Wednesday, June 19, 2019

A Cardinal from Hades



       I hate to do this but I am going to have to go out there and shoot one of my prettiest male cardinals. He has gone mad!  I haven’t killed a songbird since I was 12, and I protested at the Melba theatre as a teenager when that movie “To Kill a Mockingbird” came out.  I am an avid bird lover. I particularly love pheasant in a crock-pot and grilled mallard.   But not cardinals, for cryin’ out loud.

         Anyhow, he is miserable and deserves to be put out of his misery.  He spends most of the day fighting with the big mirrors on my old pickup.  When you see a male cardinal do that, completely oblivious to a nearby feeder filled with sunflower seeds and uninterested in several pretty little female cardinals, he is obviously demented, perhaps having survived a spring hailstorm wherein he was whacked on the head while huddled on a white oak limb.

       If he just fought with the mirror, I might could overlook it, but he paints both doors beneath the mirrors with droppings which do not match the blue color of the pickup.  I am now the subject of derision when I go to the post office and folks I don’t even know ask what that white stuff is around and below my mirrors.

         By the time you read this the awful thing will already be done, but I ask you to keep it to yourself.  It is against one of the many rules and regulations of the Conservation Department.  In fact, in recent years a game warden has ended his radio program by saying, “Remember, if we don’t say you can, you can’t.”  And they don’t say you can kill a cardinal, even a mad cardinal.”

         Because of his radio program I have stopped killing the field mice that invade my shed, and I do not kill crickets, roaches or spiders because he surely would not approve.  There use to be a copperhead in my back yard that I also was hesitant to kill because the conservation people say I can’t do it lawfully.  But there are a lot of things done unlawfully which never come to light. Something killed him and he now lives in snake heaven with several blacksnakes I have recently blasted because they are after baby rabbits and nestling bird babies.

         I told a possum recently trying to invade my henhouse, “If I don’t say you can, you can’t!”  Of course I gently took him to my neighbors place, refusing to kill him as the game warden would not want me to do.  Should any of you country folks find a possum eating your hen eggs, just remove him gently with a shovel.  If you whack him over the head to render him unconscious then you can take him into town and release him later.   I think that should be legal.

         Someone sitting on my screened porch last month, shot and killed a grey squirrel that was trying to get the lid off my bird feeder.  It was a young one which was very good to eat when fried.

         But a cardinal whose flapping wing-tips scratch up the paint job on my pickup while he fights with nothing more than a reflection in a now-smudged-up mirror certainly should not be allowed to have young ones.  His I.Q. is likely too low.  My pickup means a lot to me.  I bought it new in 2010 and it was beautiful at the time.  Not now. It has 200 thousand miles on it and it has wing marks and white bird manure all over it.


         Many years ago I built a small pond up here on Lightnin’ Ridge down in the timber behind my office, to provide a water hole for wildlife and provide a place for wood ducks and bullfrogs.  It is round, about 60 or 70 feet across and 60 or 70 feet long, those dimensions making “round” a pretty good description of it.  It is a pretty good haven for green sunfish and bluegill.  My daughter and I have a great big tank and aerator out in the shade beside my boat, and we catch about 60 or so of the small sunfish and keep them in the tank to use for baiting trotlines.

         I had forgotten that ten years or so my Uncle Norten and I had caught some nice bass on the river and released them into my pond, despite the fact that the Conservation Department don’t say you can do that either.
         Good gosh have they grown!  A monster largemouth lives there now.  He came up from the depths to engulf my tiny perch-catching jig and he fought all over that pond before the little hook broke.  I saw him well and my daughter says his mouth was the size of a dinner plate!
         Boy was she excited!  Not me so much.  As you can imagine I have caught lots of bass between 8 and 10 pounds, and turned them all loose, some after I landed them, and most before. Now my daughter won’t help me catch bait.  She is after that big bass.  Will take a picture when she gets it.


         I had a ton of reader letters concerning what I have written about the TSE disease affecting deer, elk, cattle and humans.  I will put some of them in this column soon.  You might want to read more about it in my summer issue of the Lightnin’ Ridge Outdoor magazine, on many newsstands now.
Call my office to get one if you can’t find it in Walmart, Oerscheln or some other store.  My number is 417-777-5227. Email me at or write to me at Box 22, Bolivar, Mo. 65613

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

New MDC Regulations on Landowner Tags....because of CWD

Dead Buck with CWD

Buck Sick with CWD

      Last year during the deer season, an upper level employee of the Missouri Department of Conservation confided in me that it had already been decided that landowner permits were a big problem for the Department’s need for more funds. 
      He wrote, “It has already been decided that the thousands of 20-acre landowner’s could bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars if they had to purchase deer tags.”  He told me exactly what would happen, stating that anyone with 20 acres or less would not be allowed to hunt deer without paying. 
      This fall deer season, you will see that come to fruition, in order to create more money from deer tag sales.  The new rule will be that you must own 21 acres or more, to get free landowner tags.  Much of this stems from the fact that in time, more and more deer hunters will begin to learn all there is to know about the disease called Chronic Wasting, and no longer buy deer tags.  Soon, all the prion-related diseases, which have been called Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy when it has killed humans, will start to be recognized as the same disease.  That is a stone cold fact, and while you can talk about this strain or that strain, the truth is that a mutated protein called a prion is the basis of all those diseases regardless of the name given.
      There has been a great effort to keep that from becoming known to hunters.  The assertion that CWD has not killed humans is not true, but it has been accepted that people cannot get it by eating diseased deer meat. If you believe that, find me one scientist or MDC employee who will eat the meat from a CWD infected deer?  Makes you think doesn’t it? When all the research is known, there will be many, like me, who do not hunt deer again. 
      It is a fact that during the deer season, all the citations written for deer-hunting violations are by and large given to those hunters who have called in deer kills through the MDC ‘telecheck’ system.  If you haven’t read the letter sent to me by a retired enforcement official which outlines all that, you should read it on my website now.  Find it on the computer at 
      Now that landowners who own small tracts can no longer get free permits to hunt deer, there will be a backlash the MDC has not counted on.  Many who own 15 to 20 acres will simply kill a deer when they want, with no tags whatsoever, clean it where it falls, keep the loins and hams and tell no one.  Since it will not be called in, it will never be known to agents who by and large, work from that phone check system and seldom walk back into privately owned woods unless their vehicle can take them there. 
I own a 20-acre tract and if I wanted to eat venison, I would do the same thing.  And in doing it, there would be no evidence of it that anyone would see unless they looked in my freezer.  That is hypothetical of course, because I have never willingly violated game laws anywhere and do not intend to.  Because of the studies and research I have looked into gives me knowledge of this TSE disease, I will never hunt deer again.        Why should anyone miss time in the outdoors because they no longer hunt deer?  During that time there is great hunting for prairie grouse, pheasant and waterfowl in neighboring states, great waterfowl hunting in Missouri and excellent fishing during November as well.  I enjoy all of it so much more than hunting deer.
      In controlling the media to the extent they do, the MDC has kept the truth about CWD from being known, but they cannot do that forever.  I have talked to at least six landowners recently who have found terribly emaciated deer on their land, and each has called MDC personnel to report it.  Each of the six say know one ever came to investigate the sick deer!  I have photographs of two of those deer, which you can see on that computer site given above.
       I don’t know what a mess we will face in the future when all the facts come out and deer-hunters begin to know the truth about this disease, but I know what the truth is and you can’t hide it forever.  I say again that when you hear someone saying that CWD is of no danger to humans, you are hearing it from someone who will not, for any amount of money, eat venison from a CWD deer. 
      Many of the newspapers I write for will not publish this column because of the clamp down the Department of Conservation has on opinions they do not want heard. The power of that agency is tremendous. The real shame of all this is that printed facts from research done by the best scientific people and doctors in the Midwest concerning TSE or CWD or whatever you want to call it, also is restricted in most all news media outlets throughout the Midwest.
      This much is certain… hundreds and perhaps thousands of people have died from prions in the brain, a disease called TSE.  I have not talked to one doctor out of a dozen or so that have not told me that the disease, whether you call it CWD or TSE or mad-cow disease or whatever, has likely killed many people who were misdiagnosed.  You will likely never see this in print, but when brain tissue of 230 elderly men who were said to have died of Alzheimer’s disease was examined after death, those TSE prions were found in 30 of them.  Why can’t this be printed?
      Anyway, this year if you own 20 acres or less-- no more landowner permits for you.  In a few years it will be extended to 40 acres or less.
If you find sick deer on your land, please call the MDC and report it, and let me know if no one comes.  Write to me at Box 22, Bolivar, Mo. 65613 or email me at
If you would like to get a copy of my magazine, or tell me of sick deer you have found, call my office phone, 417 777 5227

Telecheck MDC.... original letter