Posted on

Mid Missouri Morels and Mushrooms: A Bad Day Morel Hunting is Better Than a Good Day …

Mid Missouri Morels and Mushrooms: A Bad Day Morel Hunting is Better Than a Good Day …: Teamed up with Shroom King a Mid-MO hunter I have hunted with for a couple of years now. Good old guy as most mushroom hunters are if you ge…
Teamed up with Shroom King a Mid-MO hunter I have hunted with for a couple of years now. Good old guy as most mushroom hunters are if you get to know them.

We hit it hard and covered a lot of miles. Most places were spotty but every now and then we would get into some good overlooked places.

Not a lot of time to write must soak aching muscles and tired feet. So here are some more videos and photos to help keep your morel needs at bay.

Here is a close up of the final haul. We found some big ones today as you will see.
Posted on

Food Plots and Honey Holes – Preparing for deer season

The idea of making big, elaborate food plots that require heavy equipment and hours of labor tends to intimidate landowners. But there’s a much simpler and cheaper way to join the food plot craze. Grant Woods, one of America’s top whitetail biologists and head of a deer management consulting firm, creates and hunts over what he calls hidey holes. “They’re just small woods openings where I sweeten the deal in a place where deer already like to go–like putting ketchup and mustard on a hot dog.”
These micro food plots require few tools: a small sprayer with Roundup herbicide, one bag each of lime and fertilizer, a rake or a leaf blower, and some seed. Building the plot is simple, and you can backpack in everything you need in a trip or two.
THE PERFECT SPOT Think small. A quarter acre is as big as you’ll want to go. “An excellent place is around the trunk of a big, old tree that’s been lightning-struck or killed by gypsy moths,” Woods says. “Suddenly there’s an opening in the canopy where sun hits the ground for a good part of the day.” Log landings (cleared areas where loggers have piled timber), woods roads, and natural openings also work.
Woods preps the seedbed by spraying grass or weeds with Roundup. “Woody brush will have to be girdled [the bark scarred with a knife or hatchet] first,” he says. “But don’t go through the headache of clearing out dead trees–just work around them. You’re not creating a field here.”
If leaf litter is all that covers the ground, Woods uses a gas-powered blower to remove leaves and sticks for maximum soil-to-seed contact. “A leaf blower is one of the handiest tools a food-plotter can have. Not only does it do a beautiful job of clearing out the plot itself, but it’s also great for creating an entry and exit trail to your stand.” If you don’t have one, use a steel-tined garden rake instead.
With the debris gone, Woods applies pelletized lime and fertilizer (which breaks down more quickly than the powdered variety) with a handheld spreader. “This is an essential step,” he stresses. “Nearly all woodland soils are so acidic that even if plants grow, they’ll taste bitter to deer. So I spread as much lime and fertilizer as I can haul in a couple of trips.”
TASTY TREATS Finally, broadcast the seed on top of the lime and fertilizer. Deciding what–and when–to plant is critical. “You have a very specific mission: having that plot at peak palatability to deer when conditions are right for you,” Woods says. “Seed it too early, and deer can wipe out a plot before you hunt it.”
In most areas you’ll be planting about three weeks before the opening of bow season, then hunting the site a limited number of times, depending on the crop. You need to consider both its attractiveness and its durability. Deer love peas, for example, but can eat an entire plot in about a week. Clover also draws whitetails and will buy you several more days, depending on the population density. Brassica blends are another favorite, but they mature at different times and give you maybe a month to six weeks.
It takes about four hours to establish a micro plot, according to Woods. “Some folks say that given the little time you can hunt one, you’d be better off just scouting more. That’s true if you have exclusive access to a large tract. But if you’re hunting only a small acreage or sharing land with other hunters, hidey holes provide an edge that’s worth the time.”

Posted on

Hunting for Shed Antlers

Hunting for Shed Antlers

Time to hunt for deer sheds
If you’re like most deer hunters, you spend the majority of your time in the woods during the fall and winter of each year. However, the habitat that deer live in, just like the animals themselves, are found there year-round — so get out and explore it, learn more about it, and find some shed antlers.
With spring just around the corner and whitetail bucks starting to shed antlers, there is a good opportunity to learn more about your hunting area and the deer that live there. Most hunters get excited when bucks start growing their antlers each year — it’s a chance to witness the impact of past management and look forward to future harvests. It really is something to get pumped up about.
But on the other hand, there are those hunters that get excited as the hunting season ends. It marks the fact that soon bucks will be dropping their coveted antlers. You know, there are ways to get a huge set of antlers on your wall other than shooting the big boy. He may have eluded you during the season, but you can still find his shed antlers!

Finding shed deer antlers not only ends with great rewards you get to take home, but also with some valuable information you can tuck away in your back pocket for next season. Information such as the quality of bucks that made it through the last hunting season, the number of different bucks that were in the area, and specific areas that these bucks used while in your area.
Shed antlers also allow you to physically track bucks that you may have been keeping a close eye on. Measurements that can be taken from year to year include common measurements such as beam length, tine length, and mass measurements.
A few tips to increase your chances of finding deer sheds:

  • Look in and around late-season food plots.
  • Examine travel corridors and water sources.
  • Use a game camera to ensure most bucks have shed.
  • Don’t wait too long. Rodents will eat and destroy antlers due to the coveted minerals they contain. In addition, warming weather will spur grass growth and make finding antlers more difficult.
  • Keep an eye out for new hunting locations.
Posted on

2012 Turkey Outlook for Missouri

 

A Good Hatch in 2011 Should Increase Turkey Numbers Throughout Missouri

In 2011, relatively dry conditions and an emergence of periodical cicadas that provided protein-rich food for nesting hens and growing poults helped Missouri’s turkey population experience its best hatch in nearly a decade. Brood-survey results indicated that 2011’s hatch was 42 percent above the previous five-year average. An especially notable improvement occurred in northeast Missouri where production was more than double the five-year average. In many parts of the state, hunters have already noticed the difference a good year of production can make. Because hatch success drives changes in turkey abundance, several more years of good production would bolster the number of turkeys in the Show-Me State.

Transitional times

Missouri’s turkey population has undergone a transition during the past several decades. When the population was expanding rapidly in the 1970s and 80s, people often reported seeing flocks of turkeys that numbered in the hundreds. During this time, production was high because turkeys were taking advantage of vacant, prime habitat.
But, a basic ecological principle eventually caught up with Missouri’s turkeys. As wildlife populations grow, factors that limit their size begin to exert an ever-greater influence. Habitats become crowded, predators find easier pickings (which leads to more predators), and diseases spread quicker. By increasing deaths, decreasing production, or doing both, each limiting factor helps put the brakes on an expanding population. Missouri’s wild turkeys were no exception. Although the 2011 hatch should certainly increase turkey numbers, and the potential for continued population growth exists, it’s unlikely turkey numbers will increase to the peaks seen in the 1980s. Many factors that affect wild turkey abundance have changed over the past several decades. As a result, hunters should expect year-to-year fluctuations in turkey numbers that stem from variations in reproductive success.
Wild turkey populations are dynamic. With persistently poor spring weather—at least from a turkey’s standpoint—turkey numbers can be expected to decline. With several years of good weather and production, turkey numbers can rebound. Thus, a sizable turkey population can occur in the same area where numbers were down just a few years earlier. Although Missouri’s wild turkey population is not likely to reach the levels observed in the 1980s, a few more years of good spring weather and production should lead to a substantial increase in the number of turkeys on the landscape.

A comprehensive approach to wild turkey management

comprehensive approach to manage Missouri’s turkey population. In addition to analyzing harvest data, turkey brood surveys and archer wild turkey observation surveys are conducted each year to monitor population trends. Thousands of hunters also are surveyed annually to obtain data on hunter opinions, success and satisfaction. Each year, turkey hunting regulations are reviewed by both the Department’s Regulations Committee and the Conservation Commission. Decisions are based upon both science and public input. The Department’s approach to harvest management strikes a balance between providing opportunities for hunters to enjoy the resource and ensuring harvest is within the limits of what the turkey population can sustain.
The Department sets spring turkey season to begin after most hen turkeys have already mated. Because of this and the fact that male turkeys represent 99 percent of the harvest, spring hunting is not a limiting factor on population growth.
Although a portion of the fall harvest consists of female turkeys, fall hunting has not led to declining turkey numbers. Fall hunters currently harvest only a small percentage of the turkey population. The 2011 fall firearms harvest of just over 7,000 turkeys represents less than 2 percent of the state’s turkey population.

Missouri’s wild turkey population remains strong

Although a good hatch in 2011 will result in an abundance of jakes in 2012, the poor hatches of 2007–2010 will continue to make finding mature gobblers more challenging than in past years. Missouri is still widely recognized as offering some of the nation’s best turkey hunting. Each year, Missouri’s turkey harvest and hunter success rates are among the highest in the country. Missouri’s wild turkey population remains strong, and although this year’s harvest is not likely to top harvests of the early 2000s, hunters can expect great hunting opportunities during the 2012 spring season.