Driving from SD. Are all the public grounds hit pretty hard? I think there's a gap between seasons this year in MO. Muzz huting starts in late December. Hopefully there's still some big boys rolling around.
If I've got my dates right regular rifle season is the 14th-24th and doe season is the 25th-6th. They get a few days off and muzzle loader season picks up the 19th to the 29th. Being pressured that long sends many bucks into the dark and if there is any snow on they become very nocturnal.
I have not hunted public land in years, but the size of the orange army gets bigger every year. The past few years there has been some good deer taken on public ground during early archery season and each year after the word gets out the number of cars in the parking lots grow.
If you can find a place that has not been heavily pressured they will calm down and come back out of hiding. As with anywhere else, they are there.....it's only a matter of being there at the right time.
There is one tip I have learned over the years in hunting whitetails in late season snow. Do not overlook soybeans left standing on the edges of fence rows, woods, creeks, buildings wherever it might be, this is where the deer will be while the food lasts during late season. December/January will pull deer in from some distance away to feed on the easy to get to food.
I killed one of my nicest bucks off of a very small patch of soybeans that was left after rains created a...