shots.

The juxtaposition of farmlands and woodlands in Pike County means that deer often transition between these environments, creating strategic hunting opportunities throughout the season.

There is also a wide range of public hunting areas available in the state. These areas are pretty popular and provide the chance to hunt deer for those without access to private areas. Often, these public areas are well-maintained and offer a fair chance of encountering deer.

For those seeking a more exclusive and personalized hunting experience, Pike County is home to a multitude of private hunting outfitters and clubs. These operations provide guided hunts, comfortable accommodations, and access to prime hunting locations, ensuring that hunters have the best possible chance of success.

Sometimes, even private guides are available that can help ensure hunters get a good shot.

Pike County places a strong emphasis on providing accessibility and accommodations to visiting hunters. There are tons of lodging options, ranging from cozy cabins to modern lodges. Many of these accommodations are strategically located near prime hunting areas, making it convenient for hunters to embark on their daily excursions.

This country offers a welcoming atmosphere thanks to the local hunting culture and provides services tailored for hunters. There are tons of services and gear available for out-of-town hunters, providing essential gear to restaurants.

4. Management and Conservation

Summer landscape of Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, Illinois, USA

There are lots of natural areas that are part of the state’s habitat management program.

©EleSi/iStock via Getty Images

This country has such a successful deer hunting area thanks to its dedication and responsible management and conservation efforts. Pike County takes its role in preserving its precious deer populations seriously, ensuring a sustainable hunting experience for generations to come.

The state has tons of conservation initiatives that help balance the ecosystem that benefit both wildlife and hunters. Therefore, the deer population in the area is thriving, increasing your chances of bagging a deer.

One of the cornerstones of these efforts is the management of deer populations through carefully crafted hunting seasons, bag limits, and antler restrictions. These regulations are essential to ensure that deer numbers remain healthy while allowing bucks to reach maturity and develop impressive antlers.

Pike County also actively engages in habitat restoration projects. These enhance the environment, allowing the deer to thrive. There are several controlled burns to maintain some amount of open woodlands, for instance, which is vital for a healthy deer population.

This proactive approach ensures the deer numbers remain robust and the bucks strong.

5. Straightforward Hunting Seasons

hunter tracks a wild boar

Like most areas, this county does have hunting rules and regulations.

©Maksim Safaniuk/Shutterstock.com

Pike County provides various hunting seasons and opportunities throughout the year. For instance, there is an archery season, firearm season, and muzzleloader season. Both of these provide unique challenges and experiences. Furthermore, there is also a youth and disability season, offering special opportunities for young hunters and those with special needs.

These seasons align with the natural rhythms of the region. They’re pretty straightforward, and their regulations aren’t terribly complicated. Therefore, whether you want to hunt with a bow or a rifle, there is a season for you in this county.

6. Diverse Habitats

Under Autumn Oaks A path beckons hikers to rest and enjoy the autumn colors at The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, Illinois.

The state is full of hardwoods, where deer often hang out.

©Mark Baldwin/Shutterstock.com

Pike County, Illinois, is home to many different habitats. All of these different options provide hunters with tons of different experiences. You can track deer in a hardwood forest or set up near an agricultural field.

We’ve already discussed the plethora of places to hunt. However, many of these places cover many different habitats. Therefore, even if you only hunt in the same place, you can experience several different habitats.

Many people like hunting in several different areas, as this helps keep the experience unique. However, the deer also benefit from the habitat diversity, as they often benefit from a mix of forests and open lands.

7. Quality Hunting Outfitters

Hunter Holding Bow

Consider hiring a guide or going to a class about hunting in the area.


There are plenty of hunting outfitters in the area that help keep local hunters stocked. This place is a bit of a tourist destination for hunters, so there are many shops in the area.

We’ve already discussed the plethora of hunting guides, which can be very helpful. However, even if you don’t want to use a guide, you may benefit from visiting some of these outfitters.

There are also lots of hunting guidebooks for the area, allowing hunters who don’t know the area well to still have a good chance of bagging a deer.

8. Scenic Beauty

Quiet Path Along a Sandstone Ridgeline in Giant City State Park in Illinois

Illinois is an extremely beautiful state, so you should enjoy your hunting trip.


On top of a quality deer population, this county is exceptionally beautiful. There are plenty of places to take in the natural beauty of the area. You can even see many beautiful landscapes while hunting. Many people describe these hunts as successful even if they don’t bag a deer simply because of the beauty of the area.

The time of year does matter, of course. The fall is a particularly beautiful time, as the leaves in the forest turn very vibrant, beautiful colors.

Summary of 8 Reasons Illinois’s Pike County Has the Best Deer Hunting in the U.S.

1Abundant Whitetail Deer Population
2Trophy Buck Potential
3Prime Hunting Grounds
4Management and Conservation
5Straightforward Hunting Seasons
6Diverse Habitats
7Quality Hunting Outfitters
8Scenic Beauty

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Karel Bock/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

Kristin is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering dogs, cats, fish, and other pets. She has been an animal writer for seven years, writing for top publications on everything from chinchilla cancer to the rise of designer dogs. She currently lives in Tennessee with her cat, dogs, and two children. When she isn't writing about pets, she enjoys hiking and crocheting.

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