Todayís information highway has opened up a new world for the modern whitetail hunter. Hunting magazines, videos and television shows abound extolling the many places to cast your fortunes in your quest for your next hunting experience. Itís pretty hard to find one of these mediums that are not promoting Texas, Pike County, Illinois, Zone 5 in Iowa or monster bucks in Kansas.
All of these are great places, but they all have a certain degree of complications associated with them. Just getting a tag in Kansas is a miracle in itself, unless your willing to shell out the big bucks required to purchase a landowner tag. Iowa is as close to nirvana as it gets for the trophy whitetail hunter, but getting an archery license there is normally at least a two year, and sometimes a three year wait Pike County, Illinois doesnít present the license problems that Iowa and Kansas do, but it can be pretty hectic during the season, as a lot of the property is leased by outfitters and gets hunted pretty hard. Even though the monsters are there, they arenít easy and you better be at the top of your game to harvest a true trophy. For trophy hunting in Texas, it usually boils down to how much money you are willing to spend
Do not despair though, because there is a place that offers easy access to top quality, trophy whitetail hunting for the hunter not wanting to deal with all the complications some of the other states burden you with. Missouri!
The northeast region of Missouri is awesome. Even though I manage the Pike County Division of IMB outfitters, my favorite state to hunt is Missouri. There are a number of reasons I feel this way.
Most of the states that offer real trophy whitetail hunting have realized that non-resident hunters are willing to dig deep into the billfolds for the opportunity to hunt there. Itís not unusual for a tag to cost anywhere from $400 to $1500 in some of these states. Not so in Missouri. You can show up at the Local Wal-Mart, and for $176, be ready to harvest the buck of your dreams. The only requirement for a license is that you have a hunter safety card if you were born after 1966.
Another factor that greatly influences me is the amount of uncrowded hunting opportunities that presents itself there. The farms in the region are mainly crop farms. Corn, soybeans and alfalfa fields abound and most of the farms are still fairly large. What that translates to is undisturbed whitetails living in the ultimate habitat. Itís not a bit unusual to drive for a mile or more, down a country road without passing a house. Another surprising aspect is that a lot of the farmers donít hunt. Itís not a bit unusual for IMB to lease a piece of property that hasnít been hunted in years, or sometimes, not at all
Several years ago, I had the opportunity to guide in Missouri. I had access to a piece of property for my hunters that was in a big river bottom. The landowner reported that the property had been untouched by deer hunters for a number of years. When I went to the property to scout it, the deer acted as if they had never seen a human before. I actually was walking it out, scouting, and had a 140-class buck stand up in front of me. He gave me a curious stare, then just walked away. He actually allowed me to follow along behind him, and never did run off. Chances are, the only human experience he had ever had, was someone working the fields on a tractor. He certainly wasnít upset by my presence! Another beautiful 8-point buck, (130 class) spotted me from 50 yards away and walked to within 10 yards of me, after he saw me, just to find out what I was. That piece of property gave up five shooter bucks in four days for my hunters. Four of them were from the same stand location.
Another positive aspect of this is being able to enjoy your time spent on stand, without interruptions from the masses. Last season, my son came out and hunted with me in Missouri for several days. We hunted a small piece of property beside a country road. Both of the stands were within 150 yards of the road. After setting there several hours, it occurred to me that there hadnít been any traffic on the road. We were in those stands for five hours that evening, and not a single car came down that road. Pretty peaceful!
I am convinced that if the state of Missouri would go to shotgun/ muzzleloader only, it would easily be the number one state in the nation for trophy whitetails. What this would mean is that every buck that sticks his nose out of the woods wouldnít get shot and they would have the chance to grow to their potential. There are giant whitetails there right now, even though the state allows rifle hunting.
During the 2005 bow season, I saw the biggest buck I have ever seen in over forty years of whitetail hunting. While taking my hunters out one morning before daylight, we pulled up to an intersection. The giant buck was standing across the road in the headlights about thirty yards away, with several does. The twelve point typical was seriously pushing the 200Ē mark. The hunters couldnít believe what they had seen and were still shaking when we got to the property we were going to hunt. I have developed a relationship with several of the local farmers in that area, and as far as I know, that buck is still walking.
Itís not uncommon for a 2-Ĺ year old buck to sport a 130Ē to 140Ē set of antlers. If these bucks would make it to five or six year old, a lot of the record books would be rewritten. Missouri typically gives up some of the biggest bucks for IMBís outfitting business, even though we have operations in Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas.
Missouri currently ranks #7 in the nation for Pope and Young and the Boone and Crockett record book with 719 total entries.
Do not hesitate to hunt with IMB Outfitters in Missouri. We currently lease over 20,000 acres of prime whitetail hunting in the North East region of the state of Missouri. With 350 tree stand locations, the opportunity to hunt unmolested, trophy whitetails presents itself, without all of the complications and runaround of some of the more famous locations. I feel the opportunity to kill a true monster buck is as good in Missouri as it is in any of the high profile states!