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Three States with Three Weapons

Editor’s Note: Marvin Temple of Nixa, Missouri, has been hunting deer for more than 40 years. He’s been a Mossy Oak Pro ever since the program began. “When the Mossy Oak Treestand pattern first came out in the 1980s, I thought it was an incredible pattern, and I've been wearing it ever since,” Temple says.  

I love to deer hunt, and I want to hunt deer as much as I can throughout the season. For this reason, I bowhunt, I hunt with blackpowder, and I hunt with conventional rifles. I bowhunt the most because it’s my favorite way to hunt. I started bowhunting in 1981, right after I graduated from high school, when a friend of mine introduced me to bowhunting. From that time forward, I was hooked on bowhunting. When I took my first deer with a bow, I felt there was nothing else like hunting deer this way. I liked the challenge of only having one shot. I had to control my nerves; I had to make sure I did everything right; and I had to be conscious of when to draw and when to release my arrow, although my heart was pumping hard and felt like it was about to jump out of my chest. Often, a buck would be looking at you when you squeezed the trigger on your mechanical release. 

I also love to gun hunt. I was hunting with a gun before I started hunting with a bow. I like muzzleloader hunting, because it’s another one-shot challenge. I enjoy hunting with all three types of weapons. I really don’t understand why some hunters, who only hunt with one type of weapon, want to downgrade other hunters who prefer a different method of hunting. Everyone has his own passion for his/her style of hunting.The good news is that the seasons are liberal enough, and we have enough deer for everybody to hunt how they want. 

To be a good conservationist, in many areas, you have to harvest a certain number of deer - both bucks and does - to keep the deer herds in balance, since most of the natural predators that feed on deer have been removed. To accomplish this, I set up bucket lists for each method of hunting I enjoy. For instance, for bowhunting, my bucket list is to try and take a buck that will score on Boone & Crockett for the record book. I've seen some of those kinds of deer on the lands we hunt, but I haven’t been fortunate enough to get those bucks within bow range. I filmed a buck with 20 or more points fighting an 8-point, and I later set up for him.The next day he came by my stand, and I felt sure that buck could hear my heart pounding. He came in close enough to my stand for me to take a shot with my bow, but he never got into a place where I could take the shot. When I see a Booner, I won’t take an iffy shot. 

I also want to take a buck with my deer rifle that will score in Boone &Crockett. However, this bucket list wish may be the hardest to fill, because I don’t hunt with my deer rifle as much as I do with my bow and my blackpowder rifle. Missouri’s rifle season opens mid-November, and I hope togo to north Missouri, because the rut is in at that time. However, if I haven’t filled my Kansas tag by mid-November, I’ll probably be bowhunting in Kansas during Missouri’s rifle season. I've also given myself an out on my rifle bucket list wish. I've included a Boone and Crockett mule deer in that rifle bucket list wish too. My bucket wish list for my muzzleloader is to draw a muzzleloader tag for Iowa and be sitting over a cornfield when a big buck comes out to feed. I really hope to draw a tag like that. 

I'm often asked, “Why do you hunt three states every season?” By hunting three states, I extend my deer season and increase the number of deer I can take. But more importantly, I increase the odds for seeing and taking one of those Booner bucks that’s on my bucket list. Another reason I like to hunt three states is that the whitetails in all three states act differently from one another. Texas has a ton of deer, but the deer are much smaller than the Kansas and Missouri deer. In Kansas, the deer seem to be very, very big, and I’ve hunted that state ever since Kansas opened up to out-of-state hunters. Missouri is my home state, so I'm about morally required to hunt Missouri. I would feel really, really bad if I didn’t hunt Missouri. Also, two of these states are within easy driving distance of my home. From my house to our lease in Kansas is only 1 hour, 45 minutes to 2 hours, depending on traffic. Our property in Texas is a 10-hour drive. Here in Missouri, I'm less than an hour away from my hunting spot. 

Most of the time, I bowhunt all three states, but the Missouri gun season only will last 11 days during 2015 and be through by November 25. In 2016, rumor has it that we may only have 9 days. Usually, I don’t hunt Texas until December, because this is when the rut starts on our Texas property. In Missouri and Kansas, I get to bowhunt from the middle of September all the way until gun season opens up in the middle of November. Gun season generally opens up the first part of December in Kansas. Many times, I’ll fill my tags in all three states during bow season. In Kansas, a non-resident can take one buck. But in Missouri, I can get a bow tag and a rifle tag. In Texas, depending on the county where you hunt, you can get from one to three buck tags and tags for several does. I use blackpowder season and rifle seasons as backup seasons for my bowhunting. If I don’t tag out in all three states with my bow, then I can continue to hunt during blackpowder and rifle seasons. Missouri has a muzzleloader season that usually occurs in late November or early December. So, if I don’t take a buck with my rifle in Missouri, I still can hunt the muzzleloader season and fill my rifle tag during that season. 

As I’ve gotten older, I've learned more about how to enjoy deer hunting. First of all, I don’t think I have to take a buck every time I go deer hunting. I get a lot of satisfaction out of having an opportunity to take younger bucks, but instead, letting them walk. I also understand that when I think I have a big buck that I’m absolutely going to take on the day I hunt him, then that buck may show up on a trail camera at another stand that I'm not hunting on that day.The buck’s won and I’ve lost, and that’s okay. I've also noticed that each year I've hunted that bucks are becoming more sensitive to hunting pressure and better at dodging hunters. So, I've learned that my results in hunting are always better, when I'm constantly moving my stand sites as the deer are continuously moving their travel corridors. 

To learn more about hunting, check out John E. Phillips’ new eBook and print book, “Bowhunting Deer: Mossy Oak Pros Know Bucks and Bows.” You also can download a free Kindle app that enables you to read the book on your iPad, computer or Smartphone. 

For information on making jerky from your deer to provide a protein-rich snack, you can download a free book from http://johninthewild.com/free-books.

Day 4: We Don’t Hunt Our Best Deer Stands until the Rut

Nov 27, 2015

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