Self Guided Hunts - Definition
Before we begin this discussion of self guided hunts let us agree to the definition of self guided hunts and that of the hunter. Self guided hunts are with minimal assistance from others prior to the hunt and no assistance during the hunt. The hunter is a do it yourself hunter capable of self guided hunts inclusive of having his own hunting skill, equipment and dogs if necessary. Once in the field he is self sustaining in all regards of wildlife regulations, habitat, detection and wildlife pursuit.
Self guided hunts for deer, turkey, upland birds and waterfowl are the only type of hunts Mid-America Hunting Association allows on its Kansas, Missouri and Iowa hunting lease land.
The core issue with all self guided hunts is where to hunt. That one hurdle alone accounts for more do it yourself hunters to fail. We eliminate that failure.
While it is easy to pick a region of the country that has a history of game production well desired by the hunter through information readily gained from magazines or DNR websites there still remains the problem of where to park the truck, step out and hunt.
Public lands are well advertised in a number of resources and maps to their locations offered at low prices. Across the nation there are millions of federal and state public lands open to self guided hunters and they are available to all free of charge. Even with these lands there dose still remain the problem of where to park the truck.
First Season Self Guided Hunter/Member
New member Chip G., with pictures from his early season hunt.
I have been very impressed with the land so far. Even though this is my first year, what I have seen so far is worth the price of membership. Thanks, Chip
Most bird hunters agree it is the quality of the dog work above all else.
As with all of our hunts the self guided hunetr provides his own equipment, dogs, skill, lodging, transportation, meals and licensing. All that he would provide just about on any other type hunt.
The biggest thing we provide is the assurity of having a place to hunt and more than one spot to insure a full day's hunt every day of the trip.
Many states offer private land access paid for by Pittman-Roberts and state level hunting licensing monies. The published atlases typically describe state regional wildlife population distribution and many list right down to numbered properties the game species that may be found on each. This by itself greatly reduces the problem of where to park and hunt. And, such a directory is readily used by all that have the atlas raising the issue of how to address hunter pressure.
The game species directories leaves open the quality of advice they offer based on the person surveying that particular property. Not any one person to include the state agents that create the atlas directories has direct hunting experience with each possible hunting discipline. This typically results in a directory that more aptly describes habitat than game distribution or more importantly hunt quality. The easy examples are if the property has woods then the probability of deer and turkey increase. If it is grass tall or short then upland birds are probably listed. If it is all crop some game types are listed otherwise why would the state pay citizen tax dollars to lease hunting access rights?
This same hunt quality advice quality issue remains with all forms of personal research using magazines, state agencies, local landowners or guide books. The problem remains where to park the truck and hunt. Magazines seek to sell advertisements that is their purpose, not the quality of your hunt. State agencies leave open the question of direct knowledge of whom you are talking to and their personal/professional qualifications relative tot he hunter's interest. Guide books are simple too general in nature to settle the problem of where to park the truck.
The core issue is all about how to develop hunt quality. That is where we come in by taking the mystery away of where to hunt. Associated with the hunt quality issue is our further definition of the self guided hunter wanting 100% wild game.
All the research any can do at home to maximize the quality of time on the ground on good habitat that allows hunting of wild game with a high probability of success gains nothing until boots on the ground time is spent. This returns us to the question of where to park the truck.
Self Guided Hunts on Private Land
The clothing and weather gives this away as what it is, an opening week duck hunt on 5 November. The pond in the background is a broad drainage through a crop field dammed by a levee creating a large sallow pool suitable for chest waders and one blind. What is not seen beyond the levee in the trees in the background is the second levee along the slough that floods the trees. A second blind is on the other side of the trees. Their setup was for a goose hunt. The geese didn't show but the local mallards and woodies did.
Always a great day when dad lets junior setup the hunt and that golden memory of a good hunt. A great thing when it works.
The linkage between at home research and quality self guided hunts is direct. Aerial photos are at best 5 years old and more often older. No aerial ever shows the best habitat or the golden nugget each farm has. Ground level pictures show just what they do show and that is a single snap shot at that time of that one spot and not current conditions. Magazine articles are like hunting videos in that in order to keep the reader's or viewer's interest the action is quick and repetitive. The best magazine articles are the ones that more accurately describe the walking time, stand time or terrain difficulty and that successful hunts result only after much physical and mental effort. Those articles are rare as they are a boring read in spite of their reality.
Bruce's tom weighed 21 1/2 pounds and had an 11 1/2 inch beard 1 inch spurs.
How to get around this time and hunt quality problem is the crux for all self guided hunters without special land access advantage.
The first solution is simply to slog it out.
One approach is to pick a region that has a reputation for a specific hunting discipline or interest and repeatedly hunt that region and do so for several seasons. Learn the area, both private and public land areas. Find friendly landowners and scour all public access for their golden nugget spots.
Plan to hunt more later season with less other hunters than the first half. Plan plenty of time to talk to locals and have a budget for gifts to landowners for their courtesy. All the while this effort is being expended understand that all guests have a limit to how long they are welcomed.
Compare a farmer with his day light long busy life receiving hunters that seek only what they can gain to that of the suburbanite homeowner who on summer Saturday afternoons receives the attention of door to door religious groups seeking to occupy that homeowner's time. Neither is really welcomed, all quickly wear out their stay, most are simply tolerated and after awhile avoided through less friendly encounters.
Paid hunts alternatives have a set of benefits and consequences all to their own as well be it a semi or self guided hunts. The problem then centers on the common desire for do it yourself hunters to have a hunt on wild game. To do so requires a good bit of acreage and frequently more than what most paid guides, semi or self guided hunt operations possess.
For each hunting discipline that game animal requires a general minimum acreage to support reproduction capable wild populations. For most that seek self guided hunts on wild game that factor alone will eliminate all small acreage operators. The selection of what is left is minimal and general specific to a particular region with that region's environmental limiting factors that may preclude the hunting interest at hand.
As always one solution (benefits) creates another set of consequences. In the case of a large acreage operator it is typically a large ranch operation and what is inclusive of a high dollar large operation is often very efficient crop or livestock production, the big money maker, at the expense of all available land to include wildlife habitat.
We have 8,000+ acres in crop stubble dedicated to self guided goose hunts in three distinct localities that allows the goose hunter to go where the geese are working rather than attempt to bring the geese to where they are not.
What does all this lead to? Just the opportunity for a few hours of potential success after many more hours work to seek out those few good hours. Double talk - not at all. Knocking on doors and competing on public land means more failure than success at finding a quality hunt.
In any case of any solution to the problem of finding where to park the truck and have good self guided hunts that do it yourself hunter should have proofs of performance before leaving his driveway. That is a necessity to ensure the all too limited time is not wasted and what hunting time their is, is spent on quality hunts, meaning having a high probability of a good opportunity to bag or tag what the hunter is after.
The presentation of any self guided hunt operation either public lands or paid hunting should have a reasonable amount of credibility. Examining the pictures alone has become an art at detecting liberated from wild. It is amazing on some website the number of trophy racked bucks pictured within one frame and with the outfit's road sign in the background. The others are the piles of birds neatly displayed before a row of hunters. The next are the picture series that have mounted heads rather than in the field harvest pictures or the recurring same hunter with multiple animals and the list goes on with many other examples. The point is, a credible operation regardless of what it describes itself as will offer picture and text proof that is believable in terms of frequency and different faces in different places.
References are a must. No one should take any advice or pay money to any organization that cannot provide more references than that hunter would seek to inquiry of. And, references are not always a good thing.
The first difficulty with references is they are far more often to be too good in their evaluation of anything they are referencing than is typically reflective of the average experience. The first test of any reference is to determine their motivation for any evaluation good or bad they offer. The next test is the person seeking the reference needs to do some preparation in coming up with test type questions where the answer collectively of the questions will prove or disprove what is being sought. The recurring nature of those answers gives the more accurate description of the organization at hand.
During this entire discussion on self guided hunts we touched very lightly on cost. For each of us we need to place a minimum and maximum on what we are willing to spend to truly achieve the hunt we want. The maximum amount comes naturally to most of us. The minimum amount does not and we need to understand there is often a disconnect between what we want to achieve and what the minimum is that we can expect to have to pay in terms of time, money and effort.
Hello Jon & John, I am not a man of many words. But I do enjoy time in the field with my dog. I just thought I would share with you my last hunt with maha. I was able to bag four pheasants, and one quail before noon. I must give due credit to my dog Rusty. He pointed all my birds for me. We had a great time! It was cold and very windy, and the birds did not want to set yet we were able to find enough for my dog to point. And I was lucky enough to be on my game and bag my limit. thanks, Norman B.
A good starting point to determine a minimum price we are willing to pay is to translate the cost into the language of rural America. For the private landowner all costs, budget decisions, purchases within farming and ranching have a common denominator and that is the cost per acre. If the hunter expects to achieve the greatest success possible he need to know what the language is of the area his hunting interest.
In terms of public lands the costs are limited to expenses other than land costs and carry the additional equation as to how much time in preparation versus hunting the do it yourself hunter is willing to expend.
The answers to both private and public lands cost to the self guided hunter lie within that hunter. The bottom line is that land is not cheap and few of us would hesitate to pay for truly wild game hunts. Otherwise, leasing local land and propagating the desired wildlife is always the cheapest route to take to fill a bag or tag.
Have a look at MAHA we have the wild game self guided hunts any do it yourself hunter could want within the limits of Mule and Whitetail Deer; Eastern and Rio Grande Turkey; Pheasant and Bobwhite Quail and goose and duck hunting in the three state region of Kansas, Missouri and Iowa. We also have the proofs for what we say we are.