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Missouri Hunt Recap

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Missouri Hunt Recap
In the earliest days of the site I was exposed to Missouri duckhunting by the likes of Mark Schuup, Ira McCauley, and others. Lying horizontally in heavily grassed marshboats in public shallow flooded ag fields with mallards at extremely close range seemed to be a common thing in Missouri, and that grabbed my attention. Move over Arkansas, there's a new mallard destination. In fact I vividly recall having a conversation with Jeff Smith over twenty years ago where he made the same observations, further adding Mark Schuup was too humble to state it, but he'd mastered mallard shooting like many aspire but few achieve.

For years now I have tried to make the trip to Missouri to hunt with Mark, who extended an open offer. Not wanting to make the trip without Thomas, whose school schedule seemed to interfere, we never could get everything lined up to make the nine hour road trip. Then Thomas graduated from high school and his college academic calendar created a much larger window to work with. Determined to make it happen this year we gave ourselves a four week window to time things as best as possible, and thankfully Mark was available. We stayed in touch all season and Mark fed us duck reports, weather forecasts, and his predictions. Finally, on January 2nd Thomas and I hit the road for three days of Missouri hunting with someone I had communicated with online for over twenty years but never met in person.

Within the first few minutes of arriving at Mark's cabin and meeting Mark, Thomas and I knew we were in for a great time as Mark informed us of the hunt and dining plans for the next three days. To say Mark is a hospitable host would be grossly understating his bonhomie. I mean from the get-go we were made to feel like special guests.

Day one had us travelling north one hour from Mark's cabin to Sumner, MO. Some of you may have heard of Locust Grove, a private club developed by Mark, Ira and his brother Aaron. If you follow Ira on Instagram you have no doubt seen pictures and video of this amazing piece of property developed exclusively for duck hunting by guys with absolute off-the-chart passion for waterfowl habitat development and hunting. A couple really unique things about this place is they ran utility power to their duck ponds and installed pumps to fill them from an underground well, and to power ice eaters to keep the water open in sub-freezing weather. Their blinds have power as well. With the flip of a switch water circulates, ice melts, blinds warm, and bacon fries. Unbelievable set-up. A lot of thought and work went into Locust Grove. It may be as close to "turn-key" as a place can get, but that wasn't by accident. It took tremendous dedication and effort to achieve. The blind we hunted is known as "Heaven" and sits next to a pond they created in the middle of some woods. The blind has become famous on social media and is recognizable by the mallard mural (Sistine Chapel-esque) Aaron McCauley and his father painted on the ceiling. The pond is situated on a known flyway between refuges and ducks passing overhead can't resist the urge to take a breather. They created a magnificent duck hole in a spot nobody had ever shot a duck. Think about that... After the hunt Mark showed us around town a bit where we stopped for a photo-op with the world's largest Canada Goose.











Day two saw us back at Mark's farm near Booneville, MO. Mark's farm sits on the banks of the Missouri River in an area where little duck hunting goes on. Yes, you read that correctly, Mark created duck habitat in an area not known for duck hunting. This area isn't a duck hunting destination like many other places in MO, but Mark recognized the potential of this agricultural land on the banks of the Missouri River and has worked it into a duck and duck hunter paradise, miles from any other hunters. I love that fact. It took a lot of vision and even more sweat, but I've learned Mark is dedicated like few others. And just like the property in Sumner, he has utility power to his ponds to provide and keep water moving. On this day we hunted Mark's timber hole which sits right next to some very large grain fields and tucked up against the Missouri River. Ducks travelled the river and fields all day and I don't think we went more than 20 minutes between flights. Makes the time pass quickly.





On day three Mark decided it was time to hunt his field. Typically he hunts the timber taking ducks that use his field without pressuring the field itself. This late in the season with several thousands geese and ducks making racket all night and day, Mark decided it was time for those birds to "pay the landlord" as he puts it. On this day Mark's son joined us in the afternoon. Cade, a Jr. in high school and a college baseball prospect, immediately impressed me as a fountain of energy and charm. The conversation between him and Thomas about ducks taken in their careers, ducks they still want to take, bands, etc., brought memories flooding back to that age where everything about the sport is new and exciting. We had some really good shooting that day but I think the best part for me was hearing those two talk.

Okay, so I used the term "good shooting". Well, that isn't how anyone else would describe Thomas and I that day, but we all have our good and bad days. Now Mark on the other hand put on a clinic! He has always openly admitted he shoots 6 shot from low brass shells at ducks and touted it's lethality. I'm now a witness to those claims. On more than one occasion Mark waited for both Thomas and I go go to the plug before putting a bead on a hard pumping duck at distance and with one shot getting a cold fold. You might just have to see it firsthand to believe it. The man can shoot.





To Be continued...

Last edited by:

Eric Patterson: Jan 12, 2021, 10:57 AM
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Re: Missouri Hunt Recap In reply to
Not only has Mark developed his land for migrating waterfowl and hunters, but he's built a place for friends and family to gather and share time together before and after the hunt. I'm pretty confident that after you see the below pictures you will also agree Mark's container cabin is one of the coolest duck camps in North America today. What a vision Mark had and perfect execution he pulled off. I think as more people find out about his awesome re-purposing of shipping containers he'll get a lot of inquiries as to how he put it all together. I'll let the pictures do the talking now.





















Finally, I'll conclude my recap by letting Mark know how much Thomas and I appreciated his hospitality. From the pre-trip preparations he made, to his excellent cooking, and the wonderful conversations we shared this was one of the most enjoyable trips I've ever taken and I know Thomas will always remember his first duck hunting trip to Missouri. Thank you Mark for sharing your little piece of heaven with Thomas and myself.


Last edited by:

Eric Patterson: Jan 12, 2021, 8:21 PM
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Re: Missouri Hunt Recap In reply to
Eric,
The pleasure was all mine! Really the Thanks goes to you for building this site to bring such a great group of guys together. Glad to see some of the ?old? names on here! Hi, everybody!
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Re: Missouri Hunt Recap In reply to
Very cool trip, love seeing what Mark & crew have put together out there.

Mark, don't be a stranger!


Carl
Mobile, AL
DHBP Member since 1998

"Life is too short to drink bad beer."
Disclaimer: This post and/or report is not a substantiation of or reflection on the true accuracy of the present surveying methods. It is only a report on or comment concerning local observation and/or results. Your results and observation may vary based on your location, local water conditions, food supply, weather conditions and migratory patterns "
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Re: Missouri Hunt Recap In reply to
Incredible camp and property!!! Both my sons live and work in Charleston, SC and could definitely score some of those for a camp! Very cool!
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Re: Missouri Hunt Recap In reply to
Thanks for taking us along with your re-cap!


MLBob

"Art is like an ill-trained Labrador retriever that drags you out into traffic." (Annie Dillard)

....Here's to Joe Wooster, who made me realize that the useful could and should be beautiful; and who firmly believed that decoy carvers were the last free men in America.

https://www.facebook.com/KOOIdecoy?ref=hl

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Re: Missouri Hunt Recap In reply to
That is great. I love the Conex duck "shack" - the way the layers are staggered to produce porches is outstanding, super cool inside too.

I really enjoyed the habitat improvement work posted here years and years ago, and I'm glad that you guys got to enjoy some of Mark's hard work first hand.

Great all around, thanks for the pics.
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Re: Missouri Hunt Recap In reply to
I had the pleasure of hunting with Mark on his farm back about three or four years ago and was amazed at what he had created. We hunted the timber hole and it is one memory that I will never forget. Mark hopefully we can catch up at the Ohio Decoy show sometime soon. Stay safe
Pete
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Re: Missouri Hunt Recap In reply to
That looks like a great hunt. Out of curiosity, what is the worlds' biggest goose made out of?
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Re: Missouri Hunt Recap In reply to
 
Good stuff, when waterfowlers do a road trip/migration to fulfill the passion and enjoy the experience. All the miles build a wealth of memories.



VP











"Art does not reproduce what is visible - but makes things visible." ~ Paul Klee, artist, 1920
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Re: Missouri Hunt Recap In reply to
Dani wrote:
That looks like a great hunt. Out of curiosity, what is the worlds' biggest goose made out of?


Dani, I'm not positive but I think sheet metal.
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Re: Missouri Hunt Recap In reply to
tod osier wrote:
That is great. I love the Conex duck "shack" - the way the layers are staggered to produce porches is outstanding, super cool inside too.

I really enjoyed the habitat improvement work posted here years and years ago, and I'm glad that you guys got to enjoy some of Mark's hard work first hand.

Great all around, thanks for the pics.


Tod, I told Mark my OCD brain would have stacked them neatly with ends flush. A little bit of creativity resulted in a nice covered entry and balconies.
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Re: Missouri Hunt Recap In reply to
That was fun. Thank you so much!!
James Woods
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Re: Missouri Hunt Recap In reply to
Looks like a great trip for you and Thomas. Glad that Mark turned out to be a nice guy and a good shot. Would hate to think of him being some real life jerk with a pleasant internet persona.
And that cabin, wow, what a neat place.
-----------------------------------------------------------------
"Ah Nuts!"

http://snipehunterfishart.blogspot.com/
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Re: Missouri Hunt Recap In reply to
That first picture looks like HEAVEN!

---------------------------------------------------------------------
***Phil (Chesapeake Boy) Nowack***

http://www.mapleridgetaxidermy.com
http://www.philnowackphotography.com

Nothing like the north wind pushing snow at your back, a bird in your hand, and chessie with ice on his coat at your side.

Birds brought to you courtesy of Nikon, Benelli, Kodi, and Otter
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Re: Missouri Hunt Recap In reply to
Dani,
We are actually starting a restoration project on it this summer. It?s Fiberglas on a steel/rebar armature.
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Re: Missouri Hunt Recap In reply to
Tod,
Literally played lots of Jenga to get it where I thought it would work. Containers were almost 90% cheaper for the shell of the structure than stick built. A little under $5.00/sq ft.out of pocket, friends and favors saved a bunch along the way too. Finding guys to work on it was the hardest part, lots of improvisation and ?out of the box? thinking along the way! Took down 4 old barns to get wood and tin.
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Re: Missouri Hunt Recap In reply to
Mark(mo) wrote:
Tod,
Literally played lots of Jenga to get it where I thought it would work. Containers were almost 90% cheaper for the shell of the structure than stick built. A little under $5.00/sq ft.out of pocket, friends and favors saved a bunch along the way too. Finding guys to work on it was the hardest part, lots of improvisation and ?out of the box? thinking along the way! Took down 4 old barns to get wood and tin.


I saw no evidence of insulation? Do you have a heat source to go with that exhaust stack?
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Re: Missouri Hunt Recap In reply to
That is likely one of the coolest things I've seen. It mixes treehouse, with hunting lodge, with prepper shelter. That flooded timber does look like paradise. I love hunting my boat but sometimes I do dream of being able to gun in flooded timber, with my feet on relatively solid ground.
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Re: Missouri Hunt Recap In reply to
RL,
Due to the steel construction they have to be sprayfoamed otherwise you end up with condensation on the inside of the steel causing rust and mold issues. Whole thing is sprayfoamed on the inside. There is a ventless propane wall heater in the bottom container, both bedrooms and the upstairs have a combo heat/AC unit like a smaller but same principle as a hotel unit. The stack on top is for the fireplace. 2 bedrooms, 2 full baths, living room, kitchen, mud room downstairs with a door to the storage container on the right side of the bottom.

Last edited by:

Mark(mo): Jan 13, 2021, 3:21 PM
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Re: Missouri Hunt Recap In reply to
This is just so darn cool. A lotto dream would be to have my own private gunning land to cultivate like this. Nothing like getting birds right in the timber, which us NJ folks don't get to experience too often.
________
Coastal NJ
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Re: Missouri Hunt Recap In reply to
Really quite striking, both inside and outside! The stagger stacking really adds to both the practicality as well as the asthetics of the build. Spot welded together? With so much surface area, do you ever consider guy wire tie-downs tor better tornado protection?
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Re: Missouri Hunt Recap In reply to
Mark(mo) wrote:
Tod,
Literally played lots of Jenga to get it where I thought it would work. Containers were almost 90% cheaper for the shell of the structure than stick built. A little under $5.00/sq ft.out of pocket, friends and favors saved a bunch along the way too. Finding guys to work on it was the hardest part, lots of improvisation and ?out of the box? thinking along the way! Took down 4 old barns to get wood and tin.


Now I understand, I was interpreting the interior corrugated roof paneling as exterior container wall that was uninsulated.
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Re: Missouri Hunt Recap In reply to
RL,
All the containers were welded together with 1/2? plate steel then bolted. The bottom containers were then bolted to the footings. Those footings span under both of the bottom containers and are 3 feet wide, 4 feet deep and 18 feet long solid reinforced concrete. Each empty container weighs approx. 8,500 lbs each and the footings approx. 30,000 lbs each. I?ve been on the top floor in 70 mph gusts and didn?t even feel a wiggle. It?s located in the middle of a grove of trees which many are taller than the containers so that dissipates a lot of felt wind too.
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Re: Missouri Hunt Recap In reply to
Impressive. How much crane time did it take to get them all in place?