As hunters, we are always looking for resources to improve our scouting and hunting.
If you are like me, you have spent a lot of time scouring maps, walking properties and talking to farmers and other hunters about where they’ve seen deer.
We also invest a lot of research, time and money into scouting technology and hunting gear: digital topography maps, scent-free clothing, trail cameras, GPS devices and an endless array of deer hunting gadgets.
During my annual hunting trip to Missouri last season, I discovered one of the most valuable and free scouting resources, which is largely overlooked by hunters. I’m talking about game wardens!
Okay, I know some hunters are intimidated by game wardens and there is often a negative connotation associated to speaking with them.
But if you are a law-abiding hunter and approach an officer, you might be surprised to find the officer to be a friendly, highly professional, hard-working, knowledgeable and honorable public servant. They love the outdoors as much as we do.
Remember, their job is to protect the heritage we all love and share. And when it comes to helping you find a good place to find deer, there is no better person to ask. Wardens are out there with the animals every day.
Regarding my experience, here’s what happened.
I was driving from my home in South Carolina to my Missouri hunting property when I got the call. Due to a death in the family of the landowners, we had lost our hunting rights on private property.
In a panic, I called a friend in Missouri and she put me in touch with a local game warden. By the time I crossed the Mississippi River I was back in business!
Through information given to me by the warden, I was quickly situated with a place to hunt. I only had one day to scout before the season started, and I was pleased to spot six deer in a few short hours. Three of those were shooter bucks!
Being from the South, I was used to hunting from trees, but there were none to be found in this Missouri cornfield.
However, I spotted a couple of bare utility poles near an abandoned homestead. There were no power lines attached, and it was obvious the electricity had been disabled for years.
This made a perfect perch for a climber, and 40 minutes into my hunt, my .300 Win Mag barrel was as hot as South Carolina asphalt.
I can attribute my successful hunt to the warden who helped me out of a bind. Without him, I would have struggled to find a place to hunt in such an unfortunate set of circumstances.
Talk to your local Fish & Game officials about where you hunt. Ask questions, report illegal activity, share your concerns and establish rapport with them. You can be a good resource for them, too.
– Photo Courtesy of James Blackmon Read Recent Tip of the Week:
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