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The Voice for Missouri Outdoors MAY 2021 - VOL 82 | NO. 3

Director’s Message

Nature is Good for the Soul


pending time outside during the spring can help us clear our mind and spirit to shake off all the winter blues. We have dealt with uncertainty through the crazy, last half year or so and done things as we have never done before. It's time to get outside and get back to what matters most to every one of us: family, fun, and getting outdoors. At the recent 12th Annual Governor's Youth Turkey Hunt in April, I was reminded of the critical work that we do and why we work so hard at doing it. It was great to see the youth hunters who have never harvested a turkey before come together, and to see this wonderful sport being passed down to future generations. The day before the hunt, we spent time at the range with young hunters, patterning their shotguns, learning how to call turkeys, positively identifying their target, and other essential turkey hunting techniques. The parents, youth and guides soaked up every bit of information from MDC and NWTF staff. Before departing for their turkey camp with their guides, we went to the Governor's mansion for a reception. Each of them was given a handmade call by the great Jim Clark. Over half of the youth hunters then went on to bag turkeys, which is truly wonderful. Like these youth turkey hunters did, I challenge you to get out and try something new this spring. These unique places that mean so much to us in the outdoors are more critical now than ever. Connect with those family and friends that you haven't seen for a while and plan a trip. Do something new, fun, exciting or challenging. Check out Barbara Gibbs Ostmann's articles about the great programs offered at MDC nature centers on page 28.

Tyler with his wife Michelle and their children during last year’s turkey season. (Photo: Dale LaBoube)

They would throw them up and down the creek to keep the fish swimming back and forth between their lines. By high school, my buddies and I had purchased waders, and were chasing suckers all up and down the Maries River. This sport truly takes agility, great vision and the ability to cast in adverse conditions. There aren't many fish from Missouri that taste much better than a fresh creek sucker! I hope that each of you has taken the opportunity to connect even further with nature this year. Spending time in the outdoors can be the best way to reflect and pause on all the stresses of life.

Fishing season is also upon us, and many fishermen and women enjoy the lakes for crappie, bass, panfish and catfish. Another popular sport that happens in spring is grabbing suckers. Be sure to check out Larry Whiteley's article on page 54 about this great outdoor pastime.

Thanks to each of you that have supported CFM in so many ways as we start to look past the pandemic and get back to being around each other and all the things we care so deeply about. Our staff, board, and so many others truly couldn't have done this without relying on each other.

I remember as a youth, grabbin' suckers with my family. I started out as the one that kept my dad and uncles supplied with rocks.

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



Conservation Federation May 2021 - V82 No. 3


OFFICERS Mossie Schallon - President Richard Mendenhall - President Elect Zach Morris -Vice President Ginny Wallace - Secretary Randy Washburn - Treasurer


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




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


CFM's 85th Annual Convention


Find Your Passion at a Nature Center Near You


Fewmets, Antlers, and Demise


Royal Voyagers of the Sky


Pass on the Fishing Heritage


Hunter Education Celebrates 50 Years of Success


Crossing Over


Grabbin' Suckers


Conservation with an Ozarks Accent


Branson's Oldest (and Best) Fly Shop


An Error in Judgement

Departments 3 8 11 14 36


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


Highlights 12 17 18 20 31

CFM Election Changes Buy It New Shotgun Events Schedule Risberg Grant Stunning Native Plants of May

ABOUT THE MAGAZINE CFM Mission: To ensure conservation of Missouri’s wildlife and natural resources, and preservation of our state’s rich outdoor heritage through advocacy, education and partnerships. Conservation Federation is the publication of the Conservation Federation of Missouri (ISSN 1082-8591). Conservation Federation (USPS 012868) is published bi-monthly in January, March, May, July, September and November for subscribers and members. Of each member’s dues, $10 shall be for a year’s subscription to Conservation Federation. Periodical postage paid in Jefferson City, MO and additional mailing offices. Send address changes to: Postmaster Conservation Federation of Missouri 728 West Main Jefferson City, MO 65101

FRONT COVER Cover Photo by Reva Dow at Big Spring in Carter County. Camera is a Canon 30D with a 12-24 mm lens.

Business Partners

Thank you to all of our Business Partners. Platinum

Gold Bushnell Doolittle Trailer Enbridge, Inc.

G3 Boats MidwayUSA Pure Air Natives

Redneck Blinds Riley Chevrolet Roeslein Alternative Energy, LLC

Missouri Wildflowers Nursery Mitico Simmons Sun Solar

Starline, Inc. St. James Winery

Gray Manufacturing Company, Inc. HMI Fireplace Shop Hodgdon Powder Company, Inc. Missouri Wine & Grape Board NE Electric Power Cooperative, Inc.

NW Electric Power Cooperative, Inc. Ozark Bait and Tackle Powder Horn Guns & Archery

Custom Screen Printing and Embroidery Dickerson Park Zoo Farmer’s Co-op Elevator Association Gascosage Electric Cooperative GREDELL Engineering Resources, Inc. Heartland Seed of Missouri LLC Hulett Heating & Air Conditioning Kansas City Parks and Recreation

Lewis County Rural Electric Coop. Missouri Native Seed Association REMAX Boone Realty Tabor Plastics Company Truman’s Bar & Grill United Electric Cooperative, Inc.

Silver Custom Metal Products Forrest Keeling Nursery Learfield Communication, Inc. Lilley’s Landing Resort & Marina

Bronze Association of Missouri Electric Coop. Black Widow Custom Bows, Inc. Burgers’ Smokehouse Central Electric Power Cooperative Drury Hotels

Iron Bass Pro Shops (Independence) Bee Rock Outdoor Adventures Blue Springs Park and Recreation Brockmeier Financial Services Brown Printing Cap America Central Bank Community State Bank of Bowling Green

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

MAY - 2021


"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







Conservation Leadership Operation Corps formed Missouri Forest Arson National formed 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: info@confedmo.org www.confedmo.org

Become a Member today! ____ ____ ____ ____ ____

Description Individual Supporter Individual Advocate Individual Sustaining Youth/Student Individual Lifetime

Price $35.00 $60.00 $100.00 $20.00 $1,000.00

Name: E-mail: Phone: Address: Credit Card #: Exp. Date:

Join online confedmo.org/join

President’s Message

Looking Forward to a Brighter Spring


s I gather my thoughts for the President’s message, I marvel at how fast time has gone by, even during a pandemic. In my first message a year ago, I introduced myself as CFM’s newly elected President, excited and proud to serve this wonderful organization. Now I am halfway through my two-year term, and I am even more excited and proud! I am grateful for the support of staff, fellow officers, board of directors and members at large who step up, are engaged, and work hard to ensure CFM lives up to its mission even during unprecedented times. I am optimistic that the worst is over and look forward to better days ahead regarding the pandemic. Mike and I received our 2nd COVID vaccination on Saint Patrick’s Day and had no side effects, just an incredible feeling of relief. I hope those of you still waiting stay well, and your turn comes soon. As many of you are aware by your participation, CFM’s 85th Convention was held virtually during the first week of March and was a huge success! We exceeded expectations for attendance and fundraising! Thanks to everyone who contributed to making it so! Please read more about Convention highlights in this issue! By the time you receive this edition of our magazine, the Missouri General Assembly will be wrapping up its 2021 session. It has been a challenging year with several bills that were introduced that will not be a friend to conservation if passed. At this writing, we are unsure of the outcome for a few of the bills we are tracking, but are very hopeful to get some of these bad bills stopped. Our Executive Director, Tyler Schwartze, and the entire Legislative Committee have worked tirelessly on communication efforts to educate Missouri citizens on the facts. This has been accomplished via our Legislative Action Center (LAC) tracking, monitoring, and when necessary, alerting our LAC subscribers to act by engaging their legislators via phone, email, or in-person testimony.



Even if you are not a CFM member, I encourage you to sign up for the LAC and stay up to date on legislation throughout the session. In doing so, you help make our Voice for Missouri Outdoors stronger! As we move into the summer months, I hope to move toward more normal times. I don’t know about you, but I can hardly wait. Please stay safe and do get outdoors whenever you can!

“Keep your face always toward the sunshine and shadows will fall behind you” – Walt Whitman.

Yours in Conservation, Mossie Schallon President, CFM

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, and your hunting & fishing gear. Find an agent near you at ShelterInsurance.com.

Member News

Why I Became a Life Member of CFM: Steve Jones


hough I've been a Missourian most of my life, I grew up fishing and hunting small game in California. In the '80s, after a few rewarding years in the Army distracted me from hunting, I wound up in Missouri and jumped back into it with a passion. In my first season, I took two adult Spring gobblers in Maries County and a beautiful buck in Scotland County with my bow on October 2nd — my second day ever deer hunting in my life. I was pretty much hooked. I joined and became active in all sorts of conservationrelated organizations and still belong to many. But I believe the CFM, which invented the "Missouri Model" of conservation back in 1936, remains the most effective and powerful voice for the wildlife and wild places we all value so much. It's a voice whose importance grows along with the relentless threats to these precious resources. It doesn't take much time watching how politics is played in Missouri to see the vital role CFM plays to ensure those policy makers who would dismantle our proud conservation heritage hear the voices of our 80,000 regular and affiliate members. That voice is clear and strong thanks to the CFM system of crafting policy, active lobbying, and just getting things done.

The richness of outdoor experiences can be so overwhelming the desire to "give something back" becomes irresistible. For me, CFM is the perfect conduit to satisfy that desire. Becoming a life member was my way of showing respect for and faith in the Federation and doing what I can to leave things a little better for the next Missourians who might enjoy the wild things.

Become a CFM Life Member When you purchase a Life Membership with CFM, your money is added to an endowment supporting the administration of the organization in perpetuity. Each year, we draw earnings from the endowment, so your contribution will truly be supporting the CFM for the rest of your life and beyond. This is an important funding source for our Federation. We hope you will consider joining the over 300 dedicated conservationists who have already made a life commitment to the Conservation Federation of Missouri by becoming a Life Member today at www.confedmo.org/join.

Contact CFM at (573) 634-2322 or email info@confedmo.org



Member News

WELCOME NEW CFM MEMBERS Kathleen Bauer, New Haven

Ben Knapp, Columbia

Fred Tucker, Elsberry

Janet Blauvelt, Holt

Richard Kulage, Saint Peters

Ryan Verkamp, Ashland

David Bowers, Dimondale MI

Justin McGuire, Jefferson City

Paul Villmer, Potosi

Charles Brader, Webster Groves

Eileen McManus, Kansas City

Andy Virgen, Washington

Scott Buchheit, New Haven

Dominic Meldi, Springfield

Wayne Wheeler, Kimberling City

John Burton, Chillicothe

Doreen Mengel, Harrisburg

Jarrett Whistance, Columbia

Colten Catterton, Maryville

Bill Moskoff, Saint Louis

Brooke Widmar, Columbia

Stan Christensen, Maryville

Frank Nelson, Springfield

Brad Wiedlocher, Saint Peters

Lee Connor, Jefferson City

Allison Owen, Columbia

Jerry Wiesehan, Fenton

Liz Cook, Jefferson City

Jake Owens, Russellville

James Coots, O’Fallon

Joel Porath, Jefferson City

Jeff Craig, Liberty

Gilbert Randolph, Raymore

Paul Davis, Poplar Bluff

Crystal Rein, Columbia

Karlin Dawson, Jefferson City

Merrill Rice, Kansas City

Rob Dixon, Columbia

Verla Sailer, Cape Girardeau

Dee Dokken, Columbia

Joseph Schelsky, Mineral Point

Sarah Donahue, Tebbetts

Mark Sharp, Lee’s Summit

Kevin Elfrink, Jackson

Scott Shipman, O’Fallon

Clyde Eppard, Neosho

Jake Shockley, Saint James

Jay Farr, Nixa

Frederic Simmens, Jamestown

Andrew Fiore, Chesterfield

Dameon Spurgeon, Rolla

Elizabeth Fuemmeler, Raytown

Phil Stambaugh, Saint James

Urie Gingerich, Mountain Grove

Hank Stelzer, Columbia

Natalia Gonzalez, Tomball TX

Adam Stuppy, Golden

Tom Grommet, Kirkwood

Jason Sumners, Columbia

Dale Harfst, Union

Robert Szydlowski, Saint Louis

Michael Klos, Ballwin

Rebecca Tinker, Imperial

CFM thanks the 363 members that renewed since our last publication.

In Memory

In Memory of Mac Johnson Dan and Patricia Dickneite

In Honor of Steve Seifert Missouri Hospital Association In memory of Ron Coleman Rhonda Coleman

MAY - 2021


Member News

CFM Election Changes


t their March 5 meeting, the CFM Board approved bylaws changes necessary to implement the nomination and elections process described in the Conservation Federation magazine's March issue. These changes are intended to encourage more members to consider serving on the CFM Board, on committees, and in leadership roles. Changes will be implemented with the 2022 election and begin with recruitment and nomination activities leading up to that election. Here is a summary of some of the major changes. 1. Elected board positions for both at-large and affiliate members will change from two-year terms to threeyear terms, and the terms will be staggered with four positions elected each year. Elected board members may serve up to two consecutive three-year terms for a total of six years. After sitting out a term, they are eligible to run again. They still will be eligible (and encouraged) to serve in other roles for CFM, such as appointed board members and committee members and assisting with events, among others.

3. The Vice President, President Elect (formerly first and second vice president) and President positions will continue to be two year terms. It has been the general practice over the years that the Vice President will move up to the President-Elect and then President positions, ensure that the president has a wide range of experience in leading the organization.

In 2022, the nominating committee will be seeking at least 15 candidates to place on the ballot for the 12 atlarge board (elected) positions, and the affiliate members nominating committee will also be seeking multiple candidates for the 12 affiliate member positions.

That will continue to be the case, with provisions in place should that not be possible for some reason (6 years is a very long commitment, and life sometimes happens).

2. The terms of the secretary and treasurer will also change from two to three years, and the nominating committee will be seeking two nominees for each of these positions. These positions will also be staggered. Those elected to these offices may also serve up to two consecutive three-year terms.



The nominating committee will be seeking two candidates for the Vice President position. 4. Board positions appointed by the CFM President will continue to be two-year terms and run concurrently with the appointing president.   Additional changes will be outlined in future articles, and the nominating committee will publish a call for nominations in the July magazine.

Committed to Community & Conservation Owned by the members they serve, Missouri’s electric cooperatives do more than provide reliable and affordable electricity. They are active in their communities, concerned for the wellbeing of their neighbors and devoted to the rural way of life that makes the Show-Me State a special place to live, work and play. Missouri’s electric cooperatives are dedicated to protecting the land, air and water resources important to you and your quality of life. Learn more at www.amec.coop. MAY - 2021


Affiliate Highlights

Missouri Parks Association (MPA)


he Missouri Parks Association (MPA) is a nonprofit citizens organization – independent and non-partisan – dedicated to the protection, enhancement and interpretation of Missouri State Parks and Historic Sites. Founded in 1982 at a time of financial crisis for the park system, MPA has been a steadfast supporter and tireless defender of the state park system. The association's members and volunteers continue to support the Missouri state park system's three-fold mission through education and advocacy and remain vigilant to prevent actions that threaten our parks. Ensuring Missourians understand the need for an adequate and consistent base of financial support for the park system is a key task. In 1984, MPA spearheaded the petition that led to the passage of the Parks, Soils and Water Sales Tax and has worked to get it reapproved by voters in 1988, 1996, 2006, and in 2016 when it passed by 80 percent with a majority in every county in the state! In addition to park funding, and to ensure an excellent state park system relevant for all Missourians, we strive to connect Missourians to the outdoors, with a priority on underserved populations, including urban and rural youth and seniors.  MPA's Underserved Populations Outreach Program (UPOP) introduces underserved youth to our state parks and historic sites. MPA provides funding to partner organizations in Kansas City, St. Louis, Columbia, and Joplin. New for 2020, MPA received a grant to expand the program to the Ozarks and youth from the Salem area visited Echo Bluff, Montauk, and Current River State Parks. UPOP field trips include activities like fishing, bird watching and bike rides at Katy Trail State Park. The activities are free so that participants can take part in the program regardless of their economic ability.



Seniors to Parks touring Weston Bend State Park. (Photo: courtesy of Kendra Varns Wallis)

The "Seniors to State Parks Program" is a partnership between Missouri State Parks and MPA that provides field trips and a tram for seniors to explore state parks and enjoy Missouri's outdoors and it's past. This program was first launched in 2015 and is funded by MPA through a generous endowment received from Ben and Bettie Breeding to be used exclusively for this purpose. MPA is constantly looking for new ways to enhance the park system for enjoyment by citizens and visitors. We always welcome new members and volunteers who care about our state parks and want to help. For more information about the association, please visit https://missouriparksassociation.org/. 

Affiliate Highlights

Affiliate Organizations Anglers of Missouri Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives

Missouri Chapter of the American Fisheries Society

Missouri Sport Shooting Association Missouri State Campers Association

Missouri Chapter of the Wildlife Society

Missouri State Parks Foundation

Bass Slammer Tackle

Missouri Coalition for the Environment

Missouri Taxidermist Association

Big Game Hunters

Missouri Community Forestry Council

Missouri Trappers Association

Burroughs Audubon Society

Missouri Conservation Agents Association

Missouri Trout Fishermen's Association

Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation

Missouri Whitetails Unlimited

Capital City Fly Fishers

Missouri Conservation Pioneers

MU Wildlife & Fisheries

Chesterfield Citizens Committee

Missouri Consulting Foresters Association

of Greater Kansas City

for the Environment

Science Graduate Student Organization

Missouri Ducks Unlimited- State Council

Northside Conservation Federation

Columbia Audubon Society

Missouri Forest Products Association

Open Space Council of the St. Louis Region

Conservation Foundation of

Missouri Grouse Chapter of QUWF

Ozark Chinquapin Foundation

Missouri Hunter Education

Ozark Fly Fishers, Inc.

Missouri Charitable Trust Deer Creek Sportsman Club

Instructor's Association

Ozark Land Trust

Duckhorn Outdoors Adventures

Missouri Hunting Heritage Federation

Ozark Trail Association

Festus-Crystal City Conservation Club

Missouri Master Naturalist -

Ozark Wilderness Waterways Club

Forest and Woodland Association of Missouri Forest Releaf of Missouri Friends of Rock Bridge Memorial State Park

Boone's Lick Chapter Missouri Master Naturalist Great Rivers Chapter Missouri Master Naturalist -

Gateway Chapter Trout Unlimited

Hi Lonesome Chapter

Greater Ozarks Audubon Society

Missouri Master Naturalist -

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

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

Perry County Sportsman Club Pomme De Terre Chapter Muskies Quail & Upland Wildlife Federation, Inc. Quail Forever & Pheasants Forever River Bluffs Audubon Society Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Roubidoux Fly Fishers Association South Side Division CFM Southwest Missouri Fly Fishers St. Louis Audubon Society Stream Teams United

Little Blue River Watershed Coalition

Missouri National Wild Turkey Federation

Student Air Rifle Program

Magnificent Missouri

Missouri Native Seed Association

Tipton Farmers & Sportsman's Club

Mid-Missouri Outdoor Dream

Missouri Outdoor Communicators

Tri-Lakes Fly Fishers

Mid-Missouri Trout Unlimited

Missouri Park & Recreation Association

Troutbusters of Missouri

Midwest Diving Council

Missouri Parks Association

United Bow Hunters of Missouri

Mississippi Valley Duck

Missouri Prairie Foundation

Watershed Conservation Corps

Missouri River Bird Observatory

Wild Bird Rehabilitation

Missouri Association of Meat Processors

Hunters Association

Missouri River Relief

Wild Souls Wildlife Rescue Rehabilitation

Missouri Atlatl Association

Missouri Rock Island Trail, Inc.

Wonders of Wildlife

Missouri B.A.S.S. Nation

Missouri Rural Water Association

Young Outdoorsmen United

Missouri Bird Conservation Initiative

Missouri Smallmouth Alliance

Missouri Birding Society

Missouri Society of American Foresters

Missouri Bow Hunters Association

Missouri Soil & Water Conservation

Missouri Caves & Karst Conservancy

Society-Show-Me Chapter

MAY - 2021



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BUY IT NOW-$699 Celebrate the Conservation Federation’s 85th Anniversary by purchasing a piece of history with this 12 ga. shotgun. This beautifully engraved CZ-USA Model 1012 Shotgun displays both the CFM 85th Anniversary logo and the CFM Seal, in your choice of bronze or OD green Cerakote finish. The shotgun features a Turkish walnut stock and holds up to 3” shells with a 4+1 magazine capacity. It has a 28” barrel length and a 14.5" length of pull. Each shotgun comes with a case and five choke tubes (F, IM, M, IC, C). To order: You may reserve yours today by going online at confedmo.org/buyitnow or call (573) 634-2322. Please allow 12 weeks for shipment, once the order is placed. Orders will be placed every 6 weeks. Shotguns will be shipped to an FFL dealer of your choosing in MO. Local FFL transfer fee may apply.

2021 Events Schedule 85th Annual Convention- March 1 - 6

Let your voice be heard at the Virtual Annual Convention. Meetings, Awards, Auctions, and so much more.

Conservation Day at the Capitol- April 7

Join conservationists from across Missouri on the radio for a day of celebrating and supporting conservation and natural resources. From 6 am to 10 am on 96.7 FM or KCMQ.com

Pull for Conservation: Northwest- April 17

Join CFM for the 6th annual Northwest clay shoot at Boot Hill Shooting Ground in Hamilton.

Conservation Federation Virtual Event- July 22

Join us for this virtual fundraiser and hear updates about all things conservation.

Pull for Conservation: Central- August 14

Take your best shot at the 15th annual Central clay shoot at Prairie Grove Shotgun Sports.

Affiliate Summit- September 9 & 10

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

Conservation Federation Online Auction- October 4-18 Enjoy a fun and interactive online auction with many great trips and prizes.

Conservation Federation Banquet: Springfield- October 7

Meet fellow conservationists and support CFM at the White River Conference Center next to Bass Pro Shops and Wonders of Wildlife.

Holiday Online Auction- Early December

Bid on many exciting items just in the time for the holidays.

Event dates are subject to change. Please visit www.confedmo.org or follow us on social media for the most up to date schedule.

Member News

Emerging Conservation Leaders Attend 85th Annual Convention


he first weekend of March 2021, student members of the Conservation Leadership Corps had the opportunity to attend the Conservation Federation of Missouri’s 85th Annual Convention. The Conservation Leadership Corps, or CLC, is an organization consisting of dedicated students ranging from juniors in high school to seniors in college that aspire to become Missouri’s next conservation leaders. This organization provides students with the foundational leadership skills, knowledge, and professional connections necessary to aid in conservation efforts, and attendance of the Annual Convention plays an integral role in this experience. A rather noteworthy occurrence at the Annual Convention each year is the resolution process, and CLC gives students the opportunity to directly participate alongside other CFM members. At this year’s convention, there were eleven resolutions discussed and five of those were proposed, researched and written by CLC members. Each year, CLC students attend a Fall Workshop where new resolution ideas are suggested. Students then divide into smaller groups to further embellish and develop their resolutions that they will complete in the following months. Opportunities such as this not only provide CLC students with the foundation necessary to be conservation leaders in the future, but also shows students that they don’t need to wait for the future to begin to make a difference. One defining quality of this year’s Annual Convention that sets it apart from previous years is that it was held entirely on a virtual platform, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its accompanying concerns. However, this did not infringe upon the accomplishments, professional connections, and leadership skills that CLC students were able to obtain. More so than anything, new challenges in this past year have further exemplified the importance of critical thinking and problem solving skills.

Qualities such as these are necessary for a leader to step up and make a difference in difficult times, whether that is figuring out the logistics of holding an entire Annual Convention virtually or brainstorming new solutions to current conservation issues. From a personal standpoint, I became a member of CLC my junior year of high school, and I have been more than thankful for the opportunities this organization has given me. My peers and I have gotten to learn first-handedly about conservation policy and current issues, all while meeting many outstanding professional conservationists that hold the same passions as we do. On behalf of all CLC members, I would like to express our gratitude to those that support and fund the Conservation Leadership Corps program. The goals of the Conservation Federation of Missouri and its members are inspiring, and I am fully confident that it is helping to prepare the next generation’s conservation leaders to fill the shoes of those before them and act as a voice for wildlife and its habitat. “The wildlife and its habitat cannot speak, so we must and we will” -Theodore Roosevelt Emile Gephart CLC Secretary

MAY - 2021


Member News

David A. Risberg Memorial Grant


he Conservation Federation of Missouri (CFM) has awarded the annual David A. Risberg Memorial Grants during our 85th Annual Convention. These grants honor the memory of David Risberg, who was passionate about conservation, by making conservation projects possible across Missouri. These grants are only available to CFM affiliate organizations. “Thanks to the generosity of John and Mary Risberg, we are in our 4th year awarding these grants for bootson-the-ground conservation work across our landscape and waterways in Missouri,” said Tyler Schwartze, CFM Executive Director. CFM is continuously raising funds to grow this important endowment to support many more of our partners' worthy projects and better our natural world. The 18 CFM Affiliates who received a share of the $20,000 distributed this year through the annual David A. Risberg Memorial Grants are: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Forest Releaf of Missouri James River Basin Partnership Little Blue River Watershed Coalition Missouri Caves and Karst Conservancy Missouri Coalition for the Environment Missouri Grouse Chapter of Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation Missouri Hunting Heritage Federation Missouri Master Naturalist Missouri Prairie Foundation Missouri River Relief Missouri Stream Team Watershed Coalition Missouri Trappers Association Missouri Smallmouth Alliance National Wild Turkey Federation Pheasants Forever, Inc. & Quail Forever The Open Space Council for the St. Louis region Watershed Conservation Corps Wild Souls Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation

If you are interested in donating to the Risberg Memorial Grant Fund, you can do so by www.confedmo.org/donate and selecting "Risberg Challenge," in the dropdown menu.











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Member News

EST. 1935

CFM's 85th Annual Convention


he Conservation Federation of Missouri (CFM) would like to thank everyone who made the 85th Annual Convention a huge success. Things might have looked a little different this year with the virtual platform but our attendees enjoyed themselves at our week-long event. This year, attendees had the opportunity to attend all ten of the Natural Resource Breakout sessions. From these sessions, there were 11 Resolutions passed from the hard work of the Resource Advisory Committees, the Resolution Committee, and the General Assembly. Everyone’s input is greatly appreciated during this very important process. CLC students gathered virtually and continued their education of conservation in many various aspects for becoming the next generation of leaders. We would like to extend our sincere appreciation to all of our sponsors for their financial support. Those included: Bass Pro Shops, Conservation Foundation of Missouri Charitable Trust, Ozark Bait and Tackle, and the National Wildlife Federation. Thanks to those who attended to share in the fun and business of CFM again this year. We really appreciate your continued support of our organization.

Conservation Achievement Awards The Conservation Federation of Missouri is pleased to announce the recipients of our Conservation Achievement Awards for 2020. These winners are Missourians who exemplify all that CFM stands for and have bettered Missouri's outdoors through personal efforts throughout 2020 and their lives. Congratulations to our award winners who will be recognized at the CFM Annual Convention next week.



Outstanding Lifetime Achievement - Bob Todd Bob Todd has been the embodiment of, “The Voice for Missouri Outdoors.” In 1973, he established the River Hills Traveler outdoor journal. He would serve as editor and publisher for over 40 years. He and his wife, Pat, nurtured and grew the business, expressing their fierce allegiance to their special place in the world, Southeast Missouri. From showcasing the beauty of the region’s unique geology to addressing environmental issues, Bob Todd and the River Hills Traveler became the goto reference for outdoor information. In his many writings, Bob Todd has been one of Missouri’s strongest voices in support of conservation. Sharing our outdoor story has been his lifetime achievement.   Conservation Communicator of the Year - Tyler Dykes Tyler Dykes is a father and an eighth-grade science teacher in Blue Springs. He is also the Show Me Fly Guy. While navigating all the responsibilities of life, work, and family, Tyler still finds time to compose and share content across his many media channels. He is an innovator in conservation communications and is on the leading edge of the next wave of outdoor communicators. With enthusiasm that spills over into everyone he meets; he is dedicated to the cause of conservation and is exceptionally passionate about sharing his love for fly fishing. In today’s age of COVID and virtual living, Tyler is excelling, engaging new audiences, and exposing new people to the great outdoors.

Member News Corporate Conservationist of the Year Riley Auto Group Riley Auto Group has been owned and operated by the Riley family since 1936. Being brought up in an automotive family, brothers Mike, Kevin, and Carey Riley were instilled with a passion for the outdoors from a young age. Their grandfather, Don F. Riley, who founded the dealership in 1936, passed away while doing one of the things he loved the most, fishing in Canada. Brought up to respect land, wildlife, and firearms, the Riley brothers have many fond memories of shooting, hunting, and fishing with family and friends on their farm in Missouri and across the country. Now in their 85th year of business, the Riley Auto Group continues their legacy through community involvement, regardless of economic challenges or natural disaster. We look forward to their partnership in generations to come.

Conservation Educator of the Year - Mike Szydlowski Mike Szydlowski is the K-12 Science Coordinator for Columbia Public Schools. He is dedicated to delivering innovative teaching strategies and educational experiences that develop an appreciation and understanding of our natural world. Mike has instituted place-based learning in Columbia allowing students to study nature, “up close and personal.” It starts with the local habitats around their schools and homes and invites plants and animals into the classroom and takes small groups of students on field trips to the Grand Tetons and Great Smoky Mountains once a year. He still guides the typical classroom experience, but Mike has extended learning beyond the classroom. Handson immersion in nature is the first step to cementing the elements and importance of conservation into the psyche of students so they understand, appreciate, and engage in the protection of wild places and wildlife.

Conservation Organization of the Year DuckHorn Outdoors Adventures The mission of DuckHorn Outdoors Adventures is to revitalize the lives of the citizens of the heartland through life-changing experiences provided in a healthy and safe outdoor environment that enrich and support their rural communities. They accomplish this in collaboration with other organizations that share their vision through unplugged outdoor adventures, conservation programs, education, and volunteer opportunities. They recently entered a partnership with Hope Outdoors to fulfill “Dreams for Disadvantaged,” and provided a duck and pheasant hunt for a terminally ill young man and his family. DuckHorn hopes to provide many more experiences like these in the future, exposing young people to the outdoors around them, extending thanks to military veterans and first responders, and engaging new demographics in hunting and fishing.

Professional Conservationist of the Year Jason Sumners Jason Sumners is the Branch Chief of the Resource Science Division at the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC). His work has improved our whitetail deer herd, provided local, state, and national leadership related to cervid health and Chronic Wasting Disease management, and overall agency relevancy here in Missouri. Jason has provided key guidance on conservation leadership within the conservation family and Department leadership in MDC’s recent reorganization, simplified regulations, identified priority geographies, and worked to increase fish and wildlife populations on many committees and workgroups. We are fortunate to have him, his talents, and his energy in Missouri.

MAY - 2021


Member News Water Conservationist of the Year - Ezekiel Kuehn Ezekiel “Zeke” Kuehn (19882020) fashioned his own career as a conservation professional around the niche he saw a need for cost-effective, naturebased stream and wetland reservation. The company he built, along with family and friends, Wildscape Environmental, quickly became the go-to “river healers” for southwest Missouri. In 2020 alone, Zeke and Wildscape worked with a variety of partners, including private landowners, the Missouri Department of Conservation, the Nature Conservancy, and many more to rehabilitate hundreds of feet of streambanks and expand riparian buffers to increase watershed health. Although Zeke’s time was short, he had a tremendously positive impact on the people and places he touched. He worked worth urgency but took time to enjoy his family and friends. He recognized a need in the industry and filled that niche with a company that continues to grow even in his absence.   Conservation Legislator of the Year (House) Former Representative Kip Kendrick Former Representative Kip Kendrick represented part of the City of Columbia and Boone County in the Missouri House of Representatives. He was first elected in November 2014 and served through 2020. Kendrick was instrumental in advocating for Missouri conservation and natural resource efforts while in the House. As an avid outdoorsman, he understands the importance of protecting the many outdoor resources in Missouri for current and future generations to enjoy. Kip Kendrick, his wife Sarah, and their son Abram Andrew enjoy exploring public lands almost every weekend and camping and hiking as often as possible. Conservation Legislator of the Year (Senate) Former Senator Mike Cunningham Former Senator Mike Cunningham represented the 33rd District in the Missouri Senate. Before beginning his journey in the Missouri Legislature as a state representative (elected in 2002), Sen. Cunningham owned and managed Cunningham’s Fresh Foods, a supermarket in Marshfield. In addition, he received an honorable discharge from the U.S. Army, serving from 1967 to 1969, attaining the rank of Sergeant E-5 in the military police. He lives in Rogersville with his wife Nikki. He has three children, five grandchildren, and half a dozen bird dogs. He enjoys hunting, fishing, horseback riding, and canoeing.



2021 RESOLUTIONS A critical activity performed by CFM is the monitoring of conservation and natural resource issues and the formulation of an organizational stance or position based on the best available information and/or science. Members and board supported resolutions are frequently developed as a means of expressing CFM support, opposition, recognition, or advice on a particular topic. CFM resolutions are one of the most powerful expressions of our opinion as a conservation organization. Resolutions were voted upon and approved at CFM's 85th Annual Convention on March 6, 2021. These can be viewed online at https://www.confedmo.org/resolutions2021/ 2021 - 1: Request for MDC Not to Allow Air Guns During Archery Season (Archery and Shooting Sports) 2021 - 2: Support for Science-Based Management of Black Bears (Big Game, Turkey and Furbearers) 2021 - 3: Amphibian Chytrid Awareness (Environment and Ecology) 2021 - 4: CFM Support for Hardwood Trees in the Farm Bill (Forest Resources and Management) 2021 -5: Support for the White Oak Initiative (Forest Resources and Management) 2021 - 6: Oppose St. Charles City’s Proposed Riverpointe Development near Bangert Memorial Wildlife Area (Public/ Private Lands) 2021-7: Improved Access to Cost-Share and Incentive Program Information Needed for Owners of Marginal Farm and Agricultural Lands (Public/Private Lands) 2021-8: Enable Missouri Citizens Receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) to Apply for Reduced-Fee Fishing Permits (Rivers, Streams, and Fisheries) 2021-9: Encourage Levee Setbacks on the Missouri River to Provide Floodplain Connectivity and a Sustainable Strategy to Mitigate Flooding and Benefit Fish, Wildlife and Landoweners 2021-10: Required Non-Toxic Shot for Small Game on All Missouri Department of Conservation Areas 2021-11: Conservation Federation of Missouri (CFM) support of Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) intensively managed wetland areas and a Missouri Wetland and Waterfowl Symposium

Member News

CFM Young Professionals hold Trivia Night


his year's CFM Convention was a little different overall and so was the Young Professional’s social. My husband and I had a lot of fun at the CFM Young Professionals Trivia Night. We aren't generally trivia people, we were however looking forward to talking to other conservationminded people our age. I was also skeptical about the virtual setup of the trivia night. Was I ever glad we attended though. We brought our own drinks like we would any other get together and joined from our living room. The trivia was all geared toward conservation but varied widely from types of plants and animals to what year did particular conservation events occur.

Shags from KCMQ’s "The Morning Shag with Shags and Trevor," was the trivia announcer and he added his style to it which encouraged everyone to laugh constantly. He would ask the question then we would confer as a group of 4 in our own little meeting room for a couple minutes. Then we would send the answer in as we joined the whole group again to get the results and hear the next question. I'm pretty sure our team came in last place but I think we laughed more than anyone else. My husband even said after it was over "we need to do more things like this," which is a big deal for him. We hope to join the Young Professionals for more socials similar to this one. Katherine Brookshire

Calling for Conservation Leadership Corps Applicants


he Conservation Leadership Corps (CLC) is now accepting applications for membership. The CLC is a group of conservation-minded students from across the state. We are seeking applications from students who will be high school juniors through college juniors in the fall of 2021. Apply at the CFM website here: www.confedmo.org/clc. The purpose of the program is to bring students together to be engaged in conservation in Missouri, to be active with our CFM Affiliates, and to learn how to be a voice for the Missouri Outdoors. Students are shown how to speak to their state legislators and encouraged to testify in the Capitol on behalf of conservation. Many CLC alumni have met their employers through this program and are still very active in CFM today as board members, committee chairs, and even staff! We are planning this year’s CLC Stream Team cleanup and float trip and will have our first meeting with new students at Fall Conference. The application period closes May 15th, so don’t wait, apply today!

If you have any questions about the program or applying, send those to our Education and Communications Coordinator, Colton Zirkle at czirkle@confedmo.org.

MAY - 2021


Road trip. We didn’t choose the perfect playlist. Or program the GPS. But we did fuel the car that made you realize there are no wrong turns, only new adventures. When the energy you invest in life meets the energy we fuel it with, amazing journeys happen.



MAY - 2021


Feature Story

Find Your Passion at a Nature Center Near You W

hen someone mentions the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), what do you think of first?

Hunting and fishing? Or maybe forestry or native plants? The monthly magazine, Missouri Conservationist? Perhaps the elk herd at Peck Ranch? Those are all facets of the Department of Conservation. But when I think of MDC, I think of the great programming offered at the eight nature centers around the state (see list in the box at the end of this article). Basket making, stool caning, antler jewelry, bird watching, wild edibles, backpacking – those are just a few of the many classes I've taken, primarily at Twin Pines Conservation Education Center, at Cape Girardeau, Powder Valley and Runge conservation nature centers. In addition to the new skills learned and finished products made in each class, there's the added bonus of new friendships and unique ties to nature. Although most programs went virtual for the past year because of the coronavirus, in-person programming is back, and the time is right to check out the offerings and sign up for some classes, both indoors and out. There is sure to be something to interest almost any age group in your family.



Feature Story "My main goal in planning a program is to connect people with nature," says Reva Dow, Twin Pines Conservation Education Center manager. "I want to provide opportunities for participants to find something new they enjoy and didn't know they did! When someone has made that connection, they tend to become more involved in the protection and management of Missouri resources." And Missouri resources are at the heart of everything the nature centers do. The MDC logo is a triangle with a leaf, a fish, and a raccoon, representing the state's forest, fish, and wildlife resources. Programming always has a tie to at least one of these three areas. For example, the class on caning a stool begins with a talk about the Ozark tradition of using hickory strips for caning, and explores how to select a tree, harvest the bark, prepare it and then use it. For a two-part class on finger weaving, the first session is devoted to natural dyes. It includes harvesting native plants in the pollinator garden outside the center, dying the yarn, and hanging it to dry. In the second session, the dyed yarn is used for a weaving project.   Although each center can develop its programs, there is a lot of cross-fertilization between centers. For example, Reva attended Nature's Needlers, a quilting program, at Runge Nature Center in Jefferson City, then brought the idea back to Twin Pines. "The program has been successful there [at Runge] for many years, and they were quite helpful and willing to share their knowledge. I brought back patterns and ideas and started Pine Needlers at Twin Pines," she says. "Our first block theme was Missouri Prairies. We are now working on and have almost completed our second quilt theme, Missouri Ozarks." Meanwhile, the idea has spread to the Cape Girardeau center, where Sara Bradshaw, conservation educator, launched Nature Needlers. This year's quilt block theme at Cape focuses on Missouri's swamps.   Wendy Lott is the naturalist at Twin Pines. Reva, Wendy and Sara often collaborate on training and programs. For example, Sara was the instructor for some programs on making jewelry from deer antlers at Twin Pines. Another time, Sara, Reva, Wendy and other staff and volunteers met for a training session on Cherokee basket weaving, led by Arron Hendershott, the regional supervisor.  

Sara Bradshaw, conservation educator at Cape Girardeau Nature Center, shows how to use hickory strips to cane a chair or stool. This rocker has been in her family for several generations. (Photo: Barbara Gibbs Ostmann)

Volunteers are vital to making programming possible. "Twin Pines has a wonderful group of volunteers that assist in many ways, including presenting classes, gardening work, program preparation, and whatever else is needed," says Reva. Linda Strauch is a frequent volunteer at Twin Pines for classes on traditional Ozark skills, such as harvesting hickory and oak strips for basket weaving and caning. Sara learned these skills at Twin Pines and then shared them in a class at Cape Girardeau, where Linda was on hand to help out. Sara's mother, Dixie Davie, volunteers at Cape and frequently helps out at Twin Pines, too. This give-and-take is part of the spirit of camaraderie that develops among center staff and program participants.   "We encourage diversity throughout every aspect of MDC, including our outreach programs. Anyone who wants to attend a program is always welcome," says Reva. "Our goal is to develop programs that reach a diverse population across the state as we connect to nature." MAY - 2021


Feature Story When pressed to name a favorite program, Reva demurs. "It's hard for me to pick a personal favorite. I love learning and sharing information on Missouri's forests, fish, and wildlife. But having to choose between hiking, kayaking, birding, quilting, basket making, gathering hickory, and caning chairs would be pretty tricky!" "My favorite part of my job is seeing others learn to appreciate and connect with nature. Highlights would include sharing the excitement when helping a student catch their first fish and them asking if I'd take a photo so they can send it to their relative. And it's so exhilarating being on a birding hike when someone sees a 'lifer.' I also enjoy hearing program participants share stories and seeing photos of their accomplishments from harvesting their first deer or turkey. And of course, it makes me smile when I see someone's finished quilt they created with blocks made during Pine Needlers." Don't miss out on the fun! It's easy to find out what's happening at a nature center near you, via Facebook or the MDC website.  "Our events can be found yearround at the official MDC Facebook page; just search for Missouri Department of Conservation and click 'like' so you don't miss our programs," says Reva. "We encourage folks to register ahead of time if they do plan on participating. Our events are free, and you can easily register online at MissouriConservation.org. That's where you'll also find a complete listing of our events." Be prepared, though, to get hooked. Sometimes a single class can launch a lifelong interest in fishing, camping, basket making, nature photography or countless other activities. Reva is a case in point. "I started birding after attending a workshop presented by Shelly Colatskie, naturalist at Powder Valley Nature Center," says Reva. "She presented a wonderful program, and I blame her for getting me hooked!" Reva was one of the lucky birders who witnessed the brown booby that showed up out of place on the Current River last fall. Join a bird-watching hike at a nature center near you, and who knows? You might discover a new outdoor activity that you can enjoy for the rest of your life. Barbara Gibbs Ostmann (Cover) The trails around the Twin Pines Conservation Education Center are part of the Great Missouri Birding Trail. Cindy Bridges, a birding enthusiast and Twin Pines volunteer, led a small group of beginning and experienced birders on a beautiful fall day. (Photo: Barbara Gibbs Ostmann)




The Missouri Department of Conservation operates eight nature centers around the state as part of its mission "to protect and manage the fish, forest and wildlife resources of the state, to facilitate and provide opportunity for all citizens to use, enjoy and learn about these resources." Nature centers provide numerous opportunities for citizens, like walks on interpretive trails or nature trails, learning about wildlife through live exhibits, or attending workshops or classes on a number of topics and outdoor skills. Check out the nature center nearest you: Burr Oak Woods Conservation Area Blue Springs *Disabled accessible Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center Cape Girardeau *Disabled accessible Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center Kirkwood *Disabled accessible Runge Conservation Nature Center Jefferson City Shoal Creek Conservation Education Center Joplin Springfield Conservation Nature Center Springfield *Disabled accessible The Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center Kansas City *Disabled accessible Twin Pines Conservation Education Center Winona *Disabled accessible For more information, visit www.missouriconservation.org.

Outdoor Story

Stunning Native Plants of May


nce spring has fully closed the door on winter and summer begins to inch closer there are several stunning native plants that bring beauty and joy wherever they are planted. False Blue Indigo (Baptisia australis) This showy plant is also one of the tidiest of the native plant world. Rich indigo blue blooms top spires of cool blue-green leaves arranged in groups of three. Bloom time is May to June and once spent the stunning blooms give way to decorative, almost black seed pods. Late into fall the seeds will rattle in the pods. Often found on glades, false blue indigo can grow to 3ft tall and will take full to part sun. False blue indigo also serves as a host plant for the wild indigo duskywing, a small skipper butterfly. Measuring only 1.5,” these chocolate brown to black butterflies have two broods a year with caterpillars from the second brood overwintering. Lanceleaf Coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata) The stunning yellow blooms on this plant hides a surprising secret - it does not appreciate care in the least. Not only is lanceleaf coreopsis sun loving, it appreciates poor, dry soil. Blooms are most plentiful from May to June, but a bloom or two may come at any time after that, especially if spent blooms are removed. Growing about 2ft tall, it can prolifically reseed in areas where it is happy. Basal leaves can remain green during mild winters. It does not appreciate competition, but can thrive in areas such as parking lot islands and hard-packed roadsides. It also can be used as a showy cover crop while establishing a native planting. Small butterflies such as spring azures enjoy seeking nectar from the blooms.

Lanceleaf Coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata). (Photo: Mary Nemecek)

Foxglove Beardtongue (Penstemon digitalis) A full-sun loving early bloomer with white bell flowers atop 3 ft or taller stems. This plant is also not picky about soil type and will grow in poor, welldrained soil. It is a favorite of pollinators with bees loving to roll around inside the flowers, covering themselves with pollen. Its name comes from the Greek word penta, meaning five, and stemon, meaning stamon. Each flower has 5 stamens but only four of them are fertile. Digitalis comes from the Latin word meaning finger as the flowers are said to resemble the fingers of a glove. The common name of beardtongue comes from the tufts of hair on the sterile stamen. Spent blooms give way to interesting, hard coated seed pods. It can also freely reseed in areas albeit not as aggressively as lanceleaf coreopsis. Basal leaves of this plant may also retain some green during mild winters. Grow Native! is a native plant education and marketing program of the Missouri Prairie Foundation, an affiliate member of CFM. You can find suppliers of native plants to bring the beauty of native plants to your yard at www.grownative.org. Mary Nemececk President of Burroughs Audubon MAY - 2021


Feature Story

Fewmets, Antlers, and Demise



Feature Story


fter weeks of cold, snowy weather, a warm day at the end of February was a welcomed change. The blanket of snow had been pulled back and the curtain of leaves that will fill nature’s proscenium had not yet arrived. A whiff of Spring was in the air. For the next several weeks the woodlands are a drama to watch and book to be read. After lunch, we headed out the door to search for antler sheds and any other stories from days gone by that might be revealed.

As we hiked, deer sign was evident; fewmets, scores of rubs, occasional beds and old scrapes. Turkeys had also worked the area intensively. A few long-abandoned boxturtle shells were found. Remnants of maiden hair ferns lay flat. A still frozen plunge pool in the drainage creek shown bright against the lifeless, rocky landscape below. The old cross fences told us where we stood. Bright orange flagging marked the area where a large shed was found last year along a remote trail that crossed between two deep cuts. After about an hour, my wife would find a doe skull, and then nearby a nice four-point antler with good mass and shape. Minutes later I would find a 50-year-old whiskey bottle, empty. We crisscrossed the area a few more times, found nothing more, and headed for home.

Throughout the fall and winter, a lot of deer were showing up on the cameras scattered around property. During a recent cold snap, a few does would regularly spend their evenings curled up on a hillside behind our house, including an adult and her fawn we call Split Ear. Split Ear has a right ear that is deeply split in two and this identifying mark is our justification for giving her As we headed east, I moved up to trace a fence line a reprieve during any future hunting seasons. During that deer frequently used. At 30 yards I could see a deer the bitter cold, four bucks also visited motionless on the ground, its hind the backyard searching for some easy leg caught in the neighbor’s fence. For me the death of a treats near the bird feeders. Amid this A cautious approach revealed it was deer during the hunting alive. A double time walk back to the group was one boy with a badly injured front leg. The injury severely hampers house and we retrieved wire cutters. season has a yin and his ability to walk and run and so he yang, complimentary yet The buck had been there a while but spends a lot of time these days nearby rather than traveling with the others. not an extraordinarily long time. He opposing feelings and Unable to run and jump, his future exhausted so approaching him thoughts. I wouldn’t have was would likely be short. to cut the wire without a lot of fuss it any other way. was easy. Once set free it was clear All but one of the bucks had dropped his hind quarters were injured. It was their antlers so we knew it was time to look for those also clear he was the buck with the badly injured left leg. ornaments before the mice and squirrels leave their A conversation with the county Conservation Agent was marks of defacement. Before the last snow, I found one next. small shed near the house, likely belonging to Lefty, a small three-point buck with an antler on one side. Lefty For me the death of a deer during the hunting season regularly showed up on the cams throughout the fall and has a yin and yang, complimentary yet opposing feelings winter and once walked by my stand during a backyard and thoughts. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Today’s hunt. This Boone County unicorn is a neighborhood actions, however, would be necessary, merciful, and sad. celebrity. That evening as I sat and sipped a cold beer, I reflected on the day’s events. I could feel a few aches in my back Today we would walk the sanctuary, a place where deer from the walk on uneven terrain and the stress of other live deep in the woods, undisturbed and unscathed. The deeds. It had been a good day, a day of reward and stark land we will traverse is rough with a long history that is realities; nature’s drama. As I held the antler in my hand, occasionally uncovered. In the past I have found a few I pondered silently and wondered to which animal did arrow heads and shards, pieces of crockery, old fencing, this belong, knowing that it is now forever assigned to a and an array of discarded trash dating from 100 years to memory of deer whose time was cut too short. present. Deer trails that have existed for decades would be where we would focus our effort. Dan Zekor Finding antlers in late winter is key before the mice and squirrels leave their marks of defacement.(Photo: Dan Zekor)

MAY - 2021


Feature Story

Royal Voyagers of the Sky


warm breeze rustles the branches of oyamel fir trees as dappled sunlight makes its way through the canopy to the forest floor. The rising temperatures send a signal to the forest's winter residents that spring is on the horizon, along with a great new adventure. A gentle rustle begins to sound throughout the fir trees. Slowly, thousands of butterflies fill the forest like an orange and black cloud. The kaleidoscope swirls in all directions, between the branches, above the trees, and through the understory. A suitable bearing is discovered, and the flutter begins dancing away towards their great adventure north to give rise to more generations.  



Mexico is home to an Oyamel fir forest on mountain tops that serve as overwintering sites for monarch butterflies' eastern population. The forest provides the perfect microclimate cold enough for the monarchs to reserve energy but not too cold that they perish. Monarchs cover the tree trunks, branches, and even needles in clusters to preserve heat and energy until spring arrives.  These forests serve as crucial overwintering habitat for monarch butterflies. In 1980, Mexico established the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve to preserve these essential overwintering sites.  This 56,000-hectare reserve aims to protect overwintering sites and support sustainable monarch populations.  

Feature Story By the end of February, the weather is warming in Mexico, and the monarch butterflies are taking flight. These butterflies are the Super Generation of last fall's migration. They had no need for reproduction traveling south last year but are now starting to develop the ability to reproduce as they migrate north. Their mission is to fly north, locate milkweed, and reproduce. The first generation of offspring, "children" of the overwintering population, will continue north from Texas and the southern states to breeding grounds in the Midwest, then further north into Canada.   The monarch butterfly will reproduce as it travels north through three countries. Within the spring and fall migrations are an estimated four to five monarch generations. The first generation is the children of the overwintering population from Mexico. These offspring will continue to travel north through mid-America in March through June. The second generation will continue the journey from May through July. By July, the third generation of monarchs will start to journey south again as some still fly north. From July through early November, the fourth and fifth generations will migrate south from southern Canada and the northern U.S. to Mexico's overwintering sites. Missourians can expect to see monarchs from midApril through late September.    Most know butterfly lifecycles: egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, then beautiful butterfly. What's not common knowledge yet is that the monarch butterfly wholly depends on milkweed for half of its life stages. A female butterfly will only lay her egg on milkweed. Once the monarch caterpillar hatches from the egg, it will eat only milkweed. When the fat and happy caterpillar is ready to form a chrysalis, it will attach itself to a sheltered structure. Sometimes, this structure is the same milkweed on which they last feasted. After the beautiful monarch butterfly emerges from the chrysalis, it can feast on nectar provided by flowering milkweed plants. During the past 20+ years, monarch populations have decreased significantly. In the 1990s, up to one billion monarchs made the migration. From 2013 to 2014, the population dropped to 33 million, representing a 90 percent decrease from the 20-year average. In the 2020-2021 overwintering season, monarchs occupied only 2.10 ha in Mexico. This is a 26% decrease from the previous winter. A sustainable monarch population should occupy at least 6 ha. Monarch populations have decreased due to droughts, climate change, land usage, poorly timed mowing and herbicide applications, and changes to production agriculture systems. The decline in various milkweed species is particularly troublesome as they are essential for monarch survival. Without milkweed, there will be no monarchs.

Missourians understand the need for pollinator habitat, especially the need for milkweed in their breeding grounds in the Midwest. In 2015, Missourians for Monarchs Collaborative was formed from a grassroots statewide initiative (now known as Missouri Pollinator NetworkMaster Naturalists and Gardeners) to address pollinator preservation. In August of 2016, Collaborative partners signed a memorandum of understanding, formalizing the new Missourians for Monarchs Collaborative, and committed to creating and maintaining 19,000 acres of pollinator habitat annually for the next 20 years with 200 stems of milkweed per acre. As of 2020, the Collaborative of over 40 organizations has established 450,000+ acres of pollinator habitat and continually monitors milkweed content. In addition to establishing pollinator habitat, Missourians for Monarchs also serves as a central hub for monarch news, milkweed monitoring, pollinator event promotion, technical resources, best management practices, and more. If you're interested in learning about the various ways you can help support pollinators or to find technical expertise for your area, visit moformonarchs.org In many cultures, the monarch butterfly is a symbol of rebirth and transformation. As we observe the monarch fluttering through Missouri, let them serve as a hopeful reminder that anything is possible if we work together. Optimism, combined with determination, can help ensure our actions have a meaningful and sustainable impact. Elizabeth Egan Missourians for Monarchs MAY - 2021


Agency News



he Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) announces the state’s first black-bear hunting season is slated for this coming fall, Oct. 18–27.

The Missouri Conservation Commission gave final approval of MDC’s season framework, permit and harvest quotas, and other related regulations for hunting black bears in Missouri at its March 26 open meeting. The approved regulations limit bear hunting to Missouri residents and restrict bear hunting to designated areas of southern Missouri. Missouri residents will be able to apply during May for the Oct. 18-27 hunt with permit selection by July 1 through a random drawing of applicants. Missouri’s estimated 800 (600 – 1000) black bears are found south of the Missouri River, and primarily south of Interstate 44. MDC has established three Bear Management Zones (BMZ) in southern Missouri and will issue annual permit numbers and harvest quotas for each of the three BMZs. Each permit will be for a specific BMZ and may be used on public or private property within the BMZ. Permit and harvest quotas for the upcoming Oct. 18-27 bear season will be: • BMZ 1: Permit quota of 200 issued with a harvest quota of 20 bears. • BMZ 2: Permit quota of 150 issued with a harvest quota of 15 bears. • BMZ 3: Permit quota of 50 issued with a harvest quota of 5 bears. The limited hunting season will be restricted to Missouri residents and will begin each year on the third Monday in October and run for 10 days or until BMZspecific quotas are reached. Once the specific harvest quotas are filled for each BMZ, the season for that BMZ will be closed. “Being able to add this iconic species to the long list of hunting opportunities for Missourians is a testament to the decades of bear research and management by MDC staff,” said MDC Director Sara Parker Pauley. “A limited annual hunting season will help manage the growing number of black bears in the state.”



MDC proposed a limited and highly regulated blackbear hunting season following several years of public comment, including informational open houses in 2019 and a public-input process in the spring and fall of 2020. “A bear-hunting season in our state will provide opportunities for Missourians to participate in the sustainable harvest of this valuable wildlife species,” said MDC Bear Biologist Laura Conlee. “As our black bear population continues to grow, a highly regulated hunting season will be an essential part of population management into the future. The timing and length of the season, allowed hunting methods, and a limited permit allocation coupled with a limited harvest quota will ensure a sustainable harvest of our growing bear population.” Hunting hours will be a half-hour before sunrise to a half-hour after sunset. Hunters will be allowed to use both archery and firearms equipment with allowable methods being the same as those for deer and elk, except the use of an atlatl. Baiting and the use of dogs will not be allowed. The harvest limit will be one bear per permit. Only lone black bears may be taken. Hunters may not take bears that are known to be in the presence of others bears, including female black bears with cubs.

Agency News Bears may not be disturbed, pushed, harassed, or taken from a den. Bear hunters must wear hunter orange, make reasonable efforts to retrieve shot bears, and may not leave or abandon commonly edible portions. All harvested bears must be telechecked by 10 p.m. on the day of harvest. Harvested bears must remain intact as a field-dressed carcass or quartered until the bear has been telechecked.

MDC is not issuing landowner-specific black bear hunting permits, however, a minimum of 10 percent of zone-specific resident black bear permits will be allocated to qualifying landowners. Zone-specific permits can be used anywhere in the specified zone on public or private property (with landowner permission). To qualify, landowners must have at least 20 contiguous acres within the BMZ for which they are applying.

MDC will also require the submission of a tooth from each harvested bear within 10 days of harvest. This will help MDC staff with black bear research and management.

Qualifying landowners must first submit their property information through MDC’s Landowner Permit Application at mdc.mo.gov/landownerpermits before completing a black bear permit application.

Hunters who are issued permits must call MDC each day before they intend to hunt to determine if the BMZ-specific quota has been reached. If harvest quotas are not reached, the season will close at the end of the 10 designated hunting days.

Learn more about bear hunting in Missouri at huntfish. mdc.mo.gov/hunting-trapping/species/bear.

Permit Process MDC will offer an online bear-hunting permitapplication period May 1-31 with a fee of $10 per applicant. Individuals must be Missouri residents and will be allowed to apply to hunt in one of the three designated BMZs. Apply May 1 - 31 online at mdc.mo.gov/buypermits, through MDC's free MO Hunting app, through a permit vendor, or by calling 1-800-392-4115. Permit selection will be determined by July 1 through a random drawing of all eligible applicants. There will be no “sit-out” period for those selected to receive permits. Applicants can check to see if they have been selected for an elk-hunting permit at mdc.mo.gov/ buypermits by logging into “Manage Your Account” and selecting “View My Special Hunt History.” Those selected will then be eligible to buy a permit at a cost of $25. Selected hunters must be 11 years of age or older and have completed hunter education (or be exempt) by the time of the hunt to purchase a permit.

Bear Background The black bear is one of the largest and heaviest wild mammals in Missouri with some reaching up to 500 pounds. Black bears were historically abundant throughout the forested areas of Missouri prior to European settlement but were nearly eliminated by unregulated killing in the late 1800s, as well as from habitat loss when Ozark forests were logged. However, a small number of Missouri black bears survived and reintroduction efforts in Arkansas helped to increase bear numbers in southern Missouri. Over the last 50 years, bear numbers and range in Missouri have grown. MDC research shows that Missouri is now home to around 800 (range 600 – 1000) black bears with most found south of the Missouri River and primarily south of Interstate 44. Missouri bear range is expanding, and bear numbers are increasing each year by approximately 9% and are expected to double in less than 10 years. Additionally, Missouri’s bear population is connected to a larger bear population in the surrounding states of Arkansas and Oklahoma, both of which have established bear-hunting seasons. MDC’s 2020-2030 Black Bear Management Plan will guide bear management in Missouri for the next decade. Learn more about black bears in Missouri and MDC management efforts at mdc.mo.gov/bears.

MAY - 2021


Agency News

MISSOURI STATE PARKS Missouri State Parks Begins the Commemoration of Missouri’s Bicentennial With a Visual Quilt Story


oin Missouri State Parks in commemorating the bicentennial of Missouri’s entry into the United States of America as the 24th state. Take time in 2021 to reflect on the past, present and future of Missouri. The road to statehood was controversial, long and complex. Missouri’s admission changed the nation on many different fronts. Missouri State Parks looks forward to telling these stories with special events and virtual programming during the bicentennial year with planning currently underway. Missouri State Parks commemorates the state’s history and culture through acts of service, stewardship and interpretation. Two quilts were created by Missouri State Parks staff and volunteers to assist in telling a visual story of Missouri’s natural and cultural resources in preparation for the bicentennial year. A total of 60 individuals worked during an eightmonth period to create two quilts. The project consisted of the collaboration of 56 individuals, making unique individual quilt squares, each representing a park and historic site in Missouri. The bicentennial quilt project began its journey across Missouri with displays at Missouri State Museum and Bennett Spring State Park. This project was developed by Vicky Harding; she individually prepped and pieced both quilt tops together in less than a month’s time. Connie Weber at Echo Bluff State Park and Joyce Ball of Lebanon longarm quilted the quilts. The project and planning committee consists of the following team members: Vicky Harding, Connie Weber, Patricia Chambers, Holly Welch, Marianne Bodine, Melissa Blank, Katy Holmer and Alan Laboube. To visit the bicentennial quilt display at a park or historic site near you, visit www.mostateparks. com for the exhibit schedule.



Missouri State Parks provides many ways to commemorate what is historic and unique to the state of Missouri. Visit www.mostateparks.com to view bicentennial-related activities, virtual events, educational opportunities and any temporary closures that may impact your visit. If you have questions, reach out to your local state park or historic site by phone, or email moparks@ dnr.mo.gov for more information. We look forward to seeing you this year. You are always welcome at Missouri State Parks.

Agency News

Anglers Celebrate 2021 Trout Season Opening in Missouri State Parks


ore than 5,400 anglers visited Bennett Spring, Montauk and Roaring River state parks on opening day of trout season. The catch-andkeep trout season began at 6:30 a.m. Monday, March 1. “Opening day of Missouri trout season is always exciting,” said Mike Sutherland, director of Missouri State Parks. “When so many family, friends and fellow anglers gather at our parks to share their passion for trout fishing, it creates a unique energy unlike any other season or event. I absolutely love getting to watch lifelong memories being created and our state parks are privileged to host this very special annual event.” Based on trout tag sales, 1,709 anglers visited Bennett Spring State Park near Lebanon, 1,793 anglers visited Montauk State Park near Salem, and 1,956 anglers visited Roaring River State Park near Cassville. This year’s total is lower than 2020 numbers by nearly 2,000. A breakdown of trout tag counts and photos from the day are available at mostateparks.com/TroutOpening2021.

“People travel from near and far to our three trout fishing parks to enjoy some of the best trout fishing in the region,” said Dru Buntin, deputy director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. “For folks who just want to enjoy the outdoors, these parks also offer great camping, beautiful trails and a host of other fun things to see and do.” The catch-and-keep trout season continues through Oct. 31. Trout season in Missouri is a cooperative effort of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, which manages state parks, and the Missouri Department of Conservation, which operates the hatcheries and stocks the streams with trout. For more information on state parks and historic sites, visit mostateparks.com. Missouri State Parks is a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

MAY - 2021


NATURE is Healthy



Get healthy in nature this year.


MAY - 2021


Feature Story

Pass On the Fishing Heritage K

indness towards a child may still be remembered many years later. This column is my way of thanking a very special fisherman who was kind to a scrubby little kid almost 50 years ago. My buddy, Bob Guerra and I both lived to fish in those simple days when dad and mom still paid the bills and school grades were our biggest worry. Our homes were close to a Missouri lake and we made housewives angry daily by stomping through flower beds while reaching our best fishing spots.



Painstaking hours of research uncovered cherished places where fish gobbled down baits offered on bronze-colored hooks like piranhas feeding in a blood bank. During our formative years, the fishing bug bit us when girls were still little more than an idle curiosity and generally pests. We earned money by mowing lawns, throwing hay bales or shoveling snow to buy fishing tackle.

Feature Story We constantly studied fishing articles from old periodicals that had been handed down from a neighbor. Titles like Outdoor Life, Field and Stream, Fur, Fish and Game, Argosy, True and other classic magazines enticed us with photos of huge largemouth bass jumping with a lure tucked in their jaw like a cigar in my fat grandpa’s mouth. Big bass were still a mystery we were trying to solve. The Kansas City Sports Show in January was one of our favorite times for fighting spring fever. We loved to explore each booth, especially lure companies that were still privately owned in the 1960’s. Magazine articles taught us names like Heddon, Shakespeare and Arbogast Lures, who always had booths at the show, free brochures and occasionally real treasures like key rings. I never imagined that the gods of fishing would cast their blessings on me that cold January night. Fred Arbogast, inventor of two of the world’s best topwater lures, the Jitterbug and The Hula Popper, died in 1947, six years before I was born. My father and grandfather had always caught bass with his Hula Poppers on our farm pond, so I paid close attention to outdoor stories about Arbogast’s Dick Kotis. The older, well-tanned gentleman was featured in magazine articles and Arbogast advertisements. He rated up there with Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris, at least in my mind. So, it was a complete shock to see the legendary Kotis standing in his booth on that winter night in Kansas City, being ignored by the crowd. I remember this conversation as if it happened yesterday. “Uh, Mr. Kotis,” I stammered, not used to meeting famous people.

“Only small ones on worms I dug up in my mother’s garden.” “Well, I’ll tell you what I’ll do,” he said. “My boss told me to give a couple of our best lures to a special fisherman and I think you may be the one. Here are three for you to try and then let me know if they work better than your mother’s earth worms.” I stood there in the middle of a passing crowd and admired the items of beauty in my hands while not realizing that he actually was the boss at Arbogast. This legend of fishing had given me a Hula Popper, a Jitterbug and a Hawaiian Wiggler. Each reflected absolute beauty under the plastic confines of packaging that I wish he had autographed—but who knew about that kind of stuff at age 12? “Uh, thank you sir,” I stammered, still in shock. “I can’t wait to try them.” “Just don’t ever stop fishing kid,” he said. I moved away in shock to find my buddy, Bob who had wandered another direction and stood in line waiting for a corndog behind a portly woman and her three simplelooking kids. My pal looked miserable. “Bob, I just met Dick Kotis, and he gave me three lures,” I blurted out. “You need to forget this and get over there now in case he has more.” “Alright, but let me get my corndog first,” he said, clearly more hungry than anxious to meet a legend bearing gifts, a mistake he regrets to this day.

“Yes, son, what can I do for you?” he answered in a deep, professional voice. “Well, I, uh, just wanted to say I like your lures and have read about you in magazines.” “So, you like to fish?” he asked. “Well, yes sir, I do, mostly with worms under a bobber. My buddy Bob and I catch a lot of bluegill and an occasional catfish.” “Yes, bluegill and catfish are fun to catch,” he answered, no doubt amused. “Have you ever caught a largemouth bass?”

MAY - 2021


Feature Story We quickly returned to the Arbogast booth while Bob chewed on the corndog. By then, some young guy had replaced Mr. Kotis. Bob talked to him but didn’t even receive a brochure or a key ring. My dad drove us home that evening; me with my prize lures and Bob with indigestion. The Midwest finally thawed out four months later. Early on a Saturday morning, I walked to the shoreline of my father’s farm pond where the surface was smooth as glass. I didn’t know how to tie a real fishing knot and quickly attached my treasured Jitterbug on old 10-pound test line with several granny knots. I examined the lure and line like an expert angler before stepping towards the muddy pond’s edge. I had envisioned this moment over and over again during most school lectures. The time had come for me to launch my prize into a pond of hungry largemouth bass. My Zebco 33 and matching rod strained to cast the lure that was considerably heavier than a bobber, hook and worm. The heavy lure splashed down beside a stump. I reeled once, “KER-PLUNK.” A big bass hit the lure, made a solid run that made my Zebco drag make a sickening kind of grinding noise and “TWANG” my line broke. I watched in horror while a heavy “V” split the surface as the bass stole my treasure. The Hula Popper lasted longer, two casts, before another good bass ripped up the surface with a ferocious attack. I managed to hang on for four good runs until “POW,” my line broke again. I fought back tears while tying on the Hawaiian Wiggler, sort of an early type of spinnerbait and my last prized lure. I quickly wiped off the unwanted moisture from my cheek and cast out toward an old log. I managed to reel the lure several feet, feeling the satisfying vibration it made. I managed to land a bass that probably weighed about a pound and quickly secured the flopping fish on my stringer; in 1965 we still ate bass. My next cast went out with hopes of catching one of the big bass that no doubt still had one of my lures in its mouth. I felt the vibration one last time just before the next bass hit and “PING” the line broke. I lost my three treasured lures in less than 30 minutes. I had waited four months for a devastating lesson that would haunt me until the end of time—change the stinking fishing line.



I glanced around the pond’s bank to make sure no one was close by before really letting a stream of cuss words fly. After all, I was 12 years old and boys didn’t cry under any circumstance—we cussed—unless adults were around—then we pouted. Since that day, I have lost many lures and have forgotten about most, except for the three that were given to me many years ago by a legendary gentleman. That pond has since dried up and the lures he gave me are gone. Mr. Kotis faded into history, or so I thought. I was inducted into the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame in 2011 as a fishing journalist. I wrote a story about Mr. Kotis for their publication. I was shocked to find he was still living in Ohio and had read my story. He, of course, was inducted too. He contacted me and we talked over the phone, the first time since 1965. Then he sent me a nice letter with a Jitterbug and Hula Popper, this time with the boxes autographed. They are now in a shadow box in my office. I was more than gratified to tell Mr. Kotis about the kids fishing programs I had designed and that I never quit fishing!!! Mr. Kotis will always be one of my heroes and I’ll never forget his parting words that day, words you can tell your kids: “Just don’t ever stop fishing kid.”

Kenneth L. Kieser This shadow box hangs proudly in the author's office. (Photo: Kenneth L. Kieser) (Top) The author's grandson has caught the fishing bug. Mr. Kotis would be proud. (Photo: Kenneth L. Kieser)

Outdoor News

To Plant a Tree


eaders of this magazine know better than most that the results of conservation work often come slowly.

MWPT final Cover

Conservation isn’t for those who need immediate gratification, and there is no better example of this than tree planting. Today’s spindly saplings are the shade of many years in the future. This spring, Magnificent Missouri and Forest ReLeaf began a three-year project to bring the shade, biodiversity and habitat of tomorrow to a stretch of the Katy Trail. One of many tree sayings is, “A man who plants a tree plants hope.” Working with Missouri State Parks, we plan to find places to plant hope — in the form of hundreds of trees — along the Trail and on farmsteads and in front yards from McKittrick, just across the river from Hermann, all the way to St. Charles.   To celebrate the launch of our effort, we’ve published a special edition of a classic French a story by Jean Giono fable, The Man Who Planted Trees by Jean Giono. In this tale, an itinerant shepherd plants 100 acorns every day for 30 years and slowly transforms an arid, lifeless place into one of beauty.  The story provides a simple but powerful W E M M C ————— example of what small acts performed over a long period can accomplish.


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Nature / Environment


$10 USD

12:15 PM

“Jean Giono’s story of a man’s generosity to nature—and through nature, to other humans—surely belongs among the most moving and endearing statements of our hope. In the figure of Elzéard Bouffier, Giono summarizes the best that can be said of our species. It has given me much joy to reread this story.” —WENDELL BERRY

Chelsea Green Publishing White River Junction, Vermont 802-295-6300 www.chelseagreen.com


Jean Giono (1895–1970), the only son of a cobbler and a laundress, was one of France’s greatest writers and won the Prix de Monaco, for the most outstanding collected work by a French writer, among other awards.


This extraordinary fable brings to life a shepherd who plants one hundred acorns a day for thirty years. The shepherd’s tireless efforts transform the countryside, revitalize his community, and teach us about hope, humanity, and our own ability to create change in the world. Richly illustrated by master engraver Michael McCurdy, this edition includes an inspiring foreword by Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai, whose Green Belt Movement has planted millions of trees and brought hope to people throughout Kenya. In his afterword, Andy Lipkis tells of founding TreePeople and planting trees in the unlikely ecosystems of Los Angeles, and provides practical resources for action in any community.






The Missouri River Valley that the Katy Trail traverses was once covered with bottomland forests of oak, pecan, sycamore and pawpaw. The river valley was cleared for agriculture a century ago, but many lone giants remain — none more impressive than the McBaine bur oak near Columbia. Wind, water and squirrels planted specimens like this. With increasing cultivation and development, nature needs help from us to plant tomorrow’s hope.   We couldn’t think of a better way to acquaint Missourians with the value of tree planting than by creating a special edition of this book. While we are proud of the planting effort we’ll undertake over the next few years, the real hope we are planting is that these trees — and this book — will inspire others. Magnificent Missouri’s special edition of The Man Who Planted Trees is available at MagnificentMissouri.org.

A S P E C I A L E DITION F O R M A G N I F I C E N T M I S S O U R I Foreword by


Dan Burkhardt

MAY - 2021


Feature Story

Hunter Education Celebrates

50 Years of Success



Feature Story


hat should you do if you come to an open gate on the farm you are hunting? Thirty years ago, this was the only question I answered wrong on my Hunter Education test. I was 12 at the time and remember it distinctly all these years later. That’s how powerful the training and experience of Hunter Education can be. The answer, by the way, is do nothing. Leave it open. Let the farmer know, but suspect he wanted it open for a reason. Hunting isn’t something that can be taught by course work or a book. It takes many years of experience to become a well-rounded and effective hunter. However, safety skills and a basic understanding of how to be an ethical, responsible hunter is critical knowledge necessary from day one day. For 50 years now, the International Hunter Education Association - USA (IHEA-USA) has been providing such knowledge to hunters across the country. IHEA-USA works closely with state fish and wildlife agencies to ensure hunters are made aware of basic safety and hunting skills before entering the field. This is important for new hunters, as well as all the experienced hunters they are sharing the great outdoors with. Hunter Education instructors are trained on how to deliver a complete, well-produced curriculum covering safe hunting practices. IHEA-USA now has over 41 million graduates since Hunter Education’s inception in 1949. This 50 year mark is a great time for all of us who have gone through the program to celebrate IHEA-USA on the program’s longrunning, impressive success. Mistakes are made in the field. I’ll never forget an instance when my dad and I were rabbit hunting. I must have been 10 or 11.

We were walking along a brushy fence row in a picked cornfield. Snow blanketed the ground. Since we were without a dog, we were looking for tracks we could follow to rabbits hiding in the brush. I was carrying an old double-barreled 20-gauge my father had hunted with as a boy. Eventually, my younger cousin Cody ended up in possession of that shotgun. I’m still not sure how. But anyways, I made the horrible mistake of checking to see if my safety was on by pulling the trigger. It wasn’t. The shot exploded at our feet. Thankfully, my barrel was pointed at the ground on the opposite side of where my dad was walking. Still, he sprung sideways. Then angrily grabbed the gun from me and asked what in the hell did I just do. The hunt was over. We headed home and soon after, I headed for Hunter Education classes. Moments and mistakes like the one I made so many years ago are lasting lessons. Fortunately, my mistake did not lead to an injury or worse. Others are not so lucky. Hunting is a serious matter, and safety has to always be the most critical part of any hunt. If you are a hunter, you should be hunter education certified. IHEA-USA has been doing the job for 50 years. We all owe a big debt of gratitude to every Hunter Education Instructor, past and present, for their dedicated service to ensuring a much safer society of hunters. Thank you for what you do. Brandon Butler IHEA-USA instructors have been training safe hunter for 50 years making the great outdoors safer and more enjoyable. (Photo: Courtesy of Brandon Butler)

“We are grateful to those original Hunter Safety Coordinators that had the foresight to form a cohesive governing body that would connect educators and their programs across all 50 states. This represents the sort of thinking we will continue as we maintain our drive to collaboratively prevent hunting accidents through educational opportunities with all our partners. We are moving into the next 50 years with charged excitement about the new programs and services that the IHEA-USA is going to bring to the states furthering firearms safety. We will have a lot to celebrate this year as we modernize our approach to move this organization forward through the next 50 years, setting the stage for safe hunting and safe firearms ownership in the United States.” - Alex Baer, Executive Director of IHEA-USA

MAY - 2021




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8/4/17 4:28 PM

MAY - 2021


Feature Story

Crossing Over W

hen I took up bowhunting 30 years ago, I was looking for a way to spend more quality time in the woods. I bought a good compound bow and all the associated gear, and as summer waned, I spent hours practicing so I could place an arrow in the pie plate-sized area required to kill a deer quickly and cleanly. Over the following years, I logged hundreds of hours in tree stands and learned more about deer, nature, and myself than I'd dreamed possible. I was never a great bowhunter, but I treasured misty mornings and frosty afternoons observing the workings of nature with the bow in hand.



It was a source of real grief when a wrist injury forced me to give up bowhunting. I could no longer do the target practice necessary to maintain strength and proficiency with a bow, and I would rather not bowhunt at all than do it badly. I considered switching to a crossbow. I qualified for a medical exemption that would permit me to use one during archery season. However, at that time, work and volunteer commitments left little enough time for duck hunting, firearms deer hunting, and other outdoor pursuits, so I reluctantly hung up my bow. Still, I missed the relaxed pace and contemplative feel of the fourmonth long archery season. 

Feature Story All that changed in 2016. For one thing, I retired, freeing up more time for hunting. Then, as if to remind me of my earlier interest in crossbows, the Conservation Commission voted to let hunters use crossbows during archery season.


Bows Like vertical bows, crossbows come in compound and recurve varieties. Recurves generally are bulkier, harder to cock, and louder than compounds. On the plus side, they are lighter and simpler mechanically, so there is less to go wrong with them. Most hunters choose compound bows because they offer significantly faster arrow speed. But recurves can be just as effective at normal archery hunting ranges, and they are much easier on the wallet. I mail-ordered my first crossbow, so when it arrived, it required some assembly. This went smoothly, and I was shooting within 30 minutes of opening the box. My only slip-up was not heeding the instruction to check all the screws – even those installed at the factory – for tightness periodically during the breaking-in period. During my first shooting session I couldn't get consistent accuracy. As I put the bow away, I noticed that two screws on the scope mount were loose, allowing the scope to audibly rattle. Tightening them solved the accuracy issue.  One of the safety features built into my crossbow is a device that prevents firing without a bolt loaded. This paid off immediately, preventing me from dry-firing my bow twice in the first half-hour of use. Another important safety feature was a front handle that placed my thumb and fingers well below the bowstring's travel path. Without this, you could easily forget the danger and injure yourself in the excitement leading up to shooting a deer. I don't know what safety features other crossbows might have or not. Keep these features in mind when shopping for a crossbow.

In many ways, hunting with a crossbow is similar to hunting with a firearm. But, because they have exposed moving parts, crossbows are subject to additional safety considerations that firearms hunters aren't accustomed to thinking about. Crossbows come from the factory with detailed safety instructions. Be sure to read these precautions carefully before using your crossbow. Here are a few of the high points: •

Load bolts only when you are ready to shoot.

Never carry a crossbow with a bolt loaded.

Keep hands, fingers, clothing, and other objects clear of crossbow strings and limbs.

Pay close attention to the sequence of cocking, loading, and shooting. Carelessness or distractions can lead to serious injury.

Check each bolt carefully before and after shooting by inspecting the nock, point, and inserts and by flexing it in different directions to detect cracks. A damaged bolt can shatter on firing, damaging the bow and causing serious injury.

Never "dry fire" a crossbow by discharging it without a bolt of appropriate weight loaded.

Never leave a cocked crossbow unattended. Someone unfamiliar with crossbows might cause it to fire, resulting in serious injury.

Keep broadheads that are not in use inside a hard quiver. Razor-sharp edges can cause severe or fatal injury if handled carelessly.

Scopes Most crossbows are sold with telescopic sights. I upgraded mine from a standard 3X scope to a 3X with an illuminated reticle. This is different than a laser sight, which projects a beam of light onto the target. That isn't legal in Missouri.

MAY - 2021


Feature Story Instead, a light inside the scope highlights circular aiming points graduated for ranges from 20 to 50 yards. The illumination doesn't have to be turned on during daylight hours, but it is extremely helpful early and late in the day, when low light can make it hard to see ordinary crosshair reticles. The illumination has five levels and two colors – red and green – allowing hunters to adjust for changing light conditions. Not all lighted reticles are created equal. Before buying, test your chosen scope in light conditions. The reticles on some scopes I tested were nearly impossible to see in full daylight. Also, consider which scope's type of aiming point – crosshairs, dot, rangefinder, etc., suits you best.

Other Gear I always thought the projectiles fired from crossbows were called bolts, but apparently the distinction between arrows and bolts is blurring. I still call crossbow arrows bolts, but don't be surprised to find them going by both names among bowhunters. Much more important than what we call them is how we choose them. Don't waste time fretting over whether to use aluminum or carbon-fiber bolts. Experts say that both are fine. However, selecting the right bolt is critical to accuracy. The rigidity (known as "spine") of the shaft must be properly matched to the draw weight of your bow. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations or consult an archery pro shop to be sure you have the right bolts.  The same is mostly true for broadheads. I say "mostly" because hunters are much more likely to experiment with broadhead options than with bolt shafts. If you are going to fiddle with broadheads, keep two things in mind. First, be sure the weight of whatever broadhead you choose matches the manufacturer's recommendation and is the same as the weight of the field points you use to practice. Otherwise, you will unbalance the critical equation of draw weight, arrow weight, and spine.



At the very least, you will change the point of impact of your arrows. That's fixable. But an unbalanced bolt also can cause erratic flight, ruining accuracy. The second consideration involves mechanical broadheads. These increase cutting diameter, making them more lethal. Wide-bladed broadheads tend to catch the air and "steer" bolts from the front end. This interferes with the plastic vanes at the rear of the bolt, whose job it is to keep bolts flying straight. You can only make a broadhead so broad without risking this windplaning effect. The broad cutting blades of mechanical broadheads remain folded close to the shaft in flight to avoid this. They deploy when the arrow strikes the target. Unfortunately, some mechanical broadheads are prone to open prematurely, or "flash," when fired at speeds of 300 feet per second (fps) or faster. Since many modern crossbows exceed this velocity, tinkerers need to be aware that problems with inaccuracy might be due to premature blade deployment. The fact is that huge cutting diameters aren't necessary. Any broadhead with a cutting diameter over 1 inch will do the job. If you have a fast crossbow, stick to fixedblade broadheads. Besides broadheads and field points, it's useful to keep one arrow in your quiver with a blunt tip. These inexpensive tips can be used to hunt small game, but they also are handy for unloading your bow after a hunt.

Feature Story Letting down a crossbow string by hand is dangerous, and arrows with pointed tips can disappear into soft soil or leaf litter. A blunt-tipped arrow fired into the ground is much easier to find. You can also solve the problem of unloading a crossbow with a "discharge target" that will stop field-pointed bolts. You can hand-cock a crossbow, but doing so has several disadvantages. The most serious is the potential for losing control of the string in mid-pull, causing the functional equivalent of a dry fire. You also risk injury to your fingers – not to mention your elbow, shoulder, and back joints – trying to cock a bow with a draw weight of 150 pounds or more. Finally, cocking a bow by hand almost always results in the string being twisted or shifted slightly left or right. A shift of 1/8 inch can change the arrow's point of impact by several inches. It's far better to use a mechanical cocking aid. The simplest of these is a rope with two sets of hooks and pulleys. The hooks engage the bowstring, sliding equally on either side of the barrel to prevent misalignment. The pulleys reduce the stress of pulling back the bowstring by half, sparing fingers and joints. These factors also dramatically reduce the chance of losing control of the string, making it a smart move all around. Cranks and other mechanical cocking aids reduce the strength needed to cock crossbows even more. However, a cocking rope is less expensive, quieter, quicker, and easy enough for most archers to use.

There is a widespread misconception that crossbows will kill deer at longer distances than vertical bows. Don't believe it. Crossbows have no greater range than vertical compound bows. Arrows and bolts both travel at roughly one-tenth the speed of bullets. Because of this, a walking deer 40 yards from the shooter can move several inches between pulling the trigger and when the bolt reaches the target. Furthermore, bolts start losing speed the moment they leave the bow, and that means that they are falling faster, relative to their forward motion, the farther they travel. A miscalculation of 5 yards in target distance can result in a serious difference in the bolt's point of impact. This is true for both crossbows and vertical bows. The bottom line for crossbow users is the same as for vertical bow: to ensure clean kills, keep your shots inside 30 yards. The number of archers using crossbows has increased steadily since legalization. If you decide to take up crossbow hunting, start now researching equipment options so you have plenty of time to sharpen your skills before archery season. Sept. 15 will be here before you know it! Jim Low

(Top) Scopes with illuminated reticles help when hunting in low-light conditions. (Photo: Jim Low) (Left) Fixed-blade broadheads have wide enough cutting diameters to produce quick kills. Keep them safely inside a hard quiver when not in use. (Photo: Jim Low)

BOWHUNTER EDUCATION After deciding to take up crossbow hunting, the first thing I did was to take a free bowhunter education course offered by the Conservation Department. I had been away from the sport for several years and figured a refresher course it couldn't hurt. It turned out to be a great idea. In addition to bowhunting basics, the instructors had a wealth of personal experience to draw on and were up to date on the latest innovations in equipment. I was especially glad for tips on crossbow safety, and the field exercise in blood trailing allowed me to watch and learn from other participants, who ranged from inexperienced but eager youngsters to old hands. One of the latter was an archery pro-shop owner. During breaks and after class, I picked his brain about crossbow features and performance. Bowhunter Education isn't mandatory in Missouri, but I can't imagine a better way to start a bow/crossbow hunting career.

MAY - 2021


Feature Story

Grabbin’ Suckers


rabbin’ suckers are nothing complicated, nothing new. Just ask the folks from Nixa, MO. It goes back to a time when families lived from the land. They raised pigs and fattened and butchered them. They milked a few cows by hand and drank the milk. They kept plenty of chickens for their eggs. When they wanted fried chicken for Sunday dinner, they would just grab one, cut off its head, pluck the feathers and fry it up in lard, made from the pig, on the old wood stove. They always looked forward to April and May when sucker fish would school together in significant numbers in the shallow shoals of local streams and rivers to spawn. Fish from the sucker family include yellow suckers, white suckers, blue suckers and redhorse. They were a special treat to the hard-working families, and they caught them any way they could.



In later years both farmers and city folk started using fishing rods with 20 to 30-pound test line, heavy sinkers and big treble hooks. A small white cloth was attached above the hooks, so they always knew where they were in the water. When they saw a sucker swim past the white marker, they would jerk hard and hope the hooks sunk into the fish. Fishers would stand on the gravel bars or elevate themselves on trees, rocks and even ladders to better see the fish in the water. Some even used stable flat bottom boats. Polarized sunglasses became popular because they could better see the fish. There was no limit on the number of suckers you could keep back then.

Feature Story Suckers are delicious, but they are filled with tiny, thread-like bones. To prepare them, they were scaled, then fileted, leaving the skin attached. Cuts were then made through the filet about 1/8 inch apart to cut the tiny bones into small pieces. The filets are then covered in a flour and cornmeal mixture making sure to get the mix down between the cuts and deep-fried at 325 to 350 degrees for some of the best eating you will ever experience. Some locals canned or pickled sucker filet chunks to enjoy all year long. Grabbin’ suckers were so popular and such a longstanding local tradition it was suggested they should have a special weekend to celebrate this fish and the fishermen. The first Nixa Sucker Days were held in May 1957. Businesses closed, and so did the school. Main street was lined with booths and games. People in their boats and floats of all kinds paraded down the street. There was musical entertainment, awards for the biggest sucker, a Sucker Day Queen crowned, and fried suckers were served along with all the fixins’. You could even have a bowl of ‘sucker soup’. I was an 11-year old Nixa boy at the time, and I loved it. I wanted to be a sucker grabber too someday. My uncle was Rex Harp, who won many of the awards for biggest sucker fish. He was considered “King of the Sucker Grabbers” and always took his vacation when the suckers started their spawning runs. When I was older, I worked to save money to buy everything I would need to be a sucker grabber. By then, I was married with kids and my weekends were spent grabbin’ with friends. We enjoyed it because there was always plenty of action compared to regular fishing and having to wait and hope a fish took your bait. When my sons got older, I started taking them. We have some great memories of sucker grabbin’ together. By then, suckers were a 20-fish limit per day instead of all you could catch. I fried a lot of suckers back then. The egg sac found in female suckers was a special treat when fried up, just like I did the suckers. For many years we went as a family to Nixa Sucker Days. It was an excellent time to see old friends and family, have fun, enjoy music and eat suckers. Sucker Days was always on the local news and was even featured one year on the national news.

As my sons and grandkids got older, we fished more for crappie, walleye and bass in the spring and went turkey hunting. The desire to go sucker grabbin’ faded. There doesn’t seem to be as many folks sucker grabbin’ anymore. Nixa Sucker Days has changed too. Most of the old-timers are gone. This year they will celebrate its 63rd year. It is now known as the Nixa Sucker Days Music, Arts and Craft Festival. Visitors can still get a chance to taste real fried suckers they say, along with other fried fish. There’s still a parade and music, but it’s mainly an arts and crafts festival now and not like the good ole’ days.    I have fond memories of grabbin’ suckers with friends and family. I remember great times spent at the old Sucker Days. My grabbin’ rods are stored in the barn. Grabbin’ suckers are on my bucket list. I keep telling myself I am going to go one more time. I am getting old. I need to do it while I still can. A few years ago, I was in Minnesota for an outdoor writer’s conference. During an interview with the local Visitors Bureau, I asked what fish species were in that area. They gave me a sheet showing and talking about all of them. They wanted to talk about the walleye, pike, crappie and yellow perch. I wanted to talk about the fish that was at the bottom of the list – suckers. I asked them if people fished for them. They said, “No way! It’s a trash fish. Nobody eats them. They sometimes catch them when fishing for other species and throw them out for the eagles to eat or take them home and grind them up for fertilizer for their gardens.” I smiled and said, “Let me tell you a story about grabbin’ suckers and a special day a town has every year in their honor.” I even told them I would be willing to come back and teach them how to fish for them, show them how to cook them and pass out samples to the locals. I told them it could start a whole new fishing industry for them. They had no idea what they were missing. I’m still waiting for their call.  Larry Whiteley Nixa sucker grabbers. From left to right: Clay Wilcox, Gary Recla, Larry Whiteley, Rex Harp, and Arvalee Harp. (Photo: Larry Whiteley)

MAY - 2021


Feature Story

Conservation with an

Ozarks Accent T

he legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps is alive and well in the Ozarks. Not only if you visit a state or national park like Roaring River, Bennett Spring, or Ozark National Scenic Riverways (just to name a few), where historic structures and infrastructure serve as a monument to FDR’s “Tree Army”, but also in a modern-day version in Southwest Missouri: The Watershed Conservation Corps. The WCC was formed in 2017 by Caleb Sanders, an employee of the Watershed Committee of the Ozarks. Sanders was involved in the Student Conservation Association (SCA) and the Friends of the Forest Preserves, which hired inner-city youth to oversee 69,000 acres of nature preserve near Chicago, IL. During his time in both organizations, Sanders was aware of the links between today’s youth conservation corps and the CCC boys of the Great Depression.



“I worked on CCC legacy buildings owned by the Pennsylvania Department of Natural Resources, buildings that are still in use today. My supervisor and I cut down, milled, and built cabins out of the red pines that the CCC planted in the 1930s,” said Sanders. “I’d love to work on preserving CCC buildings, but that’s a different set of skills altogether.” Nevertheless, the WCC has engaged in work like Roosevelt’s Tree Army. “When our crew worked in the Devil’s Backbone Wilderness of the Mark Twain National Forest re-routing trails, that is like stepping back in time,” said Sanders. “We work with crosscut saws and no chainsaws, very similar to the way the CCC did it.” (Chainsaws are prohibited in a wilderness area due to the Wilderness Act of 1964.)

Caleb Sanders, WCC Director, shows two young volunteers how to correctly plant a tree as part of a tree-planting project by the James River Basin Partnership along the Wilson’s Creek Greenway Trail, December 2020. (Photo: Todd Wilkinson)

Feature Story When Sanders moved back to the Ozarks in 2017, he noted that there were not any established youth conservation corps in Missouri or Arkansas. “Parks and agencies were contracting with programs in Minnesota and Arizona to do work locally,” noted Sanders. While using out-of-state corps was getting projects done, it was not allowing Ozarks youth direct involvement in the projects. Sanders saw a need, decided it was time to form a local corps, and approached the Watershed Committee’s board. “If I could fund it, and fund my position, we could do it,” stated Sanders. A group of local students and young people working on regional conservation projects was a win for everyone. “These are our parks and forest after all, and the local knowledge and passion for place runs deep,” said Sanders. During one recent project, a Corps member said, “Hey, I walked with my mom down this trail.” That personal attachment to a site means quality work. “No one is going to do bad work where your mom walks,” chuckled Sanders. Critical for the WCC are partnerships with state and federal agencies and local nonprofits like the James River Basin Partnership. Sanders truly believes that such partnerships are key to the Corps’ success since its formation, noting that there would be no way for him to find, design, and implement effective projects alone– partnering with local groups and agencies allows for reciprocal support. “We’re good about managing crews and doing the work, but the partners give us the design and ideas. We want something that will have the most impact,” noted Sanders. In December 2020, the Corps planted over 400 trees and removed invasive species along Wilson’s Creek at Springfield’s Rutledge-Wilson Farm Park as part of JRBP’s Wilson’ Creek 319 Non-Point Source Pollution Grant from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. For Sanders, it was truly a case of “lowhanging fruit.” “The beauty of the project is that it is effective, impactful, and achievable. It’s not just for aesthetics, but, more importantly, it’s an effective way to protect local waterways,” said Sanders.

He noted that planting trees in a riparian zone prone to flooding is a simple and effective way to protect urban streams. Creating a healthy riparian buffer along an urban stream like Wilson’s Creek will help reduce runoff and erosion and create a last line of defense against polluted stormwater runoff. Invasive species such as wintercreeper and bush honeysuckle, are overwhelming the riparian areas along our urban waterways. Sanders believes that invasive species will be a huge issue for the Ozarks for coming generations. He also believes that surgically focused campaigns like their recent work along Wilson’s Creek will be more successful than attempting large-scale ones. And projects also allow members to interact with the public and educate them. “We were able to talk to folks walking on the Wilson’s Creek Greenway Trail about what we were doing,” stated Sanders. And it is not just non-profit and government agencies the Corps partners with; in their first year of existence, Bass Pro Shops contracted the WCC to work on native prairie reconstruction at their national headquarters in Springfield. Corps members are all from southwest Missouri, with one traveling every day from Joplin. Sanders noted that of their first cohort, 75% of them now have jobs in the natural resources field, and he expects that number to keep on growing. In 2020, the Corps was able to offer year-round employment to five students through a contract with the Heartland Inventory and Monitoring Network. Those Corps members worked at Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield, restoring, and preserving glades and prairie. In addition, each member was provided a living wage, health insurance, and educational benefits. Today, there are 112 accredited youth conservation corps across the country, continuing the legacy of the CCC while focusing more on local projects. For Sanders, being the most impactful with funding and partners is key to success, as well as employing local individuals and giving them knowledge, skills, and training to be successful in the future. In that way, the “Tree Army” lives on in the Watershed Conservation Corps. “We’re speaking the same language as the CCC, only in an Ozark dialect,” said Sanders.

Todd Wilkinson MAY - 2021


Feature Story

Branson’s Oldest (And Best) Fly Shop


guess you didn’t want that one, huh? The quip from the back of the boat as I whiffed on a hook set. “Have to watch out for the quick release button on the side of the reel.” The dry and unmatched humor of Chuck Gries, owner of Angler’s Outfitters fly shop and guide service, is something clients and customers have been subjected to for 26 years on Lake Taneycomo.

Origin Chuck and Lynn Gries moved to Branson from Iowa in 1994 and opened the first, true fly shop in the Branson area soon after. After spending money to vacation and fish in Branson for years, the Gries decided it was time for a move. They moved to the area in 1994 and opened the shop in 1998.

The friendly, welcoming atmosphere at Angler’s Outfitters is unlike any you will experience in the region. The shop is an authorized dealer for Simms, Patagonia, Fishpond, and countless others adorn the walls and open space. (Photo: Ryan Miloshewski)



The Shop All the flies available at the shop are tied in the shop at the bench by Lynn and Chuck themselves. If you have any questions as to what is working best, both are happy to show you the flies and how to rig them on your fly or spinning rod. Scuds, midges, dry flies, and an assortment of nymphs are available. She averages 50-75,000 flies tied in a year. The friendly, welcoming atmosphere at Angler’s Outfitters is unlike any you will experience in the region. Helping folks catch fish is the main goal of the Gries. “I love the shop. It's a MUST stop if you're fishing Taneycomo for the first time or the hundredth,” said Nathan “Shags” McLeod of Driftwood Outdoors. “Even if it's just to stop by and ask what the fish are biting on, they have the knowledge and the equipment to make your trip a success.” You can find the best of the best at Angler’s Outfitters. The shop is an authorized dealer for Simms, Patagonia, Fishpond, and countless others adorn the walls and open space.

Feature Story “We only sell what we believe in, and we would not want any of our customers to buy anything but the best,” said Chuck. “That doesn’t mean spending $1000 on a fly rod or waders—we accommodate all budgets and just want people to get out and fly fish.”

Guide Service Chuck has been a fly fisherman since he could cast and taking a trip with him will make it evident, he knows nearly everything there is to know about the sport. Wade trips, when water is conducive, are as low as $75 for two hours. “We did that for folks who have never fly fished before and we wanted a way to introduce people,” the Gries said. “Usually with kids, two hours is about the max if they are not catching every cast.” Remaining competitive is a goal, but helping people learn how to fly fish takes precedent. “Everybody else keeps increasing their prices, and we keep it competitive, but we don’t want to price ourselves out of the competition,” Chuck said. “Plus, we want it to be affordable and a great learning experience for people.” “There are plenty of guides who know how to catch fish, but there is so much more to guiding than just filing a livewell,” said Brandon Butler of the popular Driftwood Outdoors podcast. “Chuck provides an incredible experience. He is as knowledgeable about the fishery as anyone, so he can answer all the questions an angler may have about how the fish behave and what the best tactics are for catching them at any given time.” “He's also just a great guy, who is fun to be around. He makes the entire fishing experience enjoyable,” Butler went on to say. McLeod agreed, saying “he is just a blast to fish with. I enjoy being in the boat with the guy. I enjoy stopping in the shop and visiting. I'll even holler at him when I see him on the water with other clients. He's a great guy, that knows how to get his clients on fish and keeps you on them.”

Conservation “Fly fishing is a religion and should be treated as such,” said Lynn Gries on a recent visit. “It may be a put-andtake fishery, but that does not mean you should treat the sport any different.”

A group of local folks partake in the “Taneycomo shuffle,” in which they kick their feet to stir up scuds and midges from the bottom while wading and drop their flies at their ankles to catch fish. Chumming with dog food and trout food is popular amongst some, too. “Sure, you catch fish, but is it really fly fishing at that point?” said Chuck. “There is plenty of opportunity to do it the right way, and to me it is so much more rewarding to find a stretch of water and truly fish it.” Chuck, Lynn, and their clients have landed their fair share of trophy trout on the fabled tailwater. Care for the fish has always been a focal point. “Basically, just do the fishing right. We don’t keep the fish out of the water longer than needed or drag them around for pics,” Chuck said. “We respect the resource and try to maintain a quality fishery.” Lynn agrees and says people can never be educated enough when it comes to fly fishing. All ages and experiences can stand to learn something from us

Trophy Brown Trout Chuck Gries is a name any trophy brown hunter in the area has heard. He has made a name for himself on his ability to put clients on giant browns during the fall spawning run on Lake Taneycomo. “I started doing it when I opened up the shop and got good at, and I love to fish for them,” Chuck said. Since he loved doing it, he simply translated to having his clients do it. “Everybody wants a fish of the lifetime and being able to provide that is rewarding.” “Chuck is an excellent sight fisherman, and he knows how to locate and spot the biggest trout in the lake, as well as position his clients to have the best shot at making a perfect presentation,” Butler said. “Chuck's specialty is giant brown trout on a fly. I don't know how it gets any better.” Angler’s Outfitters and the Gries have established themselves as the best in the area. “You never get tired visiting, sharing a laugh or catching fish because he will find the fish and keep you on them,” McLeod reiterated. To book a trip or order flies call (417)-335-4655. Ryan Miloshewski

MAY - 2021


Feature Story

An Error in Judgement



Feature Story


ow that Mrs. Urich and I are approaching our 50th wedding anniversary, I thought it was time to consider the past and any events in our relationship that I would like to do over. It's a shame there aren't do-overs in a marriage because there are about ten or so errors in judgment that I would like to do over. Mrs. Urich would also like me to do them over. One in particular still stands out. It all began innocently enough and required years to unfold, poorly for me. It was early in my career, and I was a biologist with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. I applied for the first limited moose hunt in decades and was the only individual in the 3,000+ person agency to get a permit. My supervisor told me the agency's reputation was on my shoulders, and I shouldn't return to work until I got a moose. I didn't think this was a problem because I was a moose biologist and had spent the last three years studying moose, trapping moose and tracking them with radio collars in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. With this level of experience and knowledge of moose movements, I figured getting a moose would be easy. I finally got a moose, but it took 11 days of hunting from a canoe in the Boundary Waters, mostly in the rain. It was a miserable time. It was so wet and cold I had to cut down a dead aspen tree and split it open to get dry firewood. During the hunt, I broke a portion of my rifle's rear sight, accidentally banging it against a tree.

By the time I walked back to the house, my face and white t-shirt were covered in blood. Mrs. Urich was out in the garden when she saw me. I could tell that she was very alarmed at my bloody appearance as she should be. At that point, my little voice popped up in my head and said, "Don't you dare think of doing that." Ah yes, my little voice, a stoic subconscious do-gooder never interested in a bit of fun and consistently trying to warn me of impending disaster to save me from myself. During my adolescence, my little voice constantly screamed at me in disapproval of my decision processes and anything fun. But my little voice did keep me out of jail, unlike many of my friends. This day was no different. I was overcome by foolishness and ignored my little voice, once again making a serious error in judgment. I dropped to my knees, put my hands over my chest, yelled out that I had been shot and then fell face down in the grass. The last thing I remember my little voice saying to me on that day was, "You idiot. Now you've done it." Mrs. Urich's reaction was very predictable and was prefaced with lots of screaming. When she finally figured out that I was horsing around, she stormed into the house. Her body language indicated that I had better not follow even though I was wounded and could benefit from some first aid. Technically I was a victim of a gunshot wound.

Several years later, when I moved to Missouri, I began deer hunting with this rifle without replacing the sight's rear portion. I just filed a new notch in the remaining metal and sighted it in. It was extremely accurate, but everyone I hunted with was appalled that I used a damaged gun. I was told repeatedly that I needed a scope. I was skeptical because I had never shot a deer more than 20 yards away in Missouri. But finally, I succumbed to the peer pressure and mounted a scope on the rifle. I had built a shooting stand near the pond dam on our land in Moniteau County, where we live. When I pulled the trigger for my first test shot, the recoil drove the scope into my forehead right between my eyes, cutting the skin in a half-moon shape clear to the bone. The bleeding was profuse.

MAY - 2021


Feature Story I retired to the garage where I kept my favorite chair and maintained a small refuge away from the family's noise and chaos. It is here that I can atone for my actions and rethink my errors in judgment in solitude. This time my error in judgment resulted in a Level I lecture, a massive three days of atonement coupled with assurances of better decision making on my part. I promised not to fake my death again for the duration of our union. The real problem with my head cut was going to work the next day. Most people in the office immediately recognized what caused the wound. I was the subject of the considerable redicule. It takes months for a cut on the forehead to heal, which meant the teasing at work continued at length, but more seriously Mrs. Urich was reminded daily of what I had done. Her mood soured every time she looked at me, and no amount of groveling on my part could change that until the wound was healed and gone. I never did hunt deer in Missouri with that rifle and the new scope. I switched to a muzzleloader which seemed better suited to Missouri conditions. I eventually gave the gun to our oldest son for deer hunting on his land in Kansas. I told him to be careful if he decided to sight in the scope from a bench rest. I didn't need to remind him of this because all 3 of our sons were very familiar with our marriage events that would make great do-overs. Mrs. Urich had thoroughly briefed them on what not to do in their marriages so they could benefit and learn from my errors in judgment. She concluded these briefings by stating that no husband is a complete, insensitive blockhead because he can always be used as a bad example.



David Urich (Cover) David Urich with a Missouri deer harvested in Moniteau County several years following the error in judgement. (Photo: Courtesy of David Urich) (Front right) David and Mrs. Urich at a happier time after the wounds and shock of the error in judgement had healed and the memories faded. (Photo: Courtesy of David Urich) (Top) You decide if you want to use it. David Urich in 1974 with a moose harvested in the first modern Minnesota moose hunt taken in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. (Photo: Courtesy of David Urich)

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