Saturday, November 25, 2017

The Last Buck


      On the opening day of deer season, a buck deer chased a doe out into an opening in front of my deer stand.  His antlers were unimpressive; at 100 yards no one can tell how many points are on a moving animal.  The doe was obviously aggravated with him. Reminded me of me when I was 14 years old, trying to get Sharon Bennett to notice me.

      I was about to make life better for that doe, as the buck appeared to be fat and healthy enough to provide steaks, hamburger and stew meat for months.  I leveled the rifle, waited until he slowed down and pulled the trigger. Nothing!  I pulled harder.  Still nothing.

      Well, to make a sad story brief, I found out that the action on the rifle had not closed properly and for all I know that mediocre buck is still trying to get some doe to stop long enough to develop a romance.  It was frustrating, but I corrected the problem and asked the Great Creator if he was enjoying watching me goof up so much.  Surely God laughs at me, if he is watching.  It must amuse Him when my boat floats out in the middle of the stream while I am stranded on the bank, or when I shoot at a drake mallard over my head and a branch comes crashing down at my feet and the duck flies on. He has surely smiled when my bird dog comes down on staunch point and my heartbeat soars in anticipation of a rooster pheasant and it turns out to be a groundhog which smells just like a bird.

       I have accepted that.  As long as I know God is out there with me, I don’t mind providing a little entertainment. In overseeing this country we live in, there isn’t much to make God smile today!  But as I thought about that, another doe stepped out into that opening, crossing the little road, which goes up into big timber.  Was that the same doe?  I prepared to whack that buck behind her if he showed up again.  And as I figured, there was a buck behind her, but this one wasn’t like Larry the teenager all
starry eyed with a pretty classmate...

This buck was the Sean Connery of the woods… the Tom Selleck of deerdom.  His antlers were wide and thick and heavy, and he was big, built like John Wayne.  And the doe wasn’t running, she was happy about being there.  She walked down toward my stand and he followed.  Then he stopped and angled off to the woods like Sam Elliott would have done, suspicious of Indians.  Through a tree-top or two, he was a good hundred and twenty yards away and I put my sights on his heart and pulled the trigger at what was my very last chance to make a clean shot. But it wouldn’t work, I knew.  I am not so good with a rifle I don’t miss, and this was a better chance to miss than I have had in awhile.  The rifle roared, the doe ran up under me and stopped and her leading man dropped in his tracks and did not move.  He didn’t even kick.  I had done better than I expected.  The bullet went only a foot or so from where I aimed, and the way I figure it, it must have ricocheted off a small branch and hit him right in front of his eye an inch or so.  But I never saw a deer drop that dead in my life. He never twitched.

       The whole story reminds me of the time many years ago when I shot and killed a fat little fork-horned buck at a distance of 40 yards and before I could climb down from my stand a huge old gray buck with antlers likely supporting 10 or 12 points from heavy high beams stepped out of the cedars and stood there for a good minute, trying to figure out what had happened.  Other hunters told me they would have shot that big buck, but I really had no interest in big antlers. Still don’t. I have plenty, scattered in sheds and around the basement.  Never could justify spending five hundred dollars for taxidermy work when Gloria Jean wanted a dishwasher.

      You can see the pictures of my big buck on my website, larrydablemontoutdoors, and when you do, you should know that he is the last one to fall to my rifle, muzzle-loader or crossbow.  He is the last buck I will ever kill, unless I hit one with my pickup!  I say that not with any guilt from being a hunter, or sympathy for the deer.  I may indeed take a doe in future hunting seasons, with my crossbow or muzzle-loader, if this deer disease doesn’t make it too risky to do so. but never another buck.  But otherwise I have had enough.  The deer season falls during that time that I would love so much to be walking the Sand-hills of Nebraska or South Dakota hunting prairie grouse, or following a bird-dog in Iowa, hoping to get a couple of ring-necked pheasants to jump within range.

       The fishing, when deer season opens, is often really good, especially the farther south you go.  And over on Truman Lake, my Labrador and I can hide back up in the tip of some cove and almost certainly drop a mallard or two in the decoys, if we wait long enough and I’m not napping when they fly past.
       The best time of the year is October and November, and I always feel like I am missing something when I hunt deer.  In this day and time, when preparation for bagging a big buck entails game cameras and corn feeders, and walking the woods in blaze orange clothing with doe pee squirted on your boots, I don’t fit. I may hunt for deer with my camera, but not with a modern rifle.  I am not suited to be decked out in bright colors, mixing with the crowds from the city suburbs who come once a year to the woods in pursuit of trophies.

       I came to that conclusion the day I killed that big buck, working for hours to gut him and skin and properly take care of the meat without cutting any bones or lymph nodes or internal organs.  No more!  In future winters, I may walk the woods, hoping for a skiff of snow, hunting a young deer for the freezer with my muzzle-loader.  And I will be doing it as a hunter, dressed warmly in camouflaged clothing—nothing orange-- even in my pocket.  All you game wardens take notice of that. There’s your opportunity to get me on something.  All you have to do is leave your warm state vehicles and go out in the winter woods.  I don’t think there will be much chance of that.

        My next column is an important one, don’t miss it.  Until you read it, don’t eat any venison someone else has butchered.  You may call my office if you want to order one of my outdoor books or a subscription to my outdoor magazine for yourself or as a Christmas gift. The number is 417 777 5227. Write to me at Box 22, Bolivar, Mo. 65613.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Flowing Waters of Another Time

Dad with a pair of Piney River mallards from my boyhood, behind the floating blind which we used to hunt the river

          It was a November river, brightly arrayed in the reds and yellows and orange of fallen leaves set adrift on the blue-gray water before us.  But downstream, there were dapplings of green along the lower end of a wide eddy, the green heads of wild mallards… lots of them. The mallards were what we were after but in this case, my dad said the odds were against us.  

         I was shaking with excitement, only eleven years old, clutching that new used shotgun and anxious to shoot something that could fly faster than a squirrel could run through the branches.  But it wouldn’t’ t be those mallards, they were 200 yards away and between us and them was a rocky shallow shoal that our old wooden johnboat couldn’t float through without wading. 

         Sometimes it was like that, when it had been dry in the fall and the Piney was lower than usual.  But Dad said sometimes a dry fall put more ducks on the river because the shallow marshes dried up and Ozark ponds were low, and froze over easily when it got below freezing for a night or two.  Then the only good open water was the river, which seldom froze completely.

         The problem we faced that November day was that in a big flock of ducks, there were too many eyes; old ducks with wary eyes, as Dad said on occasion.  In our johnboat, with the bow covered with brush, limbs of sycamore and oak and willow, we could sneak up within shotgun range of wild ducks when there were only five or six or so, and we had water deep enough to float through without making any noise.  But it was harder when there were 20 or 30.  Then you had to really go slow and be sure they couldn’t see anything behind that blind.

         A couple of weeks or so before, I had shot my first ducks when Dad slowly paddled our floating blind right up on some wood ducks sitting on a log.  At just the perfect range he whispered for me to shoot and I did.  I got the one I was shooting at and two others behind him.  And in those days, the limit on woodducks was one apiece.

         My ambition was to shoot a duck flying, like Dad and Grandpa did often, but as I said, that memorable day many, many years ago, it seemed that we were looking downriver at ducks we could never get within range of.  But then Dad had an idea… he backed the boat up a little and wedged it against a rock near the bank.  He told me to just wait there on the front seat right behind the blind while he would sneak over to the bank and downstream through the timber where he could sneak up close to the flock and surprise them.
         He’d likely get off a shot or two and the flock would take to flight upriver, right past where I was waiting.  I would like to have gone with him, but his legs were long and mine were short and it was always hard for me to keep up.  And so as I watched him disappear over the far bank clutching his Model Ninety-seven Winchester, I sunk down behind the blind disappointed and impatient, figuring I wouldn’t have much of a chance that morning.

         I waited, watching a kingfisher pass by, and counting the leaves that floated past on the slow current of the river.  And just as it seemed that I could wait no longer, I heard dad’s shotgun roar twice, well down the river. All at once, my senses were alive, and my heart beat faster as I saw the flash of wings downriver.  They were flying upstream right at me!  In only a few seconds they came to me, about twenty feet above the river, one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen. 
         There were more than twenty mallards, red legs and green heads mingled among the drab brown hens.  I had my hammer cocked on my single shot Iver Johnson sixteen gauge and tried to look for just one duck as Dad had told me to.  He was a big ol’ green headed drake, and too fast and too close, and though I didn’t completely understand shot patterns, I understood that my drake mallard only lifted a little and bore on upriver in unbroken flight.  I had failed to lead that duck at all, and shot behind him. 

         But behind him, there was a pair of ducks that had to be the unluckiest ducks ever to leave the Canadian prairies.  The two folded up at the blast of my little shogun and plunged into the river only about twenty five yards away.  One was a drake, and he was there fluttering upside down in a circle with his red legs kicking at the sky. The other was a hen, and she was still very alive, with only a broken wing.  I quickly kicked out the empty shell and reloaded and when she was about forty yards away, headed down river. I took careful aim and dispatched of her at the very limit to the little shotguns range.

         Dad got back shortly afterward, carrying two mallard drakes, and we retrieved my ducks, then paused on a gravel bar to eat lunch.  As we warmed baloney sandwiches on forked sticks over a warm fire, my dad carried on about how big my mallard drake was, how he didn’t reckon he had never seen a bigger one.
         I don’t see how a kid could have been more happy, nor as lucky.  It was a time and place when simple things were rewards of the highest value.  I treasured the life of a boy who had the Piney River and the woods of its watershed for a playground, and a Dad and Grandfather who I longed to emulate.

         I always hoped I would have a son who felt the same way and grandson’s who wanted to be just like Grandpa.  But the Dablemont name ends with me, and the love of the outdoors will die with me.  My descendants will never long for the sight of mallards lifting from leaf flecked eddies of the Big Piney.  The river I knew is gone and the little Iver Johnson from long ago memories is gone with them. Last week I sold it to a friend of mine who will put it on the wall of his den with a copy of this article.  And if I ever want to see it, I will know where it is.

         I killed my last big buck last week; I will never shoot another. In next weeks column will tell the story of that last hunt.  As one old Indian Chief put it…”I will fight no more, forever.”   I will also have much more to say about the chronic wasting disease in deer and elk and whether or not it can kill humans who eat deer meat.  In the meantime, I will advise anyone who has been eating venison donated in the “Share Your Harvest” program to not continue to do so.  I will tell you why next week.

Monday, November 6, 2017


PHOTO CAPTION… Two of the  several sick but uninjured deer I have come across in Polk County.  That may have had the CWD disease.  In no instance I know of has the MDC came to Investigate those sick deer after being called.

     It may never be known if those people who die from Jakob-Kruetzfeld disease got it from a prion-diseased deer or elk or cow or goat or sheep, but right now, those who say it will not be spread by eating a CWD deer are talking with their fingers crossed. If any biologist or doctor is willing to say that, would those people willing show us their convictions in the matter are solid by eating prion-tainted meat from a deer known to have CWD, or a mad cow infected in England with those same prions? Have people in England really died from eating the meat of those diseased steers or was that all just made up?

     The news media needs to find and talk with folks who have lost loved ones to Jakob-Kruetzfeldt disease and feel sure they got it from eating a diseased deer. One of those families lives right near Joplin. In the meantime, here is a common sense plan I have adopted. First I will eat no venison but the meat from deer I KILLED AND CLEANED. I will not cut through any bone, and I will not shoot a deer in the head or spine. 
     I would not eat venison someone else has killed and butchered, nor from the ‘share your harvest’ program, but that is not anything that spells much danger to a lot of people. If tainted meat with prions in the flesh is eaten, there isn’t anyone willing to say it will cause you to have the disease. The ‘share your harvest’ program, if it involves deer with Chronic Wasting disease, may not kill one person. Maybe if it does, it will only be one or two people and it won’t be me or you.

     But this I know… when deer killed by hunters are tested this year and some are found to have the disease, all the nay-sayers who insist it is nothing to worry about, will NOT EAT THAT MEAT. What does that tell you?

     The best advice to any hunter that I can give… kill any deer that looks sick, contact the conservation department and have them come to test it.  If you kill a healthy deer, hang it up and skin it and cut all the meat from the bone WITHOUT CUTTING THE SPINAL COLUMN.  Cutting into bone marrow may not cause a problem but I won’t do it.  And since prions have been found in the urine, be very careful to not rupture the bladder.

     For the first time in my life, I will probably use rubber gloves to clean, skin and butcher my deer.  And just maybe it will be the last year I hunt deer in the Ozarks, I don’t know.  There just aren’t enough facts yet to tell us what will come.  And anyone who goes around saying there is nothing to worry about might just right.  Or they might be wrong!

     The center for Disease Control has sent out a news release saying that no one has been proven to have died of Chronic Wasting Disease. I cannot believe they have done this… it is the height of deception.  Chronic Wasting Disease is the name given to DEER and ElK ‘prion’ disease…  it is caused by the same  ‘prions’ that has killed who knows how many humans. It is known as Jakob-Kruetzfeldt disease. Why the Center for Disease Control wants to be part of this deception is beyond me. They could say… “There has been no humans die from the infection of ‘prions’in the human body.”  Instead they give the name of the commonly used term which involves deer and elk. If they are sure you cannot get Jakob Kruetzfeldt disease from those prions in deer, they should say that.  BUT THEY WON”T!!!

     If you are a deer hunter who calls in a big buck to report that it has big antlers… and the Missouri Department of Conservation is adamant that you tell them the size of antlers in both points and base size…. you probably ought to say you killed a spindly-antlered buck which has antlers that are unimpressive. And likewise, you would be wise not to put a photo of a big set of antlers on facebook. You cannot imagine how often game wardens confiscate such deer, sometimes weeks afterward, because they may be worth thousands of dollars. If they learn you have one like that, you may become a target, cited for some technical violation so they can confiscate and keep your antlers. In case you think this is so much nonsense, I will write a column in a week or so telling the stories of a couple of hunters who had just such a thing happen to them.

     With the MDC, the truth of what they are and what they do is hidden, because basically they own the news media and control that well. I will finish my book which tells all of the stuff I have learned about the corruption and illegal acts that conservation agents have been involved in, and much more. It will be distributed free across the Ozarks, so that the truth can be known.  Readers who have been victimized should contact me to have their stories known. I received one such letter recently from Joseph Kupec, and I want everyone to read it. It cannot be printed in any news media, and you will see why. You can read it at the end of this column.

     Again, if you kill a really big buck, you may become a target of a conservation agent who wants the antlers.  Contact me if you feel you have been a victim. I may want to put your story in that book, and I’ll keep your name confidential. The address is Box 22, Bolivar, Mo. 65613.  Email address and phone number is 417 777 5227.

      In February of 2014 I was greeted by NINE conservation officers claiming that I had acquired antlers from thirty poached bucks.  I didn’t feel threatened, I am an honest person who has donated a portion of my proceeds from the sale of my products to the Missouri Department of Conservation and the Department of Natural Resources.
       After extensive documentation of those antlers, the main agent began to get frustrated. But I told him I had never taken an illegal deer in my life and would take a polygraph test to back that up.  But agent Jones said that he had checked the internet and found zero records of me tagging any deer in the state. 
       I went to court in April of 2014 and was greeted by the Prosecuting Attorney for Moniteau County.  He said he had indeed found the internet records of deer I had checked which the agents said were not there. So the invasion of my home was a farce! BUT… he was going to prosecute me because I had some antlers which were given to me or handed down from family and friends years back because I couldn’t prove where they came from.  One was a set of synthetic antlers they had also taken.  They kept all of them, even the ones I had legally checked of my own!
       Six months later that Prosecuting Attorney crashed his vehicle into a restaurant, injured four civilians inside and fled the scene of the accident.  He refused to take a breathalyzer test when he was apprehended.
       Until now I thought I had the rights of life liberty and pursuit of happiness.  You do not have the right to possess a set of antlers that someone gave you years ago if the Dept of Conservation wants them.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

The Dreaded Deer Disease... by Doc MacFarlane

We have had requests from many people for the Texas Doctor's article written about CWD

It just dawned on me to post it to Larry's blogspot   -  Gloria Dablemont