Man, I can't think of the name, but there is a new website devoted to outfitter reviews. If I think about it I will post it for you. Why IL? Not that I am suggesting it is a bad choice, just curious why that state. Jim Boyd has been hunting there lately so maybe he can help, but I don't think he is using an outfitter.
Well, that might be hard to find "big deer" and a "good price". Illinois is one of the biggest trophy buck destinations int he United States. You might find some decent hunt prices, but I bet most are going to be $4000 plus. If that's what you consider good price, then do a google search, there are plenty of outfittters out there.
Many outfitters in Illinois have been clobbered over there and they have folded left and right, particularly in the west central portion of the state along the river.
This fabled area has been hit really hard, with a lot of land in foreclosure... in the mid 2000's with deer hunting at it's peak, people were opening outfitters and buying land at ridiculous prices and then the bottom fell out.
The economy went south and the deer herds have had some disease problems, also.
You can still hunt and be very successful there with an outfitter however - but I would want to do some serious research before I kicked him a couple thousand dollars to hunt.
I would find someone that has been in business a while, however...
I would also invest the time to visit once before I hunted - and meet the people, see where you are going to be staying, look at the land, etc... I think that is a trip well worth that sort of investment on the front end.
Too many times, horror stories arise from this and I think seeing and knowing ahead of time would be wise.
This may also serve to keep the outfitter a little more honest - he will know exactly what you expect.
Here is another thought - why don't we make a coalition of hunters and lease our own piece????
Winter is tough on whitetails, that is an accepted fact.
You can help the quality of your herd by providing winter plots - that are not necessarily designed as kill plots.
Having what I call green plots - that the deer can browse in when most of the other food is gone, can greatly benefit the deer herd when they need it most.
Come December - at least in our area of the south - most of the mast is gone, all of the crops were long harvested and this green browse can really make the difference for...