Two comparison models for the self guided hunter looking for a do it yourself Missouri hunting trip.
First, is a model based on personal research.
Second, is MAHA's approach.
While both produce hunts one method over the other has a higher potential for success.
The first is personal research to find the right combination of elements for any interest at hand. For this example, we will use deer and quail for examination.
A first step is the state's conservation department. They have historical roadside survey data on quail and harvest records on deer. Each document is lengthily and detailed. They do answer the question where each wildlife species is distributed and will help narrow the regional decision criteria.
Another step would be land use surveys. They show potential habitat distribution. At right is one such map.
The experienced hunter will quickly seize on this information for its indication to wildlife population densities based on preferred cover/food.
The light green in the north central part of the state (area 109) and the lavender area in the west central (area 112) is 50% crop land. The large green area in the south central region is 70% woodlands. Evaluation of these land use/habitats compared to state wildlife survey/harvest data added to other sources such as B&C or P&Y records narrows further where to hunt.
At this point the do it yourself hunter has the idea there is plenty of readily available information to narrow down where to hunt. That leaves only the availability of land, public or private. This map shows a great quantity of public lands (light green) available for general access hunting during any season.
Comparing this map to earlier land use map shows a great amount of public land in the 70% forested region and none within the crop land areas. This is one more comparison criteria.
Missouri has other information sources useful tot he do it yourself hunter such as their deer point restriction zone where any harvested buck must have a minimum of 4 point on one side. This map (right) shows that area.
Overlapping the four point zone, meaning greater potential for large racked bucks, with preferred cover/food along with state harvest records refines where to hunt.
Private land on the other hand remains with the landowner. Gaining access to it within the desired hunt region is now the trick.
Placing hunting lease land wanted advertisements in local news papers or knocking on doors for general paid or free access is another method to acquire a place to hunt. This is when money now enters the equation. What spending level does the do it yourself Missouri hunter have to spend in search of land access?
Travel time, fuel costs, lodging, meals and general wear on the vehicle plus any gifts or cash paid for land access means the hunter is paying for a place to hunt. A simple analysis to value this hunting access is to take the amount for all costs and divide it into the acreage acquired.
This model provides a reasonable approach or determining where to hunt and a possible cost analysis for access to private land. Why is that private land important? It is due to all the documentation previously cited. The better hunting, or stated another way, the best return for time and money spent, is within the more heavily row cropped areas. Within these areas public land is minimal and private land predominate. It is the difference from going to lesser productive areas and nature walking to that of hunting within higher production areas.
We lease private land for our exclusive scouting, hunting and fishing. It is within the right regions of Missouri where there does exist the right habitat to support the best we can find deer, quail, turkey and duck hunting. This map (click for more detail) shows the counties and acreage where we lease land.
For the cost of a membership the do it yourself Missouri hunter may hunt any season on his schedule. For as many days as he may like to hunt. He makes a telephone reservation to insure he hunts without competition. The first year member receives recommendations from the MAHA partners Jon Nee and John Wenzel where to hunt for what he is after.
The hunter simply hunts as we have done all the research where to hunt. The self guided hunter of wild game will have a good hunt as that is the means by which he is motivated to return for seasons to come. That is our business goal. To have a large return customer base.
Upland Bird Success