March 2005 Updates

31 Mar

Soldiers. We received an email from Iraq requesting some hunting oriented morale support for our soldiers. The request is for hunting and or hunting related training DVDs or tapes to help pass the time that so much goes unoccupied in spite of what the news media may portray on the evening news. For the most part these soldiers have a good bit of slack time and recreational time is spent with whatever their friends and family members may provide as routine mail order is non-existent. For those that may have some old videos they no longer watch and would like to send them to our soldiers use this mailing address: LT Randall Russell, Bravo Company 145th SPT BN, 116th BCT (Forward), APO AE 09368. Thanks.

Fishing. We added a web page describing some of our strip pit fishing that is available for members. For those that have been to the pits this is nothing new. For any member that has not yet fished them this page may be all the motivation necessary for a day on the water. Have a good read and schedule a day for fishing.

Services. Dear Mid-America Hunting Members, Thank you for taking time to read this message. I am an artist specializing in pencil portraits drawn from photographs. My favorite subjects are of people and the game they have gotten hunting or fishing. These original drawings make a very unique gift for your members. I have attached one drawing for you to look at. At your convenience I would like to invite you to look at my website (www.ccaseysart.com) to see more artwork and for contact information, ordering and pricing details. If there is anything I can help you with, please let me know. I look forward to hearing from you. Sincerely, Cliff Casey

Missouri. Pictures from a recent land run looking over new land within a great Missouri turkey hunting region. The second is a fallow hay field that hens seek for nesting leading off to roost trees. The first picture is an example of how hidden this spot is looking down from a thickly wooded ridge to the field in the bottom of a small valley. This one spot surrounded by multiple growth trees on hills is exactly the type of deer and turkey habitat we lease. The retired landowner told of the flocks he seen with actual bird counts and where he had found nests. Priceless information that makes the land run process worthwhile.

Turkey. Some general reminders coming out of the recent turkey reservations. First, please do not make reservations from memory. Check your online map sheets to ensure any particular numbered property is still listed, meaning a current lease. If the property is not on the map sheet it is not available for hunting. Next, when we describe a numbered property per hunter per day it is the number of the property and if that property has a letter sub-identifier it includes the number and the letter.

Lodging. Various lodging pages have received infrequent updates. All known services are listed. If your favorite is no longer listed it is due to a business change and it is no longer available. We list all lodging, campground, wrecker, veterinarian and meat lockers that are located within each county or as is reasonable in the more heavily populated counties. Should anyone have a listing they would like to have posted simply email us the details and county.

Fishing. Matt K and family never fail to produce some of the best youth pictures on the website. Have a look at his fishing web pages covering several years as seen in the maturing faces of his children. Congratulations Matthew it is clearly evident to us what a great dad you are! For all of us that were once children we share a bit of envy for yours. Thank you for allowing us to have such a unique insight into what truly looks to be a great snapshot into your family.

Lease Run. On a recent lease run we met with a landowner that we have been doing business with for close to 20 years. He's been very satisfied with the quality of our hunters and passed our name to an elderly neighbor that has some prime hunting land he tipped her it's an easy way to make some additional income. The habitat looked great, but we didn't see much game while walking and scouting the land, so we waited to see what might come out to feed. Over 60 turkeys came out, so our gut feelings were confirmed this was a piece of property we will submit a bid on a lease for the future.

Deer. Lloyd R. has been in the club since 1994 and primarily uses the club for fishing. After seeing so many deer on the property during the summer months, Lloyd decided to get in on the action and take a poke at deer hunting to put some meat in his freezer, since he enjoys eating all types of wild game. Typical result of not putting too much pressure on the hunt and taking what is given to you. Lloyd, congratulations and enjoy the meat.

23 Mar

Upland BIrds. Have a read of the John and Karen's fifth consecutive end of season upland bird hunting report as much for the information on their having their first "off" year as for the excellent pictures of two very stylish bird dogs. This upland bird dog hunting team travels a great distance each year for two hunts to do on those few short weeks what they cannot get done in their home state. Thank you Karen and John for yet another factual hunting account and some great pictures. Your pictures are certainly in the top 1% that we have seen.

Land. Those gone scouting are telling of some good sign. The picture left is of a shredder rub. He didn't tell where he found it and we didn't ask. Every hunter has the opportunity to make his own success relying on his own skills with the land resource the Association provides. That hunter did say he found it on one of the properties we recommend he hunt during his first year in the Association some years back.

Fishing. Another fishing report from the same young man earlier. It seems spring break is longer each year. This one on bass. The conversation went along the lines that it took over 2 hours to find them and through the use of sonar finding them hanging off an unknown ledge within the pond proved to be the right spot. Once there, jigging with small rooster tails of light colors with a quick pop of the wrist caught the fish. All were caught and released and over the next 2 hours there was an assumption they may have seen the same fish twice. Live bait and spinners were useless.

20 Mar

Travel To Hunt. Mike who takes a two day drive time to hunt when he can shares with us his latest success. For us that know something of what Mike has been through both in his job and hunting he is an example of perseverance that sets the standards for all of us. The simple story is tenacity in the face of everything. Thank you Mike for taking the time to share your pictures with us. While many don't, you did, we will remember that effort.

19 Mar

Fishing. Take a kid fishing. We can put that saying into practice. The first of the early fish reports find plenty of hits with some of size, many small and fun for all.

11 Mar

Turkey. This is the story we are sticking to. A little while back two long time members came by the office and the talk soon turned to spring turkey season. Both of these members thought it would be a good idea to have an article on the web site telling those traveling to hunt out this way some techniques that work well for our central midwest birds. We agreed that would be a good article to have and asked them when they would have it written. Now this is an example where good ideas and action separate. Their good idea was that we, meaning us not them the idea giver, should write the article. We compromised and moved to the computer and we typed as they talked. Each topic they presented turned into a paragraph and at the end of it was several pages of nearly unintelligible listing of disconnected ideas that no one wanted r=to be connected with.

That article sat a while and we decided to proof it into something worth reading. When it was done we sent it back to the two long time members for their endorsement. After all the article was composed of their ideas. Now this is where we have another example of separation. Once credit needed to be assigned concerns of review and recognition arose and hence the current anonymity of the two who generated this article idea in the first place. For once presented with the article that they though they would never have to take responsibility for they soon came back with a great number of changes. The changes surpassed our willingness to rewrite the article so another compromise. We published the article to the website as it was and attached an addendum of feedback. They, the idea originators, continued to seek anonymity so we agreed not to mention their names, however that left open identifying their initials for their friends to recognize. After all we are men of our word. So to JF, and MB, we thank you for your motivation to help others be more successful. To all have a good read of the basic article.

The number one spring turkey season issue affecting all is safety. We all recognize that the best spring turkey season setup is one with the hunter low on the ground, thoroughly camouflaged with decoys to his front and with good calling skills. While this may seem a bit insecure this condition it is not the leading situation for spring turkey season mishaps. The leading condition of spring turkey season hunter shooting incidents are while the hunter is moving.

The leading accident contributing condition (IHEA and MDC website records) is one where the camouflaged hunter is up and moving and being mistaken for a tom. Moving between setups or call and run hunters are the ones at risk. Within MAHA we minimize that risk by having our spring turkey season hunter’s telephone reserve individually numbered properties we lease for our exclusive use and it is one numbered property per hunter per day. We also encourage after a successful harvest to wear a hunter orange hat or vest on the walk out. A not too widely held practice during spring turkey season.

We have talked to many highly successful do it yourself hunters and the most commonly cited technique to enhance the chances for success is scouting. This scouting is to find roosts by glassing where birds are moving to during the last two hours of light. This spring turkey season scouting is also targeted to wooded creek bottoms and patches that are out of direct line of sight of roads and active farm yards.

Once the roost is spotted the next techniques become possible and while they may seem simple they are further pieces to the puzzle of what these skilled spring turkey season hunters commonly give as reasons for their success. These techniques are: where to park; where to walk in and don't crowd.

During the successful scouting trip that finds a roost the successful spring turkey season hunters then backward plans where they will setup, how they will walk in and where they will park their hunting vehicle.

During the early morning dark the roosted flock will be well aware of its surroundings and routine is what they like. Anything that disrupts that routine will gain attention and encourages avoidance behavior on part of the birds. Many spring turkey season hunters fail to understand this and when driving to their hunting land will park where it is most convenient for the walk into their setup spot.

This parking spot frequently creates a disruption to the flock's morning routine with introduction of headlight and vehicle noises that typically do not occur at that time of day on our remote lease lands. This sets the flock on edge and the hunter that follows up with a noisy walk in will frequently find the flydown from roost in the opposite direction rather than that anticipated by scouting.

The right answer is generally to park as far away from the roost as possible and always far enough away to prevent headlight observation by the flock and if practical far enough away that vehicle noise is greatly attenuated.

The walk in has the same anti-disruption principle of where to park and we will not spend much time discussing it. This principle minimizes any light, noise and sight disruption to the spring season flock’s early routine environment and behavior.

Sight mitigation is achieved with the morning dark, that is for those that can walk in with out a flashlight. Those that need a flashlight should make it red lens and a small one capable of just lighting the ground immediately at foot.

Noise attenuation through having scouted a route into the first planned setup location that avoids rougher terrain and thicker vegetation which often means a longer walk in and requirement for an earlier start. Noise limitation is frequently violated by those that carry in a pop up blind or create a blind at their setup. The answer to this should be obvious at this point and that the blind should have been established the night before during the scouting trip. This last point is one that many frequently fail to recognize and its value is based on wild turkey flock behavior.

A comment from a reviewer of this article at this point was about our (over) emphasis on the spring season aspect of turkey behavior. In this case the reviewer was not a turkey hunter, but a well educated articulate individual, and we are making the assumption in this article the hunter/reader is well aware of the distinctive flock behavior of turkeys during the spring from pre breeding, peak and trail of the breeding cycle. There go when we make a statement that such and such relative to spring season turkey hunting is such a case we accept the do it yourself hunter has the wherewithal of that specialized behavior and fully appreciates the value of the original statement.

Spring season turkey flocks once in a roost at dark will be hard pressed to leave that roost as they do not like to move anywhere after dark regardless of many influences. The hunter that finds a roost then examines the surrounding terrain and the continuing flock behavior knowledge that roost morning flydown is to open ground simplifies where to scout a setup. The next part is to pick a ground setup that will place the hunter near the open area the morning flydown will move to, however not to setup too close. Setting up too close to the spring season roost or the flydown area is the next most fatal error of many hunters.

7 Mar

Fishing. Here are a couple of photos. Jon Jr. and I moved 11 black crappies from one pond to another to help build some fishing for the future.

We also cut a bunch of trees and laid them on the shore for a place to the little fish to hide. The pond we put them in has too many bass and we are hoping to provide more food and establish a good pond for crappie in a couple of years.

Many people think crappie are bad for ponds, but we've seen the Crappie do well and keep in balance better than white crappie. The number of fins on their spine is a good way to determine the difference. Black crappies have more than 6 hard fins on the spine.

Waterfowl. Last fall one of our waterfowl hunters called the office to give us the "heads up" he heard water running out of one of our waterfowl lakes, which is always a concern for wetlands management. Luckily, we were able to pinpoint the break in the dam before it was too late. If it wasn't for the tip by the member we might have overlooked a problem that could have cost us a season of hunting on a prime lease. Jeff, thanks for the tip. We'll have to wait until it dries up this summer to do the repair work. Note a friendly family of beaver, which created this problem in the first place, came to our rescue to keep the lake from draining completely. Beaver use levees to build burrows to live in as their home. When floodwater comes over the levees their holes collapse. If this happens in an area that is prone to heavy flood water, such as this location, it becomes a futile battle that must be monitored on a year round basis.

Land. While renewing a lease this week the issue on the use of ATV's came up again. In this case a prime Missouri lease we have had for over 10 years. The landowner has been very satisfied over the years, but had a complaint about a deer hunter driving the perimeters of his property, which has a lot of crp grass. His solution was to put a padlock on all of the gates during the hunting season, which forces the hunters to park on the road rather than pull off to the gate interior.

3 Mar

Lease Land. Every once in a while we get lucky. The second season for a 160 acre CRP field added to an existing 1,600 acre lease. This picture was taken at the end of the season, first year CRP is rarely anything to look at. While appearing to be the ideal pheasant habitat it produced a good sized covey along its edge as well for that open sky shooting we all so much like.

Waterfowl. A picture from a recent walk of one of our wetlands after it rained to check our primary water source feeding the wetlands for later developed and improvement by installing pipes and levees. This waterfowl aera we are improving based on earlier experience before last season to ensure a more reliable water source. The picture is of a cannel we dug earlier and an improvement that worked well. With additional levee work the cannel and the levee combined will allow for more shallow water surface area. With wetlands it is always better to take it one step at a time before getting in too deep and finding mistakes.

Deer Hunter. A picture from a recent walk of one of our wetlands after it rained to check our primary water source feeding the wetlands for later developed and improvement by installing pipes and levees. This wetlands we are improving based on earlier experience before last season to ensure a more reliable water source. The picture is of a cannel we dug earlier and an improvement that worked well. With additional levee work the cannel and the levee combined will allow for more shallow water surface area. With wetlands it is always better to take it one step at a time before getting in too deep and finding mistakes.

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