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The Voice for Missouri Outdoors NOVEMBER 2019 - VOL 80 | NO. 6



THE TIME IS NOW to join the organization that unites thousands of Missourians with the goal of preserving the state’s immense natural resources. Yearly membership: $35 Life membership: $1,000


Director’s Message

Get Out and Share Your Outdoor Passions


all is a beautiful time of year, and I hope you are getting outside to enjoy the many wonders of nature. Hayrides, bonfires, camping, hunting, trail rides, hikes, and spending time with family and friends outside are just a few things that remind me of this season. There is still time to float a river, go fishing or get some hiking in before old man winter sets in. There will be plenty of time to sit around the fireplace over the holidays and wait for the first signs of Spring to emerge, so get out now while you can. Recently I was at my homeplace visiting with my siblings about the favorite experiences from our youth. Lucky for me, we were surrounded by woods and fields, so the exploring possibilities were endless. Playing with the neighbor kids, building trails and forts, squirrel hunting and climbing trees were just a few things that fueled the passion and my love of the outdoors. Now that my sister lives there, I am glad that her kids will get to explore those places in nature that I cherished in my youth. I am sure they will someday find the trails, forts and other treasures that I left behind. Deer season is also upon us, and I know many fellow Missourian’s look forward to this tradition. I have hunted with my Dad every year on opening day together for nearly the last 30 years. I have some great memories with him in the deer stand, and I cannot wait to do the same with my son someday too. For me, it’s not about harvesting the biggest or best animal but being with the ones that matter most to you, enjoying a laugh and telling stories while getting meat for the table. Our Share the Harvest program is well underway again this year, and I hope you will consider donating a portion or all your harvest to those in need. New this year, you can share the photo on our website of the deer you are donating for a chance to win prizes. Getting outside and sharing your passions with the next generation is something I challenge to each of you. I love hearing so many great outdoor stories about deer camps, duck clubs, fishing trips, vacations, hiking trips, and more.

Tyler stocks one of over 500 sturgeon that were recently put into the Osage River. (Photo: Courtesy of CFM)

I see the look on people’s faces, especially kids, retelling those stories about their experience. It’s what fuels our passions and passes them onto future generations. Stop and think for a minute, how many people have you taught to enjoy and conserve our natural resources? I bet you have taught people outdoor skills and traditions that aren’t even born yet. What I mean by that is, I bet you have taught someone how to tie a fly, shoot a bow or burn a prairie, then they in turn, will pass that on as well. Your outdoor legacy will live on through the people that you teach to conserve and preserve what we have. Thanks to each of you for all that you do to support our mission. My door and my ears are always open, so feel free to stop by or call me anytime.

Yours in Conservation, Tyler Schwartze CFM Executive Director NOVEMBER - 2019



Conservation Federation November 2019 - V80 No. 6






Quality Binoculars Part 3: What You See is WhatYou Get


Bowhunter's Logic


A Duck That Loves Trees


Encouraging Women in Shotgun Shooting Sports


Sunrise to Sunset: A Hunter's Last Day


Frigid Day on the Meramec River for Trout


Pick a Waterfowl Hot Spot


Bradford and Murphy Leave Their Legacy on the Conservation Commission

3 8 11 13 14 36

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

Highlights 18 19 20 23 24 58 59




Mossie Schallon

1st Vice President

Richard Mendenhall

2nd Vice President

Ginny Wallace


Randy Washburn






Gary Van De Velde

Conservation Awards CFM Clay Shoots Affiliate Summit Recap CFM Events Schedule Resolution Process Open It's Time to Share the Harvest Smokey Bear's 75th Birthday

Tyler Schwartze

Executive Director, Editor

Micaela Haymaker

Director of Operations

Michelle Gabelsberger

Membership Development Coordinator

Elizabeth Peoples

Events and Fund Development Manager

Joan VanderFeltz

Administrative Assistant

Emma Kessinger

Creative Director


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: | 573-634-2322

FRONT COVER Matt Miles captured this whitetailed deer in Bates County, Missouri.

Business Alliance

Thank you to all of our Business Alliance members. Platinum

Gold Bushnell Custom Metal Products Diamond Pet Foods Doolittle Trailer

Enbridge, Inc. FCS Financial G3 Boats MidwayUSA

Pure Air Natives Redneck Blinds Roeslein Alternative Energy, LLC Weston

Missouri Wildflowers Nursery Mitico Moneta Group Simmons

Sun Solar Starline, Inc. St. James Winery Trailerman Trailers

Drury Hotels 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 POET Powder Horn Gun & Archery

Community State Bank of Bowling Green Dickerson Park Zoo Farmer’s Co-op Elevator Association Gascosage Electric Cooperative GREDELL Engineering Resources, Inc. Grundy Electric Coop. Hulett Heating & Air Conditioning Missouri Native Seed Association

Platte-Clay Electric Cooperative, Inc. REMAX Boone Realty Say Insurance Shady Lanes Cabins and Motel Tabor Plastics Company Truman’s Bar & Grill United Electric Cooperative, Inc. White River Valley Electric Cooperative

Silver Forrest Keeling Nursery Learfield Communication, Inc. Lilley’s Landing Resort & Marina Logboat Brewing

Bronze Association of Missouri Electric Coop. Black Widow Custom Bows, Inc. Burgers’ Smokehouse Central Electric Power Cooperative Custom Screen Printing and Embroidery

Iron Bass Pro Shops (Independence) Bee Rock Outdoor Adventures Blue Springs Park and Recreation Boone Electric Co-op Brockmeier Financial Services Brown Printing Cap America Central Bank

Your business can benefit by supporting conservation. For all sponsorship opportunities call (573) 634-2322. NOVEMBER - 2019


Business Spotlight

Redneck Blinds and Its Innovative History


edneck Outdoor Products, Inc. (Redneck Blinds) first got its start in 2010. The company had been making fiberglass car bodies for ’32, ’33 and ’34 Fords, but when the economy took a turn during the 2008 recession, their focus shifted to developing fiberglass hunting blinds. The company’s owners were not completely satisfied with the hunting blinds they had to choose from. They started tinkering with their designs and took a prototype to a local retail store. The store liked them so much they placed an order for 200 and thus Redneck Blinds were born and Redneck Outdoor Products, Inc. was born.



In 2019 they produced their 40,000th fiberglass deer blind. They say necessity is the mother of invention, and the gang at Redneck hasn’t looked back or stopped innovating since. In Lamar, Missouri, a modest community of just 4,500 people, Redneck Outdoor Products is a small but growing company employing over 120 people today. They pride themselves on developing products for hunters—by hunters.

Business Spotlight Their attention to quality, practical end-user design, and end-user satisfaction is what sets them apart from the competition. With a proven track record of introducing products that are real game-changers for hunters, Redneck Blinds has established itself as one of the premier brands in the hunting industry. Redneck Outdoor Products is an American owned and employee-owned company comprised of blue-collar, hardworking outdoorsmen and women who take pride in their work. As America’s leading manufacturer of fiberglass hunting blinds and accessories, Redneck sets the bar high and makes sure their customers get the best possible value for their hard-earned dollar. CEO Danny Little stresses that “our biggest source of accomplishment is felt when we hear feedback from customers talking about the joy they experience hunting with their children and families out of our blinds.” Redneck’s bread and butter are of course their large, enclosed fiberglass hunting blinds but some don’t know that they also make several other options for ground blinds that cater to hunting all sorts of game. Their Bale Blind series is perfect for anyone hunting anything in farm country, while the Deluxe Waterfowl Blind is perfect for mobile quack-heads. They have feeders, a comfy portable chair, and all sorts of accessories to trick out your Redneck blind and hunt in style. In 2018 Redneck introduced the 6X7 Big Country 360° Blind, the new king of all Redneck blinds. The Big Country Blind is perfect for the hunter who needs more leg and arm room or has lots of gear. There is no better blind in the world for two hunters and a cameraman.

The room, along with the visibility for all hunters is absolutely amazing. Combine the 46” tall vertical windows, with large oversized horizontal windows and roomy interior, and you have the ultimate blind for compound bow, crossbow or gun hunting. This combination of size and window functionality gives you plenty of room, visibility and angles to make a perfect shot when the moment of truth arrives. Like all Redneck Blinds, the Big Country is made from long-lasting fiberglass with a durable gel-coat finish. The 2” roof overhang helps keep the rain off the windows, giving you a clear view of your hunting grounds, while the spray foam covered ceiling, acoustical covered upper and lower walls and a high-density foam floor covered with a high-quality marine carpet provide for the ultimate in sound control and insulation. Redneck Blinds continue to be the choice of professional hunters like Lee and Tiffany Lakosky, Bill Winke, Michael Waddell, Dr. Grant Woods, Buck Commanders Willie Robertson and Luke Bryan, Heartland Bowhunters, and many others, for good reason. “They are the Best Hunting Blinds on the Planet.” The Redneck Outdoor Products mission statement is simple: To provide high-level products with a high level of customer service and satisfaction. That being said, it is important to know that the Redneck team are hunters too. Most of what they create and sell comes from ideas that they’ve had while in the field. They are absolutely dedicated to making sure that their customer gets the best possible product for the price. But selfishly, the Redneck crew loves to hunt too, and you will not see a product with the Redneck logo on it that hasn’t been tested and approved by their employees. The future of Redneck Outdoor Products is bright, with strong goals focused around expanding the brand and continually growing the operation. With new and innovative products always in the works, be sure to check their website often, and follow them on their social media outlets for information, advice, contests and prizes. And when you do get a chance to get out and hunt out of your Redneck blind, be sure to share your success stories with the great people of Redneck Outdoor Products.



President’s Message

Appreciating Missouri's Diverse Landscape


he air is feeling a little crisper these days, and I’m okay with that. On my morning and evening walks, I marvel at the fall colors emerging: crimson reds, rustic oranges and saffron yellows of leaves. Like the vivid differences in colors we see, Missouri is a state that includes some drastically different landscapes. From rolling plains in the northern part of the state to the craggy outcroppings of Johnson Shut-Ins, you could easily imagine the variety of scenery found in Missouri were not parts of one state, but parts of different countries. Fortunately for us, they’re all part of this great state. The diversity of landscapes we see in Missouri reminds us how different perspectives can be depending on the place from which you come. The diversity of our geography gives us much to enjoy and explore and makes our state all the more beautiful. There are many other examples of how diversity makes life stronger. Nature itself seeks to be diverse. Per the journal Nature in 2011, there were 8.7 million species known to man and scientists estimated that perhaps 80 percent of existing species remained to be discovered. Diversity is the fabric of our nation and makes us the unique country we are today, a place in which we have all the best that every place has to offer. As an organization, the more diverse we can become, the stronger and more effective we can be at our mission. While it’s true that there are a lot of us in CFM who have a few trips around the sun under our belts, we welcome and hope to attract young and old, city and country-dwellers alike to join our organization to help us achieve and do even better in the future. Encourage the youth in your life to become a part of our organization. In doing so, we plant the seeds for a successful future for the federation and conservation in our state.

All of these examples are to highlight my message to you: let’s work on becoming more diverse. Encourage diverse perspectives in your lives. Welcome new and different opinions from your own. It’s always easy to surround yourself with those with whom you agree. In an organization such as ours, having the contribution of diverse perspectives, and even ones that disagree at times, isn't always a bad thing. Thanks for all you do for CFM.

Yours in Conservation, Gary Van De Velde President, CFM



It’s your


Shelter InsuranceÂŽ is a proud sponsor of Share the Harvest & the Conservation Federation.

Contact your local Shelter agent to insure your auto, home, life, and all your hunting & fishing gear. Find an agent near you at

Member News

Why I Became a Life Member of CFM: Jason Green


ome of my best childhood memories were at home on my parent's small acreage in western Franklin County.

One of the first memories I have is chasing Dad's beagle, Stump, across the yard. Stump didn't have to work to get my attention because, though he had all his legs and wasn't lame, he only used three of them. I often went with Dad to run beagles on our land and the neighbor's farms. When I couldn't get through the high weeds, he would pick me up and carry me until I could walk again. The bay of a beagle today still brings me back to that time. I would chase behind the old John Deere 40 Dad used to plant food plots, investigating every bug, worm, and snake that the old plow would roll out of the ground. Mom and Dad let me explore and learn every nook and cranny of their place. Even though they sold it when I was 17, the seed had been sown for me to pursue my passion for natural resources as a career.

After college, I was fortunate enough to begin working for Pioneer Forest, the largest private landowner in the state of Missouri. Founded by Leo Drey in the 1950s, Pioneer Forest has a long history of conservative forest management. I still work for Pioneer Forest and work with some of the best people I could ever imagine. I always enjoy running beagles and many other outdoor activities. Natural resources conservation, for me, is not just a passion; it is truly a way of life. Supporting the Conservation Federation of Missouri through a life membership was an easy decision.

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 260 dedicated conservationists who have already made a life commitment to the Conservation Federation of Missouri by becoming a Life Member today.

Contact CFM at (573) 634-2322 or email



Member News

WELCOME NEW CFM MEMBERS Martin Altman, Ballwin Francis Berberich, Festus Hadley Boehm, Columbia Wayne Breer, Ballwin Linda Brockman, Bonnots Mill Darby Brundage, Columbia

Steven Harrison, Rolla Thomas Hoffman, Saint Louis James Hoskins, Louisiana Jason Jenkins, Holts Summit John and Connie Johnson, Galena Robert Kindle, Saint Louis

Joe Pulliam, Bernie L. Dean Quick, Fulton David Sallen, Anamosa IA Tom Schilling, Barnhart Marjorie Schuchat, Chesterfield Matt Seek, Columbia

James & Betty Burris, Wentzville Francine Cantor, Saint Louis Glenn Coleman, Peculiar Billie Cooper, Saint James John Crooks, Dittmer Lou Dames, Bonne Terre Larry David, Mountain View Brian Duckett, Saint Louis Ryan Dunwoody, Jefferson City Gregory Elliston, Harrisonville Dwight & Wendi Ervin, Saint Louis Maria Evans, Greentop Norma Fanara, Saint Louis Dennis Figg, Jefferson City Sam Fox, Saint Louis Leigh Fredrickson, Puxico Victor Gilson, Stover Barbara Gorseline, Kansas City Laura Harness, Harrison AR Ben Harrison, Scott City

Julie King, Saint Louis Barry Koenemann, Saint Louis Jim Koetting, Columbia Mark Law, Sullivan Kathy Lepper, Eldon Marianna Maudlin, Liberty Kenneth Maxwell, Savannah Josh McIntire, Platte City Randall Meador, Kansas City Mitchell Mills, Clinton Richard Minasian, Saint Peters Dan & Diane Montgomery, Blue Springs Ginevera Moore, Leawood KS Sharon Moran, Ballwin Doug Novinger, Columbia Leroy Ortmeyer, Saint Louis Leonard Patton, Chesterfield Jessi Perry, Bronaugh James Peterson, Wentzville Mack Porter, Kearney

Charlie Slovensky, Dacula GA Norman Smith, Kansas City Carol Squires, Columbia Chip Stamper, Linn Creek Gary & Murial Stephens, Hillsboro Jim Thornburg, Columbia Shannon Troesser, Jefferson City Ernest Underwood, Fulton Joseph Van Camp, Aurora Phillip Vitello, Saint Louis Michael Wallner, Eureka Jim Whalen, Orrick Gary Wheeler, Old Monroe Richard Whiting, Chesterfield Larry Whitsett, Lake Ozark Noel Whitson, Diamond Linda Williams, Liberty Wanda Winter, Saint Louis

In Memory In Memory of Nicholas Dziuba Keith Krebeck Rosa Rothwell Angela Strider

CFM thanks the 200 members that renewed since our last publication.

In Memory of Edward Lowell Reynolds Carl & Patsy Banks Marvin Bringer Joe Coelho David & Delinda O’Brien Doris Nelson Stacey Nicholas SDS Stores, Inc., Don Schomaker











CZ 527 AMERICAN Designed specifically for small-base centerfire calibers, it is a true micro-length Mauser action. With controlled-round feed, a detachable single-stack magazine, a cold-hammer-forged barrel, integral 16mm dovetails and our renowned single set trigger, many people think it’s the ultimate small-caliber platform.


Member News

Gear Guide Nockturnal Lighted Nocks Nockturnal is a leading designer and manufacturer of lighted nocks for arrows and crossbow bolts. The Nockturnal unique, patent-pending, bow-string-activated, linear switch is piston driven and ensures L.E.D. illumination every time. With no assembly required, Nockturnal nocks feature super-bright LEDs and long-life lithium batteries for superior illumination that lasts. Nockturnal also manufactures the Predator line of lighted crossbow bolts. Lighted nocks allow you to better follow your shot and to find your arrow once it’s on the ground.

BOG HD-3 Heavy Duty Tripod For the hunter that spends all season in the field, the Bog Pod HD-3 is built tough to take a beating and still be there with you on the last day of the season. It is part of the Switcheroo Shooting System and allows you to connect accessories from gun rests to binocular holders. The adjustable height gives you the mobility to use it standing up or sitting down, depending on what your terrain calls for.

Primos Rut Roar The Rut Roar is Primos’ loudest most accurate grunt call. This is the louder version of the Buck Roar with a redesigned the housing. Primos changed the angles of the call so that it cast the sound down when calling from treestands. The all rubber construction allows you to manipulate the call to be blown full volume (the Roar) or with much lighter tending grunts without having to adjust the reed. The larger chamber size increases volume and range of the challenge wheeze.

Tink's #69 Doe-In-Rut Synthetic Mist Crafted to mimic the luring capability of natural #69 Doe-In-Rut, this synthetic lure will heat up your hunt this season. Tink’s Synthetic #69 Doe-In-Rut attracts bucks with the natural smell of a doe in peak estrous. It is best used during the pre-rut and rut. Tink’s Hot Shot Mist utilizes Bag-in-Can technology that enables the entire product to be dispensed - no waste. It even sprays upside down.

CZ-USA 457 American Rimfire Rifle - BUSINESS ALLIANCE The classic American-style rimfire rifle, the 457 has a 24.8” barrel with no sights and is meant to be topped with a scope. Its Turkish walnut stock has a high, flat comb and a classic checkering pattern. It has an 11mm dovetail milled into the top of its receiver for attaching scope ring mounts. The gun has a cold hammer forged barrel, adjustable trigger and a two position, push to fire safety. The CZ 457 American is available in .22 LR for a suggested retail of $476.00 and .17 HMR and .22 WMR calibers.



Affiliate Highlights

Student Air Rifle Program (SAR)


hooting sports teach confidence, builds selfesteem, and teaches responsibility. With these outcomes in mind, the Missouri Youth Sport Shooting Alliance (MYSSA), developed the Student Air Rifle Program (SAR) to facilitate an introduction to the lifetime sport of target shooting to schoolaged youth in grades 4 through 12. Modeled after the successful National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP), SAR provides a tested format to provide target shooting and firearms safety instruction. They use standardized equipment, school-aligned units of study, teacher training, universal whistle commands, and positive language. Teachers are certified as Basic Air Riflery Instructors (BARI) using a curriculum specifically developed for school systems and aligned with Physical Education standards. Many SAR teachers have limited experience with shooting sports education. However, SAR surveys indicate 100% confidence in teaching the material after attending the training and gaining certification. Teachers progress their students through nine lessons, including the foundational 11 Steps to Air Riflery Success. Participants learn the fundamentals of safely participating in shooting sports, allowing them to shoot for success on the range and in life.

SAR helps students shoot for success on the range and in life. (Photo credit: Chip Malmstrom)

Since the program’s national launch in 2017, over 10,000 students through schools and communities have participated. For Missouri schools, $1500 grants towards the purchase of the SAR equipment kit is offered as well as free training for teachers. In addition to the in-school curriculum, students can also participate in SAR after-school clubs and tournaments. Check out the action at this year’s Missouri state SAR tournament scheduled for Saturday, December 7, 2019, in Southwest, Missouri. To learn more about SAR and how your school or community can be involved, visit the website at www. studentairrifleprogram. org or follow SAR on Facebook and Instagram by searching “Student Air Rifle Program-SAR.” Missouri schools can also reach the MoSAR Coordinator, Pam Rowe, by email at

Sadie Guess receives High Overall Female Award from her Coach, Tracy Flood, from Crane (photo credit: Jan Morris)



Affiliate Highlights

Affiliate Organizations Anglers of Missouri

Missouri Bird Conservation Initiative

Archery Big Bucks of Missouri

Missouri Bow Hunters Association

Association of Missouri

Missouri Caves & Karst Conservancy

Missouri Sport Shooting Association

Missouri Chapter of the

Missouri State Campers Association

Electric Cooperatives Audubon Society of Missouri

American Fisheries Society

Missouri Soil & Water Conservation Society-Show-Me Chapter

Missouri State Chapter of the

Bass Slammer Tackle

Missouri Chapter of the Wildlife Society

Quality Deer Management

Big Game Hunters

Missouri Coalition for the Environment

Missouri Taxidermist Association

Burroughs Audubon

Missouri Community Forestry Council

Missouri Trappers Association

Missouri Conservation Agents Association

Missouri Trout Fishermen's Association

Capital City Fly Fishers

Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation

Missouri Whitetails Unlimited

Chesterfield Citizens

Missouri Conservation Pioneers

MU Wildlife & Fisheries

Society of Greater Kansas City

Committee for the Environment

Missouri Consulting Foresters Association

Science Graduate Student Organization

Columbia Audubon Society

Missouri Ducks Unlimited- State Council

Northside Conservation Federation

Conservation Foundation of

Missouri Forest Products Association

Open Space Council of the St. Louis Region

Missouri Grouse Chapter of QUWF

Osage Paddle Sports

Missouri Hunter Education

Ozark Chinquapin Foundation

Missouri Charitable Trust Deer Creek Sportsman Club Festus-Crystal City Conservation Club Forest and Woodland Association of Missouri Forest Releaf of Missouri Friends of Rock Bridge Memorial State Park Garden Club of St. Louis Gateway Chapter Trout Unlimited Greenbelt Land Trust of Mid-Missouri Greenway Network, Inc. Heartland Conservation Alliance James River Basin Partnership Katy Land Trust

Instructor's Association

Ozark Fly Fishers, Inc.

Missouri Hunting Heritage Federation

Ozark Trail Association

Missouri Master Naturalist -

Ozark Wilderness Waterways Club

Hi Lonesome Chapter Missouri Master NaturalistMiramiguoa Chapter Missouri Master NaturalistOsage Trails Chapter Missouri Master NaturalistBoone's Lick Chapter Missouri Master NaturalistSpringfield 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

L-A-D Foundation

Missouri National Wild Turkey Federation

St. Louis Audubon Society

Land Learning Foundation

Missouri Native Seed Association

Stream Teams United

Legends of Conservation

Missouri Outdoor Communicators

Student Air Rifle Program

Little Blue River Watershed Coalition

Missouri Park & Recreation Association

The Fallen Outdoors-Team MO

Mid-Missouri Outdoor Dream

Missouri Parks Association

Tri-Lakes Fly Fishers

Mid-Missouri Trout Unlimited

Missouri Prairie Foundation

Troutbusters of Missouri

Midwest Diving Council

Missouri River Bird Observatory

United Bow Hunters of Missouri

Mississippi Valley Duck

Missouri River Relief

Wild Bird Rehabilitation

Missouri Rock Island Trail, Inc.

Wonders of Wildlife

Missouri Association of Meat Processors

Missouri Rural Water Association

Young Outdoorsmen United

Missouri Atlatl Association

Missouri Smallmouth Alliance

Missouri B.A.S.S. Nation

Missouri Society of American Foresters

Hunters Association





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

Member News

Conservation Achievement Awards are Open for Nominations


onservation Federation of Missouri (CFM) is now accepting nominees for the Conservation Achievement Awards. These nominees should be Missourians who exemplify all that CFM stands for, and have been bettering Missouri’s outdoors through personal efforts throughout the year. Those who win the Conservation Achievement Award will be recognized at the CFM Annual Convention on March 6th. The nomination form can be found on our website at This also includes additional information on each award category. For questions, please call our office at (573) 634-2322. Send nominations to Micaela Haymaker at or mail to CFM, 728 West Main St., Jefferson City, MO 65101. The deadline is December 31, 2019.



Conservation Awards are presented in the following categories: • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Conservationist of the Year Conservation Communicator of the Year Forest Conservationist of the Year Air Conservationist of the Year Professional Conservationist of the Year Conservation Educator of the Year Water Conservationist of the Year Youth Conservationist of the Year Hunter Education Instructor of the Year Wildlife Conservationist of the Year Soil Conservationist of the Year Conservation Organization of the Year Conservation Legislator of the Year Outstanding Lifetime Achievement

2019 Conservationist of the Year Charles Burwick and Lisa Berger. (Photo: Conservation Federation of Missouri)

Member News

CFM Holds Clay Shoots in Boonville and Branson


he 13th Annual Pull for Conservation took place on August 10th at River Hills Sporting Clays in Boonville, Missouri. Competitors had the option of participating as an individual, or a team of two. Side games of a long shot were also enjoyed by many shooters. Mr. James Hayhurst and Mr. Dale Hopke received the top score of 72 out of 75 in the team shoot. Mr. James Hayhurst received the top score of 45 out of 50 in the Individual shoot. 2019 was a record-breaking year with an attendance of 196 shooters. A special thanks to our title sponsors, Bass Pro Shops of Columbia and Central Electric Power Cooperative. Central Electric’s members are Boone Electric Cooperative, Consolidated Electric Cooperative, Callaway Electric Cooperative, Cuivre River Electric Cooperative, Central Missouri Electric Cooperative, Howard Electric Cooperative, Co-Mo Electric Cooperative, and Three Rivers Electric Cooperative. A big thank you also goes out to our food sponsor: Randy Washburn & Ozark Bait and Tackle. Trevor O’Day was the winner of the gun donated by Powder Horn Guns and Archery. Our drink sponsor was Truman's Bar and Grill This year’s station sponsors are as follows: AJ's Automotive, Associated Electric Cooperative Inc., Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives, Bass Pro Shops - Columbia, Bob McCosh, Boone County Lumber, Capitol Solutions Consulting, Chariton Legacy Farm, CZ-USA, Graf's Shooting Supply, Gateway Long Spurs Chapter, Hulett Heating and Air Conditioning, Hunting Works for Missouri, Joe Machens Ford Lincoln, MidwayUSA, Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation, Missouri Conservation Pioneers, Nicklas Financial Co., Northwest Electric Power Cooperative, Scott & Sara Pauley, Platte-Clay Electric Cooperative, Pure Air Natives, Red Weir, Remax - Boone Realty, Mike and Mossie Schallon, SelecTurf, Sho-Me Power Cooperative, Sundvold Capital Management, and Whitetails Unlimited.

Shooters from Doolittle Trailers take aim while volunteer Tim Grace looks on at the 2019 Pull for Conservation: Central shoot in Boonville. (Photo: Conservation Federation of Missouri)

A huge thank you goes out to all those that volunteered the day of the shoot, which included the members from the Boonville FFA. We appreciate everyone that came out to support CFM, and we hope to see everyone again next year. In addition, the Inaugural Pull for Conservation: Southwest was held at Ozark Shooters Sports Complex north of Branson on September 7th. 22 registered teams joined us in this inaugural event in a two-person team format. After the shoot, teams enjoyed lunch and received their prizes. Teams were scored based on the Lewis Class system. The two top scoring teams of 100 were Ed Skeins & Mike Rowland and Pat Craiger & Alan Botsford. Taking 3rd place in the first class was the team of Tim Baker & Brian Mansker. Bill Rose took top score in 5 stand and Ed Skeins was drawn as the winner in the long shot. Donated prizes from CZ-USA were awarded to the top shooters. Station Sponsors for the Inaugural shoot were: Bass Slammer Tackle, Ulrich Marine, Extreme Outdoors, AMEC Coop, Chris Hamon and Show-Me Power. CFM would like to thank Ozark Shooters Sports Complex for providing trappers, meals, venue, support and an overall fantastic experience. We look forward to hosting another Pull for Conservation: Southwest in 2020.



Member News

6th Annual Affiliate Summit a Success


he 6th Annual Affiliate Summit was held on September 12-13, 2019 in Jefferson City. Conservation Federation of Missouri welcomed representatives from 40 different affiliate organizations to learn, share and network. The workshop provided affiliates with legislative training, how to build your media toolkit, upcoming grant opportunities, the importance of clean water, how to work with donors: giving above and beyond and many other great topics. In addition to the informational sessions, the event gives affiliates the opportunity to network and learn from each other. If your organization did not send a representative, consider doing so next year. Reach out to the affiliates who attended to learn more about how the workshop might benefit your organization. Thanks you to our sponsors: Bass Pro Shops, Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation, Missouri’s Electric Cooperatives and the National Wildlife Federation.

Thanks to all the organizations that attended this year: • Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives • Bass Slammer Tackle • Boone's Lick Chapter of Missouri Master Naturalists • Burroughs Audubon Society of Greater Kansas City • Columbia Audubon Society • Ducks Unlimited, Inc. • Forest & Woodland Association of Missouri • Friends of Rock Bridge Memorial State Park • Greenbelt Land Trust of Mid-Missouri • L-A-D Foundation • Little Blue River Watershed Coalition • Mid-Missouri Trout Unlimited • Missouri Bird Conservation Initiative • Missouri Bow Hunters Association • Missouri Caves and Karst Conservancy • Missouri Chapter of The American Fisheries Society • Missouri Coalition for the Environment • Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation • Missouri Conservation Pioneers • Missouri Hunter Education Instructors Assoc.



• Missouri Master Naturalist-Hi Lonesome Chapter • Missouri Master Naturalist-Springfield Plateau Chapter • Missouri Outdoor Communicators • Missouri Park & Recreation Association • Missouri Parks Association • Missouri Prairie Foundation • Missouri River Bird Observatory • Missouri River Relief • Missouri Rock Island Trail • Missouri Rural Water Association • Missouri Smallmouth Alliance • National Wild Turkey Federation • National Wildlife Federation • Ozark Trail Association • Ozark Wilderness Waterways Club • Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever • Show-Me Chapter Soil and Water Conservation • St. Louis Audubon Society • Stream Teams United • Wildlife Society

Going to the woods? Gear up with • Hunting Clothing • Hunting Boots • Guns & Ammo • Blinds & Stands • UTVs • & More!

Legacy Flag Chassis 6.5 Creedmoor Rifle 107408411


Wicked Ridge Invader X4 Crossbow 107414185

Orscheln Outdoors™ 2-Person Ground Blind 107419147

Member News

2019 CLC Fall Workshop a Great Success


he Conservation Leadership Corps (CLC) held its 4th Fall Workshop at Camp Rising Sun, Lake of the Ozark State Park the last weekend in September. 20 high school and college students from across the state met to discuss conservation issues, start resolutions, work on leadership skills and interact with resource professionals “I have learned so much about myself and my passion for the outdoors through CLC. The friendships I have built and professionals I have met, make this program extremely rewarding,” says Jessica Filla, President of CLC. “I am very excited to see how this year’s resolutions turn out.” Students will continue to research and craft resolutions this fall before sending them to the appropriate CFM Resource Advisory Committee (RAC) upon completion. If approved to move forward, students will present and defend their resolutions at the CFM annual convention on March 6-8, 2020, where they will be voted on by the CFM members. “Fall Workshop always serves as a reminder to me of just how big of an impact that we can have on conservation in the state of Missouri,” says Kyle Watkinson, CLC VicePresident. “We are the future leaders in conservation and it is very exciting to watch our ideas develop into actions that can have a lasting effect on our natural resources.”



Students gathered at Camp Rising Sun at Lake of the Ozarks to work on resolutions and grow their leadership skills. (Photo: Amber Edwards)

Besides working on resolutions, students spent time talking about values and leadership. They worked on an exercise that showed how people respond to expectations and how understanding different personality types can help you be a better leader. It was a great time for students to learn to interact with their peers when working on team activities. Hannah Persell enjoyed the training, “I feel as though the leadership activities provided insight that will guide us in improving our strengths and weaknesses as well as understanding how to collaborate with others.” The CLC program is a multi-year program open to high school juniors and seniors and college students. Interested students can learn more and apply for 2020-2021 school year at Applications will open early in the Spring of 2020.

2019 EVENTS CFM Media Camp - February 3-6

5th Annual CFM Media Camp at Lilley’s Landing with over 20 outdoor communicators in attendance.

CFM Annual Convention - March 8-10

CFM Annual Convention at the Capitol Plaza Hotel in Jefferson City.

Conservation Day at the Capitol - April 3

Join CFM and over 30 affiliate organizations at the Capitol for a day of promoting and supporting CFM.

Pull for Conservation: Northwest - April 13

CFM teams up with NW Electric Power Cooperative to host the fourth annual sporting clays shoot in Hamilton.

Explore the Outdoors: Kansas City - May 2

Join CFM at Bass Pro Shops in Independence for a fun evening of excitement and entertainment.

Explore the Outdoors: Springfield - June 13

Tour the Wonders of Wildlife Museum and learn more about conservation in Missouri.

Explore the Outdoors: Columbia - July 11

Join CFM at the Bass Pro Shops store in Columbia store for fun and outdoor activities.

Pull for Conservation: Central - August 10 The 13th annual sporting clay shoot returns to River Hills Sporting Clays in Boonville.

Pull for Conservation: Southwest - September 7

Inaugural sporting clay shoot to be held at Ozark Shooters Sporting Complex in Branson.

Affiliate Summit - September 12 & 13

Join us in Jefferson City as gather all our affiliates together for great networking and information.

Explore the Outdoors: St. Louis - October 3

Come see old friends and make new ones at the Quail Ridge Park in St. Charles.

Explore the Outdoors: Kirksville - November 7

Be a part of the inaugural event at White Oaks Barn just before firearms deer season.

Member News

Resolutions Process and Timeline Begins Now


reparations for Conservation Federation of Missouri’s (CFM) annual convention in March have begun. This is a reminder that the timeline and process for resolutions starts now. Resource Advisory Committees (RAC) need to know if you have issues or topics which you believe should be addressed at the next convention. The RAC chairs will start researching and discussing topics with their committees this fall and winter. The timeline and process of the resolutions can be found on CFM’s website: actions/resolutions/ Tips for Successful Resolutions (Adapted from National Wildlife Federation with minor modifications) Members and Affiliates propose resolutions that are important and relevant to their conservation work. Given the diverse set of organizations within the Federation, there can be differences of opinion, and different expertise. The following tips may be useful when considering proposing what may be a controversial resolution, or one that would benefit from broader expertise and involvement: • Prepare the issue or resolution early. Share your issue or draft resolution with Resource Advisory Committee(s) (RAC) members/Chairs. Discuss potential sticking points and work together to identify areas of conflict. Ensure you have also contacted agencies or organizations involved to get all the pertinent background information. • Talk it through. Have discussions with the leaders of other affiliate organizations or RACs who may have concern or input about your proposed resolution—try to work out differences of opinion in advance. • Involve a group. When possible, work your resolution through all relevant RAC(s) or another group of individuals, in order to hear the opinions of others across the Federation who may have expertise in the area, reach early compromises, and gain support from other members and affiliates.



Jeff Blystone reviews the resolution process. (Photo: Conservation Federation of Missouri)

• Be open to compromise. Remember that policy resolutions represent the voice of the entire Federation. It is possible to have reasonable differences of opinion on a given conservation topic. A position that might work for one organization, might not work for a different organization. There may be changes you can make that help to better represent the breadth of the Federation – always keeping in mind CFM’s mission. Consider that this may be better than a resolution that’s voted down or tabled, when this work could have been completed in advance. 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. Member 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. Any member of CFM can request consideration of a conservation topic or issue by filling out the Member or Affiliate Request of Conservation Issue Review form. This form needs to be submitted to Tyler Schwartze, Executive Director or to Micaela Haymaker, Director of Operations, by December 31.

Member News

CFM Conservation Federation Podcast Listen to CFM’s Podcast Did you know CFM has a podcast? In each episode, CFM staff discuss conservation issues with special guests. Past episodes include interviews with Governor Jay Nixon, MDC Director Sara Parker Pauley, Glenn Chambers, Steven Rinella and many other passionate conservationists.

Have you heard our lastest episodes? Episode 22: Frank Oberle and Zach Coy Episode 21: Alex Rutledge on the Ozarks Episode 20: Share the Harvest 2018

Find the Conservation Federation podcast on the CFM website and on iTunes.

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Feature Story

Quality Binoculars Enhance Outdoor Fun Part 3: What You See is What You Get


ith the information provided in the first two parts of this series, you should be able to narrow the field to a few binoculars that fit your needs and budget. When you find the one you think you would like to own, get two or three others, focus them all on a particular object, and then look at that object with each binocular in turn.



Does your chosen binocular look as clear as the others? Look especially for a rainbow edge on objects. This reveals inadequate chromatic correction. Optical glass works by bending light. But glass bends different wavelengths (colors) of varying light amounts. When viewed through a plain glass lens, the different colors of light are split apart like the light coming through a prism.

Feature Story Because the lens breaks the colors of light apart, the various colors of light coming from a particular spot strike your eye at slightly different locations. The resulting rainbow effect can be pretty, but it reduces the sharpness of the visual image. Virtually all binoculars have optical coatings that correct this problem. Cheap ones don't fix it very well. Reject binoculars that show the rainbow effect. Next, focus your candidate binocular on a flat vertical area at a moderate distance - say the side of a house at 100 yards. When you have it in sharp focus, hold the binocular still and move your eyes to look at the edges of the field of view. Are objects there as sharply focused as those at the center? Reject any binocular that doesn't give sharp focus throughout the field of view. Otherwise, when an object appears large in your binocular, you won't be able to see it all in focus. Also, blurry peripheral images tell your brain that something is wrong with your eye's focus and your eyes work to correct a problem they can't fix. The result is eye strain and headaches. Don't waste money on a binocular that always makes you feel as if you're looking through a haze. This will be apparent when you compare the images of several binoculars side by side. Permanent haze makes an image look unsharp, causing the eye strain problems mentioned earlier. A separate problem – but one that can look like haze – is internal fogging. If a binocular gets water vapor inside, the moisture can condense on the inside surface of lenses when the binocular gets cold. This should not be confused with external fogging, which can happen to any binocular when the chilled glass encounters warm, moist air. Unfortunately, it is difficult to check for this flaw in a department store. What you can do, however, is check to see if the manufacturer has taken measures to prevent fogging. Binoculars sold as "waterproof" usually have all their openings to the outside sealed with flexible O-rings. That provides insurance that water won't get inside to cause fogging. Binoculars sold as "fogproof" usually have been filled with dry nitrogen or other dry gas and then sealed to ensure there is no water vapor inside to cause fogging. With reasonable care, waterproof, fog-proof binoculars will stay that way. But unusually hard nocks can break their seals, leaving them vulnerable to fogging in severe weather. Rubber armored models are more resistant to this hazard. Some binoculars, especially those with permanent focus, make your eyes do the work of focusing. This and a host of optical imperfections can cause your eyes to strain.

Sometimes this strain is subtle, but it is cumulative. After a full day of looking through your binocular, a headache will tell you if you made a wrong choice. If you find yourself squinting through binoculars, chances are they aren't for you. Try this test. Focus the binoculars on an object within 30 feet of you. Make sure that both oculars are in sharp focus. Now close one eye and, using the center-focusing mechanism only, shift the focus to an object near the horizon. Then switch eyes and – without refocusing – check the sharpness of the distant object in the other eyepiece. Both oculars should still be sharp. Now shift the focus back to the near object. If the binocular must be readjusted to restore the left-right balance of focus after shifting distances, it means the mechanism that moves the two sides of the binocular isn't sturdy and precise enough to keep them both aligned at the same focal point. It means you will have to fuss with refocusing both eyepieces every time your subject moves. You will waste time messing with your equipment instead of watching your subject. Another mechanical item worth checking is how loose or tight the right-hand focus adjustment ring fits. If it is too loose, you will ruin the left-right focus alignment every time you brush the ocular. Better too tight than too loose. Armoring protects binoculars from impact when dropped. Loss-proof lens caps are tethered to the binoculars as an insurance policy for absentminded users. You can get binoculars in bright colors that make them easy to find, or in camouflage that helps you be invisible to wildlife. Straps and cases are available to make binoculars easier to carry. Filters can help with special lighting situations. All these extras have their place, but none of them will make up for fundamental deficiencies in the areas mentioned above. And if you pay attention to all the basics, you're not likely to miss frills. How much should you pay for a binocular? The short answer is, "As much as you can afford." You can get sturdy, serviceable binoculars for not much more than $100. But if you are willing to spend more, you will get more . . . more durability, more precision, more clarity, and more brightness. Whether you're a world-class birder, a hunter or a casual weekend hiker, well-chosen binoculars will do more than any other piece of equipment to enhance your enjoyment of the outdoors. Jim Low



Feature Story

Bowhunter's Logic



Feature Story


t 60 years young I may be a little past my prime, but I like to think I've learned a thing or two about bowhunting Missouri Whitetail Deer.

For several years now, I have been managing a 200acre piece of property along the Ozark border country in Hickory County that my brother and I own. What is Ozark border country you ask? Well, it's not quite the timbered hollers and rocky bald knobs of deep southern Missouri, and it's not the large row crop fields with small patches of timber that northern Missouri typically has. It's the transition ground between Missouri's western prairie and the southeastern Ozarks. Each year I plant food plots, run trail cameras, move tree stands, and manage the deer herd to keep it healthy while trying to increase the age class of the bucks. My first goal is to provide the hunters who come here a chance to see and harvest a deer. The three most significant things that affect deer behavior on this piece of property or any smaller hunting property are hunting pressure, weather, and the rut, in that order. The result is what I call Bowhunter's Logic, and that is how I pick a stand for that hunt. Hunting Pressure – I've noticed over the years that spending more hours on stand hunting results in fewer deer seen per hour. In other words, if I bow hunt this 200 acres for three days in a row by the third day the deer have figured out that they're being hunted and are not moving as much during daylight hours. Trail cameras confirm the deer are still there just moving after dark to avoid me. I combat this by changing stands every time I hunt and always keeping in mind the wind direction when I pick a stand. I also make my way to and from that stand using the least likely route to spook deer. All of these precautions should be taken every time you hunt, and they do help. I also think after three days of hunting, I need to let the whole place rest for at least a week. Weather – This variable has a considerable effect on the deer movement. Warm weather shuts down deer movement, especially buck movement during the hunting season. Temperature drops of 10 degrees or more when cold fronts move through accompanied by light NW winds and especially if there is some snowfall, those can be peak days for deer movement. Paying close attention to weather patterns and stand placement can be very critical during specific points of the season.

The Rut – Deer hunters know that starting in late October the bucks in Missouri start feeling the urge to breed. They move more, trying to locate the first receptive does. There are several phases within the Missouri rut, but it's safe to say from late October through November bucks are on their feet more during the daylight hours than the rest of the year. Another logical consideration is to have at least 2 or 3 different small properties to hunt. Even if one of them is a public hunting area, this allows you to spread out your hunting pressure while still letting you get into the field and enjoy the chase. Save your best spot for the best conditions. The same logic should also be applied to each piece of property with the objective being to be in the best stand on the best property during the best conditions. Each year in July I do two things to get the season started. #1 is to apply for one of the Managed Deer Hunts that MDC holds on public ground. Lots of these hunts are archery-only, and many of them are on land that doesn't get hunted any other time. #2 is setting out trail cameras to start monitoring the deer herd using our property. Over the years I've learned where I can put up four or five cameras to get pictures of most of the bucks using the property and allows me to check those cameras every couple of weeks during midday while not disturbing or alarming the deer. None of the cameras are within archery range of a stand. I believe that helps limit the human scent at stand locations. With all that in mind, I would like to share some success stories from the past couple of seasons here in Missouri. When the calendar turns to early October, we usually only hunt when weather conditions dictate deer will be moving. Those conditions happened for my son Casey on October 10th, 2017. Casey went to a stand located in the northeast corner of a three-acre field that afternoon. The last 10 minutes of shooting light are magical, and they worked for Casey that evening. The 8-pointer stepped out of the wooded cover to make a scrape under a cedar tree just 25 yards from the tree stand Casey was sitting in. I still remember the excitement in Casey's voice when he said: "Dad, he never knew I was there!"

A wintertime bowhunt. (Photo: Jeff Blystone)



Feature Story In 2017 I was lucky enough to draw tags for one of the managed hunts I talked about earlier. This hunt took place in a large county park in the suburbs of Kansas City. I was able to arrow the required doe on the first evening's hunt. Now that I had earned my buck tag by managing the herd, I was free to go after that big buck. I let several nice bucks walk because I was hoping for a chance at that "big one" before killing a good 9 pointer on the next to the last day of the hunt. On the morning of November 9th, 2018, I was hunting another 100-acre piece of property that a friend of mine owns. This piece is mostly CRP type ground with a creek bordering the west side and a large soybean field to the north. I saw three does and two bucks that morning. One of the bucks, a big-bodied 8 point came out of the corner woodlot stepping into my shooting lane at 25 yards. My arrow flew true, and I found the buck only 40 yards down the blood trail. The eight pointer was my most massive bodied deer kill so far weighing in at well over 200 pounds. With opening day of the Missouri Firearms season beginning soon, my wife Kim and I loaded our gear and headed down the road to the family's Ozark border property. I kept the Hoyt bow in my hands for rifle season, put my blaze orange on, and hit the field hoping to tag my second Missouri buck of 2018. At 8:25 am, I heard what I thought was another squirrel running in the leaves behind me. Well, it was another squirrel; however, I also noticed movement about 40 yards past the squirrel. Sure enough, a buck was heading my way. The buck was going to pass my stand at about 45 yards, and he was traveling with a purpose. I grabbed the grunt call I always have hanging around my neck and blew a couple of moderately loud short grunts. I wanted the buck to hear the grunts over the noise he was making, and I needed to get a better look at his antlers. The buck stopped and looked my way. Yep, he is a shooter! I blew another grunt a little softer but also a little longer. He turned and headed my direction again walking quickly. At 22 yards I mouth grunted to stop him for the shot. At the sound of the shot, the buck ducked, and the arrow hit a little higher than I wanted. I watched him run off, losing sight of him at about 100 yards. Listening intently, I did hear a ruckus that sounded out of place in the woods. Being a little unsure, I waited an hour before taking up the trail. Sure enough, I found the buck where I had heard the strange sound.



One of the Jeff’s 2018 bow bucks that he harvested using Bowhunters Logic. (Photo: Jeff Blystone)

All these bucks were harvested keeping what I like to call smart Bowhunter's Logic in mind. • Minimize hunting pressure by not hunting the same property more than three days in a row and changing stand locations for each hunt. • Hunt when the weather favors deer movement; always consider the wind direction when choosing your route into the stand and while in the stand hunting. • Hunt more during the rut. Be in the stand hunting during the last week of October and the first three weeks of November but continue keeping in mind hunting pressure and weather. By making logical decisions, you'll be able to up the odds of being in the right place at the right time to arrow your next buck! Author's Notes: On these hunts, I used a Hoyt Spyder Thirty bow, Easton Axis arrows, Rage Hypodermic broadheads, Trophy Ridge sight, Carter Insatiable 2 release, Leupold rangefinder, and Primos grunt call. Jeff Blystone

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Agency News

MISSOURI DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION MDC Changes Some Requirements for Landowner Permits


tarting in 2020, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) will increase the minimum acreage requirement from five to 20 acres for resident landowners and members of their immediate households to receive free permits for deer and turkey hunting. Resident landowners with five or more acres and members of their immediate households will continue to be allowed to hunt small game, fish on waters of the state, and trap on their qualifying properties without the need of a permit. Also starting in 2020, MDC will offer discounted deer and turkey hunting permits for nonresident landowners with 75 acres or more in a contiguous tract. According to MDC, many nonresident landowners provide wildlife habitat work on their properties and those efforts can provide benefits to state wildlife resources. The discounted permits for nonresident landowners will be: Spring Turkey - $165 (normally $224) Fall Turkey - $96 (normally $130 Archery - $195 (normally $265) Firearm Deer - $195 (normally $265) MDC is also implementing a landowner registry starting in 2020 for resident landowners to obtain free landowner deer and turkey permits and for nonresident landowners to obtain discounted landowner permits. The registry is needed by both MDC and permit vendors to help eliminate misuse of landowner permits and privileges. According to MDC, conservation agents around the state find several hundred related violations each year. A review by conservation agents in 2017 found 35% misuse of deer and turkey hunting landowner privileges. Prior to 2004, landowners wanting no cost landowner deer and turkey hunting privileges were required to provide proof by mailing the appropriate information to MDC.



Whitetail fawn eating. (Photo: Courtesy of MDC)

The registry will provide secure records of landowners and members of their households who qualify for the free and discounted permits. The electronic registry will also provide proof of land ownership and boundaries of the properties for which the free and discounted permits apply. Individuals will be required to provide their information online through a secure MDC webpage, or in paper form. The landowner registry will be available starting in January 2020. MDC conducted an online landowner survey in March to get feedback on acreage preferences. The changes were given initial approval by the Missouri Conservation Commission at its May 23 meeting. As part of the rulemaking process, MDC asked for public comments during July and early August. The Commission considered input received and approved the changes at its Aug. 23 meeting. The changes will become effective Jan. 15, 2020.

Agency News

Buy Native Trees and Shrubs From MDC State Forest Nursery


eed trees and shrubs for your landscape? Go native with the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC). Native trees and shrubs can help improve wildlife habitat and soil and water conservation while also improving the appearance and value of private property. MDC’s George O. White State Forest Nursery near Licking offers a variety of low-cost native tree and shrub seedlings for reforestation, windbreaks, erosion control, wildlife food and cover, and other purposes. The nursery provides mainly oneyear-old, bare-root seedlings with sizes varying by species. Seedlings varieties include: pine, bald cypress, cottonwood, black walnut, hickory, oak, pecan, persimmon, river birch, maple, willow, sycamore, blackberry, beautyberry, buttonbush, deciduous holly, hazelnut, redbud, ninebark, spicebush, elderberry, sumac, wild plum, witch hazel, and others. Seedlings are available in bundles of 10 or increments of 25 per species. Prices range from 22 – 90 cents per seedling. Sales tax of 6.1 percent will be added to orders unless tax exempt. There is an $8 handling charge for each order. Receive a 15-percent discount up to $20 off seedling orders with a Heritage Card, Permit Card, or Conservation ID Number. “Flooding and other weather issues have taken their toll on the seedlings we have available this year,” said MDC Nursery Supervisor Mike Fiaoni. “Some species are very limited, so I would encourage people not to wait when placing their orders.”

Learn more and place orders through MDC’s “2019-2020 Seedling Order Form.” Find it in the September issue of the Missouri Conservationist, at MDC regional offices and nature centers, online at, or by contacting the State Forest Nursery at 573-674-3229 or (link sends e-mail). Place orders now through April 15, 2020. Orders will be shipped or can be picked up at the nursery near Licking from February through May.



Agency News

MISSOURI DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION MDC Advises Nature to Nurture Health and Happiness


ork or school have you stressed? Need a break from the mundane? The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) recommends taking a dose of nature at least once a day to refresh and de-stress. Numerous studies have linked spending time outdoors to an increase in overall physical health. Being outside has been proven to reduce heart rate, blood pressure, fatigue, and reduces the risk of Type 2 diabetes. “I prescribe nature,” said Jefferson City-based Wellness Practitioner Dianna Richardson. Richardson holds a doctorate in Naturopathy and has been treating patients for nearly 30 years. Research has found that the average American spends as much as 12 hours a day in front of a screen, whether it be scrolling through social media on a smartphone, watching television, or using a computer. Too much time on devices can lead to a weight gain, chronic neck and back pain, vision issues, and poor sleep. “We are over-stimulating our brains with constant screen-time, which causes stress, causes chronic fatigue – all of these negative responses,” Richardson explained. “If we get into nature, we can undo a lot of that damage.” Not only does nature help physical health, but it has a tremendous impact on mental health, too. Richardson notes that being outside helps reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. “Right now in the world, 400 million people are struggling with some sort of mental health issue,” Richardson said. “A lot of symptoms associated with mental health issues can be improved simply by getting outside.” One tremendous benefit of nature is sunlight. Moderate exposure to sunlight increases the brain’s release of serotonin, prompts the body to make Vitamin D, and can help with getting a restful night’s sleep.



“Most of us are inside, in a cubicle or office, anywhere from 8 to 10 hours a day,” said Richardson. “It’s not healthy. We need that sunlight and that fresh air. Even taking the long way home, a drive in the country can be beneficial.” Reaping health benefits of nature can be as easy as spending time in your own backyard. Connect with the outdoors by planting native plants, reading a book in a hammock, or hanging a hummingbird feeder. Enjoy nature at a park by having a picnic, throwing a frisbee with some pals, or simply by getting in some steps with your four-legged friend. Need more ideas on how to spend time in the great outdoors? Visit MDC’s Things to Do page at https:// to discover everything from floating and fishing, to geocaching and woodworking. To learn more about outdoor skills and activities, check out MDC’s free programs at Interested in exploring more of Missouri’s natural areas? Download MDC’s new mobile app, MO Outdoors, available through Google Play for Android Devices or the App Store for iPhone devices. Learn more about MDC apps at

Agency News

MISSOURI STATE PARKS Katy Trail Clean-up Underway


rews from Missouri State Parks have begun clearing and repairing sections of Katy Trail State Park in an effort to restore the trail and provide greater access to users. Large amounts of snow and rainfall during the first half of the year caused the Missouri River to swell and spill onto the Katy Trail, which closely follows the river in many areas. By the end of May, nearly 100 miles of the trail were closed due to flooding, leading to the cancellation of the annual Katy Trail Bike Ride. Floodwaters finally receded in July, allowing for damage assessment and trail cleanup to begin. Since then, Missouri State Parks staff has been removing debris such as mud, limbs, sand and litter and trimming tree canopies to allow for heavy equipment to access affected areas. In addition, Missouri State Parks has hosted three public volunteer cleanup events at the park. About three-quarters of the trail affected by flooding earlier in the year has reopened as of September. A variety of repairs still need to be made. Some portions of the trail need only minor repairs like improved surfacing while others require more costly and time-consuming repairs such as a bridge replacement. It is unclear when the trail will be fully restored, but Missouri State Parks is committed to once again providing this outstanding resource to the public.

In preparation for cleanup and rebuilding efforts, low-hanging or dead tree branches required trimming along many sections of the trail. (Photo: MoDNR photo by Ben Nickelson)

Due to varying factors such as precipitation and water levels, closures on the Katy Trail change frequently. To see a full list of closures, detours and advisories for Katy Trail State Park, visit https:// This page is updated with new information daily. You can contribute to the effort to restore one of Missouri’s favorite state parks with monetary donations by visiting katy-trail-flood-donations. Those who make a contribution of $100 or more receive a limited edition Katy Trail State Park t-shirt as a token of appreciation.



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Feature Story

A Duck that Loves Trees A

rather peculiar duck with bright pink legs and an almost clown-like eye ring and red bill, the Blackbellied Whistling-Duck makes an unmistakable impression. Known also as the Black-bellied Tree Duck because of its proclivity to nest in natural tree cavities. This neotropical duck has been expanding its range north, and this year it has made quite a splash in Missouri.



For more than 60 years this duck’s range in the U.S. was primarily contained in Texas, Florida, and Louisiana. Protected from hunting until 1984, the total number of Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks harvested from those three states in 2010 was 17,550. That was also the same year the 15th recorded sighting was reached in Missouri.

Feature Story It took 71 years to get from the first Missouri sighting of four birds on November 11, 1939, at Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge to the 15th record. The number of reports from unique locations has already well exceeded 15 reports in the state just this year. Expansion from the Gulf states first reached into Arizona and Arkansas in the last half of the 20th century. Preferring to feed on land as opposed to underwater, this duck has developed a less pronounced nail at the end of its bill. This is a feature ducks use to dig through mud, move their food around and is more prominent on ducks that forage in wet areas. They also have adaptions to their upper jawbones that accommodate land foraging. Being the most nocturnal of the eight species of whistling ducks, they have eyesight that allows them to see better in low light than other kinds of ducks. Adults feed primarily on plants, with rice, corn, sorghum and seeds of bermudagrass being key forages. Studies from 1971 and 1981 show that 97% of their diet was plant-based, with 86% of that being pregerminated rice. They are so fond of rice that they have been known to damage crops, consuming a significant portion of the seeds before they germinate. Parents feed ducklings a more animal-based diet, but it’s worthy of note that a duckling as young as 21 days will consume mostly seeds and plants. The preferred nesting site of Black-bellied WhistlingDucks is tree cavities. However, they are also known to nest on the ground. When nest boxes such as Wood Duck nest boxes are available, they will readily use those as well. Along with the adaptions for ground foraging, they have feet keenly made for life in a tree: their small feet have scales, allowing them to perch on surfaces as thin as fence wire and telephone lines. Pairs mate for life and both parents will incubate the eggs, trading off on average once in a 24–25 hour period. Eggs are incubated for around 27 days. Once hatched, the young stay in the nest for up to a day and then jump out to whatever lies below—ground or water. They develop flight at around two months, and the parents stay with the young for six months. The first nesting record in Missouri was in the summer of 2010 on private property in Lafayette County. The second nesting record did not come until the late summer and fall of 2017, and was again on private property—but this time in Stoddard County.

Neither of those first nesting records gave any signal of the baby duck boom we’ve seen this year with at least five known nests: two in Stoddard County, one in Wayne County, and two in St. Louis County. Little Creve Coeur Marsh in St. Louis County had a whopping 29 Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks reported on the first of September. One of these birds, present since June, had a leg band. Research of the numbers on that band gave a story that she was one of 10 female Black-bellied Whistling Ducks hatched in 2018 and banded on March 28, 2019 just north of Westwego, LA. Considered migratory only in the northern part of their range, populations often leave between August and October to winter further south. Banded birds from near Corpus Christi, TX were recovered in parts of Mexico ranging from 160-427 miles away. With the growing numbers in Missouri, the first winter record came from Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary north of St. Louis, with up to 10 birds present from September until December 27, 2017. Trends of the continued range expansion of the BlackBellied Whistling-Ducks promises to bring more adults and subsequent nesting records to the state in future years. Wood Duck nesting boxes with slightly larger holes placed in appropriate habitats, such as wetlands, marshes, and around lakes, may also influence nesting numbers and success. In a time when so many species have declining numbers, the Black-Bellied Whistling-Duck has found a way to overcome the trend faced by many birds and looks to increase its presence in Missouri.

Mary Nemececk President of Burroughs Audubon Black-Bellied Whistling-Ducks are expanding their range and more are being seen in Missouri. Look for them in wetlands, around lakes, flooded fields and even in roadside areas with standing water. (Photo: Mary Nemecek)



Feature Story

Encouraging Women in

Shotgun Shooting



Feature Story


omen today are entering the world of shooting sports in higher numbers than ever before. The number of females in shooting sports has increased by almost 70% in the last decade to roughly 6.4 million. Most women entering the shooting world do so with handguns or rifles, but an increasing amount is participating in shotgun shooting. They are bored with shooting paper and like to see a target explode. In my student's words, "Now, this is fun!" Unfortunately, society has discouraged women from participating in shooting sports for centuries. Some of the most frequent warnings are, "It will knock you down, bruise you for life, or bloody your nose." All of this can happen to any person without training, but with proper instruction, these warnings seldom come true. More and more women today are going on to become outstanding shotgun shooters. It is essential to do everything we can to properly introduce any new shooter to this beautiful world of shotgun shooting. As an instructor, it is always rewarding to have a student answer the question of "Do you want to do this again?" with an exuberant "Yes"! Many women are introduced to shotgun shooting when a good meaning person invites her to join them to go claybird shooting. The new shooter agrees to join them at a range or private land to do some shooting. Okay, so far, so good. When they get started, someone shoots a few rounds to show the new shooter how it works and how much fun it is to see the clay birds break. Still okay so far. Now the good meaning person hands the firearm to the beginner and instructs them to give it a try. RED LIGHT! One negative experience shooting a shotgun can create fear and prevent an individual from pursuing any shooting sport. It is crucial that each beginning shooter is given full instruction to create a positive experience. The first step in any firearm instruction is gun safety. Shotgun safety is slightly different than handgun and rifle safety in terms of how it is carried and loaded. Don't forget the eye and ear protection! Once this is covered, the new shooter should select a shotgun that matches their body build and dominant eye and a choke that matches the sport.

Angela George practices her clay target shooting on a skeet field at Prairie Grove Shotgun Sports in Columbia. (Photo: Emily Porter)

The two factors to keep in mind when fitting a shotgun are stock length and the height of the comb. To fit a shotgun's stock, hold the grip and place the stock along the forearm. If the butt does not touch the bicep, it is too short. If the shooter cannot reach the grip while the butt rests on their bicep, the stock is too long. To measure the comb, the shooter should be able to see just a tiny amount of the gun's fore-end and the bead sitting at the end of the rib at the muzzle. The next step is to practice proper stance. Have the shooter practice gun mount, cheek placement, foot position, and body position with an unloaded shotgun. Stress the importance of leaning forward, as leaning back is one of the most common mistakes. Now, throw a few clays and have the new shooter learn to lead in front of the target with their muzzle. It is now time to start shooting! Since the basics were covered and a correct fit of the firearm was found, the experience is more likely to be positive. Make the day at the range a good day. Above all, follow all the rules of safe gun handling and keep encouraging the new shooter. A positive experience encourages new shooters to return and tell their friends. Teaching women shooting sports is one of the many ways we can preserve our state's rich outdoor heritage and pass down traditions through generations to come. Len Patton Emily Porter takes aim for a target at the United Sportsman’s sporting clays range in Jefferson City. (Photo: Justin McGuire)



Feature Story

Sunrise to Sunset: A Hunter's Last Day


t sure is getting foggy. I’m not sure I could even see a deer sneaking through the woods in this stuff. Oh well, I love being out here sitting in my stand even if I don’t see a deer. It’s a great time to be alone with God and thank him for the opportunity to be out here in his great outdoors. I wonder how many sunrises I have seen coming through the trees while sitting in a tree stand? After over 50 years of deer hunting, it must be a lot. I have watched many sunsets too while up in a tree, but sunrises are my favorite. There’s just something special about being in the dark watching the sun gradually bring light to the forest.



Hearing the first bird songs of the day is music to my ears. I even love the smell of decaying leaves on the forest floor. The first movement I see is usually a squirrel gathering nuts for the long winter ahead. It’s incredible how much a squirrel sounds like a deer walking through the woods. Then there were the times I have watched a fox, a bobcat, or some other animal traveling through, and they had no idea I was even there. There was also the time an owl thought the fur trapper’s hat I was wearing on a cold winter day was breakfast and with claws raised dove at my head.

Feature Story It’s funny how we deer hunters tend to give our stands names too. Over the years I have sat in stands with names like Northwood’s, Papaw Bear, Dad and Me, 23, Pond, Kelly, Red Neck, and even one called No Name. Just thinking of the names brings back many memories. Most of my years sitting in those tree stands have been by myself, but the absolute best times were the years I shared them with my grandson Hunter while my son hunted with my granddaughter Anna. Hunter got old enough to hunt in his tree stand, and I am now once again sitting alone in the deer woods. It won’t be too many more years, and he will be hunting with his son or daughter and continuing to pass on the tradition. Just thinking about the good times when it was just him and I bring tears to my eyes. When you sit there waiting for a deer to come by your secret hiding place thinking of all these things, you see them in your mind. Speaking of tears, as I sit here this day for some strange reason, I am seeing my wife crying. The fog is lifting enough that I can now also see my sons, daughters-in-law, and grandkids crying. What’s going on? Honey, I love you. Why are you crying? I say to my wife. Can’t you hear me? Hunter, I know you have always had a tender heart but what’s the matter Bub? Don’t cry Sis your Papaw’s here. Ty, Sam, come here and give your Papaw our secret hand squeeze and let me wipe away the tears. Kids, I am right over here! Hey, I also see some of my cousins and friends from church. There’s Pastor Scotty too! What are they all doing here? I try talking to them, and they act like they can’t hear me or see me. Why is this room filled with all these flowers and pictures of me with my wife, kids and grandkids plus pictures of me with fish and deer? I hear someone ask my son how it happened. How what happened? My son Kelly chokes back a tear as my son Daron puts his arm around him to comfort him, and he said, “Dad was always telling us to wear our harness and attach our lifeline when we got into a tree stand. He was hunting out of a ladder stand, and for some reason, I guess he thought he didn’t need to do what he always told us to do. He even wrote articles and did radio shows telling other people how important it was to do it, but that day he didn’t. A ratchet strap broke; the stand slipped, and he fell out.”

Did I fall out of my tree stand? I’m dead! You’ve got to be kidding! I have hunted that stand for years. My harness and lifeline were in my truck. I guess like most hunters I thought this could never happen to me. I made the wrong decision. I say I am sorry to my wife for the times I have hurt her, tell her I love her one more time and that the boys will watch over her, but she doesn’t hear me. I want to hug and kiss her, but I can’t. I stand right in front of my sons and tell them how proud I am of them for being the good husbands and fathers they are, but they don’t see or hear me. I reach out to touch each of my grandkids, tell them I love them, and I am sorry I won’t be there to watch them grow up and have families of their own, but they don’t hear or see me either. I pray they won’t forget their Papaw. I hope they tell their kids about the memories we made together. I feel a hand gently on my shoulder, and a voice says, “I know this is hard Larry, but they will be all right. God will watch over all of them for you. It’s time to go to a better place. Other people are waiting for you when we get there, and I bet you have a bunch of fishing, hunting, kids and grandkids stories to tell them.” We turn to go, but I look back over my shoulder at my friends and family one last time and say goodbye. If I only would have worn my tree harness. Larry Whiteley Harness up and hook up your lifeline so you get to enjoy hunts with family and friends for years to come. (Photo: Larry Whiteley)



Feature Story

Frigid Day on the Meramec River for Trout


cold, windy day finds most people resting peacefully on the couch watching football. I’m not programmed in that manner and found myself recently floating and fishing the Meramec River with a well-known fly-fishing guide Damon Spurgeon. The weather never seems to be a deterrent for him when it comes to fishing. Temperatures hovered in the upper twenties when we shoved off from the Highway Eight Access, just east of Maramec Spring Park, in the Missouri Ozarks in Spurgeon’s Clack-a-craft drift raft. A stiff North wind pushed the wind chill to near teens.



Neither of us are strangers to cold weather floating and fishing. I have enjoyed these extreme trips for four decades, making a regularly scheduled float trip during the January thaw each year. I’d longed to make a trip with Spurgeon in his new float boat and jumped at the chance when he extended an invitation to tag along. We’ve developed an exciting relationship since he began his Cardiac Mountain Guide service two years ago. The name of his business alone is intriguing. Meramec River anglers are all too familiar with the name. Cardiac Mountain is the namesake of another access to the river several miles below the Highway 8 Access.

Feature Story The climb down Cardiac Mountain and back up is not for the weak of heart, thus the name. I haven’t done that climb in over 20 years. I prefer to float by it. Damon rigged a couple of Sage fly rods before we pushed off into the cold current. One he rigged with a ginger bunny leech pattern and the other with a Cerci worm. He fishes as often as possible and knows what trout are hitting on. The Meramec had recently been on fire. Brilliantly colored rainbow trout had been stacking up like cordwood, all having fallen to his superb trout fishing techniques. The occasional Brown trout added to my growing desire to get on the river with Damon. The brisk North winds chilled us as it blew straightforward into our faces. Spurgeon steadily worked the oars of the raft to push us through the first two miles of the river flow. At the juncture of the Maramec Spring Branch and the Meramec River, the river takes a 90-degree turn to the East. Once we reached that point, we moved out of the cold wind. We anchored the raft 10 feet offshore as soon as we rounded the bend. I quickly reached for the fly rod rigged with the short leach pattern and began stripping line. “Cast 45-degrees upstream and to the edge of the seam between the currents,” Damon instructed. “Mend hard to get the fly ahead of the line to complete the drift to the tail of the pool.” It all sounded easy enough, but in the strong current extra hard mends were necessary to get the right drift to prevent drag on the fly line, and consequently the fly itself. A dragfree drift is essential to fool the wary Meramec River trout.

Cooper and Spurgeon warm themselves by a campfire on the banks of the Meramec on a cold day. (Photo: Bill Cooper)

We drifted the raft downstream another 15-yards and reanchored. “Cast towards that dark rock,” he said. “There’s a hump there, and you should connect with a fish just below it.” I felt confident as the fly line laid out across the moving surface. Mend. Mend again. Perfect looking drift. Strike. Hookset. Head thrashing. Limp line. It ended as quickly as it had started. “That fish felt good,” I muttered. Minutes later, I placed my cast further downstream to drift to the pool tailout. As the drift neared its end, a jolting strike reverberated up the Sage rod. I lifted the rod while pulling the line. A scrappy rainbow trout danced at the other end. Damon and I marveled at the incredible beauty of this river creature. A bright crimson stripe followed the lateral line, while pink fins outlined in white shined like neon. I slipped the sleek fish back into the water. My next cast brought a repeat. Spurgeon had the formula down perfect. We each landed several more fish before drifting further downstream.

It took a few minutes for me to get the drift down. I had to raise the rod enough to flip the indicator upstream of the curling fly line. During the milli-second the indicator was airborne; the fly line and leader would float out front and drift downstream in the desired fashion. Only then did I begin to get strikes.

Our bellies growled. We pulled ashore, and I began a lunch of steak fajitas, while Damon worked the water with euronymphing class. Within minutes he whooped his success as another brilliantly colored Meramec River rainbow fell to his charms.

“There’s a hit,” Damon yelled. “I was looking downstream,” I rebutted. Another came quickly. The cold North winds still hindered my reflexes we had endured for the first two miles of the trip.

A small campfire and a hot lunch chased away the chills, and we continued fishing. To book a guided fishing trip with Damon Spurgeon, call Cardiac Mountain Outfitters at 573-263-9776. You’ll make fishing memories for sure.

Bill Cooper NOVEMBER - 2019


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Feature Story

Pick a Waterfowl Hot Spot


big flock of circling mallards scanned our set for anything out of place. We stood shivering in the cold water between numerous flooded oak trees where the area was loaded with sweet acorns. Ducks love sweet acorns and wanted to feed. More ducks joined the first flock and continued to swing over our decoys. Lack of wind meant little or no decoy movement and the ducks were too close for us to kick the water; a method used to look like ducks splashing. The flock was boring in hard, so we dared not chance any excessive movement.



A familiar sound echoed through the flooded timber as the wind whistled through the duck’s wing pinions, mixed with a few drake quacks. Strong flailing wings make a whooshing-whistling sound when air passes between wing feathers that waterfowl hunters have enjoyed for centuries. The flock was close, and waiting for the right moment to shoot is sometimes stressful. Even an experienced hunter’s breathing can become labored while heart rates increase.

Feature Story Ducks sometimes make five or six passes before dropping in to land. They survive through the caution of not committing before thoroughly studying an area. During this critical time, inexperienced hunters occasionally shoot while the ducks are out of range. Experienced hunters wait for the right moment to shoot. Finally, the lead ducks dropped into our decoys and made a decent splash while dropping into our three-feet-deep pool to gulp down acorns. They made quite a commotion through a controlled panic while pumping their wings for altitude after we popped out from behind our flooded oaks. Our shotgun reports echoed down through the river bottoms while deadly lead shot found it’s mark, leaving three drake mallards floating in the decoys. That hunt took place in the early 1970s before steel shot became legal and lead waterfowl shells to become collectors’ items. The action lasted until we limited out around mid-morning. This was not hunting on an exclusive waterfowl sportsman’s club. It was merely two empty-pocketed boys that found productive hunting in the Missouri River bottoms with ducks to help feed our families. Years later, several of us drove to a favorite pheasant hunting field. The fifty acres had been planted in milo, but there was a notable difference. Floodwaters from the nearby Missouri River had poured into this field, leaving the water level was just under each ripened milo head. We stared through binoculars in disbelief at the cloud of birds over the north end of this farming disaster. “Ducks,” Fred Simmerman said. “Man, there are thousands of ducks here.” We quickly made our game plan for the next morning and drove home. The plan was to wade in a small john boat loaded with decoys, guns, ammunition, food, snacks, a camouflage net, buckets to sit on and whatever else we needed. We would put on our waders and pull the boat through our milo field and set up at the other end before daylight. The next morning after a night without sleep because of anticipation, Simmerman, Bobby Donaldson and I quickly all equipment into the back of my 1948 Chevy pickup and drove back to the milo field. We reached the property and found that wading in an unpicked milo field is difficult, but possible while wading through the middle of a row, especially when hanging on to the boat. I stepped into a deep rut and almost went under the water. My grip on the boat fortunately held me up.

We finally made our destination, set out decoys and waited for daylight. Our buckets sank a bit into the mud, but just enough so we could sit. Simmerman spread the camouflage netting over our position, and we were in business. Soon the ducks poured in. We started to call and then decided that it was a waste of breath. The mallards wanted to be there, and our daily limit was quickly secured. We cased our shotguns and sat to watch a show of mallards, gadwalls, teal, pintails, scaup, ring necks and redheads dive into the area. We purposely spooked the ducks and sat back down to watch them dive back into the field 10-minutes later. We found their chosen spot. Waterfowl hunting has become a gentleman’s sport and extremely expensive. You don’t have to join a sportsman’s club to enjoy excellent waterfowl hunting. The first key is scouting out areas where ducks want to be--and this changes with changing conditions. The flooded milo field was a good example. The conservation areas are outstanding. Many offer walk-in areas that allow you a portable set opportunity. When you find good public hunting, move farther to isolated areas to escape the crowd. It may mean more wading and work, but you might enjoy a productive duck hunt for your efforts. Little rivers, ponds or lakes close to waterfowl flyways will sometimes hold waterfowl. Flooded fields are standard now and productive hunting. There are many dangers around big rivers, so start by finding an experienced river hunter to earn from—if you can find one. Be especially careful when wading in an unfamiliar area. Stepping into a deep hole or ditch can quickly ruin a hunt and even be life-threatening. I wear a knife to cut out of my waders if the worst should happen. Carrying stacks of goose or duck decoys with other hunting equipment is a lot of work, so be cautious of fatigue. Don’t forget to ask permission on all private lands and scouting is the key to finding waterfowl hunting that won’t break your pocketbook.

Kenneth L. Kieser Waterfowl blinds can just about be setup anywhere to make for a successful hunt. (Photo: Kenneth Kieser)



Outdoor News

It's Time to Share the Harvest


s I write this article, we are right at a week away from the opening of Missouri's archery season. I still have broadheads that need sharpening, clothes that need washing, and gear to sort through. Two weeks after that, I am on my way to British Columbia to hopefully bring home a moose with my stick and string. No rest for the wicked, I guess. By the time you read this, Missouri's firearm deer season is on the horizon, and I will be trying to figure out how to catch up on all my honey-do's as I plan for yet another trip to the woods. We are blessed to live in a state with a very healthy deer population and plenty of places to hunt them. As you go afield this season, please consider donating some of your bounties to Missouri's Share the Harvest program. The meat you donate generally stays right in your area, so you're not only making a difference, you're making a difference for your friends and neighbors. During the 2018-2019 season, hunters donated nearly 5600 deer which totaled up close to 290,000 pounds of pure organic protein. The food pantries always tell us that this stuff just flies off the shelf, so you know that what you are doing is much appreciated. However, I figure most of you already know about this program and donate to it if you can. So instead of me preaching to the choir, I want to take a different approach. I would still like you to donate meat if you can but, more importantly, I want you to become an advocate of Share the Harvest and try to recruit others to donate as well. We members of the STH committee have been hoping to reach the 6000 deer mark for a few years, and that goal is now well within reach. All we need is for each of you to recruit one more person to donate to this worthy cause. CFM is still covering the first $75 of the processing costs you incur for donating a whole deer, and many local organizations will pick up the rest of the tab. All you must do is call a participating meat processor or the CFM office, to get the details.

Darren Haverstick, chair of the Share the Harvest Committee proudly shows off a deer he took during a recent deer season.

While I'm talking about meat processors, please take a moment to thank them for their participation in Share the Harvest when you see them. It was recently brought to my attention that hunters could donate deer until they were stacked up like cordwood, but it wouldn't do anyone much good if we didn't have the dedicated men and women to process and package the meat for the food pantries. They too are an essential piece of the puzzle of feeding hungry Missourians. When you see the news pieces done on STH, it's always the hunters who get the glory. I think it's time that the processors got some of that too because they are also directly responsible for making this program a success. Have a safe, fun and hopefully productive season!

Darren Haverstick



Outdoor News

August 9, 2019 Marked Smokey Bear’s 75th Birthday


mokey Bear is at the heart of the longestrunning public service campaign in American history. During World War II, Japanese submarines fired shells that exploded on an oil field near the Los Padres National Forest in California. There was a fear that incendiary shells exploding in the forest along the Pacific Coast could ignite raging wildfires. Protection of forests became a matter of national importance, especially with so many ablebodied men deployed in the war. The Forest Service organized the Cooperative Forest Fire Prevention Program, and in 1944, Smokey Bear was created as the program’s fire prevention symbol. Later, in 1950, a fire spotter in the Capitan Mountains of New Mexico spotted smoke and called it in to the nearest ranger station. As crews battled the fire, a report came in about a bear cub wandering near the fire line. The firefighters were caught directly in the path of the fire and survived only by laying down on a rockslide for over an hour as the fire burned past them. The little bear cub had taken refuge in a tree and the fire charred the tree and burned his paws and hind legs. News spread about the bear cub and his injuries. Once his injuries were bandaged and starting to heal, the New Mexico state game warden presented the bear cub to the chief of the Forest Service and soon, the he was on his way to the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. to become the living symbol of Smokey Bear. Smokey Bear received so many letters and gifts of honey that he had to have his own zip code. Smokey Bear has accomplished so much, but his work is far from over. Nearly 9 out of 10 wildfires nationwide are caused by humans. The principle causes of human-related wildfires are campfires left unattended, debris burning on windy days, hot ashes and BBQ coals, and operating equipment that throws sparks.

Smokey prepares to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at Outdoors Night at Busch Stadium. (Photo: Courtesy of CFM)

To help celebrate Smokey Bear’s 75th birthday, Smokey threw out the ceremonial first pitch as part of the Outdoors Night at Busch Stadium as the Cardinals took on the Miami Marlins. Outdoors Night was cohosted by the Conservation Federation of Missouri and the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation. Sponsors for Outdoors Night were Roeslein Alternative Energy, MidwayUSA, Orscheln Farm and Home, Moneta, and Wilkerson & Reynolds.

Wildfire prevention remains crucial and Smokey Bear still needs your help. Only you can prevent wildfires! To learn more about Smokey Bear, including wildfire prevention activities for kids and educators, visit



Outdoor News

Ring in 2020 With a Paddle or Hike


ew Year's resolutions are easy to make but can be challenging to keep. How about a resolution that is both easy and fun to keep? Pledge yourself to spend more time outdoors in the coming year and kick it off with a First Day Float. Huh? A float trip on New Year's Day? Brrrr! But think again. The summer crowds are gone, and the rivers offer solitude and peacefulness. Winter paddlers usually see a lot of wildlife and landmarks that summer paddlers miss. "In the summer, the vegetation along the river is thick," says Dave Tobey, interpreter for the Upper Current River in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. "Now the foliage is gone, and you see things, different features that people float right by during the summer. It's also an excellent time to see eagles. You may also see deer, mink, and even otters." Tobey wants people to enjoy the rivers year-round. He is enthusiastic about introducing people to safe winter paddling, so much so that he helped found the Winter Paddling Clinic and First Day Float, which will be held this year Dec. 30 to Jan. 1. It's a joint project between the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, Echo Bluff State Park and Current River State Park, with input from the Missouri chapter of the American Canoe Association and paddling clubs around the state. The clinic is held at Echo Bluff, beginning with sessions on the evening of Dec. 30 and the morning of Dec. 31. That afternoon will offer a float or hike; then participants will regroup at Echo Bluff for evening sessions and to ring in the New Year. On Jan. 1, participants can float, hike, or do a hike-float combo. This is the fourth year for the paddling clinic, which has grown in size from about 40 participants in the first year to more than 100 last year. The focus of the clinic, says Tobey, is to introduce



Paddlers pull over for a break at the junction of Sinking Creek and the Current River during last year's First Day Float. (Photo: Barbara Gibbs Ostmann)

paddlers to the proper equipment and safety precautions for winter paddling, and then put them into practice on a guided float trip. There is no charge to attend the clinic, but participants are responsible for lodging and meals. The guided instructional float on New Year's Day from Current River State Park to Round Spring is free of charge, but reservations are necessary. Call the Round Spring Ranger Station at 573-323-8093 for reservations and information or visit ozar. If you'd like to stay at Echo Bluff, you'll need to act quickly by calling 844-322-3246. There also should be lodging vacancies in Eminence, about 14 miles south of the park, as well as camping at either Echo Bluff or Round Spring. Whether you paddle or hike, getting outdoors on New Year's Day is an excellent way to set the tone for the coming year. Studies have shown that spending time in nature enhances creativity and lifts our spirits. This might be a resolution you will keep -- and you might burn off some of those holiday calories, too. Barbara Gibbs Ostmann

Outdoor News

Frosty Delight


ome people dread the approach of winter, with its chilling cold and leaden skies. But most outdoors folk I know revel in the constant change of seasons, finding things to delight and inspire in every time of year. For instance, if you venture outdoors on a frosty November morning, you might encounter one of Missouri’s most unusual and short-lived blossoms, the frost flower. Not really flowers at all, these are delicate and beautiful ribbons of ice crystals that form on the lower stems of a few species of Missouri plants. These include dittany (Cunila origanoides), stinkweed (Pluchea camphorata) and white crownbeard (Verbena virginica). The roots of these species remain active after freezing sap splits open their stems. Those ruptures allow water drawn up by the roots to leak out into freezing air, forming delicate white ribbons. The strange, folded shapes reminded someone lone long ago of flower petals, and they received their fanciful name. Like snowflakes, no two frost flowers are alike. Each morning’s crop of frost flowers lasts only until the sun’s warming rays reach their delicate whorls or the air temperature rises above 32 degrees. Repeated freezing eventually destroys the narrow openings needed to produce the hoary blossoms, ending frost flower “blooming” season. You can live in Missouri for decades without ever seeing a frost flower. You will never see one if you prefer sitting before a fire with a mug of coffee to tramping through field and forest on frosty November mornings. They are among the many secret rewards that Mother Nature reserves for those spending time with her throughout the year. Winter has delights for those of the toasty-fireand-mug-of-coffee persuasion, too. As a child, I was awestruck by the intricate designs that festooned my bedroom windows on especially frosty mornings. In those days before double-pane windows, fleeting and unique original artworks were part of every child’s winter experience.

Frost flowers form on the lower stems of a few species of Missouri plants. (Photo: Bill White)

The extravagant designs reminded me of the frost fairies in Disney’s classic animated film, Fantasia. I imagined them skating across windowpanes as I slept, creating exquisite artworks just for me to discover when I awoke. That was infinitely more fun than the scientific explanation of water vapor crystalizing on the super-cold glass. Facts can be beggarly substitutes for fantasy. I suppose nothing good comes without a price. I love the snug, well-insulated home where I live today. I’m glad not to be losing millions of BTUs of expensive energy through single-pane windows. But I miss the indescribable beauty of my childhood. So, I was thrilled when I arose one frigid morning and discovered that I had failed to close the front door completely the night before. The crack had allowed moist interior air to seep into the space between insulated door and glass storm door. The result was an 84- by 30-inch ice mural with enough crystalline swirls to hold an aging child’s rapt attention for hours. Of course, it didn’t last that long. Sunrise lent stunning contrast to Nature’s art, then erased it for the next night’s work. Now, on unusually cold nights, I sometimes put a kettle of water on the stove right before bedtime and leave the front door open a crack. I put down the lost BTUs to supporting the natural arts. Jim Low NOVEMBER - 2019


Feature Story

Bradford and Murphy Leave Their Legacy on the Conservation Commission 60


Feature Story


arilynn Bradford and Dave Murphy completed their six-year terms on the Missouri Department of Conservation’s Commission this past summer. They were appointed by Governor Jeremiah “Jay” Nixon to fulfill their commission duties of public service to preserve our state’s natural beauty and environment for future generations. They both did just that, and more. The Missouri Conservation Commission controls, manages, restores, conserves and regulates the bird, fish, game, forestry and all wildlife resources of the state, including hatcheries, sanctuaries, refuges, reservoirs and more. Both Bradford and Murphy credit the mentors and support they had to help mold and create their passions along the way.

When “the call” from the Governor’s office came regarding being the next Conservation Commissioner, it was on the very same day in October 2013 that she came across a treasured four-leaf clover pressed inside a book her Great Aunt had given her so many years earlier. “I am so appreciative of all the wonderful people who I’ve had the opportunity to meet and work with on Conservation issues. What an honor it has been to serve the people of Missouri and to work hand-in-hand with some of the best and the brightest staff and volunteers who works to protect our resources so the public can enjoy our great Missouri outdoor heritage.”

“We tackled some extremely challenging issues, and never wavered in doing the right thing for Conservation. We were a very strong Commission who moved things forward, and did not sit back and accept Marilynn is a central Missouri native and has had a things as usual.” In one word summing up what her lifelong interest in the outdoors last six years have been like is and a proven commitment to public “We tackled some extremely “transformative.” Marilynn says service. Her diverse background it was transformative, because challenging issues, and never of the significant challenges and in government, private business, and citizen conservation, proved changes reshaping MDC, improving wavered in doing the right extremely helpful in her excellent and expanding partnerships, thing for Conservation. decision-making process while on and broadening the entire public We were a very strong the commission. service focus. She noted things like leadership changes, successfully Commission, who moved Marilynn is a life member of re-establishing an Elk herd, and things forward and did not CFM and says her interest in a soon to follow season for Black conservation began as a child sit back and accept things as Bear hunting. growing up in the “Mayberry-like” usual.” setting in Jefferson City. “We had a It's noteworthy that she and creek across the street and all the her husband Steve are the first kids in the neighborhood took advantage of catching husband and wife to serve on the Commission. Marilynn tadpoles, frogs, turtles, fish, and even a few small snakes. reflected on her journey as a commissioner stating, There were woods nearby where we could invent games “A Commissioner’s job is temporary, and our time is and let our imaginations run wild. “That’s where I limited – but the commitment is permanent. Our future remember the early evening call of the whippoorwills, generations depend on the decisions we make, and I am and owls later at night.” so grateful for the opportunity to serve in this role.” Bradford counts her Great Aunt Fredricka Simonsen among her formative influences. “She was my role model,” says Bradford. “She was a true trailblazing woman and was Missouri’s first woman pharmacist in 1899. Her spirit shaped my beliefs today and my desire to serve the public.”

Dave is a native of Lewis County who has spent much time hunting, fishing and farming with his family in northeast Missouri. In 2013 he retired as Executive Director of the Conservation Federation of Missouri. Before that he was a regional director and field supervisor for National Wild Turkey Federation. He owns and operates his family farm where they have been farming since 1857. He grew up driving a tractor, tending hogs and cattle, and hunting and fishing with his family on a 376-acre farm in Clark County. NOVEMBER - 2019


Feature Story He says he accepted Gov. Nixon’s appointment for the same reason he took the job as CFM’s director – to help protect Missouri’s unique system of conservation governance. "I felt a great obligation to ensure that this world is as good a place as I can leave it for my grandchildren, and other grandsons and granddaughters out there.” Dave traces the roots of his conservation career to his earliest childhood memories.“My family were hunters and fishermen back before the Conservation Department was formed,” he says. “My great grandfather was a market hunter, and my dad and his father always had dogs to hunt quail and raccoons. I can remember my dad carrying me in his arms on a coon hunt.” Murphy says his maternal grandfather introduced him to fishing, and he grew up being a river rat. Three conservation agents, Bob King, Phil Rice and Dean Novel, who were family friends, also played key roles in shaping his life goals. “Dean was a profound influence on me because of the guidance he gave me,” says Murphy. “I told him one day I wanted to be a conservation agent just like him. He told me I was doing pretty well in school, so I ought to become a biologist.” He also credits his third-grade teacher, Mrs. Bowen, for encouraging his budding interest in nature. “I don’t know where I would be today without those folks who took an interest in me when I was young,” says Murphy, “but you can bet I wouldn’t have been able to do as much as I have.” Dave talked about the passion of Missourian's and their love of the outdoors saying, “It was citizens who had the love of nature, the vision, and the drive to pass a constitutional amendment in 1936 removing conservation from political control. It was citizens who decided to amend the constitution again 40 years later to provide stable funding for their conservation department.” Over the years he has advocated for measures to encourage young Missourians’ involvement in traditional outdoor activities. One example is youth hunting seasons, which allow adults to give their full attention to upcoming hunters. He helped promote outdoor mentorship and maintaining Missouri’s national leadership in hunter recruitment.

Certainly, Dave’s legacy of leaving an impact on conservation is deeply rooted in Missouri. Dave said, "Our job is to prepare those who follow us. That certainly means all the leaders and decision-makers of today with whom we must effectively work. More importantly, it means those yet untested leaders, living and yet to come. Otherwise, no matter how greatly we perform today, our successes cannot and will not last.” His knowledge and depth of understanding what is at stake in promoting and preserving what we have in Missouri in truly unparalleled. In 2009 Outdoor Life magazine named him one of 25 Most Influential People for the Future of Hunting and Fishing. Dave said, “No one among even the amazing visionaries of nearly a century ago could have imagined what has been accomplished in Missouri over these 80+ years...on the same land and at this same time our human population has doubled. Dare to dream BIG! Then get to work and make it happen.” On behalf of CFM, and the entire conservation community, we certainly owe Marilynn and Dave a huge debt of gratitude for leaving their indelible mark on conservation, while preserving our resources for generations to come. Marilynn and Dave, THANK YOU. Tyler Schwartze



Outdoor News

A Hoot


was sitting in my favorite tree stand one afternoon when a barred owl hooted in a tree what I would guess was 100 yards behind me. It had been a slow day up to then, so I decided to liven things up with a little bird-human interaction. Like many turkey hunters, I have learned to do a fairly credible immitation of a barred owl’s “Whowho-who-cooks-for-youuuu?” It comes in handy when trying to discover the location of roosted turkey gobblers. They are not fond of owls and often will gobble back at hooting owls to put their hereditary enemies on notice that 20 pounds of feathered fury awaits nocturnal predators foolish enough to mess with their flock. Anyway, I hooted back at the owl and got an immediate response. I shut up then. Owls are masters of fixing the exact source of sounds, since they hunt in the dark. That owl knew where I was if he wanted to come see me. Come he did, a few minutes later. He landed in a tree a few yards behind me and hooted again, this time with extra gusto. So, naturally, I hooted back. I knew he could see my shoulder and orange vest around the edge of the tree trunk where I sat.

I figured he would get nervous and leave. Wrong. He flew past, about 20 feet to my right, then alit in a tree 50 feet directly in front and slightly above me. He immediately turned around and fixed me with a predator’s glare. He did not look happy. Seeing that the jig was up, I went ahead and hooted at him one last time, trying to sound as ferocious as he had moments earlier. Once again, I figured the sight of 200-pound mammal uttering owl hoots would unnerve him. Wrong again. If he was unnerved, he had a peculiar way of showing it. He launched from his perch and, after a downward swoop to gain speed, zipped past me so near that I heard his right wingtip brush the trunk inches from my head. He had made his point. I decided not to disturb his solitude further. I didn’t see a single deer, but the owl encounter was worth every minute I spent in my tree stand that afternoon. Jim Low



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Planning Your Future?

Include the Conservation Federation of Missouri in your estate plans. Leave a legacy for the natural resources and traditions you have valued throughout your life. Make CFM a beneficiary of your will, trust, life insurance policy or retirement plan. Any amount helps preserve Missouri’s resources and natural history for generations to come. What will your legacy be?

Call 573-634-2322 to find out more information.

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Profile for Conservation Federation

Nov 2019 vol 80 no 6