How to be successful in Mid-America Hunting Association follows a method developed over time. Each hunting preference does have a slightly different approach. What is common amongst all is:
Association partners Jon Nee and John Wenzel have been on all land over many years. They will offer insight of where to get started.
Earliest successful Association hunters change their hunting styles to meet cover and regional differences.
All first trip, first season, are the worst hunts. With each learning experience success improves.
Not all hunters will be successful. They will find fault with all things about our Association, not themselves.
Tom with his personal best.
After gaining access to Association online maps that first season determine which unit or zone wanting to hunt. Contact one of the Association's two partners for recommendations from their years of having observed our land. Pick more than three spots to hunt. Rank order those spots from first to last wanting to scout and hunt. Then get out and scout or hunt those spots.
Second, season build out from that first year's core land. Cover ground scouting or hunting. Add at least three more spots considered first choice land.
By anyone's third to fourth year, they have covered a good bit of ground, finding places they like better than their first season. Most do not hunt their first year land by this point.
A caution to those who rely too heavily on aerial photos. Those that do are who frequently have the most complaints about their hunts.
Some hunters seem to require more assistance than most. We will accommodate all to a point. If any hunter becomes too dependent and seeks to make the Association partners act as their private scout that hunter will be reminded this is a self-guided organization
Bryan's crew with one tough pheasant.
Pheasant hunters who are flushing dog hunters often find their best hunts are in tall or native grasslands. This is cover that works to keep dogs in close for flush and shot. Other cover of brushy draws, cut crops and field edge cover are the domain of pointing dog hunters.
On years when native grass has had good summer rains and is tall, thick, grasslands pheasant hunters are happy. They believe they have hunted well, they have good dogs and nothing is wrong. On bad grass years when it is thin, low, these same hunter will see many pheasants flush long range and complain our land is over pressured. What it all comes down to is dog power. All should agree any one hunter having but one or two dogs is not likely to have any dog with specialized hunting skill suited to all cover types. To believe one dog can do it all on all cover is rare, more often a fantasy.
Having said all that, how to make a successful hunt is to listen to the two Association partners. They are both upland bird dog training and hunters themselves. The questions they will be asking you will be derived from decades of working with all types of hunters of different breeds and past hunting experience. They are after each person has the best hunt possible to get all hunters to return their next season. Where they say to hunt please do hunt that land. Do not drive by and make a roadside assessment. Get out and walk all the land.
Pointing dog hunters will find much easier walking and more eye-on-dog action hunting more diverse cover such as draws, edges, fallow spots.
We make this distinction between pointing and flushing dog hunters as we limit flushing dog hunters compared to the number of tall grass acres we have in inventory. As there are more flushing than pointing dog hunters in this Association we often close memberships to those hunters early in the year. Pointing dog owners typically find membership availability right up tot he season start.
Quail are both easiest to succeed on and quickest to separate out dedicated from less dedicated hunters.
When it comes to quail hunting it is the Association's highest risk hunt. Quail hunting is a combination of a hunter's willingness to walk, dog power and shooting skills. It takes all three facets for a good hunt. Reality is coveys are there and so is the land to hunt. That reality is also any one covey occupies less than 10 acres through a year. That special 10 acres may be within a 160 quarter section. First time hunting any spot will take walking all acreage to find one golden 10 acre spot. Repeat twice more and an entire day's worth of daylight may be consumed.
Hunters willing to walk will be rewarded with covey finds. Keeping track of those coveys through each hunt soon brings more known covey locations than hunting time will allow. That generally takes three years of seasons/trips. And, that is the rub.
Most new to Association quail hunting want a higher rate of return on a shorter time duration than is reasonable given nature the way it is. Those who can get over this ramp up time lag are who hunt with their Association for decades. These are hunters who have hunted other states and also conclude our weather and terrain benefits superior to other states. Those who seek hourly covey finds their first hunt or three are who quit claiming lousy hunting.
After acquiring a collection of known covey spots change pattern on subsequent hunts. Out of every three stops make two on known covey locations. The third make it on previous unhunted, but likely nearby spots to find additional coveys. Always adding to the covey inventory each trip will more than cover previous known covey spots when on later hunts just due to bad luck that covey was not present the day the hunter was.
Father and son memories.
Both goose and duck hunters have a method for greater and lesser success.
The method that typically results in satisfying experiences is to watch national and state migratory reports and weather forecast. Matching up migration movement to enhancing weather effects shows well when the greatest likelihood of a good hunt will occur. An advantage to our season long access. Or, hunt when ducks are in.
Waterfowl hunters also enjoy their sport. They hunt on less than optimum conditions. That includes early season on teal and woodys. It includes other than peak migration periods when just getting out there to enjoy a day hoping for a limit knowing full well during slack times a limit is not as likely.
Those who seem to have more success are those who will hunt an entire range of wetlands and nearby dry land changing during a season as conditions of migration and weather does. Those who report least satisfying seasons typically are folks who fall into a rut. These are hunters who have decided to concentrate on one wetlands along with a favored spot or two on that wetlands. These hunters hunt a location rather than taking advantage of migration peaks and lulls and weather. Either is ok with us as we recognize all find enjoyment in different ways.
Julie, accomplished deer and turkey hunter.
Those who adapt to open farm land turkey hunting of setup and call rather than run and gun tag most on shortest times. This effect is similar deer hunters. Each must adapt to local conditions rather than apply any one technique uniformly across different terrain.
Those with refined turkey hunting skills fill all tags. This is due to large number and lower pressured flocks. Many change over time to make a turkey hunting trip more of a deer scouting effort.
Those who have never hunted turkeys often have novice success. Each spring we hear of a new to turkey hunting success story. many for kids. A few for adults.
In all cases success lies in scouting. Find roost locations, flydown spots, return to roost routes. Connect the dots. Set up. Let the turkeys test your camouflaging, calling, decoy skill. Turkeys better than deer train hunters how to hunt.