October 1, 2012
Ad Index................... 16 Calendar................... 14 Editorial...................... 4 Fishing....................... 7 Hunting......3, FHG 2-8 Indians...................... 10 Nature......... 4, 8, 10, 11 Outdoor News.......... .5, 13,16, 18
Real Estate............... 24 Recipes..................... 15 Seasons..................... 12 Sun/Moon................. 12 Trading Post........17-19 Thru the Years.......... 18 Fall Hunting Guide (FHG).........Insert
Traveler River Hills
Volume 40, No. 4
MAPS IN THIS ISSUE
Clearwater Lake............................................. 8 Lower Current & Eleven Point River. ......... 9 Lower Meramec River................................... 7 Upper Meramec, Huzzah, Courtois............. 11 Parkland Region........................................... 13 Upper Current & Jacks Fork Rivers............. 10 Wappapello Lake......................................... 12
How are the elk? Fine, thank you Traveler interviews MDC’s elk biologist Lonnie Hansen
By Jo Schaper t’s been a year since the first batch of elk was set free on Peck Ranch. Traveler talked with Lonnie Hansen, deer and cervid biologist, who has overseen the project from the start. Q: How is the restoration going? A: Pretty well. We had hoped to get more elk at a time, so the number is fewer than we had hoped. It’s been a lot of bits and pieces, and a little bit of a learning curve, since we had to start from the very beginning. None of us were elk experts and they’ve been teaching us. We’ve learned a lot along the way. Dr. Josh Millspaugh is a western elk expert; we’ve relied on a lot of people to teach us what we need to know about elk. Q: How many elk do you have? How many elk have been born here? A: We’ve got between 75 and 80 elk. We’ve had quite a few born this year; and some of the ones born here don’t have collars, so we don’t have an exact figure. We didn’t bring any older bulls last year; it took some of the younger bulls a little while to figure it out, so some of the calves came a little bit late this year. Q: What are you learning from the radio collar data? A: We had some preconceptions, but a lot of the information we just didn’t know. One thing is the fact that they’ve moved as little as they did and do. We were expecting wider dispersal
HANDLED WITH CARE — The initial elk herd at Peck Ranch was subject to lots of handling in their first four to five months to get them relocated from Kentucky and vaccinated against diseases. MDC photo.
from the beginning, and they’ve pretty much stuck in the general vicinity of Peck Ranch. That is the most surprising thing. They’ll make little jaunts, but do seem to come back. The cow that ended up on the Arkansas border; it didn’t appear like she was going to return, and she had to be
removed. Even Dr. Millspaugh is surprised at this; it appears that the food plots we’ve created on Peck Ranch are working. Q: How are they holding up in the drought?
A: We’ve had some deaths in the elk relocated this year. We’re working on a news release with the particulars, but we’re trying to determine what it that killed them and if it is related to stress related to the drought. [Ed. note: ten of this year’s elk, including 6 cows, 1 yearling bull, and three calves born to those cows, all in the last transported group.] We wouldn’t be surprised if some of the deaths turn out to be heat-related, but we don’t know what it is. Q: How do the collars work? A: We’ve got two ways we can track the animals. The GPS collars are called near-real time, because they send up a signal every 4-5 hours, and then we can determine precise location. We do this to extend the battery life. We also have VHF collars. These are the radios where we can take an antenna and walk right up to them. We don’t do this often to avoid disturbing them, but if one hasn’t moved in a long time, we can go out and see if they are OK. Q: How far are the elk moving when they do? A: Elk are more grazers, like cattle than a white-tailed deer. We know when they are moving over small areas, they are likely using the food plots. We’ve determined that a cow will usually call its home range about a square mile, though they may move over 4,000-5,000 acres on forays. The bull elk have a much larger home range and tend to cover more ground. In the winter, the home range seems to be 1, 500 acres, with a wander range of 7,000 to 8,000 acres. Even that is smaller than we expected. Continued on Page 5
Ghost of Lonnie Hill haunts Jefferson County
the windows with the tree branches scratching like skeletal claws at the side of the house. Slapping at a mosquito, his dad said, “Howard, turn the wick down. The light’s attracting bugs.” Howard looked up to see a moth casting eerie shadows on the wall before it fell in the glass chimney and curled up to nothing, making a sizzling sound. After lowering the light, he scooted closer to his grandpa. Grandpa made himself comfortable and patted his grandson on the head. The lad knew a story was coming. “Let me tell you about a time in the history of Jefferson County when roads weren’t safe for man or beast,” the old man began. “Roads were narrow — not much more than old cow paths. Wide enough for two wagons to pass in spots, though. Then some Continued on Page 6
By Verna Simms o you believe in ghosts? Do I? Maybe I do and maybe I don’t. My husband, Howard, believed — as his dad and grandpa before him. All were of English and American Indian ancestry and were of the opinion that deceased spirits roamed the earth. Let me remind you how different families spent their evenings in that long, long ago. After supper, men and boys retired to their private world while women and girls cleaned up the table. Howard often recalled stories his elders told. One evening, sitting on the floor with only a flickering light from a coal oil lamp, he listened spellbound. Outside the north wind whistled around the corners of the old farmhouse, rattled
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RIVER HILLS TRAVELER -- PAGE 2
Will this be last tie-raft on Current River?
By Jo Schaper we needed it one time for a snag.” eer Leap 8 a.m. Enough long poles were secured “We’re not going to call so that all rafters had one. it until 6:30,” Ray Joe Robert Kirby, owner of the Hastings had said earlier sawmill, his wife Christi, and that afternoon. “I can call you and their niece and nephew boarded a let you know then.” section. “They’re going, because Six-thirty was 6:30 a.m. and way no one knows when they’re going too late to leave for the four-hour to do this again,” Burson said. drive. I told him, “Ray, we’re just “One of the original fellows, Gene going to take that chance. We’re Brashler, passed away this spring. coming down Friday night, and Another, Lester Wright, passed a we’re just going to go with the couple years back. They’ve put flow.” their names on ties, and that way We headed for Ripley County they get to go with them.” with cameras and overnight bags, Ray Joe Hastings put on his big driving into the remnants of straw hat, picked up a pole, and Hurricane Isaac. moved his raft section out towards The sky was leaden but dry the shining, wide and green the next morning as we headed Current River. “Head ‘em up and for Deer Leap Recreation Area, move ‘em out.” assembly point for the 200-tie, 150-foot raft. Pickup trucks and Float Camp 9:30 a.m. a Kirby Sawmill semi-trailer half The first raft section beat us loaded with ties in the parking lot to Float Camp. By the time we reassured us. parked, the second had arrived, An empty forklift wheeled up and work was underway to attach DISAPPEARING SIGHT — A group of Ripley County residents assembled and floated what may from a boat launch. We heard men be the last tie-raft on the Current River from from Float Camp to Doniphan in early September. them with a short log, forming talking, and the splash of logs. A the jointed wooden snake, which Tie rafts were a common sight on the Current during the region’s timber heyday. Local sawchainsaw roared to life, followed mills created the rafts to float ties to railroad sidings downstream. Jo Schaper photos. would be propelled by the river, by the whine of shearing wood. controlled by poles and twin through trimmed saplings covered looked up from his supervisory tasks The use of modern technology horizontal paddles used for both with bark to join them. came over and said hi. “We’re trying pretty much ended at the waterline. A tiller and rudder. to get them to alternate pine ties with dozen men and one woman in work Hastings paced back and forth, Getting acquainted oak ties, but that’s not how the lift is clothes, t-shirts and shorts, wet to the looking at the technique being I suddenly wished I’d learned more bringing them down,” he said. “Pine thighs, urged light and dark colored used to join the sections. Satisfied, about woodworking in my dad’s shop. floats better than oak, and you don’t ties into line. he concentrated on mounting the Desperation subsided when Ray Joe want the ends of the raft dipping Others spiked 40 to 60-penny nails front paddle at the proper angle to down.” the water. First a drilled block was Ray Burson, tie-rafter, and president mounted into the ties, a round upright rst Friday with the Arts & more! of the Doniphan Neighborhood s Tour ~ Fi Perform inserted, and the 10-foot long paddle ing Arts & Live Shows ~ Galleries & Studios ~ Great Mural Assistance Program, Inc., a local slid onto the upright. Ozark heritage group, introduced A small crowd gathered to watch the himself. “I’m not going on the trip, launch, including State Representative but I help make sure things are done Steve Cookson, and Bill Paxton, right,” he said. Forest Service recreation officer. As the rafters counted and nailed, Paxton’s presence proved fortuitous: Hastings scurried around. “We’re Float Camp is under fee concession doing four sections,” he said, “and contract. Raft support crew were then we have to move them down to told they would be ticketed if they Float Camp to put together the whole didn’t pay the concession fee. Paxton raft. This place isn’t big enough.” The intervened and won a fee reprieve four sections lined up sideways filled until the craft launched. the cove. Burson said, “That’s the real reason Support boats arrived; a Water we may not be doing this anymore. Patrol runabout, then Ripley County It’s finding someplace to put in. We Sheriff Ron Barnett and a buddy. “We had trouble this year; we don’t know had to get a permit for this,” Burson about the next time.” Hastings said said. “A regatta permit.” later that the Forest Service was By 10 a.m. the four sections were initially afraid the activity would complete. “You better pack that block the boat launch at Deer Leap chainsaw,” Hastings said. “You know Continued on Page 9
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RIVER HILLS TRAVELER -- PAGE 3
A different kind of hunting club
By Doug Smith t’s not your normal hunting club. The clients have far more stalking and marksmanship skills than most of the guides. Everyone shares a common bond of former military service. And, oh yeah, all who hunt, fish or simply enjoy wandering the property have experienced a traumatic, life-threatening injury to assure our freedom to enjoy such pastimes. Other than that, Camp Hope is just like any other hunt club. Camp Hope founder William “Mike” White never gave thought to operating a chain of successful hunting resorts until a few years ago. Back then his idea of “successful” might have even meant profitable, well-publicized or drawing large crowds. But a tragic event in 2006 shook White to the core, and changed the trajectory of his life and focus forever. White’s son, 23-year-old Christo-
NEWEST FACILITY — The lodge is the newest building at Camp Hope. It features a kitchen and large dining and sitting area upstairs, a game room downstairs, and a wraparound covered porch.
hunting and nature getaway. Additionally, the camp’s concept has expanded into building similar camps elsewhere in the nation, as well as planning and carrying out outdoor adventures in other locations for small groups of recovering soldiers. At the Farmington-area Camp
Hope, three clean and well-appointed sleeping cabins and a central dining and gathering lodge greet visitors as they exit off the county road. The small complex sits on the side of a hill overlooking a wooded valley and small creek. The bulk of the acreage is heavily wooded with a few small
openings scattered throughout. Trails are created and maintained to allow ATVs and UTVs to transport soldiers who may not be able to hike miles through the woods to hunt as they did before being injured. Two of the cabins were built by Continued on Page 5
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Visiting veterans stay in furnished sleeping cabins. All are easily accesible and were built by donations from veterans groups, private donations and fundraisers. Each cabin is equipped with beds, a sitting area, bathroom and amenities found in any nice hotel room. All are accessed by a wide concrete walkway.
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pher Neal, was a Marine serving in Iraq. He was tragically killed when the Humvee he was riding in passed near a land mine. Chris lost his life in an instant. Mike and his wife lost their beloved son. The nation lost another great Marine. And Mike lost his hunting buddy. You see, Chris loved to hunt and spend time outdoors … not unlike many members of the military who grew up honing skills in the woods here at home that eventually help serve them well in theaters of war around the world. Following the initial grief, White thought of how he could honor his son’s sacrifice. Furthermore, he wanted to offer something to help combatinjured young soldiers who could no longer enjoy a simple day’s hunt in the woods or fishing trip to a lake or river. Out of those thoughts Camp Hope was born. In five short years Camp Hope, located a few miles southwest of Farmington in St. Francois County, has grown from an idea into a 170-acre
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Heresy: Government is not always the problem
’m going to stay out of the minefield of endorsing political candidates, but I do want to venture a comment about this election season as it relates to the outdoors we all share. It concerns me that in a nation that practically invented government by the people, for the people, of the people, so many people hate the institution we created. “Any time you get the government involved, it’s going to screw things up,” is the way it’s usually phrased. That can mean there’s a ridiculous bunch of paperwork to fill out and tedious bureaucratic steps to follow before you can do something. It may mean you can’t do what you want to do because there’s a law or regulation against it and some enforcement official watching. Or there may be an expensive, time-consuming permit to obtain or expensive taxes to pay. These aggravations range from irritating to infuriating, but they are real.
It’s easy to lose sight of the bigger Richard Nixon signed the law creating picture. the Environmental Protection Agency. The big picture, in my What a difference it has made opinion, is that government is in the cleanliness of the air we not always the problem — it’s breathe and the water we drink often the solution. and use for recreation. Go back to the 1920s and Look at places like Times 30s when market hunting and Beach, St. Joe mining and unrestrained clearcutting and smelting lands in the Old Lead the absence of conservation Belt and the gravel mines that practices had all but destroyed are now Wakonda State Park. Missouri’s fish, forests and All were environmental disasMAKIN’ ters wildlife. The solution was for and wastelands created by people to petition government TRACKS free enterprise. By Emery Styron Government was not the probto step in. One result was creation of lem, but the solution to turn the Missouri Conservation Commisthese nightmares into outdoor assets. sion and the establishment of a profes- There is probably no government sional state agency to manage forests, entity as despised in Traveler Country fisheries and wildlife. Another was the as the Ozark National Scenic Rivefforts of the U.S. Forest Service to erways, a unit of the National Park buy up and replant timber on eroded, Service clearcut lands. Does it waste money? Probably. Or think the 1970s when pesticides Don’t we all, whether in government and industrial wastes were devastating or private business? the nation’s air and water. President Is it hard to deal with? No doubt, for
some people, though that hasn’t been my personal experience. Does it serve a purpose? If I read history correctly, had Congress not authorized the creation of ONSR, it’s most likely that one or more lakes would now cover the Current and Jacks Fork river valleys. It’s a long, complicated story with many sides, but it’s fair to say the NPS does preserve the riverways. All this to say: beware of candidates preaching the evils of government who never acknowledge the good that government has done and can and should do in the future. We are a complex society facing complex problems including climate change, overpopulation and globalization of the economy. It would be nice if there were simple solutions but that’s probably wishful thinking. We don’t need less government as much as we need smart government. May the smartest candidates win.
Walking sticks look fearsome but threaten only vegetation
By Donna Featherston hen the nights develop the cool and crispness of the fall season, I always start searching for walking sticks and the praying mantis. I have a juvenile mantis that is visiting the back deck, but it scurries away as soon as I get the camera ready. For years, I had a fear of these strange looking insects. I think a father with a strange sense of humor had something to do with these childhood fears. Dad would get a delight out of throwing a walking stick on his children, or better yet, a black snake. I never quite understood the humor in scaring young children and teaching them to fear a non-poisonous insect or a beneficial black snake. The curling of a walking stick’s tail like a scorpion made me fear it even more, even though it is non-venomous and has no stingers. Fortunately, I learned the importance of cooperation and competition in nature.
I don’t understand why someone hasn’t written a movie script on giant, mutated walking sticks. Surely, they are as scary as a mutated worm. The walking stick, members of the Phasmatodea order of insects, have long been the subject of many myths of demonic connection. Some people call them devil’s darning needles, but they are simply one of God’s beautiful creations. I have read that some people fear them so much that they actually cut them in half. Missouri is home to four species of walking sticks, the largest reaching lengths up to seven inches. These twig-looking insects range in color from red-brown to green to yellow and some even have flesh-colored legs. The common size is four to five inches. Normally, walking sticks hide among the branches of trees and shrubs, but they can be found attached to sides of buildings where there is no amount of camouflaging to help them
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BLOWN COVER — Walking sticks blend in perfectly with the branches of trees and shrubs, but their camo is of no value on the side of a white building. Katelyn Bufford Photo.
blend in. I wonder if the mating urge causes them to lose all sense of safety and their need to not stand out like a neon sign on the side of a house. Opossums are not the only creature that has learned to feign death. Walking sticks can be found lying motionless, with their legs and antennae stretched out in front of them in hopes of not becoming lunch. Females may lay up to 1,200 eggs, one at a time, which overwinter and don’t hatch until spring. Several species produce offspring from unfertilized eggs. The young begin feeding immediately and will be full-grown by the end of summer, only to die in the first freeze. Walking sticks are vegetarians and in large numbers can defoliate the leaves of deciduous trees. A 2003 study at Brigham Young University found some species of walking sticks without wings existed before their winged descendants. We now find winged, unwinged, female only and a variety of different sizes. As is often found in nature, there is a symbiotic relationship between the
On the cover...
ant and the walking stick — myrmecochory. The walking stick eggs are enclosed in a hard casing with a tasty capsule at the end, that ants feed to their larvae. The walking stick drops her eggs from above and the ants take the egg to their larvae. Once they have consumed the capsule, the egg is left with no harm to the phasmid embryo inside the casing. The egg incubates and hatches into a juvenile walking stick, hopefully unknown to their largest predator, the birds. Bats, reptiles, praying mantises and small mammals enjoy a walking stick snack. Captured sticks lucky enough to free themselves from a predator, have been known to leave a leg in the predator’s mouth, The appendage will be regrown during the next molt. Walking sticks are amont the insects able to regenerate body parts. Now I understand why I usually see the praying mantis and walking sticks the same time. I have yet to catch the mantis eating a stick snack!
Autumn sunbeams catch the steamy breath of this bull elk, photographed by Matt Faupel of Missouri Nature Prints of St. Louis. The elk roams St. Louis County’s Lone Elk Park but still makes a good tie-in to our cover story on the one-year anniversary of Missouri’s Elk Restoration Project at Peck Ranch near Winona.