Monday, April 30, 2018

Was that Really April? plus MDC update about Jeremy Henshaw

         Quite a few readers have commented on this ‘spring that isn’t spring’.  I can’t come up with answers as to why the mushrooms have been so scarce but I can’t say that it is over yet.  After the storms to come this week, there may be a few to be found in May.  In north Missouri and southern Iowa, morels are usually found in May, and in Northwest Ontario, I have found them in June.  There are factors that make morels come out, and all those things have to come together when the soil temperature is perfect, and this year, soil temperature hasn’t ever been quite right when other things were.
         The biggest disappointment has been the wild gobblers.  Even now, as May comes on, they are gobbling on the roost and doing very little when they hit the ground.  For a fact, there are fewer 2 and 3 year-old gobblers than I have seen in a good while… a product of some really wet springs which kill off large numbers of poults. Even an expert caller like me, who once called a gobbler through a forest fire a half mile away, can’t enjoy turkey hunting much when a tom doesn’t want to gobble.  I am not going to become one of those field edge hunters who put out decoys and hunt out of store-bought blind.   I want to hunt gobblers the old-fashioned way, hiding behind a brushpile in the deep woods calling in a lovesick tom that gobbles 25 times and comes in slow as cold molasses.  And this year, they seem to be hesitant to answer the most perfect calls I can muster.  It might be a good time to sit out in a field disguised as a steer!

         If you got to see the column I wrote about Jeremy Hanshaw, which many newspapers would not print, I have much more to reveal about all this that the MDC does not want you to know.  Jeremy was the victim of Conservation Department agents who wanted, and took, without a search warrant, eight of his and his wife’s deer heads because they said the land they own and hunted on with landowner tags is two-tenths of an acre less than the five acres they thought they had, I have been assured by the enforcement chief and the director of the MDC they would talk with Jeremy in person.
         His story will be in our summer issue of the Lightnin’ Ridge magazine in detail, and you will not believe what has happened.  Apparently the judge was about to be lenient with the young man, so somehow a new judge was called in by the agents and prosecutor to tell the court that allowing Jeremy and his wife to keep the deer heads would be ‘like allowing someone to keep an illegal sawed-off shotgun’.  Apparently the two agents were even at odds over whether all the heads should be taken. It may take awhile to get to the bottom of this, but I am going to show, before it is all over, that these confiscations of legally taken deer heads have been done all over the state, and they are then sold or given away. I have the proof of that.

         Director Sara Pauley has met with me and promised to work with me on some conservation projects.  But it will take awhile, I suppose, as this week she emailed me to say she is hunting turkeys.  Please read on my website… much more about Jeremy Hanshaw and what is happening to him.  It can happen to you, as it has happened to many, many others.

I am hoping that many of the hunter’s and fishermen out there will contact me about the things agents and biologists, and the forestry division of the MDC has done which can be proven.  The book I hope to publish this year about them, will use many reader letters which the news media of the state will never allow to be known. Meanwhile here is a letter I received from a young college student this week... one of more than 200 received recently.  I hope in time to publish them all.

Dear Mr. Dablemont
     I am a student at ____________where I am majoring in wildlife management. My home is in Reynolds County, south of Ellington, Missouri. I have enjoyed your articles in the newspaper since early in high school. My dad, grandmother and I look forward to what you have to say every week. My friend and relative,______ knows you well and he tells stories about you occasionally when I see him. Those stories, and others I have been told from my dad, grandpa, and local old-timers, have always made me curious about natural history in the Ozarks and elsewhere. They also make me regret that I will probably never enjoy the same opportunities all of you had back then. I regret that the disdain for the environment has degraded our resources from an already fragile state to the point of complete loss of some species, and near loss of many others. It worries me that, as you mentioned in your last article, the rivers and creeks are filling in with gravel and sediment because of careless forestry practice. It bothers me when I see a stream bank eroding away because the trees have been cut or have fallen without being replaced, and cattle wading in the stream contaminating every water source downstream in the watershed.
     Concerning the Conservation Department, I am as disappointed as you in their priorities. I question many of their methods, specifically regarding their treatment of timber. I have witnessed the destruction of vast open timber. The woods I grew up in that border my family's property have been reduced to a wasteland. This is public land the MDC owns and manages. As one of our neighbors described it, "they went in and cut everything but ridin' switches". In the place of timber now resides a dense thicket of briers and brush that is nearly inaccessible. I watched from the front porch of my grandma's house as the log trucks left with all the logs they could carry, and returned for more until there was nothing remaining. In a span of a few years I went from wanting to work for MDC to despising the thought of it. The policy of the department toward forests seems to have been to exploit rather than to preserve. They claim to want rid of feral hogs in Missouri, yet create a safe haven for them with every clear cut they make. I hope to see the day where forests on public lands are preserved and maintained, rather than razed until valuable and then harvested with no concern for the many parts of the ecosystem that depend on them-- both living and nonliving. 
     As for your writing, if you can be persuaded to continue I would appreciate it very much. And I wouldn't hope for your subject to change to appease anyone who cannot relate to it. Instead, it should inform everyone of what once was, what caused its demise, and what can be done to restore it. Thank you for your years of concern and dedication to informing the public.  You may use this letter but please do not use my name as I hope to work someday in the field of conservation and wildlife, and I am afraid they would see to it I have difficulty getting a job in this state if the MDC finds out my name.

Ask yourself why this young man’s letter cannot be published in a large percentage of this state’s newspapers.

         To write to me or call our publishing office…. 417 777 5227, Box 22 Bolivar, Mo. 65613 or email

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Take your camera in the woods....

do you know what species of trees these photos show. I love to see just what i can come across with my camera. will answer the question tomorrow.


Mdc director sara pauley has recently assured me that we will be getting together soon trying to actually tackle some conservation problems, but this week she will be turkey hunting. I want to get Jeremy Hanshaw into her office soon. he is the one that two agents victimized, stealing eight of his deer heads.
Mrs Pauley wants me to bring her 'EVIDENCE OF HIS INNOCENCE'. i am anxious to do just that. In the meantime i spent yesterday exploring the woods on truman lake and it was a wonderful peaceful day. never saw a soul nor heard a thing that wasn't natural. on much of that corps land, the wooded hills are filled with giant trees of all species. They won't be there long because MDC 'manages' much of it for the corps. That management will allow them to turn loose private logging companies to butcher it someday. I wonder if we all gave them enough money if they might let them stand. because everyone knows they function to make more money. our license fees and that 1/8 cent tax we give them isn't nearly enough. they just can't operate on 200 million a year!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Response to A Newspaper Editor Concerning My Criticism of MDC

         For the fourth year now, our Panther Creek Youth Ranch is ready to provide a free outdoor environment for underprivileged kids. This is a fifty-acre retreat on a beautiful little creek with a lodge and two cabins, kayaks, canoes, a sports field, a trap range, trails and a rec room.  Smaller churches that do not have the money to take kids to expensive summer camps may use ours for no charge, for a weekend or a week.  I write about it because the only publicity it has ever had has been through this column. I need readers to help spread the word. No television or large newspaper in the Ozarks has ever mentioned it, and I don’t understand why.  Lots of kids have come there, but it needs to be used much more.  We have accommodated 30 kids before, who swam and hiked and fished and enjoyed an abundance of wildlife.  Help me spread the word to churches or organizations that work with kids who seldom see the greatest of God’s creation in the outdoors. And while we have accomplished a great deal there, our old tractor has gone under, and we need to buy a small, older model tractor to pull a disc and a mower.  It has to fit into our budget, so we need one that is economical.  It doesn’t have to be very big.  If you have one for sale, the phone number is at the end of this column.

         Recently the editor of one of the newspapers using this outdoor column said that several of his readers have said they do not like this column because I criticize the Missouri Department of Conservation too much.  So I asked readers to let me know if it offends them when I truthfully state what is going on inside that agency, and with agents abusing their power.  I now have more than 100 letters and emails from readers of about 40 of those newspapers, and more keep coming in.  Only one of those dozens of letters is critical of the columns I write about the MDC.
         He says….”one thing that bothers me about your blog and articles is the constant criticism of the department.  I have been a volunteer and the Springfield Nature Center for over 26 years and now volunteer at the WOW museum also.  During this time I have gotten to know many, many Conservation Department people and have found them to be nothing but concerned and professional.  On various hunting and fishing trips I have had contact with enforcement people and never found them to be anything but friendly and helpful.  I feel like your constant harping on the Department has really diminished the conservation message of your writings.  Luther Smith.

I only wish I could show Mr. Smith what is being done on wildlife management areas, I wish I could take him to talk with hundreds of innocent people targeted by agents, and I wish he could see the corruption I have documented with hours of investigation and interviews with biologists and employees of the MDC, one of whom told me…”If things continue like this, you might as well rename this agency and take the word ‘conservation’ out of it.”

I have never lied about anything concerning the MDC… not ever, not once.  I have told them many times that I would meet with them in a public debate, allow them to print their objections in my magazines, or interview any agent who felt I had described his actions.  There has never been even one response to those offers.

When I spend the day Friday with the Director of the MDC, Sara Pauley we aren’t going to just talk, I am going to take her to see the destruction of what they call ‘wildlife management areas’, through tenant farming and logging.   I am going to repeat those offers to her.   Let me meet with MDC people in public debates, answer the charges I and others have made against them in my magazine, and investigate the worst of them. And I will print her response in this column.

         Mr. Smith is a partner with the MDC and his eyes are open to any good thing he sees and closed to what is happening that isn’t so good.  He will never ever see or accept what I am writing about.

And I wish he could know the truth.   The book I hope to finish soon will document much that he couldn’t possibly accept, and he and those like him will never read it.  The large-scale news media in our state will never let the truth be told through them.

While some editors do not want these columns to appear in their newspapers, the majority of them do want them and they have let me know. As a result of my columns, over several years, the department has reversed charges against folks who were falsely accused.  And  more than two hundred acres of big beautiful timber near Lake of the Ozarks, given to the MDC by an old man who was dying, was to be secretly sold to a real estate company after his death.  I wrote about it, and due to the uproar it created, and resulting threats of lawsuits, they canceled the sale.

         An article I wrote about a lady who had an eight-year-old pet raccoon in southern Missouri was carried all over the world after I wrote about how two agents forced their way into her home by threatening to arrest her, and took her pet raccoon out and shot it.
         I wrote about the MDC giving 235,000 dollars to a judge who let department officials hunt on his private waterfowl marsh.  Today his family also has their property taxes paid by the MDC.   The words ‘in perpituity’ is in that agreement.  That means taxpayers in Missouri will pay that family’s taxes forever. Should I have kept quiet about that?  Maybe I should never have written about finding out, through MDC employees who ask that I do not use their name, that deer heads confiscated by agents are not destroyed, as they want you to believe.  My book will detail how many have been sold by MDC employees for large amounts of money, and how many of those heads confiscated now adorn the walls of MDC agents themselves, and their friends.  I could go on and on.  I haven’t written about much of the worst of it. Maybe that should be kept under wraps too.

         One of those Springfield area enforcement people that Mr. Smith thinks is concerned and professional was reported by other agents as having spent many of his work hours at the home of the wife of one of his best friends, with his state vehicle hidden behind her bar. She decided to divorce her husband to marry that MDC agent.  He declined because he too was married and had children.  If that affair was on his own time it would have been his business, and no one elses On paid MDC time it was the business of all Missourians who pay his salary.

          Although the MDC officials in Jefferson city was told about all this by the woman’s husband, they kept quiet and that agent was promoted, still working today, perhaps visiting more women on state time in his state vehicle
         Oh, I know… some readers stick their head in the sand and will believe none of it.  Many of them think the MDC is still stocking deer and turkeys, a great project that ended decades ago. Most of those biologists who did that work are dead now.  When someone starts citing those decades-old accomplishments and attributing that to today’s MDC employees, I wonder how anyone could be that stupid.

         I will say again, I have a biology degree and when I was young I wrote dozens of columns about the great things being done by an MDC of another age.  Back then they gave me conservation awards for what I wrote.  I want to see the truth come out, because the media is not going to let it happen.

         I will see to it many, maybe all, of those reader letters are read too.  We will set up a website soon where they will all be printed, from all sides.  And many will be used in the Lightnin’ Ridge magazine’s summer issue.

         To let your feelings be heard, pro or con, write to me at Box 22, Bolivar, Mo. 65613 or email me at  My office phone is 417 777 5227.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

After Meeting With MDC, Director Pauley...

          In my meeting with director pauley i wanted to discuss the fact that two agents went to a young man's home and confiscated 8 deer heads without a search warrant because they found he only owned 4.8 acres instead of the five required by law. He had never been aware of that, believing for years he had purchased five acres as he had been told. ms pauley informed me that the agents said he had confessed to killing the deer on land other than his own... i called him... you want to see how truthful mdc agents are? read this email i just sent to mrs. pauley...


Saturday, April 7, 2018

'Back Home In The Hills'

Hills and Hollows magazine is a good magazine and if you haven't seen one you should get one off the Walmart newsstand. I write a column for them called 'Back Home In the Hills'. Here's a copy of the one i just sent for their next issue...hope it gives you a laugh.


      I went to work at the pool hall one afternoon in the spring, straight from school. Ol' Jim and Ol' Bill were there and they could tell I was pretty despondent. I was 13 years old and had just got my first pair of glasses. I wanted a girl friend awfully bad at that time and those glasses made me uglier than I had ever been. One of the older girls called me ‘four eyes’. 

       Now ‘the pool hall kid wasn’t my only nickname. Now I was gonna be called the “four-eyed pool hall kid”. I told my old friends there on the front bench that I was thinking on quitting school and just staying there in the pool hall forever. Ol’ Bill asked what brought that on and I told him. I was born too ugly to ever get a girl friend and now I was uglier because of those glasses.
Ol’ Jim tried to comfort me. 

       “Onc’t when I was a kid,” he said, “me an’ some a my cousins all found a mirror on a wall in the barn an' we stood in front of it makin’ scary faces to see who could be the ugliest an’ they all said that no matter what I did I couldn’t look no uglier then I already was.”
He used his foot to pull the spittoon over a little closer to his range, and then went on. “But by the time I was 20 years old,” he smiled,” girls was crazy about me.”
“You musta had some money by then,” Ol' Bill interrupted, “Cause you never did have no looks thet I can ‘member.”

       “That’s shore enough the way to get a girlfriend,” Virgil Halstead chipped in from his end of the bench. “I cut up some catalog pages to the exact size of a dollar bill and rolled it all up with a dollar bill around it and let Lucy Johnson see it and she spoke to me for the first time in years. And when I put a five dollar bill around that roll of catalog papers, hell, she wanted to marry me!!”

       At that everyone on the front bench laughed and slapped their knees and nodded their heads as if they knew what he was talking about. It seemed funny to me that all the front bench regulars who were married talked like they wished they wasn’t; but what few of them wasn’t married acted like they wished they were.

       But it was pretty clear to me that if I stayed ugly much longer then the only option for a girl-friend was a girl as ugly as me. And girls as ugly as me were pretty scarce. As to the girls in my school there were just various grades of pretty, and my chances with any of them was comparable to the chance of me killing three ducks with three shots.

       Ol’ Jim and Ol’ Bill did give me one good piece of advice I never forgot. They said once that a young man should never get married ‘til he found a girl that was gosh-awful beautiful and not too awful smart. Years later when I took Gloria Jean, my first wife, out on a date in my old ’56 Chevy, about halfway through the drive-in movie, I asked her, sort of timid like if she would like to get in the back seat. “No,” she told me, “I want to stay up here with you!” Right then, I recalled what those old timers had told me so many years before. I knew I had met the right one, and I threw caution to the wind and asked her if she wanted to get married. She said she really did, someday. It wasn’t too encouraging an answer, but up to then, every girl I had proposed to had said ‘no’.

       It is rather amazing as I look back on my years working in my dad’s pool hall that I was around a number of World War I veterans, including my Grandpa Dablemont. Few of them talked about being overseas as young men, fighting the Kaiser. But I can remember that when they did, they were solemn and bothered by it. Most of the time, life on the front bench was a joyous collection of hilarious stories. I think some of them were true.

       It was hard for me to understand, as a kid, the problems old men faced. Ol’ Bill said that he had got to a point where he had to get up twice during the night to pee. He, like most of them, had no inside plumbing. He said that one night when he went out to answer the call of nature he was watering the flowers just off the front porch when it began to rain. Ol’ Bill said he heard the water running off the roof and stood there for nearly ten minutes thinking he wasn’t done yet.

       But Ol’ Jess Wolf had come up with something that made life easier for most of the front bench regulars. He had drilled a hole in the bottom of the wall in his old house, stuck a length of water hose through it from the outside and attached a funnel to the end inside his bedroom, right next to his bed.
Jess didn’t have to go out on the porch in the cold anymore. He just sat up on the edge of his bed and reached for that funnel.

       Many years later when I was in college one of the professors there told me that I’d never learn much from those backwards old men I had grown up around in the Ozarks. Now, as I look back on my boyhood, I cannot remember a thing that intellectual professor ever said.

       But the other day Gloria Jean told one of my daughters she was worried about me. She said she had found a drill and a length of water hose in the bedroom, beside a funnel! So no one can say I didn’t learn something from those old timers in the Pool Hall. Gloria Jean doesn’t know that if it hadn’t been for their advice, she might never have been lucky enough to snare me.

       And by the way I ain’t so ugly as I was then! And for what it is worth, all them girls I went to school with are a bit uglier than they were then. But not a whole lot!