Tuesday, August 15, 2017



         It is not the change in climate that will destroy our nation, but the change in people!
         In my last column I talked about the new requirement the MDC has handed down concerning the mandatory checking of all deer taken the opening weekend of the gun deer season in some of the states counties.  Hunters ARE NOT required to check their deer any other time, only on the opening weekend.  As to what happens if you call in to check a deer on opening weekend, November 11 and 12, and you do not take it to a local CWD checking station, I don’t know… you might receive a citation.  Anyhow, this is mandatory in 25 counties, and at the end of this column, I will list them all.

         I talked with wildlife regional supervisor Debra Burns who grew up in a town in Massachusetts, and now works out of a Kansas City office, and she assured me that when hunters bring bucks to the check stations, they WILL NOT HAVE ANY DEER HEADS CONFISCATED or kept.  She cannot assure me however that if you have killed a very big buck, some agent might not look you up at a latter time and take your antlers or mounted deer head as a result of some violation they say you committed.

         Some supporters of the Conservation Department doubt me when I say this is an ongoing effort by enforcement agents to gain through confiscation the larger deer antlers taken in the Ozarks.  But while you won’t be able to see this, you should realize that no does or small antlered bucks are ever confiscated.  Doesn’t that say something about what is happening. Have small deer been confiscated..ABSOLUTELY NOT. 
         I am going to attend the meeting held in Humansville on August 22, because the MDC constantly refuses to say if people have died in the Ozarks, and other parts of our state, from that awful disease.  I want to hear them either avoid that truth or confirm it.

         The white oak acorn crop in my back yard is not going to be anything like it was last year.  And this week’s nature question for the master naturalists scattered around the Ozarks…  Available acorns from white oaks and black oaks always depend on factors like late frosts in the previous spring.  True or False?

         Last year the acorns on my huge 300-year old white oaks behind my office were as thick as tadpoles in a mudhole, but this year they are just average in number, maybe a little less than average.  Acorns are about the most important winter food for a variety of wild creatures, and no matter how many there are, they get scarce in January.  But if the fall crop is abundant, deer and especially turkeys, go into the bottleneck of harsh winter with a little more fat, and a little more ability to survive through to spring.  In years of lean acorn availability, turkey and quail especially will suffer in late January and February.  So will many other larger bird species and small mammals.

But the thing is, while I see my acorn crop as less than desirable, it is a local or regional thing.  Someone with big white oaks a hundred miles in any direction may have a better production of acorns, and some may have less.

         It strikes me that in the Ozarks, there was a time when all country people knew all about the acorn crop because it was important to them, especially in a time when free-ranging hogs were raising little pigs out in the woods, and their main food was acorns.

Today I would be willing to bet that excluding all the master naturalists out there, 99 percent of the overall population of all suburbanites have no idea what each years acorn crop is.  But white oak acorns are the one forest food which can keep you from starving in the winter.  They are very bitter, but if you boil them several times, and pour the darkening water off until the boiling water is finally clear, they can be ground up to make a kind of bread, or eaten whole.  Yes, I have eaten lots of them, but I prefer to roll them in cinnamon and sugar, something you aren’t likely to have if you are starving.  Knowing this, should times get hard and you choose to go live in a cave in the wilderness you might remember to take an axe, fishing hook and line and cinnamon and sugar.

         The other evening I saw a television show entitled “Naked and Afraid” while I was trying to find the cardinal ballgame.  I think it was about two people, one man and one woman, who were set out in the wilderness ‘neked’, and were offered a lot of money to survive a few weeks.  Before Gloria Jean caught me and made me switch channels, I could discern that the two of them were worried about food.  Must not have been any acorns.  Any how it occurs to me that if I was out there with that beautiful blond lady that was running around looking for grubworms and lizards to eat, I wouldn’t be worrying about food, I would be concerned with keeping my hair combed and my belly pulled in so I wouldn’t look fat. And the only thing I would be afraid of is eating worms and snails. I would be collecting acorns!!

The answer to the acorn question….  False,-- this years black and red oak acorns are affected by conditions in the spring of 2016 while 2017 acorn crops depend on what conditions exist in the spring of 2017.

         I leave you with my conviction that while it is alright to be naked, you should never be afraid, and almost surely, if you are afraid, you should certainly not be naked.
I don’t know what channel that show was on, but will try to find it, as it is a great nature-oriented television show.

         I want to remind all of you that you can acquire any of my books or magazines with a credit card simply by calling my secretary, Ms. Wiggins at 417 777 5227.  If you want to get a description of what my 10 books are about, she can send that too.  Email me at lightninridge@windstream.net or write me at Box 22, Bolivar, Mo 65613.

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