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Have a story or photo you’d like to share? Connect with the River Hills Traveler at

(800) 874-8423 or email jimmy@ riverhillstraveler.com or text (417) 451-3798 VOL. 45, NO. 3



ONSR making progress on flood recovery efforts


any areas at Ozark National Scenic Riverways (ONSR) have been reopened following the historic flood that swept through the region at the end of April and early May. While a remarkable amount has been accomplished since that time, there are still some areas that remain partially or totally closed, and others that are open with reduced amenities and services. 

The National Park Service (NPS) is continuing to move forward with repairs and recovery at those areas, while evaluating facilities and services for sustainability in the future. As part of the ongoing recovery efforts, the NPS is undertaking an Integrated Park Improvement (IPI) planning process that will evaluate flood impacts park-wide and develop a strategy for restorPlease see FLOOD, 15A

The new shower house at the Alley Spring campground.

Deer hides for veterans T

Doug Hall’s oil paintings are sought after by galleries and museums, for shows and auctions.

Art is not for sissies By Judy Haas-Smith o you enjoy western art? Do you wish you had a corner in your home where you could retreat into the 1700’s surrounded by forests, hunters, trappers, Indians? Is Southwest Missouri on the itinerary of your next trip? If any of this appeals to you, here is place you would enjoy. Drive your car, truck or cycle to Doug Hall’s Log Cabin Gallery, 19314 Highway 59, about five miles south of Neosho, Mo., in Newton County. People gather there about 3 in the afternoon. Others wander in and out until 6 or 7 p.m. In summer the log cabin is air-condi-


Doug Hall welcomes everyone at his log cabin gallery

Please see HIDES, 14A

tioned and in winter there is a fire in the pot-belly stove. The welcome sign will be on and a rocking chair awaits your visit. If you are a storyteller, you are especially welcome. If you like art, you will be pleased and happy. This log cabin is the fourth one Doug Hall has built. He hastens to add that he had lots of help from family and friends Please see ART, 14A

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By Bill Wakefield he Missouri deer season will soon be here. The archery season opens Sept. 15 and the firearms season soon follows on Oct. 28. According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, Missouri hunters harvested 263,834 deer during the 2016 deer season. As these figures show, Missouri has a good population of deer along with successful and skilled hunters. Missouri hunters are also very generous and helpful to their fellow Missourians. A prime example of their generosity is their participation in the well-known program called Share the Harvest, which is administered by the Conservation Federation of Missouri and the Missouri Department of Conservation. Last year 4,280 hunters donated 198,277 pounds of venison to the Share the Harvest program. This is a great cause and it helps a lot of people. There also is another great cause that relies on the generosity of the Missouri hunters. That program is called the Veterans Leather program.

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Page 2A • September 2017


Enjoying life to its fullest on the Current River


ne Saturday, I went with a friend to go tubing down the Current River. We met about 11 a.m. at The Landing in Van Buren, Mo., off of highway 60. Now, I am used to the Eleven Point River with its natural, primitive features and less people. But boy oh boy, was I shocked. The local police department there was parking vehicles in the field above the Landing and parking lot area. There were hundreds of families and friends wanting to do the same as Dana my friend and I. Sturgeon My friend and I ———— finally met and Eleven bought our tube and Point River waited to be called to load the bus and go upstream. We were putting in at the access Waymeyer, which was about 3 miles upstream from the Highway 60 bridge. We waited over an hour to even get on the bus. Lots of folks wanting to get on the river and just so many buses. Van Buren had experienced the April flood inside the town. The high school and businesses, including The Landing, and over 100 houses were all damaged. The major flood at the end of April hadn’t happened since around 1904. Today it was good to see people enjoying the river and the local businesses reaping the benefit. My friend and I finally got in the water on our tube and started downstream. The water felt really good. A lot of young kids had their boomboxes

pretty loud and almost ruined the experience. However, my friend and I talked and enjoyed the day. A lot of out-of-state people were visiting and the local town folks were positioned along the gravel bars enjoying their day. Kids were diving off the rocks, a few boats almost hit us, but missed. Ha. A lot of tubes on the river. There wasn’t one section we floated that didn’t have people on the river. Mind you, I am used to the Eleven Point River with less people. There is a restriction on how much use is allowed on the Eleven Point River due to the 1968 Wild and Scenic Riverway Protection Act. However, I don’t believe there is any restriction on how much use is on the Current River. As we traveled along, we noticed all the aftermath of the flooding several months back. Lots of trees down and misplaced on top of the bank area. I noticed a lot of houses along the river were for sale. A lot more gravel bars were created. Spotted an eagle in the air about the

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second mile mark. It was beautiful amongst all the noise on the river. Then, a damselfly would land on my leg from time to time, getting in a little tubing itself. Then, the bridge came up and the trip was over. It took about 2-3 hours to float it depending how fast we went and how many times we stopped along the way. It turned out to be a good trip with my friend. The river was crowded, but everybody was having a good time with each other. That is what it is all about, anyway.

Enjoying life to its fullest. Because we are not promised the next hour or day. Even though, I still prefer the quiet, pure river of the Eleven Point, I really enjoyed my time on the Current River with my friend. So, if you ever want to get a tube and float the Current River, I suggest heading to Van Buren, Doniphan or the upper part to float away. You may want to get there a little early, though. (Dana Sturgeon lives in southern Missouri. She can be reached at mo_ dana@hotmail.com.)


September 2017 • Page 3A

Many of us still appreciate old-time things


few years ago I was in West Plains, Missouri, at some local community event when I met some fellows who called themselves “flintnappers.” They were making arrowheads and spear points and they were really good at it. Each had wooden bows and arrows they had made themselves. They also had “throwing sticks,” also known as atlatls, which you can use to hurl a spear as the early bluff dwellers of the Ozarks most likely did before the bow came along. If you know how to use one, you can use an atlatl to throw a spear, or something like a long arrow, completely through a deer if you can get close enough. One of those men had actually killed a couple of deer with his homemade bow and flint-tipped arrows, and one was planning to hunt deer that winter with an atlatl. These guys were old-timers who amazed me at what they could do, and I always wanted to see them again. I found out that they are going to have Larry another get-together Dablemont on the weekend of ———— October 7th and 8th Lightnin’ at a little place Ridge called Chapel Grove, 15 miles east of Ava, Missouri. It will be billed as “The Pioneer Heritage Festival of the Ozarks.” The whole thing is free, for visitors or vendors. If you make or use things from that era, like tools, knives or rifles, baskets, buckskin clothes, or blankets, etc., that were used in the settling of the Ozarks from 1800 to 1900, they’d like to have you join them. They will welcome you and allow you to sell your goods or just put on a demonstration. I am thinking of attending and building one of the old-time Ozark river johnboats out of white pine. I have a friend who still makes sassafras boat paddles and I hope he will join me. If you have an interest in this weekend event, call Donna Eslinger at (417) 496-2711, or Nina Carter at (417) 5433401. Or you can email heritage417@gmail.com for more information. I think it was 2001 or 2002 when my Dad, my Uncle Norten and I spent the whole of October at the annual Fall Festival at Silver Dollar City building a wooden johnboat and making boat paddles… talking to visitors about another day and time decades ago. Norten made the sassafras paddles,

and Dad built the johnboat, with my help. People flocked around us to watch and ask questions. At the time, I had published only 3 or 4 books and we were set up in front of the bookstore. Folks would buy my books in the bookstore and they would bring them out to me to sign. If back then I had all ten of my books available there, they would have sold well more than a thousand. On some days they would actually sell more of my books than all the others they had combined. As it was, they sold more than 200 of my books and paid me a little more than half of what the bookstore collected. For some reason, that didn’t set well at all with the two old ladies who were in charge of the October event. Another thing they didn’t like was the fact that Uncle Norten sold a bunch of paddles to people. He had to make about 25 or 30 that winter, and only got 30 or 40 dollars for each. But those ladies did not like that at all. They wanted him to set there and attract a crowd and make paddles for nothing. Seems like Silver Dollar City bought Dad’s johnboat and when it was over, the three of us had made way too much money for the satisfaction of those two old ladies. Besides that, the whole operation attracted crowds that sometimes jammed up that narrow walkway and it de-

tracted from the candle-makers and butter churners and other craft people. At any rate, the two women told us they didn’t want us back the next year. Dad was the last of the serious johnboat makers. I still make a few, but my dad and grandfather likely made several hundred over a period of 60 or 70 years. Dad made one at a time but Grandpa sometimes was working on 3 or 4 at a

time, at different stages, sitting on saw horses outside his cabin. You know why I intend to have another wooden johnboat built somewhere, before November? Because this winter I want to use it… when no one else is on the river, to fish or hunt ducks or deer or trap an otter or two. I’m not the only one who likes to paddle them. Last spring I stopped at a truck stop and there were three johnboats on trailers just like the ones we made for years on the Big Piney. They were owned by some young men who were master craftsmen, apparent by the way those boats were trimmed and finished. I found out they had built them after they bought my book, “Rivers to Run,” and used the johnboat building plan I had added toward the back of my book, in one entire chapter, with all measurements, blueprints and photos of Dad building one that he used for years. My Dad and Uncle are gone now, as are most men and women who lived in the early decades of our last century, the days before technology put aside that way of life, and those kinds of people forever. Today, as young generations curiously like to learn about their roots and a slower, more peaceful time, you will see demonstrations on all old-time ways, crafts and works at festivals and events around the Ozarks each fall, but there is no one ever building johnboats. But it was on display once about 15 years ago at Silver Dollar City. There may be a few of you who remember. (Larry Dablemont lives in southwest Missouri. He can be reached by email at lightninridge@windstream.net, or by phone at 417-777-5227.)

Page 4A • September 2017


New bait regs aim to keep Asian carp out of lakes


ince we’ve published several stories in recent months about locally-owned bait shops and the different types of bait they carry, I thought I should update everyone on some recent bait regulation changes handed down by the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC). The MDC announced in late August, just a few days before we went to press with this issue, a new regulation for anglers collecting bait from the Black and St. FranJimmy Sexton cis rivers. ———— According to their Journey On press release, this proactive measure is to prevent accidental bait bucket introduction of Asian carp into Clearwater and Wappapello lakes. Asian carp is a commonly used term for both bighead and silver carp, two invasive carp species that are wreaking havoc in waterways across the U.S. By following the new regulation, anglers will help everyone who recreates at the lake by preventing the opportunity for these invasive fish to establish. Asian carp can weigh over 60 pounds and commonly jump out of the water up to six feet. This can be extremely dangerous to boaters, skiers, tubers, or anyone traveling across the water. The new regulation went into effect Wednesday, Aug. 30, and it states: “Bait may only be collected using pole

rapidly, growing to a size where they cannot be consumed by most native fish species. “Asian carp can easily reach 12 inches in their first year of life,” Knuth said. Also, an adult female Asian carp can produce between 600,000 to 1.6 million eggs per year and start spawning during their second year of life. ——— I don’t know about you, but I sure am getting excited for deer season. Here are some fall hunting dates to keep in mind: Forrest Copeland, fisheries technician, holds a 20-pound silver carp caught in the Black River below the Clearwater Lake dam.

and line on the Black River in Wayne County from Clearwater Dam downstream to the Highway 34 bridge and on the St. Francis River in Wayne County downstream from the Lake Wappapello Dam to the County Road 517 bridge.” This regulation change will eliminate the use of cast nets, seines, dip nets, or minnow traps below both dams. “It’s already illegal to use Asian carp as live bait, and we don’t think anyone is doing that purposely,” said Dave Knuth, MDC fisheries management biologist. “However, juvenile Asian carp can easily be confused with gizzard shad, which is a commonly used bait fish.” Asian carp are documented to be present in both rivers below the dams, so the only way they would get up-

stream of the dam is by human introduction. This regulation will reduce the chances of accidental introduction of Asian carp into either lake. “Anglers can still use cast nets or seines or other methods to collect bait in both lakes, just not in the restricted areas below the dams,” Knuth said. According to Knuth, this regulation change is the best way to prevent the spread of Asian carp. If the invasive fish would become established in these lakes, the impacts would affect all forms of recreation in the lakes and be detrimental to the native fish populations. Asian carp are filter feeders and directly compete with gizzard shad and larval fishes for food. They completely disrupt the natural food chain in waterways they inhabit and they reproduce

I love the strong smell of black walnuts


t’s almost walnut season here in the Ozarks. As a kid I picked I don’t know how many thousands of black walnuts off the ground, dropping the finger-staining hulls into an onion sack, filling up one red sack after another. When we had enough sacks worth the haul in the bed of a pickup we’d take them down to Bradshaw’s Grocery, a little general country store, now closed, just over the Oklahoma line, to be hulled and get paid. In a good year we’d get $10 per hundred pounds. On average it was $8. When I was feeling lazy and got Wes Franklin tired of bending ———— over to pick up Native Ozarker what seemed like an endless sea of walnuts, my mom would encourage me with “look at all that money lying on the ground! Are you just not going to pick it up?” A lot of folks didn’t use sacks or buckets at all, but just tossed the walnuts directly into a truck bed until it was spilling over. They’d back up to the hulling machine and let the tailgate down and shovel them in. I used to love watching the conveyor belt take the walnuts up and into the bowels of the yellow monster, where the hulls would be spit out one side into a giant pile and the fat, oval-shaped nuts would drop out into waiting sacks, which were then tossed onto a neat stack. The hulls didn’t go to waste, either.

They were sold and eventually made into shoe polish. I loved the strong smell of black walnuts and still do. It reminds me of fall. Nowadays it also reminds me of my childhood. There’s an old Ozark superstition that says a bumper crop of walnuts in the fall means it’s going to be a hard winter. I’d like to believe there is some truth to that, for nature does seem to have a way of providing for her wild creatures, in her own way. But my real guess is the size of the walnut harvest probably has more to do with summer rainfall and other factors. Another old Ozark superstition, documented by folklorist Vance Randolph, is that it is very bad luck to burn walnut shells. Why that is I don’t know, but is there ever really a reason behind super-

stitions, anyway? Walnut trees are supposed to attract lightning, according to another Ozark superstition. If one is in fact struck by a bolt, it is said to be bad luck to burn its wood afterward. Just leave it be and let it rot. The nature of the bad luck is that lightning will then be drawn to your home. We had a walnut tree hit by lightning when I was a kid. It was on the side of a hill not far from our house and in plain view from the front living room window. I don’t recall what my dad did with it, but I’m sure he cut it up, split, and burned it that winter in our wood stove, which was the only heat source in our 1930s farmhouse. I can’t say whether or not any subsequent bad luck was a direct result of that, but our house was never struck by lightning, at least. I’ve read about other superstitions regarding walnuts and walnut trees, but I’m not sure if they were ever popular in the Ozarks or not. One is that if you fall asleep under a walnut tree you’ll dream about your lover. Walnut trees do throw off a lot of shade, so I can see where they might make for good nap spots, regardless. Happy walnut season, folks! (Wes Franklin can be reached at 417658-8443 or cato.uticensis46@gmail. com.)

On the Cover A successful duck hunt made even better by man’s best friend.

(photo courtesy of Bill Cooper)

TURKEY HUNTING • Archery season: Sept. 15 through Nov. 10, and Nov. 22 through Jan. 15, 2018. • Firearms Turkey Season: Oct. 1-31. DEER HUNTING • Archery Deer: Sept. 15 through Nov. 10, and Nov. 22 through Jan. 15, 2018. • Firearms Deer Early Youth Portion: Oct. 28-29. • Firearms Deer November Portion: Nov. 11- 21. • Firearms Deer Late Youth Portion: Nov. 24-26. • Firearms Deer Antlerless Portion: Dec. 1-3. • Firearms Deer Alternative Methods Portion: Dec. 23 through Jan. 2, 2018. (Jimmy Sexton is owner and publisher of the River Hills Traveler. He can be reached at (800) 874-8423, ext. 1, or jimmy@riverhillstraveler.com.)

River Hills Traveler 212 E. Main St., Neosho, MO 64850 Phone & Fax: 800-874-8423 www.riverhillstraveler.com Email: jimmy@riverhillstraveler. com Owner & Publisher Jimmy Sexton Managing Editor Madeleine Link Circulation Manager Amanda Harvel Staff Writers Heath Wood, Wes Franklin, Mike Roux, Bill Wakefield, Bill Oder, Bill Cooper, Michelle Turner & Dana Sturgeon Advertising All of us River Hills Traveler, established in 1973, is published monthly by Sexton Media Group and Traveler Publishing Company at 212 E. Main St., Neosho, MO 64850. Postmaster: Send change of address notices to: River Hills Traveler, 212 E. Main St., Neosho, MO 64850. Subscription prices: $22 per year; 2 years, $40. Back issues available up to one year from publication, $5 plus sales tax & shipping. COPYRIGHT © 2017 No part of this publication may be reproduced without the express written permission of the publisher of the River Hills Traveler or his duly appointed agent. The publisher reserves the right to reject any advertising or editorial submission for any reason.


September 2017 • Page 5A

VINTAGE OZARKS: the Hollister flood


he major Corps of Engineers dam-building era was a combination of dubious hydrologic theory propelled by the desire to create jobs during the Depression. Because our ancestors had foolishly developed the floodplains, there was much community support for flood control dams. Hollister flood, 1943. Springfield lawyer and land speculator William H. Johnson started building a Tudor-style complex by the train station in 1909 to accommodate tourists. As the faux halftimbered buildings were in the floodplain they were periodically immersed

when Lake Taneycomo overflowed. Table Rock Dam has kept the historic district, as it is now called, dry. Still some Hollister and Branson properties have suffered flooding, necessitating government buyouts. Believing the dam would afford complete protection, some people built even closer to the river, ignoring the Corps’ warning. (This feature is courtesy of Leland and Crystal Payton at Lens & Pen Press, publishers of all-color books on the Ozarks. Their new book, “James Fork of the White,” will be published in 2017. Some pages from this book can

be seen on www.beautifulozarks.com. Their earlier river book, Damming the

Osage, can be at seen www.dammingtheosage.com)

HUNTING & FISHING FINES The Missouri Conservation Commission met on Friday, Aug. 25, and suspended or revoked one or more hunting, fishing, or trapping privileges of 21 people for cause: • Dylan L. Amick, Gatewood, hunting, one year. • Gavin L. Baxley, Versailles, hunting, three years. • Jeffery L. Beeson, Bertrand, hunting, one year. • Albert L. Crews, Roby, hunting & fishing, one year. • Mark A. Goodwin, Philadelphia,

hunting, one year. • Kipton R. Groseclose, Lancaster, hunting, one year. • Scott Hedrick, Marceline, all sport, one year. • Russell L. Hostetter, Nelson, all sport, two years. • Harvell Hunter, Carthage, all sport, two years. • Emery L. Ireland, Chillicothe, hunting & fishing, one year. • Nathan M. Jones, Baxter Springs, hunting, three years. • Justin L. McGowan, Mountain

Grove, hunting, five years. • Kelby D. Moore, Hartville, hunting, four years. • Bryan K. Owens, Wardell, hunting, one year. • Richard S. Pagan, Wayland, fishing, one year. • Riley S. Pearman, Advance, hunting, two years. • Dylan S. Pogue, Ellington, hunting, three years. • Luther L. Roweton, Springfield, hunting, one year. • John M. Sorrells, Sparkman (Ark.),

hunting, five years. • Jody T. Story, Potosi, hunting, one year. • Timothy E. Tinker, Viburnum, hunting, three years. • Suspended or revoked all hunting and fishing privileges of 369 people who are not in compliance with applicable child support laws. • Suspended or revoked one or more hunting, fishing, and trapping privileges of 503 people in accordance with the terms of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact.

REMEMBER WHEN From the September archives of the River Hills Traveler: 5 years ago • Autumn is that all-too short season between late summer and fall. Dear to the hearts of shotgunners, autumn is a magical time in the field. It is a time of harvest for farmers and hunters alike. Slightly cooler mornings create an excitement among those first flights of blue-winged teal, stirs to migration by northern breezes and those gray ghosts of the fields, the morning dove. (Bill Cooper) • Despite growing up in a hunting family, I reached my 20’s before killing a deer. I became a proficient small game hunter during my first two years of college, lowering my grocery bill by hunting weekends on a family-owned farm. Seeing my interest in hunting, my father turned over my grandfather’s Winchester 1897 pump gun to me. Determined to graduate from small game to deer, I used a week’s earnings from my sunnier job to buy a used .30-30 and a box of cartridges. (Charlie Slovensky) 10 years ago • Life gets more complicated and more complicated. There’re times when you wish you could figure out a way to cast a different bait for this spot and another and another, cast after cast without so much as picking up a different rod. You wish you could just will it done. That’s tough enough. But now, I’m afraid if I want to be all the fisherman I can be, I not only need a different lure for every cast, but need a different kind of rod to fish it! (Bob Todd) • You probably saw one of those phenoms on the road this morning: that computer with one hand on the side of his or her head, another applying makeup or a shaver, another straightening his tie or brushing her hair, a couple more flipping the pages of a newspaper. Wait a minute, you must have been seeing things! A body’s only got two hands! Better stop watching the other drivers and focus on the highway, the traffic, and your own vehicle, or you’ll end up in a fender bender! (Charlie Slovensky) 15 years ago • Showing off our Ozark streams is something I enjoy doing, especially to out-of-staters. Without ex-

ception, they are mesmerized by the sheer beauty of our clear water streams reinforcing what I already know... we truly have a little piece of heaven right here in the Ozarks. (Bill Cooper) • Perhaps the new creel limit of 12 on spotted bass is being really effective at controlling spotted bass in the Meramec Basin. It certainly seems so on the stretch of Big River between Mammoth Access and Merrill Horse access, west of DeSoto. There were hardly enough for a short educational program. (Bob Todd) 20 years ago • Steve Gottschalk, the owner-operator of Bird’s Nest Lodge on the Upper Meramec in Steelville, is an outfitter’s outfitter. The consummate professional, he doesn’t rest until he gives his personal attention to all the details of his clients’ well-earned river holidays, whether it’s serving up BBQ on a gravel bar to 50 rafters or guiding anglers on a smallmouth bass fighting trip. (Charlie Parmenter) • I can remember when it was quite an achievement for me to bring in more than one or two squirrels. I used to envy the people who seemed to always get their limit. I recently met two St. Louisans who had invited me to squirrel hunt with them on some land leased near Fredericktown. One is a relative newcomer to hunting, the other a real newcomer. One reason I was along was to loan the newest hunter a shotgun. (Bob Todd) 30 years ago • In this 51st year of the Department of Conservation, much is being said about the successes that have been had in restoring deer and turkey, and in developing an effective system of lake fisheries management. Forgotten, for the most part, are the many mid-steps and missteps that were taken along the way, especially the technical ones that were pretty well out of public view. But they did happen and are happing still as the department turns major attention to the goal of managing stream fisheries. (Bob Todd)

• When we lived in town, there were times when we certainly didn’t want to know what was going on outside at night, But here in the country, we not only have a curiosity about what goes on at night, we try to find out. And the best way to do that is yo just listen. After June, we have virtually no mosquitos, so often, before we go to bed, we’ll go outside for awhile, with the lights out, and just watch and listen. (Bob Todd) 40 years ago • During the part month, at least three things have come to my attention that really upset me. The “police state” situation at Clearwater has been revived. The system of getting duck blind permits at Wappapello has changed. And the experimental crappie limit has been approved for Wappapello. The problem at Clearwater is long standing, but we thought it was straightening out some. Apparently not. Or not until citizens as a grip prevailed upon their congressman to do something about it. (Bob Todd) • Using the wing of a wild turkey, Osage women swept wind-carried leaves from their lodges. But when the wind was from the east, it was a hopeless task for an Osage lodge always faces the east. And that is how the whole tribe must have felt after the Louisiana purchase brought a continuous wind of eastern Indians, outlaws and settlers across the Mississippi River from the east. No matter how hard the Osage tried, no matter how many scalps they took or cabins they burned, the flow of people continued. (Bob Todd) (compiled by MyraGale Sexton)

‘Blood in the Ozarks’ D

eep in the eastern Ozarks of Missouri, a battle still rages about a Union massacre of Southern civilians that happened on Christmas Day, 1863. While some call it a simple rescue mission to liberate captured Union soldiers, others claim that it was mass murder, which included women and children. $17.00 + $4.00 s/h order online at www.bloodintheozarks.com or by mail by sending check or money order to: Blood in the Ozarks 807 Englehart Ln Marble Hill, MO 63764

Page 6A • September 2017


Fantastic days afield & on your plate By John Sloan very animal, bird and fish taken or caught is fair game for the table when handled and prepared well. It extends the hunting/fishing memories, and the game’s value, enriching us in many ways far beyond a trophy on the wall.


A handful of bream

The fog lay low and the water steamed as it will do on a cool spring morning. Later, as the sun burned the fog away, we could shed our flannel shirts. At present, we were too busy catch-

ing bream bigger than a big hand. A bream like this will weigh at least a pound, maybe more. It was early and we had over 20 such fish in the cooler. A fish fry was at hand. Slowly, we worked around the cypress snags and old timber, casting 1/8ounce Road Runners with a slow retrieve. We used four-pound line on light or ultra-light spinning rods. Probably, with crickets and a cane pole, we could have caught more. But there is something about an 18-ounce bream on light tackle that grabs me. A big, bull bluegill, pulling a small boat in a circle, is a joy to any fisherman. Uncle Lester shakes the boat with a Please see PLATE, 7A

Fried fillets, sliced tomatoes and onions, and a handful of french fries.


September 2017 • Page 7A

PLATE from 6A solid hook set. “Good one,” he says, and I can see from the bend in his rod he is not exaggerating. Two-minutes later, I net the fish for him and guess it at almost two pounds. Down the bank, a bullfrog harrumphs, as they do. He has been sounding off every few minutes and several others have joined him. I look at Uncle Lester. No need to speak; he reads my mind. “After supper,” he says, “we’ll let the fish settle, then get the gigs and the lights. I’m thinking frog legs and eggs would make a good breakfast.” I concur. An egret stalks in the shallows. A water snake leaves to go somewhere else. On the mud bank is a slick where a gator has been coming and going. In the South, this is a time of plenty for the outdoorsman. The bream are biting, the crappie are starting to spawn, turkeys gobble and the big frogs will hold for a light. But it doesn’t have to be bluegillbream or even crappie. There are many fish, nationwide, that provide superb table fare, either filleted or whole. Crappie, bluegill, walleye, bass under a pound, yellow perch…all great. Unfortunately, so many cooks fry them too long and lose much of the flavor and texture. If your fish are not really big enough to fillet, simply clean them, remove the heads and scale them well. Leave the tails and fins on. I, personally, prefer the fillets, but a whole bream is good and fun to eat. The tails and fins, crispy and golden, are a delicacy. Try this simple cooking method noted below and see how you like it.

sauce to give it a bite. Squeeze a little lemon juice on top. You now have a superb dip for the fish.

Hunting tip

Uncle Lester with a one-pound, 14-ounce bull bream. That is a handful, indeed.

fish, make light vertical scores from top fin down, about two inches apart, usually two or three per side. In a large enough bowl, combine one pint of buttermilk and two eggs. Beat well and submerge fish. On top of the You have the fish, filleted or whole, fish and buttermilk, sprinkle several cleaned and well washed and soaked in drops of your favorite hot sauce. I prea light saltwater solution for about 10fer Louisiana Hot Sauce or Mcilhenny minutes. Remove and wash. Place in hot sauce. Let soak about 20 minutes. the freezer for just long enough to get In a sack, or big bowl, combine yelwell chilled. low corn meal and seasoning. I prefer Remove and pat dry. If it is a whole Tony Chachere Cajun Seasoning and I like Martha White corn meal. Use enough seasoning to color the corn meal. Add freshly chopped and ground black pepper to taste. No salt. If you need them saltier, do that as you remove them from the cooking oil. In a big skillet or deep fryer, heat enough oil to allow plenty of room. Heat to 375-400 degrees F. When oil is hot, remove fish from milk, shake off Breaded frog legs about to become excess and shake or dredge in corn meal. Get them well “mealed.” Place part of breakfast.

In the kitchen

fish in hot oil. Do not crowd the cooker. Fry in smaller batches or “drops” and leave plenty of room for the individual pieces to move. This will keep the cooking oil at proper temperature and cook the fish better. When they are golden brown and floating, usually about 90 seconds for fillets, remove and drain. With whole fish, when the tails and fins are crispy and golden, take them out. Be sure you don’t cook the fish too long. Can’t say this enough. Serve with a garden salad, French fries, maybe hush puppies or corn bread, sweet or unsweetened tea or a cold one and you have a feast. But wait. What is a fish fry without something to dip the fish in? Combine Hellman’s mayonnaise, about ¾-cup, with enough ketchup to color the mixture a deep orange. Shake in enough Worcestershire sauce to give the dip a brown cast and enough hot

The smart hunter, providing he has the opportunity, often combines a scouting trip with a fishing trip. If the hunter has permission to hunt the land along a lake shore or river bank, periodically stopping and looking can pay big dividends in the future. Approaching a stand site from the water, by boat or canoe, done correctly, can allow a hunter to reach his stand almost undetected. In the early spring and summer, while fishing, I often stop and walk the bank. I am looking for three things: • Obvious trails. • Rubs from more than one season. • The right trees. When I find two of the three, I record the exact location and either find or make a landmark on the bank where I can park the boat. What are the right trees? This depends on where you live. Almost anywhere there are whitetail deer, there are oak trees. There are two main varieties of oak — red and white. Usually, the red oak drops its mast first. A week or so later, the white oaks drop. Oak trees in river bottoms or on lake shores may be the first and often only oaks that bear mast. They become feeding magnets for deer. Make a note, go back in September and check them out. The other trees I look for are fruit trees. Persimmon, crab apple and pawpaw trees are prevalent where I live. It may be different where you are. These trees, when dropping fruit, can be true killer hot spots. Pick a stand tree, clear or mark a trail, find a secure boat landing spot and be sure you can find it in the dark. Until a few years ago, when age became a factor, 50 percent of my stands were stands I reached by boat. They were on public ground and not one time did I see another deer hunter.

Fresh, clean fillets ready to be spiced up and breaded.

Page 8A • September 2017



September 2017 • Page 9A

Fishing • Kayaking • RV camping • Cabins • And more! 84 Cat Hollow Trail, Lebanon, MO • (417) 532-4377 www.FORTNIANGUA.com

Park features sandstone cliffs, diverse forests & a tributary to the Meramec


he new Don Robinson State Park in Jefferson County is open for business. The 818-acre park, located near Cedar Hill, is available for day use and will feature hiking trails to allow the public to enjoy the wide variety of natural resources found within its boundaries. The park’s land is in the upper watershed of LaBarque Creek, a high-quality stream that supports 42 species of fish before entering the Meramec River. The park also includes an extensive network of sandstone cliffs and box canyons, outcrops and shelter caves as well as glades and upland and bottomland forests. Native shortleaf pine occurs in the area and may represent the northernmost location of this species in Missouri. The park is rich in native plants, with about 650 species of plants. Don Robinson was a self-made businessman who became successful by producing and marketing a cleaning product called “Off.” With his profits, he began buying land in the Jefferson County area, creating his own sanctuary surrounded by mostly forested steep, rugged hills. Upon his death, Robinson donated his land, as well as trust fund, to help manage the park to Missouri State Parks. The entrance to the park is located at 9275 Byrnesville Road, Cedar Hill. Guests can find out more about the new park by calling (636) 257-3788.  Don Robinson State Park is the newest of several state parks now available to the public in Missouri. Missouri state parks are important drivers of tourism and economic activity.

An economic impact study found that visitors to state parks produced an overall economic impact of $1.02 billion and supported more than 14,000 Missouri jobs last year. During fiscal years 2014 and 2015, approximately $18 million was invested in improving and maintaining facilities in the park system. An additional $10 million in investments in improvements to state parks and historic sites throughout Missouri is currently being made through a strategic bond issuance, made possible by the state’s strong fiscal discipline.

Critter of the Month: Western pygmy rattlesnake • Species: Western pygmy rattlesnake. • Scientific name: Sistrurus miliarius streckeri. • Nicknames: Ground rattler. • Claim to fame: The western pygmy rattlesnake is Missouri’s smallest venomous snake (usually less than two feet in length). As is the case with any venomous snake, this creature has few friends among humans. However, pygmy rattlesnakes benefit us by consuming mice and other small rodents that can be pests to humans. • Species status: Because of their primarily nocturnal behavior in summer and also because of their skittish nature, pygmy rattlesnakes aren’t frequently seen. However, they can be found in this area and throughout much of southern Missouri. • First discovered: The first scientific description of the pygmy rattlesnake was written by the famed naturalist Carl Linnaeus in 1766. The first description of the western

pygmy was written by Kansas herpetologist Howard K. Gloyd in 1935. • Family matters: The western pygmy rattlesnake belongs to the family Viperidae, a group commonly referred to as the venomous snakes. There are three subspecies of pygmy rattlesnakes in North America. Besides the western, there’s the Carolina pygmy (Sistrurus miliarius miliarius) and the dusky pygmy (Sistrurus miliarius barbouri). • Length: About 15 to 20 inches. • Diet: Lizards, small snakes, mice and occasionally insects and small frogs. • Weight: Adults can weigh between one and six ounces. • Distinguishing characteristics: The general color of the western pygmy is brownish gray with dark brown or black blotches. The head has a distinct black stripe that angles from the eye to the corner of the mouth. A narrow orange-brown dorsal stripe is usually present. The sound made by the

rattle is a faint buzz reminiscent of the sound of an insect. It can be heard only slightly over a meter away. • Life span: Pygmy rattlesnakes have been known to live up to 15 years. • Habitat: During late spring and early summer, pygmy rattlesnakes will bask in rocky open areas, near brush piles, or along the sides of roads near forests and glades. During July and August, this species tends to be nocturnal and can be observed crossing roads and highways at night. This species takes shelter under rocks during spring, early summer and autumn. Other retreats include abandoned mammal burrows, logs and brush piles. • Life cycle: Courtship and mating are presumed to take place in the spring. The young are born from August through September. Pygmy rattlesnakes give birth to live young (as opposed to laying eggs). Three to seven young are produced per litter. As is the case with most species of snakes, pygmy rattlesnakes provide no parental care to their offspring. (source: MDC)

Washington State Park Thunderbird Lodge 13041 St. Hwy. 104 (south of DeSoto on MO 21)

(636) 586-2995 3 & 7 mile floats • Cabins • Camping Swimming pool • Kayaking/Tubing open April thru November!

Page 10A • September 2017


First-timers visiting this park are always amazed


y wife and I recently made a trip to Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park in Middlebrook, Mo., and were rewarded with being able to see a lot of incredible views of Mother Nature at her best. It had been quite a few years since we had been there and so we were immediately impressed with all the changes that have been made, especially since the early morning hours of 12-14-2005, when the Taum Sauk Reservoir atop nearby Proffit Mountain breached sending approximately 1.3 billion gallons of water rampaging down the mountain and through the park. The only people in the park at the time were the park superintendent and his family who were fortunate inBill Oder deed to survive the ———— ordeal. Cleaning up after this disaster must have been a massive undertaking but a year later the park was opened for limited day use; however, no swimming was allowed. Finally, in 2009 the river and shut-ins were reopened and a grand re-opening took place in 2010 showing off all the new renovations and the new visitor’s center at the entrance of the park. Park restorations were paid for from a large settlement from Ameren UE who runs the nearby hydroelectric power plant at Taum Sauk. During the downtime at the park, the local small businesses suffered a big decline in their income from the lack of the many tourists and campers who normally frequented the park. When you visit the Shut-Ins, you will see warning signs that tell you if you hear a siren, you should seek higher ground immediately in case there are any future problems. The park got its name from the Johnston (the “t” was later dropped) family who settled the area in the 1800s. Three generations of this family farmed the land. There is a cemetery in the park where 36 members of this family lie at rest. Joseph Desloge, a St. Louis resident and member of the lead mining family, bought most of this land from descendants of the Johnson family and

in 1955 donated the land to the state to be used as a state park. It is the East Fork of the Black River that winds its way through this park and over the years has eroded the stones in the river so all that is left are the grayish purple rocks called rhyolite that form the shut-ins. A shut-in is defined as a place where the river’s width is limited by hard rock that is resistant to erosion. In other words, those huge gray boulders that you see in the river aren’t going anywhere. The power of erosion has met its match by those beautiful, majestic stones. The park offers camping, 45 miles of hiking trails and, of course, the swimming available at the Shut-Ins. Children need to be supervised in this area because there are no lifeguards. It is “swim at your own risk.” Parents should take advantage of the personal flotation devices that are lent at no cost for use while swimming. You will find them on the boardwalk by the steps that go down to the Shut-Ins. There are six “camper cabins” that are available for renting. These offer

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electricity, a ceiling fan, A/C, heat, a small refrigerator, microwave, bed, futon, table and chairs but no restroom. You need to bring your own bed linens, sleeping bags, and cooking utensils. A shower house and bathrooms are close by. Camping reservations can be made online. When entering the park, the first thing that catches your eye is the impressive appearance of the Black River Center which houses a meeting room, a small gift shop and a source of infor-

mation regarding the park and the St. Francois Mountains. The park’s hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. There are also other places to see in the area that are close enough for a family to take in on a one-day road trip: Elephant Rocks State Park, Millstream Gardens Conservation Area, and the Battle of Pilot Knob Historic Site. Johnson’s Shut-Ins can be reached by going west on Highway N off of Highway 21. It is 13 miles to the entrance to the park. Don’t forget your camera because you will be seeing some unbelievable landscapes. First-timers visiting this park are always fascinated and amazed. (Bill Oder can be reached at oderbill@yahoo.com.)


September 2017 • Page 11A

Company hopes new app will connect people on the water By Michelle Turner ack and Luke Snow dispel the myth that younger generations lack motivation and a strong work ethic. Jack hits the books pursuing his doctorate in dentistry and Luke puts his engineering degree to use within the field of power distribution. As if that was not enough, Jack and Luke built a company that will help create unique and efficient waterway experiences. That business is called TieUp, Co. Simply put, TieUp, Co. is in the process of developing an app for boaters, as well as providing an apparel and accessory line. As co-founders, Jack (CEO) and Luke (COO) brought Austin Hill and Scott Erikson into the fold. Austin is the president of sales, while Scott is the president of marketing. The TieUp, Co. team recently sat down for a little Q&A session with the River Hills Traveler to explain what they have to offer.


Q: How can TieUp, Co. benefit our readers? A: Readers and followers of the River Hills Traveler will find many benefits in using our software. Many of your readers love boating, so they will enjoy the boating functions such as our docking feature, but many of our MeetUps pertain to the fishing and floating experience as well. We will ensure that our users do not miss any of the incredible fishing tournaments or epic floating opportunities. Along with never missing out on the fun, individuals will be able to quickly search for conveniences such as marinas, boat ramps, and local eateries. Q: What got you personally interested in being in a company of this nature? A: Spend a week on the water with good friends and you’ll have your answer. The memories shared on the water are hard to match. We want to ensure that this lifestyle stays relevant with the changing times. We want to be the catalyst for a whole new, diverse demographic of boaters that still believe in the enchantment of the waters! Our crew was born and raised on the water, so we know what it takes to make the most out of a liquefied adventure, but for many new enthusiasts, it may not be that simple. We wanted to simplify the adventure because it doesn’t need to be difficult. Being a part of a company whose sole purpose is to facilitate new friendships and lasting memories is rewarding, and just about all we can ask for. Q: Overall, the app seems like a great idea for boating enthusiasts. If boaters download the app, what benefits can they expect? A: Our software attempts to make it as simple as possible for new boaters to make the most out of their experience. The overall benefits will present as a hassle-free, timesaving, and money-saving process. We have four main functionalities that will provide the backbone for any adventure. MeetUps is a comprehensive list of boat parties, fishing tournaments, and float trips from all across the country. Users can expect to find events they may have never heard of, such as the National Cardboard Boat Race Championship. MeetUps will allow users to determine what events they want to attend. GoToSpots will provide users with information, like the locations of marinas, boat ramps, local food, and

any hotspots. If spur of the moment is more your type of adventure, then we have the TieUp function. This gives users a live look at who is on the water, what they are up to, where they are, and whether they match the user’s desired atmosphere for the day. This allows our users to make instant decisions on where they want to spend their water time, without having to guess what they will find at their destination. Many people are stuck going to the same cove or river time and time again. The TieUp function gives users the opportunity to try new places, meet new people, and make memories. Finally, we have the docking feature, which allows peer-to-peer boat slip rental. This opens up a whole new avenue for transient boaters who want a place to dock for the day. Many families believe boating is a hassle due to keeping children corralled on a boat for six to eight straight hours. With our docking feature, families can search for docking space that is in their desired destination with the amenities that will help to alleviate any stress.

Q: When will the app be available and how much will it cost? A: Development will come to a conclusion during the middle of September, which is the same time we hope to be available. Technology can sometimes put up a fight, so we cannot give an exact date as to when the app will be released. FREE. Plain and simple. It is crucial for us to get our product into the hands of the boating community. We believe TieUp, Co. can revolutionize how people attack liquefied adventures, but without a strong and dedicated user base, we cannot succeed. We think what we have to offer can truly bring about a new age of boating that is simplified, stress free, and convenient. It is up to our community to trust in the app and to trust in their fellow boaters. Q: Is there anything else you’d like to add about yourself or the company and products you offer? A: We would like to genuinely thank everyone for all the support and positive feedback we are receiving during this growing period. We do have a small apparel selection to choose from in TheReservoir and would love to see our gear out on the water! We have all the major social media feeds and encourage readers to follow us for future information on the development of TieUp, Co. Our website is www.tieupco.com.

Page 12A • September 2017


Believe it or not, this town only has 1 house


here are many small towns, villages and communities that are scattered throughout the Ozarks. Finding and exploring these small villages and towns is something that I enjoy. During my search I believe that I have come across one of the smallest communities in Missouri. That community is called Blairsville, and it’s located in St. Francois County. Like many small towns that were started in the mid-1800’s, Blairsville followed the growth of a railroad line. The Iron Mountain Railroad ran from St. Louis to Texarkana, Ark., as well as to southeast Missouri. The line was initially established to deliver iron ore from Iron Mountain, Mo., to St. Louis. The company was frequently referred to as the St. Louis Iron Mountain & Bill Wakefield Southern (StLIM———— &S) or shortened to simply the Iron Mountain Railway. Just as a side note this railroad was robbed twice, once by the James-Younger Gang on Jan. 31, 1874, at Gad’s Hill, Mo. The town of Blairsville is located approximately one mile north of the present town of Bismarck, Mo. If you are driving north on State Highway BB and cross State Highway U, look toward the southwest corner of this intersection and you will see a few houses. Only one of these houses is in the original plat or town. This was the location of Blairsville. The town plat was recorded on April 14, 1858, and was laid out with six streets. The streets ran north and south, which was parallel to the railroad tracks. It was the hope of the developers that with a location next to the railroad tracks and a well thought out plat plan of a town with streets, names and lot locations, that it would attract business and residents. This town contained sev-

The town plat.

eral houses, a train depot and a post office which was opened in 1858 and closed in1869. The houses were usually two rooms with a basement. People got their water from the several springs by the creek that ran through the settlement. Everything is gone now except the building that was once the train depot. This three-story rock house is still standing and it is, and has always been, inhabited. Because of this unique circumstance, Blairsville is considered an active community by the county and state and the plat cannot be closed. This three-story stone structure has four rooms on each of the first and second floors. It is said that the third story was used to temporarily hold POWs from the Civil War until further arrangements were made to take them to a more permanent location. There are two private old wagon roads that are still visible that lead to the Rock House from Highway U. Ed and Brenda Guggenberger owned property in the old Blairsville settlement. They purchased the acreage in 1960 from the three Gordon sisters. The sisters were schoolteachers who lived and worked in St. Louis, but moved into the rock house during the summertime when school was out of session. When the Guggenbergers lived in the rock house, Brenda Guggenberger said that she had encountered a ghost on several occasions. She described him as a tall, slim man in a dress overcoat and top hat. Another visitor to the old rock house was the bushwhacker Sam Hildebrand. This guy really got around. I might have to write a story about him for the Traveler. Supposedly Sam Hildebrand was after the people who shot and killed his mother. He was tracking the two men who he believed were involved with the killing to the rock house. It is reported the he killed these two individuals in the back yard to avenge his mother’s death. When the developers laid out the plat plan for Blairsville they neglected one small detail related to the railroad tracks. The tracks were built on a slight incline going south. When the train stopped at the rock house depot it had difficulty getting up the incline from a dead stop, it needed

momentum to navigate the hill. Because of this, the railroad company built a new station in Bismarck where the terrain was more suitable. Since the trains no longer stopped in

Blairsville the town’s growth stopped and then declined. Now all that is left is the rock house as a reminder on how a railroad could make or break a town. Finding information about Blairsville was challenging since the town only existed for a few years. I would like to thank Linda Radford for her help. She and Linda Debry wrote a book — “Bismarck Hometown U.S.A.” — that I used as a resource. A thank you to Steve Grider, who is the recorder of deeds for St. Francois County, for his time in helping me find the plat plans for Blairsville and some background information about the area. (Bill Wakefield is regional director of the Traveler’s St. Louis office and can be reached at w3@charter.net.)


September 2017 • Page 13A

Have you ever wondered why it is cooler in the woods?


oday I am going to write about putting together four words not usually associated with each other… “global warming” and “common sense.” Those who go around saying that climate change is a farce show their ignorance. Certainly it is happening and you can see it if you take your head out of the sand.  BUT… those who are wringing their hands about what it is going to do to the earth may be dumber yet.  Because, there isn’t anything we can do about it. We have made our beds and we will indeed Larry lie in them. Dablemont If indeed the ice ———— caps continue to Lightnin’ melt, if the oceans Ridge continues to rise, if the polar bears and arctic wildlife disappear and if Los Angeles citizens eventually have to wade in flooded streets, and New Yorkers have to wear masks to filter poison air, it won’t make much difference to those of us living in the Ozarks. And if the average temperature rises 5 or 6 degrees in the summer and winter alike, it won’t affect many of us. Folks will use more electricity to run air conditioners in the summer, and then less to keep homes warm in the winter.  As for me and a few folks like me, tucked back in these woods far from civilization, we won’t need either. That climate change that anyone older than fifty can easily see, will in fact have an effect on Ozark plants, fish and wildlife in time, but today’s population is so tuned into modern civilization, city life and technology that few will even know what happened, unless

Snow in the spring makes some folks scoff at the idea of a man-made climate change. They have their head in the sand!

it affects cattle, chickens and hogs, and a slow “global warming” won’t… much. Before global warming can hit the world’s populations too hard, it is likely that a meteor of some kind will, or a hail of nuclear weapons will. For sure, floods will get worse, but we can live with that. Droughts will be worse, but we can live with that too.  Carbon Dioxide in some cities will make the sun’s rays hard to see and feel, but what is warming our planet has much to do with something no one will talk about; population, increasing pavement and concrete… and the removal of forests and natural vegetation worldwide. There are increasingly new subspecies of human. One subspecies is becoming extinct, that is the one that has lived on the land in small numbers, and with it to some extent, a part of the earth with little effect on it.  There were once quite a lot of them, but they are being replaced by a really

strange sub-species now found in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York and places like that. They are very intelligent in many ways but they do not understand things that involve common sense. This new sub-species thinks that one lifeboat will hold and infinite number of people, or that a strong oak limb will hold a million people and never break. That subspecies does not know that today’s world, as great burgeoning numbers of their kind keep pouring millions of acres of cement and spreading millions of acres of pavement, might be creating global warming that has nothing to do with CO2 or methane or hot water vapor.  I noticed that once when I had a pair of thermometers, that a big rock out in the woods up here on Lightnin’ Ridge was a full 15 degrees cooler than the paved parking lot at the Walmart shopping center in town. That is strange, isn’t it?  We went float-fishing on the Niangua river one summer when the temperature in Springfield, Missouri, topped 106 degrees. On a river gravel bar beneath some big sycamores it was only 92. Go figure. Why? I am thinking that 200 years ago, the temperature in the woods where Springfield now sits, was likely the same temperature as the banks of the river.  That is a theory only, one I call the cement versus gravel bar theory.  And I want everyone to know that there has never been a day that you could fry an egg on that flat rock in the woods up here on Lightnin’ Ridge. Maybe you can see what I am trying to say. If you can’t, I must sound awfully foolish, but I am betting that on the hottest day in mid-July of this year, I can lay down in the woods in the shade of big oaks, and you can lay down in the parking lot of some city business where no trees stand, and one

of us will not get up at day’s end. I also will bet that where these big trees now stand, there will be none in a hundred years or so. They will be gone, and who knows, maybe concrete will have taken their place. What might the temperature be then, where cool soil might be covered with hot asphalt? Do you get a new perspective on global warming now? What do you think the chances are that it will get cooler when the population and the amount of cement and pavement both increase on the surface of our nation by two? There is no chance of changing things here on earth, and those politicians who think we can most likely are those who think some Russian talked me into changing my vote last November.   That new sub-species of human beings and what they want have already swamped those of us who still cling to common sense. As the old sub-species dies out completely, woods and rivers and wildlife and some far away glacier will be of no importance. But there is something to remember. If there is a meteor, or if a great number of earthquakes and volcanoes erupt, or God forbid, if nuclear weapons start being used, the clouds created for months and months by any of those things will block the sun’s energy and really cool the earth, perhaps to a point of wiping out all life but cockroaches… and maybe a few folks who belong to the old sub-species of humans. So the thing is, those of us Ozarkians who do not gravitate to a world of concrete and pavement should stop worrying about global warming.  We can enjoy a much warmer winter in the future! (Larry Dablemont lives in southwest Missouri. He can be reached by email at lightninridge@windstream.net, or by phone at 417-777-5227.)

Share your opinions at MDC’s 80th anniversary open houses By Eleanor C. Hasenbeck his year the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is celebrating 80 years of serving nature and Missourians. MDC was founded by Missourians — concerned by the state’s decimated fish, forests, and wildlife — through a constitutional amendment passed in 1936 to create the nation’s first apolitical conservation agency in 1937.


Keeping with its tradition of citizenbased conservation, MDC will hold open houses around the state in August through October to share information and gather public feedback. MDC Director Sara Parker Pauley will be at all open houses to share insights on the department’s history, conservation priorities, and challenges on the horizon. Each open house will also include comments by local community leaders.

Attendees are encouraged to give feedback on MDC regulations, infrastructure, strategic priorities, and statewide and local conservation issues. No registration is required. Refreshments will be served. The first 80 attendees at each open house will receive a special gift from MDC. “Citizen involvement and participation have always been important to the De-

partment of Conservation,” said Pauley. “Whether through gathering input from hunters on deer season regulations, or hikers and birdwatchers on how a conservation area should be managed, we value public input. We want to hear from you.” All of the open houses will be held from 6-8 p.m. A complete list of locations and dates appears on page 16B of this issue.

Page 14A • September 2017


HIDES from 1A It is sponsored by the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, or more simply the Elks Lodges throughout the United States. This program relies on the generosity of hunters across the nation to donate hides so they can be turned into leather goods used for therapy programs for recovering veterans. The leather program provides professionally-crafted gloves for veterans in wheelchairs. The gloves are distributed at veteran’s adaptive sports clinics, veteran’s homes and gatherings throughout the country. Each year, thousands of Elks Lodge members step up to help out with this program, offering their time, energy and skills to serve our veterans. Their gifts help to create thousands of gloves and therapy kits provided to veterans at no charge. The Elks Lodge’s deerskin program began in 1948 in California, and today Elks Lodges in 17 states, including many Elks Lodges in Missouri, participate in the program. Last year more than 17,000 hides were donated nationwide with the Missouri

ART from 1A with this one. It is on land his family has owned for generations. His first cabin on this site was blown away in the Easter tornado of 2001. It had been a store and gallery, but it blew eastward across the highway into a pond by the airport. The store carried items that cannot be found easily: sinew, black powder, lead balls, flint, etc. Since 1984 there has been every Sunday at 3 p.m. a black powder shoot and all the shooters have a flintlock rifle. Anyone is welcome, and always has been. After the tornado destruction, Doug Hall, who has painted oil on canvas all of his life, was driven to paint daily. Now his daily routine is up at daybreak, tea or coffee on the porch, feed and care for the horses, paint from 10 to 3, clean the brushes and drive to the log cabin gallery. He does not paint at night and he never paints on Sunday. He does take the “mandatory union coffee breaks” during the day while he sits and studies his work on the easel. He lives in his third log cabin on 50 acres in McDonald County. There, he shoes his horses, mows the acreage and all that that entails. He does not plant anything, but he paints. His oil paintings are sought after by galleries and museums. Their auctions and shows have deadlines. Descriptions

“Portage on Indian Creek,” to be auctioned on Sept. 22.

Elks Lodges and hunters contributing over 5,700 hides alone. Missouri has been continually one of the top producers in the country for the deer hide program. There are several reasons why deer hide is used in making gloves for veterans. Cow leather is not as supple as tanned deer skin. Deer hide will last longer than cowhide and it is a lot softer on the veteran’s hands. This softness will conform to the veteran’s hands and protect the hands from callous. The raw product, which is the deer hide, is donated to the Elks Lodges which makes fabrication of the special gloves more economical. It takes approximately three square

feet of good deer leather to make one pair of deerskin gloves. Last year the Elks Lodges distributed 2,843 pairs of gloves to veterans nationwide and many of those went to Missouri veterans. Deer leather scrap pieces are also put to good use. These pieces are used to make leather-working craft kits for disabled or hospitalized soldiers to help take their minds off their injuries and improve manual dexterity. After the participating Elks Lodges receive the hides, they are shipped to Tennessee for the tanning process. The next step is fabrication of the gloves, which takes place at a facility in Washington State. If Missouri hunters would like to donate deer hides to this worthwhile program, it is recommended that they first call their local Elks Lodge to make sure it is participating in this program. Go to Elks.org, type in a zip code and it will bring up the nearest lodge’s address and phone number. Many of the lodges will accept hides in different forms, which is another reason why it’s best to call the local Elks Lodge first to find out how they would like the deer hides prepared.

If you are not planning on tanning your deer hide and making a pair of moccasins or a fringe leather deer shirt for yourself, I encourage you to call your local Elks Lodge and donate your deer hide. This small gift will benefit many veterans who gave so much to protect or freedom. I would like to thank Nicholas Mueller, who is a member of the Elks Lodge in Washington, Mo., for his contribution of information about the the Veterans Leather program. (Bill Wakefield is regional director of the Traveler’s St. Louis office and can be reached at w3@charter.net.)

of the work and about the artists are needed for catalogs. There just seems to always be a deadline looming somewhere, and an artist who cannot meet a deadline is not going to do well. After the finished oil paintings are sent to the museums and galleries, the catalogs are printed, the public is then invited. You can participate in the upcoming auction to be held Sept. 22 in Cody, Wy. You can attend or you can participate in the absentee bidding by registering before Sept. 10. To join the absentee bidding, phone (888) 598-8119. Tell the office you are interested in Doug Hall’s Portage on In-

dian Creek, lot #81. You can view the work, PORTAGE ON INDIAN CREEK, on Doug’s website at www.doughallart.com. You may also join him on Facebook with a friend request to Doug Hall’s Log Cabin Gallery@doughallart. Looking at Doug’s website you can also view other originals for sale. Besides the original oil paintings, you can choose among Doug’s portfolio “giclee prints.” A giclee (pronounced zhe-clay) is a copy of an artist’s original which is printed on canvass. The giclee strongly resembles the oil painting in texture and perfect color. It

will last a lifetime and is much less expensive than an original. Doug has on his “team” a gentleman who is a fine art printer and who has this modern press. It is programmed to the original and then spurts pigmented archival ink onto a canvas, which can then be framed. Doug was amazed to see how similar to an original this process produces. Living in a log cabin and having a gallery in a log cabin, Doug Hall smiles when he says his art has always paid for the electricity. And if you have electricity, you have everything.

AROUND the WORLD with the River Hills Traveler

Bob Brennecke, of Ballwin, Mo., is pictured in Nova Scotia on the Cabot Trail, Cape Breton, a few weeks ago. "We then went to Prince Edward Island (my now favorite place)," he said. "Everything is pristine and manicured, everyone friendly, the sea washes in and out constantly. The Bay of Fundy was unbelievable, the power of the sea and the tide." He took a friend along with him. ——— If you're going on a trip or vacation, please take the River Hills Traveler with you and have someone photograph you and the magazine in front of a landmark or particular setting. Then email the picture to us at jimmy@riverhillstraveler.com and we will publish it an upcoming issue. You can also text your photos & info to (417) 451-3798 or send them to us via our Facebook page.

Thank you very much and we look forward to seeing your family’s adventures!


September 2017 • Page 15A

FLOOD from 1A ing facilities and services in a manner that is more sustainable in a river corridor. This process is expected to take at least eight months.   “If anything good can come from such a devastating flood, it provides us with the opportunity to re-think which facilities can be re-located outside the flood zone,” said ONSR Superintendent Larry Johnson.  “We know that funding won’t be available to keep replacing or repairing facilities damaged or destroyed by recurrent flooding. The IPI process will help us move to a more sustainable operation while providing for visitor needs.” An update on the current status and anticipated repairs for facilities and operations for impacted areas is listed below:   

Lower Current River

• The Big Spring Dining Lodge & Cabins have been closed since the fall of 2014 in preparation for extensive rehabilitation and restoration. In the fall work will begin to replace the electrical and sewer utility systems, and move all electrical lines underground. Restoration work on the lodge and cabins is currently planned to begin in 2020, with planning and environmental compliance to be done in 2019. “We had originally planned to repair the crucial life, health, and safety issues of the lodge and cabins with the intent to reopen them while the major renovations could be done,” said Johnson. “However, the flood damage is too extensive to allow for that. Therefore, the facilities will remain closed while the major renovation work is completed, and the lodge and cabins will reopen after that work is done.” • Replacement of the Big Spring bridge will begin in the fall of 2017 and is expected to take approximately one year for completion. While the bridge is closed during construction, visitors will still be able to reach Big Spring, the boat ramp, and campground via Peavine Road.   • Big Spring and Peavine pavilions — Both pavilions were destroyed in the flood, and the flood debris was recently removed from the sites.  The concrete slabs remain intact at both pavilions, and

The Big Spring pavilion pad, with picnic tables for use (after the destroyed pavilion remnants were removed).

picnic tables have been placed on them for gatherings and picnics. At the Big Spring pavilion, restrooms are available nearby, water is available at the pavilion, and the grill will be replaced very soon. At the Peavine pavilion, a grill is available, but there is no restroom or water at the site.  Currently both pavilion sites are available first-come, first-served, but may be available in the future for reservation at a reduced fee at www.recreation. gov. Pop-up tents will be allowed as long as they remain on the concrete slab.   “Our intent is to rebuild these very popular pavilions so they are consistent with the historic landscape. At this time, we are uncertain as to how soon that can take place,” Johnson said.  • Big Spring Campground — The campground suffered extensive damage and will not re-open in 2017. The Big Spring group campsites and restroom, as well as three loops in the main campground, the shower house and one additional restroom are tentatively planned to reopen by Memorial Day 2018.  • Chubb Hollow group campsite and the Chubb Hollow pavilion remain available for use. The Chubb Hollow group campsite is currently available on a firstcome, first-served basis at a reduced rate of $25 per night. The Chubb Hollow pavilion is available first-come, firstserved. • Big Spring trails are in good condition for hiking.   • Pin Oak campground was completely destroyed during the flood and will not be reopened. The vault toilet and other remaining amenities will be removed from the area.  

Middle Current River

• Powder Mill Campground and river access — This area sustained extensive

damage. The campground will remain closed for the remainder of 2017. The river landing opened in mid-August, but the restroom facility will likely be unavailable due to the absence of electrical service.  The campground is tentatively slated to reopen in 2018, but that will be dependent on completion of road work in the campground, and the availability of electricity and a restroom facility.   • Goose Bay and Martin Bluff campsites — Currently the Goose Bay campsites are open. Due to extensive damage to the access road and campsite at Martin Bluff, future use of that area is being evaluated. • Two Rivers Campground — The Two Rivers concession store will be replaced with a temporary mobile office building this fall. One of the primitive campsites along the river reopened in mid-August.

Upper Current River

• Pulltite Visitor Center was heavily damaged and has been closed this summer. Repair work is expected to begin over the winter, with reopening tentatively expected by Memorial Day 2018.

Jacks Fork River

• Alley Spring Campground — A new durable concrete shower house/restroom facility designed for use in flood prone areas was installed in the campground in late July. Portable toilets remain in each camping loop in the absence of flush toilets. The regular summer camping rates and online reservation system were restored on July 28. Work to repair the existing damaged restroom buildings throughout the campground is expected to begin in the fall, with anticipated completion before Memorial Day 2018.

• Alley Spring and Mill area — Due to the damage to the utilities, it may be some time before the flush toilet facilities can be reopened. No estimated reopening date for the restroom is known.  Portable toilets are available near the parking lots. • Harvey’s Alley Spring Canoe Rental concession store is scheduled for repairs beginning in the fall. • Shawnee Creek Campground — This backcountry camping area is currently open, but the restroom at the site is closed due to flood damage. Currently, no camping fee is being charged at this area.  In 2018, the restroom at Shawnee Creek Campground will be replaced with a new durable concrete vault toilet, designed for use in flood prone areas.   • Designated horse trails — The trails are still being surveyed and opened with assistance from trail volunteers.  The Two Rivers, Shawnee and Broadfoot loops have been assessed and many areas have been cleared.  The Jerktail Loop is still heavily impacted by flood debris, and will be assessed and opened in the next couple of months.   “While our park employees have worked diligently to reopen as many areas as possible, much work remains to be done before the level of ‘pre-flood’ operations can be restored. We’ll continue to work toward that end in the hopes that no further flooding sets us back,” Johnson said.  For more information about the Riverways, call (573) 323-4236; visit the park’s Facebook page, or website at www.nps.gov/ozar. Ozark National Scenic Riverways preserves the free-flowing Current and Jacks Fork Rivers, the surrounding resources, and the unique cultural heritage of the Ozark people.

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September 2017 • Page 1B

This fishing reel’s price & performance is superb


s the summer continues and fall approaches I will be giving you the results of some my product field testing and performance reviews. Just know that these reviews are based on personal use and experience. I do not get paid for these reviews and do not work for the manufacturers of any of these products. In fact, for every positive field test and thumbs-up review, there are 10-12 other similar products that were simply not good enough to take my time and your money. If a review shows up here it is because the product performed at or above expectations. That Mike Roux having been said, ———— let’s get into today’s review. Piscifun is a relatively new tackle company here in the United States. I have used a couple of their reels and today I would like to tell you about their new Torrent baitcaster reel. I liked this reel right out of the box. It looks amazing and the specs were impressive. But looks and specs do not a great reel make. It was only after a half-dozen trips that I truly became hooked on this reel. The Piscifun Torrent baitcasting reel has an 18-lb. carbon fiber drag with 7.1:1 gear ratio. Also important to anglers are the anti-corrosion gears and bearings in the both the saltwater and freshwater baitcaster versions. Here are just a few of the specs that caught my eye; • Precise gears paired with 3-layer high grade carbon fiber drag washers provide an ultra-strong 18-lb. drag system with power to handle the big ones that you are after. The 4.33-inch extended aluminum crank handle gives the angler the leverage and power

Mike Roux’s positive evaluation of the Torrent comes after extensive testing.

needed to pull the biggest fish out of the thickest cover. • The corrosion resistant premium gears and superior quality stainless steel bearings ensure the smoothness of this reel. Anglers can be confident in both fresh and saltwater when using the Torrent. • This reel boasts an accurate and effective 0-10 magnetic brake, providing the angler with on-the-fly tournament ready adjustments. Double line winding shafts increase the winding stability and durability.

• A unique screwed oil hole in the side-plate helps you quickly and efficiently lubricate in order to lengthen reel life and maximize performance. Novice and pro anglers alike will benefit from this easy method, no more lost or broken parts for basic maintenance. Now let’s talk about performance. As I said, I have used this reel most of this season. I have caught about a hundred bass with it of all sizes. This reel is lightweight and I can throw it all day. Because it is both lightweight and durable, I cannot wait until this fall to

restring it with heavier line for my musky fishing. I will give you the results of those field tests, as well. I really like the drag system on the Torrent. It is smooth and very easy to adjust when a bigger than expected fish hits you. And I was particularly impressed with the amount of line that is spooled with each 360-degree turn of the handle. It can rip baits when the need arises. I mounted this new reel on a heavy action rod because that is how I evaluate its castability (that might just be a new a word I just made up). Levelwind fishermen know what I mean. On the right lightweight rod you can make any reel perform admirably. But if you put a baitcaster on a really heavy rod you can really see what it is made of. The Torrent performed very well on this rod. Now for the best news! The price point on this new reel is currently under $50. After having fished with this reel and knowing the price, I could not help but recommend it to my readers. I do not think you will be disappointed. I just got a Piscifun spinning reel and will begin my field testing and evaluation on the Destroyer MX20 very soon. Piscifun, go with family! (Mike Roux is the Midwest Regional Director for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) Outdoor Ministry. To become a Home Team Member of this new ministry, call him at 217257-7895.)

The Torrent is both a great-looking and smooth functioning baitcaster.

Profile for Traveler Publishing Co.

September Preview River Hills Traveler  

September Preview River Hills Traveler  


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