I wanted to take time and thank you all for a great hunt this year. I could not believe the number of deer sightings I had during my two-week hunt. If I told you the numbers most would consider this letter BS so I’ll keep them to myself. However, I will tell you that the majority of deer where young bucks, and that I did manage to pass on 4 bucks that would have made the P&Y Book. The one-buck that I wanted, a humongous 8 point, put on an awesome show for 20 minutes while tending 3 does across a huge field only to cut in front me at 65 yards. I tried every trick in the book to get him to come a little closer, but he was focused on his ladies. I guess one buck’s weakness is another buck’s strength if you know what I mean. Anyhow, I came home with an empty tag and a truck full of memories. Looking forward to next year.
Thanks for all your hard work, Cobenn
Dear MAHA Staff
This has been my third hunting season as a member of the club. I have had the opportunity to hunt 2 to 3 different regions in 2 two different states. I am hoping to be drawn for the third state in the near future. Regardless, each adventure has been filled with excitement, new people, and great hunting. My most recent rifle hunt ended with the biggest deer of my career. A 150 inch 10 point that came to within 35 yards of my location before I decided to fill my tag. The greatest part of the adventure was the few gun shots that I heard each day. I expected to hear a war similar to other states that I hunt, but the silence provided the tranquility and spiritual relief that I have never been able to receive during rifle season. Thank you for your dedication that provides sportsmen with the opportunity to chase their dreams and fill their freezers.
I just wanted to thank you for another successful archery season. It was a very interesting, but short trip. I arrived to my destination Thursday Oct 28 and started scouting my reserved farm that morning. That farm looked good, but I found several stand sites from another member and I decided to back off. I called the office and got the go ahead to scout another farm that afternoon. This farm had the perfect layout, and I found two awesome locations to hang stands. It was getting late so decided to hang them Friday. I drove around the following morning watching fields and trying to figure out what size of game I should set my expectations on. (I did see a nice 140 class 10 point that got my heart pumping). Once the office opened, I called in to get permission to hang the two stands I scouted the day before. However, I found out that the property was already reserved. I then asked about a third property that had caught my attention from the Arial photos. I was beside myself when I found it to be open. After all it looked awesome from the Arial photo and I figured it to be too obvious of a hot spot to not have pressure. I made reservations to scout it the rest of Friday and Saturday, and then Hunt Sunday. I was not disappointed when I arrived. There were lots of sign and plenty of different hot spots to set up on. I did happen to find a skeleton of a 120 class 9 point that was never recovered the previous year (See attached photo). After scouting the farm and hanging stands for two days, I arrived back at my truck Saturday evening to find a note on it that said as of Monday Nov 1 the club no longer leases this farm. I had a sick pain in my stomach the rest of the night and thought somebody was playing an evil trick on me. I told my self to clam down, go ahead and hunt Sunday then call the office on Monday and get the facts. Well, 2 hrs after getting in my stand Sunday the 10 point in the attached photo came within several feet of my stand and I delivered a fatal shot. My hunt was over with a 13-mile drive, 2 hrs of stand time, and lots of scouting. I did happen to find out that later that the club was allowed bow hunting only the rest of the season on that property because a new owner had purchased the farm. I even made it home early to save vacation for a future hunt. Thanks again and please enjoy the photos.
Jon, John, and Nichole
I wanted to thank you for the great trip to the Mid West. I was able to harvest my first pope and young trophy animal on Veteran's day. The funny part is that I had my arrows crested and fletched in patriotic colors this year. I scored him in at 139 and he had 10 points with a 22 inch spread. I was also able to make a nice rifle harvest during the same trip. It was more than anyone could of asked for, but I knew I was in a good area when a 125 class 8 point jumped into the front of my truck 2 miles from the farm I was hunting. No one was hurt but the deer, and it finished up my trip with an extra story to tell. Thanks for the great opportunity; it will be appreciated for years to come.
We have all watched the hunting videos and dreamt of holding a record book buck for a photo. Maybe even picturing our self in the tree stand at full draw on the deer in the videos. Then the realization that seeing, let alone harvesting a deer of that magnitude in our home hunting area would be near impossible hits us and we let the dream go. Well, hunting in the Mid West offers the opportunity to bag that trophy. The problem is how, where, and when can we make our dream a reality. I have been in your shoes, asked the same questions, and still to this day get nervous before my 1000 plus mile journey each year. However, after traveling from WV for the past three years to hunt for 2 weeks on my own with a budget, I have developed a strategy to make my hunts more enjoyable.
The first question is where to go? Mid America publishes the number of hunters for each species each season. Reading this, you will realize that some areas receive less pressure per acre than others. I recommend that as a non-resident with a limited hunting/scouting schedule, you should prioritize the under utilized areas of the club. In reality you will not draw a tag every year and therefore you can hunt Missouri on the years you don’t have a tag. The reason for this is that with the limited time you have on your hunt you will be able to concentrate on farms with less competition and that will provide for a better experience. Once you find the state you want to hunt and are sure you will have a license, the next step is finding the exact area to hunt. As a first year member I would recommend talking to a land manager to get some direction on where to start your research. Realizing that the land managers are not going to tell you which trees to sit in and when to sit there you must utilize the information they provide as part of your research package. The next step is to pull up aerial and topographical photos of the farms you are thinking about hunting, and choose a farm that your hunting methods will allow you to feel comfortable in. Rule #1: Hunt where you feel comfortable. This is not a guided hunt and the only person left at the end of the hunt to blame or reward is you. Therefore, my recommendation is to choose an area that has several different farms within reasonable driving distance. The reason I recommend this is because the aerial photos are usually several years old and the habitat/crops could have changed since the picture was taken. Rule # 2: Always have a backup plan.
Once you have 2-3 farms picked out confirm with the land managers that this is the area you wish to hunt and make sure that the farms are not in high-pressure areas of the club. Now you must reserve your hotel as early as possible since I have found that when pheasant season comes in it can be down right impossible to find a room in some areas. Rule # 3: Reserve your room as early as possible. The prices and quality can range dramatically so call around to find something you will be happy with. The yellow pages of the hunting club can be utilized for hotel phone numbers. Once you have the hotel reserved, the farm picked out, and a tag you must remember to reserve your farm for the first three days of your hunt. The club rules require you to reserve within thirty days of your hunt. I usually prefer to spend 2 days scouting and hanging stands before I actually start hunting. This gives me the opportunity to cover more ground and allows me to find the most productive parts of the farms. Rule # 4: Spend time to find the hot Spots.
The last step of the prehunt process is to pack your bags. I recommend making a list, which I started on my first hunt and it has been extremely helpful ever since. Rule # 5: Make a list of equipment/materials. I utilized an excel spreadsheet because I have found that every year I like to modify it some. My list contains every item I put in my truck from the quantity of my underwear to my grunt call. I also utilize the Rubbermaid totes to store my items and I number each tote. Then beside the item on my list I write which tote I put them in. This helps me find the items I need plus it ensures me that I didn’t forget to pack that item. Some of the essentials I pack are different hunting cloths for different weather types, a cordless drill for tree stand steps, a GPS, a laptop for my maps, a weather radio to get updated wind directions, and a cell phone to call the club with. My motto is you can never pack enough gadgets and if you want to accomplish in two weeks what some people never get to do in a lifetime you need to know how to utilize everything you can to give you the upper hand.
Now you are ready to make the road trip. I recommend two weeks of time for bow hunts and at least 5 days for rifle hunts. This allows time to learn the properties, and hunt hard enough to be satisfied regardless of your success. I live in an area where a 115” buck is considered a jaw dropper and in my case I need to be mentally prepared before my hunt. The first year I don’t feel I was ready and I think I missed an opportunity at a tremendous buck because of it. However, the emotions that I felt from that missed opportunity catapulted me into a different level of hunter. I prepare myself by shooting at a 3D target while trying to imagine a giant mature animal that heard me move during my draw and I have to concentrate on putting that arrow in the vitals before he bolts. This high pressure target shooting might sound ridiculous, but once you have a record book animal come walking down a trail to within bow range it will pay huge dividends. Rule #6 Be mentally prepared to see big bucks and pass up juvenile ones.
Once you make your journey to the hunting location you should quickly find out that big deer are present. You can look for rubs and tracks of deer that make your imagination run wild. If these signs are not present I recommend going to a backup plan because Rule #1 has to be satisfied if you are going to sit in a tree all day. Rule # 7: The more time in your stand the more successful you will be.
The last question is where to set up to get within bow range of a monster. This question is not easily answered, but I will tell you the following. You must be able to adapt to the different habitat. I grew up hunting the big woods, which I still find extremely difficult to hunt do to the large amount of cover. However, the mid west provides some of the greatest and easiest to recognize funnels I have ever seen. Hunt them and hunt them smart and you will be successful. When I suggest you hunt smart I mean YOU MUST KEEP THE WIND IN YOUR FAVOR and take whatever measures you can to keep from spooking deer when walking to your stand. Rule #8 Place your stands in strategic areas so you can hunt SMART.
I hope these tips help you succeed and I look forward to seeing your pictures on the update page. Good Luck