We are in the process of revising the maps on our map website. We have revised over 35 maps that have been posted on the map website and have more to come, but it will be a gradual process.
From now on, all map revisions will be done as they occur and posted on the map website shortly thereafter. This transition will enable us to add and delete farms 12 months out of the year with the revised maps instantly available to the members online. This was always the goal a year ago when we started this project and we have made it.
All of those that received a Map CD must destroy the CD and start fresh with the maps on the map website. There will no longer be a CD distributed each year. Outdated maps will cause serious trouble with the law and landowners that purchased land that we no longer have leased. Please take this as a warning and start fresh with the maps on the map website.
For now, we only have the individual maps updated. The State Map Sets are not updated, so do not print the maps by state, only print them individually. The updated maps show the date they were updated under the update column of the individual map sheets. The state map and game type map sets will be deleted in the future. It is a matter of work load and we need to lighten it for the benefit of all. This means in the near future the only maps available to be printed will be individual map units or sheets, not the map sets.
Map deadlines no longer exist, which is beneficial to everyone. We don't anticipate all of the map revisions to be complete until the end of October, so please be patient and follow our progress with the maps as they are posted in the near future.
To access maps visit the maps website. Your password information to enter the site is on your membership card. Your name and codes must be entered exactly as they appear on your card. This transition is a one more major step forward at administrative efficiency. We would like to thank Jon Jr. and Matt for their combined efforts to provide an ongoing structure of maps online.
Another picture from last week's land run. One from a covey well in excess of 20. All were fully feathered. This covey was pictured on one of our original Iowa farms that is nothing more than a crop field with a drainage running through it. About the simplest habitat to be found. We caught them running across the farm lane between fields. Iowa will be good for us this season.
From this week's land run a late hatch seen in Iowa.
Upland Bird Forecasts
Some long time members have criticized us about not reading our annual analysis of the various published upland bird forecasts from state agencies and hunting magazines. The reality is just take any of our previous years analysis and place here. The only change is the very apparent and increasing gun shyness of magazines to take any substantive position on their published forecasts. The worst was the Upland Almanac, Autumn 2005, page 15, that used the previous year's harvest as a predictor for the upcoming seasons. They included such erroneous statements such as "Kansas...will be tops for quail...the southeast showed strong improvement last year."
If you remember from our July 1st update and bird forecast we warned away from SE Kansas due to heavy spring rains during the critical hatch and brood months of May and June. While this region did have an increasingly improved covey count the last several seasons, this one bad spring will set that increase back and typically it only takes one bad spring for a significant bird population setback. Those that hunted our southern Iowa lease land two seasons ago and last season experienced first hand what one bad spring can cause.
The basic problem remains that magazine article writers and editor are filling pages any way they can and completely disregard regional cause and effect of specific environmental limiting factors that distinguish population increases and decreases. The result is that anyone that takes these forecast as decision criteria for how to spend valuable vacation days may be misled and fail to have as good of a hunt as they could have had for the same cost of time and money.
Not all are bad. The Iowa State DNR forecast is by far the best and has been for the last several seasons. They include environmental limiting factors within their overall analysis that does also include what many believe to be the only method and that is of the road survey. What was most impressive about this year's Iowa forecast was their identification of inconsistent conditions resulting in rather close in geographic proximity variations in counts outside of the norm. Why this is a valuable assessment is they realize the faults with road surveys and recognize the value of environmental conditions throughout the year. This assessment does give decision criteria for where to spend vacation days. Such accuracy is greatly appreciated by those that make a study of upland birds. Congratulations to the Iowa DNR staff.
While not news to MAHA deer hunters that Missouri has big racked bucks for those that are skeptical here is some authoritative documentation. This list places Missouri ahead of Kansas and Iowa for the most reported B&C bucks. This picture is a snapshot of the article titled: The Good Ol' Todays, American Hunter magazine, October 2005, page 20, by Jeff H Johnston.
Gary from Pennsylvania sent in an excellent picture and hunting account showing the habitat where he harvested a full velvet racked buck. Thank you Gary for sending in the pictures - certainly a rare harvest to find one in velvet!
Mark proves it is never too late to send in a picture. We like them all as does all who read this update page. Thank you Mark for taking the time to send in your picture and hunting account.
Iowa Upland Reservations
We are coming up on the 30 day window to make hunting reservations for Iowa upland opener weekend. All are reminded that Iowa will be the only state open and many members will be seeking to get out that first hunt. The land in Iowa is limited and every unit has a gun limit that we will not surpass. The crops are likely to be standing rather than cut and the weather is likely to be warm. Last season we had a grand total of 66 upland hunters hunt our Iowa lease land the entire season. Thirty-three showed up the first weekend. Once Missouri and Kansas opened only 33 more went the rest of the season. As reservations are first come first served that first upland weekend of our three states will fill fast.
We have made a good number of additions and deletions to the lodging sections reflecting the changing nature of motels mostly. If relying on last year's listing there may be some disappointments. One particularly good place to stay is a new house in Norton County, Kansas. See that listing page for details.
Tree Stands, Ground Blinds
Tree stands and ground blinds may be posted prior to the season after a reservation has been. The reservation ensures no one will plan a hunt on land scheduled to be dropped before the bulk of the new maps are issued and prevents violating the few seasonal leases we have.
Roger adds another hunt success text and pictures to his credit along with a comparison article he wrote earlier comparing Kansas and Missouri spring turkey hunting. In that article plus each of his hunting accounts Roger divulges tidbits of detail that each had a part in a particularly successful hunt. Separately they may not mean much. Their application however in each of the accounts may have been the key to success. In any case, all successful turkey hunters that share their hunting accounts frequently include these bits of information that most of us tuck away for later application. That application, or more accurately stated, the art of that application should not be ignored as Roger gets done in a short time what others take a longer time to do. Thank you Roger for not forgetting about us with your pictures and hunting stories.
With our new members this fall preparing for their hunt we have recurring requests for GPS coordinates to locate land. We do not have that capability for the basic reason of GPS receiver incompatibility.
We bought and returned mapping systems from Mytopo, Mapteck and Delorme. In each case we conducted two tests. The first was to locate my personal farm on screen and while at the same time having my personal Garmin 12 channel receiver showing current location. The lat longs on the mapping software did not match or come close to get within the 4 corner post boundaries any portion of my farm (1/4 section or 1/2 mile square) compared to the Garmin GPS. This included targeting the original house we could clearly detect on the photo. We then reversed the procedure and took the lat longs from the GPS and entered them into the software. Using that procedure did not locate the property. Mytopo came the closest by getting my farm on the initial aerial photo screen and was off by 2+ straight-line miles. In this case that level of inaccuracy is not compatible with gaining confidence of being in the right location.
On a previous experiment we had three different GPS receivers on the hood of my truck at the same time and each had different lat longs showing on their screen.
The condition we have found GPS' to be very useful is to first drive to and park at a hunting spot. Enter in the location and then that same GPS easily and very accurately returns us to that same parking spot.
There are several members that have described their GPS mapping systems they feel works accurately enough to get them to the right lease land. However, after testing the top three companies in this field we do not have the confidence that all of our members will be getting to the right location given the variety of receivers that exist on the market. In our case public relations with neighboring landowner to our lease holders is a prime concern.
Matt W sent in a fine picture and text set with a technique description that secured his trophy. Thank you Matt for the tidbit.
Just a note to make sure all recognize our position on off road vehicle access. We just picked up a large acreage killer lease in a very competitive region for less money per acre than the previous lease holders were paying due to those hunters running ATV's on the ground. The landowner contacted us as his neighbor, a current MAHA lease landowner, told him he never had an issue with our hunters and off road vehicle access. Can this point be made any more clear?
Updates will be less frequent for the next 30 days or so as we are deep into the initial reservation period and members are bringing their friends into the Association in time for the coming seasons. We simply are spending a lot of time on the telephone.
Some deer hunters are finding their reservations rejected for failure at having sent in a copy of their Kansas or Iowa deer tag. Failing to do so simply delays the entire process. Others have attempted to make reservations to properties from memory and have confused property and unit designations. Some have even had to call back to determine what reservation they have made as they did not write it down when initially calling in. For the most part 95% of those calling in are efficient and prepared and to each we are grateful. Those that are not for the benefit of all are told to call back when they know what they are wanting. We simply post this what many would consider a negative in hopes of getting the last few drawn into the fold to make it better for all.
Maps are being upgraded in appearance and on land changes and will be made available to all at the same time online as announced on this update page. Those calling the office and attempting to squirm early access to updated maps are simply refused.
Thanks to Greg and Jeremy for sharing with us what is Greg's fourth and Jeremy's first season of MAHA success. And, thanks to both of them for their friend Jamie's recent membership allocation.
Over the last couple of years feedback from many of the waterfowl hunters was leaning towards more wade-in areas without blinds because the hunters feel the ducks, especially later in the season, flare from the blinds.
We experimented a little a few years ago with 2 or 3 wade-in only areas, but as the weather turned cold 90% of the hunters that were pushing for wade-in areas headed to the blinds for comfort leaving the wade-in areas unhunted for the best part of the season.
Since then, many portable blinds and layout boats have hit the market making wade-in hunting easier and more comfortable, so we feel it is time to open more areas on our managed wetlands areas to wade-in hunting for those that like to hunt on their own without blinds.
As we've mentioned in the past updates, this summer we were able to drain some of our wetlands for levee and pipe repair. By timing the draining process for mid-June we were able to establish a good stand of smartweed and plant millet on some of the mud flats for feed for the ducks to enhance the hunting. We intended to plant milo in Linn County, but the beavers did their job on the drain pipes to prevent planting milo, but we were able to plant some millet as a last resort.
Below are a couple of photos of several areas we mowed for wade-in hunting this fall provided we get adequate rainfall for water that currently has been the case ranging from wetlands overflow working hard down to some being about half the level we consider optimum.
Henry B- wade-in waterfowl area: For the last 5+ years we were not able to drain the wade-in area because the pipe was jammed with debris and too deep to access. This summer we were able to open the pipe and repair the gate. This gate provides one of the easiest means of intake for water on club property. The repair is a major asset to the club and we're glad to have it complete. As a result, an excellent stand of smartweed grew and we were able to mow 2 shooting pools for wade-in hunting.
Henry B, wade-in (picture #1) shows a big picture of the stand of smartweed.
Henry B- wade-in (#2) shows one of the wade-in areas located in the SW corner of the marsh.
Henry B- wade-in (#3) shows the second wade-in pool that was mowed on the east central corner of the marsh.
Henry D wade-in 1 (picture #4) This wade-in pool was mowed in the north central section of the marsh in open water away from the trees and blinds.
Henry D- wade-in 2 (#5) This wade-in pool was mowed on the west side of the island of trees in the middle of the marsh.
Henry D- wade-in 3 (#6) This area was left from the dozer getting dirt to fill the 2 washes in the dam and it is located on the east side of the island of timber in the middle of the marsh.
All 3 of these wade-in areas are between blinds one and 2 and only one will be used at a time.
Good luck to all.