Friday, April 24, 2020

That’s Crazy

         Next week, I am going to spend several nights on some lake in my camp-boat and hunt turkeys.  I intend to take a long my johnboat to use for fishing. I will set a trotline, hunt mushrooms and arrowheads, and pretty rocks, catch bass etc.  I may ignore crappie because I catch all of them I want in late April and May at night under lights… and white bass and walleye too.  Now do any of you have any better plans than that?  It is social distancing at its best. 

         Hunting rocks is a great hobby of mine for which I am often looked upon as crazy.  But once when I lived down in Arkansas I went to Bull Shoals lake and filled up my boat with beautiful rocks and in 3 or 4 trips I had my pickup weighed down with them.  Most were only a few inches long but some were larger, up to 10 pounds perhaps.  The next day I packed a suitcase with another shirt and pants and headed for Iowa.  If you had seen me with that pickup sagging in the back you would have said I was crazy then too.  

         But the next day I drove to every fish and aquarium shop I could find and sold that pickup full of rocks for a little better than 800 dollars.  It doesn’t sound like much money but in the early 80’s it wasn’t to be sneezed at.  I did the same thing a couple of times in Illinois. Not once did I bring home a single rock. Aquarim shops went nuts for them.  I told them they were imported from somewhere in Africa. In Harrison, Arkansas I stopped at a local filling station and the attendant, who knew me, said, “Dablemont, you are Crazy!!  So I have gotten use to being called that. 

         Today you could do the same thing on about any Ozark lake, but I found out it is illegal, so be careful; some Corps Ranger might haul you in for aggravated rock-stealing. At the same time, I got a permit to take a whole load of dead cedar poles from Bull Shoals to an Omaha Nebraska landscaper.  You wouldn’t believe how much he paid for them.  He was just as crazy as I was, and the people that paid him for those were even crazier.  On Bull Shoals alone there is a million dollars worth of cedar logs, beautifully white and silver colored, dead since the 1950’s and some of the prettiest decorative fencing you ever saw.  Sounds crazy, but it is true.

         Outdoorsmen are often accused of being crazy.  For instance, what is crazier than setting in some bushes, risking ticks and copperheads, scraping on a little box with a shotgun in your lap and some green and black paint smeared from one ear to the other?  That fits many hunters and from the mid-seventies into the nineties, I made a bunch of money taking those crazy people turkey hunting and camping here and there each spring.

         Often, you will call in a big old wild gobbler and he will start flopping around on the ground and another one will run to him and start fighting with him.  I had to kick one off my dying turkey once and he kept coming back.  I remember telling some of the guys at the pool hall what I had seen and they said I was crazy!  They said the same thing when I told them I had called in a gobbler by with a squeaking gate hinge on my neighbor’s farm.  Heck, when you see a tom turkey trying to escape by sticking his head and neck through an old hog-wire fence in the woods that he could just jump over, you realize that turkeys are as crazy as hunters.

          I am quite sure that as I roam the woods this week hunting wild turkeys with a shotgun in one hand and my camera in the other, I will see some things that will make me think, ‘now that is crazy’.  If I find mushrooms, I will give most of them away.  But if I find a rock that is something special, I won’t give it to nobody.  And if you want to see some of the very best I have ever found, come up here on Lightnin’ Ridge and you can see them scattered all over the place and in my office too.  I’ve got a dandy on my dresser!  I will give away wild turkey meat, mushrooms and fish by the dozens, but no one can have my rocks.  Sounds crazy doesn’t it. Sometime soon I will write a column about how to make bass jump in your boat.  I have done it many, many times, but when I write about it readers think I am crazy.

         Well, this week most of the suburban outdoor writers will be writing about how to hunt turkeys. But not me, because if you need to read about how to do something as easy as hunting and killing a wild gobbler, you probably ought to be hunting rocks instead.  Besides that, there are to many turkey hunters out there, and trying to create more of them seems crazy to me.

         If you want to read a couple of really good turkey hunting stories, and fishing stories too, get your hands on one of my spring magazines… The Lightnin’ Ridge Outdoor Journal, on sale in many stores with magazine racks.  Or call my secretary, Ms. Wiggins, at 417-777-5227, and she’ll send you one.  My new website is and you can write to me at Box 22, Bolivar, Mo. 65613 or email

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