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CONSERVATION FEDERATION

The Voice for Missouri Outdoors MARCH 2021 - VOL 82 | NO. 2


Director’s Message

See You Virtually, at Convention

T

he annual Convention in a virtual format is upon us, and we genuinely hope that you, as a vocal and supportive member, plan to take part in this monumental event. Convention truly embodies our outdoor heritage's mission and what our storied organization is all about—Advocacy, Education and Partnerships. The decision to move this virtual was a tough one, but essential to keep our members safe while forging ahead with our resolutions to drive our mission forward. The virtual Convention is a weeklong this year, and there are many opportunities to be a part of this unique celebration. It starts on Monday, March 1st, where Natural Resource Breakouts will meet to discuss pressing conservation matters and present informational updates of what matters to you. CFM members can attend each of these sessions virtually and vote on the resolutions that come out from these meetings. On Friday evening, we will have our Awards Ceremony celebrating all the excellent achievements of our conservation professionals and giving away our scholarships to many deserving conservation students. The Awards Ceremony honors individuals, organizations, and businesses making strides in conserving Missouri's wildlife and natural resources. The always popular Shags and Trevor from the 96.7 KCMQ's Morning Shag will host the event.  We will also be hosting our Conservation Leadership Corps student's activities. We currently have 30 high school and college-age students and they spend their time interacting and networking with resource professionals while growing their talents and leadership skills. They also present the resolutions approved by the entire membership on the final day of the Convention. It is a joy to see their energy and vibrance they exude, as they continue to learn in, and embrace the virtual setting.  Additionally, we will have updates from agency directors from The Missouri Department of Conservation and Missouri State Parks each night on the weekend. Convention culminates on Saturday with two more Natural Resource Breakouts in the morning. Following that, the Resolution's Committee will meet where people can review the resolutions brought forward. Later in the afternoon, we will have a legislative update

to hear about all things going on at the state and federal levels related to conservation. Later that evening, Convention will conclude with the fundraiser, which will include many auction items and trips for everyone to bid on. Guests will also hear from conservation speakers and leaders during that time, so you don't want to miss out on this evening and your chance to take home some great auction items. With our new format, it will be easy to bid on and win some of the many great prizes.  One of the vital activities is the General Assembly meeting. This is when the resolutions are presented and then voted on by the members. Another example of one of the many acts that make CFM such a strong and powerful voice moving forward is gaining all our members' collective support. This is undoubtedly one of the most critical and impactful parts of the weekend, and you will not want to miss out.  The best part is that you can take it all in from the comfort of your own home. An event this large in a virtual format certainly takes time and effort by many to pull off such a fantastic event. The staff and volunteers who help pull this together genuinely amaze me in all that they can do. We certainly could not do it without everyone's help, so thank you very much.  We hope that you have made plans to join us for all, or even part of the weekend so that you can let your voice be heard throughout Missouri outdoors.

Yours in Conservation, Tyler Schwartze CFM Executive Director MARCH - 2021

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CONTENTS

Conservation Federation March 2021 - V82 No. 2

Features

OFFICERS Mossie Schallon - President Richard Mendenhall - 1st Vice President Zach Morris - 2nd Vice President Ginny Wallace - Secretary Randy Washburn - Treasurer

48

STAFF Tyler Schwartze - Executive Director, Editor Micaela Haymaker - Director of Operations Michelle Gabelsberger - Membership Development Coordinator Colton Zirkle - Education and

30

32

46

Communications Coordinator Joan VanderFeltz - Administrative Assistant Emma Kessinger - Creative Director

28

Trees of Treloar

30

Getting on the Turkey Train

32

The Incomparable Joel Vance

34

Giving Back to Conservation by Joining CFM

42

A Never-Ending Story

46

Catch the Vision

48

Angling for Fun at Bennett Spring

52

9 Helpful Tips for Hung-up Gobblers

56

River Fairies

60

Spring Morels

Departments 3 8 11 13 14 36

4

Director's Message President's Message New Members Gear Guide Affiliate Spotlight Agency News

CONSERVATION FEDERATION

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 16 19 22 45 59

CFM Events Schedule CFM Election Process Update Paddle MO The Old Shotgun My Love for Flyfishing

Send address changes to: Postmaster Conservation Federation of Missouri 728 West Main Jefferson City, MO 65101

FRONT COVER Photo was taken by Matt Miles in Butler County. The Camera was Nikon D 7100, with a 24 mm lens.


Business Partners

Thank you to all of our Business Partners. Platinum

Gold Bushnell Doolittle Trailer Enbridge, Inc.

G3 Boats MidwayUSA Pure Air Natives

Redneck Blinds Riley Chevrolet Roeslein Alternative Energy, LLC

Missouri Wildflowers Nursery Mitico Simmons Sun Solar

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 Powder Horn Gun & Archery

Custom Screen Printing and Embroidery 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 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.

MARCH - 2021

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"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.

Partnerships

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

Education

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

Advocacy

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

Young Professionals


Conservation Federation of Missouri began

1935

State Wildlife and Forestry Code published

1936

1940

Wildlife and Forestry Act passed

1944

1946

First deer season since 1937

Amendment 4 created Missouri's non-political Conservation Commission

First turkey season in 23 years

1958

1960

First hunter safety program formed

Missouri Department of Natural Resources formed

1969

1974

Urban fishing program formed in St. Louis; first in the nation

Operation Game Thief formed

1976

Design for Conservation Sales Tax passed

1982

1984

Stream Teams formed

1989

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

1991

1992

2002

2006

2007

2009

Conservation Leadership Operation Corps formed Missouri Forest Arson National formed Archery in the Schools Program formed

CFM Celebrates 85 years

2016

2020

Parks and Soils Sales Tax renewed by voters by the highest percentage to date (80%)

Ways You Can Support CFM Membership

Life Membership

Affiliate Membership

Business Partnerships

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: info@confedmo.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


President’s Message

CFM to Hold Virtual 85th Annual Convention in March

H

ello CFM members, partners, and friends! I hope that you are safe, well and share my optimism that with the successful rollout of the vaccine, and the worst of the pandemic will soon be behind us. My thoughts and prayers are with any of you who have been personally impacted by this terrible virus. Whether you are accessing this magazine edition electronically, from your mailbox or have picked it up at your local Bass Pro Shops or Cabela’s store, please pay close attention to the important information included about CFM’s virtual 85th Annual Convention, especially the dates. It is happening right away, and I urge you to take part.  CFM staff, Convention, Awards, Resource Advisory and Resolutions committees have all been hard at work to make the 85th Anniversary Convention a real bright spot during a time of in-person restrictions due to COVID. We look forward to you joining us from the comfort of your home. You will learn who our 2020 Conservation Awards recipients include as they are formally recognized by Trevor and Shags, who are back as masters of ceremony. There will be auctions, fun fundraisers and more activities taking place throughout the week. The Conservation Leadership Corps (CLC) with thirty plus students will have their virtual track. They will present resolutions and engage in the critical process of collaborating along with all who register for the Natural Resource Breakouts sessions and scheduled so that you can participate in all. If you have never attended a CFM convention, now is your chance to do so.  As CFM focuses on our advocacy efforts during 2021’s Regular Session of the General Assembly, we need your help. If you have not already done so, please sign up for our Legislative Action Center (LAC) so that you can act and stay up to date on legislation throughout the session. We must band together and be “The Voice for Missouri Outdoors.”

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CONSERVATION FEDERATION

 

I hope you enjoy this latest edition of our magazine. As you peruse the contents, you will recognize the diligent work of many of our committees, volunteers, and dedicated staff. Thanks to all for their energy, passion, and commitment to CFM’s Mission. As we finally head toward everyday life again, I invite you to consider sharing some of your passions about conservation and Missouri outdoors by becoming a member (if you are not already), supporting us monetarily, and/or volunteering your time and talent.

“Like music and art, love of nature is a common language that can transcend political and social boundaries” - Jimmy Carter

Yours in Conservation, Mossie Schallon President, CFM


It’s Your

SEASON

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.


Member News

Why I Became a Life Member of CFM: Zach Smith

I

hardly need to tell the readers of Conservation Federation that we’re lucky in Missouri when it comes to the outdoors. From the natural resources and abundance of wildlife to the endless opportunities for recreation, there’s truly something for everyone. It’s been that way for the duration of my lifetime, so I’ll admit that I sometimes take those things for granted. From childhood to young adulthood, I enjoyed the woods and waters and all the benefits — tangible and otherwise — they provided. I knew the definition of “conservation,” even if I didn’t fully understand the spirit of the word. I never questioned or fully appreciated the access and availability of a campground or a fishing hole. What I failed to understand at the time was every float, hike and photograph were only there because of the efforts of someone else. The conservationists who came before me knew I wanted to experience those things even before I did. Ask anyone who has sat in the middle of a forest at dawn or by river’s edge at dusk listening to nature come alive if they enjoyed the experience. We can’t say no. It’s just not in our DNA.

Today, I’m continually reminded that Missourians are a conservation-minded lot. From private citizens to public agencies to member-driven nonprofits such as the Conservation Federation of Missouri, we care about the legacy of our natural history. And like the other members of this organization, I want to make sure it remains that way for future generations.

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 info@confedmo.org

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CONSERVATION FEDERATION


Member News

WELCOME NEW CFM MEMBERS Joe Adrian, Jefferson City

Jillian Hunt, Chamois

Michael Tritle, Holden

David Allen, Columbia

Curt & Kelly Jasper, Robertsville

Andrea Trout, Weldon Spring

Will Ballard, Saint Louis

Michael Key, Troy

Gary Weber, Ballwin

Matthew Bax, Gray Summit

Rich Ladenberger, Iberia

Brian Welch, Jefferson City

Thomas Becker, Piedmont

Stephanie Lim, Berkeley,CA

Jacob Westhoff, Columbia

Michael Bello, Saint Louis

Sharon Majoros, Imperial

Jim Whalen, Orrick

Elaine Bilyeu, Kansas City

Kaitlin Marshall, Bolivar

Darron Whiteley, Springfield

Dave Blecha, Imperial

Anna Miller, Rocheport

Queen Wilkes, Kansas City

Richard, Boone, Raytown

Judy Mitchell, Saint Louis

Les Wilson, Republic

Tanner Brundage, Holts Summit

Julie Moore, Cape Girardeau

David Zimmermann, Holts Summit

Gary Buenniger, Bloomsdale

Eric Nelson, Chesterfield

Wayne Clark, Lake Saint Louis

Ivar Nelson, Moscow,ID

Cowboy Ventures, Nixa

Richard Niewald, Owensville

M. Kate Danna, Saint Louis

Robert O`Blennis, Des Peres

Carolyn Davis, Saint Louis

Ashley Packwood, Ozark

Ryan Doyle, Clayton

Paul Paulsen, Saint Louis

Michael Dussold, Fenton

Robert Peterson, Kansas City

Ann Earley, Chesterfield

Lucas Peterson, Parkville

Norbert Falter, Westphalia

Wayne Piotrowski, Woodlawn,IL

Vivian Fortunato, Wildwood

Randall Prenger, Jefferson City

Cameron Gehlert, Linn

Antoinette Rainboth, Windsor

Suzanne Goodman, Pacific

Erin Rowland, Dekalb,IL

David Gronefeld, Saint Louis

James Schovanez, Saint Louis

Randy Hargis, Clinton

Megan Sheets, Lees Summit

William Heatherly, Jefferson City

Reginald Simmons, Columbia

Edward Heisel, Saint Louis

Darby Sullivan, Columbia

David Hicks, Columbia

Sam Suthoff, Saint Thomas

Jerry Hill, Bethany

Boyd Terry, Columbia

Kristen Hirst, Holts Summit

Cynthia Tetrault, Saint Louis

Rowan Hoffman, Springfield

Nate Thomas, Odessa

Jay & Kim Hoskins, Saint Louis

Austin Tinsley, Williamsville

CFM thanks the 253 members that renewed since our last publication.

In Memory In Memory of Ron Coleman Wally Iman In Honor of Marc Gottfried Elizabeth Keune Mr. and Mrs. Dave Roberts In memory of Joel Vance Theroff Family Scrugg’s Lumber Randy Washburn Mr. and Mrs. Dan Dickneite Mr. and Mrs. Robert Sterner

MARCH - 2021

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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.


Member News

Gear Guide Redneck Blinds Soft Side 360° Ghillie Deluxe 6x6 Blind - BUSINESS ALLIANCE With its spacious 6-foot by 6-foot interior, there’s plenty of room for up to three adults or two adults and two children to hunt comfortably—whether that’s with a bow, gun or crossbow. The Soft Side 360° Ghillie Deluxe 6X6 Blind sports a heavy-duty double-stitched 600 denier flame-retardant Ghillie cover, and the double-zipper design allows the windows to be opened to any configuration for maximum visibility while maintaining the highest level of concealment. The Ghillie cover easily blends in with a variety of backgrounds without having to brush in. www.redneckblinds.com

CZ P-10 - BUSINESS ALLIANCE Anyone who’s picked up a CZ 75 for the first time gets it — it just has to feel right in the hand. With the CZ grip angle, the P-10 avoids that ‘brick-in-the-hand’ feeling that has plagued many in the striker-fired genre, allowing it to point naturally. A mild palm swell, deep beavertail and three interchangeable backstraps make the P-10 fit a wide variety of hands as if it were built for them. With CZ reliability, engineered ergonomics and a bevy of features both familiar and new, the P-10 is the complete package. www.cz-usa.com

DSG Roller Bag This camo hunting bag is constructed of quality 1680D material and matched with strong, durable and colorful #10 zippers on the main compartment and vented boot compartment. Multiple handles are reinforced with heavy duty stitching. With over 5 cubic feet of storage space, the DSG camo roller bag is hard to fill! www.dsgouterwear.com

Grand Slam Turkey Vest The Grand Slam Turkey vest is the ultimate turkey vest on the market today. Featuring state of the art features such as the "sit anywhere" kickstand frame, thick padded fold away seat, a smart-phone sleeve that allows you to use your phone while it's still in the pack, and a removable diaphragm call pocket among many others, this vest delivers. Other features include shell loops, H2O compatibility, side compression straps, two water bottle pockets, detachable shoulder straps and a protective and silent box call pocket. www.alpsbrands.com

Vortex Crossfire Red Dot Scope This scope works great on your turkey shotgun or on your favorite pistol. For close-in work and general shooting, it’s tough to beat a quality Red Dot Sight. The super-light, ultracompact, insanely-fast-ontarget, incredibly durable, Crossfire Red Dot is exactly that. Not only does this sight absolutely rock, it does so at a price that’s hotter than a $2 pistol. www.vortexoptics.com/red-dots/crossfire-red-dots.html

MARCH - 2021

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Affiliate Highlights

Missouri Trappers Association (MTA)

T

o preserve the heritage and profession of the fur trapper; create mutual understanding and goodwill with groups or individuals by practicing and teaching the skills that will conserve and maintain a balance of nature without misuse and provide for the harvesting of renewable resources. This mission statement contains a lot of information. Trapping has a long heritage going back to when our country was founded and continues today but trapper numbers are declining. Politics, fashion trends, and anti-trapping sentiment have all contributed to less fur harvested each year from low fur prices and as trapper numbers decrease, furbearer complaints increase. Where once there was a financial incentive for trappers, now there is none. With the imbalance of predator numbers, landowners who once had trappers willing to harvest animals now have to trap themselves or often have to pay to have beaver, muskrat, otters, coyote, raccoon, or other nuisance animal trapped. The MTA continues to teach beginning trappers. Each year the MTA has their fall rendezvous the 3rd week in September where they have some of the best trappers in the country conducting trapping demonstrations for anyone wanting to learn how to trap. They also have beginning trapping clinics around the state generally in the fall. Trapping is probably the most misunderstood of all the outdoor sports. Anti-trapping groups believe that trapping is cruel and should not be allowed. Ethical and legal trappers know better. Trappers don’t want animals to suffer and traps are designed to either kill instantly, like body grip traps set underwater for beaver, muskrat, or otter, or foothold traps designed to simply hold the animals until the trap is checked. Trapping legally and ethically is important to the MTA and is taught in our clinics.

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CONSERVATION FEDERATION

Balance of nature is important for two reasons: Too many furbearers mean more damage to landowner property and potentially can reduce wildlife populations desired by landowners and hunters; Turkey, quail, grouse, deer, waterfowl, songbirds, and most wildlife can all suffer reduced populations due to overpopulations of furbearers. Furbearers are a renewable resource. Trapping in Missouri has existed for hundreds of years and currently no furbearer that is legal to harvest is endangered and many have the highest populations ever recorded. Trapping is highly regulated and designed to take only the excess each year. To learn more about the MTA go to: www.MissouriTrappersAssocication.com.


Affiliate Highlights

Affiliate Organizations Anglers of Missouri Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives

Missouri Chapter of the American Fisheries Society Missouri Chapter of the Wildlife Society

Missouri Sport Shooting Association Missouri State Campers Association Missouri State Chapter of the

Bass Slammer Tackle

Missouri Coalition for the Environment

Quality Deer Management

Big Game Hunters

Missouri Community Forestry Council

Missouri State Parks Foundation

Burroughs Audubon Society

Missouri Conservation Agents Association

Missouri Taxidermist Association

Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation

Missouri Trappers Association

Capital City Fly Fishers

Missouri Conservation Pioneers

Missouri Trout Fishermen's Association

Chesterfield Citizens Committee

Missouri Consulting Foresters Association

Missouri Whitetails Unlimited

Missouri Ducks Unlimited- State Council

MU Wildlife & Fisheries Science

of Greater Kansas City

for the Environment Columbia Audubon Society

Missouri Forest Products Association

Conservation Foundation of

Missouri Grouse Chapter of QUWF

Northside Conservation Federation

Missouri Hunter Education

Open Space Council of the St. Louis Region

Missouri Charitable Trust Deer Creek Sportsman Club

Instructor's Association

Graduate Student Organization

Ozark Chinquapin Foundation

Festus-Crystal City Conservation Club

Missouri Hunting Heritage Federation

Ozark Fly Fishers, Inc.

Forest and Woodland Association

Missouri Master Naturalist -

Ozark Land Trust

of Missouri Forest Releaf of Missouri Friends of Rock Bridge Memorial State Park

Boone's Lick Chapter Missouri Master Naturalist Great Rivers Chapter

Gateway Chapter Trout Unlimited

Missouri Master Naturalist -

Greater Ozarks Audubon Society

Hi Lonesome Chapter

Greenbelt Land Trust of Mid-Missouri Greenway Network, Inc. James River Basin Partnership L-A-D Foundation Land Learning Foundation Legends of Conservation

Missouri Master Naturalist Miramiguoa Chapter Missouri Master Naturalist Osage Trails Chapter Missouri Master Naturalist Springfield Plateau Chapter

Ozark Trail Association Ozark Wilderness Waterways Club 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 Roubidoux Fly Fishers Association South Side Division CFM Southwest Missouri Fly Fishers

Little Blue River Watershed Coalition

Missouri National Wild Turkey Federation

St. Louis Audubon Society

Magnificent Missouri

Missouri Native Seed Association

Stream Teams United

Mid-Missouri Outdoor Dream

Missouri Outdoor Communicators

Student Air Rifle Program

Mid-Missouri Trout Unlimited

Missouri Park & Recreation Association

Tipton Farmers & Sportsman's Club

Midwest Diving Council

Missouri Parks Association

Tri-Lakes Fly Fishers

Mississippi Valley Duck

Missouri Prairie Foundation

Troutbusters of Missouri

Missouri River Bird Observatory

United Bow Hunters of Missouri

Missouri Association of Meat Processors

Hunters Association

Missouri River Relief

Watershed Conservation Corps

Missouri Atlatl Association

Missouri Rock Island Trail, Inc.

Wild Bird Rehabilitation

Missouri B.A.S.S. Nation

Missouri Rural Water Association

Wild Souls Wildlife Rescue Rehabilitation

Missouri Bird Conservation Initiative

Missouri Smallmouth Alliance

Wonders of Wildlife

Missouri Birding Society

Missouri Society of American Foresters

Young Outdoorsmen United

Missouri Bow Hunters Association

Missouri Soil & Water Conservation

Missouri Caves & Karst Conservancy

Society-Show-Me Chapter

MARCH - 2021

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2021 Events Schedule 85th Annual Convention- March 1 - 6 Let your voice be heard at the Virtual Annual Convention. Meetings, Awards, Auctions, and so much more.

Conservation Day at the Capitol- April 7 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

Pull for Conservation: Northwest- April 17 Join CFM for the 6th annual Northwest clay shoot at Boot Hill Shooting Ground in Hamilton.

Conservation Federation Banquet: Springfield- June 17 Meet fellow conservationists and support CFM at the White River Conference Center next to Bass Pro Shops and Wonders of Wildlife.

Conservation Federation Virtual Event- July 22 Join us for this virtual fundraiser and hear updates about all things conservation.

Pull for Conservation: Central- August 14 Take your best shot at the 15th annual Central clay shoot at Prairie Grove Shotgun Sports.

Affiliate Summit- September  & 10 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- Early December 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.


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Member News

Take a Chance

E

nding up where you didn’t plan on being can come as a pleasant surprise. Emily Lute had always dreamed of becoming a private lands biologist. She wanted to work directly with landowners and farmers to better wildlife habitat on their properties. Her goal has always been to give back what she has learned from school, relationships with mentors, and her life experiences in rural communities. Emily might be a familiar face to many of you, she came to CFM through the Conservation Leadership Corps (CLC) in 2010. She became Vice-President of the program in 2013 and even held an internship position at CFM. Following her graduation, she received a position she did not expect, water quality with the City of Jefferson. Although seemingly quite distinct from her career goals, it turns out, she enjoyed it! Emily worked there for 5 years but got a job closer to home with the City of Moberly. With her current position, she is doing exactly what she wants to but in a completely different field. She works directly with landowners, using her soil sciences college courses to increase productivity and soil health. Biosolids are removed from wastewater, cleaned, and spread on the landscape in a safe and sustainable way. Now rather than deer and turkey, it’s corn and soybeans. “My advice for anyone is do what makes you happy and think outside of the box,” said Lute, “Don’t be afraid to take a risk. Take opportunities as they are thrown your way, you never know when you might get another one. There is always going to be an excuse not to do something, be sure to dig for the excuse to do something, even if it’s a little scary! I’ve learned that what I thought I wanted in a career and life wasn’t what actually made me happy, it was taking opportunities and doing things I never thought I would, to get to where I am today.”

She and her husband Chris still find time to enjoy the outdoors, camping, fishing, and hunting small game, big game, and upland birds. Most recently, they jumped off into a new endeavor, organic pork production. At the time of this writing, they were only 10 days-in to pig ownership! They’ve engaged with an Iowa-based pork producer and agreed to sell them young pigs twice a year. Several of their friends in their community are involved in the same program and are teaching them the ropes, even loaning them “Bradley” and “Nolan,” two boar hogs to help sire their stock. They will certainly have their hands full in a few short months. Emily has remained highly active in CFM. She is currently co-chair of the Environment and Ecology Resource Advisory Committee, member of the Youth Conservation Action committee, and is the chair of the CFM Young Professionals Committee. If you or someone you know is interested in joining CFM Young Professionals or the Conservation Leadership Corps, please send an email to czirkle@confedmo. org.

Colton Zirkle CFM Education and Communications Coordinator

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CONSERVATION FEDERATION


Member News

Board Approves Nominating and Elections Process Changes

A

common challenge of a volunteer-based organization like CFM is finding enough individuals willing to participate in leadership roles, while also promoting a degree of growth, diversity, and freshness of thinking. CFM has been fortunate to have outstanding volunteer leadership over the years, and as we move forward, we continue to look for ways to further excel and broaden our overall diversity and representation of the general membership. CFM’s ability to successfully achieve its mission depends on having an enthusiastic board with wide and varied backgrounds. To this end, CFM’s Strategic Plan calls for producing and updating a succession plan for board members and officers – a plan for identifying potential future leaders. This plan will include strategies for informing the membership about leadership opportunities, and for improving how potential leaders are nominated/selected. Over the past year, informal discussions revealed areas where improvements were needed. These include: identification of needed skills for leaders, improved communication with members, better opportunity for members to vote in elections, and enabling voter participation in elections in the COVID era. With those things in mind, the Board recently approved the work of an ad-hoc committee that studied CFM’s nominations and elections process, and made suggestions for the following changes. 1. Convert to an online voting process in which every member in good standing has the opportunity to select among multiple candidates for elected positions (rather than voting by only those who attend the convention).

2. Field multiple candidates for positions for elected board, executive committee, secretary, treasurer, vice president, and NWF positions (so there is choice in elections). 3. Establish preferred qualifications for all elected positions, published for all members to view. 4. Change terms of office of elected board and some officer positions from two to three years, and cap the number of consecutive terms/years served at two terms/six years for all elected board and some officer positions (opportunities for more members to serve as leaders). 5. Set up a process for moving to staggered terms in 2022 (so that positions are not all refilled at one time - process begins in 2021). 6. Change the composition and appointment process for the nominating committee. 7. Establish a new time line and process for recruiting, vetting, publicizing candidates, and for voting. 8. Changes to the Bylaws necessary for implementation (Board of Directors vote in March). As members and affiliated organizations, you are the heart and soul of CFM. Some of you give more of your time than others, but it's important to understand that regardless of whether you are an avid, occasional, or potential contributor to the CFM cause, everyone is important to our future success. It is critical that we engage members in ways that are respectful and worthy of the trust and commitment you bestow on the Federation, and these changes are meant to ensure your continued trust and commitment. You will see more information in future magazines and newsletters.

MARCH - 2021

19


Conservation Day on the Radio

April 7, 2021 6:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. Tune into 96.7 FM Join

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6th Annual Conservation Federation Sporting Clays Classic

Saturday, April 17, 2021 Presented by:

Northwest Missouri’s Electric Cooperatives Boot Hill Shooting Ground LLC, Hamilton, MO

Schedule of Events Registration:

Shoot as a Team or Individual

8:00 a.m. - Noon

Shooting:

8:30 a.m. - 1: 00 p.m.

Awards:

1:30 p.m.

Two Shooter Scramble- 75 targets, $50/team Additional Rounds- $35/team Individual Sporting Clays- 50 targets, $40/shooter Additional Rounds- $25

Two Shooter Scramble

Individual Sporting Clays

3 Lewis Classes, 3 places for each class

3 Lewis Classes, 3 places for each class

Registration includes: 1 year membership to CFM and lunch for participants provided by: Northwest Electric Power Cooperative Including: Atchison-Holt, Farmers’, Grundy, North Central Missouri, Platte-Clay, 6nited, and West Central

Mail Registration to: CFM, 728 W. Main, Jefferson City, MO 65101 - or call (573) 634-2322 Name:

Address: Phone:

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Two Shooter Scramble $50_____ Individual Sporting Clays $40_____Total______________


Outdoor News

Paddle MO on Missouri and Current Rivers

T

he organization will also host the third annual Paddle MO Ozarks on the Current River in October. Registration is now open for both trips. "Stream Teams United is excited to host the sixth annual Paddle MO Missouri River adventure in September," said Mary Culler, executive director of Stream Teams United (STU) and an affiliate member of CFM. The Missouri River trip will begin in Hermann and participants will paddle 100 miles over five days and float through the confluence with the Mississippi River on the last day. "Coordinating the Paddle MO Missouri River trip in 2019 was challenging due to the Great Flood of 2019, but the river dropped a few weeks before the event and we were able to have a successful trip," said Culler.  "In 2020, with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, we added additional precautions to increase social distancing and safety during the event. The participant limit was reduced by half in 2020, to include only 40 participants, and we practiced social distancing, maskwearing, and additional hand washing during the trip. We are proceeding with planning for 2021 with our same Covid precautions in place and will continue to evaluate the safety and local ordinances as we approach the fall." Last year, the fifth anniversary of the Paddle MO program coincided with the 30th anniversary of the Katy Trail. The Paddle MO program's founding partner, Magnificent Missouri, accompanied the 2020 Missouri River trip and created a commemorative video of the 2020 anniversaries. You can view the video on the Paddle Mo website.  "The Paddle MO Ozarks educational river trip on 25 miles of the Upper Current River provides people the opportunity to experience and learn about a truly world-class river," said Culler. "By highlighting the history of conservation efforts, sustainable forestry, and the amazing flora and fauna of the region, the Paddle MO Ozarks program provides paddlers with a unique experience to connect with and learn about this Missouri treasure."

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CONSERVATION FEDERATION

Bill and Jody Miles of Earth's Classroom will again lead the educational programming for both trips. During the past five years, the Paddle MO program has drawn participants from 18 states. "Through Paddle MO programs," said Culler, "Stream Teams United continues to promote Missouri as 'The Great Rivers State,' highlight the Missouri Stream Team Program, and build the community of river stewards in Missouri."   This year's Missouri River trip is Sept. 22 through 26, with options for a three-day trip or a weekend trip. The Ozarks trip on the Current River is Oct. 9-11; base camp will be at Echo Bluff State Park.  For more information or to register, visit www.paddlemo. org. If either trip is canceled, participants will receive a full refund of their registration costs. For other questions, call Mary Culler at 573-586-0747 or email mary@streamteamsunited.org. One hundred percent of the funds raised by Paddle Mo programs support Missouri waterways. Barbara Gibbs Ostmann


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MARCH - 2021

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CONSERVATION FEDERATION


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.

MARCH - 2021

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Feature Story

The Trees of Treloar T

housands of riders from around Missouri and the world pass by the Treloar Trailhead on the Katy Trail every year.  What if every single visitor left Treloar inspired to plant trees? That’s the goal of the Trees of Treloar!   Much of the landscape that the Katy Trail traverses is near the Missouri River. The vast, fertile fields of the river bottom near Treloar are now planted to corn and soybeans, but that was not always the case. Before the river was straightened, channelized, and secured by levees a century ago, it wandered over flat river bottoms. It was a land of dense and varied forests, not cropland that Lewis and Clark found when they came upriver.    

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CONSERVATION FEDERATION

Today remnants of the old forests can still be seen from the Katy Trail. Huge oaks, pecans and cottonwoods dot the river bottom landscape. Whether they are called wolf trees or line trees, these sentinels are always majestic. They have witnessed history we can only read about. Centuries ago, they saw the lives of the Osage and other native peoples unfold and sheltered soldiers from both sides of the Civil War as they floated past or camped beneath their canopy.     On the site of the old Treloar Bar and Grill — the “town center” of Treloar for decades — the Trees of Treloar was created. The old bar had fallen into disrepair and was beyond saving - its former site found a new calling as a native tree arboretum. 


Feature Story A place that was a big part of Treloar’s past is now going to be part of its future, and provide a place to make the future a better one! In the fall of 2020, Magnificent Missouri, with the help of native tree advocates and experts Bill Spradley of Trees, Forests and Landscapes and Mike Rood of Pea Ridge Forest created a native tree planting on the old bar site, just across from the Katy Trail Trailhead in Treloar.   According to Bill and Mike, “Planting trees is what we were trained to do at the University of Missouri School of Forestry, and that is what we have done for decades. But for us, this project was different: We donated trees and planted them to improve a community and provide education. Virtually all of these trees were grown at Pea Ridge Forest, just a few miles west of where they are now planted. This tree planting will bring food and shelter for birds and wildlife, with beauty and shade for thousands of folks who pass by on the Katy Trail.”   Thirty-five individual trees were selected that are indigenous to the region and that formerly covered the nearby floodplain. The planting consists of eighteen species, including shade trees like bur oak, pecan, swamp white oak, hackberry, Kentucky coffeetree, and sycamore. Understory trees like sassafras, American fringetree, persimmon, and pawpaw will give spectacular fall color, spring flowers, and edible fruit for wildlife and those folks who pass by. Special care was given to locating species on the site where they will thrive, given drainage and light conditions.

The Trees of Treloar is a planting that is meant to spark more of its kind. The giants we see in the fields along the Katy Trail were probably not placed there by our ancestors. Most likely, they were planted by industrious squirrels. Sometimes, nature intervened: Floodwaters washed an acorn to a fertile bit of ground, or the high wind blew a seed to a sunny place where it could sprout. Miraculously, quite a few of those seeds and acorns survived the elements and grew into the towering cottonwoods, pecans, oaks, and sycamores we see today.   But with the cultivation and continuing development of the land along the river, these “accidental” trees will not be as plentiful in the future. It is time to be more intentional. The creation of the Trees of Treloar coincides with a new and larger planting initiative. Magnificent Missouri will work with Missouri State Parks and Forest ReLeaf to find appropriate places along the Trail and trailside farms to plant tomorrow’s giants.     Meridith Perkins, Executive Director of Forest ReLeaf, says of the tree planting to come, “As these native trees are planted, they will engage and delight tens of thousands of walkers and cyclists on the Katy Trail each year. Citizen volunteers and residents of Missouri’s river towns will experience the power of planting a tree and living alongside that tree as it grows.” For more information about Magnificent Missouri and the Trees of Treloar visit MagnificentMissouri. org.   Dan Burkhardt

(Cover) The Treloar Mercantile Building, built in 1896 for the arrival of the Katy Railroad and used by Magnificent Missouri for special events, is across the street from the Trees of Treloar. (Photo: Dan Burkhardt) (Left) From left to right: Bill Spradley, Dan Burkhardt and Mike Rood preparing to plant Missouri native trees grown locally at Pea Ridge Forest (Photo: Connie Burkhardt)

MARCH - 2021

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Feature Story

Getting on the Turkey Train W

hile turkey hunting has always been on my list, I never really got serious about it. Most of the people I know that turkey hunt are, as we say in the south, ‘eat up with it’. When they talk about turkeys their eyes glaze over a little and take on a faraway look that belies how captivating the experience is for them. It was difficult for me to understand what exactly about turkeys got other hunters so fired up. Turkeys are significantly smaller than deer, making the effort to meat ratio seem meager. Many turkey hunters I spoke with often didn’t see or hear anything on their hunting escapades, so the action couldn’t compare to even a mediocre day of duck hunting. Strangest of all, there seemed to be endless conversation about how simultaneously stupid and supernaturally intelligent turkeys are. This left me with a lot of questions and not much interest in the activity.

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CONSERVATION FEDERATION


Feature Story Last year my husband convinced me to go out with him on a turkey hunt and my perspective on the endeavor will never be the same. The morning began in a familiar way. We woke up way before the sun, hooked up the duck boat, and drove to a nearby lake where we’d been catching limits of crappie over the past week. We took the boat to a cove that we’d scouted on the aforementioned fishing expeditions, cut the motor and sat listening in the dark silence. The first few minutes were ethereal. Mist floated up off of the calm water, stars winked down on us from an inky sky and we could hear barred owls announcing the end of night. Shortly after that, all hell broke loose and what I termed “The Amazing Race,” commenced. You see, something about owls attending to their normal business really sets off gobblers in the springtime. As the tiniest sliver of light began to show in the sky, gobbles rang out across the lake. This in turn signaled to all the other hunters waiting in boats where they should proceed to at the greatest rate possible. The once calm water churned with eager hunters trying to claim their entry point into an area where a turkey had revealed himself. We tried for about three opportunities and finally got lucky when a gobble came from just across the lake. We sped towards the bank but another boat beat us to the inlet we were aiming for. With a small amount of cursing, we decided it was time to commit and hope for the best. All of the darkness had left the sky and sitting in a boat wasn’t going to get us a turkey. We tied the boat up further down shore from where the other folks had landed and hopped out. Immediately we heard it. The turkey was actually closer to us than them! We had all misjudged the origin of the gobble and the two of us serendipitously found ourselves almost on top of him. Quickly and quietly we climbed 60 yards up from the bank and crouched behind two trees. My husband shook his call and an incredibly realistic (to my ears) gobble rang out. The tom answered us loudly and immediately. I turned back to look at my husband with wide eyes and he fervently motioned for me to be ready. As my husband and the turkey sang back and forth the anticipation built. This tom was still in the tree that he had roosted in overnight and while we couldn’t see him, he seemed close enough to fall on us if he slipped off of his branch.

The volley lasted for about eleven rounds. I was certain we’d be bringing him home with us and began to wonder why some people had such a hard time harvesting turkeys. My legs began to shake from holding my cramped position with gun at the ready. Finally, we heard the explosion of his wingbeats as he left his perch. Rather than appearing in front of us, he flew off to the right and landed at the top of the hill. We tried a couple more gobbles but got no response. Slowly, certain it couldn’t be over, we crept to the crest of the hill and discovered… nothing. He’d vanished. I couldn’t help but feel crestfallen. This turkey had lit a fire in me and then just walked away! This teeter totter between certain success an open-ended bafflement seems to characterize turkey hunting as a whole, and now I knew what all the fuss was about. I’ve hatched a plan for this spring but it’s going to look different than last year. I’ll be 7 months pregnant when turkey season opens, so racing boats across dark water and climbing steep hills strikes me as unappealing. Through my work with the Artemis program I’ve been able to meet some incredible sportswomen that have set an example for what bringing new life into the world can look like, while still pursuing outdoor passions. The most accomplished turkey hunter I know recently told me that the year she turkey hunted pregnant was “the year she learned to slow down in the woods.” Those seem like words of wisdom for any hunter, and whether I harvest a bird this spring or not I know time in the field will be time well spent. To all of you turkey hunters out there: veterans, novices and the uninitiated, good luck and gobblespeed! For more information about Ashley and the Artemis program: • Ashley Chance: chancea@nwf.org • Website: artemis.nwf.org • Podcast: Artemis (available on itunes) • Instagram: @artemis_sportswomen • Facebook: Artemis Sportswomen Ashley Chance NWF’s Artemis Southeast Region Coordinator Getting out in the turkey woods can be a great way to get new hunters involved in the sport. (Photo: Jami Linder)

MARCH - 2021

31


Outdoor News

The Incomparable

Joel Vance B

y now, most of you know that one of the most powerful voices for conservation has fallen silent. Joel M. Vance, treasured friend and mentor to generations of outdoor communicators, died peacefully on Dec. 9. If I remember right, he was 86. His career, like his personality, was outsized. It would take a book to do justice to his legacy. What I know best about Joel is how he affected me. So I’ll stick to that and trust that what I saw of Joel is representative of his life.  

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CONSERVATION FEDERATION

Like most of you, my first exposure to Joel came through the pages of the Missouri Conservationist. The one thing everyone recognized in Joel was his gift for humanizing any subject. It didn’t matter whether he was describing a quail hunt, profiling a citizen conservationist, explaining why Missouri needed a conservation sales tax or documenting his own misadventures. His prose always brimmed with the warmth and zest for life that were the hallmarks of his own personality. He had the rare gift of being able to “write funny,” as he put it. His humor emphasized human foibles and the slapstick aspect of outdoor misfortunes.


Outdoor News Joel’s contagious love the outdoors and his insights into human nature earned him assignments from all the nation’s top outdoor magazines, not to mention the patronage of publishers. His lifetime literary output ran to the hundreds of thousands of news releases, magazine articles, monthly columns and books. If outdoor gear retailers had donated one ten-thousandth of one percent of sales that were traceable to Joel’s writing, he would have been a multimillionaire. But acquiring wealth was not his top priority. He was born to tell stories and – after the love of his life, Marty, and their children – that’s what he lived for. Writing wasn’t merely a vocation or even a passion for him. It was akin to breathing. Decades after his “retirement,” he continued to entertain, inform and edify readers. Only the grave could still his restless pen. My first in-person encounter with Joel occurred while I was attending his alma mater, the University of Missouri School of Journalism. I desperately wanted to work for the Conservation Department. To that end, I had earned a bachelor’s degree in wildlife management. But my grades in math, chemistry and physics guaranteed I would never get into a master’s program. I was good with words, so I decided that was my best chance of sneaking in the back door at MDC. One day after classes, I drove to Jefferson City and – unannounced – knocked on his office door.   Looking back, the most remarkable thing about that meeting is that he was there. Joel based his writing less on phone calls and interviews than on personal outdoor experience (a fact that occasionally caused consternation in MDC’s upper echelons). But he was in the office that day, and I introduced myself and told him I wanted to do what he did.   Dozens of established journalists would happily have sacrificed limbs to have Joel’s job. By comparison, I had little to offer, beyond passion and that wildlife degree. Looking at the scruffy wannabe writer in his guest chair, Joel might have decided he was too busy to spend an hour with me. But he didn’t. Instead, he took me under his wing. I came away from the meeting with solid career advice, and I kept in touch during the intervening years. A decade later, when Joel quit his job (predictably, over a matter of principle), I had the unimaginable good fortune to take up his mantle.   For all that, I was not particularly special. Go to Joel’s Facebook and read the hundreds of comments following his death notice, and you will discover that he mentored scores of aspiring communicators over the years.

Many of those adoring fans went on to become luminaries in their own rights. Joel wasn’t merely patient with young people who shared his passions. He became their friend, their mentor and promoter. He was as at ease and collegial with bashful 16-year-old admirers as he was with fellow outdoor legends. Joel wasn’t perfect, but most of his faults also were among his most endearing traits. For example, he wore his heart on his sleeve to an extent that could be burdensome. When something offended his sense of right and wrong or threatened conservation progress, he was prone to jump into the fray with both feet. This trait cost him personally, when cowardly editors bent to advertiser pressure and refused to print his jeremiads or cancelled his columns.   Joel also was possessed of a boyish enthusiasm that could get him into trouble. Recognizing that most outdoorsmen fall short of Jack O’Connor and Lefty Kreh, he turned his own misadventures into self-deprecating grist for his literary mill. Nor did he ever lack for maladroit partners to augment his story files. Chief among his partners in slapstick comedy was his beloved quail-hunting partner, MDC’s late trout biologist Spencer Turner. Politically, they were an unlikely pair. Spence was staunchly conservative, the polar opposite of Joel’s politics. But Joel never let that interfere with their friendship. It was just one more way that Joel and Spence’s big spirits showed.   During Joel’s tenure with the Conservation Department, Missouri's more than 400 newspapers eagerly published his weekly news release package, “All Outdoors,” because it never failed to entertain as well as inform their readers. He became a familiar and trusted presence in hundreds of thousands of homes where subscribers to Missouri Conservationist eagerly watched for his byline. The literary rapport he built with millions of readers came into play when he wrote the entire August, 1975, issue of the Conservationist, explaining what the agency would do if voters approved the one-eighth of one percent sales tax for conservation. They did approve it, and the stable, dedicated financial foundation it provides to this day has made Missouri the envy of nature lovers the world over. Several U.S. presidents have left less significant legacies.   My fondest memories of Joel involve bluegrass music, single-malt scotch and marathon story-telling. I picture him now, reunited with Spence and guitar-picking friends who went before him to that big jam session in the sky. We’ll see you by and by, old friend.

Jim Low Joel duck hunting in Louisiana. (Photo: Courtesy of Jim Low)

MARCH - 2021

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Feature Story

Giving Back to Conservation by Joining CFM

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CONSERVATION FEDERATION


Feature Story

I

f you love the Missouri outdoors and its wildlife then you need to check out the Conservation Federation of Missouri and consider joining this group of Missouri citizens with a love for Missouri outdoors. Missouri is fortunate to have an abundance of natural resources. We have good populations of wildlife for hunting, beautiful Ozark streams for floating and fishing, well managed forest and prairies, and thousands of acres of ponds and lakes for recreation.

They also make grant funds available through the Risberg family’s generous donation, which helps affiliates carry out their goals, whether it be education or habitat work. EST. 1935

Most of us have grown up with these resources and take them for granted, but it was not always this way. In the early 1900’s, our resources were abused and misused. Laws governing fish, forest, and wildlife were in the hands of the legislature. They may have meant well but few of the legislators had any natural resource management and most laws were passed to appease constituents.

Education is always important. CFM has a program called the Conservation Leadership Corps. This program gives high school junior and seniors as well as college students an opportunity to get involved in conservation. CFM also publishes the Conservation Federation Magazine six times per year for each member.

Fortunately, a few dedicated conservationists decided they wanted to get conservation out of politics and into the hands of trained professionals. In 1935 they formed the Conservation Federation of Missouri (CFM). A year later, they succeeded in getting a constitutional amendment passed that resulted in the formation of the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Advocacy is essential and one of CFM’s the most important duties. They monitor and testify in legislative hearings for conservation and natural resources. The Legislative Action Center (LAC) allows members to stay updated on conservation issues and provides an easy way to contact their legislators. Nearly every year, a legislator tries to get conservation back in politicians’ hands by either trying to control MDC or gaining control of MDC’s funding.

While everyone today has an opinion about how resources should be managed, we have to admit we have it pretty good compared to most other states. Most people are familiar with the Missouri Department of Conservation and the Department of Natural Resources State Parks system but many don’t know about CFM, which was organized in 1935 and is still going strong today. CFM’s mission is to ensure conservation of Missouri’s wildlife and natural resources, and preservation of our state’s rich outdoor heritage through advocacy, education and partnership. CFM is comprised of citizens and not affiliated with any government agency and gets involved with all conservation issue not just hunting and fishing. Partnerships are critical to CFM’s continued success. There are over 100 affiliated non-government conservation organizations representing about 80,000 people and these organizations are the backbone of CFM. CFM also operates Operation Game Thief and the popular Share the Harvest programs.

Now that you have learned a bit about CFM and what this group does, remember that we all have a connection to the outdoors. Whether it’s hunting, fishing, camping, canoeing, biking, hiking, or just sitting in our yards and watching wildlife, we all enjoy some aspect of Missouri wildlife and resources. Becoming a member keeps you informed about Missouri outdoors, its wildlife and all the opportunities that are available to you. A membership makes it easy to stay aware of conservation issues that may have an impact to Missouri outdoor future as well as giving you a voice in those decisions. In closing, membership in CFM helps ensure our natural resources will be here for all to enjoy, now and in the future, so please consider joining this dedicated group of citizens that have a love of the Missouri outdoors by going to www.confedmo.org/join or by calling 573-6342322. Tom Westhoff MARCH - 2021

35


Agency News

MISSOURI DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION Elk Hunters Go for Five in Inaugural Elk Hunt

M

issouri’s first elk-hunting season ended with all five of the hunters selected for permits harvesting bull elk during the firearms portion Dec. 12-20. An archery portion ran Oct. 1725 with no harvests. The five Missouri hunters were selected for elk-hunting permits through a random drawing of more than 19,215 permit applications, including 33 for one resident-landowner antleredelk permit and 19,182 for four general permits. “What an exciting gift right before the holidays to see all five hunters harvest elk in this first inaugural elk season in Missouri,” said MDC Director Sara Parker Pauley. “This success also showcases the hard work and collaboration of our Commission, staff, partners, landowners, and citizens. One of the hunters called me personally just a few minutes after he harvested an elk full of excitement and thanks, but the real thanks goes to the bigger team for making this happen.”

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CONSERVATION FEDERATION

Joe Benthall of Mount Vernon, who was drawn for an antlered-elk general permit, harvested a 5x5 bull elk Dec. 12 on National Park Service property near Log Yard in Shannon County. He was the first of five Missouri hunters selected for elk permits to harvest an elk. Benthall has been deer hunting off and on for 25 years and had not hunted elk before. He says he applied for the Missouri opportunity because he has wanted to hunt elk but has not had the time or money for a trip out west. He added that he only hunted during the firearms portion. Michael Buschjost of St. Thomas, who was drawn for an antlered-elk general permit, took a 6x6 bull elk Dec. 15 outside of the refuge portion of the MDC Peck Ranch Conservation Area. He has hunted elk in Montana, Colorado, and Wyoming with two bulls and a cow elk harvested from those efforts. He said he was excited to hunt elk in Missouri and to take his three kids with him to scout the area before the season opened.


Agency News Sam Schultz of Winfield, who was drawn for an antlered-elk general permit, harvested a 5x6 bull elk Dec. 15 on private property in Shannon County. Schultz has been hunting for 30 years and he mostly hunts deer and turkey. He has successfully hunted elk before in Colorado back in the early 2000s. “My elk was originally a 6x7 bull, but he had two broken antler tines, which left him to be a 5x6,” said Schultz. “It was a tough hunt, but I had a blast doing it. Best of all was one of my boys was with me when I harvested this awesome animal. Thank you, MDC, for bringing them back to Missouri.” Gene Guilkey of Liberty, who was drawn for an antlered-elk general permit, harvested a 6x7 bull elk on public land in Shannon County Dec. 16. “I have never hunted elk before and this hunt was the dream trip of a lifetime,” Guilkey said. “I literally dreamed of taking a 6x6 bull but didn’t think it was possible nor would I be up to it, but the good Lord above had better plans than I did!” He added, “When I harvested this bull, I was stressed, relieved, and overjoyed all at the same time. I screamed loud enough that quite possibly all three counties involved could hear me! What a thrill! Taking this trophy was the hardest hunt I have encountered. It took a lot of scouting before and during the archery season to get the terrain laid out. During the hunt, we were delighted to find this bull on day three and focused on the area he was spotted in. He was actually bugling, which was an experience we did not expect so late after the rut. These are amazing animals!” Bill Clark of Van Buren, who was drawn for the resident-landowner antlered-elk permit, harvested a bull elk on his property Dec. 19. Clark is a life-long hunter of deer, turkey, and small game. He has also pursued elk in Colorado and Wyoming in the 1990s.

Sam Schultz of Winfield harvested this 5x6 bull elk Dec. 15 on private property in Shannon County. (Photo: Courtesy of Sam Schultz)

He and his family own 80 acres east of Peck Ranch Conservation Area where they conduct timber-stand improvements on the heavily forested property and also plant clover and native grasses for elk and other wildlife. Clark says he applied for the elk hunt because he supports MDC’s elk restoration and management efforts, wildlife management in general, and wanted to help the herd by thinning a bull. “I see elk on our land all the time,” Clark said. “I’m nearly 80 and use a cane and a crutch so I’m limited in my mobility. I was standing on my back deck and saw a group of cow elk about 100 yards through the trees in the yard with a spike bull with them. He stopped, and that was the shot I had and the shot I took. We then broke down the carcass and are processing it ourselves.” Clark added, “I’m really happy to represent what I believe to be one of the most important hunts of my life. This program is an example of one of the best things to happen for the people of Missouri in years, and I’m nearly 80 years old.”

MARCH - 2021

37


Agency News

MDC Sets Deer and Turkey Hunting Season dates

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he Missouri Conservation Commission approved the following recommendations by the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) for upcoming turkey-hunting and deer-hunting season dates.

The Commission approved providing more days of hunting opportunity to increase the harvest of antlerless deer. MDC recommended increasing the length of the antlerless portion from three days to nine days based on Missouri deer numbers being at desirable levels and being stable or increasing in most counties that allow two firearms antlerless permits and two landowner firearms antlerless permits. MDC harvest data shows that increasing the firearms antlerless harvest limit past two does not result in a significant increase in harvest. Details on hunting regulations, harvest limits, allowed methods, required permits, and other related information will be available in MDC’s 2021 Spring Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet and MDC’s 2021 Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet. Both will be available where permits are sold prior to the related seasons.

2021 Spring and Fall Turkey Hunting Dates • • •

Spring Youth Portion: April 10 and 11 Regular Spring Turkey Season: April 19 through May 9 Fall Firearms Turkey Season: Oct. 1 - 31

2021-2022 Archery Deer & Turkey Hunting Dates •

Sept. 15 through Nov. 12 and Nov. 24 through Jan. 15, 2022

2021-2022 Firearms Deer Hunting Dates • Firearms Deer Early Youth Portion: Oct. 30-31 • Firearms Deer November Portion: Nov. 13 - 23 • Firearms Deer Late Youth Portion: Nov. 26 - 28 • Firearms Deer Antlerless Portion: Dec. 4 - 12 • Firearms Deer Alternative Methods Portion: Dec. 25 - Jan. 4, 2022

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Learn more about turkey hunting in Missouri at huntfish.mdc.mo.gov/hunting-trapping/species/ turkey. Learn more about deer hunting in Missouri at huntfish.mdc.mo.gov/hunting-trapping/species/deer. Buy Missouri hunting permits from numerous vendors around the state, online at mdc.mo.gov/ buypermits, or through MDC’s free mobile apps, MO Hunting and MO Fishing, available for download through Google Play for Android devices or the App Store for Apple devices.


Agency News

MISSOURI STATE PARKS Missouri State Parks Takes Home Second and Third Place in December 2020 Show Me Challenge

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nspired by the hit TV show "Shark Tank" and other similar competitions, the Show Me Challenge encourages team members in Missouri’s 16 executive departments to identify solutions to better serve Missouri’s citizens. The Show Me Challenge, launched in January 2019, inspires teams across every level of state government to compete and find ways for state team members to work together better. Recycle Rally in Parks won second place for its proposal to implement a statewide campground recycling program to increase the convenience of recycling for campers, save money and reduce waste. Members of this team include Kim Todey, Doug Rusk, Kaylyn Dalbom, Lori Cody, Jessica Gillespie, Kim Pedigo and Coy King of the Department of Natural Resources, and Rob Didrikson of the Office of Administration. The project will increase campers’ participation in recycling statewide, using the Montauk State Park case study as a model for other state parks. The inconvenience for visitors to recycle led to a series of problems including overflowing trash dumpsters and increased health, safety and environmental issues. Montauk State Park developed a program that targets convenient recycling at the campsite, by providing recycling bags. As a result, trash collection at Montauk was reduced by 408 cubic yards during June, July and August 2020, saving $3,108 in operational funds. The amount of material recycled consisted of 2,128 pounds of plastic, 2,383 pounds of aluminum and 8,660 pounds of metal. Montauk increased visitor participation in recycling, while reducing trash removal costs and trash to landfills. The Recycle Rally in Parks team created a playbook for other campgrounds interested in implementing a similar recycling program. Echo Bluff and Stockton state parks, along with other state park campgrounds, have already committed to participating during the 2021 camping season. The team is exploring partnerships with other state agencies and hopes to create recycling opportunities for others in the camping industry statewide.

The Missouri State Parks Education Resources Website project won third place for its proposal to create a centralized website with virtual education materials to better assist educators unable to bring their students to visit Missouri state parks and historic sites for in-person learning. Members of this team include Alison Dubbert, Patricia Chambers, Brooke Mahar, Chris Edmondson, Kelly Koch, Jamie Hubert, Melissa Blank and Jamie Henry of the Department of Natural Resources, and Kristen McKinney of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Missouri state parks and historic sites are nationally recognized for quality interpretive programs, tours and educational materials. During the pandemic shutdown, the need and requests for virtual content from educators only increased due to the reduction of field trips and in-person learning. While school visits to parks and sites have decreased, virtual programming through videos on topics normally interpreted on-site have been widely successful on social media. The team plans to evaluate current content that already meets Missouri curriculum standards and collaborate with educators to determine additional curriculum. Once the content is determined and developed, it will be placed on a centralized webpage to provide easy access to educators and partners. The team hopes to develop partnerships with other agencies to create a statewide website, providing a variety of educational materials and curriculum topics across the state. (Photo: Courtesy of Missouri State Parks)

MARCH - 2021

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NATURE is Healthy

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CONSERVATION FEDERATION

Get healthy in nature this year.

mdc.mo.gov/places–go


MARCH - 2021

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Feature Story

A Never-Ending Story B

ob and Barb Kipfer are two people with hearts as big as the outdoors they love. For those that know them, it is hard to think of one without thinking of the other. They are husband and wife, but they are more than that. They are friends, they are a team, they are partners in life. A life well-lived. The first chapter in their book of life begins at Kansas University Medical Center. Bob was a medical student in his first year of patient care on the hospital wards. Barb had just arrived as a newly graduated nurse on her first job.

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During his daily classwork around the hospital Bob took special notice of Barb. One-day, Bob saw her going into a room where nurses went to dump bedpans. He followed her in, closed the door and asked her out on a date. He thought he might get dumped too, but she said yes. They were married on September 4th, 1965, and another chapter in their life had begun. Two years later, Bob received his draft notice and served with the infantry in Vietnam as a battalion field surgeon, which meant he traveled into battle with the troops and worked in field hospitals.


Feature Story Barb continued nursing back in Kansas and caring for their newborn son Mark while hoping Bob would make it back home to them. I am sure there were times when Bob wondered the same thing. Like most Vietnam veterans, he doesn’t talk much about that time in his life. Needless to say, he did make it home to his family after his tour of duty ended. They settled down to somewhat everyday life during four years of his residency at the Mayo clinic. Their family also grew with the birth of daughter Amy. Life was busy, life was good. In 1973 Bob and Barb and the kids moved to Springfield to start a new chapter in their lives. Bob practiced Gastroenterology and Internal Medicine at a local hospital. Barb began to teach at a school of nursing. They bought a home and moved into an urban neighborhood where they still live today.  Their lives were busy, but they managed to find time to go fishing, canoeing, kayaking and sailing on weekends. They played tennis. They traveled. They made lots of friends at work, in their neighborhood and through social activities. One of those friends owned land with a cabin in the Ozarks hills of southern Missouri. Bob and Barb visited often and they started looking for land of their own. That search led them to land with a clear flowing creek running through a beautiful valley with forested hills and lots of wildlife. They fell in love with this special place and another chapter was to be written.  Bob and Barb continued to work at their medical jobs during the week and stayed at their home in town. Unless they were traveling to places all over the world, visiting their kids and grandkids in other states or going to social events, they were at their valley on weekends.  Ten years after buying the property, Bob decided it was time for another chapter to be written. He was now working in medical administration in addition to his medical practice but having more fun on their property and retired. He gave up tennis for a chainsaw and a tractor down in the valley. Barb waited two more years before retiring just to make sure Bob was house broke. Retirement started another chapter to their story. During their time in the valley, they started working with the Missouri Department of Conservation to clear trees to bring back glades that were once there.

They also worked with the department to plant trees for bank stabilization to protect the stream and their land. They even planted over 2,000 tree seedlings themselves for the same purpose. This all sparked their interest in conservation and fed their desire to conserve and protect this special place. Their transformation from medical professionals to dedicated conservationists and conservation educators is an amazing chapter in their book of life. It’s about how their love for conservation grew and changed not just their lives, but changed and touched the lives of so many others—more than they will ever know. They became involved with the Springfield Plateau of Missouri Master Naturalist. Bob writes an informative blog for the group. Barb represents them on the Grow Native Board and leads educational tours of their urban yard in Springfield, where she has planted over 100 native species of plants. She even made a video tour of what she has done to be used for virtual education.   Barb spends a lot of her time in the valley trying to rid their land of any invasive species of plants not native to the area. They have restored warm-season native grass fields and work at endangered species protection. They collect native butterflies, raise moths, volunteer at special events at the Butterfly House, and host mothing events at their property. They implemented a forest stewardship plan for their property. It is now a certified Tree Farm. They were named State Tree Farmers of the Year in 2015 for all their work with timber stand improvements and even hosted a Missouri Tree Farm Conference.   Their land in the valley has grown to 400 acres and includes another cabin with their land additions. College students use the valley and the cabin for stream ecology studies. MARCH - 2021

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Feature Story

The Audubon Society has access for bird counts and education. They have hosted Missouri Department of Conservation tours, a black bear study, Boy Scout activities, wildlife studies of plant and animal species, wild mushrooms studies, as well as field trips for groups doing plant and wildlife identification. Their land is open to other conservation-minded groups for retreats and field trips for ecology, woodland management and stream education. They were named the 2017 Conservationist of the Year by the Conservation Federation of Missouri. I would bet if you asked them what they have enjoyed doing most of all the things they have done; it would be their work with the public schools WOLF program. They teach fifthgraders in weekly classroom sessions and host the kids in their valley for educational classes several times a year. Bob and Barb have profoundly impacted conservation in the lives of all the kids they have taught. The kids love them and will never forget Bob and Barb. This world could use more people like the Kipfer’s. Their impact for conservation has been huge.

One of these days, I hope in the far distant future, Bob and Barb will no longer be able to manage their land. When that time comes, they have donated it to Missouri State University under a protected agreement to sustain the valley's natural ecology and use it to educate students who will be our future conservationists and conservation educators. When Bob and Barb are gone, their ashes will be added to the old cemetery in the valley they love. Their passion for conservation will continue through these students, the Wolf School kids and all the other lives impacted by these two people. It will not be the final chapter of their book of life though. Their story will go on through all the lives they have touched. Those people will pass on their passion for conservation. The Bob and Barb story will continue. That makes this a never-ending story. Larry Whiteley (Cover) Bob & Barb Kipfer in their beloved valley. (Photo: Courtesy of the Kipfer’s) (Right) Bob teaching WOLF School kids. (Photo: Courtesy of The Wolf School) (Top) Barb leads a nature tour. (Photo: Courtesy of the Wolf School)

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Outdoor News

The Old Shotgun

S

he was my first. She was older, much older. But she was a simple beauty that commanded respect. At eleven years old, my step-grandfather (Gramps) would give me his single-shot 1929 model Stevens 16-gauge shotgun. She was a little big for me, but with some coaching and practice we got to know one another and would soon become a pair. Before I could take her out in a proper way, I needed instruction. I had never fired a shotgun before, so a turkey shoot seemed like a good entry point. How hard can it be? After some explanation that no actual turkeys would be shot and that the event would entail shooting at a limited number of clay birds from a launcher, everything became clear. There I was, standing with the men, everyone watching as the skinny little kid fired his gun, missing every target thrown into the sky. I was embarrassed. My pride was hurt. But I remember other shooters giving me encouragement and I chalked it up as the experience of a first-time shooter. Once at home, I told the sad story to my empathetic grandmother, and she reacted in horror when she saw my black and blue shoulder. Next time she would make sure I was prepared as she would crochet a shoulder pad that I could pin inside my shirt for protection. That evening I would sit on the living room floor, a cloth spread out on the rug to catch oil and debris as I broke down the old gun, cleaned her, and slipped her back into the flimsy new case I bought for her at Montgomery Ward. Back into my closet she would go until our next encounter. In the autumn of 1966, I would buy my first hunting license. At age 12, I could now legally take the old girl hunting without the need for a chaperone. A couple of trips with Gramps and a friend would show me all I needed to know about pheasant and rabbit hunting, and soon I would begin venturing out to walk the railroad right-of-way that traversed though crop fields near where my grandparents lived. Living in the city, I was fortunate to have these occasional weekends in the country where I could explore nature and enjoy the solitude it offered, something I grew to treasure over my lifetime. That old shotgun would be my steady companion and pheasants, rabbits, squirrels, and my first Canada goose would all surrender to her power.

(Photo Courtesy of Dan Zekor)

For 12 years, as opportunity allowed, the old shotgun would go afield, only to be retired in 1978 for a brand new 12-gauge Ithaca Model 37 pump. If the old gun was jealous, she never let me know, and after 55 years, she still has a place in my heart and in my safe. She doesn’t get out much anymore and spends most of her time sitting around listening to younger, exotic beauties from Italy and elsewhere tell their stories of the day. But I’m sure, after all the girls have been cleaned and oiled and put aside for a short rest, she probably modestly recounts a day in November, a long time ago, when I held her in my arms and at my command, she made a mighty goose fall from the sky - with one shot. Dan Zekor

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Feature Story

Catch the Vision

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hances are, you've either watched a YouTube video of silver carp leaping from the water or seen one, up close and personal. Although it might seem humorous when somebody gets smacked by a flying fish, there's nothing funny about the impact of a 10 to 20-pound piscine projectile. They can inflict a lot of bodily harm or property damage. If the menace of the Midwest landed in your boat, then you experienced a slimy and bloody mess trying to remove it. Oxygen depletion in late summer can result in massive die-offs, causing a putrid odor to linger on tourism and local economies. Untold numbers of carp are discarded into landfills each year. That's what happened to 119 tons of them after being harvested from Creve Coeur Lake, near St. Louis, in 2018.

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CONSERVATION FEDERATION

Asian carp is a collective term used to describe four species: bighead, grass, silver, and black. The common carp was introduced into America during the early 1800s as a food source for our growing immigrant population. That experiment failed miserably. Common carp are invasive, but they have been around long enough to become naturalized citizens. In the 1970s, silver and bighead carp were imported into the U.S. as a biological control mechanism to improve water quality. After escaping captivity in southeast Arkansas, the Asian carp population exploded throughout the Mississippi River and its tributaries, thanks to ample space and food, high reproduction, and frequent flooding. For example, the Illinois River has more Asian carp than any place on the planet.   


Feature Story High densities of Asian carp pose serious problems in big river systems since they reduce the number of planktonic organisms in the water column that otherwise would be available for native fish, such as gizzard shad. To prevent Asian carp from entering Lake Michigan, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has spent billions of taxpayer dollars to electrify the shipping canals around Chicago. If Asian carp infest the Great Lakes, they will disrupt a multibillion-dollar commercial and recreational fishing industry. Although the electric current is an effective deterrent for Asian carp, it does nothing to lower their population. There's a lot at stake. Invasive species are nearly impossible to eradicate after occupying a niche. Angling is not practical since Asian carp cannot be caught by rod and reel, except for snagging. Commercial harvest is a viable option, but the supply of fish is much larger than current demand. Some outlets include fertilizer, pet food, and fish bait, but additional markets are needed. Human consumption is a possible solution, but many Missourians consider Asian carp to be 'trash' fish because of their appearance and bone structure. If it looks worthless, then it must be!      Here's the good news. Silver carp are a plentiful and inexpensive food source that contains high amounts of macro and micronutrients, such as protein, iron, potassium, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, and nine essential amino acids. They have low levels of heavy metals, such as mercury, because of their mid-stream feeding behavior (not all carp are bottom-feeders). The white meat has a mild flavor that absorbs spices and seasonings well. I've eaten silver carp in tacos, burritos, nachos, chili, dumplings, and omelets, but my favorite is sausage links. A recent study conducted at the University of Missouri found that people liked silver carp's taste over catfish by a wide margin.  Although eating invasive species isn't new, using silver carp to address hunger relief and malnutrition in women and children is an overlooked management strategy. Over 820 million people worldwide (about 1 in 9) suffer from undernourishment. Many of them live in developing countries where food insecurity can result in social and political unrest. In other words, food is democracy in action. Let's consider the situation in Haiti.  

Haiti is one of the largest countries in the Caribbean with a population of over 11 million. It is also one of the poorest countries in the Western hemisphere since 59% of Haitians live in extreme poverty (< $2.42 per day). Nearly half of Haiti's population (about 5.4 million) are undernourished. About 1 in 5 Haitian children are chronically malnourished, often resulting in irreversible physical and mental disabilities, including suppressed immune systems. Three common problems are stunting, wasting, and iron deficiency anemia – especially common among women of reproductive age. To make matters worse, Haiti is prone to natural disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes. Few places in the world are needier. So, I traveled to Haiti recently and fed villagers with some freshly-smoked carp from Midwest rivers. It was a life-changing experience. Please watch my video titled, Trash to Treasure at:  https://vimeo.com/467207394      After returning home, I recruited some MU professors to work with me on this project, including natural resources, food science, and engineering. It was an easy sell. I'm also collaborating with scientists in Vietnam, South Africa, and Nigeria, and three humanitarian aid organizations in Missouri: Glory House Services in Kansas City, Convoy of Hope in Springfield, and Meds & Food for Kids in St. Louis. They caught the vision, will you?    I hope your will consider supporting my research project that uses a locally grown, harvested, and processed food source that addresses two important but unrelated issues – invasive species and malnutrition. Together, we can take a bite out of carp and feed hungry people at the same time, and it's a win-win. The average-size Asian carp is worth about $1. Use this link to make your taxfree donation: https://mizzougivedirect.missouri.edu/fund. aspx?item_id=744     Dr. Morgan can be reached at the School of Natural Resources, University of Missouri-Columbia. (573) 8829525 or markmorgan@missouri.edu. Dr. Mark Morgan There are more carp in Midwest rivers than you can ever imagine. (Photo: Courtesy of Dr. Mark Morgan)

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Feature Story

Angling for Fun at Bennett Spring T

rout fishing fans across the Midwest know that March 1 is the opening day for the catch-and-keep season in Missouri's four trout parks, including Bennett Spring State Park. Hordes of anglers descend upon the parks to participate in the opening day ritual. But you don't have to be an angler to join in the fun. The dogwoods and redbuds are blooming and spring is luring you outdoors. Heed the call and head to Bennett Spring State Park for a getaway that will revitalize your winter-weary spirits.    Called the "eye of the sacred one" by Native Americans, Bennett Spring is the fourth largest spring in Missouri, with an output of more than 100 million gallons of water a day. The spring branch flows through the park and into the Niangua River.

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CONSERVATION FEDERATION

Fishing is the park's main attraction, partly because more than 320,000 pounds of rainbow trout are released at the park annually by the Missouri Department of Conservation, which operates a hatchery there. The stream is stocked daily during the season.   Another reason fishing is so popular is thanks to Jim Rogers, the park concessionaire and a fly fishing expert. Rogers has a Master Certification in fly fishing instruction from Fly Fishers International (formerly Federation of Fly Fishers). He is the director of the Jim Rogers Fly Fishing School, which attracts anglers worldwide. Since 1975, "I've taught more than 4,000 people," he says.         


Feature Story But fishing isn't the only thing to do at Bennett Spring. With 3,216 acres to explore, the park offers 12 miles of hiking trails, including one trail that goes through a 296-foot natural tunnel. There's a fish hatchery, a nature center and an outdoor swimming pool. Other activity options, either in the park or nearby, including float trips, bird watching, horseback riding and a zip line. Or just sit back and relax.     A sample day might begin with fishing when the whistle blows. After catching your day's limit of trout, stop at the dining lodge to enjoy a hearty breakfast or lunch, then relax in the afternoon with a hike, a float, a shopping excursion to the park store, or a drive into nearby Lebanon to explore its Route 66 heritage. After dinner in the lodge, gather around a campfire and enjoy the night sky.   CCC "Parkitecture"    Many of the park's rustic structures, including the iconic triple-arched stone bridge, were built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), in a style often referred to today as "parkitecture." The CCC was part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal.   A great way to learn about the park's CCC structures is via a self-guided tour. Pick up a free brochure, which includes a map and a description of the buildings, at the nature center, which is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. While at the nature center, check out the exhibit with artifacts and photographs from the CCC period. Eat. Shop. Repeat. The rustic CCC lodge with its fishing theme decor is part of the charm when dining at Bennett Spring State Park. This writer's favorite "decoration" is the chalkboard with the day's pies listed on it. Save room for dessert, folks!   The menu features trout, which is no surprise. The kitchen crew will even prepare your catch for you if you don't want to cook it yourself. Enjoy it grilled or fried, with your choice of sides.   In addition to trout, the menu offers a variety of freshcooked foods ranging from hearty breakfast fare to burgers and sandwiches to daily specials. The dining lodge, which is next to the park store, is open from March 1 through Oct. 31 daily, from 7 a.m. until one hour after fishing ends for the day.  

Forgot your sunglasses or need to buy a fishing license? The park store offers everything you need for your fishing trip, including daily trout tags, rental gear, bait and tackle. It also stocks all sorts of camping and picnicking items, as well as a varied selection of clothing, hats, jewelry and gifts -- just right for a little retail therapy. Lodging options include motel rooms and single, duplex or four-plex cabins, for a total of 65 units. Campgrounds offer both RV and tent camping. Barbara Gibbs Ostmann People fishing enjoy an afternoon at Bennett Spring. (Photo: Courtesy of Barbara Gibbs Ostmann)

PLANNING YOUR VISIT

WHEN TO Bennett Spring State Park is about 10 VISIT miles west of Lebanon on Highway 64A.

The concession hosts are Jim and Carmen Rogers, who also operate the concession at Roaring River State Park. The park is open daily from March 1 (opening day of the catch-and-keep trout season) through October 31. It closes briefly, then reopens for weekends only (Friday through Monday) from the second Friday in November through the second Monday in February; during this time, trout fishing is catch-and-release only. For specific dates each year, check the website.

GET IN Bennett Spring State Park, 26250 TOUCH Highway 64A, Lebanon, 65536; 417-

532-4307 or 800-334-6946; for dining lodge, 417-532-4547; for nature center, 417-532-3925. For more information, visit www.bennettspringstatepark.org, www.jimrogersflyschool.com or http:// mostateparks.com. Changes to opening hours and services may occur because of the coronavirus pandemic. Be sure to check the website or call the park before your visit.

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MARCH - 2021

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Feature Story

9 Helpful Tips for Hung-Up Gobblers H

ard lessons are quickly learned on turkey hunts. Months of anticipation spent practicing turkey sounds on different calls make sleeping the night before a turkey hunt impossible. Finally, the moment of truth arrives; turkeys gobbling on a warm spring morning.  

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The morning progresses and a big boy gobbles back at your hen sounds. You feel a flush of excitement as the gobbling gets louder, but then it starts sounding farther away. Soon his sounds are distant. The next day you find another active gobbler. You turn on the charm with clucks, purrs and a few light yelps to make this guy come in. He is gobbling, but not coming closer. 


Feature Story These situations are common and well known to veteran turkey hunters as "hung-up" birds--a game you won't always win, so here are several reasons why this happens and how to respond. Human activity: Public and sometimes private woods are full of human activity. Moderate amounts of human activity may change how turkeys communicate or react.  "How you call is more important than how often when a lot of human activity is present," said Chris Parrish, world champion caller and veteran turkey hunter. "Human hearing can't pick up every turkey sound. They make a lot of soft clucking and purring, almost muttered. Hens always make soft sounds. Humans can't hear this light conversation, but a gobbler can." Producers of turkey hunting videos learn how to deal with hunting pressure early in their career.  "Most videos shot are of hunters calling in birds with little or no hunting pressure," said Preston Pittman, world championship caller and president of Pittman Calls. "I hunt Mississippi where gobblers are educated and extremely hard to hunt because they receive a lot of pressure. I believe simplicity is better with limited clucks and yelps to let the gobblers know where you are. Avoid cutting, cackling or aggressive calling." Henned up: This is probably the most common reason hunters experience hung-up birds. Gobbling turkeys moving in will sometimes excite hunters into over calling.  "Aggressive calling on an incoming gobbler may make him hang up," Parrish said. "Other hens may hear your commotion and step in to intercept the gobbler. Pre-scouting will tell you if a lot of hens surrounds the gobbler. You hear that aggressive calling will bring a hen in, closely followed by the gobbler. This does work, but nine times out of ten, she will be jealous then turn to walk away, taking the gobbler." Parrish likes to play the coy hen by making exceptionally soft hen sounds while raking in the leaves, indicating live turkeys approaching. "I occasionally spit and drum with my voice at gobblers who are walking away with hens," Parrish said. "This makes them jealous and sometimes they will come back. I add these important sounds with soft calling or almost no calling at all."  

Roosted birds: Early morning mistakes can cause a bird to hang-up or go the other direction.  "There are a lot of situations when little or no calling is better than calling," Parrish said. "A solitary roosted gobbler may answer your calls with great passion. Back off calling so he will come to you. Otherwise, he may wait for the hen to come his way if she seems overly excited. Stop calling and wait for him to fly down."  Old longbeard gobblers: Old turkeys did not reach a ripe old age by being careless. Their cautious nature can mean a hung-up bird. Big gobblers are smart in their world. Novice callers tend to kill more two-yearold birds who didn't know better while bigger birds walked the other direction. "Older birds have been lied to many times by callers," Pittman said. "The more you call, the more likely he may become suspicious." Novice callers often make the common mistake of repeating calling sounds.  "A hen does not call the same way every time," Parrish said. "Her calling is generally broken up. Old turkeys should be worked delicately. The first step is moving close to his position, let him know a hen is close and then back off calling. Turkeys have great hearing so call softly and very seldom." Shock gobbling: The old adage, keep making noise until something gobbles may have been true in the early days of turkey hunting or even now for birds without hunting pressure, but no longer for pressured birds that will hang up for no understandable reason. "You can shock call too much," Mark Prudhomme, world champion owl hooter said. "Some make the same noise too often. Chances are, gobblers will eventually stop responding to these same sounds. A hot turkey may gobble every time, but most won't. I change location when one gobbles the first time and set up so I'm close to my hunting spot before shock gobbling again."

(Photo: Courtesy of Jami Linder, winner of NWTF Photo Contest)

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Feature Story Ray Eye, a famed turkey hunter from Missouri, has spent most of his life hunting the open country of Missouri and Iowa. "I like to spot turkeys from a distance with good binoculars," Eye said. "You can glass gobblers from old gravel farm roads. Many of the old farms I hunt have gobblers strutting on every open hillside. Calling from a distance has little effect, even from a hundred yards. I work through ditches just under the hill to get close, hopefully within 20 yards. I like to set up in natural cover. Behind brush or just inside the edge of cover by an old fence row works well."  Timber or conifers: Heavy timber or conifers are likely places for gobblers. This thicker cover can be excellent or challenging when bow or shotgun hunting.  Hunters tend to get comfortable in heavy brush, thinking the gobbler will not spot them. Turkeys stay alive by noticing or hearing anything out of place, even in thick brush. A wrong move and out-of-place noise can quickly hang up a gobbler. 

Food sources: Food sources are excellent areas for finding turkeys. The problem is that these fields are often big and the turkeys might be anywhere with little reason to move towards your best calling efforts. The trick is watching turkey movements before the season opens.  "I scout food sources throughout the early spring before turkey season," Parrish said. "I find the productive feeding areas like clover in the spring and set up two to four blinds on each side of the field." Good morning hunting spots are located between roosting and feeding areas. Large areas of mass crops may require setting blinds in two or three spots on a ridge or even between the roosting and feeding area. These blinds are productive for spring or fall birds, depending on where they are feeding. Open country: Hunting in open fields is a challenge because turkeys like to stay in a safe area. They will gobble back, then stay hung-up. 

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Even a non-gobbling turkey makes a lot of noise when strutting and moving through the brush. Eddie Salter, world champion turkey caller, learned early that the heavy brush's mistakes will hang up a gobbler. "I listen then draw back my bow when the gobbler is on the other side of a tree or brush," Salter said. "A decoy gives the gobbler something to look at while moving in, even in thick cover. Occasionally, the bird may hone in on your position, making setting out a decoy impossible, so sit still." When to move on a hung up gobbler: I only move on a gobbler when the season is about over. Chances are I will hunt an early-season hung-up bird another day, hopefully with a better plan. You take the chance of pushing or spooking that big boy anytime you move, a bad proposition when you can hunt another time. Mistakes are easily made when trying to reposition on a bird with the sharpest hearing and eyesight in any woodlot.  (Left) Ken shows off one of his gobblers harvested in the Spring time. (Photo: Courtesy of Kenneth L. Kieser)


Feature Story I move on a gobbler later in the season after he has hung-up an hour or more. I once called a gobbler over an hour, moving back and forth in thick cover, not over 30 yards away. His impatience was made clear by identical pacing and calling. I could hear him crunching leaves. He wanted and possibly expected that hen to come in instead of him going out. I enjoyed this chess game and continued softly calling until he gave up and stepped out for an easy kill. Some hunters may have moved on that bird, but he was close and clearly interested. An uninterested bird will often move away. Then you can plan your move, guided by his gobbling. Moving on to a silent gobbler can be a matter of luck and probably best avoided.  Moves don't always have to be far. I once watched top turkey hunter, Brad Harris move ten feet up a grassy bank after calling to gobblers down a big, woody hill for at least 45 minutes. He listened 10 minutes before calling again, slightly farther up the bank. The gobblers noted his new position and apparently thought the hen was moving away. Soon two big gobblers stepped out in the sunlight; their bright red heads made fine targets.   

A fast-moving gobbler is generally gone unless they decide to turn and find the trailing hen—but don't count on that happening. A fast mover is either spooked or headed for some predetermined destination. Chances are no amount of sexy hen talk will turn him, but it has happened. You can't always predict a gobbler's behavior. They can do some strange, unexpected maneuvers, so always be alert. Crunching brush is not a bad mistake if you purposely sound like a turkey or deer and not a human. Only a human sounds like a human in the woods by walking with a constant rhythm. Turkeys move, then stop and move again. Most are not in a hurry. Those moving quickly may signal danger to others.  Moving on a gobbler requires moving slightly faster than usual when hunting. Too fast creates noise that will alert the bird. Not fast enough won't allow you to gain the required position before the gobbler is gone. Experience is your best teacher judging speeds and trails when changing positions on a moving or hungup bird. Never generalize gobblers. React to what he gives you.   Avoid moving on a hung-up bird on public ground. Sadly, a few hunters shoot at movement. You can't be too careful in public or private turkey woods. Avoid using turkey calls while you move. I always sit against a wide tree to avoid being shot in the back by a slob hunter. Even private woodlots sometimes get uninvited visitors. So be careful and good luck. Kenneth L. Kieser A turkey hunter needs to have many options available to harvest these elusive birds in Missouri. (Photo: Courtey of Kenneth L. Kieser)

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Feature Story

River Fairies

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hen our oldest son, Tim, was 11 years old, I took him to his first Boy Scout meeting and came back the scoutmaster. That wasn't my plan, but the troop was having trouble and the existing scoutmaster wanted out. I was compelled to take on this new challenge because of my Boy Scouts experiences as a youth. The scouting program introduced me to the outdoors, including hiking, camping, shooting, archery and boating, which steered me into a natural resources management career.

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My parents were not outdoors people. My father once told me his heart began to beat irregularly when he got too far from wall to wall carpeting. I started out in scouting as an 11-year-old and eight years later ended as the waterfront director at a large scout summer camp. When I took on the scoutmaster assignment, I had no idea that it would last for almost ten years. That was longer than I was in the Boy Scouts as a youth.


Feature Story Looking back on my years as the scoutmaster, I don't know how I did it. The time commitment was huge with a weekly meeting, campout each month, adult leader training meeting once a month and a monthly committee meeting.

I selected the Lamine River east of Sedalia. It's a pleasant, scenic river with less current than the Niangua. I came up with some thick, contractor plastic bags to put the gear in. Keeping the sleeping bags and tents dry was critical. We lashed the equipment to the canoe thwarts.

Then there was a week-long summer camp and extra campouts for the older scouts. Plus, I had to keep up a rigorous schedule of personal hunting and fish trips while still managing to go to work. Periodically, I had to dote on Mrs. Urich to keep the marriage alive, although she loved the campouts because I took all three of our sons, giving her a monthly weekend of quiet time.

The trip got off to a bad start because one of the vehicles broke down in the parking lot when we arrived at the Lamine River Conservation Area. This meant two adult leaders had to arrange for a tow truck and didn't go on the trip, leaving one other adult and myself.

The scout troop had its meeting facility next to a lake. This was handy for aquatic oriented activities especially canoeing. I had access to a small flotilla of canoes and we frequently practiced on the lake earning the canoeing merit badge each year. Most of the boys had never been in a canoe and the hardest part was teaching them how to get in and out without flipping over. I was mostly unsuccessful in this effort finally realizing the scouts didn't care if they flipped it over or not.

I was compelled to take on this new challenge because of my Boy Scouts experiences as a youth. The scouting program introduced me to the outdoors, including hiking, camping, shooting, archery and boating, which steered me into a natural resources management career.

I had a big, red cooler emitting a humming sound which intrigued the scouts. When they asked about the humming cooler, I said it was full of river fairies whose job was to keep the canoes from flipping using their magical powers. Of course, no one believed this, but they continued to ask and I described river fairies in detail as we made our way downriver. We made it to the gravel bar for our overnight stay and remarkably only one canoe flipped over during the float, which I indicated as proof that the cooler was full of magical river fairies.

My long term goal was an overnight canoe trip on a Missouri river. The scouts needed to learn how to handle the canoe in the river current which is much different than on a lake. I scheduled a practice trip on the Niangua River from Bennett Springs State Park to Lead Mine Conservation Area, a distance of almost 20 miles. This is a long canoe float for scouts, and it was pretty much a disaster.

On the gravel bar, I laid out all the supplies for making trotlines. The scouts had to learn several knots. I taught them how to attach staging lines to the main line with swivels. We used large 6/0 hooks, which required careful monitoring of the scouts. Finally, I opened up the cooler, which contained dozens of large goldfish and told the boys these were the river fairies that would be the bait. The humming was from a floating aerator. About half of the scouts took two steps back in shock.

There were canoes that were flipped and swamped hourly. One canoe got pinned by the current next to a root wad. I had to stop other canoes floating down the river and ask people to get out and help. After I had about ten people in the water plus ropes attached to the canoe for others on the shore to pull, we freed the canoe. I figured this was as good as it was going to get, so the next trip was the overnight float.

I hadn't given much thought on how to tie trotlines in the water from a canoe, but it wasn't a problem. The scouts bobbed around in the water in their life jackets and tied the lines to root wads and other branches in the water. They were even buoyant enough with their life preservers to bait the lines while in the water. It was a good thing I brought plenty of river fairies because they lost many trying to get them on the hooks.

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Feature Story Getting a large fish off the trotline from a canoe was not going to be easy. I put on leather gloves and eased a hand into the fish's mouth. I screamed just to scare the scouts, even the ones watching from the bank, which was a mistake because it created panic but seemed funny at the time. The scouts leaned to the right, and I pulled the fish over the left side of the canoe. It flopped and banged on the bottom of the canoe, making a terrible noise. Since the scouts were already frightened because they thought my hand was bitten off, they scrambled over the thwarts to the front of the canoe. The only reason the canoe didn't flip over was because it was a 19-foot square stern with very wide bottom, and I got a little help from the river fairies. We had 11 fish to clean. The big fish weighed 52 pounds. Each scout held the big fish for a picture. By the time we reached the take out, we were almost 2 hours late. The waiting parents were not happy and concerned that something had gone wrong. But once I passed out baggies of catfish fillets, their mood moderated. At the Christmas scout meeting, I gave each parent an 8 X10 inch framed enlargement of their son holding the giant catfish. For most of these boys, it was the largest fish they would ever hold. David Urich The next morning we checked the trotlines and, much to my surprise, caught 2 to 3 fish on each line. Some were 10 to 15 pounds. I was helping two scouts with the last trotline when I could see the line jerking. The scout pulled on the line and the head of a huge flathead catfish surfaced, splashed and jerked the line out of the scout's hand. Both of the scouts were stunned and wanted nothing to do with getting the fish off the hook. I had to take them back to shore and recruit new helpers.

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(Cover) Tim Urich holding a 52 pound flathead catfish caught on the Lamine River during a Boy Scout overnight canoe trip. (Photo: Courtesy of David Urich) (Left) Boy Scouts ready to paddle downstream on the Lamine River for an overnight canoe trip. (Photo: Courtesy of David Urich)


Outdoor News

My Love for Flyfishing

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his love affair did not start in any usual way. It all began in a poker game in a college dorm in 1959. A young participant from California could not cover his bet. I told him that the fly rod in his room would be enough to make up the difference. He never realized that his pair of fours was going to bluff this Illinois farm boy. I had a fly rod! Being from Illinois, I had never had a fly rod in my hand. If my lure did not have at least two large treble hooks on it, I didn't fish it. Some serious learning was in my future. This love affair has now gone on for sixty years. Little did I know that I was entering a whole new world of fishing, a world with its language? Fly fishers talk about midges, nymphs, buggers, poppers, droppers, and the list goes on. I learned very early that a fishing fly does not have feathers, it has hackle. And a cork is not a cork, it is a strike indicator.  In the musical The Music Man, Harold Hill sings a song, "You Got to Know Your Territory." In fly fishing, you got to know the lingo. If you happened on two fly fishers talking about their day on the stream, you would surely believe that they were not speaking English. 

Like many sports one might take up, getting some useful instruction, in the beginning, is very important. Fly casting and fly fishing is not that hard. It is very realistic for a person, with some help, to be casting a fly over water within thirty minutes. He may even catch a fish. Many people would like to fly fish but express some common fears of failure. "It is way too hard for me to learn." Another one is, "Fly fishing is only for trout." Fishing with a fly rod is very versatile. One can go for warm water fish like bluegill, bass, pike and yes, even some "hillbilly salmon" (catfish.) Cold water species like trout, salmon and even ocean fish can also be caught on the fly rod.  Fly fishing has encouraged me to visit some areas of our country that I'm sure I would have never experienced, except they had wonderful fishing water. I also have met many people that have left a lasting memory with me. I agree with Henry Winkler, "The Fons," in his book about fly fishing. He said that he had never met a fly fisher he didn't like. Stay out of poker games. It may change your life forever. Len Patton (Photo: Courtesy of Barbara Gibbs Ostmann)

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Feature Story

Spring Morels T

ake a moment to think of a rewarding outdoor activity anyone can get involved in. Does that activity require any special equipment or expertise? Last year brought many newcomers into the great outdoors for many reasons, whether to escape from endless hours of screen time or to find new productive forms of entertainment. Deer and waterfowl seasons closed a little while ago and the opening of spring turkey season marks the short window of the year of my favorite season, morel mushrooms.

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Morels are a genus of fungi (Morchella) that come onto the scene for about a month in Missouri. Their season fluctuates with temperature, humidity, and rainfall, but there are general things to look for to know it's that time. Spring turkey season cuts off every day at 1pm. Every opening weekend (April 19 this year), my cousin and I will hunt turkeys in the morning and morels in the afternoon; that weekend is nearly a sure bet for finding morels. The old-timers say to look when the oak leaves are as big as a squirrel's ear and believe it or not, that timing works out pretty well too!


Feature Story But where do you start? Do you jump out into the woods and start grabbing and eating wild mushrooms? By no means! First and foremost, when foraging, always positively identify the species. Morels are pretty easy to ID once you learn and know them, but they do have some dangerous lookalikes. True morels will have a loosely conical shape, a pitted cap (the top part of the mushroom) resembling a sponge or honeycomb, and a hollow stem (see photo). There are arguably four species of true morels in Missouri, the American morel aka "yellows" (M. americana), the halffree morel (M. punctipes), black morels (M. angusticeps), and hickory chicks aka "grays" (M. diminutiva). If you are ever concerned about what you have, take it to a regional MDC office or nature center, or email them a picture and ask before you eat. I'm a part of several great Facebook groups in Missouri for mushroom identification and morels specifically, but it boils down to this, don't eat it if you're not 100% certain what it is. The second rule of foraging is to try a small amount of the food and wait before you eat a full serving. Some people are more sensitive to wild food than others, so just because some people eat a mushroom doesn't mean you will be able to do so. Ok, those are all my disclaimers; let's dive into morels.

People have been known to take their "honey hole" locations to the grave, never revealing them to their own family! These people are serious. For someone new to the sport, I recommend creek bottoms. My experience has shown that low-lying areas near year 'round streams and rivers seem to be the best spots. Start scouting (looking for) spots now. Conservation areas and state parks can be great places, but you'll have to beat the competition. Be sure to follow guidelines and regulations at public areas and know the rules before you go. E-scouting is also a great way to look for somewhere to hunt morels. A new smartphone application on the scene is On-X, but you can get by just fine with a free app like Google Maps. Look for low, flat areas with sandy soil near streams. Now for the trees.  You may be thinking, I don't know how to identify trees, I'm here to tell you, you can do it! You need to know only 5 main tree types with which morels associate. In order of my personal most success, those are American elm (Ulmus americana), ash (Fraxinus), black cherry (Prunus serotina), American sycamore (Platanus occidentalis), and eastern redcedar (Juniperus virginiana). 

Morels are generally associated with the roots of trees. The mushroom is simply the fungus's fruiting body, which spreads its spores, similar to how an apple spreads seeds for the apple tree. The majority of the fungus lies underground. Their relationship with trees is not fully understood; they may be parasitic on the trees or they may help provide nutrients for the tree that it could not gather from the soil on its own.  It seems that when one of these trees dies, this fungus "abandons ship," so to speak, and sends out its fruiting bodies before it dies. Dying trees seem to be great places to find morels. But which species of tree? Don't worry, we'll get there in a moment, we have to cover the habitat first. Many people have their favorite places to find morels, hillsides and creek bottoms seem to be the main arguing points, but be assured, no 'shroomer will reveal their spots.

Figure 1

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Feature Story The best way to recognize these trees in the early spring is by their bark, and luckily, they're all fairly distinct. I will go through each species/group below. Be sure to refer to the photos of each.

Like the elm, moss seems to favor the tree, but unlike elm, it typically does not cover the tree on every side of the trunk. The bark ridges form a distinctive pattern, seemingly crisscrossing one another into "X's."

American Elm: There are three common elm species within the state, but the American elm (Figure 1) is the easiest to recognize and seems to produce the most morels for me. I usually spot this tree in the distance by the abundance of green moss growing on light-colored bark. Its bark is scaly with the areas between the scales being the same light color. American elm is one of the earliest trees to begin putting on leaves and almost immediately drops its seeds first thing in the spring. The seeds are called samaras and look a bit like an over-easy egg, flat and circular with a raised dark area surrounded by a thin disk. Sometimes I key in on the seeds on the ground or even fall before seeing the tree itself.

Figure 3 Black Cherry: Black cherry bark can be best described as scaly (Figure 3). Its scales are larger than the American elm and appear as two-inch or so square-ish blocks that are light gray with dark furrows between them. How to spot them from far away is their trunks are usually darker than the other trees around them. These trees are also some of the first to leaf out and will likely be nearing flowering. Cherry leaves are oval and lightly toothed. Later in the spring, the cherries on these trees are edible but somewhat bitter.

Figure 2 Ash: We have six common species of ash in Missouri, for our purposes, which species does not seem to be relevant. Ash is also easy to identify at a distance from its deeply-furrowed bark (Figure 2). They have light-colored ridges with dark-colored valleys running vertically on the trunk.

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American Sycamore: This species can be easily recognized even from the highway. Toward the tree's base, the bark of the American sycamore is brown and flakes off with a light touch to reveal a light green or white smooth under bark (Figure 4). Near the canopy, most of this outer bark has flaked off to reveal stark white main branches. The forest floor beneath these trees will likely be covered in their leaves from the previous year, like the maple leaf on the Canadian flag.


Feature Story

Figure 4 Eastern Redcedar: Cedar is a coniferous tree that remains green all year long. Its leaves are modified into small overlapping scales (Figure 5). This tree's outer bark usually has long vertical lines that can be pulled off in fibrous strips (which can be woven into cordage or used as tinder to start a fire). Lower branches on this tree are usually dead but still attached to the trunk.

There you have it, the basics of morel mushroom hunting. Most folks carry a mesh bag to collect their morels as they believe that it helps spread the spores while you walk and keeps the mushrooms fresh. Once you get your mushrooms home, most people soak them in saltwater to rid them off the bugs and little critters living in them. Others swear against water with salt in it and say a simple water soak is fine.  After their soak, rinse and they are ready to be added to your favorite recipe, sauteed, or fried as most of us enjoy them. Some folks even dry them or freeze them to use later in the year (ours usually get eaten right away). Practice makes perfect! Go out and study your trees now, they won't look too much different come spring.  Search for a spot. A good tip is to look at many photos of morels to create a search image. And pretty soon you'll be dreaming of morels. Colton Zirkle CFM Education and Communications Coordinator

Figure 5 (Photos: Courtesy of Colton Zirkle)

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