Gary Harpole of Harpole’s Heartland Lodge and I were talking Friday, and he was pretty enthusiastic about a new 450-acre farm that he just added to the other 2,000 acres in his upland program.
This is one of five upland properties that Harpole’s manages for its combination of wild and early-release upland birds. Located in the still remote section of Pike and Calhoun Counties between the Illinois River and the Mississippi, Harpole’s is a solid Midwestern, family-run operation. While November is fairly busy, there are openings from December on through until March. This time of year, the duck and goose hunting begins, and Gary offers great waterfowl/upland combos—waterfowl in the morning, upland in the afternoon.
“Waterfowl hunting can be hit or miss. It can be spectacular or not, so we specialize in offering these combos to ensure our hunters get a great day of hunting. Right now the weather is starting to turn and the big migration still hasn’t happened yet, so we are looking for the big southern push over the next few weeks.”
This bodes well for combo hunters, and December is a perfect time. Given Harpole’s location right in the middle of the Mississippi flyway, this can be a great dual-hunting experience.
The new lodge, which was built just recently, includes seven luxury suites with fireplaces, Jacuzzis, and oversize king-size beds which are great for couples, and there are rooms with two king beds to accommodate two hunters. There is a big dining hall and a state of the art 1,500-square-foot conference facility for corporate outings.
On a side note, we don’t usually write about the big-game operations, but one of Gary’s clients took a 190-inch whitetail with a bow. So, while our interests lie in things that fly, that is a notable achievement worth mentioning. Other things worth mentioning are the hospitality and the food. This is middle-American rural hospitality and every good connotation which that evokes.
As I stated in the book Great Hunting Lodges of North America, “Harpole’s is a reflection of our youth when hunting was something done on the family farm, where the food was simple, good and neverending, and the bed where we slept the unburdened sleep of children was deep and soft.”
For more information on Harpole’s, visit their website or call 1-800-717-HUNT (4868).