Posts Tagged ‘Missouri Public Hunting Land’

Needless to say, it’s been fairly slow on my end. One of my best seasons ever, is far behind in the rearview. But, that does not mean I’m not thinking about hunting. This is a time where I start mulling about this year’s plans, as well as mistakes I need to learn from this past year. Included is fine tuning my stand locations and searching out 1 or 2 new locations. The latter is a task I like to start before the spring foliage takes hold. But, that’s something I’ll cover in a future post. Until then, I’d like to go over my current plans and the prep work involved for each.

Before I can start preparing for this year’s archery season, I first need to get through Spring Gobbler. I must admit, each year I become more and more obsessed with Turkey hunting. The excitement of hearing a gobbler on the limb, prior to daylight is a pure adrenaline rush for me. This year will be slightly different and no doubt more challenging though. To go along with the theme of bowhunting road, I’m going to tackle these longbeards with only archery gear in hand. In addition, I will not be using a blind, something that I’ve convinced myself is nearly impossible. Regardless, I don’t have the benefit of setting up along field edges waiting for birds to walk by, and given the fact that it’ll be 100% public land, setting up a blind is not necessarily an option. Besides, I like to employ a “run and gun” technique for these wary game birds. So, with the first couple days of the spring season as planned vacation, I’m hoping to get one on the ground before the pressure mounts up. I plan on covering my methods for bow hunting turkeys in an upcoming post.

Ohio spring turkey 2015.

Ohio spring turkey 2015.

As usual, I’ll also continue my other addiction of monitoring trail cameras throughout the summer. I usually freshen my mineral sites near the middle of May, with cameras going out in in early June. My camera vice can be compared to a woman who collects purses or shoes! I often need waypoints on my GPS, just to keep track of them.

My hunting will be conducted across several states this year. Included will be Ohio and Illinois. Work pending, I may also try a short trip to Missouri to bow hunt in late October. Missouri has over-the-counter tags, so putting in for a draw is not required. Again, this would be an impromptu trip and have little to no scouting prior to arrival. I would be getting most of my information from internet forums and countless hours of viewing aerial websites.

OHIO

These are some of the public land bucks that I have taken in the last few years.

These are some of the public land bucks that I have taken in the last few years.

If you’ve been following my inaugural year on bowhuntingroad.com, you’ll know that this is my home state, and that all of my hunting is conducted on 100% public land. Now, I’m not trying to brag or claiming to be the next Dan Infalt, but I’ve developed an ability to locate and have encounters with mature bucks on these fairly heavily hunted lands. That does not mean I am able to hunt “booner’s” on a day-to-day basis, but locating multiple Pope & Young class deer is not uncommon for me. Getting close enough and executing a shot is an entirely different story, especially while trying to self-film! But, I will keep up-to-date posts on the deer I’ll be hunting throughout the summer.

ILLINOIS

This will be my 3rd trip to the Land of Lincoln, and even though they’ve all been guided/self-guided, I’ve come home empty handed on each of these outings. I’ve researched public land for years (even prior to this awesome resource) and have mostly shied away due to the popularity of the state and generous tag allotments. That is still a hunt that I for see in the near future. This hunt (2015) will be semi-guided, with an outfitter I hunted with in January of 2014. I’ll be accompanied with my Dad, in sort of a homage to the years he’s taken me hunting. He’s always wanted to hunt a place with a healthy deer population, where the probability of seeing a high quantity of deer is a definite possibility. I figured this offering would hopefully satisfy that desire. Now I just need to school him on the signs of what is considered a mature buck!

This was the view from my Illinois deer stand, January 2014.

This was the view from my Illinois deer stand, January 2014.

While this hunt is with an outfitter, it is a semi-guided endeavor. This means he’ll show us around the farm(s) and turn us loose on our own accord. As previously mentioned I hunted with him on a late season hunt and was thoroughly impressed with not only the amount of deer sign, but the time and meticulous effort the he puts into his operation. This includes trail camera updates throughout the year and a highly detailed map with all the stand locations. He is a farmer from the area and has access and knowledge of the many farms in the immediate vicinity. Most importantly, he limits the amount of hunting pressure on his farms, unlike other “commercial type” outfits. The hunt is fairly affordable for several reasons. First, we’ll provide our own meals on a daily basis (lodging is included, along with kitchen amenities). Second, it’s during the week of Thanksgiving, a week where a lot of people don’t like to leave their families. Again, we are entirely responsible for choosing stands, with high regards to wind direction. I’m not only excited to be returning to this deer hunting mecca for the quantity and quality of deer, but it’ll also be quality time spent with my Dad, whom I am limited to geographically.

MISSOURI

This is a state I’ve always wanted to bow hunt. It seems to produce quality deer and has a fairly good quantity of public land to choose from. My only fear is the accessibility of the tags, making this a most definite target area for bowhunters from across the country. But, as mentioned earlier, I may be between projects at work, so my job location in October will ultimately dictate whether or not I’m able to make the trip. In the meantime, I will continue to scour the Missouri Department of Conservation public land atlas and other various websites for critical information, with my target areas being in the northeast part of the state and along the river. While there does not appear to be too many “large” tracts. The sheer number will allow me to have options. It’s always good to have options when hunting out-of-state public lands.

So with a critical time of year upon us, I’ll go into this turkey season with birds and bucks on the brain. This means locating and marking sign, while running up and down the ridges of these Ohio public lands in search of those red-headed, three-toed thunder chickens.

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One of the great things about Missouri is the abundance of public hunting land. Most of it gets hunted fairly hard during rifle season, but you will find that you have peace and quiet during bow season, and you will be able to observe deer in their natural travel patterns. That is not to say that you will be alone. More and more people are figuring this out, and you are likely to see license plates on trucks from the Eastern US in the parking lots at the public hunting area, but if you are willing to do some walking and spend the time to learn the areas, you can find some great hunting. And in many cases if you are willing to carry a stand in, and drag a deer out, you will find that there is a little hunting pressure once you get more than 3/4 of a mile from the road.
The state of Missouri has a small percentage of the sales tax dedicated to the outdoors, which creates a treasure chest of funds for hunters and fishermen. That is one of the reason for the abundance of public land. The Missouri Department of Conservation has been aggressive in aquiring new hunting and fishing lands, and bowhunters are one of the biggest benficiaries. To find soome of this public land, click this link:


It will take you to the MDC website which has a wealth of information and maps of the public hunting land. This is a 2300-acre peice of ground that is bowhunting only, and has a fishing lake. It’s a good example of what is available. I have also included a link to the map of the area. This is but one example of the dozens of areas available to hunters. Click on the upper left corner of the page in the link I gave you above to change areas, and look at a few of them. Once you familiarize yourself with the area, you can start to pick out good looking sports for a treestand. Then go to Google Earth and see how it looks in the aerial photos. You are well on your way to shooting a nice Missouri buck!

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