As a self guided turkey hunter organization we, the MAHA staff, are in the field 12 months of the year. These mid-February birds are just one example of what we track so that the hunter is hunting the right area for what he is after. Our tracking however, does not replace the hunter's own scouting the first day of the hunt.
A photo of an ideal shot opportunity on a long beard in the open with his head straight up.
Possibly a double bearded tom, but check out his left spur covered with mud.
Joined by another with exceptional long spurs. Typical of pre-season scouting, when the season arrives most likely the hunter will be covered up with jakes.
Non-Competitive Turkey Hunting Land
Our Missouri wild turkey hunting is on private land under lease for our exclusive do it yourself hunter/member use.
Each hunter reserves a specific numbered property per hunter per day and hunts that property alone. That private land is either selected by the hunter based on his previous hunts, pre or during season scouting or from recommendations by the MAHA staff of farm/habitat most likely to hold a flock. We will get the new member to the point of where to park his truck step out an hunt. After that the hunter is on his own. After several hunts most members develop favorite localities, hunt frequently within that area and further enjoy the added pleasure of experiencing other regions as well.
From our point of view this next topic should not have to be discussed. However, since we receive this particular question and we seek to answer all questions on this web site we do tell that all hunts are on wild turkey free of human influences other than what the hunter can bring to the hunt.
Season, Land & Hunts Flexibility
If the hunter enjoys that first farm he may remain there for the duration of his hunt or expand out having the adventure of exploring more of our other private land within a short drive. Our reservation system makes this mobility possible by limiting the number of days any one hunter may hunt any one single property preventing any one hunter from blocking others from having equal access to all the Association lease ground. For those that do want to hunt that same property they merely keep their reservations up to date.
The motivation for making a telephone reservation to an individually numbered turkey lease is to ensure we know where that hunter is so we do not allow anyone else to hunt that lease when the first hunter is there.
By this means all hunters are hunting alone. It is also the means by which we limit day to day and week to week turkey hunters insuring no one lease receives too much hunter pressure. If we do a good job at this, all spring season turkey hunters will find the flocks relatively un-pressured as we have more turkey lease land than turkey hunters to hunt them all. The hunter wants a good turkey hunt and we want that hunter to return for years of hunting. That is our business and customer service approach.
Further, nearly half of our turkey hunters being non-residents that fly out and turkey hunt selected long weekends leaving many season days with little activity. And there is more.
Our membership allocation system is based on membership primary and secondary hunting discipline compared to our leased land profile. The land profile is managed by regional production within Missouri, Kansas and Iowa, habitat carrying capacity and past production. The bottom line is that not all of our self guided hunters seek spring or fall hunts and are fewer than the land we have with birds.
Self Guided Turkey Hunter
A local member that chooses to hunt Association lease land rather than run about knocking on doors or using public land.
Service The next part of the Missouri turkey hunting equation includes our abundance of our private land acreage spreading hunters. Kansas' Rio Grande Turkey hunts are an example of what draws our hunters outside of Missouri.
One other facet often inquired of is competition with other hunters for the better leases believing older members may have an advantage. The basis for equality and fair land distribution begins with each member receiving the same map issue (online) and having the same reservation system. This is built on that we do not have any seniority system and the two full time Association land staff, Jon Nee and John Wenzel, insure all understand that while we are friendly to all we have no friends and no special interest of treatment of any person or group.
Even with parity at land access, it is the member with a couple of spring seasons under his belt that will have more than one roost identified and have some self guided hunt flexibility. This aspect can only be overcome by the hunter himself.
While we will jump start the hunter the first year, it will take that hunter some boots on the ground time before he builds knowledge of the land. Any one expecting immediate hunt results with minimal effort has lost site of the challenge and adventure of a self guided wild turkey hunt. To this end, this web site strives to achieve reasonable turkey hunting expectations before membership application.
Our approach to parity to all includes a written prohibition against gratuities for all those that draw an income from the Association, the two Jo(h)ns, Bruce our wetlands manager and our secretary. Add to all this that for the first year Association hunter we will jump start that hunter with recommendations of where to go turkey hunting in Missouri and elsewhere. These turkey hunt recommendations will be based on our first hand experience of the recommended leases. As we are on the land 12 months of the year we are the only single source of land analysis for all regions.
Traveling Turkey Hunter
The pictures and captions below courtesy of a non-resident turkey hunter and member that didn't seem to have much challenge hunting what he was looking for in Iowa and Kansas when Missouri didn't work for his schedule.
Iowa turkey. Called him and 5 others in @ 10 am.
Kansas. This bird came in quite. 4:30 pm.
This is all three tags filled in as many days. Tom on my right was called in the morning of the 28th. He has a 11" beard and great spurs.
Big hooks. First limb hanger.
This turkey hunter/member also deer hunts. The combination of deer and turkey profile is common in the Association. And, it is common to hunt more than just Missouri.
Members will find our turkey hunt recommendations sound as our motivation is pure to insure that hunter returns for years of fall and spring season turkey hunts to come.
It all comes down to we will do everything possible to get the self guided turkey hunter on to productive Missouri habitat and wild flocks as that will cause him to come back and have many more seasons to come.
With tags over the counter purchase, our private land, our recommendations of what land to hunt and a local lodging listing leaves little reason not to spend spring and fall season out on a hunt.
Spring Turkey Season Safety
A final topic about our spring season turkey hunting is that more hunters are accidentally shot on spring season hunts than any other season according to the International Hunter Education Association web site (state wide, not on our private land).
A recurring element specific to spring turkey season accidental shootings is that the hunters that are shot are frequently so when moving. Our system of reserving individually numbered farms prevents other Association hunters from being on the same ground at the same time thereby enhancing safety.
While this hunter separation greatly enhances individual safety no one can account for those that setup on the property line. Whenever out in the woods and camouflaged always have available a hunter orange hat to flash at a nearby hunter coming into or near your area as well as to wear when picking up and moving to a new setup.
This last bit may seem unusual for hunters and will become more comfortable when the leisurely pace of our hunts are experienced. We have the wild birds and the exclusive leases. The member will always be able to hunt on his schedule anytime during the season. Taking the little extra safety precaution will soon become a natural part of all hunts.
A hesitation some turkey hunters express is what is the likelihood they will be able to experience the same success as seen in the turkey hunting success gallery.
While we offer no guarantees of turkey harvest success we have found that the do it yourself turkey hunter has the prerequisite skills necessary for success and we provide the rest of the required resources through our private land resources via our leases, recommendations of where to hunt and the local lodging listing. After that, those who know turkey hunting will do well. However, by doing well we do not imply turkey tags filled. Our intent is the chance at a good hunt.
The priority of work that has led to the most first year member turkey hunting success is to discuss a possible membership with us and if we agree we can work together then join MAHA. At that point the new member gains access to our password protected online lease map web site That web site allows all members to have equal access to all lease maps throughout the year to include when they are updated.
Once a new member can look at the same Missouri maps as we are it is a lot easier to talk about where to hunt. This is the point we will recommend to that member where to turkey hunt right to individual numbered Missouri private land we have under lease. Trusting these recommendations is easy as we seek to get that new members a good start in the Association to ensure his desire to renew his membership. Add to that we spend 12 months a year out on the leases and that new turkey hunter/member has the best source of the most complete information possible of where to Missouri turkey hunt.
Missouri offers a lot of turkey hunting opportunity with the best Missouri turkey hunting within the agricultural grain farming regions.
After that new to the Association turkey hunter/member has a listing of Missouri turkey lease numbers to get him started he can go to GoogleEarth or Microsoft Teraserver and draw down his own aerial photos of those leases. Having our lease maps and the aerial gives that hunter the best idea of how to start planning a do it yourself scouting trip or hunt.
We then encourage that first year member to travel out and plan to spend the first day scouting to confirm or deny the presence of turkeys on the recommended private land farms. Scouting out our way is along the lines of glassing from the road or just over the ridge lines between the road and deeper into the farms. The idea is not pressuring the flock away by walking through scouting.
Once the hunter finds a Missouri lease or two with a roost/flock he calls into the MAHA office to reserve that property for the days he wants to hunt, typically two or three. That reservation is the means by which we know where he is so we do not allow others to hunt the same property at the same time.
The first hunt day is as much a continuation of the earlier scouting as it is a hunt.
It is far better to move in cautiously that first morning to get near, but not right next to the roost. The goal is to get a tom, however it would be better to get good observation on the fly down and through the morning movement pattern. The value is our turkeys are like turkeys everywhere, or better than that as un-pressured turkeys everywhere. Un-pressured turkeys will habitually behave the same from day to day as long as the hunter does not interject into that pattern.
If a tag is not filled that first morning Missouri turkey hunt, the observations gained will far more likely increase the chances at a better setup and success on the second day.
This tidbit came to us from one long time very successful Missouri turkey hunter that first seeks to setup near the fly down area, but not within direct line of sight of the fly down Near that area he selects terrain that will most likely bring the toms to his call from a single direction and then sets decoys to enforce that single approach. The entire goal is to minimize accidental exposure to the flock at fly down and to minimize visible hunter movement during that critical period when the toms are coming into shooting range. His turkey hunting approach has been on large Missouri flocks where he wants to minimize eye contact with all but the toms. After fly down of a large flock he frequently finds himself surrounded by birds and wants to keep them near until one of choice comes close.
This last illustration of one turkey hunting technique is not intended to establish us as a hunter instruction organization. It is simply offered to show what one self guided turkey hunter has found to be effective recognizing some that travel to hunt Missouri never previously encountered 35, 50 and 80 bird flocks or hunted our open turkey habitat.
Part of a Missouri flock strung out across last year's bean field during middle March. Looking over the field we could not find any left over beans and assume the turkeys are grazing on the weeds that have begun to spread across this field.
Middle of the three week Missouri season sees a dramatic green up compared to the pre season picture above.
Do It Yourself Turkey Hunts
For those that seek do it yourself Missouri wild turkey hunting without competition from others on private land un-pressured birds we have that opportunity plus additional fall season, Mule and Whitetail Deer, pheasant and quail and duck and goose hunts.
Missouri Turkey Hunt
Becky, on one of her spring hunts. Typical Missouri habitat. Open agricultural land that has plenty of food to make for some big toms and large flocks.
All hunts, seasons, states and lease land for the same cost. While all may hunt all none have the that kind of time. Our simple approach is an economy to keep prices down.
Our approach is simple and most hunters take the self guided aspect to the maximum after the first season as they start on one collection of farms and expand out. Each scouting trip or hunt will result in more knowledge of more leases than there will be time to hunt. That range of options allows for reaction to changing flock locations and the added bit of adventure of NOT having to hunt the same property or roost every hunt be it turkey, deer, waterfowl or upland birds.
On that same note, those that do the best at turkey hunting are the ones that concentrate their efforts rather than try to cover too much ground. That one aspect alone applies equally to all other hunt disciplines as well. Once a good couple of farms are found stick with them and gradually expand out over time. The first season is for break-in, after that exploration adds to the hunt adventure.
Missouri turkey hunting for the do it yourself turkey hunter in the most hunter friendly state of the three where we manage land leases will give every hunter the opportunity to be in the field every free day he has during any season, turkey or deer.
We will do all the work up to getting that hunter to where he parks his truck, steps out and hunts. After that those that truly enjoy hunting on their own will have more of it at a much more leisurely pace than most before experienced.
This bachelor group picture was taken in February and not until they move into a mixed sex flock by middle March will their during season predictable movement pattern become visible. Finding a hen dominated flock is more valuable of a scouting effort prior to March than seeing February toms.