Hunting with CIO Outdoors


The biggest factors contributing to harvesting a Trophy Whitetail Buck are: proven genetics, food, pressure, weather, hunting skills and some good luck added in to the mix. We know that the genetics, crops and lack of pressure on this 23,000 acres of trophy managed ground have been some of the fundamentals that provide us with some of the largest free-ranging trophy bucks taken in the country. We run the fewest hunters per acre of any other Illinois Trophy Whitetail Outfitters. We are more concerned with providing quality hunts than the quantity of hunters, so availability is limited!

Hunting Variables

The weather of course is unpredictable and our biggest variable, but we will control what we can and do our best to ensure that our hunters will have their best chance of shooting our Illinois and Kansas trophy whitetails. Moon phases and Photoperiodism play major factors in the timing of rutting activity and travel habits, however, since we have unpressured ground, our bucks feel safe in our natural sanctuaries. They must ultimately travel to our strategically located food plots, agriculture and scrape-lines and have the same travel habits, year after year.

Stands, Food Plots _ Agriculture

All of our stands will be set in June and July by our local expert guides making use of last years deer activity data, last year and current year trail cam data and extensive scouting to insure that stands are placed in perfect locations, which is why our average harvest percentages are typically TWICE the Illinois average! With an unfathomable amount of stands, there is never a problem with over-hunting any of our ground. We have a mix of 20' ladder stands, hang-on stands, climbers and permanent and portable ground blinds, we can accommodate any hunting style or need. Hunters can bring their own tree stands if they wish, but ours are pre scouted and ready to hunt.

We have thought of everything from insuring that we maintain unpressured ground, to carefully though-out and strategically situated food plots. We have different food plots for each feeding season, different stands for all possible wind directions and have “all day stands” that are in the “heart” of these Midwest GIANT whitetails bedding areas.

We leave strategically located standing crops in key areas that assist in ambushing these trophy bucks while in, and going to and from these feeding areas. It additionally, adds a sense of security to feeding whitetails unaware of our stands located in these key areas.

* Safety belts or safety harnesses and a waiver of liability are required on all hunts.


Our farms have a 130” Pope _ Young / Boone and Crockett (minimum for archery, yet some like The Grigsby, which have been BOW ONLY for years, raised the minimum to 140” Boone and Crockett in 2007. This decreased our harvest numbers just slightly for 2007, but the sacrifice was worth it as in 2008 and beyond, the over 100 unique 130-135 class bucks that we have on trail cam this year, that were passed on this season, will be 145 – 155+ next year. That does not even take into account this years 160's, 170's, 180's and several 190 and 200+ class Illinois Boone and Crockett trophy whitetails. Most of our our muzzleloader properties have a 140” minimum however, we do have muzzleloader properties with 150” minimums and conduct a handful of select hunts with 160” minimums.

Penalties are imposed for Bucks that are less than the minimum to insure that our 125's (2 year olds) will be 140 to 145's (3 year olds) the following season. Our bucks average 15 inches of growth annually while we have had many grow as much as 30+ inches in a year due to excellent genetics and growth oriented food sources. Those unfamiliar with scoring our large bodied whitetails need not worry as we provide basic guidelines during our orientation at camp. After orientation, we will spend as much time as necessary with whomever requests additional help. We want every hunter to ultimately have the skills to quickly judge our trophy whitetails so that confident decisions can be made afield. We promise you that when it's a “shooter” you won't need a calculator!

Downloadable Score Sheets