Wednesday, December 18, 2019


Larry Dablemont outdoor column… 12-9-19

Missouri Deer Harvest Down

       The deer kill during the November gun season in Missouri was about 179 thousand, compared to 201 thousand in 2018.  The Missouri Department of Conservation has made some mistakes in the past few years that they will regret, and one of them involves changing the landowners permit situation. I believe it is showing up now like they didn’t realize it would.

       Until now you could hunt deer on a free landowners permit if you owned 5-acres or more.  They got to thinking they needed more money so this year that was changed to twenty acres or more. If you own under twenty acres you now have to buy a permit to kill a deer on your own land.

       They almost goofed up big time by discussing requiring landowners to own 21 or more acres, thinking it would really bring in more revenue. Do you realize how many 20-acre tracts there are in Missouri?  What an outcry that would have brought forth.  So they wisely shelved that idea.
       They are figuring on changing that every year or two until they soon get it to 40 acres, and then eventually the 80 acres which they wanted to do about ten years ago.  At the time, that proposal brought so much resistance they had to abandon it, but they can gradually get back to it by just going up 10 acres at a time.
       I am not just guessing about this, I have received that information from within the MDC as much as two years ago.  His first assertions about the 21 acres was right.  Those people who own 40 or 60 or 80 acres are not poor country folks as a rule.  They have enough money to not worry about the cost of a deer tag.  Those who own 10 or 12 acres may not cotton to being told they can’t hunt deer on their land without paying for it.

       I suspect they realize that this year a good number of hunters with less than 20 acres just hunted without permits and kept their deer kills a secret.  One 15-acre landowner confided in me that he just killed two deer and hung them in his locked-up barn until he processed them and put them in his freezer.
       Inside any building, an agent is kept out by the requirement that they have a search warrant to enter, and they cannot get one to just randomly search a barn or home.  That landowner said… “I didn’t even feel uncomfortable doing it, because we know from that letter you made available last year that all deer season arrests and confiscations result from finding hunters who called in their deer on that telecheck thing.  Don’t call in, and they won’t even suspicion you.”

       Well, that is exactly what has happened, and who knows the extent of that rebellion of small landowners.  That, plus the loss of hunters like me who are beginning to worry about CWD and what is not said about it, is going to cause the MDC to lose some revenue, and they fear nothing like they fear that.  In this column soon, I will tell you about an interview with a  Texas biologist who has studied the disease for 8 years.  I think it will surprise many.
       One of the things that puzzles me is, how is it that more than 100 deer in the North-Arkansas four-county area bordering Missouri were found last year to have CWD and not one deer in the same area of south Missouri was found with the disease?  That is strange to me.  Either Arkansas biologists are making a big mistake, or Missouri isn’t reporting what has been found.

       We are told that all over the state of Missouri there has been only about 75 CWD diseased deer found over several years.  But in the north half of Arkansas  in 2018 alone, 680 deer and elk were found to have had the disease.  Something is wrong here.

       When I talk with hunters about CWD, almost no one knows anything about it.  Most believe hunters cannot get it from deer and that is not true.  I want people to know the truth, and that has made me very unpopular with the Missouri Department of Conservation.  Many newspapers cannot print this column.

Because of their power in controlling what I can publish, I cannot tell you anything about my upcoming book about the MDC, but I need public input from outdoor people to finish it.  Please see that book and learn more about this on my blogspot, which you can see on the computer at  You will be able to get a free copy of that book which results from research I have done over the past 20 years.

       I see the most unbelievable things out in the woods or on the water. Two days ago I was going up a small river and right in the middle of a deep eddy off a steep hillside was a terrapin, floating around hoping for a wind to blow him to shore. He was an old one, with a carapace (shell) seven inches long and a deep crack in one side. They can live to be almost 50 years old and you can get a general idea of age by counting growth rings inside a section of the shell.

       He had been in that water a long time, apparently falling down off the steep rocky hillside and unable to climb back up over the ledge. His skin was clean and pink as a baby’s bottom, softened up by the water. He was very well colored too. I think he was resigned to his fate, but I put him in my johnboat and took him to a place where the warm sunshine would hit him and off he went... without so much as a thank you, most likely trying to find a lady terrapin to hibernate with!
That water was 40 degrees and I’ll bet he had been in it a day or more. They really are buoyant and they can swim a little but not too fast! In all my life in the outdoors, I have never seen one drowned. A turtle's biggest enemies are Firestone, Michelin, and Bridgestone and little kids with a box.

To get in touch with me about my books or magazines, just call me at 417-777-5227 or email or write to me at Box 22, Bolivar, Mo, 65613.

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