The Voice for Missouri Outdoors JULY 2022 - VOL 83 | NO. 4
recently finished reading Trail Blazers, a book recently published about the life and times of Missouri’s own Edward “Ted” and Pat Jones. What a magnificent, humble, hard-working, and visionary couple they were. If I were a librarian adding this one to the bookshelf, I would have trouble deciding which category to place it. Leadership, Business, Conservation & the Outdoors would all be suitable choices. But if I had to choose only one, I would probably file it under Inspirational. Together they nurtured and preserved the land they lived on in Callaway County. Back then it was a place for their employees, coworkers, family and friends to gather and enjoy each other’s company. Today it is a place for all citizens to come and enjoy all things in nature at Prairie Fork Conservation Area. A quote in the book that stuck with me when Pat said, “when you love something enough that you want it to last forever, you’ve got to give it away.” And they relentlessly gave of their time, talent and treasures their entire lives. We as citizens get to reap the benefits in so many ways. Pat, the Prairie Godmother as she was called, cared deeply for the soil, the trees, nature, parks, and everything outdoors. Her motto, “Learn, Get Dirty and Have fun,” is on a concrete wall in front of the soil shed on the property. Nature lived in her soul through and through, and sharing it with everyone made her very happy. I was glad to meet Pat a few times when I worked for Missouri State Parks. I remember her always enjoying the tram rides along the Katy Trail when State Parks hosted their fall colors tram tours. Ted built the Edward Jones company into what it is today. He did so on basic principles, hard work, simple economics, and in my opinion most importantly, leading by example. The comical stories about Ted’s nature are in the book by the hundreds. He inspired his employees to work hard and encouraged everyone he encountered to enjoy life. He always seemed to pull the best out in people wherever he was. I wish I could have met him. When Dan Burkhardt called me to share his vision for the book and let me know the author, Jeanette Cooperman, would contact me in search of stories, I was eager to read the book upon completion. Hats off to Dan and John Beuerlein for completing this vision so Ted and Pat’s legacy will live on for generations.
Tyler stands on the Katy Trail with his 5-yearold son Colton, near where he crosses over each day coming from his home. (Photo: Dalaney Schwartze)
Jeanette did a fantastic job arranging the book and compiling countless stories and interviews. I was also pleased to read how Ted and Pat trusted the Conservation Federation on several conservation initiatives. You can go to MagnificentMissouri.org to order a copy. The struggle to build the Katy Trail was very challenging and portrayed brilliantly in the book's latter half. Ted and Pat, along with many others, lead the charge in overcoming that obstacle. Ted attended hearings, traveled to town after town talking himself hoarse, they gave financial support, and worked with landowners until they found a way to get it done. The challenges are similar to the present-day Rock Island Trail, but they too will be overcome. Last December, when I was at the ceremony transferring the land to develop the Rock Island, you could certainly feel the excitement. It’s now not a matter of if the trail will be completed, but when and how. So when we cut the ribbon to further complete their vision, I know we will have two proud conservationists smiling down on us.
Yours in Conservation, Tyler Schwartze CFM Executive Director JULY - 2022
Conservation Federation July 2022 - V83 No. 4
OFFICERS Zach Morris - President Bill Kirgan - President Elect Ginny Wallace -Vice President Lisa Allen - Secretary Bill Lockwood - Treasurer
Tyler Schwartze - Executive Director, Editor Micaela Haymaker - Director of Operations Michelle Gabelsberger - Membership Manager Vacant - Education and Communications Coordinator
Ray Scott, Founder of Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Passes Away
Paddling Clinics in the Ozark National Scenic Riverway
Bobbing Tails & Black Scales
Karkhagnes and Hodags: A Case for Revolution
How to Do a Trout Town: St. James, Missouri
Amendment #4's Pendergast Connection
Generations of Soldiers
Looking for Gentleman Bob
Departments 3 8 11 14 36
Director's Message President's Message New Members Affiliate Spotlight Agency News
Joan VanderFeltz - Administrative Assistant Emma Kessinger - Creative Director
ABOUT THE MAGAZINE CFM Mission: To ensure conservation of Missouri’s wildlife and natural resources, and preservation of our state’s rich outdoor heritage through advocacy, education and partnerships. Conservation Federation is the publication of the Conservation Federation of Missouri (ISSN 1082-8591). Conservation Federation (USPS 012868) is published bi-monthly in January, March, May, July, September and November for subscribers and members. Of each member’s dues, $10 shall be for a year’s subscription to Conservation Federation. Periodical postage paid in Jefferson City, MO and additional mailing offices.
Highlights 6 21 18 19 46
What is CFM Events Schedule Governor's Youth Turkey Hunt Springfield Banquet Recap Paddle MO Trips
Send address changes to: Postmaster Conservation Federation of Missouri 728 West Main Jefferson City, MO 65101
FRONT COVER Bee buffet on Purple Clover” taken in Montgomery County, MO by Patricia Westhoff using a Canon 600 w/100 mm macro lens.
Thank you to all of our Business Partners. Platinum
Gold Bushnell Doolittle Trailer Enbridge, Inc.
G3 Boats MidwayUSA Pure Air Natives
Redneck Blinds Rusty Drewing Chevrolet Roeslein Alternative Energy, LLC
Missouri Wildflowers Nursery Mitico Quaker
Simmons Starline, Inc. St. James Winery
Gray Manufacturing Company, Inc. HMI Fireplace Shop Hodgdon Powder Company, Inc. Missouri Wine & Grape Board NE Electric Power Cooperative, Inc.
NW Electric Power Cooperative, Inc. Ozark Bait and Tackle Woods Smoked Meats
Dickerson Park Zoo Farmer’s Co-op Elevator Association Gascosage Electric Cooperative GREDELL Engineering Resources, Inc. Heartland Seed of Missouri LLC Hulett Heating & Air Conditioning Kansas City Parks and Recreation Lewis County Rural Electric Coop.
Missouri Native Seed Association REMAX Boone Realty Scobee Powerline Construction Sprague Excavating Tabor Plastics Company Truman’s Bar & Grill United Electric Cooperative, Inc.
Silver Custom Metal Products Forrest Keeling Nursery Learfield Communication, Inc. Lilley’s Landing Resort & Marina
Bronze Association of Missouri Electric Coop. Black Widow Custom Bows, Inc. Burgers’ Smokehouse Central Electric Power Cooperative Drury Hotels
Iron Bass Pro Shops (Independence) Bee Rock Outdoor Adventures Blue Springs Park and Recreation Brockmeier Financial Services Brown Printing Cap America Central Bank Community State Bank of Bowling Green
Your business can benefit by supporting conservation. For all sponsorship opportunities, call (573) 634-2322.
JULY - 2022
"The Voice for Missouri Outdoors" Mission: To ensure conservation of Missouri’s wildlife and natural resources, and preservation of our state’s rich outdoor heritage through advocacy, education and partnerships. In 1935, conservationists from all over Missouri came together to form the Conservation Federation of Missouri (CFM) with the purpose to take politics out of conservation. The efforts of our founders resulted in the creation of Missouri's non-partisan Conservation Commission and the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC). Since then, CFM has been the leading advocate for the outdoors in Missouri.
Over 100 affiliated organizations Share the Harvest Corporate & Business Partnerships State & Federal Agency Partnerships National Wildlife Federation Affiliate Operation Game Thief Operation Forest Arson David A. Risberg Memorial Grants Missouri Stream Team
Conservation Leadership Corps Missouri Collegiate Conservation Alliance Confluence of Young Conservation Leaders Affiliate Summit Scholarships for youth and students Governor’s Youth Turkey Hunt National Archery in the Schools Grants Conservation Federation Magazine
Legislative Action Center Resolutions to lead change Natural Resource Advisory Committees Conservation Day at the Capitol Staff and members testify in hearings for conservation and natural resources
Conservation Federation of Missouri began
State Wildlife and Forestry Code published
Wildlife and Forestry Act passed
First deer season since 1937
Amendment 4 created Missouri's non-political Conservation Commission
First turkey season in 23 years
First hunter safety program formed
Missouri Department of Natural Resources formed
Urban fishing program formed in St. Louis; first in the nation
Operation Game Thief formed
Design for Conservation Sales Tax passed
Stream Teams formed
Parks and Soils Sales Tax passed
Missouri voters Outdoor renewed Action Parks and Soils Sales Committee formed Tax by 70.8%
Share the Harvest formed
Operation Forest Arson formed
Conservation Leadership Corps formed
Missouri National Archery in the Schools Program formed
CFM Celebrates 85 years
Parks and Soils Sales Tax renewed by voters by the highest percentage to date (80%)
Ways You Can Support CFM Membership
Scholarships and Grant Support
Event Sponsorship and Product Donation
Support our efforts to promote and protect conservation and natural resources in our state. Members will receive our magazine six times a year, event information, our bi-weekly enewsletter, and the opportunity to grow our voice. CFM provides the platform for a diverse group of organizations to have their conservation voices be heard. Affiliates have the opportunity to apply for grants, receive educational training and promote the mission of their organization. CFM provides scholarships to graduates and undergraduates. We also provide grant funds to youth education programs and to affiliate projects. Contributing will help future generations initiate boots on the ground projects.
Become a life member for $1,000. Life memberships are placed in an endowment fund that allows us to continue our work in perpetuity.
Business partners will enjoy recognition in each magazine issue along with opportunities to reach and engage with our active membership. Ask us about our different Business Partnership levels. All of our events have raffles with both silent and live auctions. The contributions of in-kind products and services not only assists in raising funds for conservation, but also promote the businesses that support CFM.
Conservation Federation of Missouri 728 West Main St, Jefferson City, MO 65101 Phone: (573) 634-2322 ~ Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.confedmo.org
Become a Member today! ____ ____ ____ ____ ____
Description Individual Supporter Individual Advocate Individual Sustaining Youth/Student Individual Lifetime
Price $35.00 $60.00 $100.00 $20.00 $1,000.00
Name: E-mail: Phone: Address: Credit Card #: Exp. Date:
Join online confedmo.org/join
ust like Missouri’s outdoors are vast and diverse, so are the people who enjoy them. The Conservation Federation of Missouri is made up of nearly 100 different affiliate organizations, which represent Missourians from many walks of life. This includes local fishing clubs, statewide chapters of national organizations, and everything in between. CFM affiliates do great work, getting youth outdoors, restoring and protecting habitat, and helping advocate to protect Missouri’s outdoor heritage. We held our annual Conservation Day at the Capitol in Jefferson City in April. It was great to see the passion from our volunteers and affiliates who turned out to make sure conservation was well represented in our state Capitol. Today’s political landscape is divisive, to say the least, so it seems unusual to see so many different organizations come together for a cause. Where else will you find turkey hunters alongside bird watchers, hikers, anglers, trappers, canoers, and many more outdoor enthusiasts advocating for the same goal? It’s clear that conservation matters to all Missourians, and it should! I often find myself telling legislators that Missouri is a great place to hunt and fish – those are some of my oldest and favorite connections to the outdoors. But each and every Missourian might find something different that connects them with nature, which makes it so inspiring to see our affiliates show up to advocate for conservation. Our legislators need to know that conservation matters to their constituents, and I want to personally say thank you to everyone who reached out in some way this legislative session. Because of your support, we were able to hold off some damaging legislation that would have taken the authority to manage fish and wildlife resources away from the Conservation Department and into the hands of politicians. Missouri has a long history, over 85 years, of citizen-led, science-based conservation without political interference.
Whether you know it or not, every outdoor enthusiast in Missouri has benefited from this system, which has become the model for conservation in our nation. Unfortunately, this system is under constant attack from a few bad apples in the legislature who would rather give themselves the authority to make decisions about conservation instead. If you want to join us to protect against these attacks, you can sign up for our Legislative Action Center at confedmo.org/ lac. But it isn’t always attacks. At Conservation Day at the Capitol, we recognized two outstanding legislators: Representative Tim Taylor and Senator Holly Thompson Rehder. Representative Taylor sponsored the Prescribed Burn Act last year, which was passed into law, and now insurance companies have begun to offer Missouri customers prescribed fire liability insurance. Senator Thompson Rehder continues to fight to protect our State Parks, which are also constantly under attack. We appreciate both of their efforts. When you receive this magazine issue, the 2022 Legislative Session will be over, and we will be setting our sites on next year. But the tireless work of our affiliates and their amazing staff and volunteers never stops. The road ahead of us is long, but if we can continue to come together for conservation, I believe that we will continue to see positive change. I hope you find some time to get outside this summer. Maybe I’ll see you out there. Yours in Conservation, Zach Morris President, CFM
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Why I Became a Life Member of CFM: Bob Fry
adly, our country is very divided in many issues. However, virtually all agree on the need to conserve this beautiful planet we are blessed with. Close to 100% support the need to conserve flora, fauna, air quality and wildlife. Ben Franklin is credited as saying, “Waste not, want not.” In a word that is “Conservation.” I first learned of the Conservation Federation of Missouri (CFM) while serving on the Board of the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation (MCHF). I was strongly encouraged to have the organization I represent, DuckHorn Outdoors Adventures (MO. 501 c 3, duckhornoutdoorsadventures.com) become involved with CFM. DuckHorn was so pleased with the many efforts and initiatives of CFM, we decided to become Life Members. CFM is the oldest and largest conservation organization in Missouri. Their record of achievements is astonishing. For example, CFM successfully worked recently with the Missouri Legislature to prevent the sale of Eleven Point State Park. GOOD WORK! I would strongly encourage you and/or your organization to become involved with CFM and to become a Life Member. DuckHorn Outdoors Adventures is very proud to be a part of this great organization!
Become a CFM Life Member When you purchase a Life Membership with CFM, your money is added to an endowment supporting the administration of the organization in perpetuity. Each year, we draw earnings from the endowment, so your contribution will truly be supporting the CFM for the rest of your life and beyond. This is an important funding source for our Federation. We hope you will consider joining the over 300 dedicated conservationists who have already made a life commitment to the Conservation Federation of Missouri by becoming a Life Member today at www.confedmo.org/join.
Contact CFM at (573) 634-2322 or email email@example.com
WELCOME NEW CFM MEMBERS Timothy Barksdale, Mokane
Eric Hanson, Saint Louis
Patsy Overstreet, Hannibal
Casey Baynes, Robertsville
Patricia Holloway, Puxico
Mike Perry, Sikeston
Misty Bryan, Lebanon
William Hoss, O’Fallon
Mary Ruckdeschel, Saint Louis
Jerry Bryant, Excelsior Spring
Walter Hutton, Lebanon
Teddi Schwartze, Arnold
Richard Bullock, Odessa
Keith Jones, Anderson
Rex Sharp, Half Way
Joshua Canaday, Ames, IA
J. E. Leonard, Saint Louis
Richard Smith, Latour
Grant Clark, Saint Charles
Eric Lieb, Kirkwood
Lynn Stowe, Lebanon
Joel Cummings, Festus
Phil Lilley, Branson
Steve Stulce, Saint Charles
Michael DeLoughery, Clark
Barbara Lucks, Springfield
Warren Taylor, Hazelwood
Thomas Dow, Kansas City
Jim Manzo, Arnold
Donald Thompson, Troy
Ralph Duren, Jefferson City
Daniel Matlock, Elsberry
Perry Whitaker, Saint Louis
Ervin Elsenraat, Rhineland
Donald Meier, Kansas City
Richard Whiting, Chesterfield
Robert Emling, Cuba
Rick Merritt, Clarksville
Mike Wiesehan, Imperial
Rev. Dale Felder, Higginsville
Jennifer Mittelhauser, Sedalia
Amera Wild, Joplin
Bruce Garrett, Mexico
Stu Murphy, Jefferson City
Dick Graham, Hartsburg
Bernard Orf, O’Fallon
CFM thanks the 309 members that renewed since our last publication.
JULY - 2022
Committed to Community & Conservation Owned by the members they serve, Missouri’s electric cooperatives do more than provide reliable and affordable electricity. They are active in their communities, concerned for the wellbeing of their neighbors and devoted to the rural way of life that makes the Show-Me State a special place to live, work and play. Missouri’s electric cooperatives are dedicated to protecting the land, air and water resources important to you and your quality of life. Learn more at www.amec.coop.
LEGISLATIVE ACTION CENTER VISIT WWW.CONFEDMO.ORG/LAC CLICK "SIGN-UP"
"Be The Voice For Missouri Outdoors"
Act fast on issues that matter to you. STAY INFORMED. SIGN UP TODAY
Ozark Wilderness Waterways Club
he Ozark Wilderness Waterways Club, also known as OWWC or Canoe Club to its members, was organized in 1956 in Kansas City, Missouri. It has been a family friendly group whose purpose is to develop, through membership, an interest in and an appreciation of the Ozark Region as related to the use of its natural and wild waterways for outdoor recreation and activities such as canoeing, camping and float fishing, and to cooperate with other organizations which are working toward the conservation and preservation of wilderness areas and streams. The belief is to protect our natural heritage, The Wilderness, in that it brings to many human beings some of the most perfect experiences of their lives.” OWWC offers an Ozark Schedule of canoeing and camping experiences in southern Missouri and northern Arkansas as well as a Close to Home Schedule in the Kansas City area for members to participate in Missouri and Kansas. At times, there have been long distance trips on the Missouri River that included a put-in at the headwaters in Montana. Many of our members have logged thousands of water miles. The club affiliates with organizations in keeping with its purpose. These include American Rivers, Buffalo River Foundation, Conservation Federation of Missouri, Earthwatch Institute, Friends of the Kaw Riverkeeper, Grasslands Heritage Foundation, Missouri Parks Association, Missouri Prairie Foundation, Nature Conservancy, Ozark Land Trust, Ozark Society and Sierra Club.
A tradition for OWWC that began in 1960 is a river clean-up over the Labor Day Weekend. Each year is a different river that receives our attention. Fortunately, since the introduction of the Missouri Stream Team Program in 1989, our club members do not find the rivers and streams to be quite as full of debris and trash. There are now literally thousands of teams across Missouri. OWWC is Stream Team #41 and in addition to river clean ups, we have a team that does water quality testing on the Blue River near Minor Park in Kansas City. April 2022, marks the 60th anniversary of OWWC hosting Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court William O. Douglas and his wife Mercedes Douglas on the upper Buffalo River. This trip assisted in the decision not to dam the Buffalo River, our nation’s first National River. Monthly meetings are held in Swope Park the second Saturday of the month, at 6:30 PM. You may contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Affiliate Organizations Anglers of Missouri
Missouri Birding Society
Missouri Smallmouth Alliance
Association of Missouri
Missouri Bow Hunters Association
Missouri Society of American Foresters
Missouri Caves & Karst Conservancy
Missouri Soil & Water Conservation
Electric Cooperatives Bass Slammer Tackle Burroughs Audubon Society of Greater Kansas City
Missouri Chapter of the American Fisheries Society
Society-Show-Me Chapter Missouri Sport Shooting Association
Missouri Chapter of the Wildlife Society
Missouri State Campers Association
Capital City Fly Fishers
Missouri Coalition for the Environment
Missouri State Parks Foundation
Missouri Conservation Agents Association
Missouri Taxidermist Association
Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation
Missouri Trappers Association
Columbia Audubon Society
Missouri Conservation Pioneers
Missouri Trout Fishermen's Association
Conservation Foundation of
Missouri Consulting Foresters Association
MU Wildlife & Fisheries Science
Committee for the Environment
Missouri Charitable Trust
Missouri Ducks Unlimited- State Council
Graduate Student Organization
Deer Creek Sportsman Club
Missouri Forest Products Association
Open Space Council of the St. Louis Region
Duckhorn Outdoors Adventures
Missouri Grouse Chapter of QUWF
Ozark Chinquapin Foundation
Festus-Crystal City Conservation Club
Missouri Hunter Education
Ozark Fly Fishers, Inc.
Forest and Woodland Association of Missouri Forest Releaf of Missouri Friends of Rock Bridge Memorial State Park Gateway Chapter Trout Unlimited Greater Ozarks Audubon Society Greenbelt Land Trust of Mid-Missouri Greenway Network, Inc. James River Basin Partnership L-A-D Foundation Lake of the Ozarks Watershed Alliance Land Learning Foundation Legends of Conservation Little Blue River Watershed Coalition
Ozark Land Trust
Missouri Hunting Heritage Federation
Ozark Trail Association
Missouri Master Naturalist -
Ozark Wilderness Waterways Club
Boone's Lick Chapter Missouri Master Naturalist Great Rivers Chapter Missouri Master Naturalist Hi Lonesome Chapter Missouri Master Naturalist Miramiguoa Chapter Missouri Master Naturalist Osage Trails Chapter Missouri Master Naturalist Springfield Plateau Chapter
Perry County Sportsman Club Pomme De Terre Chapter Muskies Quail & Upland Wildlife Federation, Inc. Quail Forever & Pheasants Forever River Bluffs Audubon Society Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation South Side Division CFM Southwest Missouri Fly Fishers St. Louis Audubon Society Stream Teams United Student Air Rifle Program
Missouri National Wild Turkey Federation
Tipton Farmers & Sportsman's Club
Mid-Missouri Outdoor Dream
Missouri Native Seed Association
Tri-Lakes Fly Fishers
Mid-Missouri Trout Unlimited
Missouri Outdoor Communicators
Troutbusters of Missouri
Midwest Diving Council
Missouri Park & Recreation Association
United Bow Hunters of Missouri
Mississippi Valley Duck
Missouri Parks Association
Watershed Conservation Corps
Missouri Prairie Foundation
Wild Bird Rehabilitation
Missouri Association of Meat Processors
Missouri River Bird Observatory
Wild Souls Wildlife Rescue Rehabilitation
Missouri Atlatl Association
Missouri River Relief
Wonders of Wildlife
Missouri B.A.S.S. Nation
Missouri Rock Island Trail, Inc.
World Bird Sanctuary
Missouri Bird Conservation Initiative
Missouri Rural Water Association
Young Outdoorsmen United
JULY - 2022
Shelter Insurance® is a proud sponsor of Share the Harvest & the Conservation Federation. Contact your local Shelter agent to insure your auto, home, life, and your hunting & fishing gear. Find an agent near you at ShelterInsurance.com.
16th Annual Conservation Federation Sporting Clays Classic
Saturday, August 13, 2022
Prairie Grove Shotgun Sports, 1420 County Rd 276, Columbia, MO 65202 Presented by: Central Electric Power Cooperative & Bass Pro Shops - Columbia Central Electric Power Cooperative's members are Boone Electric Cooperative, Consolidated Electric Cooperative, Callaway Electric, Cuivre River Cooperative, Central Missouri Electric Cooperative, Howard Electric Cooperative, Co-Mo Electric Cooperative, and Three Rivers Electric Cooperative
Schedule of Events
Registration: 8:00 a.m. - Noon Shooting: 8:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. Awards: 2:00 p.m.
Shoot as a Team or Individual
Two Shooter Scramble- 75 targets, $65/team Additional Rounds- $50/team Individual Sporting Clays- 50 targets, $40/shooter Additional Rounds- $30/shooter
Prizes for Two Shooter Scramble & Individual Sporting Clays using the Lewis Class System Challenge shooting games will be held during the event! Lunch available on the grounds (food truck) - drinks provided.
Register online confedmo.org/events or call (573) 634-2322 Registration also includes a 1-year membership to CFM.
Thirteenth Annual Governors Youth Turkey Hunt
he Annual Governor's Youth Hunt was a cooperative effort between Governor Mike Parson, the Conservation Federation of Missouri, National Wild Turkey Federation, the Missouri Department of Conservation, and private landowners. The 2022 Governors Youth Turkey Hunt marks the 13th year of this very special event. The hunt serves as a recognition by our government, of the importance of natural resources and outdoor recreation to the Missouri citizenry. It is also a celebration of Missouri’s leading role in recruiting, retaining, and reactivating hunters. The youth started the weekend off on the day before the season opened by attending an informational session on turkeys and turkey calling. The youth learned the basics of calling, woods etiquette, and other things to be aware of when pursuing wild turkeys. They also had an opportunity to pattern their shotguns and learn about hunter safety. This very informative clinic was put on by the dedicated staff at the Missouri Department of Conservation. The evening portion of Friday’s festivities took place at the Governor’s mansion where the youth and a guest were able to enjoy an elegant dinner. Representatives from the partnering agencies and organizations spoke briefly about the importance of the event as well as elevated the anticipation of what awaited the young hunters throughout the remainder of this special weekend. The speakers included Dan Zerr, the State Chapter President from the National Wild Turkey Federation, Director Sara Parker Pauley from the Missouri Department of Conservation, Zach Morris, President of the Conservation Federation of Missouri, Tyler Schwartze, Executive Director of the Conservation Federation of Missouri, and Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe. The youth were then each given a custom call made by Jim Clark before taking their picture with Director Pauley, the Lt. Governor and Jim Clarks’s great nephew, Lawrence Bowlin, who was in attendance on behalf of Jim. From there the youth departed across the state to meet up with their landowners and guides to try and notch their first turkey tag.
Turkey hunting is a pretty weather-dependent activity. To get the best opportunity to experience “the show” you pray for clear calm conditions at dawn. The youth were very lucky to have pretty good weather across the state to be able to have some great encounters with turkeys this year. Overall the results were good with 8 out of the 14 kids participating harvesting birds. Statewide, 2,881 birds were harvested over the past youth weekend, April 9 and 10. Top harvest counties were Miller with 87 birds harvested, Osage with 71, and Franklin with 71. Comparatively, young hunters checked 2,795 turkeys during the 2021 spring youth weekend. The perennial success of the event is a product of the overall quality of the experiences it has been able to provide the participants. All of these hunts throughout the 13 year history of this event have occurred on private land. We are therefore indebted to the generosity of the private landowners and guides that make it possible every year. The 2022 guides and landowners included: R.L. Bennett, Justin Furgeson, Bill Haag, Bruce Sassmann, Steven Harrison, Don Masek, Brant Masek, Lucas Oil, Jim Cihy, Cole Cihy, Tyler Schwartze, Tim Taylor, Kevin Hess, Don Dettmann, and Jason Isabelle. Thanks, once again, to everyone that made this year’s hunt so special for Missouri’s youth. Most of the landowners and guides are dedicated NWTF and/or CFM members and without them, this event would not be possible. We especially thank the landowners, the incredibly special gift that you willingly give year after year cannot be repaid. Please know that all involved are aware of this and that your efforts truly are making a difference in the cherished memories that you made possible.
John Burk & Tyler Schwartze
Springfield Banquet is a Booming Success
n Thursday, May 12, CFM brought you our Springfield Banquet Event! It was a long time coming. After having to postpone the event two years in a row, it was wonderful to finally meet in person at the White River Conference Center. The full room was abuzz with the networking of many wonderful new faces and many returning CFM members. It was a great opportunity to make connections and share a wonderful meal with friends. CFM President Zach Morris, originally from the Springfield area, opened the evening by welcoming everyone. Dana Maugens from the Springfield Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. The bureau spoke of things going on in the Springfield area to see and do while everyone was in town. Zach then introduced CFM’s Executive Director, Tyler Schwartze, who served as emcee for the evening and the auctioneer during the live auction. CFM’s Conservation Award winners from southwest Missouri were recognized again for their accomplishments in our outdoors. Sofia Gerasimchuk, Youth Conservationist of the Year, spoke of her and her friend’s accomplishments in creating the Environmental and Community Action Club (ECA) at their school. They wanted to give students the opportunity to take action on environmental issues ranging from conservation to composting. ECA has grown under her leadership and expanded to several other high schools in the Springfield area. Our Outstanding Lifetime Achievement award recipient was Larry Whiteley. Mr. Whiteley has spent his entire life dedicated to conservation and enjoyment of the outdoors and spent more than 30 years as the “Voice of Bass Pro Shops.” Be sure to check out his articles in nearly every CFM magazine including this issue on page 52. A special standing ovation recognition was given in honor of Dr. Bob and Mrs. Barb Kipfer. The Kipfers will be nationally recognized for their pristine work in conservation education by the National Wildlife Federation as their Conservationists of the year at the NWF Annual Meeting this month.
The keynote speaker for the evening was Conservation Commissioner Dr. Steven Harrison. Commissioner Harrison spoke on the long-standing partnership of the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and the Conservation Federation of Missouri. For people who love the outdoors, he stressed the importance of being involved in an organization like CFM that stands to protect the wildlife, habitat, and outdoor interests of Missourians. He celebrated with us, the major milestone accomplishments of MDC over the last couple of years and shared stories of some of his most recent hunting trips with family and friends. We would like to thank the table sponsors and our business partners who were present at the event: Richard & Judy Ash, Bass Pro Shops, Charles Burwick, Dickerson Park Zoo, HMI Fireplace Shops, Jordan Valley Community Health Center, Bob & Barb Kipfer, Mitico, Parkcrest Dental Group, and Randy Washburn. This highly successful event would not have been possible without the years of work provided by our Springfield Banquet Event Committee. So a HUGE thank you goes to the following committee members: Richard & Judy Ash (Co-chairs), Bill & Misty Bryan, Denny Bopp, Charles Burwick, Darren Haverstick, Bob and Barb Kipfer, Larry & Brenda Martien, Terry Whaley, Larry Whiteley, and Kerry Wynn. Thanks again to everyone who joined us for such an exciting evening in Springfield.
JULY - 2022
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2022 Events Schedule 86th Annual Convention- March 6 - 13
Let your voice be heard at the Annual Convention. meetings, awards, auctions, and so much more. Held at the Lake of the Ozarks.
Pull for Conservation: Northwest- April 2
Join CFM for the 7th annual Northwest clay shoot at Boot Hill Shooting Ground in Hamilton.
Conservation Day at the Capitol- April 6
Join conservationists from across Missouri on the radio for a day of celebrating and supporting conservation and natural resources. From 6 am to 10 am on 96.7 FM or KCMQ.com
Conservation Federation Banquet: Springfield- May 12
Meet fellow conservationists and support CFM at the White River Conference Center next to Bass Pro Shops and Wonders of Wildlife.
CFM Life Member Event- June 25 Special CFM life member event.
Conservation Federation Virtual Event- July 21
Join us for this virtual fundraiser and hear updates about all things conservation.
Pull for Conservation: Central- August 13
Take your best shot at the 16th annual Central clay shoot at Prairie Grove Shotgun Sports.
Affiliate Summit- September 8 & 9
CFM affiliate organizations are invited to network and learn with fellow professionals.
Conservation Federation Online Auction- October 4 - 18 Enjoy a fun and interactive online auction with many great trips and prizes.
Holiday Online Auction- December 5 - 16
Bid on many exciting items just in the time for the holidays. Event dates are subject to change. Please visit www.confedmo.org or follow us on social media for the most up to date schedule.
Attention CFM Members, We Need You!
hat can you do to help fulfill our Conservation Federation of Missouri mission? Consider becoming more involved in the good work. CFM leadership recognizes the future is YOU! Missouri conservation needs your time and talent to remain strong and become stronger. Whether in leadership, finance, natural resource management, wildlife management or other areas, your experience and input as a member of the Board helps keep CFM paying it forward. Eighty-six years is a long time. Help us to be around for many more! The Nominating Committee is now seeking nominations for the 2023 election. August 8th is the deadline to receive all applications for positions needed to fill for 2023. Nominations are being sought for the following positions: • •
Secretary: The Secretary elected will be for a three-year term (2026) At-large board members (4 positions) Elected board members will serve a three-year term (2026) Executive committee: (2 positions) Elected for three-year term (2026) Note, only sitting board members are eligible to serve on the Executive Committee.
To learn more about the roles and responsibilities please go to www.confedmo.org/boardelections/, as well as preferred (but not required) qualifications and experience for each. You may nominate yourself or another person by completing the nominations and bio forms located at www.confedmo.org/boardelections/, submit with a photo as instructed on the website by August 8th. For questions or assistance please contact a CFM staff member. The nominating committee will use the information provided to choose candidates for the 2023 positions. Nomination Process: 1. Read the descriptions and preferred qualifications. 2. Read the expectations for a board member. 3. Complete the nominations form and a short bio. (a short personal video is preferred) 4. Submit nomination documents/personal video not later than August 8, 2022. Election: The election will be held electronically in January 2023 and the results will be announced prior to the Annual Convention.
CFM Young Professionals and YouTube
f you weren't able to join us for the Get Outside Web Series, don’t worry, all sessions are on the CFM YouTube channel at youtube.com/confedmo.
1. Introduction to Spring Foraging – Kirsten Alvey-Mudd, expert forager, professional chef, and Executive Director at the Missouri Bat Census shared species ID tips and foraged wild edibles recipes. 2. Consumptive Fishing – Gilbert Randolph, a member of CFM and regular contributor to the CFM magazine and blog, shared his passion for the outdoors and cooking what he harvests. 3. MDC Outdoor Recreation – Emily Porter, Regional Recreational Use Specialist with the Missouri Department of Conservation, shared with us how you can find your place in nature through a variety of resources offered by MDC. CONSERVATION FEDERATION
4. MO State Parks Outdoor Recreation – Kevin Smith joined us to share the wonderful opportunities that can be found at Missouri’s State Parks and Historic Sites and reminded us to get outside this summer. If you have not been on the CFM YouTube channel recently, be sure to visit! There are all kinds of new videos for you to watch: event recaps, previous web series on pollinators and fall hunting, and much more! If you’re between the ages of 21-40, are interested in the outdoors, live in or work in Missouri, and are interested in learning more about our Young Professionals group, contact the CFM office or send an email to info@ confedmo.org, subject line, “CFM Young Professionals.”
Conservation Federation of Missouri
Submission and Voting: July through September 2022 Since its inception in 1935, the Conservation Federation of Missouri has been proud to showcase our state’s rich outdoor heritage and its diverse wildlife, plants, and habitats. This year for the first time, we are hosting a photo contest to share our member’s artistic observations. We will have several categories for photographs and instructions and guidelines for submissions. Honors will be given for first place in each category and first, second, and third place overall. Many submissions will appear in our web and print media. Photos will be judged on creativity, impact, content, and visual quality. We hope you will join with us and enjoy photography of our great Missouri outdoors.
Photo Submission Categories
You MUST PROVIDE the date and location of the photo when you submit. 1. Get Outdoors – As you go, take a photo! This category could include people exploring the outdoors! Explore by fishing, camping, biking or hiking. Sit and watch the birds in the backyard. Visit an educational program. Share your adventure! 2. Missouri’s Natural Areas – Here we will spotlight Missouri’s public lands, this includes, but is not limited to our beautiful state parks, conservation areas, national parks and historical sites. 3. Tracks and Traces – Perfect for your best plant and wildlife photography. Share your pictures of the abundant wildlife and native plants Missouri offers. 4. All Aquatics – We couldn’t leave out fish and floaters! If you are an angler, into aquatic invertebrates, love paddling, or visiting our caves and springs, enter your photos here. We love to see everyone enjoying our rivers, streams and lakes.
Submission Guidelines 1. Photographs must have been taken in the state of Missouri within the last year. Only photographs from October 2021 to September 2022 will be accepted. Photos submitted in last years contest will not be accepted. 2. Any activities in photos must be legal and conform to all state, state parks, and Wildlife Code rules and regulations. 3. This contest is for amateur photography only. If you receive payment of more than $1,000 annually for your photos, please refrain from entering into this contest. 4. You may submit any number of photographs in any category. You will notice, a photo such as one of a child fishing could fit into any of the 5 categories, feel free to submit in whichever category suits it best, but do NOT submit the same photo in multiple categories. 5. All photos must be submitted online at: https://www.gogophotocontest.com/confedmo. 6. Photos that have been digitally altered beyond basic editing and toning will not be accepted. 7. People who submit photos into the contest will receive no more than one, first place prize (accepting the award for best photo overall). Winners will be decided by the number of votes they receive through donations on the photo contest website ($1 = 1 vote). 8. By entering this contest, you give permission for the Conservation Federation of Missouri to publish any photos in our media. This includes, but is not limited to the Conservation Federation magazine, social media, and webpages. Credit will be given to the photographer. 9. CFM staff and their immediate families will be ineligible to win. 10. There are no age limits for persons wishing to submit their photographs. 11. Photo submissions and voting will run concurrently opening July 1st at 8:00 A.M. and will close on September 30th, 2022 at 10:00 P.M. The earlier photos are submitted, the more likely they are to gain more votes.
Ray Scott, Founder of Bassmaster and B.A.S.S, Passes Away
ot many people can be credited for developing an entire industry. Ray Scott is one of the few. He built bass fishing into what it is today – NASCAR of the outdoors. Scott is the father of competitive fishing and paved the way for untold amounts of business around bass angling. He was larger than life, but made everyone he met feel like friend. Scott passed away on Sunday, May 8 at 11:30 p.m. He was 88 years old. In 1967, Scott launched the Bassmaster Tournament Trail as the first national professional bass fishing circuit. Just a year later, he founded the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (B.A.S.S.). This was the first member organization I ever joined.
I proudly carried the iconic logo as a sticker on my tackle box as a kid. My uncle had the same sticker on the back window of his work van. B.A.S.S. had over 650,000 at its peak, making it the world’s largest fishing organization. I am one of the many fortunate souls to have crossed paths with Ray Scott. I was able to spend time with him on multiple occasions during annual conferences of the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association. I was invited, along with three other outdoor writers, to spend a couple days at Scott’s home fishing his famed private bass lake outside of Montgomery, Alabama. It was an experience I’ll never forget.
Feature Story The fishing great, but paled in comparison to the opportunity to just sit with Scott on his back porch and listen to him tell tales of his illustrious life in the fishing industry. He talked about his friends like Bill Dance, Johnny Morris, Rick Clunn, and Jimmy Houston. He detailed the early days of professional bass fishing. It was one of those moments you dream of as a fisherman. I grew up watching Scott on television and reading his magazines. To have the chance to know an icon you looked up to, and to realize he’s even greater in person than you imagined, is special. One standout accomplishment Scott should be thanked for is his development of the catch-and-release mentality in bass fishing. Prior to Scott’s tournaments and public relations work, largemouth bass usually ended up on stringers. Scott began advocating for releasing fish early on. His “Don’t Kill Your Catch” campaign debuted in 1972. He mandated all fishermen in his tournaments had to weigh their bass alive, or they would be penalized. Scott did a lot for livewell salesmen. B.A.S.S. released a statement upon Scott’s passing. In it, Chase Anderson, B.A.S.S. CEO, said, “Our entire organization was saddened to hear about the passing of our founder, Ray Scott. Ray’s passion and vision for bass fishing birthed our entire industry more than 50 years ago when he founded B.A.S.S. and started the first professional fishing tournament series. His legacy is felt to this day and continues to influence B.A.S.S., the world’s largest fishing membership organization. Ray’s contributions and impact on conservation and his advocacy and passion for anglers and our sport set the standard for tournament fishing and are something we will always strive to uphold. Our hearts and prayers are with the Scott family.” Johnny Morris, founder of Bass Pro Shops, credits Scott for creating an opportunity for Bass Pro to exist and thrive. Morris released a letter about Scott. He wrote, “I was 22 years old when I first met Ray while competing in his All American National B.A.S.S. Tournament on Table Rock Lake in 1970. There can be no doubt that if I had not fished in that tournament, Bass Pro Shops would never have come to be. I don’t know what I would have done in my life, but I do know it would not have been near as much fun and gratifying as having the opportunity of spending a lifetime being so closely connected to the great sport of fishing. Like many others, I am forever grateful to Ray Scott!”
Many of the early tournament anglers who became celebrities on television, credit Scott for giving them the path to do so. Thankfully, many of them are still around to share their thoughts on the loss of such an industry giant. Jimmy Houston wrote, “Ray’s dream did more than create a multi-billion-dollar fishing industry and a sport that we all love. When I look at all the people in my life that are important to me, outside of family, all of them are because of Ray’s dream. Ironically, as visionary as Ray was, I don’t think that dream included creating all of the friendships that came as a result of it all. And many of those friendships have evolved into success stories of their own that in turn add more realism to Ray’s dream. Friends like Johnny Morris, Bill Dance, Roland Martin. I could go on until the sun sets and not include everyone on a list of my friends that have had a positive impact on bass fishing, because of Ray’s dream. The dream started out having nothing to do with friendships, but it did, and that’s how our industry became successful.” Bill Dance wrote, “I was there when it all started. Like most things to be really successful you start off crawling and that develops into a walk and that turns in to a run. That’s how B.A.S.S. started with Ray. It began as a dream and became reality. Ray realized early on he was on to something with the tournaments. He realized how competition would help grow the sport, the industry and B.A.S.S. The tournament trail became the proving ground, the real-time research and development environment, for everything involved in growing (and preserving) fishing.” If there were to be a Mount Rushmore equivalent for fisherman, Ray Scott would be on it. He was a genuinely good man who developed an industry through good times. The businesses and careers that exist today because of his dream are countless. He is truly a legend.
See you down the trail... Brandon Butler For more Driftwood Outdoors, check out the podcast on www.driftwoodoutdoors.com or anywhere podcasts are streamed.
The author with Ray Scott at a Southeastern Outdoor Media Association conference. (Photo: Brandon Butler)
JULY - 2022
JULY - 2022
Paddling Clinics in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways 28
hile having a good time might be your primary objective when heading to one of Missouri’s float streams, safety should be uppermost in your mind. The river can be a lot of fun, but it can turn deadly in seconds if combined with unexpected obstacles, lack of paddling skills or too much alcohol consumption. The key factor in river safety is always wearing your PFD (personal flotation device or life jacket). When you NEED your life jacket, you will not have time to put it on. The next most important thing is to learn basic paddling skills. And for this, we have a great solution. The Ozark National Scenic Riverways in conjunction with the Ozark Riverways Foundation and Current River State Park (CRSP), once again is offering a series of free paddling clinics. The classes are led by kayak instructors certified by the American Canoe Association (ACA). The clinics begin with on-land demonstration of safety and paddling skills, followed by practice paddling on the lake at CRSP. Participants then have the opportunity to join a 2-mile guided paddling trip from CRSP to Round Spring, during which they will be able to practice their strokes further and learn valuable skills such as ferrying. Participants can bring their own equipment, or kayaks, paddles and PFDs will be provided. Each person should bring a sack lunch and water and snacks for the paddling trip. A shuttle is provided. Paddling clinics began in June; upcoming dates include July 3, 17, 31 and August 14 and 28. Space is limited and the clinics fill up fast, so sign up quickly. There is no charge to participate, but you do need to register. For more information or to register, contact Skyler Bockman, Upper Current River District Interpreter, at Skyler_ Bockman@nps.gov. (Left) Paddling clinic participants practice paddling on the lake at Current River State Park before heading to the Current River for a guided trip. (Photo: Barbara Gibbs Ostmann) (Top) Paddling clinic participants learn new skills during a guided trip on the Current River. Here a park ranger gives a safety demonstration during an interpretive stop. (Photo: Barbara Gibbs Ostmann)
Guided interpretive paddles On alternating Sundays, the Scenic Riverways offers guided interpretive paddles on two stretches of the upper Current River. “The idea is to schedule interpretive stops along the Akers to Pulltite stretch and the Pulltite to Round Spring section to highlight specific cultural or natural history stops,” said Bockman. The first trip of each month will be Pulltite to Round Spring, and the second will be Akers to Pulltite. The interpretive paddles are led by park staff, with support from ACA-certified safety boaters. The interpretive paddles began in June. Upcoming dates are July 10 and 24 and August 7 and 21. There is no charge to participate, but space is limited and registration is required. To register or for more information, contact Skyler_Bockman@nps.gov. If you cannot attend either a clinic or a paddle, please notify Bockman in advance so other people may be given an opportunity. Because space is limited, there are always waiting lists. Barbara Gibbs Ostmann
JULY - 2022
Bobbing Tails & Black Scales Y
ou step out your front door to walk the dog before bedtime, and are startled by a flutter of departing wings. The next morning, you find white splashes of bird droppings outside the door, and a little gray bird is perched on the shepherd’s hook above your bird feeder. Instead of dropping down to grab sunflower seeds, it periodically flies out into the air above your lawn, pumping its tail impatiently between forays. You spy a clump of moss and mud atop your porch light on your way back indoors. Inside, you open the closet in your foyer and find a 4-foot snakeskin inside.
What do these two things have in common? They are evidence that your home and its environs are part of a healthy ecosystem. If you live in Missouri, the pert little gray bird that startled you was an Eastern phoebe, a member of the flycatcher family. It isn’t particularly showy, but you can always recognize it by its nervous habit of pumping its tail up and down. Nervous or not, phoebes aren’t sensitive to human disturbance.
Feature Story Quite the opposite, they seem to seek out human habitations for their nesting sites. Their favorite nesting spots in our neighborhood are the horizontal surfaces provided by outdoor light fixtures. You might wonder where phoebes nested before humans began erecting houses, barns, sheds and other structures with nice, dry spaces beneath roof eaves. They did – and still do – what swallows do, and built their nests on rock ledges beside streams. That works out nicely for them, since the insects that comprise most of their diet thrive around running water. Apparently, houses with water features, sprinklers and birdbaths work for them, too. Getting back to that scaly surprise in the closet, if you make your yard a haven for birds, rabbits, chipmunks, squirrels and other small creatures, you also make it attractive to the rest of the food chain. This means foxes, coyotes, bobcats, hawks, owls and snakes. The impressive skin my wife found in our closet a few years ago came from a particularly prosperous black rat snake. Its contribution to our residential ecosystem was keeping rodent numbers in check. Unfortunately for the phoebes and those of us who love them, rat snakes aren’t exclusively rat eaters (ratatarians?). We initially blamed blue jays, such easy targets for slander, for the disappearance of five phoebe chicks from the nest beside our front door. But the truth came out the following year, when I found a reptilian ratter neatly wedged in the grooves of our brickwork. It was at the top of the wall, and within inches of raiding the new phoebe nest. I spared the snake, pulling him down and escorting him to the far edge of the yard, but he ultimately paid for his crime when he had the bad fortune to inhabit a patch of tall grass when I mowed it. (What’s green and black and red and flies through the air with a sickening THRRRRUPPPPP?)
Anyway, assuming that the late Mr./Ms. No Shoulders had a family, I decided that the phoebes needed a more secure spot for their nest. Toward that end, I assembled a modest wooden box with an overhanging roof and placed it 8 feet up the slick exterior wall of my tool shed. The phoebes have nested unmolested there ever since, and the rat snake family has returned to its rodent-control duties. Photos on trail cameras prove that foxes, coyotes and bobcats patrol the surrounding woods, but they steer clear of our house. Sharp-shinned hawks exact their tribute at our bird feeders, and barred owls stake out our lawn, sparing my vegetable garden from all but a few very cautious cotton-tailed marauders. Shrews do their part to keep the local field mice honest, and moles thin out the grubs and other underground pests, which I consider a good trade for humps of loosened soil. These are all reminders that mankind doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Our species is one cog – admittedly a very influential one – in what Aldo Leopold called “the land mechanism.” It’s nice to see the other parts working, and a reminder that we should do our part to sustain balance that all of creation needs to survive. Jim Low All photos courtesy of MDC.
JULY - 2022
Karkhagnes and Hodags: A Case for Evolution
n the time before the beginning, pre-antediluvian and long before the winter of blue snow. Before the time of agropelters and splintercats. A creature roamed the ancient forests of the Missouri Ozarks. Its name – The Karkhagne.
Unfortunately, the cave and drawing were lost to time and inundation. But the old stories, deciphered from generations of mythology and monosyllabic sonnets, suggest the cave once served as a hibernaculum and nest for the shadowy Karkhagne.
In a deep valley north of Bee Fork and Grasshopper Hollow, an ancient cave was discovered in the late 1600s. Filled with bone fragments, spearpoints, and a firepit, the cavern was used as a shelter by ancient peoples. Deep within and one-half mile down, a massive pictograph was found upon a wall. The primeval drawing depicted a creature of great size with a long, whip-like tail, vestigial wings protruding from a carapace, and short, powerful legs. Its mandible was long and filled with bone-crushing teeth.
Three centuries later, another mysterious picture was reportedly discovered scratched into the wall of an outhouse at the remains of an old Ozark lumber camp. The graffiti image was eerily similar to written descriptions in the lost journal of H. R. Schoolcraft. An analogous drawing was reportedly found on a pine board at an old sawmill decades later.
Feature Story Buried under two feet of saw dust beneath and among a few empty Old Forester bottles, this story correlates with the only known modern day account of the beast, documented in 1964 by Mr. Ed Woods, professional woodsman. History suggests the illustrations described were one and the same. So little is known about the creature, biologists have yet to assign it a proper Latin name. Perhaps some paleontologist will someday fill in the blanks from yet-to-be discovered fossilized remains dredged from the depths of a Missouri fen. Until then, all we have are ancient stories promoting embellished, exaggerated, and absurd descriptions of behavior compressed and misrepresented with other historical facts. Evidence does strongly suggest the creature was stealthy or even shy, yet aggressive when startled. And if confronted by another carnivorous creature of equal or greater dimensions, it would retreat within itself, hence the shell or armored exterior. It was likely one of the last oviparous creatures of great size. In recent years, an interesting theory has arisen regarding Karkhagnes and a forest creature of the northern biomes, the Hodag. The written record of the Hodag is much more complete but not without confusion and some exceedingly minor overstatement of facts. What we know precisely is as follows. As the preferred beast of burden for the great logging camps of the Northwoods, oxen worked tirelessly through all conditions and under all nature of teamsters. Their life was brutal and short. And when their time had passed, they were cremated, and “…seven years of continuous fire was necessary to exterminate the profanity which had accumulated in the body of the ox during his life.” As the story goes, the Hodag (Bovinus spiritualis) was born from “the ashes…as the incarnation of the accumulation of abuse the animals had suffered at the hands of their masters.” The literature verifies the Hodag, like the Karkhagne, was also oviparous. The literature also suggests another name, Nasobatilus hystrivoratus; we cannot determine if this is a misidentification or simply another similar but different creature. Hodag stories associated with a Mr. Eugene Shepard, naturalist and well-known prankster, have been mostly debunked, but as is often the case, grains of truth can be found in even the most ridiculous yarns.
We know the creature was carnivorous but its preferred food is debatable. Some say it was beef on the hoof and others say pure white bull dogs. Most believably, the preferred food was porcupines. By all accounts, ancient, historic, or hallucinogenic, the creature was terrifyingly ugly. A menacing horned head with bulging greenish-red eyes, massive flesh-ripping teeth, powerful claws, and dorsal spines. Dr. Gustav Zickuhr, an evolutionary ecologist and retired braumeister from Wisconsin, postulates a genetic intermingling of the species occurred after habitat loss of a massive scale forced the last female Karkhagne to migrate north and one of the last male Hodags south, meeting somewhere near present-day Burlington, Iowa. The mating rituals of the two creatures was apparently similar enough to facilitate, but so frightening to the Karkhagne that she immediately returned to the Ozarks and laid eggs for the next 100 years. Unhatched, petrified eggs can still occasionally be found in Missouri creeks. You know them as geodes. Various evolutionary events subsequently ensued in the following months, and a new, adaptable, albeit smaller GMO was the result – the twelve banded armadillo. Precocial at birth this new species immediately migrated to the southern United States, and gradually, over many centuries, morphed into the nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus). Today, warming temperatures due to global climate change are now causing a manifestation of latent genetic memory passed on from the Hodag lineage. Subsequently, armadillos have begun their trek north, and using available tracking data, it is projected they will arrive in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin on Friday, April 26, 2047. Some members of the scientific community remain skeptical of this theory, choosing to believe both the Karkhagne and Hodag simply fell off the edge of the earth. But Dr. Zickuhr, hoping to prove his revolutionary, evolutionary hypothesis, continues research in his laboratory at the brewery in Potosi, Wisconsin. Most recently, the esteemed doctor analyzed genetic material from the charred remains of an immature Hodag, captured and killed after goring a freshman forestry student to death in 1905. To date the results are inconclusive, but the Cave Ale Amber is highly recommended. Further research is needed, however.
Dan Zekor (Photo: Courtesy of Wisconsin Historical Society, #36382)
JULY - 2022
How to Do a Trout Town: St. James, Missouri
ometimes you go fly fishing to get away from everything and everybody. Grand escapes exist from Alaska to Argentina, if you’ve got the greenbacks. Of course, there are lots of backcountry trout fishing spots in the Ozarks, if you’ve got the tent. Other times, however, you want to kick back in a trout town full of good food, local drink, a little entertainment and a fishing kind of attitude. If it’s the latter you seek, and you are within striking distance of the Missouri Ozarks, St. James, Missouri is your place. St. James is a quaint little town of exceptional beauty, largely due to the generosity of the James Foundation, created by the ancestors of ironmongers and the Maramec Iron Works.
It is near Maramec Spring Park, one of four trout parks in the state. Fifteen minutes out of town you can access the Meramec River, 9 miles of spring-fed, cold water trout stream managed by the Missouri Department of Conservation. Where to Fish Utilizing St. James as a base of operations, you are within reach of some of the finest trout fishing in the Ozarks. Six miles south of St. James is Maramec Spring Park, a daily put and take operation, which offers trout fishing from March 1 through the end of October. A daily trout tag and a fishing license are required. Anglers are allowed to keep five trout per day.
Feature Story Another mile southeast is the Meramec River Red Ribbon Trout Area. This area is managed to produce larger trout with the opportunity for responsible harvest. The limit is two trout per day, which must be at least 15 inches. Regulations limit anglers to lures and flies only. Within 30 minutes of St. James are Little Piney Creek and Mill Creek, both Blue Ribbon Trout Areas. These areas are managed to produce trophy trout and to protect the production of wild trout. The daily limit is one fish of at least 18-inches. Only flies and lures are allowed. Thirty minutes in the opposite direction, southeast of Steelville, lies the most exquisite private trout fishing operation in the Midwest, Westover Farms. Westover offers superb trout fishing in an idyllic setting among reconstructed log homes. About three miles of the private spring-fed stream is intensively managed for trout fishing. Where to Stay St. James offers a wide variety of accommodations ranging from typical chain motels to rustic cabins in the woods. Pheasant Acres RV Park and Lost Creek Ranch are among my favorites, both near Maramec Spring Park. Regardless of your budget, you’ll find satisfactory accommodations in St. James. Lost Creek Ranch lies directly across the highway from the entrance to Maramec Spring Park. Rustic, cozy cabins stand among hardy oaks a mile from the highway. Kick back in the beauty of the surroundings while you rig your fly fishing gear on the front porch and prepare to chase rainbow trout in area streams. Call 573-265-7407 or go to www. lostcreekmo.com. Where to Eat, Drink and Hang Out St. James offers an abundance of eateries, from the exquisite to the well-known fast-food joints. For trout fishers looking for a place to enjoy a good meal, have a brew and occasionally catch live music in the evenings, Public House Brewing is your place. Enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of a spacious dining area with brewery views. They are conveniently located just off I-44 next to their partner business, award-winning St. James Winery. The menu includes brick oven pizzas and appetizers, specialty burgers produced from local ingredients, and more. The Taproom is a family-friendly environment complete with a gorgeous, pet-friendly beer garden. The well-equipped bar is a great place to strike up a conversation with a fellow fly fishermen. Locals often hang out there. You may just pick up the latest and greatest trout fishing secrets.
For those discerning fly fishermen with tastes for the exquisite, Sybil’s is known across the country for its elegance and fine dining. The menu includes dinner, lunch, brunch, and signature cocktails. The white linen tablecloths and the elegant decor is especially appealing to lady fly fishers. Gentlemen, if you are plying for an extra day of fly fishing, a beautiful gift for your lady from the Sybil’s Gift Shop will seal your deal. Sybil’s is conveniently located on Highway 68, a mile north of I-44. Rich’s Famous Burgers, located in downtown St. James, along the railroad tracks, is impressive, offering dine-in or takeout. Their burgers and onion rings are to die for. However, they offer a fine menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Fly fishers, if you are in the area for the weekend, don’t miss the all-you-can-eat catfish on Friday evenings. Hire a Guide Your best opportunity to maximize a day of trout fishing near St. James is to hire a fishing guide. Guiding, however, is not allowed at Maramec Spring Park, one of four trout parks in the state. Imagine floating down the beautiful Meramec River with a guide at the helm of a drift boat. Utilized heavily by Western guides, drift boats are not common in the Ozarks. Damon Spurgeon, owner and operator of Cardiac Mountain Outfitters LLC, is a heavily experienced, very well-known local guide, who charms his clients both with his abilities as an oarsman and keen aptitude for understanding nature of trout. He is in extremely high demand, so book early. 573263-9776. Sam Potter, of Tightline Fly Fishing, has taught men, women, and children how to fly fish in the Ozarks for over 15 years. He caters to the individual needs of his clients. His clients come from all over the world and enjoy his mild manner and devotion to catch and release fishing. 573-4653556. For further assistance with food, fishing, or lodging while visiting, contact the St. James Chamber of Commerce at: www.stjameschamber.net.
Bill Cooper (Left) Maramec Spring Park, six miles southeast of St. James, is a popular put and take trout park. (Photo: Bill Cooper) (Right) The Meramec Red Ribbon Trout Area extends for 8-miles, from the Highway 8 Missouri Department of Conservation Access downstream to Scott’s Ford. (Photo: Bill Cooper)
JULY - 2022
MISSOURI DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION MDC and MPFC Ask Those Doing Prescribed Burns to “Log Your Burn”
he Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and the Missouri Prescribed Fire Council (MPFC) encourage landowners, land managers, and others who conduct prescribed burns on private land to “Log Your Burn” through the MPFC website at moprescribedfire.org. Prescribed fire, or controlled burning, is an affordable and effective management tool to accomplish land management goals including: reducing fuel loads to reduce the chance and intensity of wildfire; restoring native plant communities; enhancing wildlife habitat for wild turkeys, deer, and other game species; improving livestock forage production; regenerating trees; and controlling invasive species such as bush honeysuckle. “Prescribed burning can be effective in meeting various land management goals in the summer, fall, and winter, but early spring is that time of year when we tend to see the greatest number of smoke columns rising into the air from prescribed burns on private land,” said Wes Buchheit, Missouri Prescribed Fire Coordinating Wildlife Biologist with Pheasants Forever, Inc. and Quail Forever. “After the prescribed burn is complete, there is one more quick step that can support the continued and expanded use of prescribed fire – Log Your Burn,” Buchheit added. Visit the MPFC website at moprescribedfire.org to Log Your Burn. This is a voluntary and anonymous entry for prescribed burns completed on private land in Missouri. The Log Your Burn questions ask the date, county, acres, and habitat type burned, along with identifying if a prescribed burn association or landowner cooperative was used to provide assistance. The last questions ask if any fire occurred outside the burn unit, and if so, to what extent. To avoid multiple submissions for one burn unit, the landowner or the contractor leading the burn should be the one completing the entry.
"This information is useful in charting the use of prescribed fire across the state and is key in demonstrating the safe use of this critical land management tool with insurance providers, legislators, and Missourians,” explained Buchheit. MPFC and other conservation partners such as MDC are seeking opportunities for insurance providers to offer affordable insurance policies for prescribed burning, especially for contractors who have identified this as a major hurdle. “Please add this step to your prescribed burning process,” he added. “Submissions can be made at any time, but soon after the burn is best as not to forget to Log Your Burn. It only takes a few minutes, and with your help, we can collectively add supporting information to those smoke columns.” Learn more about using prescribed fire from MPFC at moprescribedfire.org/ and MDC at mdc.mo.gov/yourproperty/fire-management/prescribed-fire. MDC and MPFC encourage landowners, land managers and others who conduct prescribed burns on private land to “Log your Burn” through the MPFC website at moprescribedfire.org. (Photo: MDC)
MDC Reports Final CWD Results for 2021 Deer Season
he Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) reports that it sampled and tested more than 32,000 deer for chronic wasting disease (CWD) between July 2021 and April 2022. Of the more than 32,000 deer sampled, 86 tested positive for CWD. Those deer bring the total number of CWD cases found in the state to 292 since the first case in wild deer was found by MDC in early 2012. Including recent sampling efforts, MDC has collected more than 210,000 tissue samples for CWD testing since the disease was first detected. Of deer tested this past season, MDC found CWDpositive deer in 18 counties: Adair (2), Barry (4), Cedar (2), Christian (2), Franklin (6), Howell (1), Jefferson (12), Linn (12), Macon (10), Oregon (6), Perry (2), Pulaski (1), Putnam (1), St. Clair (1), Ste. Genevieve (15), Stone (6), Taney (2), and Washington (1). CWD-positive cases in Barry, Christian, Howell, and Washington counties marked the first detections of the disease in these counties. More than 18,700 of the 32,000-plus deer tested were sampled as part of MDC mandatory CWD sampling efforts during the opening weekend of the November portion of the firearms deer season, Nov. 13 and 14. Mandatory sampling required hunters who harvested deer in any of the 34 MDC CWD Management Zone counties during that weekend to present their deer for CWD sampling. Of the more than 32,000 deer sampled, about 3,000 were collected through MDC’s partnerships with many landowners in localized areas where CWD has been found. MDC works with local landowners on a voluntary basis to remove deer through targeted culling after the close of regular deer seasons in immediate areas where CWD has been recently found. “These landowners are critical in slowing the spread of CWD by removing additional infected deer from the landscape and reducing deer numbers in targeted areas,” said MDC Wildlife Health Program Supervisor Jasmine Batten. “Participation by landowners is entirely voluntary, and all meat from deer that do not test positive for CWD is either returned to the landowner or donated to Share the Harvest.”
Batten also thanked the hunters, taxidermists, and meat processors who helped with CWD sampling. “We are very grateful to the thousands of deer hunters who brought in their deer for CWD sampling, along with the 109 taxidermists and 34 meat processors across the state who collected and submitted more than 9,000 CWD samples,” Batten said. “These important partners provide critical surveillance data, give hunters additional opportunities to have their deer tested, and ensure that meat from deer harvested in CWD Management Zone counties is tested before venison donations are sent to food pantries.” CWD is a deadly illness in white-tailed deer and other members of the deer family, called cervids. CWD sampling involves cutting an incision across the throat of harvested deer to remove lymph nodes for testing. Tissue samples are sent to an independent lab for testing. CWD has been found in Missouri and is slowly spreading. MDC is working with conservation partners to find cases of CWD and limit its spread. CWD remains relatively rare in the state at this time. Learn more about CWD from the MDC website at mdc.mo.gov/cwd.
MDC staff members work together to remove a lymph node from a harvested buck during the opening weekend of the November portion of the firearms deer season. (Photo: MDC)
JULY - 2022
MISSOURI STATE PARKS From Concept to Completion - Building for the Future
unshine and warmer temperatures marked the beginning of not only spring, but also construction season! Taking advantage of the weather, Missouri State Parks construction crews are in full swing, working on several capital improvement and revenue bond projects throughout the state. “We’re always looking to improve and build for the future,” said Missouri State Parks Director David Kelly. “We are continuing to make improvements to our state parks and historic sites.” One such improvement was the reopening of the campground at Lewis and Clark State Park near Rushville. The campground had been closed since 2019 due to flood damage. Levee repairs have been made and improvements added, and the campground is now open this season. One of the improvements is a new mobile shower house. The construction crew, along with the park team, installed two liners in the Big Lake State Park lagoon. The damage to the lagoon during the 2019 flood prevented any generation of wastewater at the facility, which in turn prevented any overnight camping guests. With the liners in place, the lift stations will once again be operable and will bring camping back to Big Lake State Park! Crews also completed an overlook reconstruction and repair project at Grand Gulf State Park near Thayer. Four of the five platforms overlooking different areas of the gulf needed work. One overlook was completely rebuilt, while three others had various repairs, including installing pickets and replacing posts. The remaining overlook had been recently rebuilt. Much of this project was done while hanging on the side of a shear drop-off. Harnesses and extreme safety measures were practiced, resulting in outstanding structures that allow visitors to see into the gulf and witness one of the most unique geologic features found in Missouri.
Fans of the Katy Trail State Park showed up for the ribbon-cutting of the new and improved Salt Creek Bridge on the Katy Trail. (Photo: Courtesy of State Parks)
On May 4, Shepherd of the Hills State Park, formerly known as Ozark Mountain State Park, held its final conceptual development plan meeting. At the meeting, Missouri State Parks unveiled the park’s new name. The name change came about from public input at the planning meetings. The park, which is not yet open, reflects Harold Bell Wright’s description of the area in his book “The Shepherd of the Hills.” Renaming the park accordingly honors Wright’s contributions to the region. The final plan for the park can be found online at https://mostateparks.com/page/90071/conceptualdevelopment-plans. Another recently completed project was the replacement of the Salt Creek Bridge on the Katy Trail. The original bridge, located just was of Rocheport, was washed off its pilings during a severe flood of the Missouri River in 2019. The new bridge is a critical asset as it connects the popular destinations of Boonville to Rocheport. This project came in under budget and ahead of schedule. “We are excited to have trail users able to once again complete the 240-mile trek without having to make any detours,” Kelly said. “This project’s completion is just one of the many ongoing maintenance and repair projects in our state parks system.”
Ozark Mountain State Park has a new name: Shepherd of the Hills State Park
issouri State Parks announced it is changing the name of Ozark Mountain State Park to Shepherd of the Hills State Park. The change comes after considering comments and suggestions submitted by the public at four public meetings held at the park. Public input has always been an integral part of the planning process for Missouri State Parks. “We take all comments and suggestions into consideration,” said Dru Buntin, director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. “And we listened when a proposal to change the park’s name came to us from the Society of the Ozarkian Hillcrofters.” Governor Mike Parson and Lt. Governor Mike Kehoe were at the park to announce the unveiling of the park’s new name. “This is a historic event for Missouri State Parks,” said Governor Mike Parson. “We are not only unveiling a new name, but we are also honoring a talented writer whose book brought tourists to the area so many years ago and continues to do so today.” In his book, “The Shepherd of the Hills,” Harold Bell Wright’s description of the region’s beauty detailed not only why he was drawn to the area, but it also caused readers to want to see it for themselves. “As Missouri celebrates more than 200 years of statehood, it is fitting to recognize those whose lives have contributed to its rich history,” Buntin said. “Capturing the imagination of a nation, the vivid descriptions of the Roark Valley and the personalities of the Ozark Region were the impetus for the explosion of tourism and population growth in the Branson area.”
Renaming the park accordingly honors Wright’s contributions to the region. His description of the region drew thousands of visitors to the area for more than a century and will continue to do so for generations to come. The announcement of the name change came on a special day, Harold Bell Wright’s 150th birthday. Changing the name to Shepherd of the Hills State Park reflects the landscape described by Wright. The park is not open to the public yet, but once it opens, visitors will be able to see more than 700 known plant species and 53 breeding bird species. Eventually, visitors will be able to explore more than 400 acres of glades, more than two miles of Roark Creek and five other tributary streams. Shepherd of the Hills State Park is located at 4424 Sycamore Church Road, Branson. For more info on the park’s development plan, please visit mostateparks.com/ page/90071/conceptual-development-plans.
Missouri State Parks announced it is changing the name of Ozark Mountain State Park to Shepherd of the Hills State Park. (Photo: Missouri State Parks)
JULY - 2022
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JULY - 2022
n 1978, we moved into our house on 40 acres in Moniteau County. The land had been out of agricultural production for several years making the habitat for rabbits excellent. I hunted rabbits with a mixed breed dog that Mrs. Urich rescued from a dumpster as a puppy. Then one day, I got a call from a couple who had a professionally trained Labrador they could no longer keep. This dog went to boarding school to learn hand signals and other waterfowl retrieving skills.
I took the dog, whose name was Chef Nicodemus which I shortened to Higbee. At first, Higbee was confused by rabbit hunting because when the gun went off, he looked up for something to drop out of the sky. But he soon learned to track on the ground for the retrieve. Labradors Smith, Wesson, Remington, Weatherby and Mister Waylon in South Dakota in December for their last pheasant hunt together. (Photo: David Urich)
Feature Story My first upland bird hunt with Higbee was in 1980 on the Lake Paho Conservation Area in Mercer County, where I shot my first pheasant in Missouri. While walking through the woods with Higbee, I was daydreaming when he stopped and looked to his left. I hadn’t seen this behavior before, so I was very unprepared. A pheasant flushed in front of the dog as I approached, startling me. I got that bird because the overstory was too thick for the pheasant to make a fast getaway. Higbee developed into a fine upland bird hunter and his pointing skills developed nicely. Years later, Mrs. Urich drove up the driveway with a big black dog sitting in the front seat of the car beside her. She had visited a friend in Mexico, MO who was taking this dog to the animal shelter because of behavioral issues. She knew I would want the dog because Higbee was getting on in years plus she didn’t want the dog to go to the shelter. Our oldest son named the dog Tovy. Tovy was very difficult to train because he arrived with a full suite of bad habits that he was unwilling to relinquish without a fight. The key to dog training is teaching the dog to come immediately no matter what it is doing. Unfortunately, Tovy didn’t like to be disturbed if he was occupied with another task. Turned out Tovy was also terribly gun shy. I put the dog in his kennel, and he couldn’t eat until he was taking food out of my hand while I was shooting a toy cap pistol. This process was not going well. My father-in-law, a veterinarian, suggested I try cellophane-wrapped dog treats because the crinkling sound of the wrapper being opened is a universal attractant for all dogs. I slowly unwrapped a treat making as much noise as possible. The dog crept across the kennel run on his belly and ate the treat. Thirty minutes later Tovy was fetching a retriever dummy out of our pond while I was shooting a shotgun. Thirty minutes after that, I was shooting a dummy into the low clouds with 22 shell powered thrower. Tovy developed into an excellent retriever. He was a flash pointer. If Tovy stopped and turned his head, that meant getting the gun up because the action would start. At that time, I hunted waterfowl on ponds. On a blustery day, Tovy would run around the edge of the pond and wait for the wind to blow the bird up against the bank.
David Urich in 1992 pheasant hunting in western Kansas with Mike and McGirk. The duct tape on the dogs’ feet was to hold on leather booties to protect from sandburs and goathead thorns. (Photo: David Urich)
Apparently, Tovy, like the hunters, didn’t want to be wet and cold if he could avoid it. My next Labrador was Mike. He belonged to a young student who was going off to college. The parents didn’t want to care for the dog, so they gave him to me. After I trained Mike, I decided I wanted to hunt with a Labrador-pointer combination. I got a vizsla puppy I named McGirk after the small town west of our house. This was the only dog I had that was born fully trained. McGirk could point, honor, hunted close and came when I called him. I polished his skills with quail from a call back pen, but I didn’t need to do that. The problem was teaching Mike to honor the point which was more difficult before the invention of the wireless electric collar. When McGirk went on point, I would call Mike to me and have him heel as we approached the other dog. Then I would back away making Mike stay. It didn’t take too long for Mike to learn not to go over the back of the pointer to make the flush.
JULY - 2022
Feature Story I don’t know how good of a retriever McGirk was because Mike never gave him the chance. No doubt Mike figured if he had to waste time waiting for the flush, he deserved to retrieve anything that hit the ground. My next Labrador was an amazingly tall and lanky Lab with a huge head about the size of a dinner plate. I named the dog Tuna for some reason. I don’t think Tuna was a full Labrador because of his height but he was close enough for my purposes. Because of his long legs and agility, Tuna always made the retrieves. On those rare instances when he didn’t get to the bird first, he took it away from the dog who had it. No matter how many other dogs were present, Tuna was in charge of all retrieves and he was not inclined to delegate. Unfortunately, Tuna died suddenly in his prime and I went through a hunting season without a dog which was miserable for me. I didn’t realize how important my Labs were to my hunting experience and as companions during the rest of the year. Since retirement was eminent for me, I treated myself to 2 Labs named Smith and Wesson. These were the first Labs that I raised and trained from puppies, plus they were the first Labs I didn’t pick up for free. They were also the first dogs I trained using a game farm as a source of birds which greatly accelerated the learning process. So when the hunting season opened, Smith and Wesson were hunt-ready at nine months. They both had unique hunting qualities. Wesson was a methodical tracker. He could find the sneakiest of birds. Smith was my long range, extended retriever. He could look at a bird flying off after the shot and tell if it was a clean miss or if the bird was going down and retrievable. Sometimes we had to wait for Smith to come back and he usually had the bird. If the scenting conditions were moist, he always had the bird.
David Urich in 2009 with Smith and Wesson and the first pheasant retrieve by these young Labs on the Wayne Helton Conservation Area in Harrison County. (Photo: David Urich)
Since most of the people I hunt with are poor shots, mop-up and damage control are two essential skills for my dogs to ensure a successful hunt. I had to occasionally deploy all my Labs to help hunters who had shot a deer but couldn’t locate it. The Labrador hasn’t been born yet that doesn’t seamlessly transition from hunting and retrieving upland game birds and waterfowl to chasing deer. One of these instances occurred in western Kansas. I was meeting other hunters for a quail and pheasant hunt. One of the hunters had gone deer hunting in the late afternoon wounding a deer that ran off. By the time I arrived with Smith and Wesson, it was three hours later and dark. We got the Labs close to where the deer sign ended and I released the dogs who took off. The problem was following the dogs in the dark. I had to call them back several times to get a bead on the direction they were running. Fortunately, Smith would bark when he found the deer. The deer had gone over a half-mile and the dogs found it in less than 10 minutes.
Feature Story One day I woke up refreshed and ready to begin my day when I realized I had been retired for 11 years and Smith and Wesson were now old dogs. Plus, I was inching perilously close to my mid-70s. I had to decide if I would get another round of Labs and continue hunting. I could still walk long distances in the brutal cold and my wing shooting skills remained robust. I could bend over enough to lace up my boots in the morning although it helped to limber up some first. Of course, I was going to continue hunting. Mrs. Urich and I made a 2-day trip through westcentral and northern Missouri shopping for Lab puppies. Because of her extensive experience with horses, she announced that she was much better qualified than I to select puppies with the proper characteristics. Given my history with Labs, she felt I would take anything black and had four legs. She also demanded naming rights noting that she was the one who took care of the dogs while I was gone on my frequent and lengthy fishing trips. She also thought most of my dog names were dumb and designed to irritate her. I had much better options in my marital toolkit for needling Mrs. Urich than dog names, although I knew she would object to the name Tuna for a huge Lab nearly the size of a wolfhound. I wanted to continue naming my Labs after firearms manufacturers, so I gave Mrs. Urich an extensive list. I was hoping for Glock and Ruger but I had to settle for Remington and Weatherby. I learned years ago that a successful, long-term marriage requires considerable and often uncomfortable compromise in our case, mostly by me.
I also trained Remington and Weatherby using birds at a game farm. I had one year of overlap with Smith and Wesson hunting with 4 Labs simultaneously. This went better than I thought although transporting four big dogs was an issue. As the hunting season progressed, I could see that the younger dogs were learning from the older dogs. I make an annual pheasant hunting trip with our oldest son to South Dakota in late December after Christmas. The weather is brutal at this time of the year but it is the only time our son can take time off from his job as a school principal. With his Lab, Mister Waylon, we hunted with five trained Labs. Since the cold weather and snow confined the pheasants to the cattail marshes, 5 Labs were very effective. I walked into a snow-covered marsh when I noticed that Remington was gone. I called many times and he didn’t respond which was very unusual. I walked back to where we started, and the dog was standing with one paw up and not moving. I thought the dog had hurt his leg until he slowly turned his head towards me and looked at me, indicating I needed to get my act together. Then I realized the dog was pointing. I released the dog who jumped forward, flushing a rooster which I shot. All my Labs eventually learned to point, some better than others. But at less than two years old, Remington was the youngest to develop a strong pointing ability. After hunting with and training Labs for over 40 years, I realized it was a good thing my first Lab arrived fully trained. One of Higbee’s secondary duties was to help me learn dog handling skills. It was also fortunate that my second Lab, Tovy, was so difficult to train because of his stubbornness and bad habits that needed correcting. But I learned the importance of patience, repetition and perseverance from Tovy. Training 2 dogs simultaneously beginning with Smith and Wesson taught me that dogs, like kids, are different with their own strengths and weaknesses that must be recognized and honed. But all my Labs had one feature in common. They were enthusiastic companions who added greatly to my hunting experiences and memories. David Urich David Urich goose hunting on the Missouri River with Mike in 2001. (Photo: David Urich)
JULY - 2022
Paddle Mo Trips on the Missouri, Current and James Rivers
et to know Missouri's rivers with Stream Teams United (STU). The Missouri Stream Team Watershed Coalition group announces four Paddle MO trips this year, including two new ones. "Stream Teams United is offering four Paddle MO educational river adventures in 2022, with inaugural trips on the James River south of Springfield and on the Missouri River at Kansas City," said Mary Culler, STU Executive Director. The new trips are in addition to past destinations, including the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers at St. Louis and the upper Current River in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, the country's first federally protected river system. "Paddle MO trips provide people an opportunity to explore and learn about some of our state's greatest rivers during a unique multi-day trip," said Culler, "and also serve as a fundraiser to support year-round river stewardship efforts in Missouri by Stream Teams United, an affiliate organization of CFM.” The inaugural 3-day James River trip is Aug. 19-21 and registration for this trip is full. However, you can ask to be put on a waitlist. The new Paddle MO KC is a 3-day 70-mile journey on the Missouri River from Atchison, Kans., to Kansas City, Sept. 16-18. On-water guides Bill and Jody Miles of Earth's Classroom will lead this trip, with motorized/safety boat support by Little Blue River Watershed Coalition. The weekend edition of the flagship Paddle MO program on the Missouri River near St. Louis will be Sept. 24-25. The 2-day paddle will explore Pelican Island and then paddle through the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. Bill and Jody Miles of Earth's Classroom will be on-water guides, with motorized/safety boat support provided by Missouri River Relief.
Paddle MO Ozark returns to the Current River Oct. 15-17 for a 3-day 25-mile exploration from Cedar Grove to Round Spring. Bill and Jody Miles will again be the on-water guides, with safety boat support by the Ozark Riverways Foundation and regional Missouri Stream Team volunteers. Paddle MO trips offer unique educational journeys with historical and scientific experts who share the history and ecology of the rivers. STU and Missouri Stream Team volunteers are the ground crew, so all you have to do is bring a boat and your gear. The meals, transportation and logistics are provided. If you don't have a boat, STU can help you find one to rent or borrow. Registration information for all trips can be found at paddlemo.org. For more information, contact Mary Culler at 573-586-0747 or mary@streamteamsunited. org. STU is an affiliate organization of the American Canoe Association (ACA). All Paddle MO trips are sanctioned by the ACA, guided by certified ACA instructors, and follow the ACA paddle event safety requirements. Barbara Gibbs Ostmann A fall trip on the Current River is a scenic wonder. Paddle MO goes to the Current in October. (Photo: Barbara Gibbs Ostmann)
Prairie Strips: Speed Bumps for Crop Fields
issouri’s farmland is some of the most productive in the world. Unfortunately, productive topsoil, as well as fertilizer, can wash away from corn and soybean fields and be carried by local streams, degrading water quality and degrading the productivity of farmland. Drawing upon what we know about ancient prairie landscapes, and recent research at Iowa State University, a relatively new conservation practice can help keep soil in place and protect water resources: prairie strips. Prairie strips (CP43) are a continuous Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) practice under the USDA’s Clean Lakes, Estuaries and Rivers (CLEAR) initiative. This practice reduces soil erosion, protects soil, improves water quality, stores carbon in the ground, and provides wildlife habitat. The STRIPS team (Science-Based Trials of Rowcrops Integrated with Prairie Strips) at Iowa State University developed and has been testing the practice since 2007. Prairie strips are linear, perennial plantings of prairie grasses and wildflowers within and/or around row crop fields. They must be between 30 and 120 feet wide and may not account for more than 25% of the cropped acres per tract. They can be established along the edge of a field (like the old CP33 buffers practice), through the field, in terrace channels along waterways, and next to pivot corners.
If using CP43 cost-share to establish prairie strips, they must be in place for a 10- or 15-year contract period. The CP43 Prairie Strips practice is continuous CRP. Unlike general CRP, it is not competitive so if your land meets requirements and acres are available, your land is accepted. The first step in enrolling is to visit your local USDA service center. In addition to annual payments, cost share and incentives offset most of the establishment costs. Financial benefits include: • 10 –15 years of annual rental payments • Up to 50% cost share payments for establishment • 5% practice incentive payment • Sign-up incentive equal to 32.5% of the first year’s rental payment Also, the Missouri Prairie Foundation (MPF) has some limited funds to help further offset the cost of establishing prairie strips. Call MPF at 573-356-7828 if you are interested in establishing prairie strips on your land. Watch a short video on prairie strips and learn more about this practice at https://moprairie.org/prairiestrips/
Carol Davit Executive Director, Missouri Prairie Foundation Prairie strips are like “speed bumps” within and/or around corn and soybean fields that slow and absorb stormwater, help keep soil in place, prevent runoff of fertilizers and agricultural chemicals, and provide habitat for pollinating insects and other wildlife. (Photo: Omar de Kok-Mercado – Iowa State University)
JULY - 2022
Amendment #4's Pendergast Connection
issouri's modern Conservation Department was created by constitutional amendment in a statewide vote in 1936. The proposal was listed as Amendment #4 on the ballot. How that amendment got on the ballot and was eventually passed involves a littleknown episode in Missouri's conservation history. In late 1935, after years of failed political efforts by the old Fish and Game Department to address statewide problems of over harvested timber, and disappearing wildlife, a meeting of sportsmans groups was arranged in Columbia, Missouri, at the Tiger Hotel. That meeting of 75 concerned Missourians resulted in the formation of the Restoration and Conservation Federation of Missouri.
After deciding to go the constitutional amendment route instead of pushing for a new law, the Federation immediately set about organizing and fund-raising. Their goal was to place a constitutional amendment on the ballot that would create a Conservation Commission, removing wildlife and forestry management from politics, putting wildlife management decisions on course to be decided by science. The old Fish and Game Department that preceded it was political, run by political appointees and funded or not funded by a legislature when it was in session.
Feature Story E. Sydney Stephens, an ardent hunter, was elected the first president of the Federation, and the man tasked with organizing the state and raising money for the campaign to get the amendment on the ballot. Because of the severe decline of game species like quail, wild turkeys and smallmouth bass, most areas of the state had hunting or sporting clubs that were on board with the move to take the management of natural resources out of politics. There was a problem in the Kansas City area. That problem was the powerful Pendergast political machine that controlled most of official Missouri. That machine was run by T.J. “Tom” Pendergast. Pendergast was born in St. Joseph, Missouri in 1872. Wikipedia says: "Thomas Joseph Pendergast.., was an American political boss who controlled Kansas City and Jackson County, Missouri, from 1925 to 1939. Pendergast only briefly held elected office as an alderman, but his capacity as chairman of the Jackson County Democratic Party allowed him to use his large network of family and friends to help the election of politicians, in some cases by voter fraud, and to hand out government contracts and patronage jobs." The 1936 campaign to pass Amendment #4 was taking place at the height of Pendergast's control of politics in Missouri. He could make or break the Federation's efforts to create a non-political Department of Conservation. When the fundraising hit a snag in the Kansas City area, it was an indication to Stephens and others that Pendergast's influence there and around the state would have to be considered. Pendergast's influence was all encompassing in state politics in the mid-1930s. His political machine would have to be supportive to pass Amendment 4. E. Sydney Stephens was told by friends, "You fellows are wasting your time. Tom Pendergast will never let a thing like this get by." The thought was that constitutional proposals never drew much of a vote and "The boss can beat you with his voting machine in Kansas City alone." If Pendergast decided to actively oppose the effort, Democrat counties throughout the state would follow suit. Undaunted, Federation President Stephens arranged a meeting with Mr. Pendergast. After traveling to Kansas City, Stephens remembered walking up the rickety stairs to the small office where Tom Pendergast sat behind a desk wearing a hat and looking just like the cartoon depictions in the newspapers.
Overhearing Mr. Pendergast discussing a local issue say, "There are two places we don't want politics, school boards and the health department," Stephens took his cue. The conversation that ensued was a short one. Stephens explained the effort to take politics out of the management of wildlife. Eventually, the Boss asked, "Well what do you want me to do? Do you want me to conduct a campaign? My business is to carry Missouri for Mr. Roosevelt." Stephens replied, "We aren't asking you to do anything. If you approve it, just support the proposition in Kansas City and announce it publicly that you are going to support it. That will have its effect throughout the state." Will it help the women and children of Missouri?" Tom wanted to know. Stephens assured him that it would. "All right," Pendergast concluded the interview. "I'll be for it and support it." And he did. On March 10, 1936, Stephens announced that the proposed conservation amendment had been endorsed by T.J. Pendergast and that his Democratic organization would support it. The bridge had been crossed. Newspapers statewide carried the story and Amendment 4 would go on to pass on the statewide ballot that November, creating the Missouri Department of Conservation. As it turns out, Missourians owe old Tom Pendergast a hat tip, since without his endorsement 86 years ago of the newly formed Conservation Federation's efforts to pass Amendment #4, forming the Missouri Department of Conservation, conservation and wildlife management might look very different in the Show-Me state today.
Kyle Carroll (Left) Wild Turkeys were gone from most of Missouri in 1936. (Photo: MDC) (Top) T.J. Tom Pendergast controlled the Democratic party in Jackson County and much of the State in 1936.
JULY - 2022
Road trip. We didn’t choose the perfect playlist. Or program the GPS. But we did fuel the car that made you realize there are no wrong turns, only new adventures. When the energy you invest in life meets the energy we fuel it with, amazing journeys happen.
JULY - 2022
Generations of Soldiers I
t was the morning of July 4th. A truck with three men pulls into the marina. Their families were still sleeping at the lodge where they were all staying. They get out of the truck and tease each other about who will catch the most fish while they unload their fishing gear. As they head down the ramp to the dock a brilliant orange sunrise lit up the eastern sky.
The pontoon boat pulled away from the dock. An American flag hung from the bow blowing gently in the breeze. A family of three generations of soldiers were celebrating Independence Day by going out crappie fishing. The father was a veteran of the Vietnam War. The son had been in the Gulf War. The grandson had recently returned from Afghanistan.
Feature Story They laughed, they smiled, they caught crappie. Between reeling in fish, they talked about vacations they had been on together. They talked about their beloved family deer camp. They talked about other fishing trips they had been on. They talked about kids, grandkids and military buddies. Lots of stories were shared but none about war and the things they had all seen and been through. They kept all that to themselves. They talked about the dad, the grandfather, and the great grandfather who had been one of the "Greatest Generation." The father smiled and talked about how much he would have loved being there. Fishing and family were important to him. They all felt like he was with them that morning and how proud he would have been of each of them for serving their country. Being a soldier ran deep in this family. There had been other generations of family members who fought in the Korean War, World War I and even the Civil War. Serving their country was in their blood. It was not something that was expected of you. It was something you wanted to do. It was something you did. They all stopped fishing for a while to watch two eagles sitting in a nest at the top of a tree. Seeing this iconic symbol of America meant as much to them as the flag waving on the front of the boat. Then, one of the eagles flew from the nest and started circling over the water. It was out fishing too. As it circled in the bright blue sky, it made the distinctive eagle sound which is said to be unlike any other sound in nature. They all knew that an eagle call represents a call to action. Native Americans believe the sound of an eagle gives you courage and life force to overcome your obstacles and fight against your challenge. They had all done that. The eagle and its mate also reminded them that they had family back at the lodge waiting for them to come to pick them up so they could have a picnic out on the water. They put away their fishing gear and raised the anchor. As the boat idled into the marina they could see their wives, kids and grandkids. It reminded them of when their families were waiting for them when they came home from war. It also reminded them how blessed they were to make it back home to their families when so many of their buddies did not.
They loaded up food and family and went back out on the water. The flag still waved on the front of the boat. As they motored across the lake, boats pulling water skiers and kids on tubes were everywhere. So were the jet skis. Other families were out having fun on this Independence Day. Most had no idea why we as Americans celebrate this day. No one realized that three generations of soldiers had just passed them on the water. Men like them fought to protect our country's independence. Men and women like them continue to serve and fight for our country and the freedom of other countries worldwide. As the pontoon boat continued across the crowded lake, the eagle flew over and circled them again. The kids loved seeing and hearing the eagle. They kept following the eagle until it led them into a quiet, shaded cove away from the crowds and then it landed in a tree. It was almost like the eagle knew these men were three generations of soldiers and had led them to this place. Then, the other eagle flew in and joined its mate and the families. They unloaded water toys for the younger kids, a Mickey Mouse fishing rod for the 6-year-old, lawn chairs, and a cooler full of food and drinks. The father started a campfire and got the skillet ready. The other men filleted crappie and threw what was left of each fish out on the water for the eagles as a way of saying thank you. Everyone loved watching the eagles circle the fish while making their sound and then dive down to the water for their special treat. Crappie sizzled in the cast iron skillet as the women got the rest of the food together. When everything was ready to eat, they circled together as a family, held each other's hands and bowed their heads as the father/grandfather led them in prayer. He said, "God thank you for this special time on this special day. Thank you for the nature you created for all of us to enjoy and take care of. Thank you for men like my dad, my son and my grandson who fought for this nation that was founded upon in God we trust. It saddens me to see our country the way it is becoming. I pray that this nation will turn from its wicked ways and turn their hearts back to you. Thank you for all the many blessings you have given this family, Amen!" As they were eating, the 6-year-old told everyone that the eagles were praying too.
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"What do you mean," said his dad. "I peeked at the eagles while papaw was praying," the boy said. "They both had their heads bowed while papaw prayed and then raised their heads when he was done and made that sound again." Everyone looked up at the eagles and smiled. Some looked back at them again and wondered.
A beautiful sunset lit up the western sky. A great day was coming to an end. They had all caught crappie and had a fun-filled afternoon as a family. They were getting ready to pull up the anchor when the fireworks started across the lake. The flag still waved on the front of the boat with the fireworks as a backdrop.
The afternoon was filled with talking about memories and making memories. Sitting in the shade, playing in the water, skipping rocks and a whole lot more. The 6-year-old and his grandpa walked up the bank and found a good place for him to fish. Grandpa dug up a worm, put it on the little boy's hook then helped him cast it over by a log lying in the water. The bobber went under, and grandpa helped him reel in a little fish. It didn't matter to the boy what size it was. He had to take it back and show everyone. Another fisherman joined the family that day.
The eagles saw them too. The soldiers all stood at once and saluted the flag. The rest of the family joined them, put their hand over their heart and all started singing "God Bless America". The 6-year-old looked up to see his dad, grandpa and great-grandpa saluting the flag, so he did too. His great grandpa looked down and saw him. He knew that someday his great-grandson would again hear the call of an eagle. There would be another generation of soldiers.
f you don’t know Larry Whiteley, he is a passionate man. He’s passionate about God, his family, and the outdoors. He has an amazing life story, a snapshot of which can be read on page 19 of the previous issue of this magazine. He is a member of the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame, and was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame and received CFM’s Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award. If you are a regular reader of this magazine, you’re likely very familiar with Mr. Whiteley’s writings. As a consistent contributor, his articles appear in nearly every issue of the Conservation Federation. Larry has recently published a collection of his works in a book called, “Seasons: Stories of Family, God and the Great Outdoors.” Mr. Whiteley has generously decided to donate the proceeds of this book to the work of CFM. We would like to send a special thank you to Mr. Whiteley for his continued generosity and his dedication to conservation. He was present at the CFM banquet in Springfield and spoke to the audience gathered about his love for the great outdoors. That evening he sold out of an entire case of his book, so order today!
If you would like to get your own copy of his book, “Seasons,” it is currently available for order on Amazon; it is also coming soon to the CFM online store at www. confedmo.org/store.
Check Out MDC’s New Strange But True Guidebook
he mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and insects of Missouri are diverse, remarkable, and sometimes just plain strange. From the American beaver, whose teeth are chainsaw-sharp and never stop growing, to box turtles, who partially freeze over the winter and still survive, it’s a weird, wild world out there. You can now learn more with the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) new book, Strange but True. Adapted from the pages of MDC’s award-winning children’s magazine Xplor, Strange but True is a 136page, full-color book that offers more than 350 fun facts about Missouri wildlife at its strangest.
Written by Xplor editor Matt Seek and illustrated by nature artist Mark Raithel, Strange but True is your guide to all the unusual, unique, and unbelievable stuff that goes on in nature. The guidebook is now available for purchase for $8.95 online at mdcnatureshop.com or at MDC nature centers around the state. Get information on MDC nature centers at https://mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/ places/nature-centers. Whether you’re a kid or a kid at heart, the Strange but True guidebook will have you laughing, scratching your head, and learning new fun information about Missouri’s native wildlife.
JULY - 2022
have been hearing stories about the great bass fishing on Maryville’s Mozingo Lake for years. It has long been on my bucket list of lakes that I absolutely needed to fish. BassMaster magazine repeatedly ranked Mozingo on its Top 100 Bass Lakes in America list. So when the Missouri Outdoor Communicators organization scheduled their 2021 annual conference at Mozingo Lake, I was all set, finally! Then came the pandemic. The conference was cancelled. I kept telling myself, I’m going to get up there anyway. The schedule never seemed to allow time for the adventure. Then came 2022 and along with the group of Missouri Outdoor Communicators we finally made our arrival. Mozingo Lake is the 1,006 acre, City of Maryville, water supply reservoir. It features 26 miles of shoreline, where rocky points lead to timbered coves and numerous creeks and drains. In partnership with the city, the Missouri Department of Conservation manages the fishery. While it may be best known for its excellent largemouth bass fishing, annual walleye stocking has dramatically improved your chances of landing a trophy walleye over 10 pounds. Stocking about 5,000 channel catfish annually makes me think we should already be getting the fryer hot. The white crappie population is improving and can be exceptional too. As I scouted the 3,000 acre Mozingo Lake Recreation Park area, I was very impressed with the easy public access to multiple paved boat ramps, a handicappedaccessible covered fishing dock, covered fish cleaning station, large public beach, BBQ grills and picnic tables, covered shelter houses, children’s playgrounds, outdoor volleyball and basketball courts, and beautiful wide paved walking and biking trails. If golfing is on your agenda the park features two award-winning public golf courses, the Sechrest 18 (“best course to play in the state of Missouri under $50” by Golf Digest and USA Toady) and the Watson 9 (designed by golf legend Tom Watson). There were several campgrounds in the park, some for tent camping, some with RV electric and water hookups, some you can reserve in advance and some not. An RV sewer dump station was located nearby and a private full-service RV park was under construction. Rental cabins were perfect for family gatherings.
The hotel and convention center was outstanding. The large meeting rooms of the Event Center featured huge glass windows overlooking the lake, allowing me to view wildlife and sense the feeling of being outdoors even when the weather outside was less than perfect. On the lower level of the convention center was the very reasonably priced William Coy’s Farm to Table restaurant. But what impressed me the most was the warm and genuine hospitality of everyone we came into contact with. Starting with the multi-talented Cobblestone Inn & Suites front desk clerk who even came to our room and reset the satellite TV network and continuing through the innovative City Manager, Mayor, and Chamber of Commerce officials. A highlight of the week for me was meeting Brett Ware, owner of TIGHTLINES UV fishing who opened the doors of his company to the Outdoor Communicators, provided on the water access to his expert fishing pro-staff and served outstanding chicken wings, pulled pork, brisket, ribs, baked beans and loaded potato salad from American Royal and World Pork Expo Champion – Kansas City’s own King of BBQ known simply as “Bubba.” There are a lot of things to do and see in the Maryville Missouri area. You can find additional information at www.maryville.org, www.maryvillechamber.com, www. nwmissouri.edu/health/MOERA, www.nodawayhistorical. org, www.mozingogolf.com and www.mdc.mo.gov. A visit to the Mozingo Lake Recreation Park needs to be on your bucket list. Don’t wait as long as I did to get there. And oh eea, I’ll be back.
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Looking for Gentleman Bob
obwhite quail numbers are down now, but unlimited habitat and food allowed almost every Midwestern farm to support good populations in the past.
Our farm lies in Northwest Missouri, where several lesser-known Civil War scrimmages were fought. Short-term battles likely transpired on our 160-acre property that my great great grandparents originally homesteaded. A U.S. belt buckle and pieces from a Union Army bridle were found in one of our fields, indicating a possible battle site. Confederate patrols were said to occasionally scout the area for food and other supplies. A Union Camp was built about a mile north of our property. Soldiers from both sides called our area home.
There were said to be quail in the region then and no doubt half-starved soldiers shot or trapped the delicious birds for meals whenever possible. My great grandfather, Charles Kieser, a German immigrant, hoped to farm this good, black dirt while raising a family, if some soldier from either side didn't shoot him by mistake. Distant shots from muskets were commonly heard from our farm. Thankfully the war ended and my grandfather pursued his dream of raising a family while reworking the rolling hills of grass and brush that covered good soil. Mules were harnessed to pull stumps out of the ground and haul wagon loads of rocks from what would eventually become smooth tillable dirt for the crops that would provide quality quail habitat.
Feature Story Fast forward to the early 1900's when my grandfather, William Kieser and his brother Charles continued farming with mules that pulled equipment to plant and eventually harvest crops, occasionally flushing a covey of bobwhite quail from hiding. My great uncle once told me of driving Model "A" Fords to quail hunt with several friends on our farm in the 1920s. They maneuvered their sturdy cars to the edges of rowcrop fields and carried ancient break-over Remington and Winchester16-gauges loaded with low-brass paper shotgun shells of #6 to #8 shot costing about three to five cents each.
By the late 1960's I started hunting the property with a neighbor, Ed Hill. He had a beautiful pointer and two beautiful daughters that ignored me. But his dog liked me and we enjoyed many great hunts. We occasionally found four coveys of quail on our 160 acres and additional coveys on my uncle's adjoining farm. I started keeping notes of outdoor adventures for school assignments. Writing became a hobby and eventually my career. Here are notes from two of the best hunts: My Journal: November 20, 1969--"Today Ed Hill and I hunted our farm for quail.
He claimed they shot enough birds in the morning on every trip for two good dinners at home and then fished until dark for catfish in our creeks that flowed into the Platte River.
His pointer, Buddy, went on point minutes away from the pickup. Ed quickly reached the statue-like pointer who was intensely staring at quail deeply buried in scrub, invisible to human eyes. The covey flushed.
My father Lester and his older brother Leonard spent their youth in the 1930s and early 1940s clearing additional acres of rocks and stumps until each field produced larger harvests of corn, soybeans, milo and hay. This was the second report I heard of bobwhite quail on our farm.
Ed twisted right, correcting his lead on a bobwhite quail before squeezing the trigger. His 20-gauge semiautomatic shotgun made a fine sound as the quail folded in midair. He shot again to complete a double. Cold air held the smell of burnt gunpowder longer than usual—a good smell.
"Dad checked our cattle every evening while carrying his old hammered double-barrel shotgun," Lester said. "Times were hard, and any extra meat was welcomed. The wood strips bordering our row-crop fields generally held two or three coveys of bobwhite quail. The old man was a good shot and we ate a lot of quail or rabbit dinners back then; few meals were better.”
The pointer started moving back and forth, smelling the ground, knowing more quail were around. He rooted his nose under the grass. Comically, some grass laid across the pointer's nose each time his head lifted. Minutes later the pointer dropped on point about 25-yards across the field. We thought he had found a single bird.
I later joined my dad on quail hunts in the middle 1950s and early 1960s. By then, he and the bank-owned the farm and we followed an old mutt dog that turned up at our house one day that just happened to be an adequate hunter. The old dog, of course, did not point, but she jumped in the middle of thickets and flushed quail or rabbits, occasionally giving dad shots. I learned at ten years old how quail hid--the hard way. My Shetland Pony, Fury, loved to run. The problem was, we occasionally jumped a covey of quail out of a brushy fence line and the pony skid to a stop— I would fly over his head, superman style, onto the hard-packed dirt lane. I once jumped three coveys off that mile-long lane and got thrown every time.
A covey of quail flushed and flew left towards the closest cover. Ed dropped one quail across a fence where it stopped dead in a short field of grass. I shot another that almost fell on top of Ed's. Buddy retrieved both birds at once, proudly trotting back while holding onto two wings. The pointer traveled another 40 yards before dropping into a solid point. The dog was staring straight into a brush pile. Several well-placed kicks on a larger log in the brush produced a flush. At least 20 birds left the cover, creating a slow-motion scene in my mind. I managed to shoot the first bird and swung to drop a second. Ed dropped the third bird. The other singles from that covey flew away and were never found. Kenny--Big Ed: The author at age 15 with his buddy Ed Hill hunted quail on their family farm. (Photo: Kenneth L. Kieser)
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Feature Story Later that afternoon we entered a picked cornfield. The pointer's nose stuck straight up in the air. Buddy quickly started running toward the field's center. He paused halfway across the field, lifting his nose to sniff, then dropped down into a solid point. Ed and I made several kicks in the thick corn stalks that bent over weeds and other ground cover. A quail jumped up and Hill shot, dropping the bird almost on top of another that immediately flushed. I dropped the second bird and was surprised to almost step on a third quail that remained motionless within five feet of my last shot. We easily limited out. End." My Journal: December 27, 1993— "Ted Hatfield asked to hunt our farm to test his new pointer the day after a blizzard. Snow crunched as the pointer ran through one of our bigger cornfields. The big dog came to a complete stop, hesitated, and then froze in a deliberate point. I could see a shiver flash through the dog's body. Ted took another step and the covey jumped into flight. I did not have a safe shooting lane and watched him correct his lead on a bobwhite quail before shooting then quickly refocusing on a second bird. His pointer made a picture-perfect retrieve on the first bird, but the second bird required more effort, the shot only breaking its wing. The quail burrowed in heavy cover, its color blending in with the dead grass. Next came the moments I enjoy most, watching a good dog work. The pointer moved back and forth, smelling the ground. Occasionally he paused to find a strong scent and continued moving through the corn stubble. Finally, a solid point. Ted's dog seemed determined and continued pointing while occasionally inching forward on a new covey. We had no problem limiting out. End.”
The author journaled his trips pursuing the Northern Bobwhite Quail. (Photo: MDC)
Family and our friends enjoyed quality hunts for almost 50 years. Then one day the quail were gone, completely vanished from our property and other surrounding farms. Conservation reports claimed quail were victims of poor habitat, insecticides, high populations of predators due to dropping fur markets and death from above by hawks or even eagles. Whatever the reason, our quality hunts ended and the beautiful shrill whistles of "bob-white" were no longer heard in the spring. My family and friends fondly spoke of the days of quail hunting on our farm and those fine dinners, wishing they had not ended. Looking for Gentleman Bob. Several years later I read an article on buffering programs starting around the country to revive quail populations. I did further research to learn about this effective program, hoping it could work for us. Further research showed that state wildlife biologists across the country had started working with farmers and ranchers to bring back quail numbers. Statewide Conservation commissions and organizations like Pheasants and Quail Forever were happy to help us get started and we learned more than expected.
Feature Story "One of our most popular programs is commonly referred to as 'bobwhite buffers' or 'buffering' as a means to provide needed nesting and brood-rearing grassland habitat adjacent to cropland," says Jared Wiklund, Public Relations Specialist for Pheasants Forever. "These important components of quail habitat have declined due to more intense grazing and cropping practices." Perfect cover meant we would build field borders and vegetative buffers providing important habitats by leaving a border of native grasses and legumes around the field edges, the wider the better. Most of the negative pesticide effects on quail occurred indirectly from the reduction of insect populations. The key was to leave fencerows, field borders and corners, ditch banks, and lanes between fields, and manage wildlife-friendly vegetation. We found there are grasses to avoid. For example, tall fescue is an aggressive, non-native cool-season grass that tends to crowd out important quail food and cover plants. Turf grass can also spread into unintended locations and reduce the availability of more "quail friendly" grasses, forbs--a broad-leafed plant, and legumes from being established. Burning became our way of removing harmful grasses or woody cover by reducing dead plant materials to stimulate desirable legume growth and seed production.
We were advised to contact conservation officials and our local fire department before attempting a controlled burn. Our project started by discing a fire break at least 15 feet wide around the field's perimeter. We waited for a day when the wind was not constant and exceeded 15 miles per hour. I was warned that burning without wind is more dangerous because the wind could pick up and push the fire in an undesirable direction. We finally started on the northern end of our selected area when winds were out of the south and burned into the wind. Our fire burned at a slower rate and gave critters a chance to escape. I backed this up with flank fires from the side. We were warned that when enough burned area is accomplished, a head fire may be set with the wind to burn cedars and other unwanted trees. Burning eventually opened up areas for beneficial quail cover and foods. Forbs and legumes found in wildflowers bloomed and attracted insects throughout warm weather, providing an important source of protein and liquid nourishment for quail. Forbs are upland game bird's main source of winter food. Quail trying to survive in grasslands depend on these important sources of nourishment. Landowners once considered plum thickets as great sources of quail forage, but they don't last into winter and are eaten quickly. Choosing grasses became easy because legumes contain a source of nitrogen that replenishes and allows native warm-weather grass to be a selfsustaining product. These types of plants gain full maturity after three years. We started buffering around row crops on our farm and the first covey soon appeared. Last spring a shrill bobwhite whistle reached our ears for the first time in years—and it spoke volumes. Gentleman Bob announced his return! Kenneth L. Kieser These setters made beautiful points on northwest Missouri bobwhites. (Photo: Kenneth L. Kieser)
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