My brother and I just finished a week-long hunt during the first week of the 2012 Missouri archery season. Although we saw a lot of bucks and met some really nice people, we had some real problems locating decent lodging while we were there. We had lodging for the first, second and fifth through tenth days, but had some major difficulties finding a place to stay on the third and fourth days of our hunt.
Fortunately for us, we met a number of incredibly nice folks in northeastern Missouri, among them Mitchell Pence, who introduced us to Toni Loges (pronounced "lo-gus") and her significant other, Marlin Oberholtzer, who live in Memphis, Missouri. Toni has built some very nice, quality accommodations for hunters that she wanted to show my brother and I and get some opinions on the layout, facilities, decor, etc.
Toni has named her lodge "Rock Hollow Lodge". It's a brand new house, specially configured to accommodate multiple small groups or one large group of hunters. It has a community kitchen and living area and four bedrooms, all configurable for different sleeping arrangements. As a brand new building, it has high-quality, high-capacity heating, air conditioning and plumbing (Marlin is a plumber and general contractor), and basic, but nice furnishings and accommodations overall, with very reasonable rates. Although it won't be available this year, she's also planning a skinning/butchering station with a freezer adjacent to the lodge.
Best of all, Memphis is centrally located to several state forests and conservation areas in northeastern Missouri, as well as an abundance of prime whitetail habitat on private land. Memphis is in Scotland County, one of the top whitetail-producing areas in Missouri, just south of the Missouri-Iowa state line and one county removed from west-central Illinois and the Mississippi River. The area offers not only whitetail hunting, but some fantastic turkey hunting (we saw large numbers of turkeys every day and almost everywhere), pheasant, squirrel and coyote hunting.
We were very impressed not only with the people in Missouri, but also with the work of the Missouri Department of Conservation. The extent and quality of the agricultural activities and forest and game management was better than anything I've ever seen; moreover, the DOC employees were very friendly, helpful and forthcoming with information. If you have access to private land in the area, so much the better.
To conclude this story, Toni and Marlin offered to let us stay in their home in Memphis since the lodge wasn't yet ready. We hesitantly accepted and they did everything (quite successfully, I might add) to make us feel at home. Did I mention that there are some incredibly nice people in Missouri...?
Marlin and the other contractors are putting the finishing touches on the lodge and Toni expects that the lodge will be open in mid-October 2012. She will have a web site established by next hunting season, but if you're looking for a place to stay for the Missouri rut, give Toni a call at (660) 341-8896 or (660) 465-8900 or you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org - and tell her that Randy and Brian (her "first customers") sent you. We're heading back out in late October...