Muzzleloader Deer Hunter Success
My brother [above] and I had some success with the muzzle loaders this year. We had some difficulty because the deer pattern switched from soy beans to acorns right before the season opened. With a few adjustments, we were able to get onto a couple of nice ones.
Muzzleloader deer hunting with Mid-America Hunting Association covers Mule and Whitetail Deer hunting for pre rut, trail and post rut hunts starting in September in Kansas then again in December, November in Missouri and late December into January in Iowa on private deer lease land. Inline, solid propellant and scopes are legal in all three states.
Within the Association muzzleloader hunters are a minority group with each having more places to hunt than time to in the season to cover. The interest for muzzleloader deer hunting is along the lines of the Kansas early September and the Iowa late December into January seasons. These seasons are unique to may hunters as they are outside reproduction motivated behavior and require deer hunting tactics suited for deer patterns based on food and survival.
Starting in the last part of September, Kansas muzzleloader deer season is before the rut and on bachelor group bucks extending into October for the early rut when rubs begin to show. That same tag allows the muzzleloader hunter to return during the regular firearms deer season for modern rifle or muzzleloader again in early December.
The earlier Kansas September muzzleloader deer season is also unique hunting experience as the tree stand is the secondary method of pursuing these bucks. As these deer at this time of the year hardly move more than that required by 5 to 10 acres the black powder hunter is well advised to put on leather boots and first scout out these grouped bucks and once found use binoculars to pattern their highly routine and daylight movement patterns before the hunt.
Once patterned it is simply a matter of interdicting their daily movement without impacting on the core bedding area. That is the time the tree stand comes into play. While this seems easy to read and apply the Kansas muzzleloader deer season is not an easy hunt. The difficulty is the foliage that will force tree stands lower than wanted and may make 10 yard shots on standing deer sometimes an impossibility.
Kansas Muzzleloader September Season Cover
A challenge to Kansas' early September muzzleloader season is the habitat. Tall standing corn, green leaf trees. Plenty of concealment. This is prime whitetail habitat of the wooded creek bottom.
The September Kansas muzzleloader season is well before any fall frost initiating leaf color change and drop. All edge lines will be as heavy into leaves as they will ever be, the tall prairie grass will be high and while all hope for a good clear profile shot the reality will be bits and parts of deer bodies through tree and brush keyholes. That combined with the warm weather will cause most that try this early hunt to return to the better understood peak of the rut hunts from winter tree stands with clear fields of fire out to several hundred yards.
Deer Lease In September
The comment about preferred foods by season may be different than what most folks expect to find when traveling from out of state.
This is an early September picture of deer feeding on what is locally called beans and the complete name is Soybeans (all should remember we write for hunters coming from all over the United States and two foreign countries that may not be familiar with our local agriculture).
The amount of yellow leaf is the indicator of the time frame of the picture. By middle September the beans have lost their deep green leaf color overall turning a lighter green. Concurrently, the yellow leaf of the plant reaching the end of maturity becomes more produced as September progresses right into harvest.
The Bur Oak in July at about mid-maturity. The Bur Oak is distinctive due to its hull with the soft spines. The hull remains attached on the dropped acorns.
Around the middle of September each year our locally predominate Oak Tree, the Bur Oak, drops their acorns. The Bur Oak acorn is as attractive to the deer as many recognize the White Oak acorn to be. That food source attraction lasts for a week to ten days and by the last weekend of September the first of the rubs begin to show and the rut is on and the acorns like any one food source no longer is an influencing factor in trophy deer hunting.
The last aspect of our oak and for the most part all nut producing trees is they are more likely to be found in a linear distribution along creek bottoms rather than what some have experienced with White Oak groves. This is topography and agriculturally driven as farming practices leaves only the slopes of creeks for tree growth.
Missouri muzzleloader deer season is in late November after their modern firearms season and overlaps with archery season. Unique to this state, the whitetail deer hunter can have both an archery tag good for two whitetail either sex and a firearms tag good for one deer that also covers Missouri's muzzleloader season.
For those with a husband and wife hunting team where the husband prefers archery and the wife muzzleloader these two overlapping seasons allow for such a combined deer hunt and ensures one more option for a spousal team to spend time together in the field.
Missouri black powder season is in the trail of the rut with scrapes active but in the down side with and the occasional doe trailing buck will most likely be a yearling late to come into season. The whitetails as a whole will begin to herd up and occupy the more sheltered habitat especially during the colder winters. The disadvantage to this behavior is the unwary hunter that enters a wooded creek bottom patch may suddenly find 15 sets of eyeballs on him with no hope of maneuvering in close for a shot. This transitional whitetail behavior period from waning rut to winter patterns makes for a more unstable movement pattern highly affected by weather. An observant deer hunter tuned into these variables will do well.
Iowa rounds out the muzzleloader deer hunts with a late December into January muzzleloader season that allows a similar option compared to that of Kansas where the hunter is pursuing whitetails outside of the rut when the bucks have returned to more predictable movement patterns. This is another case where the beginning of the deer hunt is scouting with firearm seeking out the loafing and bedding areas.
Again this is a time of the year when the initial part of the hunt is on foot followed by the tree stand interdiction of movement patterns. Food will be a prime director of behavior due to this northern of our three states earlier and colder winter with much more snowfall. For the greatest predicable whitetail behavior the colder winter with snow cover means the greater dependence on foraging the many large grain crop fields of this good rainfall state. That combined with good shelter habitat gives the hunter a better view of where to seek out his buck.
Muzzleloader deer hunts across these three states gives a great range of whitetail pattern that any one deer hunter may find more able to capitalize on than others. That range of options characterizes MAHA's approach for do it yourself hunters with a central focus to deer hunt where/what he hunts best. And, by the firearm he hunts best, be it muzzleloader deer hunting, archery or modern firearms.
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