Ma y - June 2019
Outdoor ag Guide M
e n i z a
HUNTING • FISHING • CAMPING • BOATING • SHOOTING • TRAVEL
Claudette’s Kitchen.........Page 10
De-Stress Your Dog..........Page 24
RV Travelers.....................Page 29
The Lake Bear Hunt........................Page 30
MISSOURI - ILLINOIS - AND OTHER EXCITING OUTDOOR DESTINATIONS
Air Rifle Project Brings Shooting to School
Competitors stand ready at the firing line during the Southwest Missouri Tournament in March, 2018.
Using the successful model of the National Archery in Schools Program, a new organization is looking to expand interest in shooting sports by putting air rifles in the hands of students and providing opportunities for individual and team rewards. The StudentAir Rifle Program (SAR) began with a pilot program in Missouri during the 2015-16 school year, said Jake Hindman, CEO and president of the organization’s board of directors. Since then it has grown to states across the country and continues to gain ground in bringing target shooting to local schools. “We started in eight schools in 2015 and grew to 20 different schools and organizations across the nation,” Hindman said. “We have been working on a national level and partnered with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department this past fall. SAR is also in Pennsylvania, and we are working with Iowa for a communitybased program.” NEED INSTRUCTORS The first step for establishing a program in a school or community organization is finding and getting instructors qualified. “We want our instructors to be comfortable with shooting and teaching. There are a lot of practical components where the instructors teach each other,” Hindman said. “They also learn maintenance of air rifles, cleaning, safety and storage.” Schools can contact the organization for more information, or parents may reach out to school administrations or board members to explore the potential of bringing the shooting sports competition to their local schools. “Most of the time they are PE teachers, or FFA or Vocational-
Ag instructors,” Hindman said. “We are glad to set up the training as a professional development unit.” SAR uses school-aligned units of study, teacher training, universal whistle commands, positive language and standardized equipment to facilitate an introduction to the lifetime sport of target shooting to school-aged youth in grades 4 through 12. EASY TO CHARGE The standardized equipment has been developed through feedback from students and instructors, designed to be durable and adequate for participants of all ages. “The rifle requires about 16 pounds of charging effort, and all students can handle that. It has standard front and rear sights and can hold up to repeated use,” Hindman said. “With the non-toxic lead-free pellets, it is very accurate.” In addition to following the format of the archery in schools program, SAR uses range and safety protocols. Shooters compete in an Olympic-style, 10-meter target range aiming at a five-ring bulls eye from the standing position. “The targets are not so big that it is easy. It’s still challenging. Our highest score in competition so far is 282 out of 300,” Hindman said. Like its archery sister, the air rifle program teaches students much more than ready, aim and fire. Self-confidence, camaraderie, personal satisfaction, competitive spirit and dedication all are byproducts of the teamwork and tenacity required. “Shooting sports give the opportunity for anyone to compete as an individual and as part of a team,” Hindman said. “Individu-
als of all ages and abilities are able to excel with air riflery with increased self-esteem, confidence and focus.” ACCESS TO GRANTS Initiating the program in a school costs about $3,200 for purchase of the standard equipment, but thanks to partnerships, the organization has access to grants that reduce the expenditure by up to 50 percent. SAR was developed by the Missouri Youth Sport ShootingAlliance and is a 501(c)3 nonprofit. You can follow SAR on Facebook and Instagram by searching “Student Air Rifle Program-SAR.” For more information visit www.studentairrifleprogram.org. John J. Winkelman is community engagement manager at Mercy Hospital Jefferson. If you have news for Outdoor Guide Magazine, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and you can follow John on Twitter at @johnjwink99.
Student shooters examine their targets following a round in the competition.
Feral ho ogs Fera l h are a re
destructive. Report hogs to mdc.mo.gov/feralhog
Emulating Old Guys Who Know How to Win
By BRENT FRAZEE The older I get, the more Rick Clunn becomes my role model. Clunn, one of the all-time greats in professional bass fishing, is a senior citizen who doesn’t act his age. At 72, he became the oldest fisherman
ever to win a BASS Elite tournament when he took the title in an event on Florida’s St. Johns River in February. Think about it for a minute. He was competing against a field of young hot shots less than half his age. They strode to their boats with straightbrimmed ballcaps, tattoos and
a brash, confident demeanor. And the old guy won. This is the stuff that makes for a good movie plot. When the word got out, I could imagine a wild celebration at senior centers. I even got my “Old men rule” T-shirt from the bottom of my drawer and wore it the next day. It was as if Clunn had struck a blow for us aging gray-hairs who still cling to our youth.
I’m “only” 68, but some days I feel older. I have aches and pains, I no longer have a bounce in my step, and I struggle with my balance at times. But when I heard of Clunn’s victory, it gave me a shot of adrenaline. THE OLDEST WINNER It wasn’t the first time. I remember the first time he became the oldest guy to win a BASS national tournament.
Rick Clunn accepts the BASS Elite trophy, giving hope to older anglers.
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After his win in the 2016 Elite tournament on the St. Johns River, he said, “Never accept that all your best moments are in your past.” He reinforced that “nevertoo-old-to-catch bass” attitude when he told Bassmaster media members this February, “A long time ago, I stopped paying attention to timelines – the terrible twos, the ugly teen years, the midlife crisis, retirement years. I don’t pay attention to any of that. If you listen to everyone else, you get a premature notion about who you really are.” It reminded me of the day a few years ago when I talked to Clunn at a Bassmaster tournament on Bull Shoals Lake. I made a reference to him getting older, and he abruptly stopped me. “My wife is getting tired of hearing the word ‘old-timer,’” he said. “I think the word ‘experienced’ or ‘mature’ sounds much better.” In Clunn’s world, age is just a number. And that’s a great attitude. FLAME STILL BURNS Though he admits he can no longer go at it as hard as he did in his youth, he has experience on his side. And the flame of desire to compete hasn’t even flickered over time. What a great example for us recreational fishermen who still love to get outdoors. I readily admit that I can no longer sleep in a tent, spend long days paddling a canoe in Canada’s Boundary Waters or cast from daylight to sundown. I know my limitations. But I also know that I have
plenty of casts left in me. I still feel a sense of awe when I watch the sun rise and cast an orange hue on the water. I still get a jolt of excitement when I watch a bass explode out of the water to hit my top-water lure. And I still feel the satisfaction of catching a big bass, crappie or walleye. STILL FISHING AT 89 Some of my friends serve as inspiration that I hopefully have many more years left on the water. Ken White comes to mind. Ken was one of the first fishermen I met when I came to the Kansas City Star in 1980. We’ve been friends ever since and have spent many days together in a boat. The guy amazes me. He is 89 years old, yet he is still a great fisherman. He remains active, fishing from the docks on Stockton Lake and consistently catching big crappies. He continues to write about his experiences, too. He freelances for many newspapers across Missouri and has a loyal following. I’m proud to call him a friend and a role model. Every time I complain to him about getting old, he laughs at me and says, “You don’t know what old is.” Yeah, I guess I don’t. The next time I wake up with aches and pains, can’t remember someone’s name, or stumble in the boat, I’m going to do my best to think of those times as temporary senior moments. As the saying goes, “You’re only as old as you feel.” And I still feel young when I’m fishing.
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Ma y - June 2018
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Wildlife Wrangling and Outdoor Ramblings
Where Are Those Packages?
Photo and Text By RANDALL P. DAVIS
I, like most folks, have come to greatly rely upon the addictive convenience of online auctions. What better way to shop the world than to sit before the computer in one’s jammies, watching a blizzard grate across the barren hills around my ultra-rural homestead and comfortably secure outdoor merchandise from various cities with unpronounceable names all across the Asian continent. Most of these items are so inexpensive that if you actually stole them, the very process of larceny would require much more work. I mean, by what avenues can you purchase a nice, medium-action spinning rod for $18, or a good fly reel – loaded with line – for $22. How about binoculars for $15, or a 10-pack of decent jointed-minnow crank baits for $10? The incentive is just too great not to participate. But what separates me from most robust shoppers is that often, my deliveries don’t make it completely to the front door. In fact, when the weather generates frozen precipitation, many of
my parcels are likely found deposited anywhere from the mailbox, down along the quarter-mile drive, and even to the front seat of my old pickup. It’s like an Easter egg hunt,tracking down my packages of outdoor goodies. CHINA’S CALLING During this past winter’s weather, it’s been more than challenging to get my merchandise fix from the Zhejiang province of China. It’s not so much the 7,000mile journey of land, sea, and air ... just the last 300 yards. The precipitation events of snow, slight melting, more snow, a little melting, and a few doses of freezing rain, coupled with household vehicle traffic, had packed down the long, sloping driveway into a magnificently glaciated trough. In fact, the Olympic Training Committee stopped by one day and asked to rent this icy runway for bobsled time trials. I declined, fearing it would interfere with my overseas deliveries. In years past, we’ve had packages delivered – or I should say deposited – in various nooks and crannies all along our driveway.
Some were lovingly bundled in plastic bags, cinched at the top to protect precious parcels from precipitation, and then the loose top was impaled on a steel fencepost so we could have no problem finding it. Others have been secreted in the void between our house’s front storm door and interior door. We rarely use the front door, so often packages have aged enough to host a variety of mosses and lichens before we discovered them. THE OLD PICKUP Then sometimes we’ve found parcels sitting in the front seat of my pickup. This normally would be fine, but the bearer of gifts once chose the old pickup as the repository – the one I rarely drive. The one I rarely look into, or open the door ... or even walk by. Packrats had a great Christmas that year with all the delightful nesting material from my new supply of Fruit of the Looms. THE HACKBERRY TREE But the best example was one time I discovered tracks in the snow that told a fresh version of an old story.
May -June 2019
Outdoor agazine Guide M HUNTING • FISHING • CAMPING • BOATING SHOOTING • TRAVEL
Volume Twenty Seven, Number Three • Published Six Times A Year Office: 505 S. Ewing, St. Louis, MO 63103 Office/News Department — 314-535-9786 www.outdoorguidemagazine.com e-mail: email@example.com COVER PHOTO: Lake of the Ozarks Bobby Whitehead, Editor/Co-Publisher Kathy Crowe, Graphic Designer Maria Murphy, Production Coordinator
John Winkelman, Associate Editor — firstname.lastname@example.org Lynn Fowler, Circulation Manager Carl Green, Copy Editor
— Account Executives — Dan Braun, Marketing Director Lauren Marshall — Regional and Specialty Editors — Joel Vance Darrell Taylor Ray Eye Brent Frazee Brandon Butler
Curt Hicken Bill Cooper Thayne Smith Steve Jones
Bill Seibel John Neporadny Jr. Rick Story T. J. Mullin Ron Henry Strait
Larry Whiteley Ted Nugent Ron Bice John Sloan
In Memoriam — Jared Billings • Charlie Farmer • Richard Engelke • Mark Hubbard Spence Turner • Hank Reifeiss • Bill Harmon • Barbara Perry Lawton • Danny Hicks • Ron Kruger
Scott Pauley Tim Huffman John Meacham Bob Holzhei Jeannie Farmer Kay Hively Tyler Mahoney
— Staff Writers —
Claudette Roper Brad Wiegmann Mike Roux Craig Alderman Randall Davis Jerry Pabst Ryan Miloshewski
Kenneth Kieser Gerald Scott Russell Hively Roxanne Wilson Gretchen Steele Jo Schaper Jed Nadler
Don Gasaway Terry Wilson Bill Keaton Charlie Slovensky Michael Wardlaw Larry Potterfield Tom Watson
I went up to retrieve the mail. It was nearly dark. In past years, I used to walk the quarter-mile, but lately these knees greatly appreciate the comfort of 230-horsepower doing all the legwork. As I drove past the old hackberry tree, within the edge of the headlight beam, I thought I saw a smear of brown near the base. Returning, I swung the headlights to the side and sure enough, there was another delivery. I got out and easily read the powdery sign, something like tracking a Sasquatch through a flour mill. The driver had parked the vehicle and started to walk down the drive. Then the tracks stopped, showed an indecisive shuffling and stumbling around in the snow, like a couple of eighth graders at their first dance. The tracks then returned to the vehicle, circled behind and waddled up to the hackberry, where my long-anticipated delivery of chainsaw parts, ginseng tea and a fly rod were gingerly amassed. CUE NORMAN BATES It’s easy to imagine that the driver made it just so
The hackberry tree made a convenient dumping place.
far, saw the snow-covered alpine sled run that led into a dark abyss of overhanging tree limbs, cedar sprouts and multi-flora rose canes, heard the vigorous baying from all the dogs and thought, “If I go any further, I know I’ll see Norman Bates staring out the house window ... with the Hound of the Baskervilles on one side of the front porch and a group of men from ‘Deliverance’ on the other. I think I’ll just leave the packages here. Let them figure it out.”
So apparently, based on years of experience, the Davis household has been listed in a special category known by all rural parcel delivery services – something like, “Drop any box under, on, or near the hackberry tree.” For them, it must be like feeding raccoons or pigeons … throw it anywhere and they’ll find it. But I think I have the problem solved for next winter. I’ll just dig up the hackberry tree and move it to the front yard.
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A company started by veterans, they know bullets and have been providing some of the leading ammo manufacturers with quality bullets for years. Now, Accura Outdoors is providing consumers with precision-bond copper plated bullets, featuring a swaged lead core. Accura Outdoors arguably produces the best reloading bullets on the market and priced to match. Currently the company is offering: Best Selling: .45 & 9mm .380 .38 .40 .44 .30 For more information please visit www.accuraoutdoors.com
Marine & Tackle Reel Care Kit
The Clenzoil Marine & Tackle Reel Care Kit is an all-in-one fishing reel maintenance kit that includes all of the Clenzoil Marine & Tackle products required to clean, lubricate, and protect your fishing reels. Included with a convenient carrying case, the care kit comes complete with Clenzoil’s signature Marine & Tackle Solution, Synthetic Reel Grease, and all of the necessary tools to break down and clean any type of fishing reel. For more information or to purchase Clenzoil’s Marine & Tackle Reel Care Kit, please visit: www.clenzoil.com
The Deputy Knife is one of the thinnest and lightweight everyday carry knives on the market, weighing in at only 2.5 ounces. With a 4 ¼ “ closed length frame, made of 8CR13MOV satin finished, drop point blade, stainless steel handles, mirror polished edges and satin finished sides. The stainless steel handles are hollowed out to make it as light as possible and is designed with a ball bearing pivot system so that the knife can be opened with a blade notch on top when closed to open easily. For more information please visit: https://abktinc.com
New for 2019 the Aeris Suppressor is a compact, lightweight and rugged suppressor designed for performance in a minimal sized package. Machined from titanium and stainless steel, the Aeris is incredibly durable for its’ size and weight. The patented split-tube makes it extremely easy to service this suppressor. For more information please visit: www.tacticalsol.com
Pietta Firearms of Italy, with their all-new Chronos Rifle adheres to the same quality and performance standards that Pietta is known for. This gas-operated (with short stroke) rifle is the perfect big game rifle; available in .30-06 and .308, a 3 – 10 round magazine, micro-gel recoil pad, an aluminum alloy receiver, adjustable sights and a barrel made of SAE4140 steel. This impressive rifle comes in a variety of finishes and colors including camo. For more information on the Chronos and to see their complete selection of firearms, please visit: https://www.pietta.it
.308 GEN II Upper
Like all of Guntec’s products, the .308 Gen II Upper is made entirely in the United States in Scottsdale, AZ, and is built with a proprietary aluminum composition that reduces heat and is extremely lightweight and ergonomically designed. This new design allows forward assist to function and uses a set screw (included) to lock forward assist into position. Rounding out the new features, the Gen II has a much slimmer body and a smaller profile shell deflector. For more information or to purchase, please visit: https://www.guntecusa.com
Culling Infected Deer Has Proven its Worth
By BRANDON BUTLER
Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) continues to gain national attention as new states are added to the dreaded list of those that are home to infected deer. Tennessee “didn’t have” CWD six months ago. Now they’ve discovered nearly 200 positives. More than half the states in our nation now have CWD, and those states listed as not having CWD may just have not discovered it yet. In Missouri, 103 CWD positive deer have been found since the disease was first discovered in a captive deer facility in 2010. The Department of Conservation (MDC) believes the disease was new to the state at that time, because of the incredibly low density rate of positives. CWD has progressed slowly here, thanks in large part to the MDC aggressively culling in small, concentrated areas around the discovery sites. Sadly, CWD is treated similar like climate change, meaning nearly every person who can read and is of pure intentions understands it is real and a very serious threat. But there are, of course, a few who refuse to believe in science and have formulated their own fairy tales or bought into conspiracy theories. SELLING FAKE HUNTS Even worse are those who know it’s real and recognize the serious and horrible implications but are still willing to trade tomorrow for today. They are financially invested in an industry that continues to put wild deer at risk and just can’t let go of just how lucrative selling fake hunts is, so they try to dispel the disease and influence lawmakers with money and misinformation. Thankfully, those to whom we trust our natural resources are standing up for science. At the recent 84th North American Wildlife & Natural Resources Conference, state directors approved a statement entitled “Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Statement on Chronic Wasting Disease Etiology.” A press release issued states, “This statement was drafted by leading experts in wildlife disease management and affirms the current scientific consensus that Chronic Wasting Disease, a 100 percent fatal disease of deer, elk, moose, and reindeer, is caused by a misfolded protein called a ‘prion.’ “Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) are a family of diseases that have been documented in numerous mammalian species, including cattle, sheep, humans and members of the deer family (Cervidae or cervids), among others. Decades of scientific research have been dedicated to understanding the cause and treatment of TSEs, including chronic wasting disease (CWD) of cervids. The consensus that has emerged from this research indicates that prions (misfolded proteins) are the causative agents of TSEs, including CWD.” This powerful statement was issued to dispel rumor and set the record straight on what causes CWD and how dangerous the disease is. “Recent media coverage has focused on alternative theories that suggest that Chronic Wasting Disease may be caused by bacteria or other sources,” said Ed Carter, president of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and executive director of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. “We felt that until there was definitive
proof otherwise, it was important that the Association go on record as supporting the overwhelming scientific consensus that Chronic Wasting Disease is caused by mutated protein known as prions.” CULLING WORKS When you dig in and look at CWD management across the country, you can see the benefits or ramifications to selected styles of dealing with the disease. Take Illinois for example. CWD was discovered in Illinois in 2002, but you don’t hear a lot about the disease there. To date, they have discovered 736 positives from a sample size of 114,534 tested. The reason Illinois has been able to keep the disease at bay is largely because of a strong, targeted surveillance program that attacks the disease where it is known to be, which requires aggressive culling. On the other hand, Wisconsin is a disaster. Also discovered there in 2002, CWD has spread like wildfire because one of the worst natural resources administrations in modern times decided to basically do nothing about the disease and let it spread. They now have CWD is 56 counties, with areas where 50 percent of bucks harvested are infected. Thankfully, citizens made a change in political leadership and regulation changes are being made, but that genie is going to be real tough to put back in the bottle. Other states continue to learn from Wisconsin’s mistakes. “I strongly support the statement that is being released by the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies today,” said Bob Duncan, director of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and chair of the group’s Fish and Wildlife Health Committee. “Our nation’s hunters deserve to have the best available scientifically credible information about this deadly disease, and to know that our state, federal, provincial and territorial wildlife agencies are doing everything within their power to stop its spread.” THREAT TO HUNTING CWD is a real and serious threat to the future of white-tailed deer, and to deer hunting as we know it today. There is currently no way to treat an infected deer. If they catch it, they will die. The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies States: “CWD must be managed with available science-based tools that include, but are not limited to, regulation of live cervid and carcass movements, prohibition of activities that congregate susceptible species, targeted removal, hunting, surveillance and monitoring, and public education.”
Map outlines the endemic zone of CWD in Wisconsin, where some areas have more than 40 CWD-positive deer per square mile.
— Random Shots — The Great Beaver, Chewing into History By JOEL M. VANCE It was a dark night, though not stormy, a night when you imagine werewolves are not too far from the tent, sniffing for blood. I was camped in a remote turkey woods, listening to the incessant call of a whippoorwill and the soft but somehow menacing hoot of a great horned owl. Then there was a sound like someone had dropped a rock from a high place into the lake adjacent to the tent. “Creature from the Black Lagoon?” I swallowed hard and quavered, “Did you hear that?” “Beaver,” said my tentmate. “Go back to sleep.” It had been a beaver slapping its tail in alarm – afraid of my buddy snoring in the tent. The beaver wasn’t a prowling leopard looking to make me a late night snack. To it, I was the threat. I fell asleep. Those who create folklore have been, well, busy as a beaver, fashioning a legacy of beaver tales (not tails). In NativeAmerican myth, beavers are right up there with coyotes and eagles. Beavers are the most exalted of the rodents, as well as the largest North American rodents. You won’t find cartoons about Ralph Rat like you do Bucky Beaver, and those legends that glorify the beaver are far more numerous than any about rats, mice, squirrels and other rodents. Castoreum, an oil produced by its anal glands, was prized by European cultures because it supposedly was both an aphrodisiac and a headache remedy – you could spend all day creating jokes from that combination. OVERNIGHT REPAIRS Today the oil is used in expensive perfumes as a fixative for more agreeable scents. My father was a perfume oils salesman and well might have dealt with beaver castoreum, but he had more trouble with the entire beaver. He found that beavers could repair a breached dam faster than he could get rid of it. A dam flooded a low-water crossing on our farm, making it impossible for him to get around. He breached the dam with dynamite but it was repaired the next day. He finally gave up explosive remedies and put a drain pipe in the dam. He found the pipe plugged tight the next day with corncobs and mud. That’s when he resorted to trapping. But as much potential damage as a beaver can do, it has positive value beyond its fur. It also is a water control agent – beaver ponds are magnets for ducks and, in northern areas, moose and deer. The animals don’t build dams just to keep
busy. They are nature’s urban developers, taking a stream too shallow for them and turning it into a nice, deep beaver pond in which they can build a condo known as a beaver lodge. The mound of sticks and mud is the most visible sign of the chewers, but felled trees or stumps, surrounded by a scatter of chips, puts the stamp on it. Where water levels vary too much for a lodge, beavers burrow into the bank. That can be a real problem if they do it in a pond dam where a frog choker rain could erode the beaver den and cause the dam to fail. MASTER CRAFTERS A beaver dam is a marvel of wildlife ingenuity. The animals use small brush, hauled to the dam site in their mouths. They place the brush butt ends downstream and then scoop mud with their forepaws, carrying it to the dam (or lodge) to seal the gaps in the brush. Like Gene Kelly singing “Gotta dance!” the beaver has “gotta chew!” A beaver’s teeth grow throughout its life and only by gnawing do they wear down. So part of the beaver’s legendary industry is a matter of dental necessity. The product of all that chewing is both food and shelter. Beavers are herbivores – they eat nothing but plant material. They eat the bark and cambium layer of small trees and also haul such material into their lodge as a winter food supply. Big trees can be part of a dam, while smaller ones get woven into the lodge, which will have an underwater entrance, a common room and an air vent. Once inside, with a food supply, a beaver family can ride out the harshest winter in relative comfort. A HISTORY LESSSON Beavers are credited with leading early explorers farther and farther into what now is our country (among the objectives of the Lewis and Clark expedition of 1804-05 was to gauge the furbearer resources along the way). Beaver pelts were money to the rowdy and rugged trappers, and as they ran out of trappable animals, there was only one direction to go, west. Over the Smoky Mountains, into the heartland, into Arkansas and its rivers, and ultimately further west until, finally, few beavers were left. Beginning in the 1930s, at the dawn of modern wildlife management, conservationists made a determined effort to “bring ‘em back” and it worked so well that now beavers have become both a blessing and a curse. Like all wild animals, beavers have no sense of personal property and the lines that divide humans from each other. Your lake or pond is a young beaver’s starter home, never mind that his industrious work will flood your yard, garden or access road. Never mind that your cherished shade tree to him is a humongous See VANCE page 20
An old beaver goes about doing what it does best, chewing and dam building. – National Wildlife Federation photo
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You Don’t Have to Call It Quiche
By CLAUDETTE ROPER
single-serving-sized dishes. Think crème brûlée. Now neither Mountain Man nor I are crème brûlée types, but when it comes to single-serving dishes that help reign in second and third helpings of anything, we’re all on board! Chances are, some of you have some in the back of a cabinet somewhere. They are becoming popular again – check out any kitchen store, but they are also showing up in thrift stores. After all, who got married in the ‘70s without receiving a set of ramekins (and a fondue set)? Because of their straight sides, they are ideal for baking small souffles, but they are also good for cakes, cobblers or holding individual ingredients when prepping meals. They may be single-serving size, but they are certainly
“Ramekins – oh yeah, those little guys people put in their flower gardens … like little dwarfs.” Bless his heart! Actually, the ramekins I was thinking of are small, cylindrical dishes that are used for baking
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not single-use dishes. THE SPANISH COUSIN We just covered one of the two aspects of the recipe I’ll be sharing today. The other is a key ingredient and yet the least ingredient in the recipe – smoked paprika. Many of you are likely to have Hungarian paprika in your spice cabinet. Perhaps you use it to sprinkle on deviled eggs for garnish. Certainly, it’s versatile enough to use in many dishes. Smoked paprika is its Spanish cousin. When purchasing, you will recognize it by its deep red color and smoky aroma. Watch out for grocery store spices. They have often been on shelves in warehouses long enough to lose their intense taste and aroma. Consider purchasing them from a spice store with lots of turnover. This spice is made from pimiento peppers that have been dried and smoked over an oak fire, then ground into a fine powder. The result is a strong outdoorsy flavor. I’d add that my goal was to get this effect without having to add a liquid ingredient that contains chemicals as part of the production process. My concerns about the “liquid stuff” may be unfounded (unless you drink it). Some brands make it by passing wood smoke through a chamber where the vapor is captured and condensed. The resulting liquid contains polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which can be carcinogenic when consumed too much. Some brands add numerous artificial flavors – buyer beware. When using smoked paprika, a little goes a long way. The first time adding it to a dish, start off with a little and work your way up from there. It’s great in stews, dry rubs for meat, egg dishes and even on roasted nuts. JUST ADD BACON The recipe at the end of this article is a delightful blend of souffle, quiche, custard and baked cheesecake without the work (or intimidation) that comes with those. It’s crustless, although it does have a pleasant crustiness of its own. Prep time averages 30 minutes and oven time varies by the container size you are baking in. You do not have to use ramekins – I have used small oven-safe dishes and increased the baking time accordingly. You’ve heard “real men don’t eat quiche.” No worries, they’ll eat this. Bacon always helps – add bacon. Speaking of adding things, feel free to get creative without fear. Add your favorite spices, vegetables or meats or exchange them for one in the recipe. Keep in mind that throw-ins such as fresh spinach and mushrooms can add quite a bit of liquid. Plan on cooking them slightly to remove those liquids. Onions and peppers are best sautéed first. For anyone with a cow dairy sensitivity, the cream cheese in this recipe can be substituted with the soft chevre available in most grocery stores. Chevre is the goat cheese from which I developed this recipe. Mountain Man’s portion gets made with cream cheese. QUICHE FOR REAL MEN 8 ounces cream cheese, softened 2 medium or large eggs 1/8 teaspoon salt 1/16 teaspoon garlic powder 1/16 teaspoon black pepper scant 1/16 teaspoon smoked paprika 2 strips bacon, diced 2 cups chopped fresh spinach
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Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook bacon until done. Use some of the drippings to generously grease the ramekins. Chop the spinach and microwave for 20 seconds, then squeeze out all the moisture. In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well. Add spices and continue beating well – you want those eggs fluffy and everything combined. You can’t overdo this part. Stir in the spinach and bacon until well distributed. Divide between four small ramekins, sprinkle lightly with smoked paprika, place on a cookie sheet and bake for 25 minutes. Insert a sharp knife – if the knife comes out clean, they are done. Expect them to decrease in height after they come out of the oven. Bon appétit!
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Tips, Tricks and Thoughts for the Great Outdoors
Sitting on a Gravel Bar
By LARRY WHITELEY
Have you ever sat alone on a gravel bar along a river or creek? If not, you should. It’s a great escape from the crazy world we live in. Birds sing, and the flowing water blends with their chorus. Clear all thoughts of things you need to do and places you need to go. Thinking about great outdoor memories is acceptable.
I like to poke around in the thousands of rocks that surround me. All sizes, all shapes. How long have they been here? Where did the water bring them from? How did the holes get in some of the rocks? All good questions, when you sit alone on a gravel bar. Some are dull shades of black, gray, tan, brown or white. Some sparkle when the light hits them just right.
Most are worn smooth from being tumbled through the water. The flat, smooth rocks are “skipping” rocks. Yes, you can get up and try to skip a rock or two. Did you know rocks are like clouds? If you look real close you see things in them. This one looks like the state of Texas, this one like a heart, this one like a W. Here’s one that looks like Dolly Parton. Sometimes your mind sees
crazy things when you sit alone on a gravel bar on a sunny day in May. FIREFLY LIGHT Did you know that if you trap 40 fireflies in a jar, they will generate enough light for you to read by? TIME TO GO CAMPING Nature’s beauty can easily be missed if you’re not out there camping. It can still be a little cool at night in May and
LARRY L. WHITELEY is the host of the internationally syndicated Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World Radio and nationally syndicated Outdoor World newspaper and magazine tips.
June, but you can go ahead and enjoy camping if you have the right sleeping bag. I have one of the new Kodiak Canvass Z Top bags that are totally different than any other sleeping bag out there, and I love it. I don’t like being cold! It’s unique top flap seals in body heat and eliminates drafts. Its revolutionary design allows me to sleep in the position I am most comfortable in and I can even sprawl out and stay under the covers. In warmer conditions, I fold back the top flap, or unzip and remove it. The bag’s zippers are lined with anti-snag strips to eliminate frustrating snags and a full-length zipper baffle that reduces any heat loss. The zippers also lock down so they don’t crawl open in the night like my other sleeping bags did. It doesn’t have cold spots, like some bags, either. It even has a pillow pocket that helps keep my camp pillow in place. The wedgeshaped foot box provides extra space so my toes don’t get scrunched, which is something else I love. A zipper at the foot of the bag allows me to vent the bottom when I need to. You can even get their Booster Quilt accessory, which can increase the bag’s temperature rating by up to 30 degrees. I don’t work for Kodiak Canvass, but I sure do love their products. Check out this sleeping bag and their tents at www.kodiakcanvass.com. If you have never tried camping, why not go discover it for yourself? CAMPING QUOTE “The farther one gets into the wilderness, the greater is the attraction of its lonely freedom.” – Theodore Roosevelt
FEET LOVE THESE I couldn’t begin to count how many different pairs of hiking and hunting boots I have had in my lifetime. Since I have been enjoying the great outdoors for over 50 years, it has to be a bunch, though. Most have now gone on to that great boot camp in the sky, passed down to kids and grandkids or donated to clothing banks. In an effort to cut down on the number of boots I still have, I decided to try and find a good boot that would work for all the hiking I still like to do as well as serve double duty as my deer/turkey hunting boots. The LOWA Zephyr Hi TF boots are exactly what I was looking for. They only weigh a little over 2 pounds per pair, so I have to check sometimes to make sure I have them on. If feet could smile, mine would every time I put them on. They feel more like I am wearing a tennis shoe than a boot. They’re good looking, too, and because they are so comfortable, I sometimes wear them to church and around town. So I guess I should call them my hiking/ hunting/casual wear boot. I could go on and on about these boots but just go to www.lowaboots.com and check them out for yourself. Your feet will be glad you did. GIFT BEYOND MEASURE I challenge each of you who love the outdoors to take a kid on your next fishing, boating, hunting, camping, hiking or canoeing adventure – and keep taking them. You’ll be giving them and yourself a gift beyond measure.
LOWA Zephyr HiTF boots weigh just over 2 pounds per pair.
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Photos and Text By LARRY DABLEMONT
Mountain Lions Can Kill You
Not long ago, a hiker in Colorado was attacked by a mountain lion that they said was only six or seven months old. It weighed only 40 pounds, so the man was able to kill it by choking it to death. Some house cats get to 20 pounds, so it was a small panther. But the man was lucky that even a kitten lion, on its back, didn’t rip a pretty good hole in him with its back claws. I kind of wonder if it wasn’t sick or injured. It is amazing that such a thing would happen, but in the American West, a number of people have been killed by mountain lions – at least four women in the past 10 years, all while jogging. That is something to think about – in each case, the victim was running. The animal kills most prey by waiting on a ledge or tree limb, hoping the deer or elk or goat or whatever will pass beneath it. Then it drops down onto the prey and bites through the spine while trying to open an artery with its claws. Sounds gruesome doesn’t it? Usually they don’t get lucky enough to have prey right
beneath them, so they make a leap and chase down a fleeing animal. The humans they have killed recently must have attracted the cats by running away from them, as most all their prey does. A grown, male mountain lion might weigh more than 200 pounds. No man could fight one and win. LIONS IN THE OZARKS I don’t know how many mountain lions are found in the Ozarks of southern Missouri, northern Arkansas, southeastern Kansas and Oklahoma, but all those areas have some and in general they are going to avoid people. There have been mountain lions in the Big Piney-Mark Twain region of the Ozarks since I was a boy. In the woods with my grandfather, I saw plain, obvious tracks in the snow when I was only 15 or 16 years old. I photographed a clear track of a mountain lion a couple of years ago, and in my life I have seen two in Missouri and four or five in Arkansas. I have no idea why conservation agencies have insisted there were none in the Ozarks, but they angered many country people who would call them to report a panther sighting and get laughed at, receiving a very
Night-time photography shows the power of a mountain lion.
condescending insistence that surely they saw a big dog. Now I know that if 20 people say they saw a mountain lion, some of them were mistaken. But you can’t tell 20 people that all of them are making it up or just making a mistake. Finally, the agencies had to cave in and admit that there were a few in their states after mountain lion DNA was found on carcasses of prey animals. Twenty years ago, I wrote a column about the different mountain lions I had seen
Video and Book Reviews — By BILL SEIBEL
Title: LIMITING OUT FOR CRAPPIE
Author: Tim Huffman Publisher: Huffman Publishing (self published)
Soft Cover, $12.99; 188 pages with black and white photographs. ISBN: 978-0-9989089-0-8 Available from Amazon.com as an e-book for $5.99 or in soft cover for $12.99 or from Grizzly Jig Co., 303 Ward Ave., Caruthersville, MO 63830. Call 1-800-305-9866. Writing a review about a book when you know the author is a mixed blessing – an honor and a challenge to be neither overly enthusiastic nor too critical. Tim Huffman is a fellow outdoor scribe who has been to our home, fished “my” lake (Stockton) with a good friend and has had many of his articles published in Outdoor Guide Magazine and other publications. There basically are two types of outdoor writers – generalists and specialists. Tim is a strong member of the second group, a true specialist in the art of crappie fishing. In this book, the author packs 37 chapters plus a terrific Appendix into 188 pages. Tim knows crappie fishing and crappie fishing experts. He explains in plain language many techniques, including the little tricks within them, for finding and catching those silvery panfish. And he includes coverage of how to care for your catch, whether you’re practicing catch-and-release, in a tournament or headed for the table. In fact, one of my favorite passages in the book is, “Next to catching crappie, two things rank high on the list of fun things to do. One is to talk about catching crappie, and the other is eating them.” The first six chapters are dedicated to most crappie chasers’ favorite season of the year – springtime. Chapter 4, titled “Sneaky Push-Poling,” starts off this way: “Here’s one tactic that any fishing boat owner can afford to do. It doesn’t require an expensive trolling motor or high-dollar locator electronics. Although a few may curl their noses at the technique, it has proven its value at catching crappie. It takes work, patience and quiet, but I give it a big thumbs-up for stalking spooky, shallow-water crappie.” Tim explains that, “The equipment is simple and inexpensive. The pole is a 10-foot, 2-inch PVC pipe with a T-handle on one end.” He then spends time to explain how successful tournament anglers use this simple equipment to maneuver close and very successfully to catch fish. Tim, where were you some years ago with this info – back when I was trying to catch some of Mark Twain Lake’s super spooky crappie? For the past few years, serious crappie fishermen have dedicated more time and effort to catching summertime crappie with crankbaits, both casting and trolling. The author covers both techniques in detail and will make those of us who thought catching crappie meant only using a jig, a minnow or a combination jig-and-minnow think about using “hard baits.” But which ones? What colors? When? Where? How? Tim’s got it covered. And for those who can’t or won’t fool the crappie with hard baits, Huffman has a chapter entitled “Summer Tips: No Crankbaits.” He covers tackle, techniques and places to fish. He has chapters covering fall and winter seasons as well. As a good Arkansas scribe, his winter chapters involve catching crappie both shallow and deep, but I found no mention of fishing through the ice. Smart. As mentioned earlier, the author concludes his book with chapters covering caring for your catch and, ultimately, cooking it. And he has included mini-biographical sketches on some of the top crappie pros, both tournament anglers and guides. Basically, this is a clearly stated, no-frills book about catching crappie in many ways – some we’ve known about and others we haven’t.
between Arkansas’ Ouachita Mountains and the Ozarks of southern Missouri, and it was answered by a conservation agency writer who ridiculed me as a writer who just made up much of what I wrote about. A QUICK REVERSAL The newspaper published his letter and then about six months later published the story about mountain lions being found and verified by that agency’s people … including one in Texas County,
where I grew up. Within a year, the state agency reversed its official policy from “There are no mountain lions in the state and never have been,” to “Mountain lions do in fact occur in the state but in very small numbers.” Today the official position appears to be…”We admit there are wandering males in the state, but none are ever actually born here.” You can believe that if you choose, but I don’t. I remember interviewing a biologist who told me he headed a group working to find mountain lions in Missouri. He told me that panthers never take their prey carcass up on a ledge or limb, always covering their kill on the ground. I didn’t argue, but a few years before, a young deer was found up off the ground about 20 feet, in a deer hunter’s old board platform. It was determined through DNA to have been killed by a mountain lion, and I am fairly certain that crows didn’t take it up there. NO SUCH THING AS ‘NEVER’ The trouble is, some of today’s younger experts often don’t realize what older outdoorsmen have learned … that there is no such thing
in the wild as “NEVER” or “ALWAYS.” No wild creature can be exactly figured out, and none do just what you think they are going to do in every situation. A wild predator is unpredictable. Not long ago a fellow was killed in a threesecond attack by a young, tame grizzly with its trainer right there beside it. A man in Arkansas was mauled by a wild black bear not long ago that he had baited for a couple of months with dayold donuts. Should we be telling people in the Midwest that panthers, bears or wild sows with piglets are nothing to worry about? If you hear that, don’t believe it. What a knowledgeable outdoorsman will tell you is, “Don’t take chances!” The next mountain lion attack may be 30 years away or it could be tomorrow. But in the history of settlers coming into the Midwest, humans have been attacked by great horned owls, coyotes, bobcats, eagles, and even deer and bison. No one can predict what any wild creature will or will not do. For more information, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call my office at (417) 777 5227.
Wildlife Hotline Adds Staff to Speed Responses
With spring in full bloom, the Bi-State Wildlife Hotline – (1-855) 945-3435 or (636) 4921610 – is working to provide faster response times when rescuing animals statewide in Missouri and in south-central Illinois beginning this year. The group has added licensed rehabilitators and rescue staff in areas including Springfield, MO, north St. Louis, Florissant, south St. Louis County, Wildwood and Farmington, plus Centralia and Benton in Illinois. The group is based in Black Jack in north St. Louis County. It seeks to rehab and release wildlife that it rescues and assists sick, injured and orphaned wildlife. “This area is home to a plethora of urban wildlife, and our center is trying to take a step toward solving wildlife conflicts humanely in a previously underserved community,” Bi-State President Angel Wintrode said. “Urban wildlife conflicts cause more than 50 percent of the calls to the Wildlife Hotline. “We offer callers simple, effective, humane solutions to solve conflicts without having to hire anyone to trap, kill, or relocate animals,” she added. “We are also happy to be able to offer a more centrally located option for residents who find sick, injured and orphaned wildlife in need of help.”
Sometimes, making new friends is not what you want to do.
INTERVENTION AND EDUCATION Bi-State seeks to educate callers, 24 hours a day, on what to do and what NOT to do when they find wildlife that they believe need intervention. Often these wild babies do not need human intervention at all. “We strive to make sure that callers get answers immediately, before any harm can be done,” Wintrode said. “If an animal is determined to need assistance, we are here to help. Our top priority is to do what is best for the animal, 24 hours a day, 7 days per week.” She said the group’s wildlife specialists have learned a lot about the habits and characteristics of creatures that live in Missouri and Illinois. “That understanding has allowed us to assist thousands of homeowners and businesses involved in conflicts with wildlife and to do so in a nonlethal manner,” she said. “Calling our Wildlife Hotline can bring immediate help 24 hours a day,” she added.
“Educating the public about wildlife encounters, conflicts, and peaceful coexistence is a key component in helping homeowners learn to better understand the important role of urban wildlife in our environment, and children learn to engage in the natural world without fear.” SUPPORTED BY DONATIONS The nonprofit organization was founded in 2011 and relies on support from private donations, without federal or state funding. “We are 100 percent volunteer-staffed by veterinary technicians, veterinarians, animal care workers, wildlife professionals and other animal lovers of all kinds,” Wintrode said. More information is on the group’s website, www. wildlifehotline.com, or on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram@WildlifeHotline. The group can also be reached at (636) 492-1610.
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Spring: Watch for Flying Fish
By RUSSELL HIVELY
May and June are the “green” months of early summer. Although winter ice fishing is popular in the northern states, May and June are the prime months of fishing in Missouri. Anyone who has visited a state trout fishing park on the March 1 opening day can see and feel “fishing fever.” *** Silver carp “flying fish” are
now part of nature in Missouri rivers. A silver carp can leap 10 feet out of the water and are a danger to anglers, especially those in boats. The fish can hit a person with enough impact to knock him out of the boat. Surprisingly, these evasive fish are good to eat. *** Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery, near Branson, is an interesting addition for outdoor enthusiasts who are visiting
“Missouri’s entertainment capital.” The hatchery raises about 400,000 pounds of trout each year, about one pound of fish for each visitor. It has a free visitor center. *** Using dye to trace groundwater which flows into springs has been done many times. One of the longest traces of dye found in water came from the Eleven Point River. The trace measured 39.5 miles, all the
way to Big Spring near Van Buren, Missouri. *** Sinkholes and fallen cave roofs are a source of water for underground streams and springs. Slaughter Sink is a large sinkhole near Onyx Cave at Rolla. Sinks were once used as dumps. After the Battle of Wilson Creek, outside of Springfield, bodies of dead soldiers were tossed into a sink. ***
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People claim that some of the sinkholes found in southeast Missouri were caused by the New Madrid Earthquake in 1811-1812. *** In the prairie areas of Missouri, some of the huge holes are actually buffalo wallows and not sinkholes. These “wallows” were areas where buffalo rolled around on the ground to fight off bugs, ticks and other pests. *** Lake of the Ozarks is a popular fishing lake. The lake covers 58,000 acres and has 1,150 miles of shoreline. *** Each year, some migrating birds stay in Missouri during the winter. Bald eagles and a multitude of hawks can be seen almost any winter day. Canada geese that stay all winter are called “locals.” A few trumpeter swans have chosen Lake of the Ozarks for their winter home. *** In the 1920s, Missouri’s whitetail deer population was estimated to be a few hundred. Now, an estimated 1.5 million deer are found all over the state. *** Is it true that Pilot Knob was named for a “signal tree” which grew on a bald knob? *** At one time there was an unwritten law that no child should have to walk more than
an hour to school. The Ozark Country School Organization is making a concentrated effort to preserve country schoolhouses throughout the Ozarks. Today, many former schoolhouses have been converted into homes and living quarters. *** Today, naturalists do a variety of things to preserve nature and the outdoors. Each year there are various locations where hummingbirds are caught and banded. “Small work,” someone said. *** Although it seemed to be a blending of old and new, Federal Express debuted its all-electric delivery truck on a Route 66 road trip. *** Fireflies usually first appear in June. It is as if they are announcing the hot days of summer. *** Cave exploration (spelunking) can be an interesting outdoor activity. Missouri is known for its “unexplored” caves. McDonald County boasts of having about 500 unexplored caves. *** Early summer is a wonderful time of year. It is a time when most days are not hot and the outdoors is lush and green. It is a time for long walks, picnics, Bar-B-Q’s, fishing trips and family gatherings. Anyway, that is what this rural rambler thinks.
Hunters in Illinois harvested a preliminary total of 151,577 deer during the 201819 archery and firearm seasons, which ended Jan. 20, slightly higher than the 2017-18 harvest of 147,695. Hunters took 45 percent does and 55 percent males. By season, the preliminary totals were: • ARCHERY – Archery hunters took 61,079 deer between Oct.1 and Jan. 20, compared to 57,929 the year before. • YOUTH – Youth hunters harvested 1,650 deer during the three-day Illinois Youth Deer Season, Oct. 6-8, 2018, compared to 2,378 in 2017.
• LATE WINTER – The Antler-
Deer Harvest Is Higher in Illinois
less-Only and Special CWD deer seasons ended on Jan. 20, with a combined total of 4,089 deer, up from 3,506 deer taken during 2017-18. The dates were Dec. 27-30 and Jan. 18-20. More information is available at www.dnr.illinois.gov/ hunting/Pages/DeerHunting. aspx. MORE BOBCAT TAKEN Illinois officials also report that 343 bobcats were taken by hunters and trappers for the season that ran from Nov. 10 to Feb. 15. The department issued 1,000 permits to hunters and trappers • TRADITIONAL FIREARM for the season. The harvest limit – Hunters took 80,896 deer on the season was 375 animals. Pike County in western Illiduring the Illinois Firearm Deer Season on Nov. 16-18 nois recorded the most bobcats and Nov. 29-Dec. 2, compared taken at 25. Twenty more were with 80,117 deer taken dur- harvested in Randolph County, ing the 2017 firearm season. southeast of St. Louis. The number of permits • MUZZLELOADER – Hunters using muzzle-loading was doubled from 2017-18. rifles harvested 3,863 deer In that year, 318 bobcats were during the muzzleloader sea- harvested. Of this year’s total, son Dec. 7-9, compared with 159 were taken with guns, 129 3,765 in the 2017 season. were trapped, 18 by archery and 37 were salvaged road-kill.
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Walleye Come First in North Dakota
By TIM HUFFMAN
North Dakota is a state very different than those in the Outdoor Guide Magazine region. But sportsmen there have the same love of hunting and fishing as we do in the heartlands. And walleye is one of their favorite species, along with smallmouth, northern, perch, white bass and crappie. Ice fishing in winter is great for cabin fever and pulling fish from under the ice. As soon as the ice starts to melt, the fish move into the shallower
bays and creeks in search of warmer water. Devil’s Lake, the Missouri River, Lake Oahe, Lake Ashtabula and Jamestown Reservoir are a few of the many good waters. DEVIL’S LAKE Devil’s Lake is a 170,000acre, naturally formed glacier lake, averaging 20 feet deep and 55 feet at its deepest. “Walleye and perch are very popular, but most of the time we see fishermen going after whatever is biting,” said
“Look for water that’s three to five degrees warmer than other water,” he said.“That’s where your minnows will be and that’s where your fish will be to eat the minnows.” Tanner Cherney of Devil’s Lake Tourism. “Our waters are unique in that we have brine shrimp. That has really helped keep our fish healthy and thriving.
“We have many species, and most of them follow a pattern of being shallow in the spring and moving deeper and deeper as the water warms. So fishermen just follow the
Walleyes are a fishing favorite in North Dakota. – Cody Roswick photo
patterns and active species.” Cherney suggested that anglers new to the lake should hire a guide for a couple of days to learn areas to fish, staying safe and tactics. “There are many places to launch so getting out of the wind usually isn’t a problem,” he added. GUIDE’S VIEW Guide Cody Roswick fishes a number of waters, depending upon the season and species. “This time of year after iceout, we are looking in the back of bays and little harbors,” he said. “The creeks warm up,
Roswick had one more tip. “Look for water that’s three to five degrees warmer than other water,” he said. “That’s where your minnows will be and that’s where your fish will be to eat the minnows.” CAN’T-MISS STOPS In the Bismarck area, check out the State Capitol, Bismarck Art Galleries, Dakota Zoo and State Railroad Museum. Ride the Lewis & Clark Riverboat on the Missouri River, visit the North Dakota Heritage Center and Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park. The Heritage Center has
Devil’s Lake is a 170,000-acre, naturally formed glacier lake,averaging 20 feet deep and 55 feet at its deepest.
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and that draws in minnows. Everything comes to the minnows. One of our most sought-after fish is walleye. So as the spring hits, we are looking for current in creeks from runoff or sometimes current from waves. These are the types of waters walleye love for feeding. “I like to keep tactics simple by casting or vertical jigging,” Roswick added. “I like hand-to-hand combat versus trolling. I like a Northland Rocket Jig with a long hook shank, curlytail body and Impulse Live Paddle Minnow – something with action.” Large females, of eight to nine pounds, will be caught in the spring, he noted. They are fun to catch but must be released so they can spawn. After the spawn, males get very aggressive, and numbers can be caught in a short period of time, typically in a good eater-size fish to keep.
great exhibits for adults and kids. Fort Lincoln was the post of General Custer and the 7th Calvary. They protected the railroad and led the Yellowstone and Black Hills expeditions in 1874. Then they went to the Little Big Horn. Custer’s house, bunkhouses and other historical locations can be toured. “Our largest single attraction in North Dakota is the Theodore Roosevelt National Park,” said tourism official Mike Jenson. “Medora is the gateway town to the park. The park features Teddy’s original hunting cabin, the northern Badlands and lots of wildlife. The information center has ample history about Teddy Roosevelt, North Dakota’s adopted son.” Cody Roswick can be contacted at (710) 840-5407 or fin-hunters.com. More information is at ndtourism. com, noboundariesnd.com and tourism.devilslakend.com.
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A Recipe for the Spring Turkey By RAY MAXWELL Wild Wine Life There is more to wild game than fried dishes and sausage. Wild Wine Life hopes to show new ideas for what you harvest to better enjoy your bounty. The meal from the trip into the outdoors and at camp is very important. We also hope to enhance that experience with wine pairing. With spring turkey season, many of us, if blessed will harvest a nice tom turkey, and most likely it will have its challenges. This is a twist on a wonderful Chinese dish called Dapanji from the Xinjang provenance. Traditionally used with chicken, we have found turkey to be exciting. We recommend that you use the entire turkey as follows. DAPANJI Ingredients: One turkey breast. 12 jalapeno peppers (seeds removed and chopped). 2 medium sized onions (chopped). 8 c a r ro t s ( c h o p p e d across and thin). Prep Work: Remove the drumsticks and wings and place them into a pot. Then de-bone the rest of the bird and place the meat into the same pot. Brine the meat between 12 and 24 hours. Step One: Place the wings and drumsticks into a slow cooker or crockpot for later use with the juice from this dish. You can then de-bone the meat after it has been cooked in the leftover juices from the Dapanji to make anything from fried rice, omelet or your favorite leftover turkey dish. Step Two: Heat up a deep pan or wok. Pour in enough olive oil to cook, place three to four dried Anise, a tablespoon of numbing balls and a tablespoon of sugar. After the oil is hot, add two tablespoons of Pi Xian chili bean paste. Numbing balls and Pi Xian can be purchased at any Asian specialty store. Stir until paste and all contents mix and are hot. Step Three: Add about half your turkey breast that has been chopped into small chunks into the pan or wok and brown the meat. After the meat begins to brown, add about half of the peppers, onions, and carrots. Mix with the turkey and then add your favorite soy sauce. Pour enough to change the color of the turkey and to taste. Salt is not
needed for this dish since there is a high amount of salt in the soy sauce and bean paste. Step Four: Continue to mix and stir the dish until the turkey is cooked through, the carrots are soft but firm. Step Five: Remove contents into a bowl and serve with rice or noodles. Pour juice from pan or wok over the turkey
legs and after you cook the second half, turn on the cooker. This dish has some heat and for that reason we enjoy a chenin blanc that is semi-dry such as Domaine De Vaufuget Vouvray or a semi-sweet, like SemiSweet Vignole from Humming Bird Winery. Catch the video version of this dish by visiting Wild Wine Life on Facebook or Youtube.
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‘What Shotgun Should I Buy?’
By LEN PATTON Shotgun Instructor
Those of us who instruct about and use shotguns daily in our jobs are often asked the question, “What shotgun should I buy?” It seems like a very simple question, but it really isn’t that simple. In order to offer the best advice, one needs to ask some questions before this person rushes out to the local gun shop. The first question I like to ask is, “How do you plan to use this firearm – for hunting
upland game or water fowl or for clay bird shooting, such as trap, skeet or sporting clays?” If this person does not plan to hunt but wants only to shoot clay targets, the answer is somewhat simplified. At this point, most instructors can give some good advice. But when the shooter wishes to do everything, the answer is not as easy. My next question may sound silly, but I want to know who will be the primary shooter of this firearm. If this gun will be used only by an adult male, I can move on. If the plan is that
this gun will be more of a family gun to be used by women and young people, it is important to discuss several concerns. A gun that fits most men will not fit most women and, for sure, not most young people. Sad to say, trying to introduce family members to the joy of shotgun shooting is not always very successful. Take time, go slow, find guns that fit, get some good advice. GAUGE AND ACTION The next consideration is what gauge and action would
be most suited for your purpose. I would encourage you to consider the 12 or 20 gauge for several reasons. These two gauges have a wide range of versatility and the shells are much cheaper. I don’t mention the 28 gauge or the 410 because of their limited versatility and prices of the shells. Oh yes! They do have less recoil. In the hands of an experienced shooter and used for very selective shooting activities, these gauges can be fun to shoot. The actions such as the
pump, semi-automatic and double barrel guns can all be considered. Each one of these guns has its strengths and weaknesses. A good instructor can usually explain the different characteristics of each of these guns. Usually I refer back to the answers I got in the first two questions to make a good selection. The gun fit, weight, ease of loading and unloading, wood or synthetic stock and, oh yes, recoil, all factor into my suggestions. HOW MUCH? The question of cost can never be ignored. There is a wide range of prices of shotguns, from the hundreds to well into the thousands of dollars. I most often encourage people to buy the best gun they can afford.
Does an expensive gun shoot better than a less costly one? The quality of shooting usually is not in the gun, but in the ability of the shooter. Gold inlays, special wood and other attachments have nothing to do with how the gun functions, but merely add cost to the purchase. There is a very large used gun industry in which one can pay considerably less for a quality gun. That being said, I would add that this may be a one-time purchase and may get passed on in the family. Shotgun shooting is a wonderful sport that can be a lifetime activity. After all of this information I have one more question. “Are you sure you still want to buy a shotgun?” I really hope so.
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chew toy. TOO MUCH SUCCESS North Carolina reported its last native beaver in 1897 and it wasn’t until 1939 that the state tried to restore them with 29 animals live-trapped in Pennsylvania. Four years later, the prolific beavers had grown to an estimated 1,000 and spread into seven counties. Today most of the state has resident beavers and there is a trapping season. If you’re a trapper, the beaver’s hide is money in the bank. Historically, beaver pelts were the most valued furs because of their abundance and the demand for them, In fact, beaver pelts literally were money in early colonial times. Beaver pelts, mounted on a hoop, have become a wall decoration worth $200 and up. You can buy the hoops (walnut or oak) for about $100, provide the pelt (either trap it yourself or buy one for about $150-plus) and mount your own rustic accessory. A beaver skin coat can run into the thousands – unsheared up to $4,000 in recent years, and sheared (which trims away the long hair, leaving the softer undercoat) from $7,000 and up. The West India Company owed its existence to beavers and in turn its existence attracted Dutch colonists to what they called “New Netherland” which today is New York. The barter system flourished and beaver pelts were prized barter items. MAKIN’ HATS Beaver fur became felt when stripped from the hides and processed into hats. But long before that felted hair was in use – the Romans felted wool to use as armor against arrows (lots of luck!). It was an eastern European art until the 17th century. Beginning in the early to mid 1600s, beaver hats became the rage. European beavers had become almost extinct, so the seemingly endless supply of North American
beavers seemed like a gift from heaven. By the beginning of the 1700s, beaver pelts from the North American colonies were flooding into the European hat trade. The beaver was a lure for explorers, entrepreneurs and settlers long before agriculture or other well-known New World attractions. Gold always was the fondest hope of those who ventured beyond the beaches of New Netherland, but as early as 1653, an early Dutch writer said the beaver “has attracted many persons to the country.” The fad for beaver hats lasted through the 1700s and into the 1800s, but by the 19th century beavers had declined and the time of the beaver hat had just about passed. A LITTLE COMMON SENSE The average beaver weighs 30 to 40 pounds but they can top 70 pounds in their average 12-year lifespans. They have a number of natural enemies (man at the top of the heap), but river otters lead the four-footed threats to young beavers. Beavers breed in late winter and birth in early spring, with four kits the usual litter (they have only one a year). A beaver lodge might have a parent pair, several juveniles and the newest litter. The kid beavers stay at home for two or three years, but then the parents essentially tell them to get a job and run them out. It’s an ironic fact, given that beaver restoration was a main goal of modern wildlife management, that the animals now are considered a nuisance in some areas. River otters are a more recent restoration which now are becoming nuisance animals in some areas. Most advice for controlling beaver damage is common sense – the larger the culvert size, the less likely it is to be plugged, and the fewer trees and other beaver-attracting vegetation, the less likely the area is to attract beavers in the first place.
Presentation: Thinking Like a Fish
By BILL SEIBEL
Ask a group of experienced fishermen what single element is the most important for catching fish and you’ll get half a dozen or more answers. However, if there is one answer that probably will lead the pack, you can bet it will be “presentation.” The reason for that is simple – presentation covers a lot of the elements involved in catching fish. So what are some of those elements? How about technique – are you using casting, spinning or fly tackle? Or are you using trot lines or limb lines for catfish? Are you casting or trolling or still-fishing (soaking a bait in one spot)? What kind of tackle are you using? That ties in with the technique you’re using. For example, if you are using spinning tackle, what is your quarry? Trout? Salmon? Bass? Panfish? The quarry will dictate, within limits, the length and action of your rod, the size of your reel, the type and pound-test size of your line and the size and type of lures or baits you will use. For example, for years I’d used an ultra-light spinning outfit with a 4½-foot to 5-foot rod for crappie in the reservoirs of Missouri, Arkansas and Illinois. Then a
friend showed me a 6½-foot ultra-light spinning outfit he uses with great success. He casts farther and has a better “touch” as he presents his 1/16-ounce jigs to the lightbiting crappie. It makes a difference. But having the correct tackle for the situation is only a part of the puzzle. Knowing how to use that tackle skillfully is another part of the puzzle. But the presentation package is far from complete. FALL NIGHT FISHING Understanding the species you are trying to catch and where they will be – based on the season, the weather, the water conditions including clarity and temperature – and types of food available and location all are elements that will affect your ultimate presentation. For example, if you were bass fishing on one of the deep, clear reservoirs of the Ozarks in the fall when the cool nights and balmy days had dropped the surface water temperatures into the high 60s or low 70s, it wouldn’t make much sense to be dragging a weighted plastic worm 25 feet deep on rocky points. But there are anglers who argue, “That’s the way to catch ‘em, ‘cause we caught ‘em that way here just three
weekends ago.” Sure you did. But that was late summer, when the air temperatures were much warmer, keeping the surface water temps up in the middle 80s. As the temps – both air and water – cool, the forage base and the bass will change locations. And so should you. WHERE ARE THEY? Figuring out where the fish are and what they’re feeding on is an important element of your presentation. How the forge is acting can be critical. Years ago, at a Bass Master’s Classic, a discussion over dinner boiled down to a couple of guys who were fishing similarly—same tackle right down to the lure. One was “flippin’” and the other “pitchin’”. One was catching fish, and the other wasn’t. I couldn’t understand the “why” of the situation. The great Arkansas pro Larry Nixon explained it. “Flippin’is a vertical presentation. Pitchin’ is a horizontal presentation,” he said. In other words, the bass were seeing the lure at much different angles. Same lure, but different. At times, one works while the other doesn’t. ANGLE TO YOUR DANGLE Once at Montauk State Park, the trout were hold-
Trout fishing at Montauk: Get the right angle to your dangle!
ing just on the top of a long, narrow strip of moss in a big pool about five feet deep. I was using a fly rod with a weighted black nymph under a strike indicator (that’s fly rod talk for a bobber) set about 4½ feet above the fly – and was catching one trout after another. A guy fishing just downstream came over and asked, “What are you using?” I showed him the little black nymph. “Got some of those,” he said and waded back to his spot. He tied one on under his strike indicator, which was set
between his line and his 7½foot leader. He caught zero fish but lots of moss because his weighted nymph was dragging behind his bobber rather than hanging directly below it. As one old friend commented, “You can have the right stuff, but presentation equates to having the right angle to your dangle.” That is partially true, but on that day it was only partially true. As the afternoon waned, I decided to forego catch-and-release to catch a few for supper. But the light had changed and I didn’t adapt. So it was hamburgers rather than fried trout for that
– Missouri State Parks
supper. My friend stressed that the correct angle meant the angle of the line from the rod tip to the lure as it passes through the fish-holding depth. And that involves controlling the elements of rod length and action; line type and size; lure type, action and weight; reel gear ratio and lure retrieval speed. Presentation equates to putting all of the elements into a package that produces. and that means thinking. As my wife says, “You have to think like a fish” or at least what a fish wants.
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BE A RESPONSIBLE RIDER Remember, Multipurpose Utility Vehicles (Side-by-Sides) can be hazardous to operate. Always wear your seat belt, helmet, eye protection, and clothing appropriate to the driving situation. Keep doors and side nets closed. Never carry a passenger in the cargo bed, stay off public roads, obey cargo limits and guidelines, and never drink and drive. ALL MUV DRIVERS SHOULD WATCH THE SAFETY VIDEO “MULTIPURPOSE UTILITY VEHICLES: A GUIDE TO SAFE OPERATION.” Be sure to follow the Owner’s Manual directions when carrying cargo or towing a trailer. Avoid excessive speeds, and never drive faster than conditions permit. All Pioneer models are recommended for drivers 16 years of age and older, and tall enough to wear the seat belt properly and reach all the controls. The passenger(s) should also be tall enough for the seat belt to fit properly and brace themselves, if needed, by placing both feet firmly on the floor while firmly grasping a hand hold. Whenever you drive off-road, make sure you follow all the “TREAD LIGHTLY” guidelines, and always stay on established trails in approved areas. Keep your off-road area clean, use common sense, and respect the rights of others. We strongly recommend that you use only Honda approved accessories that have been specifically designed and tested for your vehicle and do not remove any original equipment or modify your Honda in any way that would change its design or operation. Operating your Side-by-Side vehicle with a modified engine, emissions control system, or noise-control system may be illegal. Always obtain written permission before driving on private lands, and obey all the laws and regulations governing your off-road areas. Specifications, programs and availability subject to change without notice. All specifications in this brochure—including colors, etc.— apply only to models sold and registered in the United States. Some models shown with optional accessories. Pioneer,™ Unicam,® Honda Phantom Camo,® QuickFlip,® are trademarks of Honda Motor Co., Ltd. FOX® is a registered trademark of Fox Factory, Inc. ©2017 American Honda Motor Co., Inc. A3909
Dog Books Offer Lessons for Kids
By KAY HIVELY
A good dog is the best companion an outdoorsman can have. When George Graham Vest, an attorney in Warrensburg, MO, gave his great tribute to a dog, he declared, in part: “The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous is his dog. Vest was giving the final plea in a court case about “Old Drum,” a local farm dog accused of killing sheep. This fellowship between a man and his dog is no doubt rooted in the kinship between a boy and his dog. I’m sure Attorney Vest could write an equally poignant speech about boys and dogs. Many great authors have penned stories of the boy/dog relationship, and many young boys have either read or heard these stories. A SPECIAL BOOK A Missouri teacher, now retired, made a point to spend 20 minutes each day reading to his 5th-grade students. He chose different books each year but always included Where the Red Fern Grows.
Each year, the classes were completely taken with the story, and the teacher said he could hear the proverbial pin drop while he read. This great classic, written in 1961 by Wilson Rawls, is set in the far northeastern corner of Oklahoma, based on the true story of a boy who wanted a red-bone hound to hunt behind. After working for two years, he is able to save enough money to buy two pups, and a great story unfolds. BUGLE ANN Another classic dog story was written in 1935 by MacKinley Kantor. The Voice of Bugle Ann was set in the Ozarks of Missouri. Even though the lead character is a man, the story has strong appeal to young boys and girls. Before he wrote his dog novel, Kantor was known as a crime and mystery writer. But after spending a week in the Ozarks, fox hunting with the local sheriff, Kantor went back to New York and wrote Bugle Ann. The conflict in the book is an old one – open range. In this case, however, it’s barbed wire for sheep and a closed range for hunting dogs, in a land immersed with fox and coon hunters.
The cover of George Graham Vest’s ‘Old Drum’
OLD YELLER Texas is the setting for Old Yeller, a “dingy yeller” mutt that wandered onto a ranch owned by the Coates family and was adopted by the youngest of two boys. The oldest son, 14-year-old Travis, is the “man of the house” as his dad was on a cattle drive to Abilene, Kansas. The yellow mutt gets into mischief on the ranch, which angers Travis, who threatens to get rid of the dog. Eventually, Old Yeller shows courage and loyalty to family members by saving their lives. American “dog literature” is riddled with love for man’s best friend. Books such as Sounder, Call of the Wild, The Incredible Journey, Because of Winn-Dixie and numerous other stories, help little boys and girls grow up to be today’s dog-loving outdoorsmen.
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Cabela’s Workers Create Highby Outdoors to Carry on the Tradition
Former Cabela’s employees are using their expertise to build a new company, Highby Outdoors.
A group of former Cabela’s employees is seeking to carry on that outdoors chain’s legacy and fill a market gap left by Bass Pro Shops’ purchase of Cabela’s by launching Highby Outdoors to sell outdoor gear online. Matt Highby, a former Cabela’s executive, is president of Highby Outdoors, which is based in Sidney, Neb., the former home base of Cabela’s. The website is highbyoutdoors.com. Product categories include hunting gear, firearms, fishing gear, knives, tools, camping gear and optics products. The company hopes to add more categories, publish a catalog and open retail stores. Highby is the son of former Cabela’s President Dennis Highby, and he worked as the Cabela’s optics and cutlery category manager. Bass Pro bought out Cabela’s for over $4 billion in September, 2017. “We aren’t building just a business, we are building a legacy for the great outdoors,” Matt Highby said. “We’re a team of long-time experts who share a passion for the outdoors. Our focus is on treating customers like family, like we’d like to be treated.” CULTURE AND HERITAGE Highby said the company is founded on authentic outdoor experience, culture and heritage, plus solid core values and dedication to quality products, experiences, and services. Its website is de-
signed to provide a smooth, informative shopping experience plus helpful outdoor and product information. “We don’t just focus on
Highby Outdoors President Matt Highby was the optics and cutlery category manager for Cabela’s.
your shopping experience,” he added. “We want your outdoor experience to be great, too. That’s why we’re here – to be your ultimate outdoor resource, both online and in the field.”
Dennis Highby was president of Cabela’s from 2003 through 2009 and served on its board until the acquisition. Bass Pro sued last September to block Highby Outdoors and another Cabela’s spin-off, NextGen Outfitters, citing use of privileged information and noncompete agreements. Highby Outdoors denied misusing confidential information and said the non-compete agreements cannot be enforced in Nebraska. Bass Pro’s motion for a preliminary injunction was denied, and no further action has been taken. NO QUESTIONS ASKED Cabela’s has been based in Sidney since 1969 and had more than 2,000 employees there at the time of the purchase. Many of those positions were shifted to Bass Pro headquarters in Springfield, Mo. “My life is the outdoors, and Sidney has always been my home,” Matt Highby added. “This drives me and my team every day. We are committed and focused on the customer experience. “That experience includes customers being able to deal with knowledgeable employees who are consummate end-users of the innovative and quality products that Highby Outdoors sells, and the company’s ironclad, money-back, no questions asked policy.”
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How to Help Your Dog De-Stress Photo and Text By PURINA PRO-PLAN A number of culprits can stress a dog, such as separation, unfamiliar visitors, a change in weather, loud noises or novel sounds. Sporting dogs, in particular, can demonstrate anxious behaviors over a disruption in routine or location, whether it be due to travel or going to a new trainer. Anxious behaviors in a dog typically are signaled by pacing, reluctance to accept treats and excessive barking or panting. An anxious dog living in a state of chronic physiological stress may be prone to chronic health issues. “It’s important to talk to your veterinarian if your dog is displaying undesirable behaviors,” said Jason Gagne, Purina Director of Veterinary Technical Communications. “What might be perceived as just a characteristic of a particular breed or part of a dog’s personality could really be an anxious behavior that needs attention.” Follow these tips to help manage your dog’s anxious behaviors caused by external stressors. • Expose ‘em early – First things first. Learning to cope with stressful situations
begins during puppyhood. Puppy gyms, or boxes made of PVC frame with various dog toys suspended from ropes or plastic chains, can promote early socialization and sensory stimulation, the foundation for a wellrounded, adaptable dog. Do your homework before buying a pup and check with prospective breeders on their socialization philosophy. • No expiration date – A pup should be introduced to the world outside the whelping box, and socialization doesn’t expire once a dog enters adulthood. Continue exposing your dog to new people, places and experiences throughout its life, ensuring positive interactions by using common sense and safety considerations. • Make noise – A dog should be exposed early and regularly to household noises such as the vacuum cleaner, blow dryer, blender, washing machine and clothes dryer, as well as outdoor noises such as the tractor, lawnmower, weed eater, blower and all-terrain vehicles. What’s more, a sporting dog should have an early gradual introduction to especially loud sounds to reduce fear of noise. • Practice makes perfect
– Ensure your dog is well-
able your dog is in the car, the longer it can ride. • Calm during the storm
Your patience and persistence can help your dog become stress-free.
accustomed to travel before leaving on any trip. Start by putting your dog in a crate and taking it on short errands,
increasing the length of time each trip, to gradually condition the dog for riding in a vehicle. The more comfort-
– Keep your dog distracted during a storm by offering its favorite toys and treats, playing light music to drown out rumbling thunder or putting the dog in the crate to create a safe, comfortable space. Products such as the Thundershirt can also help ease storm anxiety. • Relax together – A dog depends on its owner for security, so patience and persistence on your part is key to helping your dog be stress-free. Always keep desensitization sessions short and fun, offering praise or a treat for positive interactions. PROBIOTICS MAY KEEP DOG CALM What if you could help support your dogs with probiotics to help them stay calm? A probiotic strain called Bifidobacterium longum and called BL999 has been shown to help dogs maintain calm behavior. “The gut is sometimes referred to as a ‘second brain’ because of the bi-directional communication between the gut and the brain,” Gagne explained. “There is scientific evidence that manipulating the gut bacteria can also have a positive influence
on dogs displaying anxious behavior.” So Purina has been studying those effects. “Different strains of probiotics have different effects on the body,” said Ragen McGowan, a research scientist. “In a 15-week blinded crossover design study, we evaluated the effects of administering BL999 to 24 Labrador retrievers that demonstrated anxious behaviors. “By the end of the study, 90 percent of dogs showed an improvement in displaying anxious behaviors, such as excessive vocalization, jumping, pacing and spinning. Dogs in the study also showed improvement in physiological factors, including positive cardiac activity during stressful events.” A NEW PRODUCT Purina has incorporated BL999 into a new product called Calming Care to help dogs with anxious behaviors and maintain positive cardiac activity during stressful events, promoting a positive emotional state and supporting a healthy immune system. The product is available through veterinarians and should be given under the veterinarian’s supervision.
When Distraction is a Good Thing
You won’t have to travel far to find days of fun and exciting things to do. Pulaski County USA offers the perfect outdoor settings for a getaway in the heart of the Ozarks. Order a FREE Visitor Guide from our web site or by calling 877-858-8687. Check in for the weekend and check us out!
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A celebration of the Bronze Warrior! Clinics, seminars, vendors, raffles, food, live music and camping. All profits going to help veterans and The Fallen Outdoors.
Don’t Overlook Squirrel Season
By GERALD J. SCOTT
Missouri’s squirrel season, which runs from the fourth Saturday each May through February 15 of the following year, is by far the state’s longest opportunity to harvest edible game. It’s so long, in fact, that many hunters – very much including yours truly – get so beguiled by the I-can-always-go-tomorrow syndrome that the literal final tomorrow slips past unnoticed. That’s a real shame, because the tag end of squirrel season is the persistent hunter’s just reward for enduring the early season’s heat, insects, leaves and too-early sunrises. At least in the miniforests where I do most of my hunting, that leaves only the fact that (almost) every plant in the understory has thorns, but chaps and leather gloves turn that potential irritation into a non-issue. If you insist on using a rifle on all of your squirrel hunts, like I do, the latter part of the season’s lack of foliage is an obvious advantage. At long last, it’s possible to see squirrels at the outer limits of your – not somebody else’s – shooting range. But seeing a squirrel and including him in your daily bag limit are two very differ-
ent things. Doing the latter consistently, especially at long range, requires shooting from the steadiest possible platform. A STEADY PLATFORM Using an adjustable bipod is the most practical means I’ve found to accomplish that goal. The one I use allows me to shoot from any position from sitting to standing and at any angle from below horizontal to nearly vertical. It set me back about 50 bucks, but assuming I don’t leave it behind in the woods, it will last a lifetime. According to a research paper I read years ago, almost 80 percent of a squirrel’s daily activity takes place within two hours of first light, and most of the remainder occurs during the last hour of light in the evening. I don’t remember where the field work for this project was conducted, and I don’t know if the biologists who wrote the paper interviewed any actual squirrels. That said, after spending the past 60 years observing squirrels in Kansas and Missouri through gun sights and camera lenses, it’s hard to disagree with their conclusions, at least during the warm weather months.
hunt squirrels. By February, that squirrel you’re trying to stalk has already survived dozens of attempts by predators far more skilled than you’ll ever be. I usually still-hunt during the late season, both because it’s easier to keep warm, and because squirrels are
as “easy.” Then I discovered the Squirrel Cleaning Buddy. This clever device’s secret is that it holds the squirrel securely at eye level while it’s being skinned and gutted, which is something neither I nor any of the people I hunt with can manage. Check it
If you insist on using a rifle on all of your squirrel hunts, like I do, the latter part of the season’s lack of foliage is an obvious advantage. Squirrel season runs from May to February, but some hunters lose track of it. – Missouri Department of Conservation photo
SQUIRREL’S DAY During the winter months, squirrels don’t completely abandon their normal patterns, but they do make concessions to the prevailing weather conditions. For example, when either air temperatures or wind chill values drop into or below single digits, most squirrels stay in their dens all day long – which is just fine with me. Conversely, on calm sunny days when the temperature and wind chill are above freezing, squirrels are not only active early and late, but there will be a few out
and about throughout the day. You’ve got to appreciate a game animal with an attitude like that. Newcomers to late-season squirrel hunting often literally “overlook” a lot of squirrels. While keeping an eye on the treetops is never a bad idea, active squirrels spend most of their time on or close to the ground after the leaves and hard mast have fallen. Be forewarned that a squirrel foraging on the ground is a challenging quarry. And why shouldn’t it be? People are only one of a host of furred and feathered predators that
often scattered through the woods. That’s not to say that sitting in the right spot won’t work, because it most assuredly will. WELL-DRESSED SQUIRREL I like to field-dress squirrels before I head home. Not only does this eliminate finding a way to dispose of the nonedible remains, but it also lets me get the meat on ice as soon as possible. Over the years, I’ve tried just about every published method of separating a squirrel from its hide plus a few I’ve invented myself. All of them more or less – usually less – got the job done, but none of them could have been described
out at squirrelcleaningbuddy. com. On a completely different subject: Those of you who like to ice skate as much as I used to or ice fish as much as I still do should exercise extreme caution both before and while venturing out on local ponds. On-again, off-again cold weather like what we’ve had this past winter may very well cover a small body of water with what at first glance appears to be a sufficient ice cover to be safe, but appearances can be deceiving. Repeated freezing and partial thawing can leave ice so honeycombed that’s not safe no matter how many inches thick it is.
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Rod Maker Loves to Set the Hook
Photos and Text By BOB HOLZHEI
The sensitivity in any fishing rod can be determined by placing the tip of the rod against your throat while another person holds the other end of the rod. You begin to talk, and the vibration can be felt at the other end. That’s according to custom fishing rod maker Tom Marks, who vacations in
Florida during the winter and lives in Derby, New York. Marks has been building custom rods for the past six years. It takes him from 48 hours to three days to build a rod. He described his process: “I ask the prospective customer which type of rod they want me to build for them, whether it’s a spincasting rod or an all-purpose rod, and also ask, ‘Are you
Tom Marks designs rods based on how they will be used.
throwing crankbaits, a worm rod, a drop shot, skipping docks, jerk bait, Carolina rig, bottom bouncer for walleye, jig flipping and pitching, a frog water bait or a top water bait?’ “The purpose for which the rod will be used helps me decide on the power – that is, how stiff the rod needs to be – and the speed, which refers to how much flex is in the tip. Flex is the amount of bend in the upper third of the rod. The faster the rod, the more sensitive it will feel. “For crank baits, or moving baits, which are trolled, a slower rod is sufficient because the strike or bite is much harder. The slower rod helps absorb some of the initial shock of the bite and also keeps the fish from throwing the hook.” RATTLESNAKE SKIN Marks also decorates his custom rods according to the customers’ wishes. Nylon and metallic threads are used on the guide wraps. Marks also uses real rattlesnake skin on the handle or decorative material in the split grip and foregrip. “I place a decorative thread band at 12 inches from the front edge of the handle,” he noted. “Decorative work might include threadwork cross-weaved with multiple
Nothing like a little rattlesnake skin to dress up a fishing rod!
colored threads or chevron patterns. Occasionally I marbleize the colors.” Marks began purchasing his rod building materials after he saw a Mudhole display at an outdoor show in Oviedo, Fla. FINDING THE SPLINE Marks explained the steps in building a rod. “After the materials are ordered and arrive, first I take the order out of the package,” he said, laughing. “First the spline in the rod is found; it’s the backbone of the rod. I take the rod and put tension on it while rolling the rod. The area of the spine will snap. The spline is the heaviest part of the rod. The theory is the spline is found in
one spot and provides better control,” he said. Second, Marks determines what kind of rod he will make. The handle or grip is put on the rod. He reams out the handle to fit the blank then uses pro epoxy to paste it on. Third, the guides are put on after measuring their spacing. Mudhole provides suggestions on where to place the guides. Marks runs a line up and down the tip to ensure the guides line up. He also uses a laser to ensure the guides are lined up. Fourth, two coats of epoxy are put on, 400-grit sandpaper removes any imperfections and, after a final coat is put on, the rod is ready. Marks then field-tests the rod. “If I catch a big fish, I
know the rod is a good one,” he said. FISHING AT FOUR Building rods is a great hobby, and you never stop learning, Marks added. “I began fishing with my dad when I was 4 years old, and when I was 10, I really got into it and loved it. I learned from my father how to fish for walleye, and I lived within walking distance from Lake Erie,” he said. I tagged along with Marks as he finished the rod and watched his strategy from a distance. “The presentation is the key; the bite is what keeps me interested,” he said. “When I set the hook, it’s a great feeling, there’s a rush of adrenaline. I could fish all day for the bite.”
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St. Croix Updates Its Walleye Rods, Adds New Models St. Croix Rods has updated its Legend Tournament Walleye rods with new reel seats, refined guide trains, restyled cork handles and the addition of new models, bringing the group’s total to 15. Any walleye technique can be accommodated, from vertical jigging to longer, extra-fast rods for live bait techniques. One specialized casting rod is called the BounceN-Troll. Features include super-grade cork handles, machined-aluminum wind check and trim pieces, a Kigan hook-keeper, integrated Poly Curve mandrel technology, high-modulus/ high-strain SCIV carbon plus two coats of Flex-Coat slow cure finish. St. Croix rods can be seen at dealers or on the website stcroixrods.com.
Pod Rocker Brings Comfort to the Outside World All the comforts of home – but w h e n you’re outside. That’s what the new Pod Rocker with Sunshade has to offer, from GCI Outdoor. The shade is an adjustable UPF 50 cover that rotates front to back and can collapse flat, so you can decide when to catch some rays and when not to. Pod Rocker has a structured, sling-style seat and spring-action rocking technology, plus a beverage holder and a sleek side pocket for phones. When it’s time to head back inside, the full-size rocker folds up compactly, fitting into its large-mouth carry bag. It weighs 14 pounds but holds up to 250 pounds, and comes in blue or green. Pod Rocker with Sunshade lists for $75 and can be seen at gcioutdoor.com. It’s $65 without the sunshade.
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Fly Fishing for Catfish – ‘Hillbilly Salmon’ Photos and Text By TERRY and ROXANNE WILSON
An evening of pond fly fishing was providing almost constant action as bluegills inhaled small poppers cast near shaded moss beds. Suddenly, a gigantic swirl 50 feet from shore commanded our attention. A single haul sent the tiny cork bug toward the disturbance. It disappeared, and a hook set telegraphed the message that an unseen
behemoth with uncontrollable power was surging for the depths. Finally, that wall-hanger bass was about to meet its match! The tugof-war lasted long minutes before the exhausted trophy rolled on its side and came to hand. But our visions of a record bass evaporated as a bewhiskered fish flopped in the pond-side muck. A channel catfish – albeit a big one – was the cause of a momentary disappointment that evolved into apprecia-
tion for the truly magnificent and memorable fight the 8-pound channel catfish had provided. Here’s how we target the fish we’ve come to call “hillbilly salmon.” CHOOSING THE RIGHT WATER Many anglers believe all catfish are associated with muddy bottoms and that carrion is their preferred diet. So it’s popular for baitcasters to use tight lining with cut bait or some equally foul-smelling dough bait.
However, channel catfish often actively feed by cruising at mid-depth for baitfish. They prefer clean gravel bottoms and clear water to the mud-coated bowls they are sometimes forced to occupy. The best waters for pursuing channel catfish with a fly rod are small, relatively clear ponds with areas of gravel bottom and an abundance of small sunfish that can be used as prey. THE RIGHT STUFF Sizeable channel cat-
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Big channel catfish will fight mean and nasty brawls.
fish possess extraordinary strength and stamina. Fly rods without a sturdy butt section just won’t be up to the task. Seven, 8- and 9-weight rods of 9 to 9½ feet are recommended. The rod’s length provides leverage needed to keep the pressure on the big ones. Channel cats often use their remarkable strength to make long runs. Reels with smooth, easily adjustable drags and exposed spools that can be palmed to aid the braking process are helpful. Large arbor reels also come in handy when the fish makes a run right at the rod, and slack needs to be recovered in a hurry. In any circumstance, it is best to get the fish on the reel as soon as possible. Line choice depends on the water and conditions. Most cruiser cats can be taken within 2 to 4 feet of the surface. When that’s possible, there is no need for anything other than a good weight-forward floating line. If hookups are few, it may be that the cats are working deeper, and a spare spool of sink-tip line will make deeper presentations much easier. Thirty-pound test backing joined to the fly line with a strong knot is a necessity. WHEN AND WHERE Channel catfish are most active in early morning and late afternoon. Channel cats often cruise at a depth of two feet over a 15-foot bottom. In still water, fan cast the area, count the fly down to a depth of two feet and strip the fly back along the same plane. If several repetitions throughout the 2-foot area fail to bring a strike recast, count the fly down to three or four feet. This systematic approach enables the best coverage and increases the chances of a hit. There isn’t any confusion about a catfish strike. The hook set will be similar to snagging a stump. Double or triple hook sets ensure that the hook is driven home. CATFISH FLIES Success usually comes when flies are chosen that imitate the silhouette and
action of baitfish. Best success comes with darker colors such as black, brown or olive. Flies that contain some red also seem to attract more hits. Streamers in sizes 8 through 4 are proven catfish getters. FIGHTING AND LANDING BIG CATS Big channel catfish fight mean, nasty brawls. Often they go straight away from the rod into deep water and sulk. This tactic conserves their energy, and they must be pressured into moving. When they do, they can run straight toward the rod with alarming speed. Sometimes their first lunge is under a dock, boat or downed log. If there are rocks or wood nearby, the fish will try to rub the leader or line against the rough obstruction. As if these maneuvers weren’t unfair enough, they often roll over and over on leaders. Mega-cats may employ all of the above tactics in one fight. They don’t hesitate to wage a dirty fight. And when big cats are exhausted and appear ready to be landed, they almost always make a final surge. Channel catfish are tough customers. Use a fly rod to give them a try, and you just might agree that they give new meaning to the term “rough fish.”
Channel catfish often actively feed by cruising at mid-depth.
Odd Things Happen to RV Travelers
By THAYNE SMITH
Strange, memorable, costly and sometimes humorous incidents often happen to RV travelers. I’ve experienced the pangs and pains, and a few laughs, from these happenings while traveling via RV on the highways and byways of North America. In an 11-year stint of handling a “loaner” program for Jayco Co., my late wife Joan and I had a fine “boss” in Chuck McKinney, now the retired vice president of sales and marketing for the Middlebury, IN firm. He was a forgiving man. Some of our offenses stand out and are memorable. A few were a bit comical, too. Fortunately, Chuck corrected most without deductions in our pay. LOOK OUT BELOW! They may have started at a gas station in Kiowa, OK. Stopping short of the pumps when noticing the overhead roof appeared to be low, I went inside and ask the owner the height. He looked at the rig and motioned me forward. I obeyed. Fate intervened. The RV’s roof-top airconditioner took out a bank of fluorescent lights below the roof. “No problem, my fault,” the owner said. “They needed to be replaced anyway.” The AC suffered only minor damage. Chuck understood. A TURN TOO SOON A major problem resulted when I entered the parking lot of an historic hotel in Natchez, MS to attend a Southeastern Outdoor Press Association (SEOPA) conference. The lot was a huge slab of concrete, the remains of a burned building. A high brick wall was left standing on one side. That’s where I found the only space available and eased the coach into it. Leaving hours later, I turned too soon, scraping brick to rip off a side cargo door, some extruding lights and a corner panel of the motor home. I hung a banner over the damage when displaying the unit the next day. With Chuck’s blessing, repairs were made at a local fiberglass shop when I returned home. Early in the “loaner” venture, we had a monogram business and office in a rental building near our home. One day, Joan used our riding mower to spruce up the premises. I heard a bang, and I rushed out of the office. The mower had sent a rock flying through the passenger’s window of the coach. Another call to Chuck. The glass was replaced at Jayco’s expense. SOUTH WIND SAGA Another came when best
friend and fellow writer, the late Bill Harmon of Durham, KS, joined me on a trip to a fabulous pheasant, quail and prairie chicken hunting paradise called Ringneck Ranch, near Tipton, KS, to attend a meeting of the Outdoor Writers of Kansas. It’s run by owners Keith and Debra Houghton. Kansas comes from the Sioux Indian word meaning “South Wind People.” Leaving the ranch, we encountered that namesake in full force. A powerful south wind loosened the large passenger-side awning, partially ripping it from its shaft, sending it flapping. I eased the coach to a quiet spot behind a large grain elevator in nearby Tipton. With Bill’s help, the awning was completely removed and folded. I remembered seeing a large boat in the ranch’s big storage shed. “Let’s take it back and ask Keith and Debra if they would like to have it for a boat cover,” I told Bill. They accepted. I saw the boat with its fancy cover at the ranch a couple of years later. Told of the loss and its disposal, Chuck chuckled, agreeing it was a nice move. Fortunately, he was wellacquainted with Kansas wind, having lived in the state for many years while employed by Coons Manufacturing of Oswego, KS, maker of Dreamer and Diamond campers; plus NuWay Industries of Chanute, KS, another popular RV maker, and Cobalt Boats, of Neodesha, KS, maker of fine pleasure boats. CUTTIN’ THE CABLE After Chuck retired, we were traveling to the factory to visit a new boss at Jayco. East of Chicago, I overshot a major turn. I pulled over and then started backing up, attempting to get on the right road. There was an overhead bridge behind me, with guard barrels covered with stout steel cables. I miscalculated. The coach’s 12-inch steel bumper was caught on one of the cables. Pulling forward bent it neatly in the middle, half pointing 90 degrees to the rear. We found another interchange just a half-mile ahead and picked up the proper road to reach the factory. There I leaned on the service manager, who I knew, to cover my mistake. A new bumper was installed in minutes. Maybe the new boss knew! Shortly thereafter, the “loaner” program was dissolved after 11 years of great success. It was a memorable, inspiring and unequaled ride, producing mountains of priceless publicity for the company, despite all the problems.
A group of anglers camp on Lake Taneycomo at Branson, an ideal summer park. – Thayne Smith photo
Mountain vistas are popular destinations for summer RV travelers. – RVIA photo.
Borrowed Bow for a Bear Hunt
Photos and Text By JOHN L. SLOAN
It was an hour before prime time, still plenty of light, deep in the jackpines. The second time I heard the teeth popping, I knew it was about to get real interesting. Then the big sow with two cubs, feeding at the bait cubby, huffed and they ran. I got ready to draw the borrowed bow. In the spring, a hunting man’s fancy turns to thoughts of bear. For over 10 years, every May and June I spent six weeks in the bush of Canada – first in Ontario, then Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Alberta and for the
last few years in New Brunswick. I started as a hunter, became a guide. I have killed enough. You can only have so many rugs. But I may go back this year. I may get the Nikon and go take pictures. If you have never been bear hunting, it can be one of the most entertaining of all hunts. It is, you see, close-up hunting. The bears are within 20 yards of you, and they are fantastic entertainment. They are clowns and goofballs and better watching than the Super Bowl. But … they can also eat you. Plus you get to fish in the mornings.
You never know what you will find when running baits; outdoor writer and guide Judd Cooney rescues an orphan cub.
HUNTING WITH BAIT I do not and have not done any spot-and-stalk bear hunting. I only hunted bears with a bow. With one exception, all my hunting has been over bait. That may sound strange for someone who is adamantly opposed to deer baiting. But where I hunted, there was no other way. It’s hard to spot and stalk when you can’t see 20 yards. Plus, it allows you to be selective, not shoot a sow by mistake. So on my last bear hunt, out of Larry Adair’s Wilderness Lodge near Shepody, New Brunswick, I climbed a tree with borrowed … everything. The airlines had lost my luggage. I borrowed a Hoyt bow from Larry and clothes from various others. Only my boots were my own. It was warm and a cold front was coming. Perfect weather for a bear. I took a few practice shots with the bow. Out to 25 yards, I could shoot it instinctively, well enough to satisfy me. She came first, the sow with two cubs. I leaned back and enjoyed the show. I was 17 yards from the cubby, which she was busy destroying. The cubs rolled and played and stole meat scraps. Then I heard the teeth pop. If you have bear-hunted much, you know what that sound means and what made
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My last bear; it was even bigger than the picture shows.
it. It is unmistakable and can mean trouble. That is a sound bears make when they are not happy. The smart hunter, upon hearing that, gets prepared. IT’S BEHIND ME! Now, the popping was constant and coming from directly behind me. Not good. I was 8 feet off the ground. Not good. I had the borrowed Hoyt across my lap and my fingers on the string. A large … very large … black form passed under me, 9 feet away. It was and is the biggest black bear I have ever seen. I know there are some larger. At 12 yards, the bear turned, offering a quartering away shot. I took it. The bear ran 30 yards and in the process, knocked down the ladder to my stand. It is a bit of an understatement to say, I was somewhat “trepidated,” a word I just made up. Four of us could not lift the bear onto the ATV. The scales bottomed out at 450. No idea what it weighed. Some big bears are killed at Larry
Adair’s (call 506-432-6687). I have guided a few hunters there. Hard to beat a place with a four-star restaurant and modern cabins and trout fishing. Especially if you add in tooth-popping bears. IN THE LODGE NOW Larry has over 200 square miles of bush. Lots of baits and
takes only a few hunters each year. His bears are huge. (Catch a lot of trout, too.) If you book a hunt for this year, I might even boil you a lobster, crawfish style. I think I may go take pictures. And you can see my last bear. He is mounted in the lodge. It is spring. What a choice – smallmouth or black bear.
Another New Brunswick brute, over 400 pounds for sure.
Glock M43X Adds Four Shots Photos and Text By TJ MULLIN It is a little hard for me to figure out exactly what the proper role is for the new Glock M43X. True, it is accurate enough, as illustrated by the sub-three-inch, five-shot group I shot with it at 25 yards off-hand, but lots of pistols are accurate. And it’s certainly not a target pistol after all. So what use can we make of it?
The standard M43 Glock has exactly the same length slide but has a grip that is shorter by some threequarters inch, so it makes a fine pocket pistol for those who wear even small pocketstyle pants. Of course, the M43 holds only six cartridges, while the M43X will yield 10 cartridges. Such a higher capacity magazine is, I suppose, nice if you plan on missing a lot. Or if it does not come at any
downside, like many highcapacity autoloaders, which are fat and blocky, yielding an uncomfortable grip. Fortunately, the M43X grip does not result in such an uncomfortable grip, but
it is longer. If you wear trousers with pockets that are wide enough to handle the extra length, the longer M43X grip is not a disadvantage. Nor is the extra weight of the four 9mm cartridges so great as to be a problem even in lightweight summer trousers. A POCKET PISTOL I emphasize pocket size and cloth weight as I do not view either the M43 or the M43X as anything other than a pocket pistol. I suppose some individual will use it as a belt gun but it seems to me if you are going to do that, you might as well get a bigger, more effective, easier-to-shoot weapon than either of the M43-size Glocks. In days past, pocket pistols were saddled with poor sights, slow safety systems and low power. The Glock M43 series, whether standard or M43X, avoids these issues by giving us fine sights, the standard Glock safety/trigger system and
a power level equal to the belt gun weapons carried by multiple generations of gun “toters.” WHAT IT’S GOOD FOR If you already have a standard M43 Glock, I doubt very much that you will want to buy a new Glock M43X, since it really offers very little improvement and a drawback in grip size. On the other hand, if you do not already have one and do not wear small-pocket trousers, the M43X will certainly be an excellent choice for replacing the myriad of small self-loaders often encountered in pockets loaded with feeble .25, .32 and .380 ammunition, generally with poor sights and questionable safety features. Just remember that being an auto-loader, you cannot shoot it multiple times while in your overcoat pocket, so a good hammerless .38 Special revolver like the Smith & Wesson Centennial still has a place in our armory of self-defense weapons.
The M43x and the original M43 are an improvement over previous pocket pistols.
A Guide to Fishing Table Rock Lake Table Rock Lake can’t help but be a popular fishing destination for recreational and competitive anglers alike with its normal pool of 43,000 acres of water and 750 miles of shoreline. All of its varied areas offer lakefront lodging with boat launch access. A note of caution, though. Most of Table Rock Lake is in Missouri, but the upper reaches of the Long Creek, Kings River and White River arms stretch into northern Arkansas. So make sure you are properly licensed. Consider a spring or fall fishing trip, when you’ll find lower resort rates and better fishing. Here’s a rundown of where you can go, provided by longtime fisherman and guide Brian Wright, of the Table Rock Lake Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Bureau.
JAMES RIVER, AUNTS CREEK From Cape Fair bridge to the mouth of Aunts Creek, largemouth bass, crappie and catfish are abundant, Wright said. Each spring, anglers troll the upper reaches for massive paddlefish, or spoonbill as they are often called. The state record of 140 pounds came from this area. This is a handy area to stay if you are participating in one of the many competitive fishing tournaments held at Table Rock each year. A popular area to stay if you plan to fish the James River arm is Aunts Creek. The lakefront resorts here cater to anglers and families, providing convenience and value. Most resorts offer lakeside cabins, covered slip rental and a place to launch. Check out
Resorts and cabins are located all around the lake in prime fishing areas. – Table Rock Lake Visitor’s Bureau
the Aunts Creek Association website (auntscreekassociation.org) for details. Bridgeport Resort, at the Highway 76 bridge over Table Rock Lake in Cape Fair, is a nice home base when fishing the upper James River area (ground zero for those giant spoonbills). The resort features 24 units spread over seven acres, private dock and boat launch, swimming pool, screened pavilion and activities. INDIAN POINT, TABLE ROCK DAM Sometimes called the “eye of the needle,” Indian Point offers excellent fishing, especially for smallmouth bass, and proximity to Branson and Silver Dollar City. “Pick nearly any cove within three miles of the dam and drop a line,” Wright said. “You will absolutely catch fish.” Indian Point lodging options include full-service resorts, cabins with modern amenities, cottage resorts, and luxury nightly rental condos. Still Waters Resort is the flagship property, and an excellent family adventure. Rock Lane Resort offers a full-service marina with gas dock, and the famous Parrott’s Pavilion Tiki Bar. White Wing Resort is popular with tournament anglers who just come to fish. Guest
cabins feature cozy beds and furnished kitchens, including stove, refrigerator and microwave. LONG CREEK, HWY. 86 BRIDGE Long Creek is a major tributary flowing north from Arkansas into Table Rock Lake. In spring and fall, large numbers of fish concentrate in this area. “Fish the numerous bends from the Highway 86 bridge to Cricket Creek Marina and you will find success,” Wright said. “Watch for the large MO/AR sign along the bluff and you’ll know when you are crossing into Arkansas.” Happy Hollow Resort offers 14 resort cabins with covered porches and, mostly, with full lakefront views. Boat slips are in a lighted, 16-stall covered dock next to the concrete boat launch ramp. Boat trailer parking is close to the cabins. Bass Pro Shops’Long Creek Marina is just south of the Highway 86 bridge and plans to open Camp Long Creek there this year. The camp will combine the rustic outdoors with modern amenities. Guests can choose from “glamping” units, shepherds’ huts or cottages. KIMBERLING CITY, MILL CREEK Kimberling City is at the heart of Table Rock Lake
Table Rock Lake is a great place to take the whole family fishing. – Table Rock Lake Visitor’s Bureau
and offers a hotel, cabins and campsites plus a full-service marina with slip rentals, gas dock, boat launch ramp and restaurant. “No matter what area of the lake you want to fish, and especially if you want to explore multiple sections, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more convenient spot,” Wright said. “Plus, this is the most consistent area of the lake for fishing throughout the year. You’ll find largemouth, spotted and smallmouth bass plentiful, and other species abundant as well.” Mill Creek is a favorite fishing location for locals, and year-round Mill Creek Resort has log cabins and cottages with kitchenettes and a beautiful view, plus a covered boat dock, outdoor pool, party deck and BBQ grills.
SHELL KNOB, CAMPBELL POINT
Try this area for a little less fishing pressure, 28 miles from the dam by water, with a laid-back vibe and access to the upper reaches including the Kings River, which flows into the lake near the Shell Knob bridge. Lunker Landing Resort is a longtime favorite with one and two-bedroom cabins, fully equipped kitchens, cable TV, wireless internet, Weber grills and picnic tables, plus a large, covered boat dock and concrete launch ramp. For more information about fishing at Table Rock Lake, go online to www. visittablerocklake.com. Wright can be contacted by calling (417) 213-3004.
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Clearwater Lake and Webb Creek Recreation Area - Hwy H – Bring the family to
boat, ski, fish, and unwind on crystal clear Clearwater Lake. This area of the lake is formed where Webb Creek and Logan Creek empty into Clearwater Lake. It is known for its crappie, bass and catfish fishing in the spring and Clearwater Lake fun for the entire family all summer long. Camping is available; at Webb Creek Recreation Park; plus a full service marina with boat/wave runner rentals on site. Webb Creek Park features over 40 campsites, swim beach, playground, showers, picnic pavilions, boat launch, and more. Call Webb Creek Marina at 573-461-2344 for marina, boat rental and campsite information or visit www.recreation.gov to make reservations. If you are interested in all the conveniences of home call Webb Creek Cabins for cabin rentals, 573-461-2244.
Black River and K Bridge 2 Recreation Area
- K Hwy – Float, canoe, fish and explore the beautiful Black River. Enjoy swimming, camping and picnicking right on the banks of the Black River. K Bridge Recreation Area and Campground offers playground, showers, electric and comfort station, visit www. Black River reserveamerica.com to make reservations. Floats (raft or canoe) can be arranged on site by calling Jeff’s Canoe Rental at 573-598-4555. A small general store is also available on site.
3 Current River
-Hwy 106 to HH Highway- Fish, swim, camp and relax on majestic Current River. Great place to explore Current River. Rough camping is available at Log Yard Landing (known to the locals as Cardareva Gravel Bar) and the School Yard. These are available on a on a first come basis, electric is not available. Bring your tubes, rafts and kayaks; a perfect day float….put in at Current River Powder Mill and float to Log Yard. Enjoy the quiet outdoors, a nice campfire and Current River this summer!
Blue Spring- Hwy 106- This spring is the 6th
largest spring in Missouri and known for its deep blue color. It has been said that this spring is so deep, if submerged the Statue of Liberty’s torch would not be seen above the water and actually the bottom has never been found. Take your camera! Blue Spring can be accessed by boat, kayak, float or a short .25 mile hike from Powder Mill Recreation Area. Located on Current River, near Powder Mill.
5 Rocky Falls
- NN Hwy- A cascading crystal Rocky Creek drops from the Ozark Mountains into a lazy pool which eventually winds through the Ozarks to Current River. A must see if you are in the area and fun for all ages. Wear non-slip shoes and use caution when climbing on the falls. Picnic tables provided.
6 Current River Conservation Area
–Consists of 28,000 acres of state land. Deer, turkey, eagles, elk and a multitude of wildlife can be seen. UTV’s, ATV’s and vehicle traffic are welcomed on miles of gravel roads that wind through some 60+ food plots. Buford pond, Missouri’s first fire tower, a 1926 log cabin and an earthen Fort Barnesville can all be found here. Buford Pond provides fishing and picnicking and is a favorite location of all. For hunting enthusiasts an unstaffed rifle and archery range are provided. Current River Conservation Area is home to the Missouri Ozark Ecosystem Project, the world’s most comprehensive forest management study. This 100 year project spans over 9,000 acres. Main park entrance located on South Road in Ellington, other entrances located off Hwy 106 and HH highway. Maps are available at the main park entrance.
7 Local Flavor
– Ellington Chamber of Commerce & Copeland-Shy Visitor Center – One of the oldest homes in Ellington, built in 1886 by Dr. William Copeland, was recently opened as a visitor center. We invite you to stop by and pick up brochures and information about the area. Located at 155 W. Walnut Street (Hwy 106) in Ellington. Copeland-Shy House Also while in town you won’t want to miss the Reynolds County Museum while visiting Ellington. This museum is filled with relicts from days gone by and the rich history of the Ozarks. Volunteers staff the establishment and are happy to answer questions; Open Mar-Nov, T-F 10-4 and 2nd Saturday of the month 10-4. Call 573-663-3233 for more information. Need a spot for the kids to play, then visit Brawley Park located on South Road. This park features a playground, basketball courts, picnic pavilions and short hiking trail. Want some nostalgia from a couple decades back; how about a Drive In movie. One of only a few drive-ins left in the Midwest is located just south of Ellington on Highway 21., call 573-945-2121 for info.
9 Blair Creek
- Hwy 106 – This area is a favorite of the local’s spring, summer and fall. For the person who is looking for the unknown, adventure into the wild Ozark hills for the beautiful views, caves, swimming, picnicking. Here riding the back roads in ATV’s, UTV’s and 4-wheel drives is exciting Blair Creek and fun. Entrance located North of Hwy 106 across from Blue Spring entrance.
10 Scenic Highway 106
- This 26 mile drive between Ellington and Eminence is known state wide for its scenic views and beauty, and is especially a favorite in the fall. This section of highway is also home to the Mid Atlantic Bicycle Trail and sees many bicycle travelers from April-October. Bicycle enthusiasts say it’s one of the “toughest sections on the trail” and known for the steep hills & hollers.
11 Peck Ranch
- H Highway, Shannon County- Listen for the bugle this fall! Elk are now roaming the hills of the Ozarks and can be seen in Peck Ranch, Current River Conservation Area and the surrounding region. Thanks to the Missouri Department of Conservation’s recent Elk Restoration Program elk were released into the elk zone beginning in the summer of 2011. With the third release the summer of 2013 the elk herd is nearing 200 bulls, cows and calves. Peck Ranch is open from sunrise/sunset daily and offers a driving tour. Bugling occurs in the fall, Sept-Nov. Check the Missouri Dept of Conservation website for park closing details. Maps are available at park entrance. Elk
9 8 4
8 Ozark Trail
- Hwy 106- Blair Creek & Current River section; Hwy 106 – Whether you are looking for a one day hike or want to make a few days of it; hiking these sections of the Ozark Trail is rewarding and adventurous. Such splendid locations as Rocky Falls, Klepzig Mill and Buzzard Mountain Shut-Ins are located right on the trail. For the adventurous visitor this is a must!
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Extractor and Ejector – Hook and Poke By JED NADLER Master Gunsmith Here’s something we encounter frequently: “The gun is jamming up all the time.” Fixing such “jams” is a big part of what we do at FIRST. Curious about causes and cures? We can cure your curiosity. Because the flavor of the jam is not always apparent, we have to get clarification: Is it a FEEDING jam? Will the new round feed into the chamber or is it failing to load properly? Is it an EXTRACTING jam? Will the spent cartridge come out of the chamber or is it stuck in there? Is it an EJECTION jam? Once removed from the chamber, does the empty cartridge fail to leave the action, getting pinned in by the bolt closing back on it? Here’s how the various jams spread:
FEED JAM The fundamental issues here are to get the new cartridge up and out of the magazine, in front of the bolt face at the right height and angle, so that when the bolt pushes it forward it goes into the chamber. Here’s what we look for: • Magazine height – When the magazine is pushed into the receiver from below, a latch holds it in place. It must be the right place. If not, the magazine or latch, or both, require adjustment. • Magazine lips – Most magazines have their side walls bent inward at the top to direct the cartridge into the right position as it pops up and out. If it’s mis-aimed, the lips need to be re-bent properly. • Bolt face – The rear of the cartridge has to slide up the bolt face as it’s being pushed forward. The bolt face must be smooth and free of machining marks.
• Ramp – There is often a
ramp below the chamber mouth, to route the bullet onward and upward. This ramp can be part of the barrel, the frame or both. It must be smooth. • Chamber – The chamber must also be smooth, free of marks left from machining. Most importantly, the chamber ceiling must be smooth because that’s where the bullet rubs on its way in. When we polish bolt face, ramp and chamber ceiling in order to relieve a feeding problem, we call it a “3-Point Polish” (see illustration). EXTRACTION JAM After firing, the empty case must be extracted from the chamber. There are three primary deficiencies that can interfere. • Chamber – If the inside of the chamber is rough, or grooved with marks left over from its machining, it will grab and hold the empty. This happens after firing because of a phenomenon called “fire forming.” The heat and pressure of the explosion both soften and force the brass casing outward, molding it to match the chamber walls. Then it sticks. We can detect evidence of this on the empty casing, once it is removed. There are telltale lengthwise scratches that imply the chamber is rough. Solution? Polish it. • Extractor – This is the hook on the side of the bolt that grabs the rim of the
cartridge to pull it out of the chamber. If the hook shape is worn or the spring forcing it inward is worn, it slips off the rim ineffectively. Solution? Reshape the hook, replace the spring. This process is sometimes called “tuning the extractor.” If the extractor is in good shape, it will show us signs of its efforts to remove a stuck casing. Examination of the cartridge will reveal a nice gouge pulled from the rim made by a good extractor trying valiantly to remove a stuck case. • Gas System – In semiautos where the bolt is driven rearward by gas siphoned off the barrel, insufficient gas can cause this problem. One typically sees the bolt closed back up on the empty in the chamber, meaning it did not go back far enough to permit ejection to occur. In this case we look for all parts of the gas system to be clean and properly aligned. We check to make sure that something isn’t interfering with the bolt travel. The moral of the story is to save and bring the spent casing(s) to your gunsmith to assist in diagnosis. A note about “blow back” action designs – these employ a heavy bolt and strong recoil spring to hold the round in the chamber until the peak pressure passes. In those guns, the extractor doesn’t extract. In fact, the empty forces itself out of the chamber and forces the bolt, with the extractor, back too. What does the ex-
tractor do in these designs if it doesn’t extract? Patience will be rewarded below. EJECTION JAM There’s a part in most guns called an ejector. And one would expect that its failure would be the cause of most ejection jams. Not so. The ejector is the part that hits the left/bottom (usually) of the back of the empty cartridge as it completes its travel backward on the bolt. It forces the empty to pivot outward to the right and leave the gun. It’s a simple, humble little poker, sitting inconspicuously waiting for the empty to hit it. Sometimes it’s only a strategically placed bump out in the action. Well, not so all the time of course, since ejectors can also be spring-loaded posts in the bolt face ready to give the empty a good shove out. But MOST of the time the extractor is the culprit when ejection fails. The extractor has a second job, which is just as important to firearm function but most people aren’t aware of. It must hold the empty up tight
against the bolt face as they travel together backward to meet the ejector. If the extractor lets go too easily the empty will just fall forward into the action, when the ejector hits it, instead of pivoting out. The extractor must hold and maintain a tight pinch on the rim to create that pivot point. THIS kind of failure is the much more common cause of ejection jams than any problem with the ejector. A real indicator is what is commonly called a “stovepipe malfunction” (see photo). Ejectors CAN get worn or bent. Ejector springs can get worn out. They would cause ejection problems and would need repair. I hope that this bit of writing has spread a little sweetness in your day. Have a good one. DISCLAIMER- Do not make changes to a firearm for which you are not qualified. Dangerous conditions can result. Take the gun to a qualified gunsmith. Jed Nadler can be reached at FIRST Gunsmithing in Valley Park, at (636) 8266606 or online at info@ FIRSTGunsmithing.com
Watch Out for Creepy Critters When Outdoors
Photos and Text By JEANNIE FARMER A true love for excitement, exploring and adventure begins on the footpath for many outdoor enthusiasts. When venturing into this wonder of nature, be prepared and aware of your surroundings. Hiding in bushes, grasses, shrubs, flowering plants, in trees and under leaves and weeds are a great number of creepy critters. Included are insects and other creatures such as beetles, chiggers, flies, mosquitoes, snakes, spiders and ticks. In my late teens, I went on a blackberry picking adventure. Not being prepared for what was to come caused me a great amount of grief. I was dressed in a short-sleeve shirt, shorts, socks and tennis shoes. It was a sweltering hot day. I was placing the berries in a large bucket while tramping through tall weeds and brambles. After a lengthy time, the task was complete. Arriving home, I took a warm bath. Washing with hot
water caused tiny bumps to pop out on my legs. I had a bad case of chigger bites. I felt on fire. Scratching furiously made the pain worse. My mother was most helpful. Grabbing some cotton balls and a bottle of rubbing alcohol, she treated all the affected areas. The healing took several weeks. A LESSON LEARNED On later trips, I always dressed appropriately. A longsleeve shirt, jeans, socks and tennis shoes were proper attire. Dad put Flowers of Sulphur in our shoes. It’s great for detouring chiggers and ticks. Chiggers are not insects. They’re minute mites, called “arachnids” and members of the spider and tick family. Ticks are another pestilent in the outdoors. They conceal themselves in grasses, weeds, bushes and trees. If you find one or more on your body, clean the area with an alcohol wipe or cotton ball. Using a sharppointed tweezer, grasp the tick, pull it upward and straight away from the skin. Don’t twist, yank or jerk, lest mouth parts break off and stay
in the skin. Should this occur, use clean tweezers and remove the parts. After removing a tick, thoroughly cleanse the area and your hands with warm water and soap, iodine scrub or rubbing alcohol. There are several ways to dispose of live ticks. Submerge them in alcohol, attach them to scotch tape or crush with sharp objects. Never use petroleum jelly, heat or nail polish in attempts to remove it. These procedures aren’t safe and can cause more harm than good. Other critters to be aware of are bees, wasps, yellow jackets and hornets. They live in hollow trees, in the ground, under logs and dirt banks of streams. WHAT BEES LIKE Bright colors, sweet smells and quick movements attract bees. If stung, try scraping with a credit card or knife to remove the stinger. Even though the bee will die, the venom remains. Many people are allergic to the venom of bees, wasps or yellow jackets. The reaction is called anaphylaxis. It can cause labored breathing, swelling, rapid heart rate and
A six-legged white-tailed beetle feeds on a May flower at Finley River Park in Ozark, MO.
nausea. If allergic to bee stings, kits containing the medication epinephrine can be used to provide prompt relief. Insects such as flies and mosquitoes are also a nuisance. They thrive in stagnant and standing water, ponds and wet areas. Keeping a clean campsite will detour flies. Bagging garbage and covering food help alleviate nasty critters and insects. When hiking, consider precautions to ward off mosquito bites. DEET is a good repellent, and wearing proper clothes also helps. A long-sleeve shirt, long pants, ankle-high shoes or boots and cap to cover ears are beneficial.
I once went canoeing and was wearing a head net. A large mosquito found a way under the net. It enjoyed feasting on me. The bites were numerous and looked like a chain of welts around my neck. TENT PRECAUTIONS Spiders lurk in dark places, such as closets, garages, basements, wood piles and under rocks. To prevent their wrath, the adventurer must be prepared. Wear old, grubby clothes when spring-cleaning the house or garage. In all outdoor activities, check clothes, shoes and gloves before wearing. Give similar attention to sleeping bags, camping gear, hunting and fishing clothes. Before pitching a tent, make a thorough examination of the surroundings. Wear gloves when looking under bushes, rocks, logs, fallen tree limbs or brush. Protect yourself from the elements. Wear long pants, a long-sleeve shirt, heavy socks and sturdy hiking shoes or boots. Cosmetics, soaps, shampoo, hairsprays, colognes, perfume and scented lotions are also inviting to critters.
When preparing for a hiking adventure, it’s also good to consider packing a bee-sting kit, first aid kit, rain gear, flashlight, cell phone, camera and bottled water. Necessary safety precautions are paramount to enjoying any fun-filled outdoor adventure. They add greatly to the wealth of knowledge and wonderful education that the natural world can provide.
A black wasp collects nectar from a wild flowering bush along the Finley River bank.
Spring River – a Great Trout Stream
Photos and Text By TERRY and ROXANNE WILSON
From stocked trout parks and world-class tailwater fisheries to pristine spring creeks with self-sustaining populations, the Ozarks region is blessed with an abundance of great trout fisheries. One of the best is northcentral Arkansas’ Spring River. Despite its common name, this gorgeous stream may well be middle America’s most overlooked bucket-list quality trout destination. Mammoth Spring, one of the world’s largest, is located in an Arkansas town of the same name. The spring emits nine million gallons of clear water an hour at 58 degrees, which creates a remarkable trout environment with abundant insect hatches. Because
the water temperature is constant, hatches are regular rather than seasonal. On the morning of our float trip, massive clouds of caddisflies hovered over the water at 9 a.m. Not surprisingly, this rich environment produces fat, broad-shouldered rainbow, brown and cutthroat trout that fight like Tasmanian Devils on steroids. A GREAT GUIDE A bald eagle soared overhead as guide Mark Crawford expertly maneuvered his Hyde drift boat into casting position. Mark is an area native with 16 years of guiding experience on the Spring River. He’s on the river nearly every day, including the rare days he isn’t booked, which enables him to know the river better than anyone. His love affair with this picture-postcard stream
They caught and released dozens of good-sized trout.
Guide Mark Crawford is on the river just about every day.
directly translates into better fishing opportunities for his clients. Early experimentation resulted in the discovery of the trout’s choice of menu items. That was one of Mark’s original fly patterns, which he calls “Grandma’s Brownie.” It’s a size-6, brown wooly bugger with a gold bead head, four white rubber legs and special reddish brown saddle hackle. The hackles are plucked from a rooster named “Big Red” that, as we visited, wandered in and out of Mark’s Fly Shop, located about three miles south of Mammoth Spring on Route 63. Legend has it that Big Red’s hackles possess a magic quality that attracts trout. We
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sure can’t dispute that claim. The most effective presentation was casting slightly upstream, making only one mend before high-sticking until the drift was even with the caster, then simply lowering the rod tip and allowing the line to straighten in the current. This method caused the fly to rise toward the surface in a fashion similar to the Leisenring Lift, which provided the position of most hookups. A DAY OF FUN A day on the water with Mark Crawford is a guarantee of a day of pure fun. He admits to not being a very good singer but has a great sense of humor. We swapped fishing stories
and laughed a lot as we fought a great number of trout on 4and 5-weight fly rods armed with floating lines. We missed too many, lost some, including one estimated at 6 to 7 pounds, but landed and released what many would describe as an obscene number of 12- to 16-inch trout in an action-packed four-mile float. You can schedule a trip with Mark Crawford by calling (870) 955-8300 or visit him online at email@example.com. It’s good advice to reserve your trip well in advance on this spectacular year-around fishery. Avoid summer weekends and holidays because the river’s many fast runs and falls make it a favorite for large groups. IN THE VILLAGE The village of Mammoth Spring is charming and very hospitable with a variety of accommodations that include motels and camping facilities. A choice we heartily recommend is the Roseland Inn. It’s a two-story home built in 1904 and lovingly restored as a Bed & Breakfast by the longtime mayor of Mammoth Spring, Jean Pace, who can only be described as an Ozark treasure. To make a reservation, call (870) 625-3378 or visit firstname.lastname@example.org. Motels include Riverview
Trout Lodge (870-625-3218), Mammoth Spring Lodge (870264-3888), and Little Blue Retreat (417-280-6856). Just across Highway 63 from downtown is Mammoth Spring State Park. Its centerpiece is the beautiful spring, which creates a 10-acre lake that plunges beneath the highway to become the Spring River. Also within the park is the 1886 Frisco Depot Museum. Guided tours are available to see and hear a bustling late 19th-century train depot. There are many meal options in Mammoth Spring. At the turn onto Main Street from Route 63 is Wood’s Riverbend Restaurant. They are open for three meals a day, seven days a week, and diners have the option of sitting on the large outdoor deck that overlooks the river. A block away on Main Street is Fred’s Fish House. They not only serve great fish dinners but an equally delicious diverse menu. La Pastorella Bistro is also located on Main Street. If rod-bending trout action amid gorgeous Ozark scenery lights up your pleasure meter, this is a memory-making adventure you will want to put on your calendar. Terry and Roxanne Wilson have written five outdoor books, available at their website, thebluegillpond.com.
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Outdoor Gallery Send in your favorite outdoor photo to firstname.lastname@example.org and be featured in the Outdoor Gallery of Outdoor Guide Magazine.
WHISPERING FISH – Missouri Tourism’s Scott Pauley, popularly known as the “fish whisperer,” lands a dandy river smallie on the lower Big Piney on a trip with guide Dennis Whiteside.
ELKS LODGE – Steve Golubski and his son, Bennett, enjoyed a couple of days on the Elk River with float fishing guide Dennis Whiteside.
KYLE’S CATCH – Kyle Marsanick, son of retired Carpenter John Marsanick of St. Louis, of Local 92, caught this nice muskie on Lake St. Clair in Michigan. Kyle lives in Mansfield MO and is known for his hand-made SS Shad lures, sold under the name Smoker Tackle.
DUCKS OF IRON – Iron Duck Hunting, of Clinton County MO, hosted some military veterans on hunts last December. Above, from left to right, Dave Kwajewski, Lt. Col. Steve Kulas, USMC, and Dan Guyer return with a nice pile of birds. At right, Steve Kulas brings along a handful of geese. Call Iron Duck at (816) 210-3060.
Catching Cats on the Old Mississippi
Photo and Text By BRANDON BUTLER
The Mississippi River is an intimidating body of water. It’s called the Mighty Mississippi for a reason. When you stand on the bank, looking at the water rolling by, you can see how fast it’s actually moving. What you can’t see is just how strong the current is. The Mississippi is not to be messed with, but it is to be fished, and no one does it better while adhering to safety than Captain Ryan Casey in the St. Louis area. Casey is the only full-time guide pursuing trophy catfish on the Mississippi near St. Louis. Many of his trips take place right in front of downtown with the Arch as a backdrop. People sometimes mistakenly think fishing is something you only do out in the country far away from the hustle and bustle of big cities. That’s not the case. There is often great fishing around major metropolitan areas, and St. Louis is certainly an example. TWO BIG ONES Catfish in the Mississippi
River grow to be very large, with the largest topping out over 100 pounds. Two previous world-record blue catfish were caught near St. Louis, weighing 124 and 130 pounds. Fish like those are strong. To thrive in a river as powerful as the Mississippi, fish have to be tough. Tangling with a giant catfish on one of Casey’s trips is a fight you’ll never forget. “We’re looking for trophy blue catfish,” Ryan said. “We catch a lot over 50 pounds and quite a few much bigger than that.” Catfish can be caught from the Mississippi at any time, so Casey guides trips all year. If you’re looking for numbers, he suggests a summer trip, but he says the fish of a lifetime can show up at any time of the year. “We do a lot of drift fishing,” he said. “The fish are scattered, so we drift down the river bumping baits along the bottom. This is a fun way to fish, because when you get a hit, they really slam it.” When the water cools down in the late fall and winter, the catfish school up in holes. Casey knows where those
Captain Ryan Casey and his fiancé, Ashley Brissette, hold a Mississippi River blue catfish that weighed 87 pounds.
holes are and will position his boat so his clients can cast their bait into them. Then they can set the rod in a holder and wait for catfish to bite. A FISHING ADVOCATE Casey takes fishing and fish seriously. He cares deeply about the resource. With a degree in conservation and wildlife management, he feels being a fishing guide allows him to pair his loves of
conservation and fishing into to a career. He especially likes to teach people about fishing. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner who has never been on the river before, a serious angler trying to learn new techniques or you’re looking for the fish of a lifetime, I’m excited to help you accomplish your goals. This is a service business. I am here to serve my guests,” Casey said. Big-river cat-fishing re-
quires specialized gear. You can often use the same rod and reel to fish for bass, bluegill, crappie and trout, but you can’t use that equipment to go after these monster catfish. You need much heavier gear. Unless you are going to start fishing regularly for giant catfish in the Mississippi River, it doesn’t make sense to invest the money in buying your own when you can hire a guide for a day and use his equipment.
“I provide everything you need, from the fishing rod to the bait. I can even take pictures for the clients and email them, so you don’t even have to bring a camera,” the captain said. “We’ll pick you up and drop you off. All you have to do is jump in the boat and go fishing.” Captain Ryan Casey can be contacted at (314) 4778355 or go online to showmefishing.com.
The Meramec – Missouri’s Hidden Gem Photos and Text By RYAN MILOSHEWSKI “You will have to roll cast here, Milo.” I executed what I thought was a good roll cast. “No, harder – you need to get it out there,” the voice commanded. After a couple more attempts, I surrendered
the rod and asked for guidance. My guide, Damon Spurgeon of Cardiac Mountain Outfitters, showed me exactly how to make the long roll cast to present a Chubby Chernobyl to some rising rainbow trout on the Meramec River. A veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Ramadi, Spurgeon makes it is easy to remember you are never too
Ryan Miloshewski, at left, and Bill Cooper fished for rainbows landed on a recent Meramec River trip.
old for instruction. “I want you to catch the 20-incher rising there,” said Spurgeon, who guides fly anglers on the Meramec and Eleven Point rivers in southcentral Missouri. I did, too. But after multiple casts, the fish were not committed, and we moved on. THE TICKET Fishing a cerise worm five feet under a float with a small weight proved to be the ticket. We waded downstream, with the bridge of Maramec Spring still in sight. A fisherman hurried past us to get to the best spot. We stopped and fished the areas he passed over. A good cast and a few seconds later, a nice brown trout was in the net. “People always overlook these areas,” Damon said. “You have to hit this moving water on the south side of the river. Fish are there.” The water was only a few feet deep, but I ended up pulling quite a few fish out of the spots everyone else had skipped. Before we hit a change in the swing of the river, I tossed my fly up near some structure. It was a perfect cast. The indicator dipped below the surface and the fight was on. After a good battle, a stout 16-inch ‘bow was getting its picture taken. The water was low and fishing was tough, but we managed to land 15 or so fish, including a couple feisty
smallmouth. When the water is at normal level, big fish live in the stretch of the Meramec River just below Maramec Spring. Spurgeon landed a giant in April. No weight was recorded, but it was longer than the steelhead net he used to land it. “It was a 30-incher,” he said with a smile. After he showed me a picture, I was convinced. RED RIBBON AREA It is important to note this section of the Meramec River is part of the Missouri Department of Conservation’s Red Ribbon Trout Area. It is a fairly well-kept secret, with Missouri’s plethora of trout fishing options. Only artificial lures are allowed, and the daily limit of trout is two, which have to be 15 inches or better. It is NOT part of Maramec Spring Trout Park, so be aware of where you are when fishing the area. We encountered two illegal fishermen on the trip and advised them accordingly – some of us with a little more sternness. Scuds, midges, soft hackles, megaworms and cerise worms all work in this great stretch of water. Much like anywhere, finding what the trout want to eat is key. Soon, they will be keying in on big hoppers. Make sure to book your trip with Damon soon so you don’t miss out on the great action. We spent the day wading
Miloshewski with a 16-inch rainbow from the Meramec River.
down the river, talking about where fish like to live, where big fish have been caught in the past, and fly-fishing skills and techniques. It was one of those days where catching fish was the least of our worries. In my mind, those are the most rewarding. Bill Cooper, now a member
of the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame, created a nice video of the trip that you can find on his website, “Outside Again Outdoors TV.” To book a trip with Damon Spurgeon, contact him at (573) 263-9776 or visit his Facebook page, Cardiac Mountain Outfitters, LLC.
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