Monday, June 15, 2015

Common Sense Conservation… Be a Part of It!

       Years ago, I came up with and advanced the idea of creating in Ozark Communities a group of outdoorsmen and women who could stand up for conservation in their area. It was to be a voice against the new logging and farming practices of the Missouri Conservation Department which are detrimental to wildlife on public lands, lands paid for and owned by the citizens of this state.

       If nothing else it has provided a small voice against the MDC, which is no longer a “conservation” interest, but a beauracracy bent on making money from these lands by producing board feet of lumber and tenant farming.  “Conservation” is not their intention any more and should be removed from their name.

       Those community groups call themselves “Common Sense Conservationists” and two especially successful groups are found in El Dorado Springs and Warsaw.  Dean Wyrick and Sharon Peak have headed the CSC group at Warsaw and Lonnie Wallace is Chairman at El Dorado Springs.

       Recently, I visited the group at El Dorado Springs and Lonnie Wallace told me that in the past three years their membership has grown and they have caught the attention of the Conservation Department.   I was amazed to learn that they have raised nearly a thousand dollars to be used to defend innocent people charged with offenses by MDC agents.

       We have no such group in the area where I live and it is needed badly here.  One agent has been little more than a bully, and often she and another agent team to charge innocent people with some technical or drummed up offense.  Twenty-two years ago she visited me wanting to acquire a Labrador puppy, and she boasted of writing up a charge against a man who lived down the gravel road from me thinking I would laugh along with her just because he was someone many folks laughed at.
       The fellow was developementally disabled, so paranoid of modern life that he actually had nailed his doors and windows shut and entered his home through a stairway he had built to a hole cut in his roof!   She said she had driven past his place and seen him with a gun in his woods near his home and she stopped to charge him with hunting squirrels out of season without a hunting license.

       There was no way that poor man could justify going to court.   He had no money to pay a lawyer, not knowledge of how to find one.  The agents for the conservation department feast upon the fact that no one has a chance before today’s judges all alone, and paying the fine is the cheapest answer whether they are guilty of anything or not.  If you think the truth comes out in court, talk to the agent I know who resigned after five years.  One of the reasons he gave was, “I got tired of being asked to lie in court.”
       Twenty-five years ago the MDC considered me an ally, because I wrote so many of my columns and magazine articles in support of them and the work biologist were doing.  I saw them changing drastically after new people came to power and saw that huge pot of money created by the one-eight sales tax that Missourians like me thought was a great idea.  When I wrote articles against what they began to become, they saw me as an enemy.  The word was spread that I was just mad because they wouldn’t hire me as a writer.
       Truth was, I would have had to take a big pay cut to work for them; I never once applied to them.

       A policeman in a small community three years ago laughingly told me that the agent I speak of had told him to watch me when I drove through his area because I was a “washed-up alcoholic”.  She didn’t know he was a friend of mine.   He knows I am a non-drinker and always have been.  In my entire life I have never drank one beer!

       Last year I got a phone call from a man in his thirties who told me that two weeks after he called in his deer, killed with a landowners permit on his own land, that same agent knocked on his door one evening just before Christmas.  It was well after dark and she told him she doubted he killed the deer on his own land.
       There was another agent with her, a younger man who never said a word the whole evening.  She talked this hunter in to taking her to the spot where he had killed the deer and he complied.  What he should have done was told her that since it had been two weeks he wasn’t concerned with what she thought and closed the door. No conservation agent cannot enter your home or continue to harass you there without a search warrant or an arrest warrant, according to what MDC enforcement chief Larry Yamnitz has told me.

       But the young man had nothing to hide. He knew he had violated no laws.  He said on the way to his hunting stand at the back of his place, via flashlight she tripped and fell and got her uniform muddy and got very angry.  Then she said that it was obvious that though he had killed the deer from his stand, she believed it was on a neighbors land when he shot it.   That neighbor was in Florida and there was no fence or markers to designate a boundary. Her target’s objections were overruled.

       The fine was nearly 200 dollars and the young man, who has children, used their Christmas money to fight it.   He is like many Ozark hunters who work at a 40-hour a week job for a salary which pays the bills.  Christmas money was saved over the year before.   What kind of agent would do such a thing, with no evidence of any kind; over a doe called in as it was suppose to be, two weeks before?

       I asked the man why he didn’t go to court and he answered that he had no chance without a lawyer and no money to hire one.       You can’t fight what this agent did without money to get some representation in court, and that is what Lonnie Wallace’s “Common Sense Conservation” group has done.  And it is what Dean Wyrick’s Warsaw group has done.  Both groups have monthly meetings, cook-outs, fish-fries and other activities.  They are outdoorsmen who enjoy their fellowship and their numbers protects them from being targeted individually.

       No matter where you are in the Ozarks, you can start such a “Common Sense Conservation” Group and begin to defend those whom the MDC targets with silly technicalities or absolute false charges.  With them, and judges who have become a rubber stamp for what they do, it has become a form of bullying.  They don’t often get out and find true violators… they come down on the poor and weak and the innocent.

       I do not ever want to defend a poacher or law-breaker, but today’s agents seldom find them.  I will come to join you in setting up a CSC group which can defend innocent with a local lawyer and money gathered to pay for doing it.  I am sure I can bring Lonnie or Dean and Sharon to tell you how they have done things.

       Just contact me, and we will advertise in your area what you want to do, and get started.  There has to be small voices in the Ozarks to stand against the tremendous power of the MDC and what they have become.  Those small voiced can become a ground swelling thunder the MDC might someday have to answer to.

Email me at or write me at Box 22, Bolivar, Mo. 65613
Our office phone is 417 777 5227 and my website is

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