Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Where Big Cats Have No Mates



 
A photo an Ozark reader sent me from his trail camera.


         A few months ago, a mountain lion was killed on a Missouri highway, one of several killed in the state in the past few years.  Shortly afterward a media specialist for the state conservation department said that those cougars were very shy and of no real threat to people, perhaps because there are so few of them.  

         He has no idea how many people have been killed by mountain lions in the west.  I don’t know if there has ever been an attack in Missouri or Arkansas, but just a couple of years ago an elderly man in the Ozarks died from something which attacked him and mauled him pretty bad. He never could tell anyone what it was and they never knew exactly what had attacked him.  They have speculated that it was dogs.

         I can’t give you an exact number of mountain lion attacks in the west resulting in deaths over the past century but in the past few years, but it has been reported that four women killed by lions in Colorado and California were out walking in remote mountain areas while during active menstrual periods. 

         Active outdoor and country-women need to have an awareness of that. It may be unpleasant to talk about, but it is necessary to relate that theory to young women who hike and camp in the national forests or national parks of the Midwest at least. 

         About twenty years ago I was writing a weekly outdoor column for the Springfield News Leader newspaper.  One week I wrote a column about seeing cougars in the Ozarks of Missouri and North Arkansas, and about running a trap-line with my grandfather when we tracked a big cat in the snow on the Big Piney at the edge of the Lewis and Clark National Forest.  We found where one had crept out onto a high rock outcropping and jumped down onto the back of a deer below.
  
         There was some hair and blood on the trail but the deer had escaped.  The cougar had chased it in long bounds for only 40 or 50 yards, and then began to walk before he crossed the river.  I was about 13 and it was extremely exciting to see those tracks, likely made less than a full day before. My grandfather showed me how the claws showed plainly as the cat pounced and chased the deer, but as he slowed to a walk, the claws were retracted and the typical cat-track showed no claw marks, as canine tracks do.

         At that time the Conservation Department had determined, in their infinite wisdom, that there were no mountain lions in the state whatsoever and that was the final word in the matter.  They saw my article on where and when I had seen the big cats in the past twenty years as an attempt to erode their authority.  So one of their media specialists, a fellow by name of Jim Lowe, wrote a letter to the newspaper making fun of me as one of those story tellers who couldn’t be believed, stating that our state had no mountain lions.
It was a fairly insulting letter and the newspaper, newly purchased by the Gannet Company and re-staffed by eastern liberals, ate it up.  Not long afterward a Texas county deer hunter found a freshly killed doe draped across his board tree-stand, and it was obviously killed and partly eaten by a cougar. 

         Within a few weeks another mountain lion killed was confirmed and some DNA testing showed that there were mountain lions in Missouri after all.  Son of a gun… the Missouri Department of Conservation officially changed their policy, which meant they would stop laughing at folks who called telling them they had seen one.

         The media specialist who had tried to discredit me did not see fit to apologize, and the newspaper wouldn’t let me write an “I told you so” column.  Today the state’s experts insist that any mountain lions we might see are rare males which may travel in great forays and that they are absolutely sure there are no breeding big cats in the state. DNA testing, they said, proved that a cougar killed on the highway was from western Nebraska. They also say that mountain lion kittens are not being produced in the Ozarks, because females do not live here with those wandering males, and you have their expert opinion to back that up. 

Mt lion tracks from Fairfield boat ramp on Truman lake
         I think that indeed a few cougar breedings have occurred in the Arkansas mountains and in the large remote areas of Ozark forests in southern Missouri.  I know there are mountain lions in that vast undeveloped 112-thousand acre tract of Corps land around Truman Lake. About two years ago at the Fairfield boat-launching area and parking lot, someone had been dumping the carcasses of catfish for several months, and a cougar had found it to be a great place to find easy food.  I photographed a distinct clear track in deep mud, and the steps between the tracks were about two feet apart.  I am sending the photo to all newspapers that use this column.

         I can’t tell you how many mountain lions are in Missouri, nor can I say if all of them are males and none are females.  If you know anything about nature, does that make sense to you?  

         Some of my readers have been upset about letters to newspapers by the “Executive” director of the state’s Conservation Federation who is really upset about what I have written about their ‘share your harvest’ program. I feel it puts the meat of chronic wasting diseased deer in the hands of poor people.
 
         I have written a great deal about what I have learned about the disease, and it is my opinion, after talking to doctors and folks who feel they lost loved ones, that this ‘prion-spread’ disease called by many names, has killed quite a number of people.
 
         In a future column I will relate to you information I received directly from doctors.  But in the meantime, I will not get too upset about what that ‘executive’ has to say and neither should anyone else.  It should be that way… two sides to an issue, with readers learning from each and comparing what is said. 
 
         That Conservation Federation ‘executive’ doesn’t like me much. He wants to be an outdoor writer and do what I have done since before he was born.  He would love to have grown up in the woods and on the river as I did, and have my educational background in wildlife management. And he would love to be successful enough as a writer to write for those 50 newspapers that use my column, and publish a successful outdoor magazine and write ten books on the outdoors as I have.  I hope he achieves success and actually does make a difference in what we refer to in this day and time as ‘conservation’, the wise use of our natural resources.

         But what he doesn’t know about me is that the Conservation Federation’s director from long ago offered me a job with their organization and I turned it down.  In years after that, I won two awards from that Conservation group as “Conservation Communicator of the Year”.  Kind of funny isn’t it.  Today’s “executive director” casts aspersions against what I write, and that writing won awards from his organization!




  To inquire about my magazine or books, call 417-777-5227.  Write to me at Box 22, Bolivar, Mo.  65613 or email me at lightninridge47@gmail.com

Friday, December 1, 2017

“Ye Shall Know the Truth”… Eventually!



 
Where CWD originated in northern Missouri... in deer pens where does were purchased from various states

         Many of the newspapers that use my column receive and use letters from the Missouri Department of Conservation concerning what I write. That is good, we should hear both sides. But before you read this column, you should know that many newspapers, the big ones in large cities, would never print this column, even as a letter to the editor. Recently many newspapers printed a letter from someone calling himself the ‘executive’ director of the Conservation Federation of Missouri, defending their ‘Share Your Harvest’ program which distributes deer meat to the poor.

         Such venison comes, as a rule, from those trophy hunters who just want to shoot a buck with a nice set of antlers and not have to mess with the meat.  While I do not approve of such ‘hunting’, I have always been supportive of that program, providing venison to those who need it. That is UNTIL the Chronic Wasting Disease came along.  Let me tell you for the last time why I think it should come to a screeching halt. Then you can decide if you wish to eat donated deer meat. There IS another side to hear.

         Recently at the Wal-Mart sporting goods counter, a lady selling deer tags was telling folks that the MDC has determined that Chronic Wasting Disease will not affect humans. That is pure nonsense! The MDC has propagated that kind of thinking not by lying about it so much as just neglecting to tell the whole truth.  Almost no one knows much about the deer disease… even doctors. It is caused by rogue proteins known as ‘prions’ which is also the exact thing that causes a disease in humans known as Jakob-Kruetzfeldt.  In England when that disease began to show up in cattle, hundreds and perhaps thousands died from it. They got it from eating that diseased beef and getting those prions inside their body.

          A good number of deer hunters in Missouri have also died from prions in their system, and it has been hidden. Those prions attack and destroy the brain.  Death can take several weeks or months, but believe me, no media, nor the MDC has ever talked with relatives of those who died from the disease. I have!!  My daughter, who is a doctor, told me she saw a man who died from Jakob-Kruetzfeld disease in medical school in Columbia, Missouri.
  
         Those who are sure their loved ones died from eating prion-affected venison deserve to be heard and in my next issue of the Lightnin’ Ridge Outdoor magazine I will see to it many of them tell their story. One lady telling me that her husband died from the disease attracted immediate attention from the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta. They had his body escorted from a St. Louis hospital by the highway patrol to the crematory because they feared someone might handle it if the ambulance was involved in an accident. The body of anyone known to have died from the ingestion of prions is not sent to a funeral home, but cremated as soon as possible.

         Folks like the ‘executive’ director of the Conservation Federation will tell you that since this awful disease in humans can be derived by eating elk, beef, goat or sheep, no one can be sure that the disease which has killed many humans in Missouri, was caused by eating deer meat. And so they allow untested venison handed over to various meat processors to be given to the poor, with no warning whatsoever. What if the deer was shot in the brain, the spleen, the spinal column, the bladder?  What if a processing company grinds up meat for hamburger, including the lymph nodes, which are never removed? Does that puzzle you?  Read this paragraph sent out this year by the Center For Disease Control in Atlanta Georgia on November 3, 2017…

“Hunters should avoid eating meat from deer and elk that look sick or test positive for CWD. They should wear gloves when field-dressing carcasses, bone-out the meat from the animal, and minimize handling of brain and spinal cord tissues. As a precaution, hunters should avoid eating deer and elk tissues known to harbor the CWD agent (e.g., brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, tonsils, lymph nodes) from areas where CWD has been identified.”

        The MDC and the Conservation Federation will not tell you this, and the deer meat they send you from various meat processors as part of the ‘share your harvest’ program has NOT BEEN TESTED!

          I don’t want to tell readers what to do. You come up with your own conclusions.  The chances may be that 100,000 people could eat that venison and no more than one or two or three will ingest those horrible prions. The risk may be more minimal than the chance of being struck by lightning.  But no one knows. I just want to see everyone know that the risk is there, and it is important to know why the Conservation Federation and the MDC want to keep hunters uninformed.  Both could lose millions of dollars if there were huge numbers of deer tags sold. Trophy hunters from out of state pay a tremendous amount to shoot a deer in Missouri with big antlers, and turn the meat over to be eaten by the poor.  But is there anyone in the state so poor they ought to be handed a risk they have no knowledge of whatsoever?

         And for that, the powers that be who decide that untested, possibly diseased deer should be given away, enable trophy hunters to be legal, as ‘wanton waste’ of wildlife is a criminal offense. Anyone receiving donated venison should also know that in deer pen operations where domestically raised buck deer are killed by trophy hunters, the deer is injected a day before he is killed with chemicals which have warnings on the box that the chemical should not be given to animals which are to be eaten. That meat is indeed given away, because of that ‘share your harvest’ program. Maybe the warning on the box of that chemical is just so much baloney. But the people of the state who receive it, need to know what they are eating.

         So now you have information that you will not hear anywhere else… the news media? Not on your life. Remember that I wrote for the Springfield News Leader when the MDC ‘made a deal’ with the company to provide free information in return for not using any of my columns that criticized them, or any other news about them in the paper that they did not approve of. Have you ever seen any effort by the news media, including T.V. stations in your area, that criticized the MDC or the Conservation Federation in any way?

         Everything you have read here is the truth, and I will go anywhere, anytime to discuss this. I have challenged the MDC to bring their whole staff to some auditorium or large meeting hall to debate this. I will come alone but for the relatives of those who died from the disease. Many of them have something to say that should be heard.

                  Next column, I have a good mountain lion story for you, and information about a call I received from the State Auditor’s office. 
My new email address is lightninridge47@gmail.com.  You can write to me at Box 22, Bolivar, Mo. 65613.  You may call my office and talk with me at
417-777-5227.



Saturday, November 25, 2017

The Last Buck



 



      On the opening day of deer season, a buck deer chased a doe out into an opening in front of my deer stand.  His antlers were unimpressive; at 100 yards no one can tell how many points are on a moving animal.  The doe was obviously aggravated with him. Reminded me of me when I was 14 years old, trying to get Sharon Bennett to notice me.

      I was about to make life better for that doe, as the buck appeared to be fat and healthy enough to provide steaks, hamburger and stew meat for months.  I leveled the rifle, waited until he slowed down and pulled the trigger. Nothing!  I pulled harder.  Still nothing.

      Well, to make a sad story brief, I found out that the action on the rifle had not closed properly and for all I know that mediocre buck is still trying to get some doe to stop long enough to develop a romance.  It was frustrating, but I corrected the problem and asked the Great Creator if he was enjoying watching me goof up so much.  Surely God laughs at me, if he is watching.  It must amuse Him when my boat floats out in the middle of the stream while I am stranded on the bank, or when I shoot at a drake mallard over my head and a branch comes crashing down at my feet and the duck flies on. He has surely smiled when my bird dog comes down on staunch point and my heartbeat soars in anticipation of a rooster pheasant and it turns out to be a groundhog which smells just like a bird.

       I have accepted that.  As long as I know God is out there with me, I don’t mind providing a little entertainment. In overseeing this country we live in, there isn’t much to make God smile today!  But as I thought about that, another doe stepped out into that opening, crossing the little road, which goes up into big timber.  Was that the same doe?  I prepared to whack that buck behind her if he showed up again.  And as I figured, there was a buck behind her, but this one wasn’t like Larry the teenager all
starry eyed with a pretty classmate...
 

This buck was the Sean Connery of the woods… the Tom Selleck of deerdom.  His antlers were wide and thick and heavy, and he was big, built like John Wayne.  And the doe wasn’t running, she was happy about being there.  She walked down toward my stand and he followed.  Then he stopped and angled off to the woods like Sam Elliott would have done, suspicious of Indians.  Through a tree-top or two, he was a good hundred and twenty yards away and I put my sights on his heart and pulled the trigger at what was my very last chance to make a clean shot. But it wouldn’t work, I knew.  I am not so good with a rifle I don’t miss, and this was a better chance to miss than I have had in awhile.  The rifle roared, the doe ran up under me and stopped and her leading man dropped in his tracks and did not move.  He didn’t even kick.  I had done better than I expected.  The bullet went only a foot or so from where I aimed, and the way I figure it, it must have ricocheted off a small branch and hit him right in front of his eye an inch or so.  But I never saw a deer drop that dead in my life. He never twitched.

       The whole story reminds me of the time many years ago when I shot and killed a fat little fork-horned buck at a distance of 40 yards and before I could climb down from my stand a huge old gray buck with antlers likely supporting 10 or 12 points from heavy high beams stepped out of the cedars and stood there for a good minute, trying to figure out what had happened.  Other hunters told me they would have shot that big buck, but I really had no interest in big antlers. Still don’t. I have plenty, scattered in sheds and around the basement.  Never could justify spending five hundred dollars for taxidermy work when Gloria Jean wanted a dishwasher.

      You can see the pictures of my big buck on my website, larrydablemontoutdoors, and when you do, you should know that he is the last one to fall to my rifle, muzzle-loader or crossbow.  He is the last buck I will ever kill, unless I hit one with my pickup!  I say that not with any guilt from being a hunter, or sympathy for the deer.  I may indeed take a doe in future hunting seasons, with my crossbow or muzzle-loader, if this deer disease doesn’t make it too risky to do so. but never another buck.  But otherwise I have had enough.  The deer season falls during that time that I would love so much to be walking the Sand-hills of Nebraska or South Dakota hunting prairie grouse, or following a bird-dog in Iowa, hoping to get a couple of ring-necked pheasants to jump within range.

       The fishing, when deer season opens, is often really good, especially the farther south you go.  And over on Truman Lake, my Labrador and I can hide back up in the tip of some cove and almost certainly drop a mallard or two in the decoys, if we wait long enough and I’m not napping when they fly past.
 
       The best time of the year is October and November, and I always feel like I am missing something when I hunt deer.  In this day and time, when preparation for bagging a big buck entails game cameras and corn feeders, and walking the woods in blaze orange clothing with doe pee squirted on your boots, I don’t fit. I may hunt for deer with my camera, but not with a modern rifle.  I am not suited to be decked out in bright colors, mixing with the crowds from the city suburbs who come once a year to the woods in pursuit of trophies.

       I came to that conclusion the day I killed that big buck, working for hours to gut him and skin and properly take care of the meat without cutting any bones or lymph nodes or internal organs.  No more!  In future winters, I may walk the woods, hoping for a skiff of snow, hunting a young deer for the freezer with my muzzle-loader.  And I will be doing it as a hunter, dressed warmly in camouflaged clothing—nothing orange-- even in my pocket.  All you game wardens take notice of that. There’s your opportunity to get me on something.  All you have to do is leave your warm state vehicles and go out in the winter woods.  I don’t think there will be much chance of that.

        My next column is an important one, don’t miss it.  Until you read it, don’t eat any venison someone else has butchered.  You may call my office if you want to order one of my outdoor books or a subscription to my outdoor magazine for yourself or as a Christmas gift. The number is 417 777 5227. Write to me at Box 22, Bolivar, Mo. 65613.
OUR EMAIL ADDRESS HAS CHANGED TO:  lightninridge47@gmail.com



Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Flowing Waters of Another Time




 
Dad with a pair of Piney River mallards from my boyhood, behind the floating blind which we used to hunt the river










          It was a November river, brightly arrayed in the reds and yellows and orange of fallen leaves set adrift on the blue-gray water before us.  But downstream, there were dapplings of green along the lower end of a wide eddy, the green heads of wild mallards… lots of them. The mallards were what we were after but in this case, my dad said the odds were against us.  

         I was shaking with excitement, only eleven years old, clutching that new used shotgun and anxious to shoot something that could fly faster than a squirrel could run through the branches.  But it wouldn’t’ t be those mallards, they were 200 yards away and between us and them was a rocky shallow shoal that our old wooden johnboat couldn’t float through without wading. 

         Sometimes it was like that, when it had been dry in the fall and the Piney was lower than usual.  But Dad said sometimes a dry fall put more ducks on the river because the shallow marshes dried up and Ozark ponds were low, and froze over easily when it got below freezing for a night or two.  Then the only good open water was the river, which seldom froze completely.

         The problem we faced that November day was that in a big flock of ducks, there were too many eyes; old ducks with wary eyes, as Dad said on occasion.  In our johnboat, with the bow covered with brush, limbs of sycamore and oak and willow, we could sneak up within shotgun range of wild ducks when there were only five or six or so, and we had water deep enough to float through without making any noise.  But it was harder when there were 20 or 30.  Then you had to really go slow and be sure they couldn’t see anything behind that blind.

         A couple of weeks or so before, I had shot my first ducks when Dad slowly paddled our floating blind right up on some wood ducks sitting on a log.  At just the perfect range he whispered for me to shoot and I did.  I got the one I was shooting at and two others behind him.  And in those days, the limit on woodducks was one apiece.

         My ambition was to shoot a duck flying, like Dad and Grandpa did often, but as I said, that memorable day many, many years ago, it seemed that we were looking downriver at ducks we could never get within range of.  But then Dad had an idea… he backed the boat up a little and wedged it against a rock near the bank.  He told me to just wait there on the front seat right behind the blind while he would sneak over to the bank and downstream through the timber where he could sneak up close to the flock and surprise them.
  
         He’d likely get off a shot or two and the flock would take to flight upriver, right past where I was waiting.  I would like to have gone with him, but his legs were long and mine were short and it was always hard for me to keep up.  And so as I watched him disappear over the far bank clutching his Model Ninety-seven Winchester, I sunk down behind the blind disappointed and impatient, figuring I wouldn’t have much of a chance that morning.

         I waited, watching a kingfisher pass by, and counting the leaves that floated past on the slow current of the river.  And just as it seemed that I could wait no longer, I heard dad’s shotgun roar twice, well down the river. All at once, my senses were alive, and my heart beat faster as I saw the flash of wings downriver.  They were flying upstream right at me!  In only a few seconds they came to me, about twenty feet above the river, one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen. 
 
         There were more than twenty mallards, red legs and green heads mingled among the drab brown hens.  I had my hammer cocked on my single shot Iver Johnson sixteen gauge and tried to look for just one duck as Dad had told me to.  He was a big ol’ green headed drake, and too fast and too close, and though I didn’t completely understand shot patterns, I understood that my drake mallard only lifted a little and bore on upriver in unbroken flight.  I had failed to lead that duck at all, and shot behind him. 

         But behind him, there was a pair of ducks that had to be the unluckiest ducks ever to leave the Canadian prairies.  The two folded up at the blast of my little shogun and plunged into the river only about twenty five yards away.  One was a drake, and he was there fluttering upside down in a circle with his red legs kicking at the sky. The other was a hen, and she was still very alive, with only a broken wing.  I quickly kicked out the empty shell and reloaded and when she was about forty yards away, headed down river. I took careful aim and dispatched of her at the very limit to the little shotguns range.

         Dad got back shortly afterward, carrying two mallard drakes, and we retrieved my ducks, then paused on a gravel bar to eat lunch.  As we warmed baloney sandwiches on forked sticks over a warm fire, my dad carried on about how big my mallard drake was, how he didn’t reckon he had never seen a bigger one.
 
         I don’t see how a kid could have been more happy, nor as lucky.  It was a time and place when simple things were rewards of the highest value.  I treasured the life of a boy who had the Piney River and the woods of its watershed for a playground, and a Dad and Grandfather who I longed to emulate.

         I always hoped I would have a son who felt the same way and grandson’s who wanted to be just like Grandpa.  But the Dablemont name ends with me, and the love of the outdoors will die with me.  My descendants will never long for the sight of mallards lifting from leaf flecked eddies of the Big Piney.  The river I knew is gone and the little Iver Johnson from long ago memories is gone with them. Last week I sold it to a friend of mine who will put it on the wall of his den with a copy of this article.  And if I ever want to see it, I will know where it is.




         I killed my last big buck last week; I will never shoot another. In next weeks column will tell the story of that last hunt.  As one old Indian Chief put it…”I will fight no more, forever.”   I will also have much more to say about the chronic wasting disease in deer and elk and whether or not it can kill humans who eat deer meat.  In the meantime, I will advise anyone who has been eating venison donated in the “Share Your Harvest” program to not continue to do so.  I will tell you why next week.


Monday, November 6, 2017

A LETTER FROM A TARGETED READER


















PHOTO CAPTION… Two of the  several sick but uninjured deer I have come across in Polk County.  That may have had the CWD disease.  In no instance I know of has the MDC came to Investigate those sick deer after being called.








     It may never be known if those people who die from Jakob-Kruetzfeld disease got it from a prion-diseased deer or elk or cow or goat or sheep, but right now, those who say it will not be spread by eating a CWD deer are talking with their fingers crossed. If any biologist or doctor is willing to say that, would those people willing show us their convictions in the matter are solid by eating prion-tainted meat from a deer known to have CWD, or a mad cow infected in England with those same prions? Have people in England really died from eating the meat of those diseased steers or was that all just made up?

     The news media needs to find and talk with folks who have lost loved ones to Jakob-Kruetzfeldt disease and feel sure they got it from eating a diseased deer. One of those families lives right near Joplin. In the meantime, here is a common sense plan I have adopted. First I will eat no venison but the meat from deer I KILLED AND CLEANED. I will not cut through any bone, and I will not shoot a deer in the head or spine. 
 
     I would not eat venison someone else has killed and butchered, nor from the ‘share your harvest’ program, but that is not anything that spells much danger to a lot of people. If tainted meat with prions in the flesh is eaten, there isn’t anyone willing to say it will cause you to have the disease. The ‘share your harvest’ program, if it involves deer with Chronic Wasting disease, may not kill one person. Maybe if it does, it will only be one or two people and it won’t be me or you.

     But this I know… when deer killed by hunters are tested this year and some are found to have the disease, all the nay-sayers who insist it is nothing to worry about, will NOT EAT THAT MEAT. What does that tell you?

     The best advice to any hunter that I can give… kill any deer that looks sick, contact the conservation department and have them come to test it.  If you kill a healthy deer, hang it up and skin it and cut all the meat from the bone WITHOUT CUTTING THE SPINAL COLUMN.  Cutting into bone marrow may not cause a problem but I won’t do it.  And since prions have been found in the urine, be very careful to not rupture the bladder.

     For the first time in my life, I will probably use rubber gloves to clean, skin and butcher my deer.  And just maybe it will be the last year I hunt deer in the Ozarks, I don’t know.  There just aren’t enough facts yet to tell us what will come.  And anyone who goes around saying there is nothing to worry about might just right.  Or they might be wrong!


     The center for Disease Control has sent out a news release saying that no one has been proven to have died of Chronic Wasting Disease. I cannot believe they have done this… it is the height of deception.  Chronic Wasting Disease is the name given to DEER and ElK ‘prion’ disease…  it is caused by the same  ‘prions’ that has killed who knows how many humans. It is known as Jakob-Kruetzfeldt disease. Why the Center for Disease Control wants to be part of this deception is beyond me. They could say… “There has been no humans die from the infection of ‘prions’in the human body.”  Instead they give the name of the commonly used term which involves deer and elk. If they are sure you cannot get Jakob Kruetzfeldt disease from those prions in deer, they should say that.  BUT THEY WON”T!!!
   

     If you are a deer hunter who calls in a big buck to report that it has big antlers… and the Missouri Department of Conservation is adamant that you tell them the size of antlers in both points and base size…. you probably ought to say you killed a spindly-antlered buck which has antlers that are unimpressive. And likewise, you would be wise not to put a photo of a big set of antlers on facebook. You cannot imagine how often game wardens confiscate such deer, sometimes weeks afterward, because they may be worth thousands of dollars. If they learn you have one like that, you may become a target, cited for some technical violation so they can confiscate and keep your antlers. In case you think this is so much nonsense, I will write a column in a week or so telling the stories of a couple of hunters who had just such a thing happen to them.

     With the MDC, the truth of what they are and what they do is hidden, because basically they own the news media and control that well. I will finish my book which tells all of the stuff I have learned about the corruption and illegal acts that conservation agents have been involved in, and much more. It will be distributed free across the Ozarks, so that the truth can be known.  Readers who have been victimized should contact me to have their stories known. I received one such letter recently from Joseph Kupec, and I want everyone to read it. It cannot be printed in any news media, and you will see why. You can read it at the end of this column.

     Again, if you kill a really big buck, you may become a target of a conservation agent who wants the antlers.  Contact me if you feel you have been a victim. I may want to put your story in that book, and I’ll keep your name confidential. The address is Box 22, Bolivar, Mo. 65613.  Email address lightninridge@windstream.net and phone number is 417 777 5227.

A LETTER FROM A TARGETED READER
 
Larry,
      In February of 2014 I was greeted by NINE conservation officers claiming that I had acquired antlers from thirty poached bucks.  I didn’t feel threatened, I am an honest person who has donated a portion of my proceeds from the sale of my products to the Missouri Department of Conservation and the Department of Natural Resources.
       After extensive documentation of those antlers, the main agent began to get frustrated. But I told him I had never taken an illegal deer in my life and would take a polygraph test to back that up.  But agent Jones said that he had checked the internet and found zero records of me tagging any deer in the state. 
       I went to court in April of 2014 and was greeted by the Prosecuting Attorney for Moniteau County.  He said he had indeed found the internet records of deer I had checked which the agents said were not there. So the invasion of my home was a farce! BUT… he was going to prosecute me because I had some antlers which were given to me or handed down from family and friends years back because I couldn’t prove where they came from.  One was a set of synthetic antlers they had also taken.  They kept all of them, even the ones I had legally checked of my own!
       Six months later that Prosecuting Attorney crashed his vehicle into a restaurant, injured four civilians inside and fled the scene of the accident.  He refused to take a breathalyzer test when he was apprehended.
       Until now I thought I had the rights of life liberty and pursuit of happiness.  You do not have the right to possess a set of antlers that someone gave you years ago if the Dept of Conservation wants them.




Thursday, November 2, 2017

The Dreaded Deer Disease... by Doc MacFarlane



We have had requests from many people for the Texas Doctor's article written about CWD

It just dawned on me to post it to Larry's blogspot   -  Gloria Dablemont









Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Kill a Deer, Give Away the Meat



-->

            Mike Widner, the Arkansas Biologist I wrote about not long ago, finished his book on quail and quail hunting just a couple of weeks ago and it is published and ready for anyone who wants to learn about hunting and managing the bobwhite quail.  You can order one, entitled, “A Life With Gentleman Bob… Hunting the Midwest Quail.”  It is 288 pages and would make a great Christmas gift for a quail hunter. 


            The cost of the book is ten dollars, postpaid, and we have about 50 of the signed and numbered copies here which can be inscribed to whomever you wish.  You may send a check payable to Lightnin’ Ridge Publishing, Box 22, Bolivar, Mo 65613, or pay by credit card by calling 417-777-5227.

             Mike and I were talking about how widespread the chronic wasting disease has become in North Arkansas where a number of elk and whitetail deer have been found to have it.  But then he told me something very scary about diseases spread by ticks.  He said that three of his friends and hunting partners have died in the past couple of years from tick-born diseases.  The most recent was a middle-aged man who developed a ‘red meat allergy’ which they attribute to a strange kind of disease that ticks carry. I don’t know much about these diseases, though most of us have a familiarity with Rocky Mountain spotted fever and lyme disease, both spread by tick bite. I am going to talk with some doctors about these and try to pass on the information to our readers.



            The Department of Conservation is once again encouraging deer hunters to donate deer meat to their “Share the Harvest” program, wherein a deer hunter who doesn’t want to risk getting the deadly prion disease known as Chronic Wasting in deer and elk, (Jakob Kruetzfeldt disease in humans) can kill deer and give the meat to a processing plant, then have it distributed to the hungry masses in the state.  I would not take my deer meat to any processor, nor would I eat any meat I hadn’t killed and taken care of myself, but that is a matter of personal conviction I suppose. There are lots of ways to feed a hungry family without doing this. It has become a way for trophy hunters to go after antlers without having to mess with the meat. People who receive the meat, in general, know nothing of the disease.  They should be told that the disease has killed many people, as the Center For Disease Control in Atlanta can attest.  But they will not be informed about it, and if just one or two people in the state get that horrible disease from eating ‘Share the Harvest’ venison, no one will know how they got it. 

This news release was recently sent out by the Missouri Department of Conservation for deer hunters…   Deer donated to Share the Harvest that were harvested in the seven Missouri counties where chronic wasting disease has been found will be tested for the deer disease. Deer that test positive for CWD will not be used and will be properly disposed of. The seven counties are Adair, Cole, Franklin, Jefferson, Linn, Macon, and St. Clair.  Nearly 4,300 Missouri deer hunters donated more than 198,000 pounds of venison to the program last deer season. Find participating processors in MDC’s ‘2017 Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information’ booklet, online or by calling MDC at 573-751-4115 or CFM at 573-634-2322.”

          Of course, Chronic Wasting Disease occurs in many other counties of Missouri, as Missourians will soon find out.  If it has been found in many north Arkansas deer, of course it is going to be found in the southernmost counties of Missouri also.  But I have no objection to seeing those who want the shared meat to have it.  I just think they should be told that there is a risk involved, no matter how slight it may be.
 
          Anyone who doubts that this disease has killed hunters in Missouri, should talk to the many people who have contacted me to say they have lost loved ones. One of them is Bill Zippro of Joplin Missouri, who lost his brother to the disease a year or so after he killed and ate a buck that appeared to be half-tame.  Wouldn’t it be nice if the news media of this state would talk with many of these people just to let the truth come out.
That won’t happen, the Missouri Department of Conservation would not allow it.   But in my February magazine, I intend to do just that.

            If some of that meat given away by the MDC was found to have prions in the blood or muscle fiber, I wonder if anyone could be sued. The sponsors of the share your harvest meat distribution program ought to think of that.  Sponsors the MDC lists include:  Bass Pro Shops, the Conservation Federation of Missouri, Missouri Chapter Whitetails Unlimited, Missouri Chapter Safari Club International, Missouri Chapter National Wild Turkey Federation, Drury Hotels, Midway USA Inc., Missouri Deer Hunters Assoc. and Missouri Food Banks Association.

           Again, I believe the truth about this terrible disease that has killed so many humans should be ferreted out and reported to the public without a worry of the money it might cost the MDC.  And I will be the first to tell you there’s a lot I do not understand about it.  But what I have learned by talking with doctors, visiting with families of those who died from it, and reading all I can, convinces me that there is a concentrated effort to deceive those who hunt deer and eat venison in this state.

            I think that it needs to be known that sheep and goats in this state can acquire the disease too, and I think there is a possibility that it could be spread from deer to cattle.  We need to find all of that out.  If the new controls on selling deer urine as an attractant are not baseless, then there is no way to control the disease through banning salt and mineral licks, as the scrapes made by deer in the fall and early winter mating season involve deer urinating in the scrapes, and other deer licking those scrapes and branches above them.

           Someday, the truth and the facts about this deer disease will be known, and the public will know how it got started and what it can do.  It may be awhile, but it will happen.  When that comes about, the MDC and the deer pen operators are going to be known for the deception they have intentionally created.  And I think they and the sponsors of the ‘share the harvest’ are setting themselves up for some big time lawsuits.


That doctor’s article I mentioned awhile back is now available to be sent via email to those who want to read it.  Just email me at lightninridge@windstream.net or call our office at 417 777 5227 and we will send it to you.