Now that the dog days of the summer have set in, it's prime time for catfish, bluegill and bass.
Many of our ponds, lakes and pits have an abundance of quality catfish and bluegill that see very little pressure. The only downfall this time of the year is the chiggers, ticks and poison Ivey are at their prime, not to mention a few snakes.
A lot of the ponds from now until the first frost are 20 to 40% covered with moss, which is ideal for weedless topwater bass action. We haven't seen a big bass photo in a while. If anyone catches one in the near future, we'd like to share a couple of photos with everyone. Also, if anyone uses a small boat to fish, always include a life jacket for each person.
Yes, there are folks that run them as a change from cottontails. Not many and we do not manage for them in terms of lease land however, their numbers appear to be up last and so far this year. This picture does not show just how big they are compared to cottontails.
Turkey & Youth
Jon and John,
Here are a couple of pictures from the first week of turkey season. I hunted 2 states. The weather was very hot for early season. The bird I killed in Iowa was pushing 30 lbs. and had 2 11" beards. My 9 yr. old son made the trip with me. It was his first hunting trip. It was a great experience for both of us. He is now hooked on turkey hunting.
Thanks Steve for the good pictures and update. Glad to see your son out there.
Jon captured some pictures while out surveying land.
"Hello MAHA gang...well, I finally tagged out in Missouri and Kansas...it's been one wet season though..."
Thanks Matthew, you tell just about how the entire Missouri turkey season went this year. Lots of rain. Good tip about staying put after the shot.
It is coming to that time of season (national elections) when hunters should stand up for their rights. Check out www.ussportsmen.org to find decision criteria for casting votes or to vote by checkbook. Supporting the US Sportsman's Alliance works all both political parties.
Spouses & Scouting
While traveling the back roads scouting and hunting land many of the members (and wives) and staff stumble across interesting species of wildlife that are seen and soon forgotten, but in this case the waterfowl photos were taken that we would like to share with everyone.
Wilson's Phalarope (Phalaropus tricolor) Wilson's Phalarope is a unique shorebird that breeds across much of central and western North America, and winters in southern South America. During fall migration, this species can be found concentrated in huge numbers at major staging areas like Mono Lake and the Great Salt Lake. Over the past 20 years, though, Wilson's Phalarope has shown a major decline at some important staging sites. The draining of prairie wetland breeding habitat and the diversion of water from major staging areas pose threats to this colorful shorebird.
Youth Turkey Hunter
With the number of youth hunters on the decline, we're always glad to see success from those that continue to participate such as 17 year old Matt K and his latest turkey harvest. He also hunts waterfowl and upland birds with his father. Anyone that has shot clay targets with Matt will testify he can keep up with the best of the shooters.
Spring Turkey Hunt and Deer Scouting
Jason sent these in from earlier this year of a spot where he turkey hunted.
Travailing Turkey Hunters
Jon, John & everyone else at Mid-America,
Just wanted to take a minute and give you a quick summary on my turkey hunt while things are still fresh in my mind.
I arrived in [location deleted] County Friday night in the rain with a forecast of more of the same for the next several days, joy, joy.
Saturday April 29th:
Clock goes off at 4:30 AM; I look out side to see a steady rain. Go back to bed and get up at 6:30 AM. Still a light rain, but I didn't come to sit in a hotel room so I grab my rain gear and head out to [location deleted]. Light rain continued through the mid-morning then quit leaving heavy overcast and steady winds. I mainly worked the field edges and did some calling without much success. I did spot a bird in the late morning and attempted to set up and work him without much luck. Saw a couple of hens from a distance and spooked several deer. Called it a day shortly after lunch and spent the rest of the day riding and glassing. Spent most of the afternoon up in [location deleted] looking over some of those properties and saw several birds from the road or fence lines. Some very good looking land up there with several areas that will warrant more investigation for bow season this fall. Sun came out for awhile in the afternoon, but the rain started again about 5:30 PM or so and it rained most of the night.
Sunday April 30th:
Again clock goes off at 4:30 AM and I look out to very high winds (25 – 30 mph plus). Go back to bed and get up at 6:30 AM. Still windy, but it is not raining. Head out this morning to [location deleted]. I parked at the old barn and started working around the field edges glassing and doing some loud calling. I finally spotted a bird in strut just across the back property line toward the southeast corner. I backed off and started to circle around to approach from the wooded drain in the center of the property and see if I could attract their attention and call them back across the fence. However while I am circling through the drain I spotted 2 birds strutting for a hen on the other side of the drain and about 100 yards or so on our side of the fence. I immediately started working to get in position to call to them. The 2 gobblers wouldn't give me the time of day, but the hen would raise her head and listen occasionally and started moving ever so slowly in my direction. This went on for about 30 to 45 minutes before they were in range and I could get a clean shot of about 35 yards. The bird was a 2-3 year old with 3/4" spurs, a good thick 10 1/2" inch beard and without a scale, my guess is 20 plus pounds. Not bad for the weather conditions. Pictures are attached.
I spent that afternoon really scouting the property for bow season and I am very pleased at what I saw. Also saw some encouraging sign on [location deleted] that should warrant a stand or two come bow season.
Monday May 1st:
Forgot to reset my clock and overslept to 5:30 AM. Drove hurriedly to [location deleted]. Hadn't left the truck before I heard birds gobbling. Several birds on adjacent property to the west, 1 bird on [location deleted] not far from the road on the west side (I parked at the old cattle gap on the NW corner), and sounded like several birds toward the south end. The bird near the road didn't gobble much before he hushed and I headed toward the south end. Birds to the west were really getting after it. As I approached the SW corner working down the fence line I jumped up a hen that was in the fence row and then I saw a deer watching something near the corner. When I got where I could see better it was several birds (5-6) coming out of the woods off the SW corner and crossing the fence on to our property. I really couldn't move to a better position so I elected to stand in the old wild rose vines on the fence row and try and work the birds. I hit a couple of yelps that got their attention and saw some of the birds heading toward my direction. I saw two of the birds cross the fence and come to my calling to investigate, but without seeing a hen they never got closer than about 60 yards. I didn't want to cripple a bird so I passed on the shot. I re-patterned my gun after I got home at 62 yards (checked with a Bushnell range finder) with the #6 heavy shot that I have switched to, and either bird would have been dead. I had previously patterned out to 50 yards with good results, but not any farther as there aren't many shots around here at that range. Oh well maybe next time with the open fields I'll be ready. When they didn't find a hen they took off across the field and I started working back to the north to try and get ahead of them. While in the process of doing this I spotted 2 birds up near the pond close to the east property line. I worked my way to the pond, but they beat me to the line so I head toward the SE corner to see if I could happen onto the earlier birds. Just off the corner around the pecan trees I hit a loud cut and got an immediate response from across the line in the SE corner. I set out some decoys and played with the bird about 45 minutes, but I was afraid that he wouldn't cross that big drain there in the corner, and he wouldn't. He finally got bored that the hens wouldn't come and decided to look for better prospects. I worked my way back to the truck without getting on another bird.
Unfortunately at the truck I found that I had a missed call on my cell, which when I checked it I found that my trip was going to have to be cut short due to illness back home. That's just my luck too; because Tuesday and Wednesday were suppose to be great weather days. I am not too terribly disappointed, I was able to take one bird in spite of the weather, saw a number of good birds (one with a double beard in the field near [landowner name deleted] house) and some very encouraging deer sign. Jon thanks for the opportunity to hunt some great property and experience a really good time chasing those crazy gobblers and the anticipation of an upcoming bow season.
Thank you Ken for the very real turkey hunting account that does show how hard it can be. The tip on the shooting range was a good addition for the many big woods state hunters that travel our way to open ground hunting. That is the kind of information we hear comment about from others as useful information. Good luck with all!
From Jon Nee:
A recurring story drawn from years of working with traveling deer hunters from big woods states.
After an in-depth conversation (June 13) with two landowners that own land without much timber for deer.
This photo was taken from a farm bordering their property. They expressed an observation about the lack of deer hunters using their land over the course of a 6 year lease. This observation is based on they see quality deer using the drains, draws and tree lines of their property while working the fields from the tractor seat.
A few bird hunters have commented on that Kansas and parts of western Missouri are listed as below rainfall for the year and under drought conditions. The concern is about habitat quality. Looking at the height of the ground cover in the Kansas deer picture above should put to rest that concern.
"...wish I had exciting Missouri turkey hunting stories to tell but while the hunts went well there was not much out of the ordinary..."
When the weather first broke in mid-March, we had a little push from the members fishing, but since turkey season ended, it's really dropped off.
The close-in leases are getting a little usage, but the farms an hour plus from Kansas City are sitting idle. There is a new strip pit property in Crawford D that has a couple of small pits and a long narrow pit close to the road that runs east and west. FYI, when we first leased this, the neighbors said there were good fish in all of the pits, especially the one that runs east and west. The pits in Bourbon C are traditionally productive, but the usage has been minimal the last couple of weeks.
Talk Spring turkey is a hunt that gets in your blood and takes over. Only a dedicated turkey hunter can appreciate the thrill of hearing your first gobble and the depressing feeling of another spring season coming to an end.
By the number of phone calls, it appeared we were down with the total number of hunters, but the final count ended up pretty close to the 2005 season with 175 in Missouri, 159 in Kansas and 17 in Iowa. 76 members hunted more than one state, but only six members attempted to hunt all three states. Out of the 6 that hunted all three states, two of those six members were fortunate enough to fill all 5 tags with mature gobblers.
Like every season, some of the hunters could not do wrong, while others could not do right, This year, instead of blaming the toms for being hened up, we're going to hold the weather responsible for letting so many toms survive the season.
In Kansas early April was unseasonably warm and windy while the first 10 days in Missouri brought rain and cool weather. Despite the adverse weather conditions, many dedicated hunters weathered the storm and eventually found success.
For the first time, we had a bird harvested that weighed the most and at the same time had the longest beard. This beast weighed 32 pounds and had a 12 and 10-inch beard. Several other birds were reported 25 pounds or larger, but 12 inches was the longest beard and the most beards were 5 on one bird. The 2005 record 1 7/8th inch spur still stands, but several limb hangers were reported with spurs 1 1/2+ inches.
Our success ratio still remains a little over one bird per hunter with a 2006 total of 317 birds, but we always like to include a reminder of how difficult turkey hunting can be if you don't find yourself in the right place at the right time. This year, the longest it took a member to tag a bird was 14 days and the most days hunted without a bird was 13 days.
We would like to congratulate a first year family member with two dependents who purchased 13 tags and filled 12 out of 13 with mature toms, with the 12th tag being filled the last day of the Kansas season.
Shaun and the rest of the staff always enjoy working with everyone during the spring turkey season. It was a pleasure again this year. Thanks for the support!
Taken yesterday June 8 while on a land run. The warm spring has brought the wheat along just fine and appears it will be harvested in most areas just about as early as it ever does.
Spring Turkey Weather
Spring season weather conditions the first week of the Missouri spring turkey season were cool and wet, but those that were able stick it out had plenty of turkeys to work with.
A very common harvest picture of the many spring season hunters that travel and hunt alone, that being a tom without hunter in the same frame. For any to take the effort to compose a picture and send it into us is greatly appreciated. To do so in the rain takes special effort.
Anyone whose been around MAHA waterfowl for the past 10 years will recognize this group. During the 2005-06 season they harvested 754 birds. Only about 1/2 were taken off club land, but that's still a number that will stand with the best of waterfowlers. A day to remember - 102 Spring Snow Geese.
"...I couldn't break through the 5 lbs barrier that day. That is the bad news. The good news is I'll have to keep trying..."
Thanks Randy for reminding us what season it is now that spring turkey has closed.
Three For Twelve
"...Mike capped off a great MAHA turkey season with the family's 12th mature tom on MAHA land in three states..."
Thank you Steve for taking the time to share with all what your family has done.
For the rest of us Steve is a retired Air Force Colonel who even with a fast paced military career was able to sustain a family life of youth ball sports and the outdoors that has greatly expanded since leaving the military. This kind of versatility most will recognize requires high energy and Steve has put it together for more youth spring season success in a first year membership than we have seen before. Congratulations Steve you have some lucky kids.