I'll try to help Soupy (btw, I like the name!)
In Missouri there are not regulations that I'm aware of. I typically take the deer back to my house and then field dress it on the back of my pick-up's tailgate. Yes, I know many of you think this is hard to do with the deer laying horizontally, but it works for me and I can completely dress a deer in about 15 minutes (or less). I usually leave the innards lay where I dressed it and coyotes or dogs come and eat it. They are usually gone in about a day or two- once again, I'm sure many of you would never do this, but I do, and it works.
I have never cut off the scent glands, BUT I always have my deer processed by a meat store and they DO remove the legs. I would suggest just cutting off the legs and disposing of them b/c trying to remove the scent gland can be challenging and smelly. To each his own, but I do not. I have heard that it can taint the taste of your meat. If you are processing yourself, I would cut them off as soon as you could.
As far as the dragging part--- this is where friends or relatives come in handy! haha I always call my dad or father-in-law to help me. I do have a neat system for loading them myself though... if I'm able to drive up to the deer or relatively close to it, I have a couple of 2x12's ramps that I place on the back end of my tailgate - they are about 7' long and I just drag the deer up the ramp into the back of my truck. Works great- and you can by ramp grips that will sort of sit on your tailgate better than the edge of a 2x12- they just screw on to the 2x12
I would suggest hunting by water anytime of the year but especially early bow season when it's still warm. Trails and bedding areas I typically concentrate on closer to the per-rut and rut times.
The scent question is really anyone's opinion. I believe you can do TOO much and pay TOO much at the same time. Honestly, I rarely use scents, but I do use them occasionally- NOT every time I hunt. Also, I have a good grunt call and nothing else. I don't use estrous bleats or fawn bleats and definately NO buck scents. I'm a HUGE opponent of buck scents because they can completely screw up your deer herd if you don't have mature bucks on your property. You can scare off younger bucks or that buck you are after by using piss collected from a farm somewhere of a buck that is 8 years old. Get my drift? They know by the smell. If any scents at all, I use estrous and that's it. Code Blue makes a good one b/c they use ONLY one doe per bottle. many companies combine the piss into one product and then put it into bottles. Code Blue does not do that... they only give you the piss from ONE doe therefore making it more "REAL" to the buck smelling it.
As far as the mounts go, that's up to you. If the buck was something you really worked for and it's a "trophy" to you, go for it. I know guys who won't mount anything less than 150inches. That to me is dumb. My first mount ever was a 9point and probably scored around 120. It's special to me because it's my first. I don't care what anyone else thinks or says, it has special meaning and that's it. As far as your thinking about the mounts, that's your opinion. If it's worthy for you to do it, do it. If not, don't. Mounts can cost anywhere from $300-$600 typically.
The number of rounds is something you have to consider. If you only bring 3 or 4 and somehow miss a deer 3 times but he gives you one more shot and you are out of bullets, then you're screwed! haha I typically take around 12-15 with me... JUST in case. Now, have I EVER used that many on one hunt, HECK no. Once again, to each his own but that's how many I take.
There is NO maximum for me! If you are talking about the same woods over and over, then yes, there is a limit, but are you talking about hunting in general? If you're talking about hunting the same woods over and over, yes, I would probably hunt another spot for awhile after 2 unsuccessful hunts in that spot. Then come back at a later time. Also, just because you don't see deer in one spot, don't give up on it. I do this alot. I've hung stands that I never end up even hunting there because I "don't think there will be deer showing up there". Yes, it's dumb and I do it, but give each stand it's due. Hunt it and you may turn up that big 12 pointer you're talking about.
You and I sound alot alike. Even though you're 23 years older than I am! I give Hunting Man on here alot of grief about being "OLD" so if I do the same to you, I'm only joking. We sound alike for one reason- you hunt for the meat, BUT you're not opposed to taking a big buck. I'm not a "trophy hunter" but I'd be lying if I didn't say I wanted to kill the biggest BUCK EVER! Now, that said, I want to provide for my family so if taking a younger buck that is smaller is necessary, I'll do it. Or even a doe. I'm a trophy-meat hunter, I guess! haha
welcome to the club