16,000 privately owned acres located in West Central Illinois, dead in the middle of the “Golden Triangle” (Pike, Brown, Adams, & Schuyler Counties).
Our ground has been under strict trophy management for 7-22 years. Unlike most ground in Illinois that is flat with no trees, our ground is 75% timber and 25% agriculture. Our farms are very rugged: creek drainages, bottoms, deep hollows, hardwood ridges, CRP, cedars and the nastiest Locust/Osage thickets around. This heavy cover allows for a high deer density and security for a buck to mature to a ripe old age. The other portion of our ground that compliments the herd is thousands of acres of agriculture and food plots that offers corn, soybeans, alfalfa, wheat, clover, buck forage oats, whitetail select (infinity), Biologic, brassicas, and other legumes.
Illinois Connection offers many tracts of land. Our smaller tracts carry a 140-inch gross minimum with a $1000 fine if they fall below that standard. Our larger tracts of land with several thousand contiguous acres carry a 150-inch gross minimum with a $1000 fine. Our current management has strengthened our trophy quality tremendously. Since 2006, our ground has produced 64 gross Boone and Crockett bucks; nine bucks grossing over 200s, nine bucks grossing over 190s, nine grossing over 180s and 37 grossing over 170s. View our previous photo galleries to see how our quality has increased. With many farms, and over a thousand stand locations (lock-ons, portables, ladder stands, ground blinds and shooting houses), we at Illinois Connection can strategically hunt the wind properly keeping pressure off of our herd.
Unlike most outfitters, Illinois Connection just completed its 21th year of operation. We have consistently maintained a 70-80% shot chance with a 30-34% success ratio. We are unique and only operate a small portion of the season targeted at what we think is the best chance to harvest one of these magnificent animals. We operate to a minimum until late October and then we apply more pressure in November into mid December. This ensures minimal pressure, increased quality and plenty of trophy bucks remaining for the following year.
There are other outfitters hunting October 1 through mid January (the entire season) running as many as 600 – 1200 hunters yearly with multiple lodges and thousands of acres. These outfitters are selling as many hunts as they can. Granted, with the law of averages, they harvest some trophy bucks but when doing the math, their percentages are much lower and their services impersonal.
At Illinois Connection, we pride ourselves on a small family-owned operation with high-quality, elaborate lodging, home cooked meals, seasoned guides, and some of the best deer hunting in the world. Come see why most of our clientele are repeats.