Conservation Federation vol 85 no 2

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The Voice for Missouri Outdoors MARCH 2024 - VOL 85 | NO. 2

FOUNDERS CIRCLE PRESERVING OUR CONSERVATION HERITAGE For more than eighty-eight years, the Conservation Federation of Missouri (CFM) has served as “The Voice for Missouri Outdoors.” Join in our efforts to secure our stronghold as advocates for our state’s wildlife and natural resources by becoming a dedicated member of our Founders Circle.

Gold Level Abe Phillips-2024 Silver Level David Urich-2023

Your contribution will play an influential role in preserving Missouri’s rich outdoor heritage. Each year, earnings from the endowment will be used to support CFM’s education and advocacy efforts. Special recognition will be given to those who reach each level of giving. Additionally, memberships will be recognized at our annual Convention. Make your contribution today, to preserving our state’s conservation legacy.

Bronze Level Zach Morris-2022 Mike Schallon-2023 Liz Cook-2023 Gene Gardner-2023 Charlie Wormek-2023 Anonymous-2023 Anonymous-2023

Founders Circle Levels Bronze - $5,000 to $9,999 Silver - $10,000 to $34,999 Gold - $35,000 to $74,999 Diamond - $75,000 or More 2

For more information contact Michelle at 573-634-2322 Ext. 104 or CONSERVATION FEDERATION

Director’s Message

Come Home to Conservation at our 88th Annual Convention


he Annual Convention is upon us, and we genuinely hope that you, as a vocal and supportive member, plan to join for this important event. The convention truly embodies our outdoor mission and what our storied organization is all about—Advocacy, Education, and Partnerships. We will host the Resource Advisory Committees in the virtual format, then gather in person for the remaining festivities. The dates are February 20-28 for the virtual and March 1-2 for the inperson portion. The Resource Advisory Committee meetings are held virtually in the evenings starting February 20. This is your chance to engage in conservation topics and let your voice be heard. I am always amazed by the conservation professionals and the knowledge and passion of our members. CFM members can attend just one or all of them, depending on your interests. 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 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 emcee the event once again. We will also be hosting our Conservation Leadership Corps student activities. Our young leaders will spend their time interacting and networking with resource professionals while growing their talents and leadership skills. They engage with the resolution process and are an important part of this process. It is a joy to see the energy and vibrance that they bring, as they continue to develop as the next generation of conservation leaders. They are our future, so support them and make them feel welcome in any way that you can. Additionally, we will have updates from agency directors from The Missouri Department of Conservation and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources on Saturday morning. Also on Saturday, we will have educational breakout sessions, and we hope there will be something entertaining and educational for each of our members.

Executive Director Tyler Schwartze stands with Rep. Bruce Sassmann and CFM President Zach Morris at the 2023 Awards Banquet during the Annual Convention. (Photo: Courtesy of CFM)

One of the vital activities is the General Assembly meeting at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday. This is when the resolutions are presented and voted on by the members. Another example of the many acts that make CFM such a strong voice moving forward is gaining all our members' collective support. This meeting is undoubtedly one of the most critical and impactful parts of the weekend, and you will not want to miss it. Later that evening, it will conclude with the fundraiser, including many auction items and trips for everyone to bid on. The banquet is the fun part of the evening with all the auction items, networking and fun, so you won't want to miss your chance to take home some great auction items. Additionally, Mark and Terry Drury from Drury Outdoors will be our keynote speakers this year! The staff and volunteers who help pull this together genuinely amaze me in all they can do. We certainly could not do it without everyone's help, so thank you very much. For more information go to our webpage, 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's great outdoors. Yours in Conservation, Tyler Schwartze CFM Executive Director, Editor MARCH - 2024



Conservation Federation March 2024 - V85 No. 2


OFFICERS Zach Morris - President Bill Kirgan - President Elect Ginny Wallace -Vice President Benjamin Runge - Secretary Bill Lockwood - Treasurer


STAFF Tyler Schwartze - Executive Director, Editor Micaela Haymaker - Director of Operations Michelle Gabelsberger - Membership Manager



Nick Darling - Education and Communications Coordinator Trisha Ely - Development & Events Coordinator Joan VanderFeltz - Administrative Assistant


Cicada Mania


Turning the Page


Snow Geese: Fun to Hunt & Good Table Fare



The Cruise


The Dam That Never Was


Missourians Recognized for Making Trees Work in their Communities


Moving on a Gobbler

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.


Leave an Outdoor Legacy


Earth Day


Foggy Morning Parade


The Lull


Sleeping Under the Stars at the Lake of the Ozarks

Departments 3 8 11 14


Director's Message President's Message Life Members Affiliate Spotlight


Emma Kessinger - Creative Director

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.

Highlights 9 13 17

Events Schedule CFM Duck Race Conservation Day at the Capitol

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

FRONT COVER The Prothonotary Warbler was photographed while Dan Bernskoetter was crappie fishing on Truman Lake during spring. Taken with Canon 7D Mark II camera with a Canon EF100-400mm lens at 400mm. 1/2000 of a sec. shutter speed f/8 and ISO 800.

Business Partners

Thank you to all of our Business Partners. Platinum

Gold Doolittle Trailer Enbridge, Inc. G3 Boats

Pure Air Natives Redneck Blinds

Rusty Drewing Chevrolet Roeslein Alternative Energy, LLC

Missouri Wildflowers Nursery Mitico Quaker Windows

Simmons Starline, Inc. St. James Winery

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 Williams-Keepers LLC Woods Smoked Meats

Farmer’s Co-op Elevator Association Gascosage Electric Cooperative General Printing Service GREDELL Engineering Resources, Inc. Heartland Seed of Missouri LLC Hulett Heating & Air Conditioning Independent Stave Company Lewis County Rural Electric Coop.

Missouri Native Seed Association Scobee Powerline Construction Tabor Plastics Company Truman’s Bar & Grill United Electric Cooperative, Inc.

Silver Custom Metal Products Forrest Keeling Nursery 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 Brockmeier Financial Services Brown Printing Cap America Central Bank Community State Bank of Bowling Green Dickerson Park Zoo

Your business can benefit by supporting conservation. For all sponsorship opportunities, call (573) 634-2322.

MARCH - 2024


"The Voice for Missouri Outdoors" Mission: To ensure conservation of Missouri’s wildlife and natural resources, and preservation of our state’s rich outdoor heritage through advocacy, education and partnerships. In 1935, conservationists from all over Missouri came together to form the Conservation Federation of Missouri (CFM) with the purpose to take politics out of conservation. The efforts of our founders resulted in the creation of Missouri's non-partisan Conservation Commission and the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC). Since then, CFM has been the leading advocate for the outdoors in Missouri.


Over 100 affiliated organizations Share the Harvest Corporate & Business Partnerships State & Federal Agency Partnerships National Wildlife Federation Affiliate Operation Game Thief Operation Forest Arson David A. Risberg Memorial Grants Missouri Stream Team


Conservation Leadership Corps Missouri Collegiate Conservation Alliance Confluence of Young Conservation Leaders Affiliate Summit Scholarships for youth and students Governor’s Youth Turkey Hunt National Archery in the Schools Grants Conservation Federation Magazine


Legislative Action Center Resolutions to lead change Natural Resource Advisory Committees Conservation Day at the Capitol Staff and members testify in hearings for conservation and natural resources

Young Professionals

Conservation Federation of Missouri began


State Wildlife and Forestry Code published



Wildlife and Forestry Act passed



First deer season since 1937

Amendment 4 created Missouri's non-political Conservation Commission

First turkey season in 23 years



First hunter safety program formed

Missouri Department of Natural Resources formed



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

Operation Game Thief formed


Design for Conservation Sales Tax passed



Stream Teams formed


Parks and Soils Sales Tax passed

Missouri voters Outdoor renewed Action Parks and Soils Sales Committee formed Tax by 70.8%

Share the Harvest formed



Operation Forest Arson formed



Conservation Leadership Corps formed



Missouri National Archery in the Schools Program formed

CFM Celebrates 85 years



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

Ways You Can Support CFM Membership

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:

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

President’s Message

The Work Isn't Done Yet


t’s hard to believe it’s been two years since I was sworn in as CFM President. What a great opportunity it has been. I am humbled to be part of the history of this great organization. Over the last two years, we have had some great successes! CFM received the Sacagawea Community and Partnership Conservation Award from the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation in 2022, thanks to the outstanding partnership between CFM and our 100+ affiliate organizations and 75+ business partners. In 2023, we co-hosted a regional wetlands summit with the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), where great minds from across the country came together to chart the next chapter in wetlands conservation. The conservation community as a whole shared a great victory in 2023, when the Missouri Supreme Court ruled strongly in favor of MDC’s continued authority to appropriate funds to acquire land for conservation. Since our inception in 1935, CFM fought to ensure that all Missourians continue to benefit from a strong, wellfunded, and independent Conservation Commission. It hasn’t all been victories in the past two years, however. Like many organizations, inflation and tightening pocketbooks have presented fundraising and member recruitment challenges for CFM. Despite this, thanks to our outstanding staff, we have continued to grow our Life Member and Founders Circle programs as more and more dedicated conservationists pledge their continued support. There are a great many challenges ahead of us, including a recent ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that rolled back protections for over half of all wetlands in the country. And, of course, political attacks on conservation seem to never stop in Missouri. But we’ll be here, making sure our citizens can continue to enjoy Missouri’s outdoors for generations to come. Someone asked me a while back if I would stay involved at CFM after my term as President. “Of course I will!” I thought. But my answer: “The work isn’t finished yet.” While I have not 100% confirmed this fact, I believe that I am the youngest President in CFM history, which means that I have a lot of time left to help guide and strengthen our conservation community.



The CFM team was honored to receive the Sacagawea Community and Partnership Conservation Award from the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation in 2022, thanks to the amazing work of our staff, affiliates, and business partners. There is more work to come, and I can't wait to see what the future holds! (Photo: Courtesy of CFM)

Now, it’s time for someone else to take a turn at the helm, but I’ll gladly stand up with any future leader to protect the great system we have in Missouri. For now, I’ll sign off by saying thank you. Thank you for the opportunity to lead, and to be a small part of a great conservation legacy. Thank you to all the leaders who came before me, who thought up the Conservation Leadership Corps program, and invested time in teaching me to lead, to be confident, and to defend my ideas. Thank you to those who came before and put in the hard work to create and defend the system we enjoy today. Thank you to my employer, for giving me the flexibility to pursue this opportunity over the last two years. Thank you to my uncle, for inspiring me at a young age to pursue a career in conservation. And lastly, thank you to all the current and future leaders: our very talented board members, the inspiring CLC students, and everyone else who helps chart the future of conservation. The work isn’t done yet, so I’ll follow your lead. Don’t forget to get outside this spring. Maybe I’ll see you out there. Zach Morris President, CFM

2024 Events Schedule 88th Annual Convention - March 1-3

Let your voice be heard at the Annual Convention. The event will include meetings, awards, auctions, and so much more. Held at the Lodge of the Four Seasons in Lake Ozark.

Conservation Day at the Capitol - April 3

Join conservationists from across Missouri on the radio for a day of celebrating and supporting conservation and natural resources. The broadcast will air from 6 am to 10 am on 96.7 FM or

Wild & Wonderful Duck Race - April 13

Join us for a wild and wonderful day of family fun and learning about Conservation Federation of Missouri with some outdoor activities and an exciting duck race.

CFM Life Member Event - June

CFM will be hosting its 4th annual life member only event.

Conservation Federation Banquet: Columbia - July 11

Fish or kayak then eat a fantastic meal while supporting CFM at Bass Pro Shops in Columbia.

Pull for Conservation: Central - August 10

Take your best shot at the 18th annual Central clay shoot at Prairie Grove Shotgun Sports.

Affiliate Summit - September 5

CFM affiliate organizations are invited to network and learn with fellow professionals.

Conservation Federation Online Auction - September 9-20 Enjoy a fun and interactive online auction with many great trips and prizes.

Conservation Federation Banquet: St. Louis - October 17 Join us for a fantastic meal while networking and supporting CFM.

Holiday Online Auction - December 2-13

Bid on many exciting items just in the time for the holidays. Event dates are subject to change. Please visit or follow us on social media for the most up to date schedule.

Member News

Why I Became a Life Member of CFM: Zack Pollock


rowing up surrounded by the natural beauty of Central Missouri, my passion for the outdoors began with cherished moments alongside my Grandfather in the clay pits near Starkenburg, outside Rhineland. From learning to fish to hunting squirrels and rabbits with both my Grandfather and Uncle, any accessible woods became our hunting ground. This love affair with nature expanded into floating and fishing on the state's rivers, bird hunting, and big game pursuits. My involvement with the Conservation Federation of Missouri (CFM) dates back to the Governor Nixon administration in 2009. Initially, I worked closely with Executive Director Dave Murphy as the Governor's contact for CFM. It was during this time that I discovered how closely CFM's mission aligned with my passions, prompting me to become a regular member in the first year. Exploring over half of Missouri's state parks with Governor Nixon, I developed a profound appreciation for these natural havens, and my family now consistently seeks out local parks for enjoyment. Transitioning to the business realm, I joined the Association of Missouri Electric Coop (AMEC), a current business partner member with CFM. AMEC’s Executive VP Barry Hart appointed me as AMEC's representative to CFM. Recognizing my legislative experience, the current CFM President at the time invited me to serve on the CFM Legislative Committee, leading to a Presidential Appointment on the CFM Board.

After my initial term, I decided to run for a full At-Large Board member position and was elected. Then the next President asked me to contribute to the CFM Membership Committee. Serving on this committee revealed the tremendous benefits of becoming a Life Member. Everything CFM stands for is close to my heart, making the decision to become a Life Member a no-brainer. Whether overseeing auction items at the annual convention, serving on CFM boards and committees, or relishing the joy of shedding my suit after a long day to embrace the outdoors, CFM has been the gift that keeps on giving. It is a testament to a lifetime dedicated to conservation and the profound impact that CFM continues to have on my journey.

In Memory & Honor In Memory of John Hensley Holden Abstract Mr and Mrs Alan Goodwin Ms Helen Girard Missouri Soybean Association In Memory of Arnold Meyesenburg Friends and Family



In Memory of Dan Meyer Angelia Ohmer In Memory of Charles “Bud” Elam Mr and Mrs Bryan Goeke In Memory of Harold Frazier Mr and Mrs Mitchell Damp

Member News

LIFE MEMBERS OF CFM Charles Abele * R. Philip Acuff * Duane Addleman * Nancy Addleman Tom Addleman Nancy Addleman * Michael Duane Addleman James Agnew Carol Albenesius Craig Alderman * Allan Appell Victor Arnold Bernie Arnold Richard Ash Judy Kay Ash Carolyn Auckley J. Douglas Audiffred Ken Babcock Bernie Bahr Michael Baker * James Baker Dane Balsman Timothy Barksdale Lynn Barnickol Jamie Barton Michael Bass Robert Bass Don Bedell Thomas Bell David F. Bender Rodger Benson Leonard Berkel Barbi Berrong Jim Blair John Blankenbeker Andy Blunt Jeff Blystone Kim Blystone Glenn Boettcher Arthur Booth * Dale Linda Bourg Stephen Bradford Marilynn Bradford Robin Brandenburg Mark Brandly Kathie Brennan Robert Brinkmann Robert Brundage * Scott Brundage Bill Bryan Alan Buchanan Connie Burkhardt Dan Burkhardt Brandon Butler Randy Campbell Brian Canaday Dale Carpentier * Glenn Chambers Bryan Chilcutt Ed Clausen * Edward Clayton * Ron Coleman Denny Coleman

Rhonda Coleman Liz Cook Elizabeth Copeland Mark Corio * Bill Crawford Andy Dalton DeeCee Darrow Ryan Diener Joe Dillard Tim Donnelly Cheryl Donnelly Ron Douglas Chuck Drury * Charlie Drury Tom Drury Ethan Duke Mike Dunning William Eddleman John Enderle Theresa Enderle Joe Engeln Marlin Fiola * Mary Louise Fisher Howard Fisher Andrew Fleming Matt Fleming Howard Fleming Sara Fleming Lori Fleming Paula Fleming * Charles Fleming Bob Fry Manley Fuller David Galat Gene Gardner Matt Gaunt Jason Gibbs Timothy Gordon Blake Gornick David Graber Tim Grace Jody Graff Richard & Sally Graham * Joseph Gray Tyler Green Jason Green Gery Gremmelsbacher Debbie Gremmelsbacher Jason Gremmelsbacher Bernie Grice Jr. Mark & Kathy Haas Tom & Margaret Hall Christopher Hamon * Deanna Hamon J. Jeff Hancock Herman Hanley Keith Hannaman Elizabeth Hannaman Lonnie Hansen John Harmon * Milt Harper Jack Harris David Haubein Jessica Hayes

* Susan Hazelwood Mickey Heitmeyer Loring Helfrich * LeRoy Heman * Randy Herzog Bill Hilgeman Jim Hill Mike Holley Rick Holton CW Hook * Allan Hoover John Hoskins Todd Houf * Mike Huffman Wilson Hughes Larry Hummel * Patricia Hurster Kyna Iman Jason Isabelle Jim Jacobi Aaron Jeffries Robert Jernigan Jerry Jerome Roger & Debbie Johnson * Don Johnson * Malcolm Johnson * Pat Jones Steve Jones John Karel Thomas Karl Jim Keeven * Duane Kelly Cosette Kelly Junior Kerns Todd Keske Robert Kilo * Martin King Bill Kirgan * Judd Kirkham * Ed Kissinger Sarah Knight TJ Kohler Jeff Kolb Chris Kossmeyer Chris Koster Dan Kreher Carl Kurz * Ann Kutscher Larry Lackamp Kyle Lairmore * Jay Law * Gerald Lee Debra Lee Mark Lee Randy Leible Wade Leible * Joel LeMaster * Norman Leppo * John Lewis Bill Lockwood Leroy Logan Christine Logan - Hollis Bob Lorance Ike Lovan

Wayne Lovelace Kimberley LovelaceHainsfurther Jim Low Mark Loyd Emily Lute-Wilbers Martin MacDonald Michael Mansell Steve Maritz Danny Marshall John Mauzey Bill McCully Chip McGeehan Teresa McGeehan Justin McGuire Nathan "Shags" McLeod Jon McRoberts Richard Mendenhall Tom Mendenhall Donna Menown John "Mitch" Mertens Cynthia Metcalfe Walter Metcalfe Larry Meyer Stephanie Michels Mitchell Mills Joshua Millspaugh Davis Minton Lowell Mohler John Moore, Jr. Gary Moreau Johnny Morris Zachary Morris John Mort Leanne Mosby Steve Mowry Diana Mulick David Murphy * Dean Murphy Richard Mygatt * Steve Nagle Rehan Nana J. Roger Nelson Jeremiah (Jay) Nixon Gary Novinger Frank & Judy Oberle Larry O'Reilly Charlie & Mary O’Reilly Beth O'Reilly Anya O'Reilly Jeff Owens Austin Owens Sara Parker Pauley Scott Pauley Randy Persons Edward Petersheim Albert Phillips Jan Phillips Glenn & Ilayana Pickett Jessica Plaggenberg Becky Plattner Zach Pollock Jerry Presley Albert Price

Nick Prough Kirk Rahm Kurtis Reeg John Rehagen David & Janice Reynolds Carey Riley Kevin Riley Mike Riley Dana Ripper John Risberg Mary Risberg Ann Ritter Charles Rock Derrick Roeslein Rudy Roeslein Charles Rogers Kayla Rosen Gerald Ross Pete Rucker Benjamin Runge Tyler Ruoff William Ruppert Tom Russell Jacob Sampsell Bruce Sassmann Jan Sassmann Frederick Saylor Michael Schallon Mossie Schallon * Evelyn Schallon Thomas Schlafly Pamela Schnebelen Donald & Deb Schultehenrich Tyler Schwartze * Ronald Schwartzmeyer Timothy Schwent Travis W. Scott George Seek Arlene Segal * E. Sy Seidler * Sara Seidler Joshua Shadwick Anita Siegmund Emily Sinnott Douglas Smentkowski Gary & Susanna Smith Zachary Smith * M.W. Sorenson * Ed Stegner Jeff Stegner Everett Stokes William Stork Jr. Winifred Stribling Norm Stucky Mary Stuppy * Mark Sullivan Jacob Swafford Jim Talbert Norman Tanner Travis Taylor Richard Thom Don Thomas Tim Thompson

* Jeff Tillman Robert Tompson Mike Torres Matt Tucker David Urich Jennifer Urich Alex Uskokovich Gary Van De Velde Barbara vanBenschoten Lee Vogel Albert Vogt Frank Wagner Ray Wagner * Julius Wall Ginny Wallace Mervin Wallace Randy Washburn Mary Waters * Henry Waters, III. Daniel Weinrich Michael Weir Robert Werges Evelyn Werges Bennish Tom Westhoff Gary Wheeler Georganne Wheeler Nixon Mark Williams Dennis Williams Dr. Jane Williams Stephen Wilson Michael Wilson Laurie Wilson Jonathan Wingo Jon R. Wingo Michael Wiseman Daniel Witter Brenda Witter * Addie Witter Owen Witter Dick Wood Howard Wood Joyce Wood Nicole Wood Charles M. Wormek Brad Wright Suzanne Wright David Young Judy Young Dan Zekor Daniel Zerr Jim Zieger Robert Ziehmer Emily Ziehmer Lauren Ziehmer Colton Zirkle Ethan Zuck Guy Zuck Mark Zurbrick *Deceased

MARCH - 2024


Get your ducks in a row

Wild & Wonderful CFM DUCK RACE

Join the Duck Race and learn more about Conservation Federation of Missouri and it’s affiliates

Saturday, April 13, 2024

10 a.m. until the Ducks come home Check our website and social media for location.















f 13



For more information or to adopt your DUCKS, visit or call 573-634-2322, ext. 108




Come out and learn more about CFM and it’s affiliates!











$500 : e c a 1st pl 00 ce: $1 a l p 0 2nd ce: $5 a l P Third

CFM is a 501c(3) organization. You do not need to be present to win. Your DUCK can represent you.

Affiliate Highlights

Dark Sky Missouri


t any given moment, half of the Earth’s surface is experiencing night. Electrification and industrialization have altered the nature of the night; today, about 99% of Missourians live under light polluted skies. Excessive, bluecolored, and misdirected outdoor lighting disturbs the ecological balance in the environment by adversely affecting migratory birds, insects, pollinators, and other animals and plants. Bad lighting affects humans by disrupting our circadian rhythm, and causing glare that is harmful for pedestrians and drivers. Reversing our bad outdoor lighting habits will require public engagement and implementation of wisely crafted light ordinances to strike a balance between individual freedoms and civic responsibilities. DarkSky Missouri, founded in October 2018, is an official chapter of DarkSky International. Our mission is to raise awareness about light pollution issues in Missouri, promote quality outdoor lighting, and to protect our natural environment and beautiful night sky. We are a volunteer organization with thirteen board members from varying backgrounds.

In order to meet our mission, we engage with members of the public and provide technical advice to city administrators that want to improve their outdoor lighting in responsible and environmentally friendly ways. We are engaging Master Naturalists and offer free training programs to help them incorporate dark sky topics in their outreach and conservation efforts. We are helping parks such as Knob Noster and ThousandHills State Park, to obtain “dark sky certification” in recognition of their responsible lighting policies and dark sky awareness efforts.

We are excited and honored to be an affiliate member of the CFM. We are deeply committed to working with organizations and individuals who would like to make the nighttime environment in their communities safe, aesthetically pleasing, and environmental friendly for all living beings. Contact info: Website:



Affiliate Highlights

Affiliate Organizations Anglers of Missouri

Missouri Coalition for the Environment

Association of Missouri

Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation

Electric Cooperatives

MU Wildlife & Fisheries Science Graduate Student Organization

Missouri Conservation Pioneers

Open Space Council of the St. Louis Region

Bass Slammer Tackle

Missouri Consulting Foresters Association

Outdoor Skills of America, Inc.

Burroughs Audubon

Missouri Disabled Sportsmen

Ozark Chinquapin Foundation

Missouri Ducks Unlimited- State Council

Ozark Fly Fishers, Inc.

Missouri Environmental

Ozark Land Trust

Society of Greater Kansas City Capital City Fly Fishers Chesterfield Citizens Committee for the Environment

Education Association

Ozark Riverways Foundation

Missouri Forest Products Association

Ozark Trail Association

Columbia Audubon Society

Missouri Grouse Chapter of QUWF

Ozark Wilderness Waterways Club

Conservation Foundation of

Missouri Hunting Heritage Federation

Perry County Sportsman Club

Missouri Master Naturalist -

Pomme De Terre Chapter Muskies

Missouri Charitable Trust Dark Sky Missouri Deer Creek Sportsman Club Duckhorn Outdoors Adventures Forest and Woodland Association of Missouri Forest Releaf of Missouri Friends of Rock Bridge Memorial State Park Greater Ozarks Audubon Society Greenbelt Land Trust of Mid-Missouri

Great Rivers Chapter Missouri Master Naturalist -

Quail & Upland Wildlife Federation, Inc. Quail Forever & Pheasants Forever

Hi Lonesome Chapter

River Bluffs Audubon Society

Missouri Master Naturalist -

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

Meramec Hills Chapter Missouri Master Naturalist Osage Trails Chapter Missouri Master Naturalist Springfield Plateau Chapter

Scenic Rivers Invasive Species Partnership (SRISP) South Side Division CFM Southwest Missouri Fly Fishers St. Louis Audubon Society

Greenway Network, Inc.

Missouri National Wild Turkey Federation

Stream Teams United

James River Basin Partnership

Missouri Native Seed Association

Student Air Rifle Program

L-A-D Foundation

Missouri Outdoor Communicators

Tipton Farmers & Sportsman's Club

Lake of the Ozarks Watershed Alliance

Missouri Park & Recreation Association

Tri-Lakes Fly Fishers

Land Learning Foundation

Missouri Parks Association

United Bow Hunters of Missouri

Legends of Conservation

Missouri Prairie Foundation

Watershed Conservation Corps

Magnificent Missouri

Missouri River Bird Observatory

Wild Bird Rehabilitation

Mid-Missouri Outdoor Dream

Missouri River Relief


Mid-Missouri Trout Unlimited

Missouri Rock Island Trail, Inc.

Wild Souls Wildlife Rescue Rehabilitation

Mid MO Prescribed Burn Association

Missouri Rural Water Association

Wonders of Wildlife

Midwest Diving Council

Missouri Smallmouth Alliance

World Bird Sanctuary

Missouri Association of Meat Processors

Missouri Society of American Foresters

Young Outdoorsmen United

Missouri Atlatl Association

Missouri Soil & Water Conservation

Missouri B.A.S.S. Nation

Society-Show-Me Chapter

Missouri Bird Conservation Initiative

Missouri Sport Shooting Association

Missouri Birding Society

Missouri State Campers Association

Missouri Bow Hunters Association

Missouri State Parks Foundation

Missouri Caves & Karst Conservancy

Missouri Taxidermist Association

Missouri Chapter of the

Missouri Trappers Association

American Fisheries Society

Missouri Trout Fishermen's Association

Missouri Chapter of the Wildlife Society

MARCH - 2024


It’s Your


Shelter Insurance® is a proud sponsor of Share the Harvest & the Conservation Federation. Contact your local Shelter agent to insure your auto, home, life, farming, hunting & fishing gear. Find an agent near you at

Conservation Day at the Capitol

April 3, 2024 7:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Third Floor Rotunda Join fellow conservationists from across Missouri in a day of celebration and support for our natural resources and conservation efforts. This is an exceptional opportunity to learn about various conservation organizations and how they collaborate to protect Missouri's natural resources.

96.7 KCMQ partners with CFM to bring The Morning Shag, LIVE: 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Tune into 96.7 FM

For more information, visit: It's important to note that this event is subject to cancellation.

Feature Story

Cicada Mania


here are certain fishing events that hold an iconic status in the angling community. They can produce the kind of days that only seem possible on TV shows and the reason many anglers like myself have an ever-growing bucket list. Some of these events include fall blitzes of striped bass in the northeast, spawning runs of migratory salmon and steelhead in the Great Lakes region, or the famed hatches found on western trout streams every year. These are yearly occurrences that can be fished almost like clockwork, and some anglers plan their travel accordingly around these hatches or events. Here in Missouri, we are fortunate to have some fish that produce runs and days like these.



Whether it be the spring run of white bass in the Ozarks or the fall migration of brown trout on Lake Taneycomo and other streams, many anglers in our state patiently await these fish year after year. But there is one highly anticipated hatch of bugs that is just so downright cool, we haven’t even seen them here since 2011. Mark your calendars because 2024 brings us another loud summer of cicadas. Periodical Cicadas are a member of the genus Magicicada, and I find this name to be incredibly well suited. Like their annually occurring relatives, periodical cicadas live out their lifespan underground for a period of 13 to 17 years before returning to the surface to lay their eggs and end their life cycle.

Feature Story The “brood”, or group, of cicadas that call Missouri home is Brood XIX. This brood nicknamed “The Great Southern Brood” is on a 13-year life cycle and will make themselves known across most of Missouri and into the northern Arkansas. In late spring, the cicadas will begin making their way to the surface and await the soil temperatures to reach about 64 degrees Fahrenheit, which will trigger the emergence and begin the fishing frenzy (not to mention the weeks long droning songs the periodicals are known for). While bass fishing is what typically is associated with a periodical cicada emergence, there are many fish that should be gorging themselves this summer. Trout, bass, panfish, and even bottom dwellers like carp and catfish will be enjoying cicada mania. The 2024 emergence of Brood XIX will be a very special one, as they will be coinciding with a 17-year group of cicadas known as Brood XIII (emerging in Illinois and a portion of northern Wisconsin). This co-emergence only happens every 221 years, meaning that the last time these Broods were seen in force together was in the year 1803, the same year that the Louisiana Purchase was completed. I would like to think that Thomas Jefferson celebrated the purchase with a nice day catching smallmouth in the Ozarks, but I’m afraid that's a topic for another day. This year’s emergence will be a great opportunity for many anglers to fish a prolific hatch for the first time, especially in our backyard. For myself, it will be my second go-around of fishing a periodical emergence. After a long and stress-filled year that 2020 brought to all of us, my family agreed that we needed to get away, and in 2021, our destination was the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This would be my first time visiting the Smokies, and as I do on most trips, I began researching the different fishing opportunities in the area. Through this, I discovered that a portion of the Tennessee Smokies would be experiencing a cicada hatch known as Brood X, a 17-year brood appearing again in 2021. I booked a trip with Frontier Anglers TN and guide Gary Troutman, a long-time fly-fishing guide in the east Tennessee area. Gary is a smallmouth guru, a great teacher, and just an overall great guy to spend a day on the river with. I think it’s important to note that the timing of our trip took place in the earlier stages of the emergence, meaning that the fish were still keying in on the major influx of protein to the river system.

While Gary tried his best to manage our expectations of cicada madness, there was certainly no shortage of action is his drift boat on this day. Joining me on this trip was my older cousin Patrick, a fellow fly-angler and a great friend. When we arrived at our put in for the day, we quickly realized that smallmouth were not the only one invited to the cicada party. Walking down the ramp we were met with carp and freshwater drum all cruising around at the surface, and I just had that feeling we were about to have a unique experience. Once we set off for the day, we were into fish almost from the start. Our fly of choice for this day was a black double barrel popper with an orange strip on top of the body for better visibility on the water amongst the other cicadas. These were a great fly to mimic the cicada’s movements when they hit the water, and the popping/twitching movements of the popper were very effective at times. We found good numbers of smallmouth and panfish that were very active leading to some exciting topwater action. As we moved through a calmer section of river, a carp rose quickly to the surface and crushed Patrick’s popper. I had never caught or witnessed a carp being caught on a fly rod, and I could not believe the amazing fighting strength this fish displayed. A cicada emergence may just be the single best time to consistently catch bottom feeding fish like carp, drum, or catfish with surface presentations. As we continued our float, it turned into one of those days that you just simply forget exactly how many fish you’ve landed. Early in the day most of the smallmouth were in the 13 to 15-inch range, the kind of fish that I’d be happy to catch all day long. But Gary assured us that this particular river had some serious trophy potential, and if we were patient that one of these big fish may come out to play.

Left - The author with his largest smallmouth bass caught on a fly rod (Photo: Gary Troutman) Right - A cicada emergence is a great time to catch fish like carp using different tactics than any other time of year (or years in this case). (Photo: Gary Troutman)

Feature Story The middle of the day during a cicada hatch can be some of the most productive fishing. The temps are reaching their highest for the day, and the bug activity should be at its peak. Sometime in the mid-afternoon we came around a bend that, for lack of a better term, just felt “fishy”. There was plenty of cover along with the trees overhanging the bank line, a prime area for bass and other fish to feed on cicadas. This type of water on lakes or rivers is a great place to target during a cicada hatch for finding large concentrations of bugs hitting the surface, and it just felt that this was where big fish would want to hang out. I watched as Patrick put a wellplaced cast around some boulders, twitched his popper a few times before it vanished right into the biggest fish that we had seen all day. Truth be told I thought it was another carp given how it dove straight down towards the bottom again and seemingly couldn’t be moved. After a few minutes we got our first glimpse, and that’s when excitement really grew. We finally got the fish to the net to find it was a beautiful 19-inch smallmouth, his best to date on a fly rod. I was extremely excited for Patrick, but secretly was hoping to hook into one myself that was just a little bit bigger. We pushed on downriver to another shaded bank and I began working my popper in and around cover, letting it plop onto the water and sit as still as I could. I took my eyes off the popper for a split second to look for the next location I wanted to cast to when I felt a hard tug on my line. I strip set, and it was game on. I could tell instantly that this was the best fish I had hooked into all day and the nerves began to grow slightly.



The star of the show, a Brood X Cicada in Gary Troutman’s Driftboat. (Photo: Gary Troutman)

After what felt like an eternity, we finally got the fish to the net, and I was speechless. The girth on this fish was incredible, the colorations beautiful, and the length… 20 inches on the dot. Not only had I just caught my biggest smallmouth ever, but I had just gained bragging rights over Patrick for a very long time. This whole day is a fishing memory that will live with me forever. It turned me into a cicada fishing fanatic, and I hope you’ll get the chance to make memories like these with Brood XIX this summer. Noah Brocato

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Feature Story

Turning the Page


t’s two days before Christmas. My deadline for submitting a story to the Conservation Federation of Missouri magazine is January 2, 2024. A story to be read in March and April. But I have a problem. Springtime themes like turkey season and morels all mean nothing to me right now. I can barely utter the word fishing. I’m nowhere near ready to describe the blooms of dogwoods or red buds, or to talk about the spring migration of songbirds. You see, my head is still stuck in the 2023 duck season, and it ain’t budging.



The north zone where I hunt waterfowl, sadly, is about to close. For a couple weeks now the hunting has been tough. The push of late season mallards and geese, birds we usually are seeing this time of year, never really happened. Gadwall, widgeon, and shovelers are still hanging around, and they are wary and wise. Still, I wait, hope, and hunt with the eternal optimism we duck hunters all share. You see, winter has yet to arrive in the northern states least of all Missouri. The temperature forecast for Christmas Eve Day is 60 degrees with rain! What’s a poor boy to do?

Feature Story I feel like the six ibis that were still flying around my Linn County marsh three days ago – should I stay, or should I go? And for some added irony, a winter storm, much like what arrived at the start of the season is now hitting the eastern plains on day 59, right before closure, just as I jokingly predicted to my hunting partners a month ago. Usually, by this time of the year, I can feel the transition. My mind is turning the page. But this year is different. Even after spending the better part of the season in the marsh, in a duck boat or blind, intermittently eating duck gumbo, playing pitch, drying waders and scrapping mud off my boots, I’m not ready for it to end. Like the grass in my yard that’s still trying to grow in December, it seems my brain needs a hard freeze before I can move on. But move on is what I must do, nonetheless, even if it’s a forced march. Yesterday, wearing a t-shirt in December, I unloaded decoys and my layout boats from the trailer. As I removed the lid from each boat, the smell of the marsh lingered momentarily in the humid air. In the bottom of the boat lay the cordgrass camo, a few spent shotgun shells, duck feathers and blood splatters, and a little patch of mud not yet dry. If I were an old hunting dog, my impulse would be to dive in and roll around on top of it all, but instead, I stared and contemplated. What would it take to follow the season south to grab a few more hunts? A chance to shoot at a couple more ducks. I know people. Surely I could crack my voice and quiver my lip adequately to make someone feel sorry enough to invite me to their precious swampland for one more hunt. I shook my head to re-focus. Get a grip, I thought. It’s over. Move along. I dismissed the idea and meticulously began removing everything from the boats, inspecting and cleaning, and making mental notes about what I’ll need to do to get ready for next year, and I wondered, is it too early to get started? Three hundred days can go by pretty quickly, you know.

As I’m stacking the boats I hear a flock of Canada geese squawking on the neighbor’s pond, and my mind drifts again. Will the northern giants eventually arrive? I left waders, decoys, and a couple of boxes of shells at duck camp, just in case. I still need to return to gather one more boat, and maybe get in a goose hunt or two. We’ll see, I guess. My wife likes goose pastrami and I’d hate to let her down. As early evening settled in I had a feeling of accomplishment, much like the end of the day after a good duck shoot. Most of my gear had been appropriately tended and stashed. I scrounged around for something to eat, poured a glass of red wine, and pulled out a book of MacQuarrie stories. Stories about the Old Duck Hunters Association, Inc. Waterfowl hunting in the 1930s. Sitting on the couch, I looked at the weather app one more time to see what I’d be missing if I had stayed through the rain. High of 37 degrees, south wind 7-15 mph with gusts up to 25. The last day could be good. I sighed. By the time you read this, we’ll know if winter ever did arrive, along with the big red legged mallards, hardy giant geese of the north, and the apricity I still await. I’ll stretch things out for as long as I can – clean and inspect the decoys, fix rigging, clean the shotguns, maybe start work on the boats. This will sustain me a little, insufficiently though, as I work through the impending January drudgery of taxes and end of year clean-up and clean-out. But until I smell spring weather on some random day in February, I’ll try not to eat too much, lay around too much, or otherwise get bored. I’ll scroll through 2023 pictures and memories and read the old stories in the old books once again, living vicariously for a moment or two. I’ll blow the duck call one more time before I lay it to rest with the others in the box, and maybe I’ll glance at my fly rods. Pick-up a box of flies to see if I need anything. Check my supply of tippet. Look for my fishing waders. And I’ll finally turn the page. You see, spring is coming, and I’ll smile when I think, duck season is just around the corner. Dan Zekor

Cover - Boats heading home (Photo: Dan Zekor) Left - MacQuarrie Stories of the Old Duck Hunters (Photo: Dan Zekor)

MARCH - 2024


Feature Story

Snow Geese:

Fun to Hunt & Good Table Fare Snow geese are overpopulated and destroying their fragile arctic breeding grounds, as well as their increasingly fragile wintering habitat. In an effort to trim the expanding population, a spring “conservation order” was established by the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service in 1999. During this special season is the time for hunters to fill their freezers with snow geese and hone their waterfowl cooking skills. For example, the mid-continent population of light geese, which migrates throughout the Mississippi and Central Flyways, has climbed from its historic average of 1.5 million birds to an estimated 5 to 15 million today. I have been on hunts with two thousand white decoys and four speakers making goose sounds that attract white goose flocks from long distances. This hunting method is not legal in the fall and winter seasons. “The idea behind the spring season is to bring some balance back to the snow goose population and reduce the destruction of the birds’ habitat, which I believe is very, very important,” Scott Doheny, veteran waterfowler said. “I believe in the ethic that hunters must utilize their quarry. I teach my boys that when they kill something, they’re going to prepare it and eat it.” The problem is, goose meat is dark and sometimes strong tasting. But hunters have found ways to make delicious entrees of this often tossed aside meat.


hunter only has to sit under several hundred white geese windmilling straight down over the blind to be addicted to snow goose hunting. However, there are two rules to understand when this happens. First keep your mouth shut because they poop when landing and wear hearing protection, their honking and chattering sounds are almost deafening. Both Missouri and Kansas have a spring white goose season generally opening in February, check your state regulations. The “Special Order” spring season is designed to eliminate as many white geese as possible.



Doheny decided to make a dish that would help tenderize the meat after his first spring snow goose hunt. What he came up with was his founding classic, Scottie’s Snow Goose and Wild Rice Stoup. “Stoup falls somewhere between the consistency of a soup and a stew but utilizes basically the same ingredients,” Doheny says. “I often make it for family Christmas parties or wild game dinners, and it goes so fast that I rarely get a chance to eat it myself.”

Feature Story Here's his recipe and a couple more: Scottie’s Snow Goose and Wild Rice Stoup In a cast iron skillet, place: • Six strips bacon, cut into small pieces. • Cook until crisp, set aside, and leave two tablespoons bacon grease in pan. In skillet, add: • Two cups snow goose breasts or thighs or both, cubed. • Season with salt and pepper and sauté until cooked. Set aside pieces on paper towel. In same pan, sauté: • One cup fresh mushrooms until cooked. • In separate sauce pot, add: • One and a half cups snow goose stock (use chicken stock as substitute), ½ cup each diced onion and carrot, and two cloves minced garlic. • Cook until tender, then add: • One can (10 3/4 ounces) of cream of potato soup. (Note: Doheny also likes to add cubed day-old baked potatoes to the recipe). Stir mixture, then add: • Two cups half and half, bacon, snow goose meat, mushrooms and one cup cooked wild rice (more if you like), and pepper to taste. • Simmer for about 45 minutes, remove from heat, and serve with shredded Swiss cheese and minced fresh parsley. Pan-Seared Snow Goose Breasts, Peppers and Onions Ingredients (for 4 servings): • 4 boneless snow goose breast halves, skin removed • 1/4 cup olive oil • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt • teaspoon hot pepper sauce (Tabasco) • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced • 1 green bell pepper, coarsely chopped • 1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced • 1 cup tomatoes, seeded and chopped • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions: • Slice goose breasts thinly across the “grain” of the meat. Combine half of the olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, garlic salt, and hot pepper sauce in a glass bowl. Add sliced goose, cover and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours. Heat remaining oil in a large skillet over medium heat. • Add onion, peppers and garlic. Cook until onions are medium brown. Remove goose from marinade. Drain well and discard marinade. • Add goose and stir-fry for 1 to 2 minutes or until just cooked, but not past medium-rare. Stir in tomato and season to taste with salt, pepper and additional hot sauce. • Serve over a bed of Cajun rice. Snow Goose Chili Ingredients: • 2 smoked goose breasts, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces • 1 tablespoon olive oil • 1 onion, chopped • 2 cloves garlic, minced • 1-2 tablespoons chili powder, depending on spice preference • 1/2 teaspoon oregano flakes • 2 quarts canned tomatoes • 1-2 tablespoons brown sugar • 1 can kidney or black beans • salt and pepper to taste • 1/4 cup dry wine (optional) Directions: • Place stock pot on medium heat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil to pan. Add chopped onion and cook about 5 minutes being careful not to brown the onion. • Add garlic, goose meat, oregano and chili powder and sauté about 1-2 minutes more. Add remaining ingredients, stir, and simmer for about 45 minutes to 2 hours, depending on your time frame and flavor preference. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and chili powder. Kenneth L. Kieser A goose hunt. (Photo: Lawrence Taylor)

MARCH - 2024



Welcome to the Team.

MARCH - 2024


Feature Story

The Cruise


fter our third and youngest son graduated from college and got his first job, Mrs. Urich collapsed into the living room chair and complimented herself on successfully raising four boys. Then she peered at me sternly and said she didn’t know which one was the most trouble and agony but I was close to the top. She concluded by telling me she wanted to go on a cruise in recognition of her decades of unselfish but outstanding and effective child-rearing efforts. After all, we had partially paid for cruises for our oldest sons when they got married. My task was to make the arrangements. Planning a cruise was a strategic direction from Mrs. Urich. Operational details and implementation were left to me.



There was no way I was bobbing around on the ocean in a floating buffet with thousands of other people. After some research and consideration, I chose a cruise on a restored two-masted schooner departing from Camden, Maine and sailing Penobscot Bay. There would be stops for hiking, bird watching and exploration at state parks, Maine conservation lands and other sites. I splurged on the six-day option but I know now the three-day cruise would have been a better choice. Mrs. Urich was intrigued by this innovative and romantic alternative to the traditional ocean cruise. She complimented me on my creative thinking and immediately started shopping for new outfits suitable for this cruise.

Feature Story My first indication this cruise was not what Mrs. Urich had in mind was when the crew announced on our arrival there was no room in our berth for our suitcases. We had to take the items we needed in a small plastic bag. There was no electricity on the ship, so Mrs. Urich didn’t need her hairdryer or curling iron. There also was no mirror, which meant leaving most of her makeup in the trunk of the car. Of course, most of her new outfits for the trip remained behind. Actually, the term berth was an overstatement. We had a plywood shelf tucked into the bow of the ship with a two-inch foam mattress. There wasn’t room to sit up on this shelf. This was a working cruise with all passengers helping to raise the sails in the morning. Mrs. Urich was assigned to the starboard side-pulling team. The crew of two didn’t help raise the sails but called out the cadence so all passengers pulled simultaneously. The main sail was big enough to cover a small house and was attached to a spar about the size of a telephone pole. Both together weighed over a ton, but ropes went through a complicated system of blocks, making raising the heavy sail possible. Meals were cooked on a wood stove which was also the source of hot water for the shower. A passenger had to operate a pumpjack on the top deck to pump water from below the deck into a barrel, allowing water to gravity flow through the wood cook stove to the shower. The water temperature was on the fine line between refreshingly cool and cold. The real issue with the spartan conditions was the lack of chairs. Passengers had to sit with their backs against the side rails on the deck, which was uncomfortable, especially after long hours. Midway through the cruise, Mrs. Urich would have gladly traded one of her sons she so successfully raised or even me for a deck chair. Our first stop was on a Maine conservation land island for guided hiking and bird watching. Since there was no wharf or dock for the ship, passengers had to climb down a rope ladder to a 16-foot wooden yawl that moved up and down with the waves. Mrs. Urich has always been uncomfortable with heights, making her descent down the rope ladder traumatic. But she was so anxious to get off the ship, she forced herself over the side onto the rope ladder.

When her feet finally touched the yawl, the crew had to pry her fingers off the ropes. There were other passengers who never got off the ship during the entire cruise because they would not go down the rope ladder. The cruise brochure failed to mention the rope ladder, cramped sleeping conditions, lack of chairs, hot water, and electricity. These discomforts were obviously not my fault. We explored other islands and stopped at a wooden boat-making factory for a tour. On the sixth day, the crew bought several dozen live lobsters and put them in a huge wooden tub on the ship deck for a dinner lobster boil. As the ship cruised the bay, the captain would periodically call out for someone to splash the bugs. Splashing the bugs involved lowering a wooden bucket attached to a rope over the side of the ship to bring up fresh seawater for the lobsters. This was a sought-after activity because it was something to do while the ship was underway. Cover - Mrs. Urich in front with the head scarf helping to raise the main sail on the sailing ship. (Photo: David Urich) Top - David and Mrs. Urich holding a lobster on the deck of the sailing ship in Penobscot Bay, Maine. (Photo: Courtesy of David Urich)

MARCH - 2024


Feature Story After the cruise, we took the ferry to Monhegan Island, about 12 miles off the Maine coast, for phase two of our Maine trip. In the late 1800s, wealthy families from New England traveled to Monhegan Island to rusticate, which is an archaic term for rest and relax in a rural area. We stayed in the iconic Island Inn. The main building dates from 1816 and was expanded in 1907 and again in 1910. The amenities were better than the sailing ship with a bed we could sit up in, and down the hall was warm water, a mirror and an electrical outlet. The island is a summer destination for artists, which was interesting to Mrs. Urich, who is an accomplished artist. Many famous American artists routinely spent time on the island, including members of the Wyeth family. There was no phone, TV or cell service on the island at the time. The only telephone was in a red emergency phone box at the boat dock. There was a red sign at the dock where we got off the ferry warning us to go back to the mainland if we were planning on a medical emergency because help was hours away. We were staying on the island at our own risk.

In the evening, the ship anchored off another island and most passengers went ashore in the yawl. By this time in the cruise, Mrs. Urich could slither down the rope ladder with the grace and agility of a cat. The crew boiled the lobsters and corn on the cob in big pots and spread the meal out on a bed of seaweed on the beach. After dinner, Mrs. Urich beat the captain in a game of bocce ball on the sand, which was her revenge for camping at sea for six days without most of her stuff.



We spent most of our time hiking the 17 miles of trails which included some spectacular cliff overlooks of the ocean. One interesting trail went through a forest known as Cathedral Woods where children built extensive and elaborate fairy villages at the base of trees using natural materials. We have gone on many more trips since this vacation to Maine, but Mrs. Urich adopted a more active role in operational planning for these trips. Fortunately, there has been no further mention of a cruise. David Urich Top - The coast of Monhegan Island, Maine overlooking Penobscot Bay. (Photo: David Urich) Bottom - David and Mrs. Urich hiking on Monhegan Island off the coast of Maine. (Photo: Courtesy of David Urich)

Feature Story

The Dam that Never Was


he girls picked their way along the trail through the willows. The earthy smell of leaves on the warm, damp river bottom greeted us as we entered the dark quarter-mile passageway between the Grand River sand bar and our truck. Willows gave way to tall maples and cottonwoods as they hiked away from the river. Their candle lanterns swung back and forth as they tight-roped along the thin ribbon of earth between a long puddle and stinging nettles at the edge of the trail. With the puddle obstacles behind them, the three sisters– my granddaughters, talked to each other in guarded, short sentences and formed a tighter group. I followed close behind, wanting them to experience the tall bottomland timber in the dark, but not get too frightened in the process. This trip to “the river” was their idea. “This time we want to stay until it gets dark!” So, we had. We built a little shelter with willows, waded in the relatively clear shallows of our favorite sand bar, looked for buffalo bones, and cooked a few hotdogs while the sun set in the west. A bald eagle flew into its roost on a cottonwood limb and observed the strange goings on until dusk. Bats hunted insects in the open sky above us.

The girls continued up the path. Lightning flashed way off to the north, and coyotes began to howl up and down the river. “How will they handle this?” I wondered to myself. Blythe, the oldest, stopped in the trail and, tipping her head towards the treetops, answered back with her best coyote imitation. The other two joined in and had a first-rate coyote howling for a few seconds. “These girls are okay,” I thought. The trail was in the tall river bottom woods now. As their courage began to waver in the nearly dark timber, I heard one of them say, “Hold hands.” I took the lead for the final 100 yards and they were proud of themselves when we climbed back into the truck. They have gone back to this spot often on family outings, spending many hours exploring, wading, and climbing on the smooth bare limbs and semi-buried treetops along the river’s edge. Often, while watching them enjoy this particular place along north Missouri’s Grand River, I thought how close it came to being drowned into oblivion 50 years ago under what the Corps of Engineers would have called, “Pattonsburg Lake.”

MARCH - 2024


Feature Story Plans were being made for dams on every major river across the continent. Originally, paying for the dams called for BuRec to be reimbursed by selling water and electricity. Within ten years of their formation, they were asking the US Treasury for more money because the dams and irrigation systems cost more than what the farmers were being charged for them. This was when the Army Corps of Engineers came into the dam-building picture. The Corps had been building dams long before BuRec existed, and they could be appropriated money and not be required to build anything that repaid the treasury. The dam building commenced in earnest. Here in Missouri, Bagnell Dam closed off the Osage River in 1931.

Our favorite rock riffles, or river bends with the old cottonwoods, or the hole where a big flathead was caught were all marked for extinction during the nation’s dam building era. That “era” began in 1902, when the Bureau of Reclamation was formed and began to build dams. The formation of “BuRec” followed in the years immediately after the “...rise of almost mythically wealthy captains of industry – the Carnegies, the Rockefellers, Mellons, Vanderbilts and Astors. They, and families like theirs, made their money in the rapid innovations of the day: the railroad, the telephone, refrigeration, the light bulb” (Cracked, Steven Hawley pg. 27). Hawley goes on to describe the need for lots of natural resources to supply those industries. “Engineers, planners and politicians promoted…the concept that rivers had to be sacrificed” for the good of the country.



In the 1940’s, the Corps began damming and diking the Missouri River. Some of the best winter ranges for cattle and wildlife, along with the ground where the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara people had lived for thousands of years, went underwater when Garrison Dam was completed in 1953. Many other river systems were being eyed for dam building as well. In 1964, on a bluff that overlooked the confluence of the South Grand River, Tebo Creek and the Osage, construction of the Kaysinger Bluff Dam began. It would be renamed the Harry S. Truman Dam and Lake in honor of the former US president by Congress in 1970, and began backing water in 1979. The upper Osage would flow no longer. If not for the innovation of hatchery-raised paddlefish fry by the Missouri Department of Conservation biologists, that ancient species would have disappeared in Missouri when the gates were closed on Truman. Meanwhile, the largest river basin in Missouri north of the Missouri River, the Grand River, was threatened with extinction as a free-flowing river. The sky is expansive across the 7900 square miles of rolling prairie that compromises the Grand’s drainage, 78% of which lies in Missouri. Summer storms there can produce some pretty good floods in this open country. The Flood Control Act of 1938 authorized a dam on the Grand River near Chillicothe, Missouri. By 1965, the Corps’ Chief engineer recommended de-authorizing the Chillicothe site in favor of a “system” of dams on the Grand River, beginning with constructing the Pattonsburg dam.

Feature Story

This proposal would flood much of the best of that river permanently with the construction of Pattonsburg Lake, then move on to construct dams at Trenton, Mercer, Braymer, and Brookfield. Additionally, “channel improvements” and levee systems were planned. The Grand River as we know it today would cease to exist. Floods on the Grand River contributed to high water on the Missouri River and flood control was the primary justification for these projects. By the fall of 1972, public meetings were being held and plans were unveiled for Pattonsburg Lake. The Corps’ proposal was for a large dam to be built five miles northwest of Gallatin. The dam would cut Daviess County in half and permanently inundate 53 miles of the Grand River and 100 miles of tributary streams along with parts of Davies, DeKalb, Harrison, and Gentry counties. This rich riparian area was described in the Corps’ Draft Environmental statement as a transition zone between the hardwood forest and the tall grass prairie that was home to 232 vertebrate species, not including fish. The permanent pool was to cover 43,000 acres fluctuating to 77,000 acres during high water. The American Fisheries Society pointed out that the proposed lake would flood one of the best 35-mile unchanneled sections of the river. That unchanneled section would have included the river bend where our story began.

In the end, the dams were not built. Many locals voiced their objections. Others, including 1973 and 1993 followed the floods of 1844,1866,1883,1903,1908, and 1947. The river flows on as it has since the glaciers retreated. Some will disagree, but I, for one, am glad that my kids and grandkids and future generations will get to experience Missouri’s best-kept secret: a free-flowing north Missouri River. One of the handwritten objections in the 1972 records said it best when D.J. Plymall of Pattonsburg wrote: “I have farmed in the Big Creek bottom land all my life. It is true that we have had some flooding, but all things work together for good.” D.J. concluded his remarks by saying, “The good years far outweigh the bad.” On the Grand River, they certainly do. Kyle Carroll Cover - The author's son-in-law and grandchildren stand in one of the tributary streams that would have been permanently flooded by Pattonsburg Lake. (Photo: Kyle Carroll) Left - The author's grand daughters enjoy a evening hike with candle lanterns along the Grand. (Photo: Kyle Carroll) Top - A sandbar level view of a Grand River sandbar along the unchannelized stretch of the river that was slated for permanent inundation. (Photo: Kyle Carrol

MARCH - 2024


Feature Story

Missourians Recognized for Making Trees Work in Their Communities


or more than 30 years, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and the Missouri Community Forestry Council (MCFC) have partnered to recognize Missourians who are outstanding stewards of community trees. At this year’s Missouri Community Forestry Council Conference, a new group of recipients were given Missouri Arbor Awards of Excellence. The awards were presented by MDC Community Forestry Coordinator Russell Hinnah.



“The Missouri Arbor Awards of Excellence highlight the people and organizations working to provide sustainable, long-term efforts to care for trees,” said Hinnah. “Their work is extremely important to assure the many economic, social, and environmental benefits of a healthy community forest.” No matter what size the community, trees are visible and valuable assets, contributing to the appearance and character of the town.

Feature Story They are also part of the public infrastructure and play an essential role in the community by reducing stormwater runoff, providing cooling shade during hot weather, improving air quality, making neighborhoods safer and improving property values. Nominations for this year’s awards were evaluated based on sustainability, innovation, the use of sound tree management principles, the impact on the community, and the effectiveness of the activity. Statewide, a total of five award winners were recognized. Individual Category - Troy Powell: Troy Powell has led the MCFC Arbor Day Poster Contest in Springfield for over 10 years and in 2022 he led the effort for the entire state of Missouri. In Springfield, Troy works with volunteers who visit area schools to present the poster contest to 5th grade students and teachers. Each school event includes a tree planting session and a presentation on the history of Arbor Day. By taking his work statewide and working with new partners, Troy’s work led to more cities and schools participating in the program than ever before. Troy has also been instrumental in leading multiple workdays to weed, prune, and mulch the planting beds at the Springfield Veteran’s Cemetery and Trail of Honor. David Ball: David Ball spends his days working for a local non-profit organization, but he always finds time to help with planting projects. This includes serving on the St. Joseph tree board and helping to revise the City of St. Joseph’s tree ordinance. David has also coordinated planting projects for other non-profits and city divisions. David has made it his mission to remove invasive bush honeysuckle in city parks. He works with the parks director to identify the problem areas and organizes workers to do the work. In the past couple years David has worked on multiple projects removing invasives and helped plant 30 trees in five different pocket parks throughout St. Joseph. Organization Category - Tower Grove Park: In 2021, Tower Grove Park in St. Louis realized their tree canopy was in decline and number of species was getting very limited, with only 21 species represented in the park’s 3,500 trees. This meant the landscape had become increasingly distanced from the historic plan, compromising the history and character of the park.

Park leadership initiated a tree restoration master plan that not only included a plan to plant 1,000 new trees over the next five years, but also included a more comprehensive framework to guide tree planting and removals to refocus the park around its original historic framework. They convened a tree expert panel to determine species that will perform well in a rapidly warming climate and set the entire plan using ArcGIS to assure accurate tracking and implementation. Business/Institution Category - MD-Kinney, a division of Ingersoll Rand: Over the last few years the Southwest Missouri Community Forestry Council has worked with a veterans group at MD-Kinney in Springfield. Council members provided the know-how and coordination for workdays to prune and mulch around trees and shrubs. During the workdays the veterans learn how to care for the trees and plants in Springfield’s Veterans Cemetery and along the Trail of Honor, located on the north edge of the cemetery. These workdays have provided the service members a way to give back to their fellow service members and learn about tree care. Municipality/Government Category - City of Grandview: The City of Grandview has consistently demonstrated the value of the trees in their community. Grandview has been designated a Tree City by the Arbor Day Foundation for the last 28 years. Tree City designation requires communities to spend at least two dollars per capita on tree care, have a tree ordinance, tree board and an annual Arbor Day celebration and dedication. This year Grandview held their 35th Arbor Day celebration and tree dedication. Using MDC costshare funding, the city also completed two critical tree projects, including a tree inventory for all parks and city properties and a tree planting project that put 29 trees throughout the community. The tree inventory will help the city better manage their trees and provide up-to-date tree information that their residents can view at any time. Grandview has plans for years to come for additional projects to preserve and add trees to their city. For more information about improving trees and green space in Missouri communities, visit community. MDC Missouri Community Forestry Council Chair Martha Clark (left) and Community and Private Lands Brief Chief Jason Jensen (center) present Troy Powell (right) with his Arbor Award of Excellence.

MARCH - 2024


Agency News

MISSOURI DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION MDC Announces Zoo-reared Eastern Hellbender Found with Clutch of Eggs on Gasconade River


oughly a year after a zooreared Ozark hellbender successfully fathered a clutch of eggs in the wild, an eastern hellbender has followed suit. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) confirmed the first eastern hellbender raised in human care at the Saint Louis Zoo has reproduced in the wild on the Gasconade River. The news shows MDC’s partnership with the Saint Louis Zoo to recover hellbender populations is creating a bright future for the endangered Ozark and eastern hellbender in Missouri. “We couldn’t be more thrilled to confirm this news about the eastern hellbender,” said Missouri State Herpetologist Jeff Briggler. “Seeing successful reproduction of zoo-reared animals in the wild has been our ultimate goal and our hope is this event becomes more common.” BACKGROUND In Missouri, the eastern hellbender subspecies occurs in the northern Ozark highlands in spring-fed rivers. Missouri is the only place in the world where both the eastern and Ozark hellbender are found. Both subspecies are listed as endangered by the State of Missouri and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Primary threats facing hellbenders are habitat alteration and degradation, over-collecting, disease, predation, and degraded water quality. Hellbenders are long-lived (with a 30-year lifespan), slow-to-mature amphibians that seldom venture far within the river.



MDC partnered with the Saint Louis Zoo WildCare Institute Ron and Karen Goellner Center for Hellbender Conservation and other agencies in the early 2000s to breed hellbenders in human care and rear eggs collected from the wild in order to reverse population declines. Once the zoo-bred larvae reached between 3-8 years old, they are released in their native Ozark aquatic ecosystem. Biologists began releasing a few zoo-reared hellbenders in Missouri in 2008, later increasing the number of released animals to 1,000 or more per year beginning in 2012. Since the conception of the breeding and raising of this animal in human care, more than 12,000 Ozark and eastern hellbenders reared at the Saint Louis Zoo and MDC hatchery have been released into their native rivers.

Agency News EASTERN REPRODUCTION This released, male eastern hellbender originated from the collection of eggs in the fall of 2015 on the Gasconade River by MDC, then transported to the Saint Louis Zoo where the eggs were hatched and reared. “Rarely are hellbender nests found on the Gasconade River,” noted Briggler. “Therefore, it was a pleasant surprise to even find a nest, but an overwhelming surprise to learn the father was a released animal.” This male was released into the Gasconade River in June 2018. At the time of his release, he weighed 3.3 ounces (93 grams) and measured 9.3 inches (23.5 cm). At the time he was found guarding a nest in September 2023, he weighed 11.5 ounces (326 grams) and measured 14.7 inches (37.4 cm) in length. “It’s always exciting to know the history and health of an animal after its release,” said Briggler. The eight-year-old animal was a father to a clutch of 86 eggs. Upon a nest check in early October, all of the eggs had well-developed embryos with prominent head and tail buds. The news comes roughly a year after an Ozark hellbender fathered a clutch of eggs on the Current River.

“After discovering incidents of both subspecies successfully reproducing in the wild, I’m confident this is going to be something we see all the time,” said Justin Elden, Curator of Herpetology and Aquatics at the Saint Louis Zoo, and Director of the Saint Louis Zoo WildCare Institute Ron and Karen Goellner Center for Hellbender Conservation. “This conservation effort shows if given support and patience, these animals can take the lead and ensure they’re around for generations to come.” In addition to the Saint Louis Zoo, MDC partnered with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, National Parks Service, and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission to enhance propagation efforts to ensure hellbenders remain a part of Missouri’s biodiversity. “The goal is to set these animals up for success and a part of that is reproducing on their own,” said Elden. “The nests of the Ozark and now the eastern hellbender are confirmation we’re heading in the right direction and we aren’t going to stop now.” Read about the zoo-reared Ozark hellbender who was found with a clutch of eggs in the fall of 2022 from the MDC newsroom at To learn more about hellbenders, visit MDC’s online Field Guide at Find more about the Saint Louis Zoo WildCare Institute Ron and Karen Goellner Center for Hellbender Conservation online at

MARCH - 2024


Agency News MDC Reports Final Deer Harvest at Record 326,026 Harvest total is a new record, surpassing one set in 2006.


issouri's 2023-2024 deer-hunting season ended Jan. 15 with the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) reporting a preliminary record-setting total deer harvest for the season of 326,026. This year’s new harvest record surpasses the one set in 2006 of 325,457.

“With deer numbers increasing in most counties, additional antlerless deer harvest is needed to slow population growth and help maintain deer numbers at desired levels,” said MDC Cervid Program Supervisor Jason Isabelle. “It was great to see hunters take advantage of the additional hunting opportunities.”

Of the deer harvested, 147,705 were antlered bucks, 29,060 were button bucks, and 149,261 were does. Top harvest counties for the overall deer season were Franklin with 7,395, Howell with 6,346, and Texas with 6,181.

According to MDC, this year was the first since 2013 that more does were harvested than antlered bucks.

Hunters harvested 299,719 deer during the 2022-2023 deer hunting season with 140,735 being antlered bucks, 27,028 being button bucks, and 131,956 being does. Deer hunting ended with the close of the archery season. Preliminary data from MDC showed that hunters checked 55,396 deer during the 2023-2024 archery deer season. Top counties for the archery deer season were Jefferson with 1,440, Franklin with 1,194, and St. Louis with 1,022. Hunters checked 56,683 deer during the 2022-2023 archery deer season. According to MDC, increasing deer numbers and regulation changes that added a new early antlerless firearms portion, a new chronic wasting disease (CWD) firearms portion, and an increase in the number of firearms antlerless deer hunting permits in most counties led to additional hunting opportunities and contributed to a record harvest.

“Prior to the severe hemorrhagic disease outbreak in 2012 that reduced deer numbers and resulted in regulation changes to reduce antlerless harvest, doe harvest exceeded antlered buck harvest each year for about a decade,” said Isabelle. “Now that the deer population has rebounded and regulations have been liberalized, it’s nice to see the much-needed increase in antlerless harvest given our desire to slow the growth of the increasing deer population to maintain deer numbers at socially acceptable levels.” According to MDC, this year’s antlered buck harvest is also the highest on record. Isabelle attributed this increase primarily to the new CWD portion of firearms deer season that was open in CWD Management Zone counties. “Hunters play a major role in helping to manage CWD and increasing the harvest of both bucks and antlerless deer in the CWD Management Zone will help reduce the spread of the disease,” said Isabelle. Isabelle noted that increasing deer numbers, changes in hunter preferences, and removal of the antler-point restriction (APR) in counties that enter the CWD Management Zone have also contributed to an increasing antlered buck harvest trend over the past decade. For deer harvest totals by season, county, and type of deer, visit the MDC website at harvest_table/.



Agency News

MISSOURI STATE PARKS Springtime in the Parks


ith the days getting longer and the temperatures warming up, spring is the perfect time to get outside and explore. The landscape is starting to turn into a vibrant and colorful paradise, bringing joy to anyone who experiences it. The sweet scent of blooming flowers and trees fills the air; spring migratory birds, such as warblers, are starting to sing. Now is a great time to start planning a trip to a state park or historic site. Many of the state’s hiking trails lead to scenic vistas. While hiking, you can find the lush greenery of forests and fields speckled with color as the wildflowers come to life. You could find blooming redbuds, dogwoods, bluebells, trillium and many more that add to the natural landscape, making a sight to behold. Not only will you find flowers, several of the state’s trails are surrounded by dramatic scenery including cliffs, picturesque waterfalls, prairies and even serene lakes. As you meander through these trails, you might envision yourself as having been transported to a different world. Missouri’s catch-and-keep trout fishing season officially begins on March 1 at Roaring River State Park near Cassville, Bennett Spring State Park near Lebanon and Montauk State Park near Salem. Trout anglers are required to purchase a fishing permit as well as a daily trout tag to be legal in Missouri’s trout parks. But if you’re not into trout fishing, you can cast a line for other species, as the waters warm up and many fish, such as crappie, become more active and start to feed. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or just beginning, there are plenty of opportunities to go fishing. Looking for an overnight getaway? You can spend the night in many of our parks. Missouri state parks has the lodging or camping facilities you need, no matter what style of camping you prefer. Campgrounds vary from offering water, sewer and electric hookups to hotel-like accommodations to camper cabins to basic sites for your tent. To find out what is offered at all the campgrounds, visit

If you need a shorter trip, plan a day trip to see some of Missouri’s finest examples of notable places. Within the park system, historic battlefields showcase some of the state’s rich past. And if history is your thing, you can always visit the homes of famous Missourians, such as Scott Joplin and Gen. John J. Pershing. There are so many activities going on this spring at Missouri state parks, from guided bison saunters, where you might be able to catch a glimpse of the babies born this spring to events that cover the eclipse. Whether you are an active outdoor enthusiast, a beginning hiker or simply looking for a way to enjoy nature, you can find it in one of Missouri’s 93 state parks and historic sites. For more information on state parks and historic sites, visit Missouri State Parks is a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

MARCH - 2024


NATURE is Healthy



Get healthy in nature this year.–go


Prairie Prophets is a media platform created by Roeslein Alternative Energy to showcase the stories and objectives of the USDA Climate Smart Commodities Grant. Everything profits from prairie. Soil, air, water - and all kinds of life! Learn how you can make the most of your land with prairie restoration, cover cropping, and prairie strips. Explore the Prairie Prophets podcast, video series, website, and socials. Scan the QR code to learn more.

MARCH - 2024


Feature Story

Moving on a Gobbler


xcessive gobbling from a hung-up bird is frustrating. On a hunt two years ago, shock calling and hen yelps produced numerous chain-gobbles, but the birds would not come in. My tag was filled and I wanted to call in my younger brother Rodney’s bird on the final day of turkey season. We had worked several gobblers earlier that morning and all seemed call shy. Finally, we started working a couple of booming gobbles without success, but this time with a difference. We could see turkeys in my binoculars less than a mile to the south on a farm ridge that likely had not been hunted.



Three big gobblers nervously paced back and forth across the ridge top that separated two stands of timber. My hen clucks and yelps made them answer back. I enjoyed watching the birds stretch their necks and gobble. We tried everything without success for over an hour before deciding to try stalking. Thankfully the gobblers were on a property that we had permission to hunt. The stalk started simple and too easy. We moved into a wet creek area with unlimited cover. They could not see us and we moved slowly and deliberately to make sure they could not hear us. We occasionally paused to pick a morel mushroom off the muddy creek banks while making slow, deliberate steps to avoid cracking sticks or leaves. We reached the mud bank close to the big turkeys that continued to gobble.

Feature Story We peeked over a weedy creek bank and could barely see the birds. We were separated by 100-yards of grassy field that ran to a narrow strip of trees. The gobblers were on the other side of the strip. Calling would draw attention to our area. We decided to crawl and made it halfway before two big gobblers came running down the hill, straight at us. We both wore boonie style Army hats that barely stuck out of the grass. I assume that the sharp-eyed gobblers saw our hats sticking out of the grass and thought we were hens. Both gobblers reached the wood strip in a hurry, crossed through and entered our field, stopping in front of our position. Rodney took careful aim, squeezed his trigger and made a clean miss of a darn big trophy gobbler. He looked at me with a sick expression. I promised to wait a couple of years before writing about his “miss.” You know that I would never rub it in--oh no--not me-not big brother. WHEN TO MOVE ON A HUNG-UP GOBBLER: I only move on a gobbler when my season is about over. Chances are I will hunt a hung-up bird on another day during early season, 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 day. Mistakes are easily made when trying to reposition on a bird with the sharpest hearing and eyesight in any woodlot. 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 that was moving back and forth in thick cover, not over 30 yards away. His impatience was made clear by identical pacing and calling. I could actually hear him crunching leaves.

He expected the hen to come to him. An experienced hunter suggested that he had likely been shot at in open ground that very season. I was enjoying this chess game and continued softly calling until he gave up and stepped out for an easy kill. He was already fired up. I just tried to sound like a sexy hen. 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 a silent gobbler can be a matter of luck and probably best avoided. SHORT MOVES: Some moves don’t have to be far. I once watched the remarkable 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 sat and listened for 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 dandy targets. HOW TO MOVE: I once crawled out slowly and walked at least 50 yards backwards before making a wide circle. We were after a gobbler that wanted to go the other way. I have done the same with other professional turkey hunters. The key is keeping track of the slow-moving gobbler by shock calling. Then make a wide circle and reposition ahead of the bird. A fast-moving gobbler is generally gone unless they decide to turn and find the trailing hen—but don’t count on that happening. I have hunted with many of the nation’s best turkey callers. They don’t call in every bird and neither will you. Even live turkeys don’t always call in other live turkeys. A fast-moving gobbler 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 totally bad problem if you 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, then move again. Most are not in a hurry. Those who are moving quickly may signal danger to others.

MARCH - 2024


Feature Story 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 on judging speeds and trails when changing positions on a moving or hung-up bird. Never generalize gobblers. React to what he gives you. KNOW THY PROPERTY: Knowing the areas you hunt and how gobblers use this property can be a great help for repositioning. Some gobblers travel through funnels like motorists on the King’s Highway. Others move on well-covered trails alongside row crops or through the middle of strips. Others move along ridge lines. Turkeys can be creatures of habit, yet they often change their travel habits because of food source changes or excessive danger like when hunting pressure invades their lives. No doubt scouting gobbler habits and travel routes can give you better ideas where to move, especially early in the season. SET UP FOR SUCCESS: Where to set up is another important factor. You can ruin a good stalk by setting up in the wrong spot. The key is thinking like a gobbler. Many years ago, I sat down in an overgrown spot with little visibility. A big gobbler walked into the area and paced back and forth about 80 yards away on a small rise. He was plainly visible and staring in my direction at the hen decoy. He could barely see the head and tail over several gooseberry bushes. I could not move the bird with my best calling. He strutted around, gobbling and looking at the decoy, expecting her to move his direction. He would not move into that thick cover—probably why he had lived to be an old long beard. The turkey’s number one defense is eyesight. A gobbler does not like to walk into thick areas of cover where he can’t see danger. He may avoid the direct approach and come in from an unexpected direction, or not at all. Their second line of defense is hearing. They usually can pinpoint the source of sound within a few feet. A longbeard will eventually reach an approach point where he should see a hen. He may stop or his mood might change. He might even stop gobbling and approach quietly, not an uncommon occurrence for birds who are pressured from human or predator traffic.



SAFETY CONCERNS: 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! Moving can mean walking up on another hunter. Never wave or speak. Some suggest that you whistle a popular tune. Waving or other types of movement may receive a load of turkey shot the hard way. Daydreaming hunters will occasionally snap shoot. Hunters who are deeply concentrating on their hunt may be just as likely to raise and fire without thinking. Strange how the human mind can work. Most who shot another hunter swore they saw wildlife. When and where to move on a gobbler is best learned by trial and error. Some lessons in the turkey woods are learned the hard way. Kenneth L. Kieser Cover - The author is showing off a better way to move on a hung up bird. (Photo: Lawrence Taylor.) Pg 43 - The author is showing off a big gobbler that was hung up. (Photo: Cecil Carder) Top - Beware of other hunters while moving on a gobbler. Note: The shotgun was unloaded and the action was open before taking this photo) (Photo: Cecil Carder)

Feature Story

Leave an Outdoor Legacy


12-year-old Hunter and his 10-year-old sister Anna were going deer hunting for the first time. His grandpa took him. Their dad, Daron, went with Anna. Hunter is a good name for a young man who enjoys squirrel, rabbit, and dove hunting with his dad, grandpa, and sister. Now, he and his sister will learn to hunt deer like their dad had with Grandpa. The four of them sighted in their guns the week before. Grandpa and Dad taught them what they needed to know to be safe when handling the rifles Grandpa had bought them. They listened intently with wide eyes as Grandpa told him what to expect when out there. They asked a million questions. Grandpa and Dad patiently answered them all.

As they drove to where they were going to hunt on opening morning, it was quiet in the truck. Grandpa glanced at his grandson and said, “What are you thinking about?” “Oh, I am just thinking about everything you taught me,” he said. “I want to get my first deer.” His sister was sleeping curled up next to Dad. “I know you do,” said grandpa. “But, you and your sister will both discover there is more to enjoy outdoors than just shooting a deer. God created it all for us and the wildlife.” Hunter looked at him quizzically and could not imagine anything better than getting a deer.

MARCH - 2024


Feature Story They got in their blind. Anna and Dad went off to theirs. Grandpa had Hunter sit between his legs right in front of him. The rifle was on a tripod to steady his aim. They waited silently in the darkness. An owl hooted. Hunter whispered, “What was that?” Grandpa told him and held him close. The sun rose over the hill and shined on the frosted field. The fog lifted from the nearby creek. Birds started fluttering through the trees. Crows began talking to each other. Squirrels scurried through dried leaves. Hunter whispered, “They don’t know we are here. It’s like watching a nature show on TV.” Grandpa smiled. He knew his grandson was discovering there was more to deer hunting than shooting a deer. Anna would learn the same from Dad. Hunter and Grandpa hear a noise. A young buck peeks out from behind a nearby tree. The deer senses there is someone in the woods with him. He looked toward them and then ducked behind a tree. He peeks around one side of the tree and then the other several times. The two humans never move. The young buck was finally satisfied there was nothing there. He walked away and a memory was made. Thirty minutes later, a doe walks into the field. She stops and looks behind her. Suddenly, an 8-point buck slowly walks toward the doe. When he stops, Grandpa tells Hunter to take a deep breath and squeeze the trigger gently. The sound of gunfire echoed through the valley. Grandpa hugged his grandson and said, “You got it!” Hunter hugged his grandpa.

Later, they heard another shot in the valley. Anna also got her first deer that day, a big doe. Another memory she will always have of her and Dad together in the outdoors. Both would take many other deer in their years of hunting with Grandpa and Dad. Grandpa told them on the way home, “That is not always what happens on a hunt. Like in your life, there will be more good times than bad. More failures than success.” That story happened eleven years ago. Hunter grew into a man. Anna became a beautiful young woman. Grandpa does not go hunting nearly as much as he used to. It just is not the same anymore. Sometimes, he goes alone and sits in the woods with his memories. That day remains one of his favorite memories with his son, grandson, and granddaughter. There are many more. Hunter graduated from college, got married, and now lives in Kansas. Dad travels there often to go deer hunting and fishing with his son. Anna also graduated from college, married Drew, and lives in Texas with their dog Max. She no longer goes hunting, but the lessons she learned from hunting, fishing, and the outdoors will guide her in other parts of her life. Soon, Hunter and his wife Molly will have kids of their own. Hunter, Molly, and their grandpa will take the kids deer hunting and teach them to enjoy the outdoors like Grandpa and Dad did him. He will show them the deer head hanging on the wall and tell them the story of his first deer. Hunter and Molly will also take their kids squirrel, rabbit, dove, and turkey hunting. He will share stories of him, their grandpa, and great-grandpa when they did the same thing. Hunter will teach them to be safe and the skills they need. He will tell them there is more to hunting than just killing animals, just like Grandpa did him. The first time he takes his kids fishing, he will tell them about his first fish. Grandpa and Dad were there for that. His high school graduation present from Grandma and Grandpa was a Canadian fishing trip for the three men. Hunter later became an avid bass fisherman. He was a member of his college bass fishing team. He and Molly also fish together. They will with their kids too. Cover - Big brother Hunter with his little sister Anna and her first deer. (Photo: Larry Whiteley) Left - Son Daron, Grandson Ty, son Kelly, and Granson Sam on a recent Florida fishing trip (Photo: Larry Whiteley)



Feature Story

Grandpa and Grandma’s other son Kelly, his wife Lexi, and sons Ty and Sam live in Wisconsin. He loved to go fishing when he was growing up. His family all love to fish and travel to national parks together. When the boys were little, Grandpa and Grandma made many trips north to go fishing with them and spend time at lakes around where they lived. They even went fishing together a few times in Florida. When Kelly was young, he never went hunting. It was just not something he wanted to do. Dad understood and didn’t push him to try it. A few years ago, Kelly called and said he and Ty wanted to go deer hunting. A few weeks later, Grandpa and Grandma were on their way to Wisconsin with their truck loaded with hunting clothes for both of them, rifles, deer stands, and more. The morning of the deer hunt, Kelly could not get Ty out of bed to go. He and Dad went anyway. Like Hunter and Anna did several years before, Kelly got his first deer that morning. He beamed with pride. Dad hugged his 6’4”, 230 lb. son and wiped away a tear. Today, Kelly is battling cancer. It has not stopped him from fishing and traveling with his family. It has not stopped him from always being positive.

He tells everyone, “Take it one day at a time, and put it in God’s hands.” Those words have been a tremendous witness and comfort to others. He knows where he is going when God says it is time, whether it is sooner or later. Whenever that is, he will be leaving a legacy behind for his sons. One of the definitions of the word legacy says that it is the long-lasting impact of particular events, actions, and other things that took place in the past or a person’s life. Let me ask you this question. Will you be leaving behind a legacy for your kids and grandkids? Stephen Moss once said, “Nature is a tool to get children to experience not just the wider world but themselves.” I believe that to be true. It is a great place to make memories and leave a legacy. Grandpa thinks often about the legacy of the outdoors he will leave with his family and others when the good Lord calls him home. He does not doubt that his family will all continue the legacy of the outdoors. He smiles, looks to heaven, and says, “Thank you!” A tear runs down his cheek. Larry Whiteley Top - Grandson Hunter, son Daron, and Grandpa Larry on a Canadian fishing trip (Photo: Larry Whiteley)

MARCH - 2024


Feature Story

Earth Day


s a student in 1970, I belonged to the Northern Illinois University chapter of the Wildlife Society. Our club learned of a national effort to call attention to the growing environmental problems in our country, an event called Earth Day. We wanted to be part of this event. We found that no other campus group wanted to organize Earth Day. It would be up to us to bring Earth Day home. Our Wildlife Society chapter organized an “Environmental Teach-In” for Earth Day and joined 2.000 other colleges and universities across the country to demonstrate for environmental action and to learn about and celebrate the earth. Earth Day was created by Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson. He was concerned that there were few existing laws or regulations to protect America’s deteriorating environment. The problems included oil spills, industrial air and water pollution, toxic dumps, toxic smog, cities discharging raw sewage into streams, loss of wild places and outdoor spaces, and declining plant and animal species.



The problems had become so obvious that the public supported political action. But to get Congress to make the environment a priority there needed to be a massive, coordinated demonstration of that support. That was the hope of Earth Day. Senator Nelson recruited California congressman Pete McCloskey to help lead the effort. This bipartisan team selected a young activist, Denis Hayes, to organize demonstrations and events at schools and in communities across the country. They strategically picked April 22 for Earth Day because it fell between college spring break and final exams, facilitating student participation. Earth day also united many groups and individuals that had been working individually on various parts of the problem.

Feature Story Twenty million Americans participated in that first Earth Day—one tenth of America’s population. That outpouring of support fulfilled Nelson’s hope for strong, bipartisan efforts by Congress on behalf of the environment. Earth Day led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, and to the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts, as well as other important federal actions. States and communities also began new environmental initiatives. Earth Day has been celebrated annually since that first successful event. In 1990 Earth Day went global, being observed in countries throughout the world. It is now coordinated by the organization EARTHDAY.ORG. (There is information on history and future plans at this website. The theme of Earth Day 2024 will be “Planet Vs. Plastics”.) That first Earth Day could only begin to address environmental and conservation problems. But it did start the country on a new trajectory which resulted in action on many fronts. Clearly, we still have much work to do.

For just a few examples: Last year was the warmest in recorded history, and the planet will likely continue to warm with dire consequences. A dead zone exists in the Gulf of Mexico caused by agricultural runoff, industrial discharges, and sewage from the Mississippi River’s vast watershed. There are three billion fewer birds in North America today than in 1970. The earth’s population during that same time period has grown from less than four billion to over eight billion people, putting that much additional pressure on Earth’s resources. Last year, the Supreme Court eliminated Clean Water Act protections from 118 million acres of wetlands by changing the definition of “Waters of the United States”. There are plenty of problems, but conservation people can’t afford to be pessimists. In Missouri, CFM, its affiliates, and its members work to protect Missouri’s environment, conservation programs, and key agencies from threats and to advocate for the outdoors. Earth Day is more than a time to advocate for better laws and practices. It is also a celebration. Earth Day reminds us of nature’s life-giving importance. It reminds us to be grateful for the wonderful bounty and beauty that the Earth still provides, in spite of man’s degradations. It invites us to participate in activities that renew connections and contribute to a healthy planet. When our daughters were growing up, we took advantage of various Earth Day programs hosted by the Departments of Conservation and Natural Resources. And we tried to “give back” a little something in our own yard. Most often, this involved a family tree planting along with a little ceremony or putting up a new bluebird box. An early Earth Day slogan was “Think Globally, Act Locally”. As people who care, we can all plug into this idea in our own way during Earth Day 2024 and beyond. Rick Thom

MARCH - 2024


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MARCH - 2024


Feature Story

Foggy Morning Parade I

am a deer hunter. Everything about it…equipment prep, pre-dawn walks to my stand, the wait and anticipation, all the other wildlife I get to see during the wait, and even gutting after I have a deer down…I look forward to, relish and remember my hunts more than many things in life. My 2022 hunt was more than just good. My son McCoy and I got very nice bucks from my property. The bucks were killed two days apart, and we wasted no time cutting up, grinding and freezing the meat. However, we still got some pretty good pictures of us and our deer in the frame. I got mine first, but the excitement I felt for McCoy, with him getting his nicest and biggest buck to date, was a better feeling than when I got any of my biggest deer. The sheer joy emanating from him brought a flood of memories back, pretty much all at the same time, and created a few more.



Another, and probably the most important part of my hunts, is the meat that keeps us fed over the next year. McCoy is moving to Reno, and will take a lot of the meat from his deer with him. One deer’s worth of meat in my freezer won’t keep Katrina and I, and all the friends we feed the venison to, sustained until the 2023 hunt. So, I hunted during the antlerless-only portion of this year’s Missouri hunting season to try to get a doe. Friday morning, December 9th came. I awoke at 4:50, had some breakfast, got myself together, left the house at 5:50 and did the 200-yard, downhill walk to my stand. My stand is in a valley with quite steep hills surrounding it, except to the south, where my valley’s usually dry stream feeds into a larger, east-west running dry stream. Along this stream, there’s a gravel road which has 20-acre plots with houses whose families use the road.

Feature Story Upon reaching the bottom of the basswood tree, I tied my gun to a rope and climbed 16 feet to the 2x6 platform that supports my stand chair. I built the stand seven years before, and the summer before last, I replaced the platform. I am not the greatest carpenter, but I did quite well in this case, and I am proud of my stand. I almost always arrive at and get myself established in my stand at least 30 minutes before first light. I like to let the morning and all its activities develop around me. The walk to my stand may move deer and other wildlife, and I like to allow all to calm back down and forget about my intrusion. The two days before this hunt brought some rain, so the forest floor absorbed my steps, producing little if any noise. I would have to keep a closer eye on things, since this morning I would not have hearing help me locate deer. This morning, like most, I kept my swiveling chair facing south, down my oak-hickory hardwood valley. Like every morning for the last 4 or so billion years, the December southeast sky started to show light, but still not enough to allow me to see a deer well, even if it was close. For a moment I closed my eyes, trying to visualize the area the doe may come from, and took in a few deep breaths. My oak-hickory valley produces great smells, too.

When I opened my eyes, a cloud of low fog was creeping into my valley from the south. There was a very slight south breeze caressing my face. The valley the quarry road is in runs east to west, and it seemed down there the wind was from the west, but as the fog cloud got to my valley, the fog made a left and moved right at me. There was still very little light from the sun, but as most photographers know, water vapor gathers light, so the fog seemed to produce its own brightness as it marched toward me. A few seconds later, I was enveloped in its magic. I felt the cool air around my face, making my outer garments somewhat damp, beads of dew forming on the tiny hairs of my wool outer garment. I could see the waves the slight wind was making within it. The fog cloud was not tall, with its top being a few feet above me sometimes, then not others, and still other times, I looked down into it, unable to see the ground. If there is such a thing as angels, I sat right in the middle of a parade they were throwing, just for me. Their white flowing garments touched me as they floated past, and the south wind was their wings, gracing me and my currently enchanted valley. At the times the angels were all around me, gravity seemed to stop working. I felt like I was floating with them, a welcomed guest in their incredible parade. I don’t know how many privileged minutes I spent in the angel’s parade, but however many, I wished it could have gone on for hours longer. As quickly as I became part of the parade, the air around me cleared. I swiveled my chair to the north and watched the fog continue up my valley, crest the hill at its upper end and disappear. The skin on my cheeks was wet. Was it from a tear produced and shed from the beauty I just experienced? I like to think so.

Author Jeff Meshach's 2022 buck, harvested about a month before the special morning he writes about. (Photo: Jeff Meshach)

MARCH - 2024


Feature Story If the beauty from my angel’s parade didn’t produce a tear, its aftermath did. The light was coming quickly now. After saying goodbye to the fog, I continued to swivel my chair until I looked at the hillside I had walked down half an hour before. One of the many hardwood species growing from my forest floor is Hop Hornbeam, which derives its name from the winged fruit it produces, which looks like the hops that go into beer production. Our late summer and autumn were dry, which made the Hop Hornbeam leaves adhere to their branches so steadfastly that barely any had fallen to the ground. Their leaves are usually a light tan. If there is such a thing as fluorescent tan, I see it now. It was like heavenly dust was kicked up from the angel’s path up my valley, settled on the hornbeam leaves, and then mixed with the sunlight to give me a color that mortals may have never seen until now. While this show was going on, forty could have walked by me, and I will wholeheartedly admit I would not have noticed. Earlier, I mentioned the memories of my hunts. I was not able to harvest a doe this year, but for reasons already stated, this hunt will be forever remembered.

Jeff Meshach Deputy Director, World Bird Sanctuary Affiliate Board Member, CFM Jeff Meshach and his son McCoy with their 2022 bucks. (Photo: Jeff Meshach)



Feature Story

The Lull


y the time you read this, I will have been suffering for 45 days or so from a little studied, but well known, malady known as “Hunting Withdrawal”. All of Missouri’s good hunting seasons close by mid-February, which leaves me with a whole lot of time on my hands and very little to do with it productively. Oh sure, I could catch up on some house chores and get reacquainted with this mysterious woman living in my home who treats me with equal parts of familiarity and contempt. But that would just be busy work and do nothing to dull this ache in my soul.

I am dealing with my condition much better than I used to, though, that’s for sure! Just a decade ago, I would crawl under the kitchen table and curl into the fetal position about the third week of January and not interact much with anyone until late March when my wife, Leah, would coax me out of hiding with a box of turkey calls to start practicing on. That was also the same day she would leave to go visit her mother for a month or two. I always found it interesting that those two unrelated events would take place on the same day every year. I guess that’s why they call a coincidence, well, uh, a coincidence.

MARCH - 2024


Feature Story This year, however, my therapist, and favorite bartender, Clem, equipped me with some tools to better cope with this part of the calendar that I refer to as “The Lull”. It’s the period of time that starts on January 16th, the day after archery season closes, and runs until the third Sunday of April, the day before spring turkey season opens. The first month isn’t so bad because I can still pursue squirrels and rabbits. But after February 15th, things get pretty bleak at the Haverstick household. Fortunately, Dr. Clem has taught me a couple tricks to see the silver lining around the dark clouds forming in my head. During one of our sessions last December, over a cold beer and peanuts, Clem said, “Darren, you need to quit focusing on the negative and somehow transfer those good vibes you have while you are in the woods to that time when you are curled up under your kitchen table.” This statement provoked a lively debate with Clem’s other “patients” that quickly devolved into a discussion about mind reading, the Amazing Kreskin, and the Vulcan Mind Meld from the old Star Trek series. But the kernel of an idea was planted in my brain, and I have been trying to bring it to fruition ever since.

What I decided to do was this; when I got ready to put all my hunting gear away for the year (which is a pretty big deal because I have a lot of stuff), I would hold each piece, study it, and then think of a good memory I had experienced while using it. The memory didn’t have to be from the last season. It just had to be something of significance. And while my initial goal was to think happy thoughts, what I learned was something much more profound: It takes a village to kill a deer. So what do I mean by that? It takes a village to kill a deer? In case you’re not familiar with me, I am an ardent enthusiast of traditional bowhunting and traditional muzzleloader hunting. I use the term “ardent enthusiast” instead of “addict” because that last word has so many bad connotations attached to it. In any event, I really like participating in both of these activities and have the paraphernalia to prove it. And what I discovered as I was putting away my mountain of gear was that the vast majority of my equipment was either made by me, or made for me by a good friend of mine, or made by someone who later became a friend of mine. Each item was so much more than just a tool to help me put meat on the table. When I checked my newest longbow over for scratches and cracks in the fiberglass before putting it away, I didn’t dwell so much on the fat doe I had killed with it at my farm. Instead, I thought about the man who made it for me, Mike Dunnaway, and how much fun we had together picking out the woods to make that bow. And how Mike knows that if he needs to sell a bow to pay for a new flyfishing reel, all he has to do is dangle a new exotic wood combination in front of me and I’m as good as hooked. Also in my stack of stuff were a couple of flintlock rifles I needed to oil one more time before storing them. Picking up my custom 54 made me think of my best friend, Cool Johnny, and how he introduced me to the maker of that rifle, John Pruitt. Cool Johnny and I used to work together a while back and one day, before we knew each other, he just happened to see me bring in one of my bows to show another coworker. CJ shot selfbows at the time and he decided he wanted to meet that “long haired feller” who always ran to his truck after his shift was over. So, he literally chased me down in the parking lot one afternoon to introduce himself.



Feature Story Soon after, we were best buds. During one of our early discussions, John told me about this old man who made all his selfbows and how he could probably get us the “Good Buddy” deal on a couple of new ones. That began my friendship with Mr. Pruitt, who I later learned was also a black powder gunsmith. So, when I decided to take up that hobby, ole John Pruitt was the first person I thought of to get a rifle from. By the time I had commissioned my second or third gun, we had worked out a pretty good system. I pick out all the parts I want him to use to make me a firearm and have them shipped to John’s house in Spring City, TN. In about a month’s time, he builds me another “Pruitt Special” and ships the completed project to my house in Fair Grove, MO. I think the last one cost me three dozen homemade cookies plus the price of the gun parts. The only problem with feeding John, though, is that he’s like an old hound and I can’t get rid of him now. I talk to Pruitt at least once a week and he never fails to entertain. The last item I handled before quitting for the day is the one that probably means the most to me. It is a boning knife that my father made as part of a set he gave me for Christmas back in 2013. The other knife in the set has a cleaver blade and they came in a wooden box my Dad also made, complete with leather hinges and a small leather latch to keep the box shut. On the lid of the box, he engraved the following, “To Darren, From Dad 2013”. The boning knife has a long, thin blade to flex against the bone so I can cut right next to it and not lose any meat. But it also has enough steel to keep the blade from bending too much when I need to make a long, deep cut. The handle is made from a piece of deer antler off our farm and the curve of the antler is just perfect to fit snugly into my left hand as I go about my work with it. It really isn’t much to look at, but it is one of my most prized possessions.

I remember one time I was whittling on a big doe with that knife and Dad came down to the barn lot where the deer was hanging to inspect my work. He looked over the nearly bare carcass and joked, “Son, you could leave a little meat for the coyotes, couldn’t you?” “The coyotes can catch their own deer”, I thought to myself, “This one is all mine!” As I turn out the light in my hunting room/leather workshop/junk repository, I look at the shrinking pile in the middle of the floor and smile. Sure, all this gear could have just as easily been purchased from Amazon and my bank account would probably be in much better shape because of that. But my life would not be nearly as rich and full as it is knowing all these artisans and being able to call them my friends. Hunting, to me, is a very personal and spiritual experience and having my “tribe” with me every time I go afield makes it just that much more special. And it is the warm thoughts of our camaraderie that will help me get through the next few dark days ahead before Leah leaves to visit her mom again and I can start raking on my box call. Darren Haverstick Cover - One of the many deer I’ve taken with one of Mike’s bows. (Photo: Darren Haverstick) Left - Best Christmas present ever: A knife set my dad made for me. (Photo: Darren Haverstick) Top - A 62-caliber smoothbore “Pruitt Special” I use on squirrels. (Photo: Darren Haverstick)

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Feature Story

Sleeping Under the Stars at the Lake of the Ozarks


s countless Missourians could tell you, there are many ways to enjoy the Lake of the Ozarks. However, one of the most memorable is sleeping under the stars and enjoying the splendor of nature while sitting around the warm glow of a campfire. Camping and RVing at the Lake are fantastic ways to experience the natural beauty of Central Missouri’s Ozarks. Over 20 RV parks and campgrounds dot the Lake of the Ozarks area and offer all the amenities campers and RVers appreciate, especially Lake views and cool, shady comfort from the local hardwood forests. "Camping has been a staple at the Lake of the Ozarks since it's beginnings in the early 1930s," says Lagina Fitzpatrick, executive director of the Lake of the Ozarks Tri-County Lodging Association. "We still have many traditional campgrounds that offer tent camping but our selection has expanded quite a bit over the past decade to include several high-class RV parks, comfortable cabins and impressive glamping setups that even those that typically don't enjoy camping would appreciate."

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Feature Story With more than 1,400 RV sites, over 100 tent camping sites and numerous cabins scattered around the Lake of the Ozarks, there are options at the Lake to suit everyone's style. It doesn't matter if a visitor's ideal camping trip consists of pitching a tent, "glamping" (glamorous camping), pulling a pop-up camper or fullyequipped fifth wheel, or even resting in a comfortable campground cabin complete with air conditioning and pre-made beds, the Lake of the Ozarks has it all. And, regardless of where visitors set up camp, they will be close to a wide variety of family-friendly attractions and activities. Highlighted below are just a few of the campgrounds that can be enjoyed around the Lake area, all offering a unique experience: Bear Bottom Resort, RV Park and Campgrounds, located in Sunrise Beach, offers 24 roomy RV sites to complement its primitive camping options. There are mature shade trees, campfire pits and a picnic table at every site and visitors with an RV can choose from full hook-up sites to electric-only sites. The entire park is within easy walking distance of the cool waters of the Lake and available boat slips. All Bear Bottom guests can enjoy the resort pool and boat ramp as well as the endless hiking possibilities of the walking trails spread across 58 acres of woodlands. Bear Bottom also features comfortable cottages, a full-service restaurant and bar overlooking the Lake. And, during the warmer months, guests can enjoy live music on the weekends, boat rentals and two of the largest open flume body water slides in the state. For more information, visit www.

Cross Creek RV Park and Campground, located between Eldon and Lake Ozark, has twice been recognized as the mid-size park of the year by the Missouri Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds. It's also one of the most memorable camping experiences in Missouri featuring several tree house cabins; "Survivor Island," a secluded, private island for primitive camping; private eight-acre fishing lake; nine-hole miniature golf course; swimming pool; camp store and playground for the kids. In addition, other on-site activities include nature trails, hay rides, karaoke, sand volleyball and a Sunday morning worship service. For RVers, there are lakefront sites available and all sites offer full hook-ups and most feature 30- and 50-amp options. Cross Creek is situated on 70 pristine acres surrounded by hundreds of wooded acres, so it's a quiet and secluded escape offering a true back-to-nature camping experience. "Survivor Island" and the tree house cabins are very popular so it's recommended campers call ahead to check on availability and to make reservations. For more details, visit Deer Valley RV Park & Campground at Franky and Louie's Beachfront Bar & Grill in Sunrise Beach features over 300 RV campsites, including some that are available on a yearly, monthly, weekly or daily basis. Located on the westside of the Lake of the Ozarks just a short walk from Franky & Louie's restaurant, Deer Valley also offers multiple one-room cabins as well as two "bunkhouses," with bunkhouse unit sleeping up to eight people. Situated in a quiet cove on the 10 mile marker of the Lake, guests at Deer Valley have easy access to Franky & Louie's for food and live musical entertainment, sandy swimming beach as well as Super Dave's Paddle Craft Adventures for an afternoon of peacefully paddling around the Lake on a stand-up paddleboard or kayak. For rates, options and reservations, visit www. Majestic Oaks RV Park and Campground is set on 47 wooded acres just outside Lake Ozark. This park boasts some of the biggest RV sites at the Lake, with large "Buddy Sites" that are popular with those traveling together in two RVs. For those who do not have an RV but have always wanted to stay in one, Majestic Oaks has a large, fully-equipped Jay Flight camper that guests can rent.

All of the campground owners, operators and/or hosts at the Lake of the Ozarks are known for going the extra mile to ensure their guests have a fabulous time at the Lake. Pictured are Steve and Shelly Schmidt, owners of Cross Creek RV Park and Campground. (Photo: Kyle Wayne Stewart)



Feature Story The Jay Flight is a popular option, so guests are encouraged to call ahead to check on availability. Aside from the the RV spots, there also are rustic cabins and multiple primitive tent sites situated in a secluded hardwood forest complete with picnic tables and fire rings. Majestic Oak's latest additions are three unique glamping tents. These fully-furnished spacious safari-style tents are built on wooden decks and feature comfortable beds with linens and bedding, electrical outlets, heat and A/C and a covered front porch. The onsite amenities include nature trails, a swimming pool, camp store, bath houses, playground, game room, volleyball and basketball courts and a pavilion perfect for groups and reunions. Majestic Oaks also hosts special events throughout the year. For rates, services and more information, visit www. Mother Nature's Riverfront Retreat, located in Macks Creek just south of Camdenton, is situated on a 310-acre peninsula surrounded by three miles of the pristine, spring-fed waters of the Big Niangua River. Mother Nature's Riverfront Retreat provides guests with multiple options when it comes to accommodations: primitive campsites, RV sites with hook-ups, a dozen rental campers, several rustic cabins, bunkhouses that sleep up to 18 people and a lodge house that sleeps up to 10 people. Additionally, as the only campground situated on the Big Niangua, Mother Nature's Riverfront Retreat offers three- or five-mile scenic floats down the Niangua in canoes, kayaks or tubes. For more details on camping and floating options, and all types of reservations, visit Osage Beach RV Park, located in the heart of the Lake area, has been named one of the top Good Sam RV parks in the US by Trailer Life magazine. This clean and quiet park offers a variety of RV camping sites: long pullthrough sites with 50-amp service as well as shaded back-in sites with 50- or 30-amp service. All sites are full service with water, electric, sewer, cable TV and free WiFi. In addition to RV sites, Osage Beach RV Park also features five rental cabins, a swimming pool, playground, pavilion with tables and games, and horseshoe and shuffleboard courts.

Throughout the summer season, Osage Beach RV Park also offers a non-denominational church service on Sundays for their guests. The park is walking distance from Bear Creek Valley Golf Club, several shopping centers and restaurants. For complete details, visit www. Planning Your Lake of the Ozarks Camping Trip: Regardless of which campground a visitor chooses, they will be guaranteed the classic Midwestern hospitality that guests at the Lake of the Ozarks have come to enjoy and expect. Each campground owner and/or host is set on making sure that every visitor has a wonderful time at the Lake of the Ozarks. Although all of the campgrounds and RV parks feature many amenities and activities, visitors would be doing themselves a great disservice if they didn't get out and explore all the Lake of the Ozarks area has to offer. The Lake is home to some of the best fishing in the nation, thousands of acres of public lands including two very popular and distinct state parks (Lake of the Ozarks and Ha Ha Tonka state parks), over 57 miles of walking and hiking trails, four impressive show caves as well as 13 championship golf courses, 10 wineries and microbreweries, over 200 restaurants, two waterparks, lots of live music and plenty of special events throughout the year. To learn more about the Lake of the Ozarks, visit Kyle Wayne Stewart Cover - With over 20 campgrounds and RV parks located at the Lake of the Ozarks, it’s easy to sleep under the stars and appreciate an Ozark moon. (Photo: Courtesy of Missouri Division of Tourism) Top - Fishing, hiking, paddling and boating are just some of the outdoor activities campers at the Lake of the Ozarks can enjoy. (Photo: Courtesy of Missouri Division of Tourism)

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