From the November archives of the River Hills Traveler:
5 years ago
• About 3:30 p.m. I was sitting in my ground blind, some 100 yards from the farmhouse we use as a junking cabin these days. As I watched a doe feed across the hillside in front of me, my phone rang.
I had heard a shot a minute earlier from the direction of my son’s tree stand on the other side of the property. Even though he’d hunted by himself since age 15, I still asked that he call me when he killed a deer so I could share in his good fortune.
“I just shot a small buck within sight of my stand, it isn’t moving,” he reported. I replied by telling him I was watching two small bucks trail a doe across the hillside through a tangle of some downed trees.
“Do you need me to come help you take care of it,” I asked.
“No,” he said, “I’ll take care of it. Go ahead and hunt.” (Doug Smith)
• Every year around July and August, I began looking for new places to hunt, trying to find those particular spots that will produce areas, old rubs and pinch points — any kind of sign that will help determine the best location for seeing deer.
All of this, along with game camera pictures, help me determine where to hang a stand. I try to hang multiple stands in different areas.
Multiple stands allow me not to overhang an area. This creates to much pressure on bucks, and will make them leave a particular area. (Health Wood)
10 years ago
• Deer hunting one of southern Missouri’s vast wilderness areas has long been on my list of outdoor adventures to do. Last season I scratched that one off of my list.
However, I added that adventure to the list again. Deer hunting in the Irish Wilderness proved to be an adventure that my wife, Dian, and I will long remember.
At a foreboding 16,500 acres, the Irish Wilderness is the largest in Missouri. It is a forlorn place where an individual can still get lost if attention is not paid to detail. (Bill Cooper)
• It was still dark and there was no moon. That made it even darker. I was taking my time because I wasn’t familiar with the terrain, but I knew that there were some bodacious gullies in the area and I had no desire to slip into one of them, or worse yet fall into one of the ones with steeper sides.
That could lead to a broken leg or possibly something worse, then I would probably miss out on a deer hunt. There were four of us who had been invited to hunt on 160 acres of prime Missouri Ozark land, and the Ozarks are famous for being up one steep hill and down another.
They are also famous for the quantity and quality of their whitetail deer. (Fred Ohrazda)
15 years ago
• Joe Blattel advertises that there are 50,000 acres of pubic land to hunt, available at his Holliday Landing Resort. Joe is being modest.
With somewhat over 40,000 acres of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers land on Lake Wappapello and nearly 160,000 acres of the Poplar Bluff District of Mark Twain National Forest at hand, Joe could reasonably claim much more.
This story is about the 160,000 acres of Mark Twain Forest in the Popular Bluff District.
Besides Joe and others at Lake Wappapello, it can also be claimed by Poplar Bluff, Piedmont, Ellsimore, Greenville and Clearwater Lake.
It is near or includes all of the above. It occupies an area pretty much bounded by those locations. Actual land ownership amounts to about 46 percent of the 335,000 acres authorized by the National Forest boundaries. (Bob Todd)
• Son Bo likes to quote the old TV show adventure line where the hero says, “I love it when a plan comes together.” Well, it did for him on opening weekend last deer season and for me later in the week.
His plan was to bag a buck Saturday morning, freeing himself to go duck hunting Sunday. He’s got four and six point deer to his credit and was looking for an eight.
What he got was a two-pointer, a spike buck. It was a fairly big deer regardless of the skimpy headgear, and delivered the variety he sought, albeit in a different direction. (Bob Todd)
20 years ago
• If you deer hunt on public lands and are looking for something different, consider the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. It is the national park that covers nearly 150 miles of the Current and Jacks Fork rivers, through much of Dent, Shannon and Carter counties.
Southern Missouri is rich in places to hunt deer, including all the major national forest units, plus the state conservation areas, and U.S. Corps of Engineers lands around the two major reservoirs — a tremendous amount of land. (Bob Todd)
• The sun is just coming up behind me as I turn onto the westbound ramp of I-44 heading out of St. Louis. After several months of planning and preparation, it’s finally time to hit the road.
If I’ve forgotten something, it’s too late now. If anything, I know I’ve packed my rifle and ammunition and my deer tag is in my wallet, and I can see my sleeping bag inside the camper shell through the back window. At least I’ve got the bare necessities covered. (Howard Helgenberg)
30 years ago
• They say you should learn something every time you hunt. I learned one thing for sure. I am going to have one of those Gore-Tex rain suits. I don’t care how much they cost!
The rain meant even more to those of us who hunted with muzzleloaders. It’s very humbling to have a Boone and Crockett buck walk away after your damp powder has failed to go off. (Guy W. Berry)
• The biggest hunting season of the year in Missouri is the firearms deer season, open Nov. 14-22 this year. Basically it is a buck’s only season with a season limit of one unless you were drawn for an any deer tag, and/or a tag for a second deer.
If you didn’t apply, you didn’t have a chance. If you did apply, you should know how you fared by early November. (Bob Todd)
40 years ago
• When the Gasconade County farm I’d deer-hunted for 15 years changed hands, I felt like a fledgling leaving the nest. I’d learned enough about whitetails to take them consistently in that utopian mixture of hardwood ridges, creek bottom fields, and cedar thickets, but I was apprehensive about having to hunt a new territory. (Charlie Slovensky)
• It was a hot July day and a crowd had gathered on the riverfront anxiously watching downstairs. Men loosened their collars and ladies waved their fans in the oppressive heat.
Barefoot boys ran to the river’s edge, leaning as far over the water as possible hoping to be the first to see the miracle that was expected. (Emma Dunn)
(compiled by MyraGale Sexton)