Wednesday, December 11, 2019

The Truth About the Missouri Department of Conservation





         Within a few months I will publish this book that is 30 years in the making.  We will try to publish about 20,000 copies and give them away… no charge.  The Governor, the Attorney General and every state legislator will get a copy, as will every newspaper in the state.  If you would like to contribute your experiences with the MDC of today and agents they employee, either good or bad, you need to contact me.  Some of this Commission’s agents have broken state and federal laws and violated the rights of citizens who lack the ability to fight back in court because of lawyer fees. And many judges are rewarded by the MDC to decide against common people who try to give their side of the story.  I am going to name them.  You will read the truth about many of them in this book.   Contact me if you want to help contribute to this book or help finance the printing of it.  Larry Dablemont   417 777 5227, Box 22, Bolivar, Mo 65613 or email lightninridge47@gmail.com
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Saturday, December 7, 2019

The Ducks From Somewhere Else



These are the Ruddy Ducks Bolt and I saw on Truman



         Bolt and I loaded up the boat and headed for Truman Lake the day before thanksgiving. Bolt is my big brown Labrador, the third or fourth greatest duck dog in the world. I call him that; so all the other Lab owners who think their dog is the ‘best one in the world’ have no reason to argue with me.

Ruddy Duck Drake in Spring plummage
         We didn’t see many ducks, but there were 8 or 9 back in one cove that seemed about half tame.  I slowly motored toward them they didn’t want to fly. Suddenly realized what they were. They are known as ruddy ducks, and their range does not include Missouri.  This was a species of duck I had never seen before, a member of the ‘diver’ duck group in a family all by themselves known as stiff-tailed ducks. In the spring, in breeding plumage, the drakes of this species are beautiful, displaying fantastic color and courting the female with a high spread tail something like a wild turkey tom.  The flock I saw, in winter plumage, had little color.
 
         In the Missouri Department of Conservation list of ducks in the states bag limit, ruddy ducks are not found.  But they are legal and if I had shot one or two, no game warden in Missouri younger than 40 would have known what it was.  According to an old waterfowl book I use for research, ruddy ducks are very plump and exceptionally good to eat.

         There are few species of waterfowl I have not seen before, now even fewer.  To most folks, coming across a ruddy duck wouldn’t mean much, but to me that was a day and discovery of great importance, one I will never forget.  I have a strange way of discovering wild creatures well outside of their range.  When I was 19 years old I spent a week on the Big Piney River after Christmas trapping ground mammals for a class project at the University of Missouri.  I live-trapped a small rodent known as a brush deer mouse, (Peromyscus boyli) that had not been found in Missouri, a large deer mouse with a hairy tuft at the end of an unusually long tail--whose northern- and eastern-most range was in Oklahoma until I found those two in the center of southern Missouri.  I sold them to the St. Louis Zoo back then, to a man creating a small mammal display.  His name was Marlin Perkins.  That was before he became famous on T.V. 
 
 
silver-colored Gray Shrew I was fortunate to see here on Lightnin' Ridge
       
Here on Lightnin’ Ridge I found a silver-colored gray shrew,
(Notiosorex crawfordi)  also said not to exist in Missouri.  I photographed him, another critter you can see on my website, and his silver pelt leaves no doubt what he is. On Bull Shoals Lake one winter I photographed a flock of avocets, a shore bird far from the edge of its range there on that lake.

          As a boy I dug up a large ivory pendant three feet down in a cave floor and found out years later it is the only ivory artifact ever found in the state and perhaps the whole Midwest.  But I see so much because I spend more time outdoors than hardly anyone I know.  It means as much to me nowadays to get a photo like I did that day before Thanksgiving as shooting a limit of ducks or pheasants or catching a stringer of crappie or bass or walleye.
 
         My deer hunting and turkey hunting is now done with a camera.  I’ll pack it more often than a gun and even when I am trying to get a couple of rabbits or squirrels for the grill, I will have that camera slung across my other shoulder.  I have always loved to explore new places in the Ozarks.  No telling what I will discover next.  I look at any unusual thing in my path as a treasure, and a gift from the Creator. 
 
         Much of that comes from the times decades ago when I explored wilderness areas in Arkansas’ Ouachita mountains and Ozarks as a paid naturalist for the Arkansas Heritage Commission.  The things I saw and found back then roaming throughout the winter in beautiful mountain country was spectacular, and the result was several areas set aside and preserved, saved from loggers and development, hopefully forever.
 
         Today there are over 100,000 acres of watershed on Truman Lake that are likewise preserved as least for awhile, until the MDC loggers get a good picture of what is there and convinces the Corps of Engineers there is a better use for the money than the trees.  In that watershed are some of the biggest trees of several species I have ever seen.

         If you would like to join me in exploring a little of the best of it, we take from 10 to 15 people on day-long expeditions there in February and March, complete with a shore-side fish fry at midday.  Who knows, maybe we will find something that none of us have ever seen before!


         By the way, If you happen to live close to Houston, MO you might want to come visit with me at the Texas County library December 14th from 9 to 1.  I will be helping them raise money to buy books and I will be selling and signing my books at a good discount and giving away my Christmas magazine.  But if you have a youngster between eight and fourteen years of age, bring them to get one of my books free, or pick one up for your youngster to give away on Christmas morning.  That book is entitled “Dogs and Ducks and Hat-rack Bucks and it consists of 25 chapters, each of which is a short story about boys in the outdoors.

         Years ago Gloria Jean was working at a local school trying to help kids who couldn’t read well.  This book was to help boys get interested in reading. I give it away to anyone at Christmas who has a boy who needs and will value a book for Christmas.  You can acquire a copy for such a youngster by contacting me at lightninridge47@gmail.com or calling my office at 417-777-5227.  I will inscribe it to him and sign it.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Christmas Gifts... Lightnin' Ridge Christmas Issue AND books, signed and inscribed by me





Last year we published a Christmas Issue magazine... nothing but Christmas stories. Have about 20 left.. you can order one for 5 bucks postpaid and i will sign it and inscribe it to whomever you'd like.












My latest book, Recollections of An Old Fashioned Angler, is also available as but you have to tell us where to send it and how to inscribe it... $15 postpaid. You can order by credit card by calling 417-777-5227 or send a check to LROJ Christmas order... Box 22, Bolivar, MO 65613


My latest book, Recollections of An Old Fashioned Angler, is also available as a Christmas gift but you have to tell us where to send it and how to inscribe it... 15 dollars postpaid. You can order by credit card by calling 417-777-5227 or send a check to LROJ Christmas order... box 22, Bolivar, Mo. 65613

Friday, November 29, 2019

Leafblowers



soon I will take my leaf blower and remove the leaves from my woodland trails so that this winter I can see the deer and turkey tracks better.


         I realized last fall that the greatest invention of mankind is not the wheel, it is the leaf blower. On Thanksgiving day I will be thankful for many many things, and one of them is the leaf-blower. I can’t imagine any outdoorsman not having one.
 
         I remember years ago spending hours trying to sweep leaves off the porch and out of my basement, having to spend hours raking off the immediate area around the house, which I jokingly refer to as a ‘lawn’.  I would put them on a big tarp and pull them to a spot in the woods and dump them.
 
        Whenever I would dump them, the next day the wind would blow like the devil from that very direction and blow them all back where they were. 
 
         That is the story of my life… the wind always blowing the wrong darn direction.  I don’t know how many times I have been out hunting ducks and the wind would be blowing out of the south and so I would spend an hour fixing a blind and decoys just right for the wind direction, sit back and get ready, then watch some front come in and the wind would switch direction and start blowing out of the north.
 
         I don’t suppose, if you do not hunt ducks, that you would understand why that would be a problem!  But if you ever float down a river (and with the coming of those little cheap kayaks, who doesn’t float down the river... meaning that every weekend a bunch of green-horn beer-drinkers go wind-milling down every river in the country) you know what happens when you are floating northward as the wind is calm and not at all a factor, and then it starts blowing out of the north with the strength of a small hurricane.
 
         But I digress!  What I started writing about is how wonderful leaf blowers are. Last fall I made enough out of selling walnuts that I had a down payment on a leaf blower and now there are no leaves on my porch or in my basement.  In the basement, it also blew out spiders, spider webs, an empty gas can, a dead mouse and dozens of crickets.  My basement ain’t been free of crickets since it was built.  Up ‘til now, I had enough of ‘em to start a bait business  for perch fishermen.

         I never have lived in town, but I can see how a leaf-blower could create a neighborhood war.  Imagine three or four neighbors living where they build those houses side by side, blowing their leaves into one of those manicured lawns next door or across the street!  And then that neighbor blowing them back or passing them on to the next neighbor. That could go on all winter! But out here in the wilderness, I can blow my leaves off out in the woods and not worry about it. I ain’t got no neighbors within yelling distance, nor shootin’ distance neither, thank heavens.

         I now have leaf piles all around that I can set fire to some day when there is snow on the ground, so I can have a five-minute bonfire when it is real cold, maybe roasting a hot dog on a real long limb.

         But I like to fish in November and the river is sometimes so darned full of leaves that every cast hooks two or three leaves.  Think of sitting in your boat using your leaf-blower to clear all the leaves from an acre or so of fishing water.  And then you can point it backwards and stick the nozzle down in the water and use it as a trolling motor!

         Two guys could hunt rabbits with a leaf blower.  Get into thick cover or briar bushes where you can’t hardly see the ground, where rabbits don’t want to get out of.  Turn on that leaf blower and your partner with his shotgun could get on the other side of the thicket and shoot flying rabbits, blowing in the wind. Say you want to get rid of ground hogs…. Just point that leaf blower down in the hole and let ‘er rip.  If that groundhog don’t go out of the back-door hole he is likely dead.

         You can open both doors on your pickup and clean it out like it ain’t never been cleaned; loose shotgun shells, old caps, donut bags and dried up sandwiches, gone in seconds. And you can remove stuff in the bed that has been unsweepable; clumped-up stuff will uncling itself and vanish in the wind.
 
         Say you are hunting ducks on ponds and you sneak up over a bank and there’s a nice greenhead mallard sitting right in the middle of the pond. You clobber him with a load of number fours.  Now there he is in the middle of the pond deader than a frozen frog, and there’s no wind.  You’ll have to wait for an hour or two for him to drift to the bank.  But if you have a leaf-blower...  or maybe a squirrel hung on a limb in the branches of a hickory.  You can see how the problems of that kind can be solved.

         I guess I have expounded enough on this.  As time goes on I will let you know if I come up with different uses for one.  Might even write a book entitled, “What you can do with your leaf-blower!”  That title comes from something my wife said to me when I turned it on in the kitchen!

         I have four sheds and they are crammed full of useful things I just couldn’t throw away.  I use to empty them each spring and clean out leaves and cobwebs and an occasional dead lizard and then put everything back.  I will never do that again.  Now I will just make a little path to the back of each one, start that leaf blower and let ‘er rip.  In just a minute, there won’t be nothing left that ain’t necessary and useful.  And I will have the cleanest sheds in the whole county!

          I urge readers to go to my website on the computer, larrydablemontoutdoors.blogspot.com
On a regular basis it contains information which newspapers cannot print.  To get in touch with me, write to Box 22, Bolivar, Mo, email me at lightninridge47@gmail.com  or call me at 417-777-5227

Monday, November 11, 2019

Working with the new MDC enforcement Chief, Randy Doman

Caption .. Two years ago an MDC agent-supervisor stood on my porch with another agent for 2 hours wanting to find a technicality which would allow him in my house so he could take this deer head and perhaps 2 bigger ones. I refused to let him in, so he stood there and called me a G___D___ liar. He wanted revenge because I wrote about seeing him break Department rules two years before.
             Unless they have a search warrant... DO NOT LET THEM ENTER YOUR HOME, SHED, BARN OR VEHICLE.


From Randy Doman, Chief of Enforcement, Missouri Department of Conservation… “Mr. Dablemont, in a previous correspondence, you mentioned a desire to provide information that sportsmen should know to avoid problems with MDC enforcement.  I appreciate your efforts to educate sportsmen and women on hunting and fishing regulations, even those rules you may not agree with.  Avoiding problems with MDC enforcement is not difficult.”
1.   Obtain the proper permit prior to your hunt and have it with you while hunting.  Acquiring a deer permit after the harvest and then checking your animal on that permit is illegal.
2.   Immediately after harvesting a deer, hunters must notch their permit. (Select date taken on permit).
3.   Hunters must Telecheck their deer by 10 p.m. on the day of harvest, before processing the game, or before leaving the state whichever comes first.
4.   As long as a hunter stays with their harvested game, they do not need to attach the tag it.  But if they leave their deer or turkey, they must attach a tag.

Question for Doman from Dallas County…”I have been told that agents are allowed by law to go anywhere on my land without a warrant anytime and that they may search any closed barn or shed without a warrant. I have also been told that if an agent sees a mounted deer head on my wall through a window he can force his way into my home without my permission and no search warrant.  Is that true?”

Doman’s answer…”The 4th Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure apply to conservation agents just the same as they do for state troopers, sheriff’s deputies, city police, etc.  The Open Fields Doctrine provides that open fields do not carry the same expectation of privacy as an occupied dwelling or curtilage.  Pending exigent circumstances, conservation agents may not search a closed barn or shed without consent or a warrant.  Conservation agents may not force their way into a home without a search warrant or consent based on seeing a mounted deer head on the wall.”  


Question from Wright County…. “I have 40 acres on which I hunt deer.  Around my yard I feed quail, songbirds and turkey in a couple of feeders and corn, soybeans and wild bird seed.  No feeders or food is more than 40 yards from my porch.  Can I be arrested if I hunt the back part of my farm, a quarter to a half-mile from my house with that scattered food therein my back yard?”

Doman’s answer…”Regarding the enforcement of baiting laws, citations are warranted when hunters are found physically within or immediately adjacent to baited areas. When hunters are found outside of sight of the baited area or out of range for killing an animal standing in the baited area, no ticket should be issued unless other evidence is present to indicate the hunter knew or reasonably should have known the area was baited and is hunting there because of the bait; Conservation agents may instruct hunters in the immediate surrounding area of the bait that further hunting in that area is prohibited until ten (10) days following complete removal of the bait. Agents are instructed not close entire farms or large areas of land simply because bait was found at a particular location. Likewise, adjoining property owners should not be considered in violation unless they were aware of the bait and were using it as an attraction to deer or turkeys for hunting.”

Question from Polk Co.….”In August (2018) an agent came to my house and gave me a ticket for having a live copperhead in a large aquarium in my garage.  I intended to take it somewhere to release, since I have heard you can’t kill one legally and I didn’t want the snake around my home. She had no search warrant but she took the snake and the large aquarium, worth more than 100 dollars and will not return it.  I was recently told it was at her home.  Is there any process where I can get it returned? I paid the ticket of 120 dollars.”
Dablemont’s note…. THIS WAS ABOUT 14 MONTHS AGO!


DOMAN’S answer…”In visiting with the Polk County Conservation Agents, neither of them report issuing a citation for a copperhead IN THE PAST12 MONTHS.”

Dablemont’s note… “Please ask both agents if they recall this case from about 14 or15 months ago? That changes things a bit. 

Dablemont’s question…Two years ago a retiring agent sent a letter saying your Telecheck System is being used to determine how to find a hunter and how big his deer might be (a question asked over the phone which should be eliminated) One agent says that system never results in visits from agents if it involved a doe or small buck.  Confiscated deer always are big antlered bucks… always.    And in many, many cases the agents keep the deer themselves.  People within your department say that one agent in Stone County has a shed full of antlers he refers to as his ‘retirement account’. The man who wrote the letter says no antlers are ever destroyed, as people are told their confiscate deer heads are, and when I asked past MDC enforcement chief, Larry Yamnitz, if any journalist or other interested person could actually watch that process where confiscated deer antlers are destroyed, his answer was a resounding “NO”

Doman’s answer…Regarding your concerns about conservation agents conducting Telecheck investigations, Conservation agents must abide by the same 4th Amendment protections as any other law enforcement officer.  Conservation agents often follow up on deer Telechecks as their schedules allow.  With the discontinuation of wildlife check-in stations in 2005, these Telecheck investigations have become an expectation and a valuable tool for conservation agents; not only to increase compliance with the Wildlife Code, but to ensure the integrity of the self-reported harvest data. 

   Dablemont’s advice to all hunters…Before you hunt deer, read that letter about how the telecheck system can be used against you. It is posted on larrydablemontoutdoors.blogspot.com. You can be somewhat protected by describing the base size and point number of your buck as smaller than it actually is or refusing to answer. You have that right, even if you are told differently. Also, if you have killed a big buck, wait several hours to report it.  It does not have to be called in until shortly before 10 p.m.




Telecheck MDC





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Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Recollections of An Old Fashioned Angler


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---Finally I have finished the book I have worked on for so many years, entitled, “Recollections of an Old-Fashioned Angler.” It is being printed this week. I am numbering and signing the first 100 of those books to come off the press, and will inscribe one to you if you’d like.  The book is 40 chapters, 288 pages and dozens and dozens of old photos.  The cost, including postage, is $15. To get your copy, you can call 417-777-5227 to pay with credit card or you can send a check to Recollections, Box 22, Bolivar, Mo. 65613