Catastrophic floods in 1993 and 1995 caused private landowners to sell out, creating new public lands along the Missouri River north and west of Columbia. Lower Hamburg Bend, in Atchison County near Hamburg, Iowa, is one of the larger ones. The thick stands of cottonwood and willow that have taken over these fertile bottomlands make deer less vulnerable to hunting pressure, and mature bucks are starting to feel at home in these relatively small areas. The challenge is finding them in the dense cover. "It's tough hunting," Hansen says, "but deer numbers are high and the potential is there for some good bucks."