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The Voice for Missouri Outdoors NOVEMBER 2021 - VOL 82 | NO. 6

Director’s Message

Fall in Love With the Outdoors


n a recent Monday, my alarm woke me to get up and get ready for the week and get my kids out the door. My wife had already hurried off to help save someone's limb or life in the O.R., so it was on me to get us to town before my oldest daughter's tardy bell. As my eyes adjusted to the morning light, I noticed out my window a hen turkey staring in my bedroom window! As I snuck through the living room to get a better look, I gazed out to see another hen, this one bearded, with 11 little poults feeding on the bugs in the yard. I quickly woke up my oldest daughter Dalaney, first. As usual, she wasn't excited to be awoken so suddenly, but once she realized how close the turkeys were to the house, she ran over and almost spooked them away. With only 40 feet and our window between her and the turkeys, I had her step back so they wouldn't spook and asked her not to move. Then I headed for my 4-year-old son Colton's room, as I knew he would be excited about the turkeys and how close they were. I got him up and snuck him behind the kitchen table to peek out the window, as now a few of them were less than 25 feet from the window, somewhat alerted at the little human heads moving around trying to watch then, while containing their excitement. We occasionally see turkeys and deer throughout the year across our lake on the glade or dam, but not that close to our front yard, as our home basically is surrounded by our lake's water on three sides. Whatever bugs they were feeding on through the yard, the hens and poults were loving it. My children were also loving them being so close. I found myself watching my kids more than the turkeys. Once I got my eldest two children not to move, I slipped off to awake my youngest daughter Mabrey from her slumber. I knew she too would be excited to see the turkeys so up close. After all three kids watched as they fed around our entire yard, I then scurried to get my kids fed, just as these hens were helping their poults feed. Tyler is pictured with his wife Michelle, and their children, Dalaney, Colton and Mabrey at their home in Callaway County.

Over the last several years, since I have fell in love with trapping and fur handling. I have focused on removing the critters that can be harmful to these poults' survival, so I can only hope that one of these turkeys may have made it because of that. In addition to the trapping, I have forgone some food plots, and am restoring that into native habitat along with restoring a glade on our property. I am hopeful that improved habitat work provides the space for them to hide, eat, and survive. On a recent observation walk through the glade to check out the common milkweed, I found several monarch caterpillars, which was very rewarding for all the sweat and time I have worked on chopping and dropping cedars, burning, and removing that pesky, invasive, autumn olive. In case you are wondering, I got my oldest daughter to school before the tardy bell, so all was well that day. The enjoyment that the kids, and let's face it, just as much me, is all worth the hard work. Be sure to check out Nature Day's article by Kyle Carroll's on page 54, to see how he shares his time outdoors with his grandchildren. I challenge you to get outside, enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the fall, and share them with the youth. You just never know what you might find that will invigorate the youth back into your soul, which does the mind and your landscape, much good.

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



Conservation Federation November 2021 - V82 No. 6


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

STAFF Tyler Schwartze - Executive Director, Editor Micaela Haymaker - Director of Operations


Michelle Gabelsberger - Membership Development Coordinator Colton Zirkle - Education and Communications Coordinator Joan VanderFeltz - Administrative Assistant Emma Kessinger - Creative Director




Operation Game Thief: A Program That Works


Gardens with Environmental Benefits


The Big Muddy


Enjoying Missouri's Black Walnuts


Stories From the Marsh


Beginner's Backpack Hunting


War Story


Venison: A Versatile Meat for Any Occassion


Nature Days


Hunting Small Timber

Departments 3 8 11 14 36

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

Conservation Federation is the publication of the Conservation Federation of Missouri (ISSN 1082-8591). Conservation Federation (USPS 012868) is published bi-monthly in January, March, May, July, September and November for subscribers and members.

Highlights 17 18 20 21 61



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.

CFM Events Schedule CFM Resolutions Process CFM Board Nominations CFM Conservation Achievement Awards Dru Bruntin new DNR Director

Of each member’s dues, $10 shall be for a year’s subscription to Conservation Federation. Periodical postage paid in Jefferson City, MO and additional mailing offices. Send address changes to: Postmaster Conservation Federation of Missouri 728 West Main Jefferson City, MO 65101

FRONT COVER The talented, lifelong photographer and writer Bill Konway captured this beautiful whitetailed deer. More of his photos can be viewed at

Business Partners

Thank you to all of our Business Partners. Platinum

Gold Bushnell Doolittle Trailer Enbridge, Inc.

G3 Boats MidwayUSA Pure Air Natives

Redneck Blinds Riley Chevrolet Roeslein Alternative Energy, LLC

Missouri Wildflowers Nursery Mitico Simmons Sun Solar

Starline, Inc. St. James Winery

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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


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


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


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

Young Professionals

Conservation Federation of Missouri began


State Wildlife and Forestry Code published



Wildlife and Forestry Act passed



First deer season since 1937

Amendment 4 created Missouri's non-political Conservation Commission

First turkey season in 23 years



First hunter safety program formed

Missouri Department of Natural Resources formed



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

Operation Game Thief formed


Design for Conservation Sales Tax passed



Stream Teams formed


Parks and Soils Sales Tax passed

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

Share the Harvest formed



Operation Forest Arson formed



Conservation Leadership Corps formed



Missouri National Archery in the Schools Program formed

CFM Celebrates 85 years



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

Ways You Can Support CFM Membership

Life Membership

Affiliate Membership

Business Partnerships

Scholarships and Grant Support

Event Sponsorship and Product Donation

Support our efforts to promote and protect conservation and natural resources in our state. Members will receive our magazine six times a year, event information, our bi-weekly enewsletter, and the opportunity to grow our voice. CFM provides the platform for a diverse group of organizations to have their conservation voices be heard. Affiliates have the opportunity to apply for grants, receive educational training and promote the mission of their organization. CFM provides scholarships to graduates and undergraduates. We also provide grant funds to youth education programs and to affiliate projects. Contributing will help future generations initiate boots on the ground projects.

Become a life member for $1,000. Life memberships are placed in an endowment fund that allows us to continue our work in perpetuity.

Business partners will enjoy recognition in each magazine issue along with opportunities to reach and engage with our active membership. Ask us about our different Business Partnership levels. All of our events have raffles with both silent and live auctions. The contributions of in-kind products and services not only assists in raising funds for conservation, but also promote the businesses that support CFM.

Conservation Federation of Missouri 728 West Main St, Jefferson City, MO 65101 Phone: (573) 634-2322 ~ Email:

Become a Member today! ____ ____ ____ ____ ____

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

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

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

Join online

President’s Message

Reflecting On CFM's Summer


t is hard to believe that we are well into fall. I hope you have found ways to connect with nature and the outdoors during this beautiful time of the year. Thanksgiving is fast approaching, followed by Christmas, and then a new year begins! Wow! Where has the time gone? This edition of our magazine highlights 2021 initiatives on track or already completed because CFM staff and volunteers worked so well together! Please find your quiet time, put your feet up and enjoy reading from cover to cover. I especially call on you to check out the Highlights section “What is CFM” and if you feel motivated by what you read and want to become a member, or if you are a member and are inspired to become more engaged, please do not hesitate to contact me or any member of our staff. Your contributions will be greatly appreciated. The time is right to recognize the Nomination and Elections ad hoc Committee and the Nominating Committee for their dedication and exemplary work (over the past two years) to study the current elections process, decide and recommend changes, gain Board approval then develop and execute an implementation plan. Thanks to all who served and those who continue to serve on the implementation of this huge initiative. What seemed so daunting in the beginning will become a reality with the 2022 election! Congratulations! CFM members have been kept apprised throughout this initiative via our magazine on introducing the process changes and approval by the Board. (March 2021 edition) progress reports (May and July editions) and now a call to action for CFM members, “Who Answered CFM Nominations Call” (Nov. edition). I urge you to revisit the information shared via these publications and the candidate information and videos to be informed and prepared to vote when called upon. I am encouraged about what lies ahead for CFM. I have confidence that we will continue to be the strong Voice for Missouri Outdoors because of our talented staff and the energy bestowed to carry out our mission by the volunteers that step up to do it.



Before I sign off, I wish you all a safe, healthy and happy holiday season. Unlike last year, those of us who are fully vaccinated may feel safe in spending time with family and friends who we were not able to be with before the vaccine. Enjoy your time together and then it is on to the new year!

“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks” – John Muir

Yours in Conservation, Mossie Schallon President, CFM

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

Why I Became a Life Member of CFM: Gene Gardner


he Conservation Federation of Missouri is “The Voice for Missouri Outdoors,” I am proud to add my voice to that choir. Quite simply, my passion for protecting Missouri’s conservation heritage is deeply personal and professional to me. It turns out my Ozark Mountain (Arkansas) roots came by way of Missouri; my third great-grandfather was a pioneer farmer on 700 acres near Williamsburg, MO, in 1826 and was in the first Agricultural Census in 1850. Once abundant with fish and game described by Lewis & Clark, my ancestors cleared the forest, and market demands for fur, feathers, and meat decimated the game in those forests and the prairies by the late 1860s. I feel a responsibility to help put back, or at least care for, some of those “wild” resources that my pioneer family benefitted from, so being a life member of CFM lets me continue to help conserve our outdoor heritage. On a professional side, I retired from the Wildlife Division, Missouri Department of Conservation, many years ago. My first “paying” job right out of college was with MDC as a wildlife biologist, providing me an honor of a lifetime working with the many conservation giants in Missouri. Through the years, there have been serious social and political threats to our Missouri conservation heritage, but I genuinely believe none have been so dire as some of the attacks we are facing today! As my career waned and times spent in the outdoors continued to slip through my fingers, I understand how important it is that I continue to support Missouri’s unique, citizen-led conservation and our outdoor heritage, as embodied by CFM.

On another more personal note, I met Elizabeth Cook, my wife of 35+ years, while working for MDC (she is a CFM Life Member and retired from NRCS). At our younger ages, we were made keenly aware of how important our outdoor heritage was (and still is) to all Missouri citizens through resource conservation work with friends and colleagues. In our retirement years, we joined CFM as life members so our voices to support conservation would continue to be heard into the future. By becoming life members of CFM, our voices are added to the many other voices that defend our conservation heritage. Liz and I have passed along our passion for outdoor places and pursuits to Rachel, our daughter, so our next generation can voice her support for the conservation heritage we have supported in our lifetime

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

Contact CFM at (573) 634-2322 or email



Member News


Clinton Pamperien, Springfield

Mike Capps, Eolia

Jo Pang, Bourbon

William Cooley, Bonnots Mill

Fred Reinhold, Saint Louis

James Gooch, Owensville

Kim Reser, Springfield

Gene Grover, Saint James

C. Rex Rhoades, Liberty

Brian Ham, New Bloomfield

Nathan Roberts, Point Lookout

Patricia Hildebrandt, Parkville

John Roth, Saint Louis

P. Mitch Hoover, Lathrop

Lynn Schrader, Troy

James Jameson, Columbia

Mort Shurtz, Springfield

Larry Kanning, Liberty

Eugene Spears, Granby

David King, Saint Peters

Nathan Stevens, Waynesville

Mark Koechner, Tipton

Timothy Taylor, Bunceton

Randy Leible, Perryville

Matt Wright, Perryville

David & Leanne Mosby, Hartsburg

Paul Zerr, Saint Charles

Mary Nevins, Branson Dan Nix, Grain Valley Jay Padgett, West Plains

In Memory In Memory of Stanley D. Whittaker Mr and Mrs Walter Hutton In Memory of Douglas Carter Forir Mr and Mrs Kenneth Voelkerding

In Honor In Honor of James Beck’s 80th Birthday Ms. Leora May

CFM thanks the 345 members that renewed since our last publication.

by Reva Dow

2021 CFM Holiday Auction December 8-17

It’s Your


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


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To purchase tickets: 1 ticket-$5 2 tickets-$10 5 tickets-$20

10 tickets-$40 20 tickets-$75 30 tickets-$100


Raffle ends December 4, 2021

Affiliate Highlights

Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation


he Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation (MCHF) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1997 to advance the conservation and appreciation of Missouri’s natural resources, including fish, forest, and wildlife. MCHF works with donors and other conservation partners to financially support the mission and priorities of the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) at the statewide, national, and international level. Donors can allocate their donations to specific areas of interest. This means MCHF invests in everything from migratory bird programs to youth hunting, fishing, and outdoor skills events to endangered species habitat protection. MCHF supports the state’s nature centers, as well as hiking and wildlife viewing activities – anything that allows Missourians to enjoy the outdoors in urban or rural areas. Focus areas include: • Youth/Disabled Youth Hunting, Fishing, Archery and Outdoor Skills Programs • Veterans/Disabled Veterans Hunting & Fishing Programs Clean Water • Migratory Birds • Pollinator / Monarch and other Wildlife Habitats • Land Banks / Mitigation / Conservation Easements for Endangered Species/Species of Concern MCHF is a long-term supporter of the Missouri National Archery in the Schools Program (MoNASP), a school-based archery sports program sponsored by MDC for students in grades 4-12. In addition to learning the skill of target archery, the program builds confidence, self-control, patience, and discipline necessary to success both behind the bow and in life. Partnerships are key in conservation success. In 2018, Burns & McDonnell, with approval from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, opened the first conservation bank in Missouri and first nationwide to protect the endangered Indiana bat and the threatened northern long-eared bat.



Conservation banks are areas of land set aside to permanently protect threatened or endangered species and their habitats and provide a service to developers who need environmental solutions for their projects. The 1,300-acre Chariton Hills Conservation Bank in Northern Missouri is protected in perpetuity by a conservation easement held by MCHF. Each year, MCHF celebrates conservation champions at their National Lewis & Clark Conservation Awards ceremony. MCHF recognizes individual and organizations that lead the charge for the appreciation and conservation of the natural resources in Missouri and beyond. MCHF is governed by a volunteer board of directors comprised of conservation, community, and business leaders. MCHF has raised and invested more than $24 million in conservation projects large and small.

Affiliate Highlights

Affiliate Organizations Anglers of Missouri Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives

Missouri Chapter of the American Fisheries Society

Missouri Sport Shooting Association Missouri State Campers Association

Missouri Chapter of the Wildlife Society

Missouri State Parks Foundation

Bass Slammer Tackle

Missouri Coalition for the Environment

Missouri Taxidermist Association

Big Game Hunters

Missouri Community Forestry Council

Missouri Trappers Association

Burroughs Audubon Society

Missouri Conservation Agents Association

Missouri Trout Fishermen's Association

Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation

Missouri Whitetails Unlimited

Capital City Fly Fishers

Missouri Conservation Pioneers

MU Wildlife & Fisheries

Chesterfield Citizens Committee

Missouri Consulting Foresters Association

of Greater Kansas City

for the Environment

Science Graduate Student Organization

Missouri Ducks Unlimited- State Council

Northside Conservation Federation

Columbia Audubon Society

Missouri Forest Products Association

Open Space Council of the St. Louis Region

Conservation Foundation of

Missouri Grouse Chapter of QUWF

Ozark Chinquapin Foundation

Missouri Hunter Education

Ozark Fly Fishers, Inc.

Missouri Charitable Trust Deer Creek Sportsman Club

Instructor's Association

Ozark Land Trust

Duckhorn Outdoors Adventures

Missouri Hunting Heritage Federation

Ozark Trail Association

Festus-Crystal City Conservation Club

Missouri Master Naturalist -

Ozark Wilderness Waterways Club

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

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

Gateway Chapter Trout Unlimited

Hi Lonesome Chapter

Greater Ozarks Audubon Society

Missouri Master Naturalist -

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

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

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

Little Blue River Watershed Coalition

Missouri National Wild Turkey Federation

Student Air Rifle Program

Magnificent Missouri

Missouri Native Seed Association

Tipton Farmers & Sportsman's Club

Mid-Missouri Outdoor Dream

Missouri Outdoor Communicators

Tri-Lakes Fly Fishers

Mid-Missouri Trout Unlimited

Missouri Park & Recreation Association

Troutbusters of Missouri

Midwest Diving Council

Missouri Parks Association

United Bow Hunters of Missouri

Mississippi Valley Duck

Missouri Prairie Foundation

Watershed Conservation Corps

Missouri River Bird Observatory

Wild Bird Rehabilitation

Missouri Association of Meat Processors

Hunters Association

Missouri River Relief

Wild Souls Wildlife Rescue Rehabilitation

Missouri Atlatl Association

Missouri Rock Island Trail, Inc.

Wonders of Wildlife

Missouri B.A.S.S. Nation

Missouri Rural Water Association

Young Outdoorsmen United

Missouri Bird Conservation Initiative

Missouri Smallmouth Alliance

Missouri Birding Society

Missouri Society of American Foresters

Missouri Bow Hunters Association

Missouri Soil & Water Conservation

Missouri Caves & Karst Conservancy

Society-Show-Me Chapter



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

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

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

Conservation Day at the Capitol- April 7

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

Pull for Conservation: Northwest- April 17

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

Conservation Federation Virtual Event- July 22

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

Pull for Conservation: Central- August 14

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

Affiliate Summit- September 9 & 10

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

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

Conservation Federation Banquet: Springfield- October 7

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

Holiday Online Auction- Early December

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

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

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: resolutions/ Any member of CFM can request consideration of a conservation topic or issue by filling out the Member/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. Resolution Tips and Reminders Use the best information for presentations, letters, resolutions, etc. – Get the best data/research/ background information you can find. This may entail emails, calls, and letters to “experts” from agencies, affiliates, other RACs, etc. This background work must be done before sending a DRAFT resolution to the Resolutions Committee. Engage other RACs – Consider whether your resolution topic may be of interest to another RAC, then share the information with them and ask for input prior to sending the DRAFT resolution to the Resolutions Committee. There is generally not enough time before convention deadlines to meet/work with another RAC after the Resolutions Committee returns it to be finalized. Provide enough information – A resolution should contain enough information so that any CFM member or recipient who reads it can understand exactly what is being asked, and why it is important.



Don’t write Resolutions to CFM – In general, resolutions are our desires projected outward, not a way to ask CFM to take action. They shouldn’t create “new” areas of work/assignments for CFM and staff – their work is driven largely by the strategic plan. Be familiar with past resolutions to avoid repeats – Avoid redundant resolutions; however, resolutions are given an expiration date to allow for updating, or an existing resolution may be brought back for reconsideration or updating. Resolution not adopted – If a resolution gets to the RAC meeting at convention, or to the General Assembly and is NOT adopted, that is a sign that the process is working! Consider how you might do it differently for future resolutions, if you expected a different outcome.

Outdoor News

CLC Fall Workshop – A Huge Success


ver the weekend of September 17-19, students gathered at Camp Clover Point at Lake of the Ozarks State Park to start the resolution writing process. Throughout the weekend, students could network with resource professionals, make new connections and friends, and start working on resolutions. For many of the new and returning students, this fall workshop was the first time they were able to meet in person. The weekend included a presentation of the fourteen steps of the resolutions process. This was new information for some and a great refresher for others. We had a very productive brainstorming session which led to several great ideas for potential resolutions. Following that, each student signed up for the resolutions they felt passionate about and felt they could contribute to. Many students stepped up to lead resolutions, and some chose to work on more than one! Our resolution teams moved swiftly by working together as a team to narrow down the focus of their potential resolutions and realize the direction they wanted to go. They also took advantage of getting feedback on the resolutions and network with some of our amazing resource professionals. The students were able to make substantial progress on their resolutions. We are all excited to continue working on our resolutions outside of the fall workshop and prepare them for the convention in the spring. While we did focus much of our time that weekend working very diligently on the resolutions, we were also able to enjoy some time with our fellow students. During our downtime we were able to relax. Some students enjoyed playing volleyball, going down to the lake to fish or sitting on the dock.

We also participated in a leadership activity. The challenge was to work together to build the tallest structure that would hold a large marshmallow. The marshmallow challenge was a fun way to learn about leadership styles and to see the different ways people tackle the same problem. As well as being a fun way to get to know each other better. A huge thank you goes out to the YCA Committee leaders: Lorisa Smith, Amber Edwards, Joe Engeln, Zach Morris, Rob Hunt, Emily Lute, Lee Connor, Colton Zirkle, and Jake Swafford, who donate their time to help us students have an amazing experience with CLC. We also appreciate the resource professionals and staff that orchestrated such a great weekend for us. Overall, the Fall Workshop was a successful weekend. Cassandra Barker CLC Vice President Pictured are the CLC students that attended the fall workshop. (Photo: Colton Zirkle)



Member News

CFM Board Nominations


request for CFM Officer and Board Nominations for 2022 was made during the month of July. Eight officer nominations and thirty at-large nominations were received. To develop the slate, the Nomination Committee reviewed, evaluated, and assessed each nominee which resulted in a ranking for each position. CFM member, you now have a slate of candidates with their nomination bio. CFM members can read about the roles and responsibilities of each position at www.confedmo. org/boardelection/ as well as the preferred (but not required) qualifications and experience for each. The nominee’s bios and short video on CFM’s website will give voters a chance to hear nominees express their views. In January 2022, CFM members will have the opportunity to vote electronically for your candidates of choice. VOTE! The Nominating Committee has selected the following nominees as candidates in the 2022 board and officer election. The election will be conducted electronically in January. A bio and short video of each candidate will be available on the CFM Website by that time.

At-Large Board Positions (12 positions open): • Jeff Blystone • Wally Iman • Jerry Presley • Norm Stucky • Kelley Brent • Steve Jones • Tom Russell • Jake Swafford • Earl Cannon • Nathan ‘Shags’ McLeod • George Seek • David Urich • Christopher Hamon • Leanne Tippett-Mosby • Emily Sinnott • Ryan Verkamp • Keith Hannaman • Zach Pollock • Emily Tracy-Smith • Randy Washburn

Executive Committee (2 positions): • Robert Brundage • Ethan Duke • Bill McGuire Secretary: • Emily Lute • Lisa Allen Treasurer: • Bill Lockwood Vice-president: • Ginny Wallace President-elect: • Bill Kirgan

Sample Ballot Voting in this election will take place electronically during the month of January. The exact format is still in development; however, it will be available at confedmo. rog/boardelection and will look something like this.

Executive Committee (vote for two): Robert Brundage Ethan Duke Bill McGuire


At-Large Board members (vote for 12): [link to bios for all board candidates] Jeff Blystone Jerry Presley Kelley Brent Tom Russell Earl Cannon George Seek Christopher Hamon Emily Sinnott Keith Hannaman Emily Tracy-Smith Wally Iman Norm Stucky Steve Jones Jake Swafford Nathan McLeod David Urich Leanne Tippett-Mosby Ryan Verkamp Zach Pollock Randy Washburn

President-elect (vote for one): Bill Kirgan Vice-president (vote for one): Ginny Wallace Treasurer (vote for one): Bill Lockwood Secretary (vote for one): Lisa Allen Emily Lute



Member News

Conservation Achievement Awards


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 in March 2022. 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.

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











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Feature Story

Operation Game Thief: A Program that Works


peration Game Thief (OGT) is a telephone hotline information (1-800-392-1111) and monetary reward program that allows citizens to anonymously report illegal hunting, fishing, trapping, and other Missouri Wildlife Code violations. If the information proves to be valid and leads to a citation or arrest, the reporting party may request a cash reward. OGT is a partnership with the Missouri Department of Conservation, and an independent 4-person Board of Directors that is governed by their established by-Laws. History: OGT was officially established as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization with the Missouri Sectary of State in 1983.



Start-up funding came from numerous private and public sources. Since then, private funds are still welcomed and accepted, but the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) has committed to assuring an annual revenue source to cover rewards and education. Since 2010, the OGT Hotline has received more than 6,000 tips resulting in more than 7,900 citations or arrests from OGT reports not requesting rewards and another 1900+ citations from individuals requesting reward consideration for various poaching violations. Of the callers, 525 individuals requested reward consideration, for which more than $97,000 was paid out.

Feature Story "OGT has been a very effective program for citizens to report abuses of their fish, forest, and wildlife resources," says Protection Branch Chief Randy Doman. "Our conservation agents are spread thin across the state, and they rely heavily on public cooperation to help bring those poachers and wildlife traffickers to justice." OGT is "A Program That Works" exactly as it was conceived. Citizens are provided with an information conduit to get suspected violation information to MDC agents related to illegal taking or trafficking in wildlife. In 2020, there were revisions to the OGT Reward Guidelines, which expanded the reward amount and made these decisions less arbitrary. The new guidelines establish specific criteria for a range of rewards based on species and specific circumstances. Former longtime OGT Chairman, Abe Phillips, along with former OGT Board Member Howard Wood, were instrumental in helping rewrite these revision guidelines. In 2021, House Bill #369 was passed, which states that any person who recklessly or knowingly releases any swine to live in a wild or feral state may be sentenced to pay a fine of up to $2,000. Additionally, any person who takes or kills a feral swine on public or private land without the consent of the landowner or with the use of artificial light or thermal imagery is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor. Since this bill has passed the legislature, Operation Game Thief has expanded its information and rewards program scope to include violations relating to Feral Swine within this law. What exactly is Poaching: For OGT purposes, a person is poaching when they violate the Wildlife Code of Missouri including such cases as: • Pursuing wildlife to hunts, trap, or fish in violation of the Wildlife Code • Selling venison, deer sausage, fish or small game. • Collecting wild animals to sell • Collecting native seeds on lands of the Conservation Commission How it Works: Conservation Agent Caleb Sevy describes how the program works as follows:

Operation Game Thief uses a phone hotline, allowing people to report wildlife violations in real-time. As soon as a wildlife violation is witnessed, they can call the hotline 24 hours a day - 7 days a week. The hotline goes to a dispatch center where the violations report (OGT report) is created, and the reporting party determines whether they would like to request reward money. The dispatch center contacts the local agents assigned to the county where the violation occurred. Once the agent receives the report, they will initiate an investigation based on the information in the report. Depending on the accuracy and detail of the information, investigations can be solved within a few hours, but it often takes an extended period to complete a thorough investigation. Accuracy and detail of the OGT report, as well as the results of the investigation contribute to reward money that's distributed. The range of reward options allows for assessment ranging from a "shots heard" type of report to more specific information such as name, vehicle description, license plate, specific location, etc. There are 2 categories of assessment: • Category 1 violations involve specific game species such as elk &, bear ($500-1,000), deer, turkey, and game fish ($200-500). In exceptional circumstances, the Board may reward much more. • Category 2 violations are tied to MDC's violation assessment of the crime(s) based on their License Revocation Scoring. The more severe and wide-ranging the violation(s), the greater the reward ($100-500). The Future of Operation Game Thief: Jim Kent, Operation Game Thief Chairman says, "The OGT Board looks forward to implementing a number of new and renewed information efforts that will increase the public's awareness of Operation Game Thief, how it works, and how citizens can become involved. We plan to continue the innovative practices of the past and institute some new information initiatives." Poaching is stealing from all citizens – Save the number in your phone today – 1-800-392-1111 - You can help stop poaching! NOVEMBER - 2021


Feature Story

Gardens with Environmental Benefits


n this article, I ponder the question, what good are native plants? I value plants for how they look, smell, and feel. Qualities like color, texture, itchiness and shape, influence my opinion. But I also value plants for how they work. They create the air we breathe, move stormwater into the ground, prevent erosion along creeks, and perhaps most importantly, they convert sunlight into food. That’s how Dr. Doug Tallamy puts it.



Tallamy, author of The New York Times best-selling book, Nature’s Best Hope, discusses how different plants feed animals. In particular, he compares a native white oak tree in his yard with a non-native Bradford pear in his neighbor’s yard. He found 410 caterpillars on the oak, and one caterpillar on the Bradford pear. Repeating the survey on different trees, he came up with the same results and the question, what is so different that about the oak and pear?

Feature Story Tallamy, an entomologist at the University of Delaware, understood the answer: It’s that the ancient lineage of white oak that ended up in his yard, “familiarized” itself with certain insect caterpillars over millions of years that are now immune to its toxic chemicals. The Bradford pear, on the other hand, was introduced from China a hundred years ago, which is not nearly enough time for caterpillars of local species to acquire a taste for Bradford pear leaves. Now, if you are “old-school” like me, your eyebrows may rise a little at the thought of insects eating plants. It was drilled into me through college courses, like Plant Pathology 101, that if plants have holes, there is a treatment that won’t end well for the insect. This is bad news for hungry caterpillars, but it’s even worse for nesting birds, which feed their young on as many as 8,000 caterpillars per nest, says Tallamy. More than 400 species of birds are threatened in the United States today. You might ask, what can homeowners do for birds, and where do so many caterpillars exist? They’re on Tallamy’s white oaks of course, and other oak species. They are also on wild cherry, hickory, hackberry, black gum, willow, pawpaw, persimmon, and so many more. But how many native trees is enough? Five, ten, or ten thousand? The answer, according to Tallamy, is 70% native species for successful bird nesting. Anything less, leads to a decline in bird populations. This is good news, because now we know where the threshold lies. We can inventory our landscapes and set goals based on scientific evidence. But we don’t have to remove all nonnative plants. Thirty percent can be ginkgo and saucer magnolias or other favorite non-native plants that we have come to love. But be careful: our love-affair with far-flung plants sometimes comes with a price. Bradford pear, burning bush, Japanese beautyberry, golden raintree, heavenly bamboo, empress tree, and so many others are becoming highly invasive and cause serious environmental damage to the remaining few wild areas. Tallamy proposes in his book that eighty-six percent of land in the United States is privately owned (93% in Missouri). That includes our yards, common areas, churches, zoos, gardens, universities, businesses, and potentially some schools and parks.

He says that our neighborhoods offer viable opportunities for meeting the seventy percent threshold for bird survival. Will you join me in doing our part to meet this important goal in the coming years and decades? The living world around you is depending on it! If you would like to learn more about gardening with native plants, attend a Council Ring Conversation in the Whitmire Wildflower Garden at Shaw Nature Reserve in Gray Summit, MO. An upcoming conversation will be Gardening with Environmental Benefits on November 12. You can also find a wealth of information about native plants for gardening and other uses at About the author: Horticulturist Scott Woodbury is the Curator of the Whitmore Wildflower Garden at Shaw Nature Reserve in Gray Summit, MO, where he has worked with native plant propagation, design, and education for 28 years, and which is supported by the Missouri Department of Conservation. He also is an advisor to the Missouri Prairie Foundation’s Grow Native! program. Find suppliers native plants and native plant services at, Resource Guide. Scott Woodbury Curator of the Whitemore Wildflower Garden White oak leaves provide food for this caterpillar of the polyphemus moth, and for caterpillars of more than 500 other kinds of butterflies and moths. Native plants like white oaks are the foundation for our local web of life. (Photo: Linda Williams)



Feature Story


The Big Muddy

rs. Urich and I have participated in several Missouri River cleanup events over the years. Several of these events were sponsored by the Missouri River Relief, a Conservation Federation affiliate and an organization that engages individuals and communities along the Missouri River. A memorable river cleanup was an early fall 16-mile canoe float north of Jefferson City that Mrs. Urich and I did together.



Mrs. Urich naturally dressed for looks rather than practicality and admittedly, she looked good as she always does. Her hair and makeup were perfect. She obviously would be best dressed of all the trash pickeruppers. I knew there would be trouble in the morning at home before we left for the canoe trip when she donned her outfit highlighted with light blue pants and presented herself to me for compliments on her look. I praised her choice of clothing profusely without mentioning any hint of the conditions on the river that she could encounter.

Feature Story After all, she had been to the Missouri River many times and she knew the river earned the nickname Big Muddy for a reason. Mrs. Urich’s outfit was not suitable for picking up trash but was perfect as an outdoorsy fall fashion statement and for looking great in a canoe that keeps well away from trash and mud. Float sponsors gave us bags and asked that we pick up litter and other trash on the way down the river. There would be raffle tickets for participants based on the amount of trash recovered. This was a bad idea because getting in and out of a canoe in the Missouri River current can be tricky. The current is strong and unsettled along the armored rock banks. On those portions of the river bank without rock, there is mud. This is Level 1 mud, which is good, black and sticky, and the best kind of mud. But Mrs. Urich rose to the trash collecting challenge. The first time she hopped out of the canoe to grab trash she slipped on the mud bank and went down. She had on white shoes, a white shirt and a white sweater. Admittedly, she was well dressed and appointed for the day with accessories that she had made herself. Her full gainer into the mud resulted in total body emersion including earrings, necklace, ankle bracelet and everything. Splat. Naturally, I internalized my laughter while keeping up an external appearance of concern and alarm. However, it took all my willpower to keep from breaking out in a monstrous belly laugh. I stayed in the canoe keeping it pinned to the bank because there was no way I could get out without breaking out in laughter or slipping on the mud. Internalizing laughter at critical moments is a key feature in a successful, long-term relationship, especially for the husband. I’m now excellent at this but I got off to a slow, rocky start early in the marriage. Fortunately, the people in the canoe just behind us broke out laughing and offered certain comments which diverted her scathing gaze from me and I could breathe. She oozed back into the canoe, trash in hand. We continued picking up trash on the way downriver, although she was more careful about disembarking from the canoe. When we checked in at the end of the day, Mrs. Urich was extremely dissatisfied with the number of raffle tickets she was issued and successfully argued for more to compensate for her muddiness, which despite her best efforts, grew worse after her initial plunge into the muck.

David and Mrs. Urich at a Missouri River Access near north of Jefferson City before participating in a Missouri River cleanup effort by canoe. (Photo: David Urich)

Besides, it’s hard to deny a mad as heck woman covered in mud. Unfortunately, events progressed slowly after the canoe trip and we had to leave so we gave her hard earned tickets away. She had much mud to clean off her clothing. I recount this incident to demonstrate that I’m not the only Urich family member who occasionally makes errors in judgment with unintended consequences. The difference is my inopportune choices are enshrined in Urich family lore, reviewed, critiqued, and remembered by Mrs. Urich and our sons, mostly inaccurately, for the rest of my life. Plus there is often follow up corrective actions and serious groveling on my part. Many dinners at our house included a thorough recounting of my bad judgment followed by rounds of laughter and fingerpointing or warnings about my life choices as lessons for our sons. When Mrs. Urich chooses poorly, the incident is permanently archived plus I tell her that she looked fabulous and her outfit was stunning and slimming. This may seem like a martial double standard, but it seems to work for us, plus I’m comfortable with it, although she would argue that my errors in judgment tend to be much worse than hers. We celebrated our 34th wedding anniversary three weeks after this incident on the Missouri River. Since then, we have taken many more canoe trips on the Missouri River but Mrs. Urich always wears rubber boots and nothing white. We are both very capable of learning from our errors in judgment, although Mrs. Urich has indicated on a number of occasions that my learning process is painfully slow and subject to irritating and troublesome remissions. David Urich (Cover) David and Mrs. Urich on a recent fall Missouri River canoe trip from the Marion Access to the Noren Access. Notice the rubber boots and dark pants Mrs. Urich is wearing. (Photo: David Urich)



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Feature Story

Enjoying Missouri's

Black Walnuts


all is one of our most beautiful times when leaves change colors and ground foliage turns to red and gold. Hidden within this magnificent display are thousands of black walnuts, a fact most squirrels are well aware of.

So, I picked up enough walnuts to fill up two fivegallon buckets and took them home for processing. That winter, they came over for dinner and we had chocolate cake for dessert. The rich chocolate icing had black walnuts mixed in.

Years ago, I asked a friend if they planned to use the black walnuts in their yard. He gave me a funny look and asked, "for what?" "Why, to eat," I answered. "Are you crazy?" he said, "those things are poison."

"This cake is delicious," he said. "I especially like the nuts in your icing." I told him they came from his yard and he all but spit out a mouth full and refused to eat any more.



Feature Story The Midwest has thousands of black walnut trees and squirrels. Have you ever been hit on top of your head with a falling black walnut? Not only does it hurt, but I have concluded that squirrels purposely drop black walnuts on humans and likely some woods-dwelling varmints, their version of bombs-away marksmanship and no doubt rodent-spectator entertainment. Native black walnut trees are valuable to homeowners as shade to help cool your home in the summer, older trees growing to a height of 50–75 feet with a spread of 50–75 feet at maturity. Black walnut trees, too, have some of North America's most valuable wood, especially for building furniture or even walls at about $10.00 per board foot, prices vary. This dark, dense hardwood is prized above most for its beauty and hardness. Many harvest black walnuts as a cash crop. Picked nuts may cost $5.00 per pound and often more. A pickup load is said to bring about $120.00. Many use the delicious nuts for baking. Shelled nuts can be a lot of work. I once watched football games and shelled black walnuts to fill a big antique jar as a Christmas present for my mother. I worked many hours to finish this project she was overjoyed by and we enjoyed these nuts many times in her cooking. My mother always slipped a few black walnuts in icing, apple salad, entrees and other delicious food, creating a treat that generally didn't last long. Commercial bakers use black walnut meat in candies and deserts, if you don't believe me, visit Branson. Early settlers and native Americans historically used black walnut extract to treat parasitic worm infections, diphtheria, syphilis, leukemia, gout, rheumatism, glandular disturbances, worms, parasites, athlete's foot, hemorrhoids, laxative, digestion, toothaches, insecticide and for staining clothing or other items used in ceremonies. Some actually applied black walnut extract to their scalp as hair dye—eek! Hulled walnuts preserve well in the shells. We generally wait until October and pick them up off the ground. There is a trick to harvesting this messy nut. Pick only pre-hulled walnuts that feel heavy for their size, as they will dry out in the shell once hulled—or the outside cover is removed. Wear a pair of thick gloves because the stain is difficult to remove from your hands. Then knock the outside hull off and let the wooden shell dry, some claim for a month.

Plenty of effort is required when cracking black walnut hulls. Start by wearing safety glasses and gloves. The shells are harder than even the hulls, so a good step is to soak the shells in hot water for 24 hours before attempting shelling. This will soften the shells and make them easy to crack. Crack the rock-hard shells with a hammer, but be careful; pieces of hull sometime fly from the hammer strike like a bullet. Such force is necessary. The key to cracking with a hammer is using a lightweight towel to cover the nuts, so bits of nuts don't fly in every direction. Use a throw-away towel, as it will get holes and be ruined. Strike the nut with enough force to break it, but not enough to pulverize the nut, you'll get the hang of it. Once you start shelling, don't worry about getting perfect whole nuts like English walnuts in grocery stores. Bits and pieces are the norms when picking out black walnut meats. Once the shells are open, use a nut picker for the tasty meat. When the meat comes out damp, lay it on a newspaper or wax paper to dry out. Throw away nuts that don't look right, generally because of insect damage or rot. Lay the nuts out in a single layer and allow them to dry for 2 to 3 weeks. This ensures that the nuts are cured and dried nuts will keep longer. Store unshelled nuts in cloth bags or mesh in a cool, dry location. For longer preservation, shell the nuts and freeze the nutmeats in freezer bags or containers. Shelled, frozen nuts will keep for up to two years. Black walnut meat is delicious. For those that have never tried this succulent gift from nature, try my tips and start by adding some in your chocolate cake icing or a fruit salad. Remember to carefully look over the nut meat before using to avoid tiny pieces of walnut hull that can break teeth or cut into your gums. You'll love it!

Kenneth L. Kieser Photos courtesy of MDC.



Feature Story

Stories from The Marsh Hank, Ethel and the Headless Hen


he place was Rowdy. A high spot in the corner of the marsh named for a dog buried there and when conditions are right, a favored location for waterfowl. On this day, I would hunt with my wife, DeeCee, and long-time friend Ken Babcock. And we would all hunt with Ken’s dog Hank, a somewhat portly black lab with a loving personality. Today, Hank would serve as a reminder about the benefits of a good retriever and that we are not the only predators in the marsh.

Ethel and Fred, two longstanding resident bald eagles live in that spacious penthouse of sticks and limbs. With total disregard to etiquette, these stunning locavores have a reputation for dining al fresco on hunter harvested waterfowl.

A mid-morning flurry of ducks kept eyes on the sky, giving us hope and some shooting. During one particular volley, a single drake mallard would fall. Sailing a bit, it hit with a hard splash about 100 yards in the millet. Hank marked the drake, Ken released the dog, and the race was on.

The still lively drake was immediately spotted by Ethel and within seconds she was circling low, talons down to make an attempt at her own retrieve. After a few near misses, it looked as if the contest had ended. But again, following an extended moment of commotion in the millet, she came up empty. Hank closed the gap fast, and after circling a few more times, Ethel relinquished her claim. Returning to a nearby perch, she watched with disgust as her canine competitor secured the bird.

A few hundred yards away in the corner of our marsh is a nest with a grand view of our hunting spot and other adjoining wetlands.

With a hero’s welcome, Hank returned to the boat. The hunters cheered and offered an abundance of praise.



Feature Story Dropping the bird with Ken, he enjoyed his moment of glory, tail wagging vigorously. You got to wonder if Hank felt the competition. Ethel most certainly did. During the shooting, DeeCee had pulled the trigger on a hen. The bird flared and she watched it fly a couple of hundred yards away off the marsh toward thick vegetation. On the off chance that it was hit, she counted it as part of her bag and we decided to devote time for a search at the end of the hunt. Mid-day, we picked up decoys and poled our boats back to the UTV, loaded our gear and drove the levee near the spot where the hen landed. The vegetation was waist-high, dense, and impossible. Hunters and Hank walked into the jungle and after a few minutes Hank got birdy. Five minutes later Hank emerged, a bird in his gentle grip. Ken called out, “You gotta see this.” As we gathered, Hank proudly greeted us as Ken handed DeeCee a headless hen mallard. We examined the bird and fresh meaty stub where Susie’s head was once attached. Feathers had been pulled clean. We hypothesized her fate. In a nearby tree, Ethel and Fred remained perched together looking down at us. Our theory on the fate of the headless? We gave credit to Fred. But at the end of the day, Hank was the champion once again.

The Duck Hunter’s Contract Understand, there are two certainties when it comes to duck hunting – sunrise and sunset with thirty minutes on either side. Everything inbetween is variable, unpredictable and inexplicably connected to hope. “You’re going hunting on Christmas Eve?” asked Olaf’s wife. Every man needs an understanding spouse, but if the man is a duck hunter, he needs more than understanding. He needs a contract. An amendable contract. A fluid contract where the terms of the agreement are understood in a general yet undebatable way. “Christmas Eve is tonight. We’re just hunting the morning. We’ll probably pick-up by 11:00,” Olaf replied. Translation: Hunt until 11:00, pick-up and be back at camp by 12:00.

Unload and stash gear, drink a beer and recount the hunt with friends for at least 30 minutes. Reluctantly load the truck, glancing back at the sky over the marsh to see what’s flying. Leave camp by 1:30 for the drive home. Assuming no stops, but there’s always a stop, hit the driveway by 2:00. This implausible best-case scenario if perfectly executed, leaves four hours of daylight for familial duties before evening. Assuming there are no birds to clean. The Colonel grinned, “Hope you got her a nice Christmas present. What did you get her?” The contract does have some explicit or at least implied obligations. Olaf slathered his warm biscuit with hot sausage gravy and replied, “Nothing really. She gets whatever she wants. I think she bought herself a necklace.” It’s rare when a relatively young man recognizes the value of having the Whatever Your Wife Wants clause in the contract. It’s risky language and it’s not iron-clad. Not all wives will allow it, but it speaks volumes about trust. I sipped my coffee as I watched the first bit of daylight cast into the eastern sky. No waterfowl flying yet. “You might want to stray from that understanding from time to time and surprise her,” I said. “Show her you’re paying attention.” Olaf’s expression indicated he understood but seemed unconvinced. This was valuable advice. It keeps the contract fresh and makes litigation less likely. Sometimes it’s better to be ahead of the curve, or at least even with it. The Whatever Your Wife Wants clause is best held in reserve, activated only when extenuating circumstances arise. “Funny how things go. You need to ask your wife for permission to hunt,” I said. “I need permission from my wife to hunt without her.” Not all contracts are the equal. Mine has fine print - To have and to hold, to do as you’re told. I surprised my wife with a box of four new Speckle belly decoys. I hoped four was enough. It wasn’t. She wanted a dozen. Dan Zekor Photo: Dan Zekor



Agency News



ith deer hunting in Missouri upon us, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) wants hunters to know key information about chronic wasting disease (CWD). MDC will be holding mandatory CWD sampling during opening weekend of firearms season and voluntary CWD sampling all season for hunters who harvest deer in MDC CWD Management Zone counties. CWD is a deadly, infectious disease in deer and other members of the deer family (cervids) that eventually kills all animals it infects. There is no vaccine or cure. CWD is spread from deer to deer and through the environment. CWD was first detected in Missouri’s free-ranging deer population in 2012 and has since been found in 18 counties. The disease remains relatively rare in the state, being detected in 206 deer out of more than 152,300 tested by MDC since 2012. MDC is working hard to keep it that way, and hunters play a critical role in helping MDC manage the disease by having their deer tested and following the carcassmovement restrictions. Learn more at cwd. CWD Management Zone MDC designates counties within 10 miles of where a positive case of CWD has been found as part of its CWD Management Zone. The CWD Management Zone counties are: Adair, Barry, Camden, Cedar, Chariton, Christian, Clark, Crawford, Franklin, Gasconade, Hickory, Howell, Jefferson, Knox, Laclede, Linn, Macon, McDonald, Mercer, Oregon, Ozark, Perry, Polk, Pulaski, Putnam, St. Charles, St. Clair, St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve, Stone, Sullivan, Taney, Warren, and Washington. Camden, Laclede, McDonald, and Pulaski counties were added to the CWD Management Zone this year. Related CWD regulations prohibit the placement of feed or minerals for deer in counties of the CWD Management Zone.



For exceptions, see the 2021 Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet, available where permits are sold and online at mdc. Voluntary CWD Sampling All Season Statewide MDC will again offer statewide voluntary CWD sampling and testing of harvested deer during the entire deer season at select locations throughout the state. Locations include select MDC offices during regular business hours, cooperating taxidermists and meat processors (hours vary), and self-service freezers where hunters can leave deer heads for sampling and testing. Hunters can get their CWD test results for free online at Results are usually available within three weeks or less from the time of sampling. Find locations and more information online at or by contacting an MDC regional office at contact-engage/regional-mdc-offices. Mandatory CWD Sampling Nov. 13 and 14 Hunters who harvest deer in any counties in the CWD Management Zone during opening weekend of the November portion of firearms deer season (Nov. 13 and 14) are required to take their harvested deer or the head on the day of harvest to one of MDC’s numerous CWD mandatory sampling stations located throughout the zone. Sampling and test results are free. Hunters must present their deer to a CWD mandatory sampling station within the county of harvest, with a few exceptions. Deer that will end up being delivered to a licensed meat processor or taxidermist within 48 hours, or deer heads that will be left at the MDC CWD mandatory sampling station for disposal after sampling, may be transported to a sampling station in any county.

Agency News Find CWD mandatory sampling station locations online at or from MDC’s 2021 Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet. CWD sampling takes only a few minutes and consists of MDC staff cutting an incision across the throat of harvested deer to remove lymph nodes for testing. Tissue samples are sent to an independent lab for testing. Hunters will be given a card with information on getting free test results for their deer after samples are processed. Hunters can get their CWD test results for free online at mdc. Results are usually available within three weeks or less from the time of sampling. Hunters presenting bucks bound for taxidermy should inform MDC staff. Staff will complete paperwork and inform the hunters about participating taxidermists taking CWD tissue samples. The cape may also be removed from the animal prior to being taken to a sampling station. Before arriving at a CWD mandatory sampling station: • Field dress and Telecheck deer. • Bring the carcass or just the head. • Capes may be removed in preparation for taxidermy. • Position deer in vehicles with head and neck easily accessible. • Be sure the person who harvested the deer is present. • Have the hunter’s conservation ID number ready. • Be prepared to find the location of harvest on a map. • If using a paper permit, have it detached from the deer for easy access. • If using the MO Hunting app, have permit and Telecheck information available. Mandatory CWD sampling dramatically increases the number of tissue samples MDC can collect in a brief period of time. The increased number of samples gives MDC scientists a much better understanding of the distribution and prevalence of the disease — where it is and how many deer may have it. It can also help find new cases in new areas.

Opening weekend of the firearms deer season is the most popular two hunting days for most deer hunters. Hunters take about a third of the state’s total annual deer harvest during those two days. Focusing on this key weekend gives MDC the best opportunity to collect the most tissue samples during a very concentrated time period. Share the Harvest MDC encourages deer hunters to share their harvest. Missouri’s Share the Harvest program helps deer hunters donate venison to those in need. To participate, take harvested deer to an approved meat processor and let the processor know how much venison is to be donated. Deer harvested within the CWD Management Zone may only be donated to approved processors in the Share the Harvest CWD Testing Program. Deer harvested outside of the CWD Management Zone may be donated to any Share the Harvest processor. Learn more online at or from MDC’s 2021 Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet. NOVEMBER - 2021


Agency News

Missouri Welcomes New Member of Conservation Commission


he Missouri Conservation Commission and the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) welcome Margaret “Margy” F. Eckelkamp of Washington as the newest member of the four-person Conservation Commission. The Franklin County resident was appointed by Missouri Governor Mike Parson July 30 to serve a sixyear term expiring June 30, 2027. The appointment is pending confirmation by the Missouri Senate. Eckelkamp replaces Don Bedell of Sikeston, whose second six-year term as a Conservation Commissioner expired June 30. As a commissioner, Eckelkamp joins Commission Chair Barry Orscheln of Columbia, Commission Vice Chair Mark McHenry of Kansas City, and Commission Secretary Dr. Steven Harrison of Rolla. "We’re elated with Governor Parson’s choice to appoint Margy to the Missouri Department of Conservation Commission,” said Commission Chair Barry Orscheln. “Her background in agriculture, and as a journalist, complements our mission to protect and manage the fish, forest, and wildlife of the state and to facilitate and provide opportunities for all citizens to use, enjoy, and learn about these resources. She will be a great asset for conservation, and we look forward to working with her.” Eckelkamp was born in Columbia before her family moved to South Carolina when she was a child. She returned to Missouri in 2002 and lives in Washington with her husband, William Jr., and their two children, William III (age 6) and Lucille (age 2).



Eckelkamp is a 2006 graduate of the University of Missouri at Columbia where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural journalism with a minor in agricultural economics. Eckelkamp has a background in agricultural communications and is the editor of The Scoop for the Farm Journal. She also serves as a mentor and network member for AgLaunch, a technology accelerator, and for Missouri State University's Missouri Small Business Development Center. Eckelkamp is a volunteer soccer coach at the Four Rivers Family YMCA in Washington and a volunteer for Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Washington. “I am very honored and humbled to be able to serve as a Conservation Commissioner,” Eckelkamp said. “I look forward to bringing my personal passion for conservation as well as my professional background in agriculture and communications to help the Commission and MDC in the work we do.” She added, “The driving goal of conservation is to ensure the next generation has the same or better opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. As a mother of two young children, it is also personally important for me to make sure we conserve nature for future generations. Missouri is rich in opportunities for all citizens to be outside and appreciate the natural resources and wildlife the state has to offer.” The Missouri Conservation Commission consists of four members appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the Senate. Commissioners serve six-year terms with no salary or other compensation with not more than two allowed from the same political party. Their responsibilities include appointing the MDC director, serving as MDC policy makers, approving regulations of the Wildlife Code of Missouri, strategic planning, and budget development and major expenditure decisions. For more on the Commission, visit MDC online at mdc.

Agency News

MISSOURI STATE PARKS DNR Names New Deputy Department Director and Director of its Division of State Parks


issouri Department of Natural Resources Director Dru Buntin named Mike Sutherland as a deputy department director and David Kelly as director of its Division of State Parks. Sutherland brings a wide variety of knowledge to his new position. Most recently, he served as director of Missouri State Parks since January 2020. Previously, he served as deputy director of state parks since joining the department in June 2017. Sutherland also has experience at several levels of the public sector, having served as a member of the Missouri House of Representatives and as Warren County Assessor. Before joining the department, he served as policy director for the Missouri Budget Project and executive director of the Boonslick Regional Planning Commission. In his new role, Sutherland will oversee DNR’s Division of State Parks, the Missouri Geological Survey and the Division of Energy. Kelly brings more than 30 years of Missouri State Park experience to his new role. He previously served as a deputy division director for the past four years. Prior to that, he served in leadership roles for several Missouri State Parks programs and sections, including operations and visitor services, market development and marketing and special events. David began his career with Missouri State Parks as a special events coordinator. “Mike and David are both is longtime supporters of Missouri’s state park system and outdoor recreation,” said DNR Director Dru Buntin. “Both have been instrumental in building our team as well as relationships across communities that have helped us provide one of the best state park systems in the country.” “I appreciate this opportunity and the faith Dru has in me to keep the agency moving forward,” said Sutherland. “It takes all of us working together to provide excellent service to the citizens of Missouri. By working together with a positive outlook, no challenge will be too great."

Mike Sutherland, left, and David Kelly, right.

"I’m excited to lead our team," said Kelly. "We believe in and support the mission. There are a lot of exciting projects currently underway and on the horizon, and I’m looking forward to getting us across the finish line.” Missouri’s 92 state parks and historic sites are administered by the department’s Division of State Parks. The mission of the state park system is to preserve and interpret the state’s most outstanding natural landscapes and cultural landmarks, and to provide outstanding recreational opportunities compatible with those resources. A native of Warrenton who now lives in Jefferson City, Sutherland earned a Master of Public Affairs from the University of Missouri – Columbia and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Central Missouri. Kelly lives in Hartsburg and has a degree in Parks, Recreation and Tourism from the University of Missouri. Sutherland and Kelly assumed their new roles Sept. 1. Learn more about Missouri’s State Parks and Historic Sites at



NATURE is Healthy



Get healthy in nature this year.–go



Feature Story

Beginner's Backpack Hunting


estern style hunting has caught people's imagination looking to harvest an animal in scenic, rugged terrain. Think pine cuts, silhouettes of bull elk stepping between gaps in the trees. Or maybe chasing black bears as they feed on alpine blueberries. I just got into backpack hunting, but not in the Rocky Mountains. For me, it started with the fulfillment of a personal ambition, which was to primitive camp and hunt in the Mark Twain National Forest.



Feature Story November in the Ozarks is cold, sometimes bitterly so, but I found my first experience hunting in the vast swaths of Missouri's public land to be both challenging and approachable. For a flatlander, an eleven-hundred-foot Ozark ridge is a daunting task, especially carrying a 40+ lb pack. It's an opportunity to engage with the Ozark culture respectfully, its unique part of Missouri, and experience a landscape devastated by poor land management until conservation-minded Missourians decide to take a different path. My Ozark hunting trip was on a shoestring budget, with most of my gear being either used or borrowed. I might have gone the ultralight path and bought the two-pound tents and merino wool, but I just didn't have the cash. Instead, I had to pack a little heavier than I would've liked. I can't say that getting into backpacking is cheap. Really, nothing related to hunting is genuinely cheap, but my packing list will help you get into it with as little upfront cost as possible. Pack Essentials Frame Pack: Getting a frame pack is a necessity. That doesn't mean you have to drop three hundred dollars on a brand-new REI pack. I bought an old Kelty frame pack for $25 off Facebook marketplace and it was perfect. I would highly recommend bringing a twenty-pound weight with you if you plan on buying a used pack. It might seem weird but trying a pack on with weight in it will give you a much better idea of how it will feel to walk with it all day long. Water filter: A water filter is an absolute must. This will help you get out further and stay longer without packing in a bunch of water. I've used the Sawyer Squeeze, which runs between $25-35 on average. There are plenty of other good water filters on the market as well. Jetboil: I say jetboil, but I used a Coleman propane burner on my first trip. You can save a ton of weight by packing in dehydrated food and rehydrating it using some sort of a portable burner. Quality jetboils can be had for under $30, so don't feel like you need to drop a lot on this item.

A tent: This might seem obvious, but I would advise using a tent your first time around. Some backpackers opt for a hammock, but a one or two-person tent will offer you enough comfort and dryness to make the trip enjoyable. Don't forget to pack a ground tarp; otherwise, you'll have a ton of condensation in your tent! Firestarter and lighter: Do yourself a favor and bring a fire starter. The most simple, reliable one is cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly. It rained for an entire day on our trip and without these, I doubt we could've started a fire. First Aid Kit: Trust me, there's nothing worse than scalding yourself with boiling water, getting a nasty cut in the backcountry, or God forbid, a firearms accident. A first aid kit could be the difference between life and death in some situations. Creature Comforts: Bring gummy worms. Or gummy bears. Or cookies. Whatever little treats will help keep your spirits up. Doing unsupported trips can be emotionally taxing, especially if the hunting or weather is tough. Keeping my morale up was the most unexpected challenge I faced. A warm cup of coffee, a small campfire, or a bag of pretzels was immensely comforting after hiking and hunting hard in difficult weather for ten to twelve hours at a time. Boots: These really shouldn't be towards the end of the list because good hiking boots are an absolute must. Don't wear heavy rubber boots, steel-toed work boots, or cowboy boots. Every ounce of weight matters and you'll want something that's going to keep your feet planted in slippery terrain. This is also the one item I recommend not skimping on pricewise. Good boots are worth their weight in gold. Game bags: Chances are, if you're packing in, it means you won't be dragging out a whole deer. In this case, you'll want to pick up some breathable game bags. This will help keep insects and dirt off the meat and allow you to quarter your deer and pack it out in multiple loads if necessary.



Feature Story Map and compass: I didn't bring these on my first trip, which was foolish. We got a Garmin GPS unit, which ran out of battery on the second day. It was never an issue because we camped near a river, but being able to relocate your camp or your car again, could be the difference between life and death in extreme situations. Even if it's not a life-threatening circumstance, it's never fun to lose your way in the woods. Sleeping bag: The two big considerations here are getting a bag that's rated at least for 20 degrees Fahrenheit, and that's not ten pounds. Along with your tent, the sleeping bag can be one of the heavier items in your pack. I brought two with me and ended up not needing both. I also borrowed a Gore-Tex bag cover, which I greatly appreciated when we got a bad thunderstorm, and I wasn't sure if my tent would hold up. Dehydrated foods: Save yourself the trouble and don't bring cans. If you must, buy store-bought dehydrated food packets like Mountain House. The weight savings from bringing dried food is immense, and these days, there are better store-bought options if you go that route. I prefer to dehydrate my food. You can dehydrate just about anything, chili, meats, pre-cooked rice and beans, etc. I seal my meals in Ziploc bags and separate them into daily rations. Variety is king, so get creative! No one wants to eat chili for breakfast, lunch, and dinner during a four-day hunting trip. You can pack many other knick-knacks, but I'll leave the details up to you. It's a game of balancing weight saved and necessity, and each trip is an opportunity to hone your pack down to the actual bare bones.

Don't forget to slow down and enjoy the pine and oak forests maze that makes the Ozarks such a special place. It can be easy to get caught up in pushing hard for a successful hunt, which you should do, but it can be just as valuable to take a few hours and just read a book or enjoy something to eat. After all, the fact that we as Missourians have access to over 2 million acres of public land in Missouri is a privilege that begs to be reflected on. Gilbert Randolph (Cover) Don't forget to take time to relax and enjoy the places you're hunting. (Photo: Gilbert Randolf) (Top) Simple, light cookware is best for unsupported trips. (Photo: Gilbert Randolf)



Outdoor News

A Duck Engagement


met my fiancé, Bethany, 6 years ago while working the Grand American Trap Shoot at the World Shooting Complex in Sparta, Illinois. While working together for two weeks we quickly hit it off and became fast friends continuing for the next two years as we attended the same college together. After graduation I accepted a position with a company in Kansas City and relocated. When she would come out to visit, I quickly explained that if she wanted to spend time with me then she would need to come hunting with me. The first trip she went on with me was on opening day with a borrowed pair a wader and coat. We left my apartment at 11:00 pm the night before to get to the WMA and get our spot. While my buddy, Trevor, and I trudged across the marsh to secure our spot she waited in the truck until I came to get her before shooting time. About two weeks later while home in Illinois for Thanksgiving she came along again with my brother and me. Still using the borrowed waders, she quickly discovered a leak on the walk across the slough. I had to give her a lot of credit for toughing it out and staying out there with us even though she was wet, and it was in the lower 30’s that morning! I don’t know that I would have been that tough. That might have been the moment I knew she was a keeper. Fast forward to 2018 and she moved out to KC with me to finish her degree in nursing at MidAmerica Nazarene University. She still found time in her busy school schedule to come hunting with me. In 2019 we met the DuckHorn Outdoors Adventures (DOA) organization. DOA is a 501 c(3) charitable organization that builds strong communities of Veterans, First Responders and local citizens. We both instantly fell in love with the DOA mission, not to mention it afforded me a place to duck hunt. While on one of those duck hunts in December 2019, Bethany had the chance to harvest her first duck, a beautiful mallard drake. Like everyone else that has taken their first duck she was shaking from excitement! My dog Teal made the retrieve. I told her we needed to get a picture of her with her first duck.

Unknown to her I slipped an engagement ring over the duck’s foot before I handed it to her. I snapped a few pictures with my phone and as I took the duck from her, I told her it looks like it was “banded!” Bethany was in utter shock as I slide the ring off the duck’s foot and got down on one knee to propose. She was so excited she said yes before I even finished getting the words out of my mouth. To bring everything full circle, we got married in April 2021 and the reception is at the World Shooting Complex where we first met. Stephen Schaab



Feature Story

War Story


hen he came back from war over 55 years ago, he never wanted to touch another gun. He never wanted to smell gun smoke in the air. He never wanted to see blood staining the ground again. Family and friends knew he had served in the military, but he had never told anyone his stories. But, they were still there in his heart and mind. It was partly because of the way they were treated when they came home but mostly because he didn’t want to remember. Sometimes though, he could hear the sounds of bombs exploding and the whir of helicopter blades and he would remember. He awoke some nights to the screaming of wounded buddies and lay there in the dark with his eyes open for hours as his wife slept peacefully beside him. He kept it all hid from those he loved. They had no idea that he also felt really guilty because he got to come home, raise a family and have a good life. So many others did not. It even bothered him at times that he escaped the nightmare of that place with no visible scars and no missing limbs. He was one of the lucky ones but he didn’t see it that way. He had scars, but they were hidden.



No one said anything but they probably wondered why he didn’t want to watch war movies or any movies or TV shows involving shooting and killing. He would even walk out of the room when the TV news came on. He didn’t want to see anything about people being shot and killed. When friends tried to get him to go deer hunting with them he politely declined with an excuse. One of his grown sons got into hunting with friends. He told his dad how much he enjoyed it and that it was not just about killing a deer. It was about all the special moments out in the woods with his kids or by himself whether he got a deer or not. The grandkids also encouraged him to join them on a hunt. He came up with an excuse and declined them as he had his friends. But, then he saw the disappointment on his grandkids faces and the pleading eyes of his son. “Okay,” he said, “Teach me what I need to know to hunt these deer.” He couldn’t believe he spoke those words but then he saw the smiles of joy on his son and grandkids faces. He would do this for them.

Feature Story His son loaned him one of his rifles and they went out to sight it in. When he was handed the rifle, thoughts of all the times he held an M16 rifle crossed his mind. He took a deep breath before the first time he fired it and once again had to wipe away memories going through his head. It got a little easier with each shot. The morning of the hunt he got up and put on the camouflage hunting clothes his son had bought him. As his wife slept, he quietly poured a thermos full of coffee and waited for headlights to come up his driveway. He sat there and tried to concentrate on making good memories this day and not think about bad memories that for all these years had crowded his mind. Lights shined through the window and he went out the door into the dark. “Are you ready for this,” his son said. “You’re going to love it papaw,” a grandchild said from the back seat. He took a deep breath, sighed and then smiled. “I will do my best,” he said. His son gave him lots of tips and told him stories of what to expect on the drive.

The field he could see out the windows of the blind could have reminded him of battlefields, but it didn’t. The shots he heard in the distance could have put him on alert for advancing enemy soldiers, but instead he hoped it was his grandkids and they were successful. In this special moment, in this special place, he silently talked to God. He asked His forgiveness for not thanking Him a long time ago for watching over him during the war and for bringing him safely back home. He also thanked Him for creating all the beauty of nature that surrounded him that morning. He started thanking Him for his wife and family and was wiping a tear from his eye when he saw something in the field before him.

He remembered everything his son had told him, raised the rifle, looked down the scope and put the deer in the crosshairs. His heart raced as he clicked off the safety just as it had many years ago. He squeezed the trigger, gun smoke drifted through the air, and the buck dropped where it stood.

They pulled off the dirt road and parked. The grandkids were old enough to hunt on their own so they wished everyone good luck and went off to their favorite treestands. The son took his dad to an enclosed blind that he felt would be safer than having him try to climb a tree with a gun and sit in a stand when he had never done that. What the son didn’t know is dad had done that many times a long time ago in a place far away that he tries hard to forget. As he sat there in the dark the sun started peeking through the trees. The sky was a beautiful shade of orange. Birds started singing and flittering around from limb to limb. A fox came walking through and had no idea he was there.

Squirrels were digging in the dry leaves. His first thought was it sounded like the enemy advancing on his position. He dismissed that out of his mind and enjoyed watching them.

The buck had his nose down following the scent of a doe that had come through the field during the night. He remembered everything his son had told him, raised the rifle, looked down the scope and put the deer in the crosshairs. His heart raced as he clicked off the safety just as it had many years ago. He squeezed the trigger, gun smoke drifted through the air, and the buck dropped where it stood.

What his son hadn’t told him was that he could see Dad’s blind and the field from the treestand he sat in. The buck had walked right under the son’s stand and he didn’t shoot. He knew his dad had been in the war even though he never talked about it. He knew that his dad needed this moment to hopefully help free him of his nightmares. There was blood on the field that morning as the son joined his dad where the buck lay. They hugged and the tears flowed. The grandkids joined them and hugged their papaw too. They knew their papaw had been through war too but dad had told them not to ask him about it. They all dropped to their knees, put their hands on the deer and bowed their heads to honor the deer for giving its life to help a troubled man heal. The war was over. Larry Whiteley Photo Courtesy of The National Archives





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Feature Story

Venison: A Versatile Meat for Any Occasion


ithout a doubt, the biggest favor my mother ever did for me was to encourage my love for cooking. I remember a particularly touching moment when I was a young boy that started me on my path to culinary prowess. I was badgering Mom to make us some sort of dessert I fancied, and she looked at me with her loving eyes and tenderly said, “Listen up, sonny! I work all day while you are off for the entire summer. You can read a recipe just as well as I can. Here is the cookbook!”

So, my love for cooking has always got me on the lookout for new dishes to prepare and new things to try. Like a lot of you, I usually have plenty of deer meat in the freezer and finding fresh ways to fix it has kind of become a mission of mine. I grew up eating it only one way, pan-fried….in lard. And while I will admit that it is mighty tasty that way, I’m trying to be a bit more healthconscious these days.

Those wise words opened a whole new world for me, and I have never looked back. To thank her for that life lesson, I feed Mother like a hog at a trough when she comes to visit. Once, I even had to load her up in a wheelbarrow and push her out to her car. Yep, that’s how much I love her!

My father, on the other hand, will threaten you with bodily harm if you even mention another method of cooking his beloved venison. In fact, he wrote out his recipe for fried deer meat for a friend of mine and at the bottom of the directions he wrote in bold letters, “NO SUBSTITUTIONS!”. My buddy had the recipe laminated and it has a place of residence on his refrigerator.



Feature Story Now I will share with you a few recipes that I have developed over the years using venison. These are all guaranteed to be larruping good and will be liked even by those folks who swear they don’t like venison. I’ve always said that those people have just never had it prepared correctly. Deer meat has two characteristics that will cause novice cooks to ruin it. One, it has almost no fat content, so it is very easy to overcook. Two, it has “silver skin” around it that is very tough and needs to be trimmed off. It’s the stuff Native Americans made bowstrings out of. Someone who is not familiar with deer meat will think it’s marbling and leave it on – big mistake! Before I get into the recipe portion of this article, I want to talk a little bit about cuts of meat. I butcher my deer and I can tell you that it’s not nearly as daunting a task as some might think. A deer consists of two shoulders, two hams, two backstraps, and two tenderloins. Everything else, I cut off the carcass and grind into burger. I grind the shoulder meat as well, so that only leaves me the hams that I have to work on. Sure, their size can make them awkward to handle, but they already come with ready-made “cut here” lines so removing the meat from the bone is simple with a bit of practice. Those lines are just the separations between the different muscles. Using your eyes, fingers, and a very sharp filet knife, you can find these separations and quickly dissect that big hindquarter into 4 or 5 nice roasts plus some grinding meat. All you’ll have left are a couple of bone for the dogs or coyotes to chew on.

Venison Parmesan (Left Cover Photo)

Ingredients: • • • • • • • • • •

1-1 ½ lbs. venison (roast or backstrap) Seasoning to taste 1 C. buttermilk 2 C. panko breadcrumbs 1/3 C. oil 1 24 oz. jar of marinara sauce 1 ½ C. shredded mozzarella cheese 1 ½ C. shredded parmesan cheese 1 16 oz. box of fettuccine noodles Fresh chopped parsley or spinach for garnish

Directions: This meal is easy to prepare and makes excellent leftovers. The amount of meat you will use is directly proportional to the size of the largest skillet you own. I got a #13+ skillet for Father’s Day and it works perfectly for this. Trim off the silver skin the best you can and slice your meat into ¾”-1” thick pieces. After slicing, pound each piece with a meat hammer. Not only does this tenderize the meat, but it also makes the coating you’re about to put on it stick better. Season the meat to taste. Get your big skillet and cover the bottom with around 1/3 cup of oil. Heat the oil on medium and while that is taking place, get yourself two bowls; in one, put around 1 cup of buttermilk, and in the other put around 2 cups of breadcrumbs. I prefer panko style, but any will do. When your oil is hot, dip your seasoned meat pieces in the buttermilk, roll in the breadcrumbs, and then place them in the skillet. You’re not trying to cook the venison, just brown it. If your pan isn’t big enough to put all the meat in at once, do it in shifts. Brown both sides, place them on a plate, and then brown some more. When you’ve browned all the meat, put it all back in the pan. Pour a 24-ounce jar of your favorite marinara sauce (I like Newman’s Own) over the meat and bring it to a boil. As soon as it starts to bubble, turn the heat down to low and cover the skillet. Let this simmer for 15-20 minutes. While the meat is simmering, start boiling a big pot of salted water to cook your pasta in. You can use whatever pasta suits you. I usually cook a 16-ounce box of fettuccine noodles. When the water starts to boil, throw in your pasta and cook it until it is firm to the bite (al dente). NOVEMBER - 2021


Feature Story As your noodles are cooking, check your pan of meat. After the allotted time has passed, add 1-1 ½ cups of shredded parmesan cheese and 1-1 ½ cups of shredded mozzarella cheese over the top of the meat/sauce mixture. Put the lid back on and let it cook on low for another 5 minutes, or until the cheese has melted. Remove the lid and garnish with chopped parsley or chopped baby spinach. It’s all about the presentation! Serve over a bed of pasta with a nice salad and hot garlic bread.

Liberally apply your favorite dry rub (I highly recommend the Code-3 Spices line) and prepare your smoker. I smoke a roast at 250 degrees until its internal temperature is 150 degrees. In my smoker, that takes about 2 ½ hours. The meat should be pink on the inside. Smoked Venison Panini

Smoked Venison Roast

Ingredients: • • • • •

Smoked venison, cut deli-thin Extra-sharp cheddar cheese Honey Dijon mustard Panera tomato and basil bread Soft margarine or butter


Ingredients: • •

2-4 lb. venison roast Dry rub of choice

Directions: A smoked venison roast is a building block for several fine dishes. It stands on its own as the star of the meal or it can be used to add some flare to just about anything. The key to a great smoked roast is not to overcook it. There is a very fine line between a tender, juicy piece of meat and shoe leather. I strongly urge you to use a meat thermometer when cooking venison in this manner to keep you from crossing that line. Everyone’s smoker is different so use my smoking directions as a guide only. Take your venison roast and trim it up.



My wife, Leah, likes deer meat, but she didn’t love it until I started making these sandwiches. I’m telling you, you’ll make yummy, groaning noises while eating one of these! Cut yourself 4 or 5 slices of cheddar from a block and place them on a piece of the tomato-basil bread. Spread a little mustard on the cheese and then top with a liberal helping of smoked venison. Put your top piece of bread on, butter the outside of it, and the place your sandwich, butter-side-down, on a hot George Foreman grill. Butter the other piece of bread and close the lid. Grill for about 5 minutes or until the cheese melts. If you really want to treat yourself, serve this sandwich au jus!

Feature Story Smoked Venison Roast with Raspberry Sauce

Venison Pasties (Right Cover Photo) Ingredients:

Ingredients: • • • • • •

Smoked venison roast 12 oz. container fresh raspberries ¾ cup sugar 1 Tbsp. cornstarch ¼ C. water 1 Tbsp. butter

Directions: I heard of this dish first at a fancy restaurant in Springfield, MO that went out of business in about a year. The waiter acted like it was a Food of the Gods and it could have been for the price they wanted for it! My version tastes expensive. The sweet and sour sauce pairs well with the smokey, salty meat and the dish are visually appealing on the plate. Smoke the roast, remove it from the smoker, and let it rest while you prepare the sauce. Wash the fresh raspberries and then puree them in a blender or food processor. Pour the raspberries and sugar into a small saucepan. Heat on medium heat until the mixture starts to boil. Stir it to keep the mixture from sticking, and cook it for about 5 minutes to thicken a bit. Dissolve the cornstarch in the water and pour it into the raspberries. Add the butter and cook on low until the mixture thickens. Take off the stove and set aside. Carve the roast into ¼”- ½” thick slices. I usually sprinkle a bit of rub onto the slices but that’s me. Apply the raspberry sauce like gravy and serve with potatoes and green beans.

Filling: • 2 lbs. ground venison • 1 lb. pork sausage • 1 rutabaga • 3 large russet potatoes • 1 large onion • 1 ½ C. carrots, diced or shredded • ¼ C. Worcestershire sauce • Seasoning to taste Crust: • 6 C. flour • 2 tsp. baking powder • 1 tsp. salt • 1 ½ C. shortening • 1 C. cold water Directions: My mother-in-law is of Norwegian descent, and her family came from the wilds of the UP, Michigan. Pasties are a staple in that region and Leah’s family treat them with reverence. I adapted the recipe they use to take advantage of Ozark raw materials (venison). This recipe makes 1012 meat pies, so invite the company over or freeze the leftovers. The first thing you need to do is get the biggest bowl you own. Put both meats in it and mix them well. The vegetables cook better if they are chopped up in a food processor. Peel the potatoes and rutabaga, chop them into manageable chunks and then food process them. Do the same with the carrots and onion. Add all the veggies in with the meat and mix it all up. Pour in the Worcestershire sauce and add whatever spices suite you. I use a copious amount of garlic powder, along with lemon pepper, and some liquid smoke. Set aside that mixture, get down another big bowl, and make your dough. Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt together. Cut in the shortening until the mixture is crumbly. Pour in enough cold water so that the dough is more on the wet side than dry. Tear off a ball of dough and roll it out on a well-floured surface into a circle about 10” in diameter. Scoop 1 ½ cups of meat mixture onto one half the circle. Pull the other half over the top and crimp the edges. Cut two venting slits in the top. Place 4 or 5 pies onto a baking sheet and cook at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. These might leak a little juice while cooking, so use a lipped baking sheet. Darren Haverstick



Feature Story

Nature Days



Feature Story


he familiar "tink" of an incoming text came from where my phone lay plugged in on the counter. I zipped up my camo jacket and picked up the phone. "They're ready and waiting outside," read the text from my daughter Kelsey Irwin. "They" were the almost three and five year old Becks and Blythe, my granddaughters. The text was accompanied by a photo of the twopint size adventurers standing on the sidewalk outside their front door looking down the road for a glimpse of my pick-up truck. They had laid out their backpacks, writing pads, and hats the night before. They now giggled and talked to each other, backpacks on, at the ready. They had on their "nature day" pants and were excited to go on another outdoor adventure. Blythe had dubbed camouflage, "Nature Day clothes." After we started doing these short outings in lieu of preschool together when she was three, I always showed up to get her in a camouflage jacket or hat. When she spotted someone in line at McDonald's with camouflage shorts, she would say, "look mom, he has on nature day shorts." The term stuck with the young Irwins. I had dropped a bluebird book off the night before and promised I'd bring some homework with me when I came by at the prearranged time in the morning. Today we were going to check bluebird nest boxes and find three different bird nests in those boxes. The text message told me I'd better get going; these two were ready to go on another nature day adventure. I scooped up the sheets of paper, the homework that had pictures of a chickadee, bluebird, and a wren nest on the left side of a mostly blank page, and pulled on a "nature day" hat and headed for the door. As I drove down the gravel road and crossed the little the bridge over Red Horse Creek, I thought back to the day two years ago when my daughter, a language arts teacher and now full time mom had weighed sending her oldest, Blythe, to preschool or keeping her home and finding ways to teach her the skills she would need to start kindergarten there.

She asked me if I would be willing to take Blythe once a week on nature outings. If we could combine what she would teach her at home with some outdoor trips where we would do something fun, get outdoors and learn a little something at the same time, then Kelsey thought she would hold off on sending Blythe to preschool. She explained to me what she was thinking, "You know, like a "Nature Day" or something." And thus began Nature Days for us. Little did I know how rewarding those days would become. On many outings since, we've examined bluebird boxes, stripped seeds off blazing star and big bluestem, collected newly fallen buckeyes, hickory nuts and white oak acorns, picked up trash and talked about litter, explored in the creek, had picnics at the river, hiked trails, looked for hawks and ducks, seined minnows, smelled new elderberry blooms, looked for raccoon and deer tracks, learned how to fold pocket knives and paddle pirouges, examined beaver dams and deer droppings, made squirrel nests with an old sleeping bag and a pile of leaves and on and on. NOVEMBER - 2021


Feature Story They have never complained about any of it. When Nan, daughter number three, got old enough to start going, she would ask, insistently "When are we going to do a nature day?" Kids love the outdoors. And science shows that they need the outdoors. A growing body of research indicates there are a host of benefits that come from letting kids spend unstructured time outside. David Catlin writes in his "Beyond the Classroom" article in the September issue of the Missouri Conservationist, "Studies have found the children who spend more hours outdoors demonstrate increased imaginative play, develop better vocabulary and gross motor skills, show reduced symptoms of attention deficit disorder (ADD), have better psychological well being, and even exhibit a lower incidence of nearsightedness." Imaginative play is easy for kids in the open air. When the weather turned cold for one of our outings, I set up a portable blind in some native grass. The temperature was in the teens when I walked them down a deer path in the tall grass while we pretended to be deer. After picking our way through waving Indian grass, we lay down in the thick prairie vegetation like a deer would. I asked if they noticed how the native grass blocked the wind and told them it was vital that we leave a few places like that for animals to survive in the winter. That was pretty much it for the teaching part of that nature day. Richard Louve writes in "Last Child in The Woods." "Unlike television, nature does not steal time. It amplifies it." So it does.

The trick is to keep the structured part of your excursions pretty short and always leave before the youngsters are ready to go. It's supposed to be fun. After our hike through the grass in the cold wind and pretending to be deer, we climbed inside the blind, drank hot chocolate out of a Thermos, and had a snack. We could see our breath, but the sun had warmed the blind a little and we were out of the wind. I wrapped the girls in a blanket while we talked about how some animals hibernate while others find a place to wait out the bad weather in a tree or a den. At that moment out of the wind, with pink cheeks and the smell of the crushed prairie grass in the air, they could see the value in those places and understood why they were important, or just pretended to be a fox. It was all good. Try taking a youngster on your own Nature Day. You'll be glad you did. Kyle Carrol (Cover) Kids love to play and explore outdoors. Don't complicate things. Let them check out what's around the bend. (Photo: Kyle Carrol) (Page 55) An unexpected find on a nature day outing. Becks and Nan contemplate a white-tailed deer skeleton. (Photo: Kyle Carrol) (Top) The author's son in law and grandkids pose with a fur trade era buffalo bone found while exploring on Smith Fork creek. Pictured are Wes, Ellie, Caroline, Lydia and Dan. (Photo: Kyle Carrol)



Outdoor News

Warm Winter Days


have said for years, I believe that some of the best fishing of the year is between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Most folks have put the fishing rods away and grabbed up their firearms for hunting, thinking the good fishing was probably done for the year. Water temperature is the key, and in the large Missouri reservoirs, it is probably still in the 50s, just like it is in the spring-fed rivers of southern Missouri. So how do you catch them? Let's start somewhere like Lake of the Ozarks. If the weather is sunny and calm, I start on the lower end of the lake. I generally stay out on the main part of the lake and I key on large condo breakwaters (the wave breakers placed to protect the docks from big boat wakes). Crappie and bass will suspend on the shady side of the breakwater, ambushing shad as they swim by. If I can find a little wind action on that breakwater, I can catch both bass and crappie on suspending jerk baits, Rapala like lures, that suspend when stopped. There are numerous brands on the market but few anglers would argue there are any better than the Megabass Vision 110. A ten-pound fluorocarbon line and a jerk/jerk/stop retrieve will help you get more strikes. If there is no wind and the lake is flat, I toss a crappie jig, like a Bobby Garland Slab Slayer, next to the breakwater and let it fall on a slack line as I watch the line for a subtle "tick" when a fish hits the bait. Counting it down helps me know how deep the fish are suspended under the breakwater, so I know better to let it fall before a strike. A light line like 4# or 6# works best for the small 1/16 or 1/8 ounce jigs. On overcast or cloudy days, I have found that the fish move away from the breakwaters and head straight to the nearest bank or point. White bass feed really aggressively, especially if you can find some wind blowing in on those points. My favorite lure is a 1/8th ounce white Worden's Original Rooster Tail inline spinner.

Some of the best fishing can be between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and you might have the water to yourself. (Photo: Courtesy of Scott Pauley)

If you need a little more weight to help you cast it further, add a split shot or two about 10" above the lure. Another lure you should try would be a ¼ or ½ ounce Bill Lewis Rattle Trap in a shad or silver color. Don't leave without before checking out some bluff ends and windy points. Jewel 2.0 Blade spinnerbaits with a Keitech 3.0 Fat Impact trailer and Jewel Pee Wee Football Jigs tipped with the Jewel VersaCraw are my choice here, just as they are on the rivers. When I am fishing the rivers, I look at the current and how it breaks around rocks and wood cover. I try to cast the spinnerbaits upstream and as far back up into the wood cover as I can get it as you will be amazed at how shallow the fish will get, then let the fish ambush the lure as it comes across and along the sides of the logs. I cast the jigs upstream and try to get the lures to fall down through the current seams created by the rocks and boulders. If you can get the jigs down in front of the fish; well the smallmouth can't resist it. With the introduction of walleye and muskie into more and more of our Missouri lakes, this early winter fishing can be fantastic, and you may find that you have the lakes and rivers almost all to yourself. Scott Pauley NOVEMBER - 2021


Feature Story

Hunting Small Timber

I knew the buck was there long before I saw him; the doe’s sidelong glances told me so. My f irst glimpse was almost subliminal, like a wisp of smoke drifting through the cedars. I nocked an arrow and tried, with limited success, to keep my breathing deep and even. My slow turn to intercept the shadow’s trajectory stopped short when I spotted two smaller bucks behind the doe. All three were following the open travel lane I had considerately provided for their use. With deer all around, I was pinned down. What to do? The dominant buck settled the matter with an explosive snort, reminding the two smaller males of pressing business that required their attention elsewhere.


his scenario might have unfolded amid thousands of acres of tall timber. Far from it, I was in the small timber, a five-acre woodlot outside my back door. I had hunted in the same area the previous year, but this hunt was an epiphany. Before the heavy-bodied eight-pointer presented a shot, five more deer passed through my tiny hunting area, like supporting players in a romantic deer ballet. The swirl of deer activity made me acutely aware that being in the right place at the right time doesn’t always require a long drive. A postage stamp of woods five minutes from town will never replace the big woods. However, few of us live in the wilderness. A lot of us live these days in deer-rich mosaics of farmland, forest, and subdivisions. Deer are practically as common as rabbits in these areas. Nothing against the big woods, but my philosophy has become “If you can’t be with the woods you love, love the woods you’re with.” I was deeply in love with my woods when that will-o-the-whisp buck stepped into a shooting lane I had cleared for just such an occasion. When he lowered his head, I drew and waited for him to come the extra foot that would expose his heartlung area. Instead, he paused to drink deeply of the doe’s scent.



Feature Story Seconds turned to minutes. A gnat made a suicide dive into the corner of my right eye. My muscles screamed, and tremors of exertion spread through my taut form. I managed to wait until he lowered his head to let down, but he caught the movement. Unable to separate my camouf laged form from the background, he didn’t bolt, but went after the doe without further delay. I’m nothing if not f lexible, so when a tender young doe happened by a few minutes later, I was glad to settle for backstraps and tenderloins instead of main beams and brow tines. The monarch could wait until gun season. After that, I quit regretting the times when I couldn’t get to my favorite deer hunting spot 45 miles away. I spent a lot of time thinking about the conditions that had produced such an extraordinary hunt so close to home. Deer movements and behavior are dictated, in part, by their physical surroundings. Forest/field edges, roads, trails, creeks, hills, valleys, utility and fence lines form grids that help a hunter by making deer behavior more predictable. Small parcels of land are relatively rich in such structure. Often, the grid is so obvious that even a novice can predict hightraffic areas. My stand was located within sight of the edge of a pipeline right-of-way, a creek, an alfalfa field and the intersection of three intersecting trails. Seventy yards to the northwest, the corner of my property touches the corner of a 100-acre oak-hickory wood. To the south and east were big cedar thickets. This location in a sheltered travel corridor between feeding and feeding areas guaranteed deer would travel past my stand. On overcast or foggy mornings, when twilight lingered in the valley, rush-hour deer traffic continued well into shooting hours. The proximity of my own house and those of two neighbors didn’t discourage the deer. Human presence was a fact of life to them. If anything, having human activity nearby worked in my favor. Suburban deer are used to smelling people.

A whiff of me wouldn’t send them scurrying unless accompanied by other evidence of danger. Maybe that lack of caution is why I never saw the big eight-pointer again. In all likelihood, he fell to another hunter who had discovered the smalltimber deer bonanza. On the other hand, maybe he learned from his close call with me that morning and has been more careful since. Seek and You Shall Find Once you realize that good deer hunting spots come in small packages, you begin to see potential in hitherto unsuspected places. Start in your backyard. Do you have a wooded corner that might be a secluded travel corridor between food, water and bedding areas? Does a neighbor complain about her hostas getting browsed to the ground? Maybe you should be hunting closer to home. Ask the managers of nearby golf courses and plant nurseries if the deer damage their tree seedlings. They might welcome a discreet archer who is willing to restrict his hunting to times when golfers are off the links. Boating accesses are superb places for small-timber hunting. State-owned boat ramps usually are built on small, wooded tracts that are open to hunting. Similarly, state- and federally owned wetland areas often have narrow, wooded buffer strips around and between pools that harbor amazing numbers of deer. County parks and water supply lakes are almost universally overlooked as deer hunting spots; many are open to hunting. A check of area regulations will reveal what opportunities might exist there. Map Out a Strategy Stand placement is critical in close quarters. To find the right spot, make a map that shows terrain and structure features, such as ridges and saddles, fence lines, forest-field edges, trails, roads, streams, utility lines and buildings. Next, pencil in important habitat components, including food and water sources, prime bedding sites, and evening staging areas.



Feature Story Don’t forget to look beyond the boundaries of your hunting spot for these key habitat components. Finally, mark the locations of rubs and scrapes and deer sightings by yourself and your neighbors. Now, bearing in mind the direction of prevailing winds, find the places that put you just within shooting range of what looks likely to be the mosttraveled corridors. Don’t crowd these corridors. Instead, place stands 30 yards or so to one side, and clear shooting lanes where needed. Short Hunts = Big Opportunity The two periods of peak deer activity – dawn and dusk – are the very times when many of us can get out in the woods for an hour, even on workdays. The other time when deer often get up and move around – midday – coincides with an hour of free time – lunch hour. What better setting for a brown-bag lunch than a stand overlooking your postage-stamp paradise? An hour or two of hunting a day doesn’t seem like much, but over the course of a week, that gives you as much time in the woods as you get in a full day on weekends. Familiarity Breeds Success Big acreages can actually work against you, making it challenging to become intimately familiar with your turf. Small-timber hunting presents a terrific opportunity for hunters who shift their emphasis from covering ground to studying it. When walking to and from your stand, study the tips of low bushes to discover where deer are browsing and which plants they favor. Keep tabs on which oaks are dropping acorns. Walk barbed-wire fence lines looking for tufts of hair that mark spots where deer habitually slip underneath. Make mental notes about the location of dense cover adjacent to major deer travel corridors and watch for big bucks in those areas when does are nearby. With little ground to cover, you’ll soon be able to form a clear picture of exactly what’s going on in your domain and where. Trail cameras can pin down the timing of deer comings and goings, allowing you to put yourself there at the right time.

Be Manipulative You can be a lot more proactive on five acres than on 500. Prune brush and low-hanging tree branches to make it easy for deer to use trails near your stand. Pile brush to close off travel routes that take deer out of range of your stand. If no existing trails pass near practical stand locations, make them. A gasoline-powered string trimmer will clear the underbrush well enough to make walking easier for deer. They’re lazy just like people, taking the path of least resistance. Provide easy locations for scrapes. Start by tying down saplings so their tips hang just at deer-eye level. Expose bare soil underneath, and chances are good a rutty buck will take the bait. Trim limbs and brush to create many shooting lanes. Be careful, however, not to clear so much that your stand location becomes overly visible. You can entice deer with food without bait or food plots. Cut off saplings near your stand near ground level. The tender young shoots that sprout from the stumps are like deer candy. If you doubt that you will find trophy bucks in such settings, ask the local conservation agent if they have been called to remove the carcasses of big deer from locations in or around the nearest town. The chances are good that they have photos of monster bucks that became traffic casualties on their cell phones. That might be your first clue to the best little hunting spot you ever had.

Jim Low (Cover) Every year, monster bucks become traffic casualties in and around subdivisions and urban green space. (Photo: Courtesy of Jim Low)



Agency News

Governor Parson Announces Dru Buntin as New Director of Department of Natural Resources


n Aug. 11, during a press conference at the State Capitol, Governor Mike Parson announced Dru Buntin as the new Director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, effective immediately. "We are excited to announce Dru as the new DNR Director and look forward to his continued service to Missourians," Governor Parson said. "Dru is an experienced and trusted leader within DNR and across state government. He worked closely with Director Comer during her illness and stepped up to be a steady hand of leadership upon her passing. We are confident in Dru's abilities to lead DNR, and we look forward to seeing him implement his vision and ideas." Mr. Buntin has served as the Deputy Director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources for more than four years. He first joined DNR in 2000 as the Director of Government Affairs and advanced to Deputy Director for Policy and Chief of Water Resources. In 2013, Mr. Buntin became the Executive Director of the Upper Missouri River Basin Association before rejoining DNR in 2017. He has more than 15 years experience with DNR and more than 20 years experience in Missouri state government. Since rejoining DNR as Deputy Director in 2017, Dru has been instrumental in leading the Department's Red Tape Reduction initiative as well as drought response and flood recovery support efforts. He also worked closely with the late Director Carol Comer to strengthen partnerships with Missouri businesses, citizens, and communities to assist with and promote compliance with Missouri's environmental laws and regulations.

“I am honored and humbled to be appointed by Governor Parson to serve as the new Director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources,” said Department of Natural Resources Director Dru Buntin. “Five generations of my family have lived in Missouri, and I love this state. We have a great team at DNR, and I’m excited about what we can accomplish working together with communities across Missouri.” Mr. Buntin attended the University of MissouriColumbia where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science.



Outdoor News

Order Tree and Shrub Seeds For Your Landscape


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 one-year-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, buttonbush, 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 34 cents to $1 per seedling. Sales tax of 6.1 percent will be added to orders unless tax exempt. There is an $9 handling charge for each order. Receive a 15% discount up to $20 off seedling orders with a Heritage Card, Permit Card, or Conservation ID Number. The nursery grows millions of seedlings each year, but some species are very popular and sell out quickly. Occasionally the seedlings succumb to uncooperative weather or hungry wildlife, despite the nursery staff’s best efforts. “The weather almost got us again in late winter in a huge way,” said MDC Nursery Supervisor Mike Fiaoni. “We had almost 25% of our seedlings up due to early germination. Then we got two nights down in the mid-20s. The nursery staff did an outstanding job covering most of the seedlings with various materials and saved around 1.5 million trees. The main species that took a hit were hackberries and black cherries.” Fiaoni added, “We had reports of people last year setting their alarms to wake up at midnight on Aug. 31 to get their order placed. So again, this year get your order in early.”



To place orders through MDC’s seedling order form go trees-plants/tree-seedlings, or by calling 573-674-3229

Fiaoni said that even if a species is listed as sold out, customers can still place an order for them. Sometimes orders get cancelled, freeing up inventory. Customers won’t be charged for seedlings unless they are available to ship. Learn more and place orders through MDC’s “2021-2022 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 Place orders now through April 15, 2022. Orders will be shipped or can be picked up at the nursery near Licking from February through May.



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