Q. Is the license included in the price of the hunt?
A. No, the license is the responsibility of the hunter. After a hunt is booked, we send correspondence at the appropriate time on the procedure on how to go online or call the DNR directly and retrieve what is needed. Archery license $411.00, Firearm/Muzzle loader license $325.00, 5-day license $35.00 and Habitat Stamp $5.50.
Q. What do you need as far as licensing?
A. You typically need three things: Archery Combo Permit or Firearm/Muzzle Loader Permit (depends on hunt you are attending), Habitat Stamp, and a 5-day Hunting License. (If your hunt is longer than 5 days (combo), you will need an Annual Hunting License.
Q. Do you have to draw or win a lotto for your Archery/Muzzle Loader permits?
A. Yes. Not to worry. Generally everyone applying on time will receive their tag. In most years, there are surplus permits left over that go on sale over the counter. The application permit process is a very simple online process.
Q. Do you have to have preference points to get your tags?
A. No. You can get your tags very easily year after year.
Q. What if I do not draw a tag?
A. If for some reason you did not draw your tag, your monies paid are fully refunded or you have the option to reserve the date of your choice the following year.
Q. What is included in the price of the hunt?
A. The hunt, the finest meals and lodging, open bar, guide, stands, access to farms, game preparation (quartering only), retrieval of downed game (if tracking dog is needed, it is responsibility of the hunter) and an enjoyable time in a great atmosphere.
Q. Do you have a trophy fee?
A. No these are free range hunts. There is a minimum, but there is no maximum. You could leave with nothing (this is hunting) or you could leave with a potential World Class Animal. The price of the hunt is the fee charged.
Q. What is the address to the lodge?
A. 507 200N Ave Mt. Sterling, Illinois 62353. When using GPS, go to google and click on Illinois Connection maps/directions. If your GPS does not show this, use Mt. Sterling and the 62353 zip code. This will bring you ten minutes away. Call the lodge at 217-289-3529 and we will guide you in. The address and directions are also on the back of the Hunt Contract.
Q. How many hunters do you have in camp?
A. The number of hunters in camp depends on the hunt. In early October, we allow approximately 6-8 hunters. Throughout October teens to the twenties, we allow 12-15 hunters. After we reach the late October (Halloween week), we start our big camps. We target having approximately 25-35 hunters. This sounds like a lot, but when doing the math over 16,000 acres over 60 different farms, 1000+ stand locations and hunters with bows in their hands, our ground is hardly touched; especially when we generally put two people to a farm so we will only use twenty farms in a full blown rut week. No pressure. We keep a large camp up until First Firearm. We then shut down in the middle of November for Thanksgiving. We will not have any hunters for ten days. Think of that – no hunters in the middle of November! We then have approximately 20-25 for the Second Firearm and after that, the late Muzzleloader we will have about 15 hunters.
Q. What is your success rate?
A. Archery – we typically keep a running average of about a 75% shot chance with about 30-38% success. When calculating misses, wounds, passes and actual harvest to the pole, our firearm hunts are about the same shot chance with a 50-85% success.
Q. Do you allow crossbows?
A. Yes, most states require a disability permit to use a crossbow, but here in Illinois it is not necessary. Anyone of legal age to hunt with the valid Non or Resident Archery Permit is allowed.
Q. Does the guide sit with you?
A. No. The guide places or shows you the specific stand to hunt. This allows you the flexibility of sitting until you would like to come in, based on deer movement or wind change.
Q. Do we hunt all day?
A. That is entirely up to you. You can hunt all day if the conditions allow. Some days the wind will not allow it. You can hunt until mid-day, come in for a hot lunch and then go back out for the afternoon. Under certain conditions, it is advisable to stay in the stand as long as possible (rut).
Q. Do we hunt the same farm the entire time?
A. No. We typically move everyone after a day or two, depending on wind and sighted movement. We do not like to over hunt any farms.
Q. If deer movement has changed will you move the stand?
A. Absolutely yes. If we are capable of getting above or below the movement with the proper wind, we will close in the distance to gain a chance at a close shot.
Q. Do your guides hunt?
A. No guides are allowed to hunt while clients are hunting. Our guides are not allowed to hunt until Thanksgiving break or after the completion of all clients for the year. Our guides will do doe management in early October in between hunts but that is it.
Q. What type of stands do you use and if I need a specific stand because of a limitation, will you accommodate?
A. We use loc-ons, ladders, ground blinds and shooting houses. We have over 1000 stands that will accommodate all hunters. Generally our guides will question as to the type of stands you are comfortable using and then place you to your request. We use the finest of equipment and depending on the hunters special needs, we can deliver.
Q. What is the maximum age of the youth hunt?
A. The youth deer season is open to hunters who have not reached their 18th birthday prior to the opening date of the season.
Q. Can I ship my bow, equipment, firearm, muzzle loading powder and/or anything associated with the hunt?
A. Yes. Send anything you need to make travel easier or allowable by airplane standards. FedEx and UPS come to us often. When sending, mail to: Illinois Connection Your Name 507 200N Ave. Mt. Sterling, Illinois 62353
Q. Does the guide take you to your farm?
A. Generally we like you to drive to the farm yourself. This keeps added pressure off of the farm. The activity is much less when we are not coming in and out four times a day. We try to do everything necessary to increase your odds. If there are more than two of you in a vehicle, our guides will escort as needed to and from the farms.
Q. How high are your stands?
A. Most of our stands are around twenty feet.
Q. Do your stick ladders go all the way to the stand or above it?
A. With most of our loc-ons, the sticks come to the platform and you step up and in. I know older gentlemen like the ladders above so they can step down. Some of our stands are such. This is where you as the hunter should specify to the guide your need and we will accommodate.
Q. Do you allow guests?
A. Yes as long as there are availabilities. The guest fee is $500.00.
Q. Do you have private bedrooms?
A. Yes. Private bedrooms are of limited availability. Most of our rooms are bunked. Certain rooms are of larger capacity.
Q. What are the sleeping arrangements?
A. Our bedrooms are mostly bunked. Some rooms have a larger capacity. These rooms are of the finest accommodations. The only thing generally in the room other than the hunters is your overnight bag. All of your gear is stored in scent free gear rooms allowing for more space and less possibility of interior odors.
Q. Are you allowed to harvest two antlered bucks in Illinois?
A. Yes. If a hunter has an Archery and Firearm/Muzzle Loader Permit, he/she can harvest one with each permit.
Q. Do you have many TV shows filming at your place?
A. No. We do very few commercialized hunts. We feel as if some hunters get the impression that TV personalities get preferential treatment. We want everyone to have as equal an opportunity as the next hunter. It is a necessary process to advertise through the media but we do it on a very limited basis.
Q. What is typical gratuity?
A. This is a very hard question to answer. Industry standards state 10% but it depends on everyone’s financial means. Some give much more and some less. Anything is greatly appreciated. Our guides will work very hard to make your hunt one of utmost standards.
Q. How do you determine who hunts where?
A. At the beginning of each hunt, we have a guides meeting. We determine the predominate wind, what has or has not been hunted, sightings and what last year’s history was on the same particular week. We then divide hunters based on groups and start our approach for the week. We then make moves on a daily basis as a team to put hunters on the ever-so-changing movement.
Q. Has the stand I’m going to hunt already had someone in it?
A. In most cases, no. We have stands we pull every year that we never hunt. The success of an outfitter is the ability to provide one with a quality hunt at the beginning of the year all the way to the end. There will be some stands that no matter the conditions are just on fire for the week or season (a hot doe for instance passed through) and it will get hunted by several but generally we have fresh stand locations all season long.