January 2014 Updates Page 2

6 January

Working Friendly

This next part is a warning that not every one who wants to, will be able to hunt within MAHA in 2014. This is true every year starting at this time of year. We have written similar notices on prior years. Those notices as is this one have been just about as ineffective at modifying behavior as our attempt to warn away from attempting to travel mud roads when wet. Not traveling wet mud roads and declined membership applications must be experienced first hand to understand that both ideas are true. To that end we once again under the belief of working friendly post that we will be turning away applicants at an increasingly greater frequency from now through fall season openers.

The dynamic is that every year there will be a wife or several that will buy a membership for their husband as a Christmas or Fathers' Day present. In these cases we take a chance and accept the hunter into the Association working with the wife to make it a surprise. A good feeling when we hear the stories of membership presentation.

End of year bonuses followed by year end tax money motivates purchases from those who have been watching the Association for some time. This better than any other example shows the Association to be largely a work-a-day folks organization.

Spring turkey season sees a pick up in applicants as does the idea of spring time scouting for a fall deer hunt.

By June non-resident deer tag issue drives us to a weekly count of openings by hunting method then by deer unit/zone.

What some do not understand is there may be openings for waterfowl but not for a deer hunter with a zone 5 tag when his buddy with a unit 9 tag was accepted for membership. Or, an archery hunter gains acceptance with a zone 4 tag where a shotgun hunter with the same zone tag does not. All in terms of hunter pressure control.

July upland bird forecasts and rains for native grass either keeps open or closes additional pheasant or quail hunting slots. Variance includes a good forecast and bad rains may close flushing dog pheasant only hunters at the same time pointing dog combination quail and pheasant hunter slots remain open through to season opener.

Come August waterfowl openings will be a weekly check having come to close earlier on a dry year, more openings on wet summers.

All the while the overall cap looms being violated in cases when a category, zone/unit, or other is significantly under subscribed. Otherwise, once reached allows us to focus on other requirements.

Where do openings come from? Several routine and occasional unusual reasons.

From the prior season's first year in the Association hunters a percentage will not renew. Common for those that quit after their first season the self guided aspect was too much to overcome.

Within the above are subsets. A good example this season are waterfowl hunters. Those that hunted the first half of the season found wetlands conditions, weather and migration strength absolutely terrible. Those that hunted the last 3 weeks found duck numbers to be great as they get. Any first year Association hunter in the first group is less likely to renew where the second is likely to do so.

Three this season, not every season, were asked to leave the Association for rules infractions. Another seven will not be permitted to renew.

Aging membership with a large percentage in their 60's and above. Predictably by watching reservation patterns we see a handful of hunters who simply stop hunting in total. Many are in their 70's with only a small group that maintain their memberships past 80. Knee, hip replacement(s), heart attack, stroke, cancer, we have one or more in just about each category every season.

Other life changing events such as a new child, assuming financial responsibility for an adult family member, purchase of a home, buying acreage are additional reasons for not renewing we hear about.

Unusual is the hunter or two just about every season that buys a membership and never hunts at all. Such hunters rarely renew.

Bad hunts account for several each season. Theses are hunters in their first membership year through their third. This year held one repeat from prior years example that was both humorous and sad. It was a traveling pointing dog past experienced pheasant hunter who never before attempted to hunt wild quail. His reasoning for dropping out was he did not get the birds he thought he should have. He refused to recognize that last and this past season were the worst we have ever experienced in this three state region. He refused to recognize that from all accounts from any source that Kansas and Missouri has and does have the most consistent quail population. His point of view was "he paid to get birds" and he should have bagged more than he did -- because he paid to hunt birds.

There are some who quit when followed up on do not offer a reason or do not answer our call.

What to take away from all of this is if wanting to hunt the fall seasons application should be made not later than June. After June there is an increasingly greater chance of any application being declined.

Old News

Once more we are reminded what has been long time common knowledge for us is often new to others. Such is the case of the NOAA snow coverage maps that may be overlayed on Google Earth. A sample is below.

To get the map go to the NOAA web site. Search: "Snow Maps". Follow the on screen download to Google Earth instructions. Google Earth must already be loaded on the computer you are using. All is free to use.

3 January

After a few years of that stupid [location deleted] giving me fits, glassing it from the road, struggling to enter/exit/hunt it from the downwind side, having the deer either thumb their noses at me from the neighbor’s land or stay 500 yards out across the corn fields, moving my blinds around like an idiot trying to play catchup, I decided NOT to invest any time or energy into it this year. I just went in blind…no scouting, no preseason drive-by, nothing. And look what happened! It was soooo cold, I felt like the Michelin Man belly crawling thru the corn stubble. I'm actually glad it's over. Deer hunting drives me nuts…not sure why I keep doing it. It's a bad habit, I guess. I'm back to counting down the days until turkey season. I can't wait. If I manage to kill a turkey on that property, I probably won't step foot on it again. :)

Hi Jerad, some how you always seem to get the job done. Congratulations. Thank you for the story we all can relate to.

2 January

A good day this season.

Thank you Eric.

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