Hunters visiting the Lake of the Ozarks discover the woods and fields surrounding the Lake are filled with a wide variety of game. Throughout the year, hunters can pursue deer, turkey, squirrel, rabbit, dove, duck, geese and quail in the diverse terrain and on the waters at the Lake.
The two most popular species for hunters visiting the Lake are deer and turkey. The area has a growing population of both species which thrive in the nearby wooded areas and farmlands. During the spring turkey season, hunters call for a solitary bearded bird in the woods, while in the fall they have the best luck plucking a hen or jake from a flock of birds in the woods or fields.
A booming deer population includes plenty of trophy-size bucks. Locations containing open timber and scrub oak are prime spots to bag deer during both the bow and firearms seasons. If the lake area's woods produce a good corn crop, look for the deer in the thicker timber.
The woods are also loaded with gray and fox squirrels for hunters who enjoy tracking smaller game. The Lake area has plenty of hickory nut trees, which is a favorite dining place of the squirrel.
The farmlands and open fields circling the Lake contain good populations of rabbits and quail. Favorite areas for cottontails include milo fields near the edges of woods, briar patches, and draws along gravel roads or railroad tracks. Quail can be found in brush piles or brushy fence rows near open fields.
The first migratory birds to visit the Lake in the fall are doves. The best spots to find these birds are freshly cut grain fields or farm ponds with hedge trees nearby. When the weather turns cold and nasty, ducks and geese visit the lake in large numbers. Frequent flyers to the Lake area include mallards, wood ducks, gadwalls, greenwing teals, ringnecks, goldeneyes, Canada geese and snow geese.
Most hunting in the Lake of the Ozarks region is done on private land with permission of the landowner. There are also some hunting preserves and landowners who offer land-lease packages for hunting.
Public Hunting Areas
Fiery Forks State Forest
Toronto Springs Wildlife Area
The Saline Valley Wildlife Area
Carpenter Memorial Wildlife Area
Big Buffalo Creek Wildlife Area
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