April 2004 Updates

26 Apr

Traveling Hunter. Gary followed up his earlier pictures and quick story with a detailed hunting account about the turkey he and his partner came across and more pictures making one tom per state he hunted. Upland bird hunters take note of where he tells of the pheasant and quail he found. For a non-upland hunter to give such a report is far better than the official state reports that may have motives other than accuracy. Thanks Gary for the great feedback, good luck this fall!

24 Apr

Gary Again. Sent in a couple of pictures and a short note about his first hunt with his Association. He promises a more detailed hunting account after he tags one more in one more state. Thanks Gary for taking the time to send in your pictures.

23 Apr

Lease Land. John W., one of your Association staffers with an attempt at a self portrait.

Several members each spring say they would have sent in their pictures, but their attempt to take their own pictures results in similar composition and they would rather not be compared to the pictures taken by others that have their buddy snap the photo. That is immaterial to us and we certainly appreciate all pictures and no one should ever underestimate the power a letter has. In the case of this picture's story it is not about the toms, it is about the land they came from. Some of the 'inside' story your Association staff experiences each season.

The property was acquired early in 1996 and recommended to a hunter that spring as John had seen birds on it, the deer sign was acceptable and one covey put up during the pre-contract consideration scouting. This also marks the first spring turkey season of John giving recommendations to hunters of where to hunt.

That hunter did scout the property and reported back the ground lacked sufficient trees for turkey and went on to tell what game was on the property and how we should not recommend it to anyone for spring turkey hunts.

Then as now we always recognize the benefit the Association offers that all may select their own hunting areas and hunt their own style and that hunter went on to be successful on other farms. This exchange however did begin John's annual pilgrimage to hunt that property at least one day each spring in memory of that very first recommendation to others of where to hunt. And, each spring it is a source of humor and confirmation of what we believe to be true through actual proof gained from boots-on-the-ground. This year the hunt was over quick before 9AM.

The story behind this land has a second part, more of the 'inside' story of the daily life of the Association staff. This property is located within a region of ever increasing hunting lease contract prices. We are paying less than what the landowner could get from some individuals that would pay larger sums for small acreage and the reason we can competitively secure it for the Association is directly due to the liability coverage we provided the landowner. This landowner was also smart as he did not just take a copy of our certificate for confirmation of insurance, he also telephoned the carrier to confirm our insurance coverage was current. The insurance certificate was not the only reason he leased his land to us, it was the final aspect that sealed the deal.

Fishing. Big Bass Andrew shows an Association previously hunting only buddy some fishing locations expanding that hunter's, now fisherman's, opportunity to get out of the house more often. Thanks Andrew for the good picture.

Kansas Deer. Tim T., alerted us to some potential Kansas deer regulation changes being considered by the KDWP and while we do not regularly post changes to game laws on our update page we do so in this instance to illustrate the need for every hunter to read the game laws each year before hunting and not to rely on his previous year's knowledge as being appropriate for the current season.

Recommended season dates for the 2004-2005 deer seasons:
Muzzleloader - Sept. 11-Sept. 24.

Youth and Disability permit holders - Sept. 25-26.Archery - Oct. 1-Nov. 30 and Dec. 13-31.

Regular Firearms - Dec. 1-12

Selected units may have a check station and registered within 48 hours of harvest requirement.

Overall, there will be 10,268 nonresident deer permits available in the 2004 drawings, compared to 7,119 offered in 2003.

Concerning upland hunting KDWP proposes: "...giving quail hunters their separate opener - a week before the pheasant hunting begins - to focus more attention on the pursuit of bobwhites..."

Missouri Turkey. Some quotes from the Kansas City Star newspaper (online subscription service) referencing Missouri's Spring Turkey Season: "Hunters shot 10,119 birds, breaking the opening-day record set last year...The northwestern block of counties ranked second, with 1,592 [harvested toms without any ratio of the number of hunters for comparison]." The Associations least reserved area to date this spring has been NW Missouri.

Fishing. Stephen sent is a bunch of fishing pictures from last season and promises to show this summer's results as they happen. It will be interesting to follow this member as he covers the ponds until fall. Thanks Stephen and good luck.

21 Apr

Local Hunter. Bob's spring turkey hunt results. No text, just a thank you.

Good to hear from you Bob, we look forward to working with you.

20 Apr

Turkey. To date turkey report. This year we have seen a shift in early turkey reservations leaning to the Kansas side leaving many quality farms in Missouri sitting idle for the opening week of the season. The Counties that have been overlooked are Atchison, Daviess, Harrison, Holt, and Linn.

It appears many of the hunters are scouting with terra server and speculate the farms with the most timber hold the most turkeys. This theory does not always hold true, especially in north Missouri.

Any farm with a creek, stream or small timberline running through it in north Missouri has potential for quality turkey hunting.

Admin. Some hunters have not yet clicked on the MAHA Yellow Pages to locate their lodging resources when hunting MAHA leases. Each of the over 700 business listing was telephoned to confirm they were first still in business and their phone number accurate. Those that attempted to get Shaun, our Association secretary, to look up motels for them at reservation time simply are slowed down at getting what they want to know. The MAHA Yellow Pages links is also available through the image link at the top right of this page.

Quail. A member's fine looking bird dog on a quail point from last season. Such days are only a memory now as spring turkey and early fishing fill the days.

15 Apr

Traveling Hunter. Pennsylvania member Gary makes it five years running harvesting central midwest toms. Thanks Gary, it certainly is enjoyable to have you come by.

14 Apr 

Youth Hunters. If there is an award for the greatest hunting dad developing his children it has to be for Matt.

Feedback. Past readers of the update page know that when we receive feedback from members we often post it to the update page to share with everyone as many may have the same questions. For the most part the feedback we receive covers issues previously reviewed and it is rare when the feedback is unique to our experience. The routine issues we often post due to timeliness of the issue with the upcoming seasons. In other cases it may simply be an interesting topic such as hunting regulation changes. In the case of this member's concerns it was unique to our past experience and may be of interest to those of similar mindset. As always we retain the member's identity for everyone's benefit.

The issue concerns the state youth seasons and the member's concern that letting the children hunt before the regular season simply pressures the birds and ruins the hunt for the "...real hunters..." For those of you that know me (in this case John not the other Jon) you know how understanding and accepting I am of everyone's viewpoint and am willing to listen to all comments regardless of the objectivity of the statements. (That was sarcasm for those that don't know me) This particular member has been a long time hunter and appears to have become grumpy in his old age. This hunter went on to tell how he would manage the "club" and proceeded to describe for us our many failings. Needless to say the conversation was short and I have one less member that will be calling me to listen to his expert advise.

Just in case anyone is wondering about our position concerning youth seasons it is that we support them in total and encourage all with children to hunt every youth season in every state permissible by law.

Youth Hunter. Matt Connell with a bruiser of a tom at 25 1/2 pounds, 10 1/2 in. beard and 1 5/8ths spurs. One that will stand with the best of them. From the youth only season.

12 Apr

Early Waterfowl. Dennis has taught us that he can find geese over the years and throughout the season. His pictures that appear on many pages in the waterfowl section of the web site. show different backgrounds, weather conditions, hunters, dogs and consistently geese. This is just one of many presenting his success on both Canadas and other pictures of Snows showing that for those that want to hunt the hunting is there to be had. Those that do hunt seem to find their own center of gravity for their game of choice and hunting method. This is possible by having the flexibility to hunt the hunter's own style over a range of available game that draws all of us to place the majority of our effort into one category of game and method while dabbling in other pursuits. For Dennis decoying and calling in the geese is a well accomplished skill. He also hunts other game and like the rest of us spends less effort on those pursuits while maximizing that which he gains the most reward. Added to this is the comradeship of hunting with others that share the same intensity. In Dennis's case he joined the Association as a husband - wife hunting team year's ago and as interests shift over time as they do he has developed hunting partnerships with others in the Association. Such relationships seem to not only enhance the enjoyment of the day, they also seem to add to the success of each hunt with those that hunt with others far more likely to harvest game, enjoy the day and more overtly take pictures. The Association's solitary hunter and there are many, frequently has the same level of success and if pictures are taken they are far more frequently taken by dog hunters of their cherished hunting partner on point or breaking ice and then later with harvested game. The latter photo more often an after thought while the former pictures are the ones framed and hung on walls or placed on shelves. It is these type of memories we have always recognized as the true value of a day in the field and hope all members similarly enjoy.

Youth Hunt. First of the youth season photos. Two toms in one day for an 11 year old! Congratulations TJ Bass!

8 Apr

Reality. The ideal many members would like to experience is that when they call the office they would like to speak to Jon Nee or John Wenzel. The reality is that we spend more time out of the office than in it. While many may prefer the romanticized version of running a hunting organization allowing the staff many hunting days the truth is much different. This time of the year we spend 3 to 4 days of the week on the road visiting with existing landowners for feedback from the previous season and scouting potential new property. After all when you get right to the meat of the matter about what MAHA members enjoy the most where else than out on the land making sure all is well would you want the staff to be?

Being on the road means dealing with poor access roads; early, noon and evening landowner meetings, rattling across country to survey habitat, staying at motels and dealing with local county clerks for land deed verification. The converse is of the MAHA office being air-conditioned and heated with a return home each night is certainly more appealing to us.

Unfortunately, over 80% of the land we look at does not meet our expectations so the land contracting process is year round to sustain the good and replace the lesser quality acreage. And, this has been an increasing rejection percentage over the past few years as competitive bidding for available land has intensified with small groups that are willing to sign short term, small acreage, limited use contracts for high dollars. Overall, be confident that our absence from the office during the off season is for the Association hunters' benefit and rest assured Shaun does a great job at getting member messages to us with the intermittent cellular telephone service we experience within many of the lower evaluations out in the country.

Last year we adjusting to slightly changing membership hunting interest profile and land habitat production by acreage and region and sought additional acreage in Iowa, add Missouri deer and turkey habitat specific land and expand on our SW Kansas upland bird properties. For those that were in the doubt previous to last fall you can see our goals were met with some quality lease additions. The current land contracting effort is focused on Missouri deer and turkey land. After we see first hand the upland bird hatch and brood results in June we will be looking for additional CRP and soft edge habitat acreage in all three states to help build the quantity of our upland bird properties.

As far as waterfowl leases go, we're always looking to improve what we have and expand on anything we can acquire if the price is reasonable. With this part of the country where floodable acreage is prime real-estate, wetland acres come at high cost and we must closely manage waterfowl hunters and wetlands as a primary hunting interest. Looking to the immediate future we have at least 6 blinds that need to be replaced and several locations that are suitable to build new blinds, but we need to wait until the dog days of summer to take on these projects. Anyone interested in helping with duck blind projects needs to call Shaun at the office, 816-761-3636, so we can start building a list of duck blind volunteers. The members that participate each summer seem to have a good time of it while struggling with the mud, water and lumber to build the blinds. Hard work with good people always makes the job seem more fun and the number of cameras that appear seem to confirm this.

Maps. Earlier we stated we would make some map revisions and have them available on line but we decided to postpone this project and do it all at once at the end of the summer. Once initiated all future map updates of land additions and deletions will be made on line as they occur through out the year.

5 Apr

Land. One of those rare occasions when land clearing benefits wildlife. Landowner cleared a field free of cedars in preparation for conservation planting of warm season prairie grasses for pheasant and quail nesting and brood habitat.

Kansas Iowa deer. May is the deer tag application month for Kansas and Iowa. Both states will have their deer tag applications available on their web site. As happens every year during the subsequent tag issue period in June and July deer hunting primary hunting interest membership application rise and so does our application rejection rate. From the Association perspective we are interested in those that want to hunt with us every year and not just during those years they secure a tag for any one particular state. For current members with others they know that may be considering applying for a MAHA membership after they receive a tag their best chance of being accepted is by sponsorship. So far this calendar year we have experienced a higher than average rejection rate for those applying for membership without a sponsor.

Turkey reservations show that Iowa is wide open with 2 hunters sharing 19,000+ acres. Missouri reservations reflect past year's performance with the bulk of the hunters waiting to just before their hunt to reserve a piece of ground. While in Kansas turkey hunting reservations continue to show the rising hunter numbers demonstrated over the past few seasons.

Recent articles from web based news services being sent to us frequently tout Missouri as having the highest Eastern Turkey population density and highest confirmed harvest rate of any state. This seems to be reflected in the casual approach the Association Missouri turkey hunters have towards hunting. In general Missouri turkey hunters make fewer reservations, fewer changes to their original reservations, have fewer total hunting days and have the highest harvest success rate compared to Kansas.

Iowa's success rate has been 100% for the few hunters we have had the last couple of years and does not compare in contrast to the triple digit hunters we have in Missouri. In general Iowa's spring turkey hunting is by far the most under-utilized season in the Association even more so than our Mule Deer hunting. The general assumption is the draw tag requirement, higher tag cost and broken season discourage many applicants. The turkey population in the regions where we lease land certainly does support good turkey hunting as those that have hunted that area can attest to.

Over the last couple of seasons, the Kansas spring turkey hunter numbers have been on the increase. We feel this is largely attributed to the publicity Kansas has drawn from its reputation as one of the country's leading whitetail trophy states, the ever increasing Rio Grande population, two tags over the counter and Kansas' proximity to Missouri and its turkey hunter drawing capability. The last point, proximity to Missouri makes for many that hunt both states to want to hunt near the state line in order to reduce travel time. Combine this with Kansas City's central location along the state line makes for more hunting pressure closer to the state line than away from it. Added to this in Kansas is the less than what most consider huntable turkey habitat. Once crossing west into Kansas the topography changes rapidly and many big woods state turkey hunters are not accustomed to how to hunt the large fields with lightly wooded creek bottoms. The birds are there, they are huntable and it is more often the hunter that must be open minded to try different tactics, real hunting at this point.

The last issue concerning the Rio Grande Turkey and those that want to hunt them you will need to travel in most cases 3 hours west of the Kansas - Missouri state line to be in the better Rio region.

We wish especially good luck to the husband - wife and father - child hunter teams we see every year and certainly hope the wife and child bring in the bigger of the birds. Memories forever.

2 Apr

Whitetail. This photo, from the 2003 season, was recently sent in by a dedicated archery whitetail deer hunter that spends as much time driving and scouting as hunting. The buck grossed 170 6/8 with a net score of 163 3/8. Congratulations to a memorable end of a great season.

On request or when we deem it appropriate to do so we withhold the name of the hunter shown in pictures on this update page and within this web site. Some have noticed this in previous photos and inquired who the hunters were. We declined due to privacy requests.

Safety. A suggested addition to our safety page is to remind folks there are two basic types of electric stock fence used in the midwest. One is the 12 volt DC and the other is the 110 volt AC powered fence. For most of us both will give us a good reminder to pay attention. For those with pace makers the 110 VAC fence may have a more severe effect.

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March 2004 Updates

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