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Ozarks Deer Hunting Shows a Resurgence

Looking for the hotbed of Missouri deer hunting?

Focus on the Ozarks, with its big timber and huge public hunting areas.

Years ago, the region was the center of the state’s hunting, one of the last bastions where whitetails could be found in the state.

But following a stocking program by the Missouri Department of Conservation, whitetail populations took off in northern Missouri and the Ozarks were largely overlooked.

Today, things have come full circle for deer hunters. Following a decade in which deer populations in northern Missouri have dropped dramatically, whitetail numbers in the deep Ozarks have slightly increased or remained stable. Nothing spectacular, but no big crashes either.

With big chunks of the Mark Twain National Forest available, there is ready access for hunters. With its rugged landscape and endless timber, it’s not easy hunting. But it can be rewarding.

That much becomes obvious when you look at the progress report for this November’s firearms hunt, which opened Saturday and will run through Nov. 24. Through midday Thursday, three of the top five counties in harvest were from the Ozarks.

Texas ranked first with 2,769 deer checked in, Howell was second with 2,460 and Oregon was fifth with 2,015. Two other Ozark counties — Dent (sixth with 1,978 deer) and Laclede (ninth with 1,904) — ranked in the top 10.

Plenty could change before the firearms season ends. But it’s a good bet that the Ozarks counties will set the pace for rifle hunters, as they have in recent years.

A noteworthy shot

It’s impressive enough that Paul Gragg of Defiance, Mo., took a 15-point buck this deer season. But how he did it is the talk of Missouri deer hunters.

Hunting on a friend’s private land in St. Charles County, Gragg shot the deer with an atlatl, a primitive weapon that consists of a wooden shaft that is used to propel a a 4- to 6-foot long spear-like dart.

A veteran hunter, Gragg has taken trophy deer before. But he said this one will remain special.

“When I first started doing it, I thought there was no way this was going to work,” Gragg told the Missouri Department of Conservation. “But once I practiced with it for a little bit, I was getting pretty good at it.

“I heard all the jokes. My friends were all laughing and teasing me about it (hunting with it).”

But guess who got the last laugh.

Fishing season isn’t over yet

Don’t put your rods and reels away just yet.

The Missouri Department of Conservation stocked trout in four Kansas City-area locations this week — the Fountain Bluff Athletic Complex in Liberty, Chaumiere Lake in Kansas City North, and Coot and Plover lakes at the James A. Reed Memorial Wildlife Area near Lee’s Summit.

Fountain Bluff and Chaumiere are open to fishing. Coot and Plover are closed while a managed deer hunting is taking place at the Reed Area. They will open Saturday.

Young bass champs

Brock Bila of Overland Park teamed with Thomas Heinen of Topeka to win the recent Kansas B.A.S.S. Nation Youth State Championship at Milford Lake.

On a tough day of fishing, they weighed in 5.22 pounds of bass. Included in their bag was a 3.25-pound largemouth caught by Bila that won big bass honors.

Bila caught his big one in the first 10 minutes of the tournament.

By Brent Frazee,

Max Michel Sets Steel Challenge World Record with SIG Sauer P320

Newington, NH -( SIG SAUER, Inc., congratulates Team SIG Captain Max Michel, Jr., on winning the Steel Master title, along with all three division titles, at the World Speed Shooting Championships this past weekend.

Michel set a world record in his first-ever Production Division win using the SIG SAUER P320. Michel set the Production Division record with an overall time of 87 seconds flat. En route to the victory, Michel set a world record on the Smoke and Hope stage, the first time a world record has been held by a Production gun.

This time was also fast enough to earn fourth overall, which means Michel took two of the top five spots against dedicated Open Division guns.

“All of us at SIG SAUER are proud to have Max represent our brand, both as a competitor and as a role model for the shooting sports,” said Tom Taylor, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for SIG SAUER, Inc. “His drive, focus and commitment to excellence match our goals and values here at SIG. It is an honor for us to call him our team captain, our ambassador and our friend.”

Known as the “Steel Challenge,” the World Speed Shooting Championships draw the fastest competitive shooters in the world to race against the clock. With his overall win in the centerfire division, Michel notched his record sixth Steel Challenge title. Michel also notched a win in the Rimfire Division, giving him the overall title of Steel Master.

“Taking on Production was definitely a new experience for me, but with the incredibly smooth and crisp trigger in the SIG P320 I was able to compete against the custom race guns with no disadvantage,” Michel said. “Thanks to my friends at SIG SAUER, I have been able to add another world record along with the Steel Master title to my resume.”

In the Open Division, and the overall standings, Michel’s 78.04 seconds gave him a winning margin of almost a full second, which is a solid cushion in the fast-paced Steel Challenge format.

In Rimfire, Michel set another world record with his 60.75 finish. The margin of victory was almost three full seconds, in a sport where victory can be measured in tenths of a second.

Along the way, Michel also claimed world record times on stages Showdown and Five to Go with his Open gun, giving him the record on six of the eight stages. With this performance, Michel becomes the only person in Steel Challenge history to hold the course world records in all three divisions at the same time.

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About Max Michel, Jr.:

By anyone’s account, Max Michel, Jr. is one of the best shooters in the world of competitive shooting. He is the current International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC) World Champion as well as the only shooter in history to hold six World Speed Shooting Championships (2015, 2014, 2013, 2009, 2007, and 2005). Michel also owns eight USPSA National Championships (2014, 2013, 2011, 2009, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004); five U.S. Steel National Championships (2015, 2014, 2011, 2009, 2008); three Pro-Am Championships (2015, 2013 and 2012); more than 50 USPSA Area Championships and more than 100 major championship wins. Max Michel has become a dominant force in the pistol shooting sports. Michel also owns multiple World Speed Shooting records as well as being the only action shooter to win all eight USPSA Area Championships in the same season (2010). As an international competitor, Michel has represented the United States in the last six International Practical Shooting Confederation World Shoots and has brought home gold medals every time.

About SIG SAUER, Inc.:

SIG SAUER, Inc. is a New Hampshire-based weapons systems provider leading the industry in American innovation, ingenuity, and manufacturing. SIG SAUER brings a dedication to superior quality, ultimate reliability, and unmatched performance that has made it the brand of choice among responsible citizens, and many of the world’s most elite military, government, and law enforcement units. As a complete systems provider, SIG SAUER offers a full array of products to meet any mission parameter, from handguns and rifles to silencers, optics, ammunition, accessories, and airguns. The largest member of a worldwide business group of firearms manufacturers that includes SIG SAUER GmbH & Co. KG in Germany and Swiss Arms AG in Switzerland, SIG SAUER is an ISO 9001: 2008 certified company with approximately 1,000 employees.

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By Ammoland Shooting Sports News