Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Kill a Deer, Give Away the Meat


            Mike Widner, the Arkansas Biologist I wrote about not long ago, finished his book on quail and quail hunting just a couple of weeks ago and it is published and ready for anyone who wants to learn about hunting and managing the bobwhite quail.  You can order one, entitled, “A Life With Gentleman Bob… Hunting the Midwest Quail.”  It is 288 pages and would make a great Christmas gift for a quail hunter. 

            The cost of the book is ten dollars, postpaid, and we have about 50 of the signed and numbered copies here which can be inscribed to whomever you wish.  You may send a check payable to Lightnin’ Ridge Publishing, Box 22, Bolivar, Mo 65613, or pay by credit card by calling 417-777-5227.

             Mike and I were talking about how widespread the chronic wasting disease has become in North Arkansas where a number of elk and whitetail deer have been found to have it.  But then he told me something very scary about diseases spread by ticks.  He said that three of his friends and hunting partners have died in the past couple of years from tick-born diseases.  The most recent was a middle-aged man who developed a ‘red meat allergy’ which they attribute to a strange kind of disease that ticks carry. I don’t know much about these diseases, though most of us have a familiarity with Rocky Mountain spotted fever and lyme disease, both spread by tick bite. I am going to talk with some doctors about these and try to pass on the information to our readers.

            The Department of Conservation is once again encouraging deer hunters to donate deer meat to their “Share the Harvest” program, wherein a deer hunter who doesn’t want to risk getting the deadly prion disease known as Chronic Wasting in deer and elk, (Jakob Kruetzfeldt disease in humans) can kill deer and give the meat to a processing plant, then have it distributed to the hungry masses in the state.  I would not take my deer meat to any processor, nor would I eat any meat I hadn’t killed and taken care of myself, but that is a matter of personal conviction I suppose. There are lots of ways to feed a hungry family without doing this. It has become a way for trophy hunters to go after antlers without having to mess with the meat. People who receive the meat, in general, know nothing of the disease.  They should be told that the disease has killed many people, as the Center For Disease Control in Atlanta can attest.  But they will not be informed about it, and if just one or two people in the state get that horrible disease from eating ‘Share the Harvest’ venison, no one will know how they got it. 

This news release was recently sent out by the Missouri Department of Conservation for deer hunters…   Deer donated to Share the Harvest that were harvested in the seven Missouri counties where chronic wasting disease has been found will be tested for the deer disease. Deer that test positive for CWD will not be used and will be properly disposed of. The seven counties are Adair, Cole, Franklin, Jefferson, Linn, Macon, and St. Clair.  Nearly 4,300 Missouri deer hunters donated more than 198,000 pounds of venison to the program last deer season. Find participating processors in MDC’s ‘2017 Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information’ booklet, online or by calling MDC at 573-751-4115 or CFM at 573-634-2322.”

          Of course, Chronic Wasting Disease occurs in many other counties of Missouri, as Missourians will soon find out.  If it has been found in many north Arkansas deer, of course it is going to be found in the southernmost counties of Missouri also.  But I have no objection to seeing those who want the shared meat to have it.  I just think they should be told that there is a risk involved, no matter how slight it may be.
          Anyone who doubts that this disease has killed hunters in Missouri, should talk to the many people who have contacted me to say they have lost loved ones. One of them is Bill Zippro of Joplin Missouri, who lost his brother to the disease a year or so after he killed and ate a buck that appeared to be half-tame.  Wouldn’t it be nice if the news media of this state would talk with many of these people just to let the truth come out.
That won’t happen, the Missouri Department of Conservation would not allow it.   But in my February magazine, I intend to do just that.

            If some of that meat given away by the MDC was found to have prions in the blood or muscle fiber, I wonder if anyone could be sued. The sponsors of the share your harvest meat distribution program ought to think of that.  Sponsors the MDC lists include:  Bass Pro Shops, the Conservation Federation of Missouri, Missouri Chapter Whitetails Unlimited, Missouri Chapter Safari Club International, Missouri Chapter National Wild Turkey Federation, Drury Hotels, Midway USA Inc., Missouri Deer Hunters Assoc. and Missouri Food Banks Association.

           Again, I believe the truth about this terrible disease that has killed so many humans should be ferreted out and reported to the public without a worry of the money it might cost the MDC.  And I will be the first to tell you there’s a lot I do not understand about it.  But what I have learned by talking with doctors, visiting with families of those who died from it, and reading all I can, convinces me that there is a concentrated effort to deceive those who hunt deer and eat venison in this state.

            I think that it needs to be known that sheep and goats in this state can acquire the disease too, and I think there is a possibility that it could be spread from deer to cattle.  We need to find all of that out.  If the new controls on selling deer urine as an attractant are not baseless, then there is no way to control the disease through banning salt and mineral licks, as the scrapes made by deer in the fall and early winter mating season involve deer urinating in the scrapes, and other deer licking those scrapes and branches above them.

           Someday, the truth and the facts about this deer disease will be known, and the public will know how it got started and what it can do.  It may be awhile, but it will happen.  When that comes about, the MDC and the deer pen operators are going to be known for the deception they have intentionally created.  And I think they and the sponsors of the ‘share the harvest’ are setting themselves up for some big time lawsuits.

That doctor’s article I mentioned awhile back is now available to be sent via email to those who want to read it.  Just email me at lightninridge@windstream.net or call our office at 417 777 5227 and we will send it to you.

Monday, October 23, 2017


            When I wrote about CWD, the chronic wasting disease, a Missouri department of Conservation employee wrote to several of the newspapers claiming that much of the article was false.  They do that!  For many, many years, employees of that agency have lied when they wanted to, put out false information when they wanted to--- and they get away with it.  Except that one time when they were sued, and had to pay out 1 million dollars because a judge caught them in several lies.  Never heard about that did you?

            Telling hunters and the general public that CWD has never been known to affect humans is a LIE.  They can say that because someone who develops that awful disease may have eaten an elk, a sheep, a goat or a deer with the disease, or even a cow.  You cannot prove which of those animals passed it on to a human.  So that makes it so they can say that if you get it you cannot prove you got it from a deer.  In humans, it is not called Chronic Wasting Disease of course, even thought it is the same disease, caused by the same ‘prions’.  In my last article, I spelled it ‘pryons’ which gave the writer the opportunity to say I didn’t know what I was talking about.

           I think it is safe to say that no matter what they say about the disease, the MDC and some other game and fish agencies in other states, will never admit that a sick deer is a danger to any human, because the minute they do, they will likely lose a few million dollars in a big time drop in deer tag sales.

           It should be that you could take the deer you kill to a check station and have it checked for the disease.  On the opening week of deer season in twenty-five counties, you are required to do that, and could be issued a citation if you don’t.  But if your deer checks positive for CWD, I don’t believe you will be notified for quite some time, if at all.  And a hunter who has gutted and skinned and butchered a deer that has the disease, has already put himself at risk.

            A lady from Perryville, Missouri was the latest reader to tell me of a death from Jakob-Kruetzfeldt disease.  Her sister died in 2014, and she gave me many details which I will pass on in my next issue of the Lightnin’ Ridge outdoor magazine.  Her sister’s husband was a deer hunter. 

           I don’t know how many deaths have occurred in Missouri over the last 15 years from this awful disease.  But every one who has called to tell me about losing a loved one from it, talks about the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta Georgia stepping in to block any contact with the deceased person, and keeping the bodies from being taken to a funeral home.  In all cases, the deceased person was cremated. 

           My daughter the doctor, who will tell me little about this disease, saw her first case of it about fifteen years ago in Columbia Missouri, so it has been around awhile. I saw the first diseased deer brought into a north Missouri Amish deer pen operation from Ohio, about 20 years ago.  The first outbreak of CWD occurred in that county years later, very close to that Amish deer ranch.

            I can’t tell you any more about the threat of eating a sick deer than I already have, except that a perfectly healthy acting buck chasing does in November can have the disease, and some think that the disease can infect humans for years without showing up until the awful few weeks that a person who has it has to endure. Any “share your deer harvest” programs should be stopped immediately and no one should eat deer meat given to them.  Efforts are being made to stop the sale of deer urine as an attractant because prions have been found in deer urine.

             As to whether I am telling the truth when I write about the Missouri Department of Conservation, many times I have offered to meet with any number of them to discuss in public, before all who want to attend,  talking over the things they think I have written which are not on track.  Just me, willing to stand up and defend what I write before any kind of crowd, any where, against all their claims against me.  That debate challenge has never been accepted, but I still offer it-- any where they want to do it, any time against any number of their representatives and experts.  Trouble is, at such a debate, many things would be brought out that they do not want known.

            If you believe the MDC is an honest agency, heed the words of Rick Vance, the son of a Baptist minister and an MDC conservation agent who resigned years ago because as he said,  “I was often told to lie and I just wasn’t going to.”

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Open House and sale on Lightnin’ Ridge

         This coming Saturday, October 21, we will have a good time up here on Lightnin’Ridge with our open-house event wherein I will be selling off lots of the memorabilia I grew up with… old guns and rods and reels and fishing lures I used as far back as 1959.  The place has boats and canoes for sale, beautiful artwork and antiques galore.  The list of items for sale is too much to print.  You can visit my museum and see what a mature oak-hickory forest looks like by walking our trails. 
       We will have enough cake and coffee and iced tea for everyone.   We’ll open the gate at 9 a.m.  Here’s how to find us…   Take Highway 32 from the Bolivar, Mo. square, east one mile, and turn north (left) on Highway D  (Pomme de Terre Avenue).  Drive five miles north, cross the Pomme de Terre River bridge and immediately on the other side turn east (right) on 390th Road.  Our place is two miles east on a high ridge, and there is a big sign there which says, Lightnin’ Ridge Publishing    Address.. 1581 East 390th Road.   I hope you can come, I will be here all day to welcome you.

The Little Niagara’s Trout

         Many, many years ago I bought a 12-year collection of old Forest & Stream outdoor magazines, from 1910 through 1922. Occasionally I read through some of them, always finding something new. In the June 27th issue of 1914 (magazines were published weekly until 1915), I came across a fishing article written by an Edward Cochran about southern Missouri’s best trout stream, the Little Niagara River. The following is part of that article, there’s not room for all of it. Where do you suppose the Little Niagara is? If the Irish Wilderness were not mentioned, I would figure it was the Niangua, rather than Niagara.  Does it have another name today or is it buried beneath an Ozark reservoir? Regardless, you may enjoy reading this account of a fishing trip to the Ozarks that took place over 100 years ago.
         Excerpt…   Hidden among the gigantic elm, poplar and oak trees of the “Irish Wilderness,” a remote and sparsely settled region of the low and ragged Ozark Mountains in south Missouri, flows the “Little Niagara River”. It was this stream, far from anyone except a scattering few of the poor, ignorant natives of that section, and filled with fish of all sorts and a goodly number of rainbow trout, that our party sought at the outset of the open season for trout in the “show me” state.
         The bad mountain roads, which are more like trails, made by the natives, no bridges, and poor method of travel, make it possibly the most difficult stream to reach in all the great southwest. It is a region of poverty, the natives being the most shiftless and unprogressive of any in the southern states, which accounts for the bad roads and other things of the sort that must be fought on such a journey. This also accounts for the abundance of good fishing.

         Upon arrival by train, we found a lumber wagon, of the rough mountain type, loaded with our provisions, tackle, a camp stove, tent, etc., A drive of thirty-two miles over rough mountain roads and trails put us at our destination. From sunrise to sunset we traveled up and down these low, rocky hills, where is laid the scene of the famous novel, “The Shepard (sic) of the Hills,” and then we pitched camp for the night.

         We retired early, and at daybreak we were aroused again for the remainder of the journey, which was seven miles of the roughest going on the entire trip. Before noon we reached the bank of the beautiful stream and found a level spot of green grass, resembling an oasis in the desert. Here we pitched our camp and gave orders to the driver to return for us in two weeks.

         The “Little Niagara” wends its crooked way through these scraggly mountains and roars over solid rock most of its course. The water is perfectly clear and cold, being fed by springs from the mountains, and the stream averages about twenty feet in width. There are many deep pools where the rainbow trout abound, and black bass and other finny inhabitants are not scarce.

         It always has been more or less of a mystery to those who have caught large rainbows out of the “Little Niagara,” how this variety came to be there. The natives claim that a New York banker and a few friends once sought to establish a camp in the wildest part of the Ozark Mountains, where they could spend one or two months every year far away from civilization. They wanted to fish where there was plenty, and hunt where big game could be found in abundance. This was an ideal spot for both some years ago. They found a large spring flowing out of the rocks about half a mile from the “Little Niagara.” They built a dam near the river and made an artificial lake. Into this they put thousands of rainbow trout and hired a watchman to take care of the grounds and see that no one caught the trout.

         The trout multiplied rapidly in the cold spring water, but the Easteners soon gave up the camp and the dam was allowed to wash away and the trout went into the “Little Niagara,” where for many years they have multiplied, with no one cutting down the supply. As the result the stream is well stocked. To substantiate their claim the natives took our party to the lake and there we found what remained of the dam, and the ruins of the log club-house.

         The natives are not skilled fishermen. They use nets a great deal, and a croppie (sic) or a perch is as good to them as a trout. The first day in camp we landed a good catch of trout. One in the party is a lover of bass fishing, and he came in with some of the black boys that are right next to trout when it comes to eating. We waded the cool waters day after day for the two weeks we were in camp, often going far as ten miles upstream and our invasion against these prize beauties was successful each day. (Dablemont note—This writer is full of baloney about wading upstream ten miles and back in any Ozark river, now or then.)

         It will be a century before the gamey trout is extinct in this region, because of the difficulty anglers encounter and the time required to reach this river. It is not likely that the time will come in the next half century when travel in the “Irish Wilderness” of the Ozarks will be made easier, because railroad experts have stated that the cost of reducing the hardships of travel in that section is so great that it will not pay, the fertility of the soil being of a very low grade; and there is no other source of wealth in that country.

         Readers should remember that on Saturday, Oct 21 we are having a big outdoor gear and antique sale here on Lightnin’ Ridge. 

Monday, October 2, 2017

Odds and Ends and Big Fish

Hybrid, Kentucky or Spotted Bass

Hybrids (Kentucky or Spotted Bass) can be easily identified... On a striper, the lines on the belly are continuous and dark. On a hybrid, lines are uneven and broken.

         I will be speaking to a group of retired teachers on Monday, October 9 at the First Baptist Church in Houston Missouri at noon.  I was told the public was welcome so I am passing it on to my readers who would like to attend.  I will have the new fall magazine and my books which I will sign after I finish speaking.  I’ll assure you of a humorous account of my boyhood on the Big Piney, near Houston, where I went to school and helped to retire a few teachers earlier than planned.  I’ll also be reminiscing about my boyhood in the pool hall on Houston’s main street.  Other than that I am not sure what I will be talking about.  I guess that goes along with what the MDC insists about me.
         After I wrote the last article about Chronic Wasting Disease in deer in which I pointed out that humans can get the disease, and many have died from it, a Conservation Department Employee wrote newspapers a letter saying that is not true… or at least it has not been proven, because they insist the deadly ‘prions’ (which I misspelled last week) can be found in cattle, buffalo, elk, goats and sheep.  

         Therefore if you die from the disease, no one can prove what animal killed you, so you can’t say it was an infected deer.  So don’t quit buying deer tags, because if you do, the MDC might have to operate on only a hundred and fifty million a year. 

         They need that permit money.  They may have to give Bass Pro Shops another few million, like they did a few years back.  Or they may have to pay off a million dollar lawsuit, as they did a few years back when some of their agents got caught illegally searching a home without a search warrant while the owners were gone. 
         Then again, they made need to help some poor lawyers build private duck-hunting marshes, or give a judge a quarter million to fix up his private hunting club, as they did the late Judge Kelso a few years ago.  You can see why they worry about how many deer permits they might lose over the CWD disease in deer.

         The big sale we are going to hold here on Lightnin’ Ridge is not a swap meet.  Our annual outdoorsman’s swap meet is in March.  I am just selling off guns and fishing tackle and lures and stuff I have accumulated over the years.  I will put directions and a list of what we will be selling on my website in a week or so.  That is www.larrydablemontoutdoors.blogspot.com

     The book I talked about a few weeks ago, authored by my old friend Mike Widner, is finished.  Widner, a biologist and outdoorsman from North Arkansas wrote about hunting bobwhite quail and a few other game birds and the problems quail face today.  He also talks about what you can do to increase quail numbers on your land.  The first 100 off the press have been signed by Mike, and numbered.  You can receive this 288-page book by sending 10 dollars, plus 2 dollars for postage.  The address is Lightnin’ Ridge Publishing, Box 22, Bolivar, Mo. 65613.

        Mike Widner and I go back about forty-five years, when we both started out as Naturalist working for the National Park Service at Buffalo Point on the newly formed Buffalo National River.  He and his wife spent a few days up in my part of the country waiting for the book to be finalized, and one day we motored up the Sac River when they were running quite a bit of water out of Stockton Lake.  There were some spots where I have caught hybrids in the fall, and we got into them.  That high water was perfect and those fish, which are a product of a cross between white bass and stripers, were tearing things up.  I mean that literally.  We likely hooked two dozen from five to fifteen pounds.  But we only boated three big ones!  In that swift water, they had us outclassed.  We lost five lures, I think, expensive ones that it costs about 10 bucks or better to replace.  And when we thought we really had some about whipped, they made a big lunge and pulled hooks loose.         

    Adding some fat white bass and hefty Kentucky bass as the water dropped, we came back with a good bucket full of fillets.  It is a little more work to skim the red meat off of a white or hybrid, but you have to do it if you want that solid, tasty white meat.  When the red center stripe is removed and that thin layer of red meat under the skin is removed, those fillets from stripers, hybrids and whites are great eating.

         Catching them on the Sac depends on knowing where the fish congregate when the water is high, but not too high.  Finding the flow of the released water to be just right, you soon find that ten or twelve pound line on casting reels with medium action rods just isn’t enough in very swift water. That day, while we hooked a dozen or so of the hybrids, we saw at least 25 or 30 total.  The ones we didn’t hook made mighty splashes and swirls at topwater lures, and some looked to be 30 inches long.  The ones we landed were between 22 and 26 inches long.  We didn’t weight them, but they fought like 20 pounders, all of them.

         I hate for all the world to have to report this, but the dream I had of making a retreat for underprivileged children, and an outdoor education center for anyone to enjoy, is a dream that I finally have to give up.  The opposition I have from a neighbor that the old man who sold me the land called, ‘the most evil hearted man he ever knew’ is a barrier to hard to overcome. I will tell the whole story about him and the courts and law officers of St. Clair County and how they together made this venture impossible in my Lightnin’ Ridge Magazine, and I hope you will read it.  Everyone needs to understand why we have to go this route.

         Laws that deal with removing boundary lines and closing long-used existing roads cannot be enforced there, apparently.  When I was younger I might have overcame his attempt to destroy it all, but without expensive lawyers it is more than I can handle. And no matter how hard I tried, the news media in Springfield just refuse to publicize it. The youth retreat we hoped would attract dozens of groups sits empty too many days.

         Many people have donated to that dream and so many have helped in other ways.  If you are one who has given money to pay taxes and insurance and electricity, I will be returning your donations as soon as the land can be sold.  The effort, taking up three years of work and hope, is not all in vain.  Many, many children have come there, and had a great experience enjoying God’s creation.