- By Brandon Wikman
The Friday before Christmas, I scurried into my classroom to take my final exam for history. I gave my best effort trying to remember key dates, landmark cases, and notable historians of the last century. My mind melted like a pile of oozing lava, because all I could focus on was tall tines, massive beams, and pulling the trigger on a northwestern Missouri whitetail.
I scribbled into the last bubble on the test form sheet and was thankfully released free for Christmas Break. My plan was to drive throughout the afternoon to Missouri. It would mean that I’d be burning rubber into the wee hours of the morning, but I was willing to in order to fir a morning muzzleloader hunt in.
Northwestern Missouri is a spitting image of infamous Iowa. The land is carved with creeks, checker boarded with agriculture fields, and small parcels of trees wind across the rolling terrain. A vast majority of the male whitetail herd sport gigantic headgear and pack the pounds. The deer could be considered super-whitetail, considering the perfect recipe of land, deer management practices, and trophy genetics blend together and make this sweet concoction of whitetail paradise. Within the last few years, Missouri has ranked in the top five for savvy hunters dragging Boone & Crockett class bucks from their forest. It is no surprise when the area is covered with trophy animals.
I arrived to the official Border Bucks lodge this morning at 6am. The owner, Mr. Bill Hill and our guide, Dustin Fortner, happily greeted me. Both of these gentlemen are world-class people and whitetail wizards. I felt privileged to be at camp and experience the hype of hunting with this world-renowned outfitter. Mr. Hill has successfully downed an array of freak-nasty bucks in his time. The camp’s walls are a testimony of his passion and impressive accomplishments.
Mr. Hill’s hunting resume is infused with some of the most accomplished feats I’ve ever seen. He runs a strict, 140’ minimum and 8-point or better harvest rule. He prefers you don’t shoot any bucks that have a lot of busted tines or beams. Many of today’s most recognized hunting celebrities and TV hosts have also discovered the secret about northwestern Missouri. Realtree’s own, Bill Jordan and his son, Tyler were there a few years ago and laid down some incredible big buck footage that aired on ESPN.
I begin my hunt this evening. As many Midwesterners know, late season hunting can be fantastic. We’ve got the elements working for us as we speak. Cold weather, icy conditions, and heaping bounty of agriculture fields should boost our odds of striking a buck. Cut corn, soybean, and small custom food plots are strategically placed among all of the properties.
As I arrived, one of the clients harvested a giant 176-inch monster. The anticipation grows and escalates as I count down the minutes before I’m in stand. This will be my first time hunting in Missouri and marks my very first muzzleloader hunt of the year.
I will be excited in progressively developing my blog to relay my experience here. Good luck to all of those who are late season hunting. Stay warm and stay safe.