February 2008 Updates page 1

4 February

Potential

Motivation for staying in stand.

Name and location withheld and the best of luck for this hunter to get back on these two beauties this fall. Thank you for trusting your pictures to share with all.

Hummm...
""...A new NASA-funded study at South Dakota State University will tackle that question [weather influences based on crop type] by asking how a potential move from corn and soybean crops to perennial grasses for use to make ethanol could alter regional weather patterns and the risk of wildfires...."
Brookings, SD, AP, NASA-funded study to examine crops' effect on weather, February 03, 2008.

Farming & MAHA
Some "news" circulating lately is not new to MAHA. That news is that large acreage farm operators are acquiring more acreage and small acreage operators are finding it harder to find suitable crop land due to increasing prices. This distinction between large acreage operators, mostly corporate or multiple owner business type, rather than single owner family type farms has always existed in our lifetimes. The concept is that in any business area the most efficient operator always expand.

How this benefits the MAHA hunter is to bring back into reach land that is not available to the average hunter. The collective buying power that MAHA brings allows for larger acreage hunting lease contracts that is out of the financial capability of any middle class hunter. The corporate farm also chooses to do business with another business entity rather than individuals without accountability through organizational structure and controls. MAHA being a business entity brings an added layer of liability protection to the corporation the individual hunter cannot provide the landowners. Corporate farms also do not have doors to knock on to request hunting access. The multiple owners are spread widely and are not listed in the white pages just as the names for the farms on the plat maps reflect many times other than the controlling interest. Finally, corporate landowners seek us out and just as with single landowner contacts not all corporate offers are accepted and not always due to money.

2 February

A Good Hunt
A final shot of a flock tipping and cupped with more behind waiting for their turn to come in. This reminds me of a day when the Grand River was coming out of its banks and the mallards were coming in by the hundreds to feed on acorns. We haven't seen an overflow during the season in several years, but we are due.

Another Good Hunt
A good day can happen fast with quality land and a good dog.

6 February

Traveling First Year Members
...[name deleted] 167 that had 14 points shot in [location deleted]...[location deleted] 183 that should net b+c. its a main frame 10 with split brow tines just a trophy deer in any body's book...

The wow effect is full. Congratulations on two fine deer on your first MAHA hunt. That puts the pressure on us for this fall. Thank you for sending in your pictures.

5 February

Missouri Deer Changes
Reference to the Missouri deer hunting regulation changes recommended for posting to the update page by several members back on 8 January we have had subsequent feedback from several they did take the time to send in their comments to the MDC. Posted below are one member's comments as an alternative to the ideas expressed on that 8 January update. For those that would like to send further comments to the MDC use this link http://www.mdc.mo.gov/events/forums/deer/comments.cgi

Change the Dates-North

First I would like to state that I do not support opening the seasons later for one primary reason, moving the antlerless only firearms portion into October. This interrupts some of the best times for bow hunting and if the bow season runs in conjunction with this, the MDC has created a tremendous opportunity for unethical hunters to break the law and simply telecheck mature bucks as bow kills. If the opportunity to cheat is there, unethical people will do it, and the MDC has given them the opportunity to legally carry a rifle into the field making the illegal harvest of bucks easy. I would suggest the MDC leave the antlerless only season in place ( or eliminate it) and move the season dates and monitor the kill data for a couple years before adopting such wholesale changes. If people need more time in the field, simply lengthen the season and give them more opportunity to take the buck they are looking for; and shoot some does as well. Hunters in the northern counties can kill all the does they want right now and are doing it in the highly populated counties around the center part of the state as shown in the state’s presentation. The state could give people more time to hunt (2 full weeks of gun season) and may find out that folks will shoot more deer or wait to harvest better bucks. The numbers of projected antlerless deer harvested the state presented for the NW portion is in counties that have fewer people, however, the actual numbers harvested were only slightly below estimated kills (less than 10 percent). This does not appear to be a material difference given the demographics of the region. Also, I have noticed a considerable decrease of doe sightings in the following counties for the last 3 seasons (Linn, Livingston, Saline, Gentry, Harrison).

The MDC's presentation mentioned killing more does in October will cut down on deer vehicle accidents. This may be so the first year hunters start shooting does in October but if the desired number of deer are killed later; this would adjust in a couple of years and be a wash. Also, I don't feel that insurance companies should be influencing wildlife practices when they do not contribute financially to the cause. This is bad medicine. Deer/vehicle accidents are unavoidable and a long range option is much better than a quick fix issue that disrupts seasons, creates opportunities to break the law and possibly undermines efforts to increase quality of the herd.

4 Point rule-North

I have noticed a dramatic increase in the numbers of racked deer in these counties (8 points and better). However, I do understand the issues with this about killing the best first since the gun season is in the rut. States like IA and IL do not have this and have great quality but have late firearms seasons. Also, these states do not have antlerless only firearm seasons in October either; and if they do, it is very limited (very short and Muzzleloader only) and if you kill your buck, you are done for the season. The four point rule is a good start given the current structure and should be expanded in portions of the state that are agricultural.

Here are some thoughts and possible inputs for future changes from another perspective.

I hunt in Arkansas and can kill my deer (3) not to exceed 2 bucks all methods combined. I can also kill them all in the same day but when I get my three I am done. What if we gave everyone this option and either do away with or further restrict the number of antlerless only tags that can be purchased, change the season dates to open gun season later and manage it on a county level? The MDC has the ability to do this very easy and much better than other states because of the small zones or units (counties). Also, this gives hunters the flexibility to take deer given personal schedules or vacations. Personally, I would never pick up a gun in MO if I had this option. However, I would have the opportunity to take 2 bucks with a gun if by chance I was not able to bow hunt. I know some folks think that the bow hunters will kill all the bucks, but truly they make very little impact. I think the one buck before and one buck after gun season is antiquated and I kill more does than bucks anyway to help manage the health of the herd.

Look at Kentucky, one buck period. I would support this as well. Adds to quality, plenty of hunting time and you have to kill some does if you want meat. Again, the antlerless tags would have to have some restriction.

These are just some thoughts and as a former MO resident, I know the MDC will act with the best interest of all parties in mind and move carefully with proper biological data and input. Changes in the state are a little slower than others, however, they seem to be well thought out and positive.

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