Spring Turkey. Long time friend to the Association Floyd R. and brand new turkey hunter, with his latest success. Good hunters on good land get good results. Thank you Floyd for another great picture.
A bird (right) passed on by Jon N., as a larger bearded one was in the flock that he was setting up for his son for later success. A late afternoon during the season scouting trip before his son's day off from school. Pictured in the flydown area where toms and hens both would return to forage during the day through return to roost.
Good hunter (left) and good friend to the Association, Kevin, with this year's success. Thank you Kevin, it almost seems like we can set the clock by your hunting.
Fishing. The fishing report with these pictures was: "This crappie was 16 1/4", which should weigh 2 to 2 1/2 pounds. It was cold and windy and we didn't catch much but a fish like this is all it takes to turn a slow day good."
We made it out to the midwest to hunt turkeys again this spring and we were not disappointed. Although the birds were henned up early in the morning, they worked pretty good from mid-morning on. My son who turned 9 years old last week got two turkeys again this year and it will be the highlight of my season watching the look on his face when he gets a turkey. I want to thank MAHA for providing un-pressured properties so that my son can see how turkey hunting is supposed to be. This morning in our home state of Vermont the day before youth turkey weekend it was bumper to bumper traffic to view what few birds we have. Tomorrow morning in the dark as we listen to the birds we won't be thinking about fly down and strutting birds, we will be thinking about safety issues because there will be too many turkey hunters in one spot.
We took these 6 birds in 4 days and I would say the best turkey hunting is still a week away. The largest bird was 23 lbs, 10 1/2 inch beard and 1 1/8 inch spurs. Three of the birds were 3 years old or older. Thanks again for all you guys do for MAHA.
Bow Hunter. Every archery hunter's goal is to harvest a P&Y buck. Many hunters consistently achieve this goal year after year, but the majority never accomplish this goal in a lifetime of hunting.
Jake took some extra time off last fall to enjoy his favorite sport not worrying about work, since he made a business transition that enabled him to do so.
With no pressure on his back, he scouted a handful of farms that were under utilized not to step on anyone's toes that have been hunting the same farms year after year. Jake put in his time both scouting and hunting and his efforts paid of with 2 nice bucks in the 150 and 140 class. A season like this is what it's all about for an avid archery hunter that enjoys the outdoors for all that it is worth.
Congratulations Jake! We enjoy your congenial attitude with reservations and respect for other hunters while hunting club land. Good luck for many years to come. We look forward to your son following your foot steps.
Turkey. Robert R. sent in a picture of his third tom and account of the hunt. The hunt account included that this tom was freelancing and not a hen in sight. Robert didn't know the tom was in the area. He had hen decoys out and used the put purr combination until he spotted this bird coming in from down the field along the edge. Robert stopped all calling and let the decoys do the work as the tom was strutting and moving in on the decoys without making any sound. Once in easy shooting range with a head shot it was over quick and this middle afternoon bird was tagged. Congratulations and thank you Robert for sharing the hunting technique.
Travis C., one of those exceptional hunters with an impressive string of success, has given all of us several detailed articles with the nuance differential between luck and skill. Congratulations Travis on a great photo album and we are sure you need no luck in the future. Thank you for sharing with all of us.
Spring Season. Early overcast morning with a light sprinkle, open ground hens pictured from a blind. The height of the alfalfa shows how the spring growth has progressed. On this morning every tom was in tow of a hen, gobbling light and while the toms that were seen worked hard at strutting the hens simply ignored them. And, the toms on hens ignored our calls as well.
Maps. We would like to remind everyone to make sure they are using the 04 maps. Many of the section numbers and letters on the maps have changed from year to year. If you presume everything is the same you could cause an overlap on a reservation and ruin someone's hunt.
Bruce's turkey weighed 21 1/2 pounds and had an 11 1/2 inch beard 1 inch spurs.
Jason S.' largest bird weighed 23 pounds 10 inch beard 1 inch spurs and 20 pounds 10 inch beard 1 1/4 inch spurs.
Turkey Observation. Members have reported the birds gobbling good in the morning and picking back up in the afternoon. In a lot of areas the birds are still in pretty large groups with the hens leading the pack. The last couple of days the temperature has reached the 80's in the south and less up north so it's been hot late afternoon until dusk. The birds have not been visible in the fields. It appears they are staying in the shade of the timber, so don't be frustrated scouting in the afternoon and not seeing birds strutting in the fields. The birds are there but they are laying low.
Ducks. A dedicated duck hunting group of four sent in some pictures from the past season that highlights their added adventure of harvesting snow geese with neck and leg bands. Thanks guys, it looks like you had many a good day!
Youth Hunt. Spring turkey season has sprung. What better way than with a youth hunt. Let's hope for many more fathers with children have the same success and we would love to post it on their own web page. Sort of being able to see their name in lights to show off to their friends. A few parents have commented on sharing as well with the relatives. Congratulations T.J. Bass, a proud nickname for someone starting out so young.
Senior Hunter. Dick C., from New Mexico adds another buck to his collection.
Traveling Hunters. Grayson and Michael make it another successful season. They hunt some of the least productive units through luck of the draw and have made it good as only good hunters can.
Wow. The Campaign for Shooting, Countryside Alliance (UK) is holding a shoot auction on the 22/04/05 of some of the most famous Pheasant, Partridge and Grouse shoots in England and Wales. We have a total value of over US$ 150,000 worth of shooting to auction, including full 8-gun days on Gunnerside, the famous grouse moor in Yorkshire, Northern England and Abbeystead, His Grace The Duke of Westminster's superb shoot in Lancashire, in the North West of England. These shoots offer seriously challenging shooting with bags of between 200 and 400 well presented and very high birds. These shoots are usually booked up for years in advance and it is very rare indeed to have an opportunity to buy a full day. Also included in the auction are smaller, shared days for 2-4 guns, for example, or Snipe shooting in Wales - very exciting - and also stalking, fishing and other lots of interest to the field sportsman. The auction will be conducted at a dinner for 200 people in North West England, by invitation of and in the presence of His Grace the Duke of Westminster. There are a very limited number of tickets left for the dinner - please enquire.
The Auction List can be viewed and bid forms obtained from http://www.ibsweb.co.uk/Shoot_Auction/index.htm.
The organisers can also be contacted on +44 (1978) 812095 or by email email@example.com.
Thank you very much in advance Jamie Jenkinson Campaign for Shooting, North Wales Countryside Alliance Wrexham, UK. Tel: +44 (1978) 812095 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hunting Land. We were out and about again and found this afternoon tom working the ladies. Being out of the office means a lot of field time visiting landowners and checking things over. This is the only means by which to ensure we have the hunting we want.
Farming. Spring turkey season is during spring planting. Please remember farmers will be accessing their fields throughout the next couple of months on a regular basis. It would be good not to block gates when parking at a farm to hunt. Either park immediately inside or outside the gate and leave more passage space than what is required by a truck. Tractors with implements typically are over 12 foot, especially the planters. For most of us we recognize good hunting comes first from good food sources and then cover habitat. Our hunting is as good as it is in the plains states due to the farmer.
Pace Makers. Our safety page has some spring turkey season hazards posted. Remember electric cattle fences may be 110VAC and not always 12VDC; open ground level hand dug pool wells are typical near old homesteads; take some hunter orange to wear when moving from a setup; ticks are active, and more. While we may all think we are well aware of hunting safety we all will agree a reminder now and then is useful for all of us. One of the best safety practices for the Association hunter is to ensure the accuracy of his reservation as we place only one hunter per numbered property per day. This requires the hunter to make reservations while looking at his map sheet rather than attempt a reservation by memory. Such practices have infrequently resulted in the hunter going to the wrong land lease and interfering with others. This may seem to be too simple to be concerned with, but it has happened and there is little to discus about actual past experience.
Hunting Spouses. Bonnie and Alan, scouted hard, hunted hard and earned their success. Exactly the way real hunters want to make their hunts and they made it fast having joined May 2004.
4 Trophy's in 3 Years. Cobenn, a superior deer hunter with 4 wallhangers in three seasons and traveling a great distance to do so, was kind enough to write an article for us with a non-resident deer hunting perspective. Cobenn having written this article was something we could not write ourselves being the locals that we are. Cobenn covers the mundane through topics that we never considered. While the mundane may be obvious the benefits gained may be more substantial that they initially appear. The several other topics that we would not have considered ourselves will probably make the non-resident hunter experience all the better.
Whenever someone with this amount of success speaks, or in this case writes, it is always worth a read or a listen as these kind of hunters have a better understanding of the nuance and subtleties that while we may agree with and practice most of us cannot match in application. The other aspect of these nuances is they cannot be taught by a person who successfully applies them to someone that does not. Otherwise, the one who reads the most magazine articles would be the best hunter with the most success. The best any of us can hope for is to read to understand what these exceptional hunters write about and try to apply these ideas each time in the field. Through such trials by success or failure we gain a bit better understanding of the actual application of the art of hunting versus the knowledge of the science of hunting. A distinction if recognized is a big step towards gaining an appreciation for the topics Cobenn writes about.
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.