Deer Hunting On The Fly

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Published on: Nov. 2, 2002

Last revision: Nov. 12, 2010

In a perfect world, we'd all own 200 acres of prime deer habitat. We'd all have time to scout year-round, and when deer season rolls around, we could hunt whenever we want.

In reality, however, most of us live in homes on small city lots or in apartments. Many of us who do own acreage have only a little, often in neighborhoods where hunting is either impractical or illegal. Some of us have generous friends or relatives who allow us to hunt their land, but the rest of us, especially newcomers to the state or community, hunt public land where competition can be tight for prime spots.

Even for those who do own good hunting property, scouting is often a luxury and not an integral part of our hunting strategy. Most of us work jobs that eat up most of our waking hours. Family obligations and other pursuits compete for whatever remains.

Even so, that doesn't mean you can't hunt successfully without devoting half your life to it. You just have to hunt efficiently. Look at it this way: There are nearly a million deer in our state. They're easy to find, but only if you look in the right places.

Don't Spurn Public Land

A good friend of mine owns a farm in central Missouri that produces venison every season. On his wall is a set of antlers that scored nearly 150 Boone and Crockett points, but they didn't come from his farm. He killed that buck on an Conservation Department area where he hunted before he bought his property.

"I'd heard all about how these public areas were overcrowded," my friend said, "but I went out there late in the season and didn't see another soul. I'd just moved here, so I didn't have time to do any scouting. In fact, I'd never set foot on the place. I was there only a couple of hours when this buck walked by, and I thought, 'Wow! This is easy!' It was a good introduction to Missouri deer hunting!"

Of course, when my friend took his buck to the check station, he told the people there where he'd shot it. The next year, he said, the area was teeming with hunters, so he never went back. Nevertheless, his experience illustrates what's possible at public areas, most of which contain good deer habitat.

What helped make my friend's experience possible was his extensive knowledge of deer habits, movements and behavior

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