One of the better places in the entire Lower 48 to go in search of large numbers of 125 B & C and larger whitetail bucks may well be Scotland County in northeastern Missouri, and specifically a 10,000-acre property managed by Steve Shoop, owner of J & S Trophy Hunts. The diversity of the habitat on this property is remarkable. I've never been to a place to hunt deer that had a better ratio of grain fields, CRP (previously farmed land that has been allowed to go wild) and timber. Shoop has been offering bow and rifle hunts here since 1990, when his first client took a 145 Pope & Young Record Book buck with a bow. Bowhunting clients have made the book every year since then. In 1997, 14 bucks measuring over 125 inches were taken at J & S with bows, rifles and muzzleloaders. The largest deer ever taken by a J & S client was a 161-inch, 259-pound buck, and I have personally talked with a client who passed up a 30-yard shot at a 140-inch buck. When I inquired as to why, he said there was a 160-inch buck at 50 yards.
One factor in this success is the quality of the guides at J & S. They scout and pattern the bucks' movements and habits on a daily basis, giving them two or three stand locations for each buck's territory. This allows the hunter to be in a prime spot regardless of the wind direction. There are many stands on edge corners where big timber with huge mast crops meets corn or soybean fields and CRP. Hunters can choose any level of guiding they desire, from sneaking in alone to a stand to being taken all the way. Pick up can be at lunch or just after dark. In other words, every hunt is customized to make sure the client's needs and desires are fully met.
As regards accommodations, clients may stay in a main clubhouse that was actually a tri-level home in the very recent past. There are also very clean and........(continued)