Tuesday, December 15, 2020

The Devil’s Own Bird, AND Gift books on quail, ducks, and the Roubidoux River for the Outdoorsman




       I was driving through Bennett Springs state trout park last week, to the west of Lebanon Missouri, and there they were, the devils own bird, seven or eight black vultures, right out in front of the main office.  This is the farthest north I have seen them in the Ozarks, but they have become a living plague in much of north Arkansas.  The authorities there at the park should kill every one of them as soon as possible, but it is illegal to do so. 

        A town in Pennsylvania is dealing with that too.   Black vultures have no good side.  They tear off roofing, sit on vehicles in Arkansas Ozark lake parking lots clawing and pecking away, doing thousands of dollars worth of damages.  Docks on several resorts along the White River have huge numbers of them painting the structures they choose to roost on, damaging everything they can in a variety of ways.  Many of the folks on Ozark lakes are ignoring the law and killing all of them they can, but some are going to the Game and Fish Department, getting what they call “depredation permits” in order to kill them off.  Anywhere they are found, they are a problem, and people who deal with them hate them.  But it is against the federal law to kill them because they migrate.  You can shoot crows, or pigeons, but worthless, damaging birds like the black vulture, or cormorants are protected by the feds, and there are large fines for killing either, despite the fact that both are way over-populated.

        Most large migrating birds are at the peak of their populations, including snow geese, Canada geese, turkey vultures, pelicans, great blue herons and even eagles.   Bald eagles, which I saw only one specimen in my teen-age years on the Ozark river where I grew up, did not nest in the Ozarks.  Right now within 25 miles of my house there are 11 bald eagle nests which are being used in the spring.  Bald eagles are feared by cattlemen and sheep but much less of a threat to calves and lambs than a large group of black vultures.  While a turkey vulture does not kill what it eats, black vultures sometimes do.  And you won’t hear that from anyone else but me, but it is true.  Most federal biologists don’t know that, and most ranchers do not know it either, but they are soon to learn.  The bald eagle is as much of a carrion eater than the black vulture is.  Eagles go after fish and migratory waterfowl, but black vultures do not.  In much of the Ozarks, few people know much about them, but in time, you will!  They are staying year round in the areas where chicken raisers dump thousands of dead chickens each year. They were once only a bird found in Central America and southern Mexico, but now a threat in the southern U.S. in a variety of ways. They are intruders on the same scale as armadillos and black vultures in the Ozarks should be killed, each and every one.

        I feel the same way about cormorants, and will say more about them in a future column.  You cannot find one good thing to say about them.  I’ll also write more about the hordes of damaging snow geese that come through western fringes of our area later in the winter, when I go out into Kansas to hunt them where there are no limits.  It is likely that there are 25 times, maybe 50 times, more snow geese today than there were a hundred years ago.  I wish it were that way with mallards, pintails and other ducks.  Canvasbacks and redheads which once came through the Midwest in late winter are almost never seen now.  But pick a large bird that is not good to eat, and there are record numbers of all them.  What a strange thing the evolution of nature has come to be with man’s interference as it is!


    If you live near Mt. Home come by and visit with me on Saturday, December 19 in Flippin, Arkansas where I will be signing my books (there are 10 total) and giving away Christmas issues of two different magazines.   I have two magazines, sold on newsstands for six dollars each, (one an Outdoor magazine and the other an Ozark magazine) to give away to anyone who comes by.  I will be at the grand opening of a business called Mountaineer Gear and Outfitters on Highway 62 East from 11;00 to 4:00. 

    I know of several outdoor books which would make really good Christmas gifts.  One is a book entitled “Gentleman Bob”, written by a retired Arkansas biologist Mike Widner. It is all about quail and quail hunting past and present by a man who spends more time in the field than most quail hunters ever will. There are three books by writer Dan Slais, one entitled the “Roaring Roubidoux” and the other about Onandaga Cave on the Meramec River.  The one though, that hunters will like best is “Twenty-First Century Duck Hunting.”  Slais and Widner are good writers who know what they are talking about. 




Mike's book is $12 postage paid. If requested, he will autograph and inscribe it. You can send a check to: Mike Widner, 278 Mill Pond Rd., Conway, AR  72034.  Or you can call him at 501-336-0102 home; 501-472-8473 cell

To send an email: mrgobblers@att.net.



         The Wonderment of 21st Century Duck Hunting: 156 pages of comparing techniques of native American duck hunters to the new technologies in duck hunting today. Stories by 11 authors. $15

         The Roaring Roubidoux:  229 pages on the story of an Ozark Creek in Texas and Pulaski Counties of Missouri. History, stories, and maps of its waterways. Some color pics, by Dan Slais  $15

         He is sending these books for the listed retail price and will be sent postage free. You can contact him at: 573-619-2733, dnbslais@outlook.com, or send checks/money to Dan Slais, 23646 Red Hawk Drive Lebanon, MO. 65536 













 My website, where you can view my books and back issues of our magazines, IS:  www.larrydablemont.com  OR  you can contact me at lightninridge47@gmail.com, write to me at P.O. Box 22, Bolivar, MO 65613 OR call my office, 417-777-5227 to pay with credit/debit card



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