Monday, January 12, 2015

Some Agents to Be Commended

My old friend, fellow outdoorsman and naturalist Dennis Whiteside gave me a bit of good news after deer season. He goes over to camp and hunt with his brothers at an MDC wildlife area known as Mud Puppy Conservation Area near Doniphan, Missouri.

Dennis remembers when part of it was his family’s farm many years ago. He says that it needs much attention, growing up to be nothing but an impenetrable thicket. But of course the MDC has little money left to actually enhance conditions for wildlife there, as they put so many millions into stocking elk not far away.

A few years ago, Dennis talked about how Conservation agents would drive up to their camp and find ways to make everyone mad with their belligerent attitude. This last fall he said he saw something different.

The hunters found four deer killed and dumped not far from their camp, and they called agents who came to investigate so they wouldn’t be blamed for it. The deer had not even been gutted, with only the loins and antlers removed. The camp asked the agents to let them cut the meat off the frozen carcasses and give it away or use it, so the deer wouldn’t be wasted.

Dennis said that a few years ago the request would have been denied unless someone tagged each deer, ending their hunt. This year the agents agreed the meat should be utilized, and they consented to that plan without asking anyone to tag the dumped carcasses. Whiteside said it was a bright spot he hasn’t seen before. He said he was amazed to see that change.

Then he told me about a man whose son went on his first deer hunt during the youth season last year and obtained two landowner tags. The boy thought he could use one on Saturday and the other tag on Sunday, so he tagged two deer and called in both as the law requires. Later that week his father learned that the youth hunt weekend allows a kid to take only one deer, so he called a local agent and reported the mistake they had made.

There are agents I know well who would have given the boy a citation, but this one said he could understand how the mistake could be made. He told the father to tell his son not to hunt during the regular season, and always read the regulation well as a new hunter and congratulated him on his success.

There’s some common sense we need to see more of in our MDC agents. I would love to give their names of course, but if I did, they would likely face disciplinary problems out of Jefferson City. I salute them for being what ‘game wardens’ use to be, and it gives me some hope that maybe a new trend is developing.

I think most of our agents, just like most of our policemen, are decent people. But there are too many worthless ones, too many bad agents out there who do not have to worry about violating the constitutional rights of innocent people because their power holds them unaccountable for anything. In a couple of weeks after I can investigate more, I will tell you about one of the worst miscarriages of justice I have ever seen in MDC agents. You won’t believe some of the things I see happening in my work.

I am convinced that if the devil came to earth and had his choice of keeping just one modern day technology, it would be television.

I watch it quite often in the evenings though in the winter. But not the “networks”. What I watch are the National Geographic channels, the Discovery Channels and the Animal Planet channel.

If you love the outdoors and want to learn a lot about wild America, if you want your children to see TV that can’t destroy their minds, watch what those channels have from time to time.

I have spent a lifetime outdoors, but I learn a great deal from watching those beautiful films about the earth and the wildlife.

Not too long ago I was fascinated while watching a red fox dive again and again into deep snow, like a kid enjoying himself, and coming up with mice and voles. The film showed that beyond a doubt the fox oriented himself toward the poles of the earth to detect a movement far beneath the snow, and somehow knew where his prey was. It fascinated me, I can’t comprehend how he knew and sensed what was below that snow.

Then I watched a bobcat catch a rat and playfully toss it high in the air over and over after he had killed it. I guess I understand that. I watched that same kind of game once when I was out in the deep woods hunting, and a bobcat and some crows seemed to be entertaining each other.

We are going toward a time when our children, our teachers, and even our biologists know only what they read in a book or watch on TV, and so it is great that really knowledgeable outdoorsmen and naturalists can teach us through such films. I don’t think any of it will make much difference though. Fifty years ago there were 180 million people in the United States, and today there are 360 million. It is projected that in about 25 years there will be 700 million. In China there are eight million acres of useless, polluted land. Huge populations did that.

There won’t be much left of this beautiful and wondrous country when we are forced to give up everything to have giant hog farms, and billions of cattle and chickens just to feed the world. By that time the only wilderness may be the tops of mountains where men and farm animals can’t survive. 

But what can we do? It is just going to be that way, or the multitudes can’t be fed. The only alternative is a situation where absolutely millions die off, and of course that can’t happen can it. One kind of human will be gone then, the people like me who want to see and feel the freedom afforded by wild remote places where you can escape what is coming and greed doesn’t exist.

All mankind will be satisfied and content then because we have learned to print all the money we need to make everyone happy.

This mass of humanity we have growing in our cities knows that if you see storm clouds growing on the horizon, you turn away and look at the other horizon. Ignore that which is coming, everything will be fine.

There is one place you might flee to in that time, though I don’t know if wild and free places exist there…. Mexico!  In a hundred years there may be no one left there.

You can find winter issues of my magazines, the Lightnin’ Ridge Outdoor Journal and the Journal of the Ozarks, in most magazine racks around the Ozarks, but you have to look carefully. We have some people who do not like what we write, and they have made it a habit of turning the magazines around backwards and hiding them behind others on the rack. It seems to be a fairly widespread effort and some stores are trying to find out who is doing it, through their security cameras. If you can’t find a copy in your local store, call us at 417-777-5227 and we will help you get copies.

Please visit my website, as we have a story there that can’t be printed in many newspapers. Write to me at Box 22, Bolivar, Mo. 65613 or email me at

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