The Right Setup for Your Illinois Whitetail Hunt The Right Setup for Your Illinois Whitetail Hunt

Our hunters often ask us for our recommendations on archery setups for an Illinois whitetail hunt. Of course there are an endless variables that can determine setup. The answers may change based on a person’s size, draw length and more. However, there are some guiding principles that we often like to mention.

First, keep it simple and stick with what you know. Shoot the setup that you’re comfortable with and that makes you the most confident. Because when it comes down to it, shot placement is far more important than anything to do with your bow, arrow or broadhead.

Each season our guides follow a lot of blood trails and see a lot of trophy bucks on the ground. Over time, we certainly recognize patterns and form opinions on what we think works best. For example, we like to remind our clients, “Come prepared to hunt bear, not mice.” Make no mistake; these big Illinois deer are very tough animals.


Beyond using an adequately heavy arrow setup, there’s not much we typically recommend to our hunters, other than to shoot a bow setup that you’re comfortable with and that you know well. Use the style of sight, rest and release that makes you feel most confident. Because when steel meets hide, your shot placement is more important than any other controllable factor.

While discussing archery setups and shot placement with hunters, we also like to emphasize the importance of avoiding marginal shots. No matter how excited you get, you must take your time, wait for a clear shooting lane and a broadside or quartering shot. When you see that giant buck appear, keep a grip on your better judgment. If you don’t have a clean shot, do the right thing and wait or pass.

As a part of your archery prep this year, take plenty of time to practice your different angles and positions. And spend time practicing in your hunting clothing. Don’t wait until this summer to get in shooting shape. Start now and be ready for that whitetail hunt that you’ve been dreaming of all year.

Here at Hadley Creek Outfitters, we are busy getting ready for the 2021 season! For our full time guides and staff, there’s no off-season. As soon as one season ends, you can find us working on farm layout and stand and food plot locations. For more information on our hunts, explore the rest of our website at Or you can give us a call at 217-335-3804 or send us a message.