At McKenna Ranch, we can use black powder and center fire rifle to hunt for whitetail deer. We follow all the Mississippi guidelines for harvesting deer. The minimum antler restrictions for buck harvesting is ten inches of inside spread. This generally means taking a basket 8 point at least. We also harvest does.
The two important actions to harvesting deer are: practice shooting and leave your cell phone in your pocket. That's right, you read that right: leave the cell phones in your pocket. When we first started offering hunts, there were no cell phones. Back then, we told the hunters the most important thing to harvest a deer was to practice with your rifle. We know bullets may cost $1.00 a round, but please practice before you arrive. Even the best marksman gets out of practice. We have a target range to site your rifle in, but please practice before you come.
We ask that you show up around 11:00 the morning of your hunt because every hunter will be asked to show that their rifle is accurate. We know about "buck fever," how the rifle shakes more upon seeing antlers. The bigger the antlers, the more shaking. But we want to be respectful of the deer. We are good about trailing shot deer and we have a blood trail dog, but we need the hunters to do their part. If we find blood, even if we don't find the deer, it's your deer. Therefore, please take time to practice shooting. Shot placement is everything. We prefer calibers .243 and up, but don't assume if you shoot a cannon and hit a deer in a toe that the deer will drop. A good, clean, well-placed shot and the deer may still run 50 - 60 yards. But if the trail is past 100 yards, that is not a good sign. It means a poor shot. I know a hunter who can kill a doe at 500 yards, but wounds bucks at 50 yards. Get excited afterwards. Practice, practice, practice.
When is the best time to hunt? The answer is, of course, the rut. The second-best time is opening weekend. The deer don't know they are being hunted then. Between opening weekend and the rut time (mid-December), the hunting can get slow.
Our hunters ask how we choose the stands to hunt. Several factors decide where the stands are placed. We try to put our stands where the hunter can get in and out of the stand without disturbing any deer on a food plot or pipeline. The majority of the time during deer season, an easterly wind only happens right before a rain. Therefore, we place our stands on the eastern side of a shooting area. We also build our food plots considering wind direction, stand placement, travel to stand and how the tractor gets into the field. We have several stands where the box or tripod is on one side the creek and a food plot or acorn area is on the other side of the creek. Of course, this frustrates a hunter if he shoots a deer and he can't go across the creek to check on his deer. I had rather have this happen than scaring deer away. Years ago, I moved all of our stands 30-50 yards off the shooting area. We cleaned the small trees out of the way. We left the larger trees for cover. My wife didn't like it. She said you have to shoot around the trees. I said, no, you get to shoot between the trees. If I burp or fart, I don't want the deer to run off. The trail leading to the stand is also well off the food plot also. When we are hunting acorn areas, we still are thinking of how to be silent and scent free. Wherever the stand is located, on the side of a hill or in a bottom, stealth is very important to us.
We have thinned lots of timber. This allows us to move the stands even further from the food source. Yes, this means longer shots, another reason to practice shooting. We want to get those older bucks waiting in the wings to come out and perform. You know the older bucks wait til near dark to do their thing. We have placed the stands to catch them in their act.
We hunt food plots, pipelines, acorn bottoms, crossings and wherever the deer are moving. We have tripods, ladder stands, ground blinds and elevated shooting houses. Many of our shooting houses have steps to walk into the shooting house. Most of our hunters prefer to hunt in shooting houses when it's raining. No problem. Most of our fathers with young hunters prefer to hunt from shooting houses, so all of our shooting houses accommodate 2 - 3 people.
We use Suburbans to transport hunters, and they ain't new. In the truck, I tell you about the type of stand, how far a walk, where the deer generally come from and any other helpful info. I only drive up to a stand if you are not able to walk. Hunters have spotted game while getting into the stand. You hunt till dark, then walk back out to where we dropped you off. If you have a deer, we will go back and get the deer. If you kill a deer early in the hunt you can call or text us. Not all hunters bring a cell phone. Most of the time we have a great signal here, but prefer to go on the idea that no one has a cell phone therefore we plan around them. Many times, we can't drive out to retrieve a deer immediately because we could disturb another hunter. Just because you shot your rifle, that does not mean the hunt is over. I've had plenty of hunters shoot a buck and doe in the same hunt, sometimes a deer and hog. Sometimes, when you shoot a doe, a buck is right behind her.
Most of the time the hunters arrive at 11:00 AM. We have a safety meeting and sign a release of liability. This form says if my ladder breaks while you are climbing, I'm at fault, but if you jump off, you are at fault, all standard. During the safety meeting, we discuss any health problems which may prevent you from climbing or walking far. We talk about any special needs to help with your hunt. Then we assign you a bedroom. Before your hunt, you perform a rifle accuracy check. Everything from your physical abilities to your type of rifle to what kind of boots you have on determine which stand you go to. That's right, if you got on tennis shoes or knee high rubber boots, that helps me decide where you go. If you are a long range shooter or a brush hunter, that tells me where you go. If you can't walk more than a few yards, then I know where to take you. We have been doing this for more than 20 years. There is not much we have not seen.
The next morning, we get up before daylight, eat breakfast, and head out within the hour. We hunt till 10:30. Some hunters want to hunt all day in the same spot. No problem. We pack them a lunch and drinks. The other hunters come in and eat lunch. We get any deer from the morning hunt. We leave about 1:30 for the afternoon hunt. We'll pick you up where we dropped you off about dark-thirty. We serve supper about an hour after pick up.
Here at McKenna Ranch, we have a walk-in cooler to hold the cleaned deer. We skin, clean and quarter the deer. We like to put the quartered deer into your ice chest and place the ice chest, with the lid open, into the cooler. If for some reason you don't want the deer meat, we can use the meat. We are experts at skinning a deer for mounting. Sometimes the hunter wants us to take his trophy head to our taxidermist for mounting. Our taxidermist will UPS your mount to your home. Call or email for any questions.
November 17 - December 19, 2018
December 20, 2018 - January 31, 2019
Allowable Game Harvests
To get the reduced price, hunters aged fifteen and under must have a full-priced adult come hunt with them. An adult can bring more than one child. Hunters twelve and under must be accompanied by a parent while on the deer stand. Older children may hunt by themselves if the parent thinks they are responsible enough to do so. Of course, the child and parent will be close to each other.
A non-hunting guest will be charged $100 per day.
On all hunts, we require a 50% deposit. We can take a personal check, money order or cashier's check for the deposit. Upon arriving at McKenna Ranch, the balance can be paid with cash, cashier's check or money order.
Make checks payable to:
680 County Road 313
Pachuta, Mississippi (MS) 39347
Deer Hunting Gallery