Wetlands changes. Holt A - the blinds have been placed a little different from the previous map.
Henry B- We changed the mileage from the exit ramp due to construction on the highway. Blind #1 has been removed and the flooded field has been converted to a wade-in area.
Henry D- We changed the mileage from the exit ramp and moved blind #2 to a new location. The old location of blind #2 has been converted to a wade-in area.
Deer Hunters. We have a new ranch in Taney County, Missouri that is being overlooked for deer season. It is close to 1500 and as of today only 2 members have reservations for the firearms deer season. When we scouted the ranch with the landowner it took over 3 hours to drive the perimeters of the property and it has ideal habitat for whitetail deer and turkey. For a member that would like to bring his wife along to shop or site see Branson, Bulls Shoals Lake, Lake Taneycomo and Bass Pro Shops in Springfield are nearby.
Non-resident deer hunters the leaf foliage is about 50% dropped from the trees. Recent morning weather ranges from requiring a light jacket and 'T' shirt warm by 11AM to moderately cold long rains.
Waterfowl hunters. Visited with the landowner today in Cass Co, Mo Unit A to check the water and crop conditions. Unfortunately, due to rain the crops have not been harvested. We will have to wait until the crops are cut to close the levee gates and depend on rain to flood the pools. The only access to the blinds is through the landowner's driveway so scouting is not permitted until we have water and are ready to hunt. Feel free to check with the office, but at this rate with the recent weather it will be at least a month if conditions are in our favor to make this property huntable.
By popular demand we recently covered 2 blinds in Cass B, pond 5 improving a very well waterfowl attracting locality. Both of the blinds will be available to the members by reservation. While this picture does not show the blind well in the center at the water's edge we wanted to show the fields and water near the blind. Detail of the blinds will be posted on the update page.
Iowa update. Just wanted to report to everyone the majority of the crops are still in the fields in Iowa. The recent wet weather and storage at capacity has slowed the harvest of the northern regions of the MAHA lease area. Most of the beans have been harvested but the bulk of the corn has not.
Deer. A dynamic isolated to the 30-day deer hunting reservation member is the high percentage that changes their reservation before the hunt. While it would seem apparent that members would decide where they want to hunt before they call in and make a reservation the reality is that many make multiple reservations between the 30 and 25 day window sequentially changing location without having hunted or scouted the earlier reserved property. This in effect renders many properties unavailable to others that would have reserved them and now with the changed reservations many prime farms are without hunters.
Another secondary effect is the telephone time required by those that make multiple changes that deny access to the Association staff for the more efficient member trying to call in.
To the end objective of making this Association as efficient as possible while allowing every member equal access to all land for all seasons those that make deer reservations will be held to that reservation until their hunt. Once the hunt has begun, every hunter may adjust his reservations, as always has been the case.
Hummmm...One of your Association hunters and regular Army officer just returned from a year in Iraq and is set for a return rotation next year sent a personal email to me (John Wenzel, retired Army LTC) as part of a running dialogue with several topics to include how he is looking forward to the solitude of hunting. One of his recent emails he added a paragraph that may interest many others and we asked if we could share it with the rest of the Association membership and he agreed as long as it was under non-attribution as Army officers are prohibited by military law from issuing political positions publicly. He did offer that if there is anyone that thinks he can dispute what he says to send that email address and he would give further evidence. This is what he wrote:
"Can not stand to watch the news these days. A presidential change could only make things worse in Iraq. Kerry really has no options over there if he is elected - we can not really leave the place. It is a needed fight - for the most part, the "bad dudes" over there would be attacking Americans somewhere else if we were not there. It is better for terrorists to attack soldiers than avg Americans on vacation, etc. It's not like they'd stop being terrorists and become school teachers or gas station attendants if we pulled out of Iraq - they'd be after us somewhere else. I could rant on this for a while."
Admin. Just about every month a listing or several on the MAHA Yellow pages has been added or deleted. The recent ones consist of a deleted motel that was bulldozed and a second of new meat locker added. Thanks to Greg S. and Joe H. for these two edits. Simple feedback such as this adds up through a season and makes the listing better for all.
Reminder, reservations for scouting or hanging deer stands during the season will be taken the same as hunting reservations. If you are scouting a deer or turkey property or hanging a stand, you need to pin down a number or letter on the map unit. Right now, fall turkey season and archery deer season is open. We are doing this to prevent members from interfering with members that are hunting any property or will be within a week.
Maps. Just as FYI that even though the map updates have been issued that does not mean the end of the land runs as a dozen or so members can attest this week by having to wait for return telephone calls or conversations punctuated by lost cell phone reception. And, of course, emails are not answered until we return. Both John's continue spending time on the road as the effort is now to find quality land to replace that on the cut list for next year.
Upland Birds. Through the summer we posted several upland habitat picture and text pages to the website in recognition of the increase in upland bird hunting primary hunting interest memberships we have awarded. The intent is to get the new to the central mid-west hunter an idea of the habitat to hunt and start calibrating his eye to that habitat before he hits the ground. This next page is just to that end, for the new Association upland bird hunter rather than the long term member.
Deer. For the new to the central mid-west deer hunter we added a picture and text layout filling in one more piece of the deer habitat puzzle with this addition to the deer habitat section of our website covering the mixed grass and wood patch combination habitat on a piece of ground described by one long time successful bow deer hunter as: "...highly compartmentalized terrain..."
Waterfowl. Two geese as a bonus from one of the duck blind camouflaging volunteers that brought his shotgun and went after some residential geese on the next pool over from the blind work.
Waterfowl Hunters! Please be advised and mark on your Linn County, MO Unit A Detail map on the West Lake the dirt path leading to the blinds next to the upper irrigation lake is washed out from the heavy rains we had earlier. The ditch is big enough to seriously do damage to a vehicle and it is not visible in the dark. We flagged the ditch after covering the blinds but want to warn everyone if the markers have fallen down. There is a path around the tree line to the south that is accessible by ATV but not by vehicle if the ground is wet.
Map Changes. Please note a couple of small map changes. The actual total acreage in Jefferson County Kansas is 150, not 1500. Also, keep Clay County Kansas from the 03 maps. The acreage is 640. From time to time we will have small changes to announce to the membership so please check this update page for these changes to be announced.
Rules. As we stated in the newsletter it is very important for everyone to read the lawyer edited rules. If you have any questions feel free to call the office and we will explain. The changes are small but they are very important.
Maps. For the majority of the members the online map transition went smoothly. Your name has to be entered exactly as it appears on you membership card. If you have any questions how to enter your name and expiration date there is a help section with a sample. For those that experienced the map website returning an error message when attempting to access it that was due to our members exceeding the bandwidth during the initial rush to the maps once the newsletters were received. Now that members have spread their usage the bandwidth limit should not be problematic.
Admin. Jon apologizes for not being available in the office to personally answer everyone's phone calls. Please understand it took over 20,000 miles of travel and hundreds of phone calls each week the last 4 months to finalize the leases. Now with the maps online the up to date maps will always be available to all, all the time. This also requires the members to periodically check the map sheet they are hunting on with that map sheet on the website to ensure they do in fact have the most current map listing. These online maps will not reduce the out-of-office and road time however, and we all must agree that the Association staff out on the land gains the best return for the member.
Signs. All of the new farms and many of the old that signs disappeared from have been posted. We changed the color of the new signs to white, so now there are red, yellow, and white signs marking our leases.
Seasons. We are looking forward to a great season. The waterfowl marshes are looking real good, the upland bird numbers are up, especially the pheasant, and the deer and turkey are once again at a peak cycle. Never forget the youth seasons and we have an increasing number of ladies enjoying the day in the field. One bit of advice from a landowner that he reminds himself when he goes fishing with his wife is that never to yell at her. Just enjoy the day and the company and let nothing else bother you. Guys are always too competitive and women are there for you, not the fish, deer or turkey.
Reservations. Please note, when making any type of reservations always have your map in front of you. Shaun and Nichole have been instructed not to accept reservations from members that are not clear about where they are hunting. In addition, all must use the new maps. Old maps simply are not accurate in all cases and cause unbelievable amount problems.
Admin. Inquiries into the Associations growth plan by non-members and members have continued to be asked of us. We are unsure of the motivation for such questions, as we have not grown in membership or acreage by design for a good many years as an organizational decision. We are not expanding into other states. We are not seeking to add any more members than to sustain the 800's that we have sustained for a good many years. The limiting factor is the amount of time your Association staff desires to spend on the road maintaining the land contracts. That limit has largely been within a range of 220,000 to a one-year high of 259,000 with the 230,000+ being the average. The other side of the land contract work is keeping an eye on the landowners and his land usage. That alone accounts for most of the vehicle miles, time, acreage dropped and replaced land each year. The total acreage and its habitat profile then drives the membership limit. That acreage costs subsequently drives membership prices and a long time ago we all agreed to increase prices to keep the membership numbers low and acquire better habitat making for more and better hunting for all.
Waterfowl Update We're on the tail end of preparing the duck blinds and want to thank all of the members who showed up to work on the blinds. It was greatly appreciated. Bruce and Jon have it covered from this point on.
We have all of the blinds covered in Henry County and want to inform everyone of the water conditions, which look the best they have looked in years.
Blairstown Lake, which was not huntable for the 03 season is full to the brim. Blinds 1 and 3 have dry ground next to the blinds for a dog to sit if the dog is under control. Please note we are not allowed to drive vehicles down the hill to load and unload gear. Blind 1 is one of the few blinds we have that is accessible without waders, but chest waders are required to place decoys and retrieve game.
Winkler's Lake is also full of water. Blinds 1 and 2 are covered and ready to go. We replaced the doors on both blinds and put flip fronts on all of the blinds in Henry A.
Blind 1 has dry ground next to it for a dog under control to sit.
Note, if the weather pattern continues to include rain, Fisher's Lake can flood at any given time after a 1+ inch rain. Be cautious of the fluctuating water levels while hunting Fisher's Lake.
Blind 1 was moved to another location because of the fluctuating flight pattern of the ducks over the last couple of years. We have converted the pool in front of blind 1 to a wade-in area. The pool is ideal for a layout boat and has a lot of vegetation for the ducks to feed on.
Blind 2 was rebuilt and looks very good. Blind 3 is also covered and ready for the season. Blind 4 is no longer huntable due to excessive flooding over the years. The east side of the old river channel is making its move to the north off our property and taking the water with it.
As stated earlier, Fisher's Lake is a wet and muddy place. If the ground is wet we are required by contract to park on the northwest corner of the property and walk in. If you have any doubt park and walk. The road on the east side of the property is very muddy and gets worse the further you go. All access by foot, vehicle or ATV's must only use the paths or roads marked on the map. The field between 7 Hwy and the lake is farm land that we do not have permission to cross.
The water level can fluctuate in a hurry at Thompson's Lake, so be cautious while hunting this area after a 1+ inch rain also. A good gauge to judge the water level is blind 1. The normal depth of the lake is about 10 inches under blind 1. If the water is into the blind or starts to rise into the blind while hunting, it's time to leave the blind or not attempt to enter the blind. Hunting the edge of the lake is permissible if the water is too high to access the blind. Be especially cautious of the water level while hunting blind 3 because it's a long way out and the water gets deeper to the south while crossing the lake.
Blind 1, 3 and 4 are covered and ready to hunt. We removed blind 2 to avoid competition. All three of the blinds have flip fronts. Blind 3 is a long walk, so plan on it and don't cross the lake during the peak morning flight period if you arrive late. Blind 4 is a floater blind. Do not try to move it. It is cabled to a tree and will float way if the cable is not attached. ATV's are not allowed at Henry C. The parking area is close enough to the lake for anyone to walk.
Note the north boundary is the fence line south of the levee. The levee is off limits. The duck club to the north is very touchy about the boundaries and does not want us to walk the levee. If you have a reservation to hunt blind 1 stay in the blind and do not attempt to set up any closer to the duck club to the north. It will create a problem if you do.
Due to a family of beaver the water level at Frogs Lake is about a foot higher than normal.
Blind 1 is the same as always except it has a new door and flip fronts. Blind 2 was moved to the west corner of the lake under some oak trees. We have seen ducks using this area when the water is up and anticipate it will produce. It's an easy walk from the west parking area. Since the lake has so much water we will designate the old blind 2 area as a wade in area and encourage hunters not to set up east of the tree line to avoid competing with blind 1. The tree line where blind 2 was in 03 has dry ground for a dog to sit out of the water. Note, the water level at Frogs Lake fluctuates also. The bar ditch north of the south levee has a lot of silt and is above chest wader depth. Do not attempt to cross the bar ditch to retrieve a bird or for any other reason. Also, the east parking area is very close to 7 Hwy. Keep all dogs on a lead leaving or entering your vehicle.
Map Update. Our map webmaster Matt has successfully loaded the most current set of maps online. The instructions to access the maps were snail mailed today, so everyone should be able to view and print the 04-05 maps in a couple of days. For the time being, keep focused on the existing maps because the majority of them are still good. If you need to scout or hunt this weekend, Shaun has instructions of the changes on the 03-04 maps. The only obstacle some might have is for printing the maps by state, the site works much better with high-speed connection like roadrunner, DSL, etc. It is very important that everyone starts fresh with the 04-05 maps. If you try to combine the two, it will be an impossible task and eventually you will run into conflict hunting a property we no longer have leased. In addition, if you are hunting an area and see signs on land that is not on your map, do not hunt it. We do not always remove signs from old leases.
Blinds. Charles with gray hair performs with the best of the young guys at slugging out the rippy. Charles, a father, hunter, dog trainer of his dogs and good friend, has been in pursuit of waterfowl and upland with a wirehair pointer having seen the worst and some of the better seasons while covering much of the Association regions. Rock solid Ed S. anchors the duck blind work this past weekend making it his second this fall. Ed is shown with his best hunting buddy that is always by his side. Like most of us that hunt with dogs, we won't hunt at all without them. For those that know it's about the day and not the game, it's also about the dog and not the bag. A big difference between a hunt on your own and a guide hunt. Thanks to these 2 one more wetlands has its blinds covered. Thanks guys it was great working with you two and good luck this season.
Fishing. Some earlier this summer additions to the fishing section of the website we failed to post to the update page: An article about bass fishing with Big Bass Andrew as written by Harry O., a very much appreciated guest website author of notable wit and understanding. And, another of a picture lay out of some pictures we early posted to the update page and did not list a link to the rest. We also have some more pictures to add to the fishing section from Matt K., a perennial favorite contributor and father to a covey of kids that are bound to become some of the best fishermen/woman and hunters around.
Missouri Deer. Feedback from a member reading the Missouri deer hunting update below is that a change from last to this year reference the Missouri youth deer season is that it is now open to non-resident youth deer hunters as well.
Admin. Speaking of feedback we moved an email link to the upper right corner above that states: "feedback" as a recommendation from a member that wanted easier access to reply to any update topic. Many of the update topics shared with other members come from members and we encourage all to provide any relevant information they think others could benefit from.
Duck blind volunteers. Henry County, Sat 9 am, Frogs at the parking area on the West side of the Property. Sunday at Winkler's parking area. We need 3 people each day.
Pictured is the improved duck blind addition of split flip top shooting camouflage. This should make it easier for those hunters that prefer open shooting areas and those that prefer to close it off between flights. This picture is before the wetlands was flooded.
For the non-residents. The crop harvest was accelerated this past week due to our first frost, a light one, a long period of dry humidity and predicted rains that showed starting last night. Using our NE Kansas area farm as a general gauge being roughly central to all Association lease land the surrounding farms all range above 50% harvested with most near or at 100% cut row crops. Several farmers also went so far as to take one final cutting of forage crops while most have left alfalfa standing from 4 to 8 inches.
For the new member or the ones that have joined during the last couple of dry winters this year's weather pattern to date indicates we may have a wet hunting season making the road quality inductors on the Association lease land maps all the more valuable. As little as a 1/4 inch of rain within 24 hours will make most mud roads impassible to even the best 4 wheel drive truck to include ours with true locking rear differential. For all that ignore these road conditions the first time attempting to travel a wet mud road or one that has lightly frozen will bring the reminder of this paragraph.
Duck hunters that prefer our pond hunts would be pleased with the amount of local duck movement with many ponds collecting on an irregular pattern of pairs and small flocks. Could not get any pictures of the many we have seen as they would not stand for our closure on the ponds. A recent observation also includes the ponds that we recently opened up by brush cutting the nearby surrounding scrub having become more attractive with both local greenheads and woodies.
While the ducks seem to fly about with purpose from the larger wildlife areas and amongst the smaller ponds the geese seem far less organized for any purpose. They seemingly are flying about for the flight itself and make far fewer landfalls on the surrounding cut crop, alfalfa and wheat fields than we will typically see later in the season. One field that we have between the wildlife area and the river that has always served as a marker for goose activity and is composed this fall of 4 inch alfalfa has yet to see a goose. The same for the nearby cut bean and corn field. They continue to increase their local flights and the size of the flocks have also slowly increase with most at 200+.
Upland hunters we were a little surprised that we continue to see juvenile feathering on several pheasant groupings during recent land runs. Typically, by this time of year such sightings are more rare than they have been this past week. This particular observation comes from that region we identified during this spring's updates as being on the fringe zone between too much and just right rains during the critical hatch and brood months. For the quail hunters just as a limited observation that on one of your Association staff's farm a new this year covey has taken up residence anchored to a tree line that has not seen a covey of its own for several years. That makes 2 1/2 coveys for one quarter section. The 1/2 covey is one that has its home range split between this farm and the neighbors. That is as good as it gets.
Missouri deer. We've been having increasingly recurring conversations with deer hunters about Missouri deer hunting lately as motivated by the current bow and up coming rifle season and Missouri's new this year point limitations. The conversations have been far more positive than adverse to MDC's efforts and redundant on several points to the point we thought we would share this collective wisdom with the rest of the Association.
The first is that it is not just the point limitation that will increase the overall quality of the trophy whitetail harvest it is this regulation combined with the unlimited and very cheaply priced doe tags that will increase the overall herd quality.
The rack quality increase lag time is believed to be 3 seasons counting this one as the first before region wide average rack size will plateau to where seeing a nice scoring 8 point or greater will become common enough to further motivate the more cynical hunter.
Missouri has been considered a sleeper state by far too many hunters even with it be surrounded by the more widely reputed Illinois, Iowa and Kansas. It has often been said that if Missouri would become a draw tag state it would become psychologically as attractive as a deer state as its more popular neighbors.
Missouri's higher deer density compared to Iowa, Kansas and Illinois combined with increased doe harvest and the point restriction will make for more trophy quality racked animals and most are watching for when that trophy harvest exceeds that of Kansas the current leader.
Missouri's more abundant deer habitat existent throughout the state will allow for more areas to have quality racked bucks than the many less dense regions of Kansas or Iowa. In this discussion density refers to deer herd numbers combined with the amount of habitat. Missouri with its geography described as the "Rivers State" has more water, rolling terrain and less efficient agriculture making for more wildlife areas and more deer.
MDC's long standing reputation in terms of true hunter oriented wildlife conservation gives a great deal of confidence that while deer hunting is currently good in Missouri it will only get better and that Missouri has ideas to further increase its trophy whitetail population and the current changes only are part of a graduated process to achieve a nationwide reputation as a trophy whitetail state.
Missouri's method of allowing the hunter to select where to hunt regardless of deer management units allows for pre-season scouting to be more precisely and easily conducted on the hunter's schedule before he buys a license and buys that license over the counter.
Bow hunters have always preferred Missouri due to Missouri being considered to have more "bow huntable" habitat.
A fallout of this "new awakening" about Missouri deer hunting are some of the current Kansas and Iowa deer tag holding members now considering or are planning to hunt Missouri as well. This is completely within the Association regulations that every member may hunt any state he has a license. We also verbally discourage this as we have seen every year for a great many years that the deer hunter that has the most recurring success is the hunter that concentrates his effort in a small area. This area is small in terms of hunting one state and a fewer number of properties. The converse of hunters that try to hunt more than one state or hunt a great number of properties is less likely to be successful. This also holds true for the hunter that attempts to combine a hunt such as a duck and deer hunt on the same trip. The bottom line in the case of Missouri is to scout and hunt Missouri the year the hunter does not have a Kansas or Iowa deer tag.
Maps. Sorry for the delay in the maps. Our webmaster for the map website has been pulled down with a four week audit at work. He will not be able to finalize the maps until he is done. We're anticipating by next weekend the maps will be up and running online. We will inform everyone with a newsletter of the details involved.
Several members have called requesting new maps to scout and/or hunt. All of the new and old maps are on a CD waiting to be published on our website. Please be patient and wait until the project is complete. If you would like to scout new land, pick some you haven't been to and it will be as good as new. Habitat changes drastically over the years. If you take the time to check out land that didn't seem desirable 2 to 3 years ago, you will be amazed how different things might appear. Those that have scouted in the past by aerial photos clearly have learned this many times over the years that even 5 year old aerials are far different than what the habitat actually is. If that does not satisfy those that feel they should have advanced issue of maps then understand this that all members will receive the same map issue at the same time and that is all there is to that!
Once the maps are issued there have been some deletions and additions as we continue to upgrade overall land/habitat quality as farming practices change and bull dozers erase wildlife areas. To the benefit to all members the reputation of the Association does precede itself amongst many counties and we have a running waiting list of landowners that seek to coordinate land contracts with us. This allows us to pick the best from all that is available and we continue to reject between 70 to 80% of the land offered to us.
Duck hunters. The crops have been cut on the Holt County wetlands so we are planning to pump within the next couple of weeks. This year it was too wet to plant corn, so the landowner planted the field to beans. A lot of waterfowl hunters prefer corn, but we've had some our best waterfowl hunting in flooded bean stubble as the corn refuse after harvest frequently covers the water surface. Bruce and Jon are covering the blinds in Holt County this weekend. They don't need any help because they can drive to the blinds and it's an easy job. Next weekend we will need some help in Henry County so call Shaun at the office if you are interested as we would love to have help on this wetlands.
ATVs. Last weekend a couple of members asked about accessing the waterfowl blinds with an ATV. ATV's are permitted on our waterfowl properties only to access blinds and carry decoys to and from the blinds, using the paths hunters take on foot. ATV's must be parked in the regular parking areas and not at the blinds or near the wetlands itself. As always, no ATVs through cut or uncut crop fields. Green winter wheat is a crop and never should be driven over.
Also, if the crops are cut and the ground hard through freezing or being dry and no ruts will be left deer hunters are allowed to haul a tagged deer to their vehicle by ATV unless otherwise noted on a map. Travel the perimeter of the crop fields rather than track through the fields themselves. No ATVs are permitted to hang or retrieve stands. ATVs are not permitted to scout land under any circumstances.