Missouri bird hunters still looking for hunting spots

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Although there is still some hunting going on including rabbit and squirrel season, Missouri bird hunters will still have places to hunt and are sure they will see some action after the regular seasons have ended.

The various hunting clubs around the state offer quail, chucker and pheasant hunting.

There are 40 hunting clubs in Missouri listed in Black's 2008 Wings and Clay Shotgunners Guide. These clubs offer everything from guided hunts, including dogs and meals, to areas where hunters are on their own.

Don Harper, Blue Springs, is a veteran quail hunter who just finished one of his poorest bird seasons in years. But didn't want to give up, so for the first time he tried a hunting club last weekend and was surprised. "I was pleasantly surprised to find hunting conditions similar to the places I normally hunt.

The fields had plenty of natural cover and the birds moved like wild birds. My old pointer worked just like he was in our normal hunting spots. Since the club remains open until April, I plan on getting some more hunts in before the spring turkey season," he said.

A question that often comes up when hunters gather is: Where can someone find a good hunting place today? One answer is by knocking on doors until you find a landowner who is willing to let you hunt on a good place that has habitat.

Another is trying public places, but another choice and one that has much longer seasons is the commercial hunting preserves.

Hunters who have hunted a well run hunting club know that it can be very good. There is no better place to train a new hunter like your spouse or youngsters and there wouldn't be a more conveniet place to enjoy a day afield.

Hunting clubs are operated under rules set by the Missouri Consercation Department and offer extended seasons for pheasant, quail and chuckers. Some of the clubs also offer hunting for mallards, turkey and Hungartian partridge.

As for cost, it depends on how much hunting you want and the kind of "extras" you're looking for. Fees vary, but a day on a hunting preserne doesn't have to cost more than a "free hunt" and will take less time and you will be sure of seeing some action.

Hunting clubs are run by people who know what quality hunting really is and they try to fill that bill. Hunting preserves lack the uncertainly of "wild" hunting. That is the main reason they exist. In wild hunting thare are no guarantees, you head out and hope for the best.

On a good hunting preserve the hunter is assured of at least an opportunity to shoot game, but not guaranteed birds. The hunter pays on the basis of either sporting opportunities to shoot at birds or in the number released. If he misses, he pays anyway.

Harper said, "Some 50 years ago, when I started hunting, hunting clubs were few and far between. Wild birds were available and most of the state was rural. However, in more recent times the need for hunting preserves has become more apparent.

After my recent hunt, I don't know why I never tried it before. I set up a hunt for next month for me, my wife and two sons. I know they will enjoy it as much as I did."

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: