Spring Hunts. More burn feedback via email: Hey, John, I just wanted to chime in real quick on the question of turkeys and controlled burning. May be different in the mid-west than where I live in Texas, but for what it's worth....
In the Pineywoods of east Texas (where I live and we have a special Eastern Turkey season), we get so much rain that the Texas Forest service does prescribed burns about every year or two to keep the underbrush growth down to keep the habitat suitable, since we don't have big crop fields or other big open areas like in the mid-west. Frequently, we will see turkeys in the areas burned while the ground is still smoking, just a day or so after the fire has come through. They go in there and feast on all the dead bugs, it's like a smorgasbord to them.
Like I said, I don't know, but that it may be different than the mid-west, but in east Texas burning and turkeys is a GOOD thing
This is the kind of membership we enjoy working with, those that take ownership of their Association and are willing to support others. far better than the more common selfish attitude we see in our general society.
Bad Hunts. Occasionally we get feedback from members that tell us of a less than ideal hunt. In all cases of all information the Association reacts appropriately. In this case the feedback was by email, detailed and of an interesting topic so we thought we would share it with every one. As is the case with any issue there is always more than one side. The original email message is broken into issue segments (black text) and interspersed with explanations (red text) provided by the Association.
"I went up to [deleted] for opening weekend. I didn't arrive until just at dusk on Friday evening. I saw smoke and embers burning throughout the area. The next morning I get there early and heard birds gobbling on west end of the north draw. I set up in the edge of timber east of them about 150 yds. They came out my side and I watched about 10 hens, a jake, and a mature gobbler. I couldn't call them in and they moved south so I tried to move around on the east side but with no cover they saw me and went back north. I didn't see them again."
No issue here, this first part is just background in the email message.
"In the afternoon I drove up to the northwest corner and saw a guy on a 4-wheeler starting fires. He came by and said the landowner hired him to burn off since it was a CRP requirement. He didn't hunt turkeys and I don't know if he knew the season just started. Anyway, I didn't say anything and just let him carry on. I would suggest that it would be nice if you could have the landowners wait until after season or before if possible."
The rules on CRP burning is that it is conducted after the last of the frost typically around April 10 in the central mid-west, that is, after the grass winter dormant period so that once burned the prairie grass will begin its spring growth immediately after the burn and limit any potential erosion. If burned too early in the spring the ground will remain bare and the potential for erosion is greatly increased and negate the CRP contract. If burned too late too much green growth will be present and inhibit the burning of the dormant and dead growth from the previous year and the burn will be wasted.
The end date for all CRP burning is April 30. This date is set as burning afterwards is inherently more dangerous due to dry conditions and to limit the adverse impact on wildlife.
CRP may only be legally for most counties burned with a burn permit issued for the day of the burning and such permits are only issued when the humidity level is high and winds low to zero miles per hour the day being applied for. This requirement makes it very difficult to plan ahead for hunting reservations, even one day ahead.
CRP grass is burned as a maintenance requirement to eliminate woody growth and annual weeds. CRP is planted in native deep root prairie grass that survives the burning while the weeds are typically burned in total and woody plants to include trees killed off from fire penetrating the bark.
"I just came on home. Since office is closed on weekends I couldn't get another place to hunt."
Yes, the office is manned five days a week and closed on weekends. This is a result of an Association wide decision a good number of years ago to limit membership costs to include not hiring a temporary employee for weekend office manning.
"Waste of time and money on this one."
Maintenance of CRP plantings is required for CRP contract continuation. As landowners will earn more money from their CRP contract than the MAHA hunting lease it is not a discussion point that MAHA must allow CRP maintenance to have precedence otherwise that land would never be leased.
CRP maintenance is not an annual requirement. It is only required when the weed or woody growth exceeds a certain point.
"Just wanted to let you know my experience regardless of good or bad. Perhaps I will have a good experience next time."
It is always the Association's intent that all hunters have a good hunt each time they hunt. We do all that we can to ensure this and at the same time we recognize that life is not always perfect. In cases where we can only react rather than be proactive we do the best we can.
Before and after a CRP Burn:
Spring Turkey. A couple of weeks ago the Kansas City Star wrote an article on the youth spring turkey season featuring a MAHA staffer and his son.
Before anyone starts emailing about the commercial activities clause in the Association rules lets distinguish between a member training dogs or videoing a hunt for his own profit and a hunt where the article writer was escorted by the Association general manager, no money exchanged, he did not hunt and the article benefits the entire Association. This distinction should be clear and acceptable to all.
Turkey Hunt & Fishing. A member emailed this message and photo: "I took this photo between turkey scouting. I parked at this location because it was a low spot that hid my truck and I fished since I had my rod and caught 6 bass and a fish I couldn't identify that looked like a walleye but didn't have teeth and had red eyes." (We don't know either).
Comments from the staff: Your Association has miles and miles of streams, creeks and rivers that run through club property and are overlooked for fishing. Many of these have a variety of species of fish that are not available in the ponds and lakes the majority of members utilize for fishing.
River fishing is like all other types of hunting and fishing. It requires time and a skilled method of approach to be successful.
We've had hundreds of inquires over the years to sell discounted memberships for fishing but have denied the opportunity to maintain quality fishing for those that choose to fish.
Spring Turkey Season. Just some observations as to this spring turkey season to date. Success rates are on the high side. Hunter numbers down a bit compared to this point last season. And, most interesting is the high first day success rate for brand new members exceeding what some older members have been able to do. We have several older members of more than 5 years in the Association that have not tagged yet. This picture is from a first year member, Robert, with a 21 pound tom.
From Kevin: "Spring turkey hunting season began 4-9-2003. Was a good hunt as we tagged out the 1st day (2birds a piece)!!" [That is two a piece for three hunters].
Whitetail. Take a look at Travis' 14 point non-typical whitetail.
Opening Day. Via email: Nice start to Kansas turkey season. Nice bird with 10" beard on opening day of the first hour. Weather little cool, but bird worked pretty good. Thanks, Darrell
Thank you Darrell for taking the time to send in your very nicely composed photo.
Season Followup. Email summary from one of the Associations successful deer hunters: This spot became one of my favorite spots during the later half of deer season. Most days hunting I would see 30 to 40 deer during the morning or evening. I got to the point of being disappointed if I would only see 10 or so deer while out.
Spooked about 30 deer out of the cornfield during midday while getting to my stands. Walked up a draw into a pasture and kick out a herd of about 70 deer. In the herd was 5 bucks. All the deer spooked and ran over a hill, but within a few minutes about 30 of the deer came back over the hill and came back into the draw. A friend and myself watched a 10 pt., 8 pt., 8 pt. with only 1/2 rack, and the largest body deer of all of them (no rack), mill around and bed down within 60 yards of us.
These deer were not spooked by us being there, we were not in camo and not standing motionless. We were talking and moving our hands and head and these large bucks just laid down and watched us. Again the 10 pt. and 8 pt. were both larger than the rack in the picture. I measured the largest rack in the picture and if the other side is symmetrical, I'd estimate it would go 150-155. It has more mass than any other rack I have had in my hands and keeps large mass all the way out to the end of the beam and points.
Kansas Rio Grande Turkey. We pulled this photo from our archives of Dennis with a couple of nice Kansas Gobblers as a reminder of what could happen the next two months if you find yourself in the right place at the right time and don't miss.
Lease Land Update. Late winter and early spring is the peak time of year that land sells and farmers who cash rent cropland make their deals.
The Association leases a lot of land from several groups of investors as well as large farmers that cash rent land and sub-lease the hunting rights to the Association, so turnover of land is inevitable.
We have several small land changes that need to be addressed before spring turkey season so please make note of the following tracts of land that were not renewed due to unavoidable circumstances:
Crawford County Kansas, Unit A. Delete Sections 25 and 32
Greenwood County Kansas, Unit A - Delete entire map
Harrison County Missouri, Unit A- Delete Sections 8 and 5
Harrison County Missouri, Unit E- Delete Section 18 and 17 that includes the cabin. Nodaway County Missouri, Unit C- Delete Section 4
The Association is scouting land 12 months out of the year so replacing and/or upgrading land is and never will be a problem. If we sign any new land contracts they will be active for the fall of 2003 when the map updates are delivered. Hopefully this fall they will be on CD.
Last year several properties were worked over by bulldozers which is terrible to witness from a wildlife perspective, especially when we are leasing the land for hunting, but it seems to be an unavoidable issue when dealing with agricultural land on a mass acreage basis. Our solution as always is to delete several of these properties and replace them with more productive habitat.
We hear everyone spreading rumors turkeys are killing the quail, but we believe bulldozers and fescue have ten times the impact on the quail population than turkeys.