Page 1

February 1, 2013

Ad Index................. 15 Books..................... 14 Calendar................. 17 Classified........... 17-19 Editorial.................... 4 Fishing............... 9, 13 History............... 4, 16 Hunting.............. 5, 18 Indians.................... 16

Nature............... 10, 15 Outdoor news.... 5, 10, 11, 18 Real Estate............. 22 Recipes................... 17 Rock Talk............... 13 Seasons................... 16 SunMoon................16 Thru the Years........ 15

Traveler River Hills

Vol. 40, No. 7

ISSN 87501899

MAPS IN THIS ISSUE

Clearwater Lake......................................7 Lower Current & Eleven Point River.....8 Lower Meramec River..........................12 Parkland/Arcadia Valley/Black River...14 Upper Current & Jacks Fork Rivers........8 Upper Meramec, Huzzah, Courtois......12 Wappapello Lake....................................7

Learning from masters, adding a twist

L

By GREG “RUDI” RUDROFF ast summer was perhaps the best fishing season I’ve ever had and I’ve had a lot of great summertime fishing in my life. I must attribute a big part of my success to two well recognized stream fishermen; longtime River Hills Traveler writers, Bill Cooper and Charlie Slovensky. No, I did not get to go fishing with either bronzeback expert nor did I call them for advice. Instead I read their articles and got to thinking and that led to one thing after another. I was REFURB MAGIC — Patrick Rudroff soon off to the displays a smallmouth caught on a races as far lure bought on Ebay and refurbished as my fishing with sandpaper, paint and treble adventures hooks. Rudi Rudroff photos. went. Back in the June 2012 issue, Cooper penned an article called “Cooper’s Deadly Dozen” in which he told us about his favorite 12 lures to use for smallmouth fishing on the Meramec.

METHODICAL MADNESS — The goal was to catch a fish on one of the old lures, take a picture of fish and lure, then move onto the next challenge.

Now I have been a fisherman all my life and I’m not bad at it either. I don’t claim to be as skilled as Mr. Cooper but if I had the chance, on a particularly lucky day, I might be able to catch as many fish as Bill. Not that One of the most I would bet the productive lures I house on it but I’m convinced owned was one that it could happen. years ago vanished On reading that from my dad’s tackle article, I realized box and miraculously his advantage would be in appeared in mine. It lure selection. was a miracle. There The reason mainly was no theft involved. I’ve been a live bait fisherman all my life. I’ve yet to meet a minnow that I don’t like. In the article, Bill described and even named the lures he uses. That left me with a big blank. I had a few lures in tackle boxes but I could hardly tell you the names of them. I just tied them on when the urge hit and sometimes they worked and sometimes not. To keep up with Bill, I had to do more lure fishing. I needed lures, lots of varieties, and soon. I went to the store. Wow! Lures are expensive! Hmm, what to do, what to do? Continued on next page

Traveler Country hotspot for mountain lions

A

By DOUG SMITH a sizable cat in a live trap, another little more than a year ago Reynolds County resident captured an a Reynolds County trapper image of a mountain lion – also often caught the first mountain referred to as a cougar, panther, puma lion or other names to be captured – on a game alive in recent camera. In Missouri hisApril two diftory. In the 12 ferent residents months since, captured game the Missouri camera images Department of of a big cat. Conservation During has confirmed the summer 11 more big cat months there sightings. were reports of The number of other possible annual concat encounters, firmed sightings but none were continues to confirmed by climb, yet the the MDC’s MDC holds to Mountain its story that Lion Response the state has Team. Then in ONE OF MANY — After Wayne Henson caught September one no breeding this cougar in a live trap in January 2012, there or more cats population of mountain lions. have been 11 more confirmed mountain lion were caught reports in Missouri. A single cat may result in Days after on two difmultiple reports. MDC photo. Reynolds Counferent game ty Presiding cameras in Commissioner Wayne Henson caught Continued on Page 3

CONFIRMED MOUNTAIN LION REPORTS

MDC graphic

COUGARS LIKE TRAVELER COUNTRY — MDC’s Mountain Lion Response Team has confirmed 38 mountain lion reports since 1994. Confirmations are made by analysis of photographs, tracks and DNA samples taken from hair, tissue, blood or scat. As the map indicares, Shannon, Reynolds and Carter counties have the highest number of confirmed cases in the state. To contact the Mountain Lion Response Team, email mountain.lion@mdc.mo.gov.

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FEBRUARY 2013

RIVER HILLS TRAVELER -- PAGE 2

Cooper’s dozen vs. Slovensky’s six vs. Rudi’s too-many-to-count Continued from Page 1 Then I remembered. One of the most productive lures I owned was one that years ago vanished from my dad’s tackle box and miraculously appeared in mine. It was a miracle. There was no theft involved. I did kind of forget to ever put it back into his box. There is something called statute of limitations, right? Since this was an old lure and since it was still productive I wondered if other old lures would be effective, too. But where to get old lures? I could go to garage sales, estate sales? I didn’t have time for that. I wanted to be fishing and not shopping. Ah, Ebay! Ebay sells everything! I quickly learned the correct search phrase,“vintage lures.” Amazing! I could get lures from the 50s, the 60s, the 70s, the 80s and even the 90s and I was not going to have to break the bank either. As long as I skipped the really old lures (early 1900s up to the mid 40s) I was able to get lots of lures at bargain prices. I spent hours scrolling through listings. For several weeks, packages arrived almost daily. It was a blast! I bought things I had never seen or heard of before and others that were more familiar to me. All in all, I spent much less than a new deer rifle would cost me. My son and I crafted several lures racks

to display our newly obtained bounty. The real fun came when my son, my daughter and I went fishing. We would

RACK ‘EM UP — The Rudroffs built a rack in their home to hold lures bought on Ebay.

grab one or two small, flat divider tackle boxes and load them up with various lures; different ones each time we went out. The goal was to catch a fish on one of the old lures, take a picture of the fish and lure, then move onto the next lure and challenge.

Some of the lures were in bad shape. Sandpaper, spray paint, markers and new treble hooks wonders. We made up our own names for these refurbished jobs. Often we were successful with them. Then in the August 2012 issue of Traveler we were greeted with an article penned by Slovensky titled “Slovensky’s Sweet Six vs. Cooper’s Deadly Dozen.” Charlie rebuked Bill and suggested that he could do as well — or better than Bill — with his favorite lure picks and he would need only six not 12. The challenge was on. I felt compelled to join the battle between these two stream bass heavyweights early August, and there still all of September and some of October to go. Nope, let these two guys battle it out. I was happy as a lark tossing lures at fish (and not just bass) — lures that were so old that only the greatgreat-great granddaddies of these fish had seen these styles of antique baits before. Yep, Bill you keeping filling stringers with your 12 and Charlie your six. I may need a lot more tackle to fill my stringer, but watching those bronzebacks come flying from out of their cover and slam my crazy, old lures makes it all worthwhile. You guys are more than welcome to come over to my house, grab a tackle

box and fill it up with my old stuff then join me on your choice of Ozark stream. Then we’ll see what we can do. If you snag a lure and lose it, no problem. They didn’t cost me that much.

E-EDITION EXTRA

Click here in this month’s e-edition to see more photos of Rudi’s vintage lures and the fish he caught with them.

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FEBRUARY 2013

RIVER HILLS TRAVELER -- PAGE 3

Missouri mountain lions an all-boys club?

Continued from Page 1 Shannon County. October brought another game camera snapshot, this time in Reynolds County. In the same month other cameras captured snapshots of lions in Ripley and Taney counties. November saw no confirmed sightings, but in December, big cats were caught on camera in DeKalb and Carter counties. In many, cases the motion-activated game camera snapshots were backed up with tracks or other trace evidence. The most recent confirmed reports by press time of this issue happened when a lion was captured on camera three times on private land in Warren County between Dec. 9 and Jan. 3. That brought the total number of confirmed sightings in recent history to 48 since 1994. By far the majority of instances confirmed have been game camera photos, with the second most common opportunity being eye witness reports backed up by physical evidence – hair samples, tracks, or animal carcasses that appeared to be what the MDC calls “characteristic of a mountain lion kill.” A few of the more unique sightings included Henson’s live capture in Reynolds County last January, a cat shot by coyote hunters in Macon County in January of 2011, a cat treed by coon hunters in Ray County the same month, a deer kill with mountain lion tracks nearby in November of 2006, road-killed cats in Callaway County in August of 2003 and Clay County in 2002, a cat treed by rabbit dogs near two deer carcasses in Texas County in January of 1999, and a video of a cat caught with a deer carcass in November of 1996. The one common feature in nearly every confirmed lion sighting, according to MDC Research Scientist Jeff Beringer, head of the Mountain Lion Response Team, is that all appear to be males — with the exception of the first big cat confirmed in December of 1994 in Carter County. That month an adult female was treed and shot by two raccoon hunters near Peck Ranch Conservation Area. The cat was not reported to authorities, but a photo of the animal lying on the tailgate of a truck was eventually obtained. The hunters were charged with a federal wildlife violation and each fined $2,000. Four years later, in November of 1998, a deer hunter found a skinned pelt of a small adult female mountain lion with the head and feet attached just off a Texas County road. The authorities were never able to confirm if was the remains of the lion killed in the winter of 1994, but evidence pointed that direction. Many Missourians are convinced the state has an established breeding population of mountain lions. The confirmed and documented cases are just a small portion of reported cases. There’s been a steady exchange of reports and MDC follow up regarding sightings, killed wild and domestic animals, tracks and other apparent evidence. There have been poor quality photos or video, claims of lions seen crossing roads and unexplained carcasses of livestock or wild game. The majority have not been confirmed due to no related evidence

pad wear or nail wear from being housed on concrete, or grooming or medical attention). The bodies recovered over the years, and Henson’s captured cat, all appeared to be wild animals which showed no signs of having been held in captivity. Another reason Beringer and other MDC scientists argue that the cats GAME CAMERA SHOTS — The cat at left was photographed in DeKalb being found in Missouri are not naCounty in December. A camera caught tives is because DNA testing from the cougar above near Chesterfield in hair and tissue samples have matched January 2011. populations of animals found in North such as tracks, hair or clearly visible Dakota, Colorado or other western among scientists, Beringer explains, photos. Clearly improvements in the and northwestern states. “Evidence that male mountain lions will roam resolution and the frequency of use to date indicates these mountain lions up to thousands of miles in search of of motion-activated game cameras by are dispersing from other states to the females to breed with. On the other hunters and landowners have resulted west of Missouri. The most extreme hand, female lions tend to live out in more confirmed sightings the past evidence of this dispersal occurred their entire life in close proximity to few years. in early 2011 when a mountain lion their mothers, ranging only a couple So, with nearly 50 confirmed and that was killed in Connecticut was hundred miles at most. hundreds more unconfirmed mountain genetically traced to South Dakota. That said, a carcass recovered in lion encounters in recent history, why MDC has no confirmed evidence of a Illinois recently was possibly that does the MDC continue to deny the breeding population in Missouri,” the of a female cat, Beringer added. state has a population of big cats to agency’s website states. But it’s possible that cat could have call its own? Regardless of where they came from escaped captivity somewhere and “It’s going to stay the way it is or where they’re headed, the signs wasn’t reported. Each time an actual until we can find a female,” explains pointNUMBER to more and more mountain lion lion’s body has been investigated by Beringer. There have been no docuClearwater Lake Visitor’s Guide, 2013, page 40 DO NOT PRINT PAGE encounters in the coming year. MDC scientists a part of the research mented cases of females with cubs and includes whether the cat shows any no pictures with multiple cats in the signs (things such as excessive paw same photo. It’s common knowledge

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