We have this page on hunting clubs as many hunters searching the internet use the keyword phrase “hunting clubs” and find us. We believe they are thinking they will find a source of good information, namely land to hunt, not knowing there is a better alternative to a club offered by Mid-America Hunting Association. Our alternative is self guided hunting for the do it yourself hunter on private land we lease for our exclusive use. This is as a collective of hunters, not as a social group.
This is not a play on words between a hunting club and that of an Association.
We do provide the private land resource many are looking for. We do identify ourselves as an Association rather than a hunting club. The distinction is along the lines between that of a organization that has the single minded approach of providing the hardest hunter resource there is to acquires, that is land. That is compared to an organization that supplies a social environment for other than actual hunt activities. This would be such as in a hunting club with a private wet bar for after dark meetings.
Our philosophy or operational guideline is to provide private land for those that have the wherewithal to hunt on their own. Or, as our maxim states: Spend your time hunting rather than hunting for a place to hunt!
A Further Definition
It appears from the telephone questions we receive this next part we do not describe often enough.
We provide land, recommendations where to hunt and a lodging listing for every county where we lease land. We do not provide the hunting club amenities of meetings, guides, equipment, lodge and most importantly we do not allow gang hunts.
The primary product or service is the private land we lease for our exclusive use. We conduct all the administration of handling the bullet proof written land lease contract, enforcement thereof (lawyer on retainer), payments (paid accounting), liability insurance (specific to the outdoor industry) and schedule of its use for our do it yourself hunters alone.
This land we lease is based on our lifetime of being hunters ourselves, living in this region and having an understanding of what local regions within our three state area of Kansas, Missouri and Iowa has the wildlife we seek. This first hand, boots on the ground experience with the land is year round and serves as our basis for recommendations to our hunters of where to hunt. In this regard, we have been providing this hunting service since 1965.
When we make a recommendation of where someone should hunt it is based on his or her game of choice and habitat preference. That recommendation will be within the region of any one of the states that has a history of production that will assure as much as possible a good hunt and that hunter’s membership renewal.
One more chance for dad and son to both share in the same activity and both have success.
The fact we operate as a business keeps this a serious organization focused on returning customers.
To that end all customers or hunters in our case, receive the same lease land maps available online to all, the same reservation system and land access. Having parity ensures all are treated fairly unlike a hunting club that may have implied services garnered by gratuities (we forbid them) or from those who spend more money (all pay the same price in this Association).
The hunting club versus a business distinctions identified on this page should not be taken lightly. While the original search engine keyword phrase of “hunting clubs” may have brought the reader to this page knowing now that our organization exists should be all the reason to cease that original search and have a look at the services we provide.
Hunting clubs come a great variety of configurations. While they all are different there are some common analysis criteria that may be applied to all. That criteria is offered in this article as providing a basis to first determine what type of hunting club may be best for any one hunter. Subsequently as evaluation criteria for decision between what hunting club to join and which to discount.
First is that it offers hunting. Not all hunting clubs are for hunting. Many such as rod & gun clubs or dog clubs that are more hunting support organizations.
The type of hunting the club offers is then the screening criteria.
The first screening criteria is released/fenced or wild, fair chase hunts. For many hunting clubs this first criterion helps eliminate or identify what the hunter is actually after.
A hunting club that offers released/pen raised hunts is very well suited to the dog training type hunting support club. In this case the hunting club exists as a dog training rather than an actual hunt organization. This approach is common to near suburban areas where those with time and lack space collect for a social as well as an enjoyment activity.
For big game a fence hunt has application similar to the recent popularity of community farms. A community farm raises plants and animals for the greater good of others that prepay to cover the farming costs. The farmer does the work and the members of that farm community share in the harvest. The benefit offered and gained is typically along organic farming lines with a higher degree of certainty of quality foodstuffs. This includes cattle, sheep, chickens and more. A fence non-domesticated animal farm (elk, whitetail, etc.) offers the same with the exception the hunter slaughters the animal rather than the farmer taking the domesticated animal to a slaughterhouse. Otherwise, the buyer and producer are seeking/offering the same service whether it is a domestic or non-domestic product.
Local Hunting Clubs
Return migration snow goose.
Many local waterfowl clubs exist within Missouri and our is but one to compare to others for finding the best fit for any one hunter.
If selecting a controlled (fence/release) hunt the continuing decision criteria is simply a matter of selecting the type and quality of animal desired and comparing those options to travel distance/time and overall cost.
If selecting a fair chase hunting club the decision criteria requires expansion to other considerations such as:
Quality of the wildlife of interest.
Proximity of the available population densities.
Weather effects - usage.
Acreage required for that wildlife of interest or hunter pressure.
Management and staff.
Past performance and proofs of that performance.
Wild Game, Natural Habitat, Fair Chase
Our toughest hunt is on wild Bobwhite Quail requiring more walking, shooting strength and dog power for success than any other hunt discipline.
Wildlife of choice and quality of that wildlife criteria is easily identifiable. An example is if looking for trophy whitetail those states that have a long history of trophy whitetail are limited. This narrows the search and thereby eliminates contenders.
Waterfowl hunting clubs is another easy example of selecting a club based on where that club is located. In the case of ducks it is within the better international flyway. Most will agree the Mississippi Flyway is the most duck and goose productive of the four flyways.
These two, whitetail and duck, locality examples then work into the next decision criteria of proximity and weather.
Proximity is two fold. The first is reasonable travel distance from home to hunting spot. Second is the population density of the wildlife of interest within a locality.
Typically, for most, a week long hunt is a high energy requirement. Few of us can actually hunt hard more than a week at a time. To do so is more often spending time outdoors than quality or intense hunting.
Vacation times also are typically a calendar week at a time. These two facets make it reasonable to spend as a cost of recreation a day’s travel time at both ends of the hunt leaving seven days for actual hunting on a Saturday through the week until the latter Sunday schedule. Any more travel time or delay to the actual hunt and the quality of the hunt desired begins to be adversely impacted and this screening criteria transitions into evaluation criteria.
As screening criteria a hunt that requires more than a day’s travel time or additional travel conveyance of horseback to get to a remote camp taking two days, or four total within a nine day vacation week, leaving five hunting days, may rule out that hunt as an option. In this case, the one week hunt criteria fails and perhaps the evaluation criteria needs to be adjusted.
The second proximity aspect is the population density of the wildlife of choice. This is easily identified by the duck club example.
For waterfowl, once we agree one flyway over another is better, we then seek to identify what part of the flyway is better. Within that flyway meaning the likelihood of having the opportunity to hunt more ducks. No easy task and like with trophy whitetail what is reality and that which receives the most magazine print is not always the same.
In this waterfowl/flyway example weather demonstrates a great impact on decision criteria of where to hunt and when. The easy answer is early season is the more north in the flyway is better. Later in the season the more south in the flyway is likely to be the better hunt. A timeline affected hunt brings us back to vacation day availability. That brings us to flexibility of the hunt provider. Or, club to provide the hunt with the hunter’s timeline requirements rather than the club's organization limitations. A tough bill to fill.
The ideal is the hunter hunts when he wants. However the club’s viewpoint is frequently other such as getting the most hunters process through each season as income generation. At this point we must accept that hunting clubs exist to profit someone. It is the profit making club that sustains itself and generally provides the better quality hunts. The social hunting club such as the earlier dog training club illustration, typically is a volunteer operated organization that simply does not provide any hunts other than the canned type.
Hunter pressure and acreage available are proofs that the club has sufficient land resource for its clients/hunters. How to identify those proofs remains the problem. It seems that pictures, testimonials and references are the only means to test the quality of a hunting club prior to boots on the ground experience.
Pictures do show a lot. Typically, they are smiling faces of hunters with harvest standing near a club’s sign. Those are the least valuable. More valuable are the member courtesy submissions to the club as an indicator of gratitude for what the club has provided.
Testimonials from all successful hunters telling why they were successful are always welcomed. Testimonials from those that were not successful at harvest of choice and are satisfied carry great weight. Further the full testimonial rather than snippets frequently provides many nuances that may add up to a greater understanding of what may be expected. The same can be said from testimonials that offer overall quality accounts that are 100% positive. Hunting has far too many variables for any one hunt to be perfect.
Doug's second buck on one trip.
The Best Test
References are always a problem. References are always good. How to get objective of the good and bad points of any organization is not likely through references.
One model for evaluating references is to have a plan before talking to them. A plan may be quickly developed from reading the club’s material.
All hunting clubs have rules. Read the club’s rules to determine first a good fit for the desired hunting methods. Next use the club’s rules as research to develop questions about the club’s qualities that are most important to the reader.
Next, read as many testimonials as required to develop questions about the club’s characteristics. Continue reading testimonials not quitting until no further questions are evident.
Take the entire list of questions and narrow them down to not more than two of the most important to the type of hunt being sought. Any more than three questions and those being asked will grow weary of being questioned and the quality of response will decline.
Take those select questions and ask the club’s management and staff for their answers. Take the same set of questions and ask of several references. The indication being sought is the degree of consistency in answers as a reliability gauge of what the prospective club member may be buying into. If there is not any consistency then perhaps the questions are wrong, the sampling of references too narrow or it is a red flag that what is advertised in the rules and testimonials is not in agreement. Whatever of the two possible outcomes the one seeking a hunting club then has decision criteria either supporting or detracting from selecting that particular club.
Club management and staff qualities and how to measure them leaves open a wide range of possibly points of consideration. We selected those that most affect decision making. They are: personal work experience of the club’s operators, participation is hunts, how the hunting land is selected/maintained and how the staff treats the club members.
The background of the management offers the idea there is no substitute for experience. How long they have been performing their club responsibilities means much for the potential for continued performance. Essentially, the higher the operators’ quality of background experiences the better. This includes the length of service to the club meaning longer is better and all must be balanced. That level of experience must extend to the entire staffing. Not just the owner who is likely to earn the most income. Staff longevity is often an indicter of hunter longevity in that organization. In short the longer they have been operating the club the better as the trial and error and the trial and success experiences have been refined. This is no small point.
What experience brings is stability of operation. All club members want quality hunts and equal treatment that is best assured by way of stability. Those clubs in the growth or development phase are the least desirable. Those that have operated a set method for longer periods the most likely to continue with what they advertise themselves to be. It is that the club members want quality hunts and not be learning tools for novice management.
The club operators must have strong connection to the hunts they offer and the resources that provide those hunts. This does not mean the club operators have the time to hunt themselves. Or, have the most success of the entire organization within any type of hunting discipline. It means that those operators know what it takes for success and makes those resources available to the club members. At this point we offer the caution that the club operators must have experience. The prospective club member will be able to tell if that operator has time in stand, trained his own dogs, knows the calling and decoying art, from the very first conversation.
The deeper discussion about a club’s operator background beyond actual hunting experience includes other facets. That includes the connection to the resources that make the hunt quality what it is. One readily accepted example is habitat as it is habitat that makes for the wildlife or the hunt being sought. Then it is the right habitat within the right region that allows for population densities within close proximity that make for the better hunt experience. Part of the question development process of researching the club under analysis is to include how the operator resources the assets that make for that good hunt.
If the prospective club member can ascertain how the club operators secure the resources that more likely increase the opportunity for successful hunts then the prospective club member is asking the right questions. The word “right” in this case means asking a question that more likely gives better indication for what is being asked than what may appear to be a more obvious question. An illustration as a contrasting question would be the ratio of hunters to harvests and the quality of that harvest. This is a common and widely accepted information point promoted by many hunting magazines articles about how to select a hunting guide and inappropriate for a hunting club. The reason for this is that those that seek a guide do so counting on that guide being a better hunter, knowing the habitat better or other resource than the hunter paying for the service could provide himself. Otherwise, why pay for a guide. For a hunting club such a question of hunter to harvest ratio is inappropriate as within a hunting club the hunter makes his own hunt typically as a self guided hunt.
A more appropriate question about a hunting club to ask of references would be about the hunt quality itself in terms of quality of habitat, hunter pressure, wildlife seen and how the club treated the hunter rather than harvest rates. That concept alone will do much to frame the more efficient question gaining the more accurate information as analysis of what is to be gained.
At this point here is not much else to say just action to be taken. Contact us by email or telephone 913 773 8110, 9 to 9 on most days.