Monday, February 23, 2015

Guiding Again


You know what I love about this snow and cold?
Not a doggone thing! But remember this, every cold night that passes makes us one day closer to spring peepers and redbuds.

Folks in the cities have really suffered with the weather problems over the past few years, but ‘they ain’t seen nothin’ yet’. If people could see into the future there would be a panic in places like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and New Orleans, and big traffic jams as folks tried to get away. But no one can see what’s coming, and I can’t either.

While those people who talk about global warming may not have the slightest idea what they are talking about, the earth is like a lifeboat. It will only hold so much. Anyone who doesn’t think mankind is altering the conditions of our climate and the earth itself has their head in the sand. 

I think it is pretty much a foregone conclusion that our country in 100 years will have no clean waters and maybe a loss of hundreds of species of birds, fish and mammals, and the only forests and wild places will be found in crowded parks and preserves. Big trees won’t exist anywhere else. But I also think that in 100 years, folks won’t care at all about what is lost. 

There will be enough entertainment in the world that no one will miss what so many of us today cannot live without. I see it today in my own grandkids. They live their life with little boxes in their hands, pushing buttons, and the outdoors has little attraction. Still, they are very happy. I live in one world and they live in another. Well, actually, today almost everyone lives in a different world than I do. I was born much later than I should have been.

But I do love meeting good people, and because of that, a friend and I have decided to do some guiding again this year for beginning turkey hunters. I figure I have killed enough gobblers in my life and would like to enjoy again seeing a beginner learn how to do it, to help them get a turkey and learn about the outdoors, in a day or so of hunting. 

I guided turkey hunters in the seventies and eighties because I needed the money. Living in Arkansas I was a free-lance writer at the time, raising a family. Guiding float fishermen with my uncle, and turkey hunters in the National Forestland in Arkansas gave me a chance to flee the typewriter and spend more time outdoors. There weren’t nearly as many turkey gobblers then as there are in Missouri today. Bagging a gobbler now is fairly easy if you have any idea of what you are doing.

I had nothing in common with the men I guided. They were rich and money meant little. I took Neurosurgeons and Ophthalmic Surgeons, Lawyers… those kinds of people. In the early eighties, I took one of them from Oklahoma on a hunt and called up a gobbler that he killed about two hours after we left camp. It was his first one and he was elated. 

When he got back he packed up his stuff and headed home, handing me 500 dollars and telling me it was the greatest morning he ever had. I told him he didn’t owe me that much, we had only camped one night and hunted two hours. He laughed and told me he made more than that in one hour.

I intend to start guiding again because today I don’t need so much money and I like to teach ordinary people about the outdoors. When I was young, I worked with people for many years in the state parks of Arkansas and on the Buffalo National River as an interpretive naturalist, and I loved it, maybe more than the park visitors who came from all points of the country. It was something I felt I was born to do.

My Uncle Norten was the best guide I have ever seen on the rivers, much because he loved those streams so much, and liked people. He once told me, when we were guiding four fishermen on the Kings River on a three day trip, “You know, I am having more fun with these fellows than they are,” he said, “But if you were to know them in the city, where they live and work, we likely wouldn’t get along at all!”

Uncle Norten, who guided fishermen all over the Ozarks, took his first float trip in 1933 and his last one in 2010. The only two years he didn’t guide fishermen was the two years he spent fighting in World War II with the 101st Airborne in Europe. I got a kick out of him when we guided fishermen together in 2008 and I took care of all the charges. He couldn’t believe that he was going to get 200 dollars for taking two men on a daylong fishing trip on the Niangua.  

He told me that was just too much. “Just get me 75 dollars in the future,” he said, “I feel like I am cheatin’ folks if I get this kind of money.”

Our guided hike coming up in March, in a semi-wilderness area, is something my uncle used to join us with. I can still hear him and see him, telling folks about the woods and the creatures in it, telling jokes and entertaining everyone, then frying the fish at noon. He was one of the best naturalists I ever knew and he didn’t know it. 

This coming trip we will take this year will be a memorial to him. It will be some Saturday in March when we know we have a good day to go. The mushroom hunting trip in April will be something we have never done before, but it should be lots of fun. We are going to split up all the mushrooms we find. If you want to be on the list to go on either trip, let us know soon. We can’t take a lot of people, and we need to figure out how many fish to catch for the fish fry at midday.

As much as I like writing about the outdoors, I spend a lot of time by myself, and I really enjoy taking good people out into the woods for a day, or speaking to groups about the outdoors at churches or wild game dinners or schools, etc.

I found a really amusing description of me on something called Wikipedia on the Internet not long ago. I couldn’t help but laugh. It read…
      Larry Dablemont (born Larry Fitzgerald Dablemont September 22, 1961 in Bolivar, Missouri, U.S.) is a famous author, journalist, cobbler, Civil War reenactor, referee, fisherman, and hunter, He is married to Tonya Harding. Among his many claims to fame as a journalist, Dablemont interviewed OJ Simpson and has bragged in several columns about beating Ted Nugent in a footrace during a hunting expedition in Jackson Hole, WY. Dablemont was the last referee to ever throw Bobby Knight out of a basketball game, leading Knight to throw a chair. Later Knight commented, "Dabs is one tough ****, but God if I don’t respect him." Dablemont is a notoriously peculiar figure who, among other eccentricities is known to wear an unnecessary eye patch, rarely wears socks, and claims to have wore the same pair of jeans for 19 months consecutively.

The writer claims to be University of Arkansas professor William Thomas, and though he meant it to be some kind of insult, you can’t help but laugh at it. There isn’t any truth in it, but I may have worn the same pair of jeans for 19 months when I was eight or nine years old. I only had one pair! My middle name is Arthur and I will bet a dollar I can outrun Ted Nugent, whoever he is.

Email me at, or write to me at Box 22, Bolivar, Mo. 65613. My website is

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