Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Grouse hunting


Canadian Grouse


        If you don’t see one close up, I don’t know that you would describe the male ruffed grouse as a beautiful bird.  They are a little bit drab.


       They are a bird of thick undergrowth in heavy forests. Before the time of intense logging of pines all through the Arkansas and Missouri Ozarks about 150 years ago, they thrived throughout these timbered hills.  But the ruffed grouse can’t live with people and agriculture.


       They aren’t wild and wary like the quail and the pheasant.  They are birds that were once called fool hens because they trusted people too much.  They often ran around on the shaded ground of the Ozark thickets right before the guns of hunters, or perhaps flew up into a nearby tree to look at them only a few yards away.

       I never saw a ruffed grouse in the Ozarks, but I love to hunt them in Canada in the fall. This past October, with the northern woods ablaze in color, Tinker Helseth and I headed down an old gravel road in my pickup, in Northwest Ontario, to find one of those trails local Indians have made to run their ATV’s back to small lakes where they trapped minnows to sell to bait shops.


       You can’t hunt grouse by just setting out through the woods in Canada.  A weasel can hardly get through those thickets!  Grouse can, but you can’t. But they love those trails because some clover and undergrowth buds are easily found there. 

    Gloria Jean and I, with my Labrador, Rambunctious, used to walk those trails. The Lab would find the birds just off the trails and he learned to circle them and flush them out into the open. The hunting was absolutely great, right out of some 1930's outdoor magazine. In three or four hours we always got a limit, even in those years when they went through the low part of their population cycles, which seems to occur every seven years.

But my Labrador that I have now just turned a year of age and I didn’t take him to Canada this year.  Next year perhaps, after he gets a lot of experience hunting ducks.


      Tinker and I never made it to the trails I wanted to walk.  Before we were a mile into the bush there was a ruffed grouse, feeding in the grass in the middle of the road. He just sat there, 50 yards away, so at Tinker’s urging I got out the shotgun, loaded it and walked toward the grouse.  I got to within 25 yards of the darn bird and he wouldn’t fly.  Walking into the heavy cover beside the road, he just disappeared.  So I walked in behind him, ready for him to fly.  He didn’t, he just disappeared.


      I killed 4 grouse that morning by hunting them like they were rabbits back home.  Only one grouse flew after he scurried into the underbrush and ran behind a rock. I shot at him and missed him!  I shot the others as they scurried along into thickets or as just as they sat there and looked at me.  One time I had to back up a few yards because he was so close and yet about to disappear into thick cover, logs and boulders.

    It reminded me of when I was a boy in the pool hall and I chastised Ol’ Jim for shooting two mallards with one shell as they sat on a farm pond.  I told him that wasn’t ‘sportin’!  He looked at me disgustedly and said, “I shoot pool for sport, boy… I shoot mallards for eatin’!

        I had a great time fishing and hunting back in Canada, but as far as grouse hunting, at least this last trip, I shot grouse for eatin’.  Tinker thought that is what we were out there for. But next year I intend to take my young Lab and walk those trails like I did with the pup’s great grandfather years ago.         


      You might enjoy seeing my photos of Canadian grouse hunting over the years on this website… larrydablemontoutdoors.blogspot.com


      Oh by the way, ruffed grouse are great eating, distinctively flavored. You just brown them in a buttered skillet, then cook them in a crockpot for hours, seasoned and simmered with mushroom and celery soup.

This is a little bit different.  Near Hermitage MO, there is a beautiful, tame fox with a collar on, obviously an escaped pet.  It looks nothing like a grey or red fox, undoubtedly a cross between perhaps a red fox and arctic fox. What a beauty it is.  I will put its photo on that blogspot of mine too.

       Fur farms raise these foxes, making a lot of money from the furs. They sometimes sell the kits (babies).  Game Wardens in the Hermitage area try to catch it but can’t.  They tell folks they are sure it has distemper, which is ridiculous.  Apparently they have never seen and animal with distemper! 


      Anyways, no one will ever catch the animal even though it is domesticated, without knowing how to lure it into a live trap. You can only do that with some know-how and effort, with some sardines and a very well concealed cage-type live trap.


       Next week I will tell you more about foxes, and why you cannot possibly make a pet out of any species of fox.       

       All my books and magazines can be seen on www.larrydablemont.com.  They make economical Christmas gifts for those who like to read.                            

Monday, November 15, 2021

Known by many names


Sick doe


       I will end what I have been writing about what is known as “Chronic Wasting Disease” by saying that it should not be called that anymore, nor by any other of a half dozen common names used to describe it.  When found in deer and elk, it is ‘Spongiform Encephalopathy’, which occurs in several mammals, INCLUDING MAN.  You CAN get it from eating the meat of infected cattle, sheep, goats, elk or deer!


       If anyone dies from it, doctors or coroners can only tell they have it by finding what they call prions, in the brain or spinal fluid through an extensive autopsy.  Those who die from it are very often misdiagnosed as dying from some other disease, because prions are not looked for.  But I will repeat what I said in my last column… a study of brain samples of approximately 300 people who died from what was thought to be Alzheimer’s disease” showed that’s about 10 percent of them had prions in the brain.

       Let me add that doctors don’t know all the answers yet to this disease… but none of them will tell you that human’s cannot get it from eating diseased animal meat.  Thousands have died from eating cattle in England with spongiform encephalopathy, known commonly as ‘mad cow disease’.  If you talk to those who know the disease, they will tell you that there are variations in prions and that one variation may not be a problem for anything but animals.


       That was what game and fish departments once told hunters.  They wanted to convince them not to worry about getting the prions from elk and deer.  THAT CONCEPT IS BLATANTLY UNTRUE!  If you are making millions from selling elk and deer tags, you are scared to death that the truth will cut into your revenue.

I tell hunters “ don’t believe what I am telling you or what conservation departments have said in the past, just to study the disease as much as possible and do the things that protect you AFTER you have killed the deer.  I covered that in last week’s column.  You should have your deer checked after killing it, before you start gutting it and for certain, before you begin to process it.

         Do not eat any untested deer.  I would never take a deer to a processing plant, because they process hundreds of untested deer.  What if there were diseased deer processed before yours.  What if you get someone else’s deer meat mixed with yours.  Think it never happens in those places? If there ever was a higher chance of getting prions into your system it is through those “share your harvest programs”.  In a later column, I will tell you things about those venison distribution programs you do not know, and you need to know.  It is just as much a “get rid of everything but the antlers” program so trophy hunters can dump venison they do not want without breaking the law against wanton waste of wildlife.

       To get confirmation about much of what I say here, go to the Internet and read all you can about it.  You are going to be surprised that those who study it do not say what you are being told by those who want more deer tags to be sold each year.  And do you wonder why then, that there are no articles in newspapers about those who have died from the disease, like Mrs. Schroeder’s husband.  That’s Taboo for the news media.  You read in this column last week about the researchers who are trying to find out more about spongiform encephalopathy who have died from it.  You’ll read about that nowhere else!

    Now let me add that about 75 percent of the deer disease they want to call chronic wasting disease shows up in older bucks, almost never in young deer, and seldom in female deer.  That is why I urge you, if you kill a buck, to use good heavy up-to-the-elbow rubber gloves when you clean it and GET IT TESTED!

And never eat venison someone else gives you!  Read, study and know the truth.

Next week, hunting the ruffed grouse.


If you know folks who like to read about the outdoors, tell them about the new books and magazines on my website, www.larrydablemont.com and read past columns of mine on www.larrydablemontoutdoors.blogspot.com   You can write to me at Box 22, Bolivar, Mo 65613 or email me at lightninridge47@gmail.com.

Sunday, November 14, 2021

What IS the Truth About a Horrible Disease


       It is called spongiform encephalopathy and it amounts to little more than malformed proteins called prions, getting into the brain.  That’s what it is, period!!  You can call it chronic wasting disease, mad cow disease, scrapies, Creutzfeldt-Jakobs disease… whatever.  But it is a malady involving those ‘prions’ in whatever variants there are, getting into the brain. 


       A few years ago, a little over 300 brain samples from people who had died and were diagnosed as Alzheimer disease victims.  There were prions found in more than 30 of those brain samples, meaning they had died of what the disease is called when found in humans--Creutzfeldt-Jacobs’ Disease…(which IS Spongiform Encephalopathy) and had been misdiagnosed. If you talk to the right people, especially those who are afraid they will lose lots of money if there is a scare among deer and elk hunters that it is a danger to humans, they will tell you that humans cannot get the disease from deer and elk, only from cattle. That is not true! I know seven people died of prion infestation in Arkansas in 2019 and one was a taxidermist.  He wasn’’t mounting cow heads!

        So I will repeat… the disease, whether the prions vary in shape or not, is Spongiform Encephopathy, and you sure as heck can get it from a deer that has it!  In research I have done on the disease, I have talked to people whose relatives have died from the prions in their brain, which they got from eating deer.  And if you talk to the conservation people hoping they don’t sell fewer deer tags because hunters learn the truth, they will tell you….Prove it!!  How do you know that person didn’t get the disease from sheep, cows, goats, antelope, or buffalo? 

        And no one CAN prove it… prions are prions. But what has happened in French and Italian Labs where they are studying the prions, might make any hunter cautious about eating deer meat.  Lab workers have died simply because they ran a prion-filled needle through rubber gloves into their fingers, and from that, developed spongiform encepalopathy and died from a prion infestation in their brains which developed.  One of the two died within a short time, but the other lab worker died of the disease thirteen years later.

       I had a sad conversation only a few years ago with a lady from Camdenton who told me that her husband died from the human name for Spongiform Encephalopathy, known as Cruetzfeldt-Jakobs disease. Her name was Carol Schroeder. Her husband’s death was due to the same horrible disease that biologists call ‘chronic wasting disease’ in deer and elk, determined by the Center for Disease Control in Atllanta Georgia. He had died in a St.Louis hospital in a quarantined room and that his body was taken to the crematory by police escort to be sure that if any accident occurred on the way his body would not be handled by unknowing first responders.  All that was set up and controlled by the CDC, not local doctors.

       “I never believed in assisted suicide,” she told me, but I would have given anything if it could have happened for my poor husband.” Mrs Schroeder told me.  “It took him two months to die and what he went through, what I saw as his brain deteriorated, I cannot even talk about it to this day.”  

       Deer hunters and those who eat venison, need to hear from Mrs. Schroeder and others who have witnessed Spongiform Encephalopathy, people like Bill Zippro from Joplin who lost his brother to the disease the year after his brother killed a big-antlered buck that didn’t seem to be wild. He thinks it had been released from a nearby pen-raised deer facility, after they saw it was sick and wanted to protect other deer in their operation. 

        If you want to hunt deer, do it.  I won’t! Not ever again. I have learned too much about the prions. I can’t say one way or another in any uncertain manner if deer hunters are in danger of getting the disease. I CAN give some sound, solid advice… NEVER eat venison that someone else has killed and butchered, and though it was an accepted thing to do for years past, DO NOT EAT DEER MEAT THAT COMES FROM THE ‘SHARE YOUR HARVEST PROGRAM which the MDC has carried forth for years and years. You cannot be sure there are no prions in that meat you receive.


       Have any deer tested BEFORE YOU GUT IT!   If you disregard that advice, DO NOT clean a deer shot in the spinal column or brain.  Don’t cut through any bone; just cut the meat off the carcass without causing any cuts or damage to the spinal column or any bone marrow.  And don’t even touch any deer that appears to be sick, or acting strangely.

       Next week, as deer season begins, I will write more about what I have learned through investigating this disease and what is being learned about it.  I will still have an article on grouse hunting soon, as I said I would last week, but right now I think some more info on deer and the prion disease needs to come forth.  You will not hear any of this anywhere else in the news media.  Many newspapers will not print this column, as the conservation departments do not approve of it.  It might result in fewer deer tags being sold.

        My fall magazines, one on the outdoors, and one on the history of the Ozarks, are finished… 82 pages, all color.  If you want to see past magazine issues and the eleven books I have written, go to my website, www.larrydablemont.com. If you want to order any of them you should call me at 417 777 5227. Photos and past columns are found on www.larrydablemontoutdoors.blogspot.com

Friday, November 5, 2021

The Canada Goose—In Canada. (photos of trumpeter swans, grouse I got, and fish we caught)


     When I was in Nestor Falls, Northwest Ontario in October, I stayed about ten days. Besides fishing by myself, I spent some time with Tinker Helseth's son-in-law, Dallas Mosbeck, who like Tinker is a bush pilot and Lake of the Woods hunting and fishing guide. 


Dallas with his Canadian goose

  One morning I got up at 4:30 and went goose hunting with him about an hour north of the Canada border and an hour south of Nestor Falls.

    I have hunted geese for many years in Manitoba crop fields, but that country is a different world altogether. Most of northwest Ontario is heavy forest, but in the south part of that province there are quite a few fields interspersed amongst the expanse of trees and lakes, where permanent pasture and a few cropfields are found.
And with them, lots of geese.

To hunt Canada geese there, Dallas purchased blinds that lie flat on the ground, well camouflaged, with decoys all around them. I figure with those two blinds and likely two- dozen of the most realistic goose decoys I have ever seen, he likely has 500 dollars or so invested in goose hunting.  

realistic decoys

But it was a morning to remember, as every ten minutes or so a flock of 10 to 20 geese came gliding in over us, honking away, sometimes only 15 or 20 feet above us. Let me say right here that those coffin-like blinds are much better for sleeping than they are for shooting out of. I napped a little in the warm summer-like sunshine. 

      I also missed my share of easy shots because the geese can get the heck out of there in a hurry when you fling the lid on that blind open. But the limit is five geese and in three hours and twenty shells, which today cost about a dollar and a quarter apiece, Dallas and I brought down 6 geese that morning and it was a hunt to remember.  

     But he and I saw something amazing that morning when a young mallard flew past and from out of nowhere a peregrine falcon nailed him from above and drove him into the ground. There was high grass there and somehow the falcon lost the duck in the grass. He soared around diving and sweeping over the area, and eventually winged away. An hour later I walked over to see if the duck was dead and could not find him. But suddenly, from underneath a green clump of high pasture grass, the young drake, not even close to having his winter plumage sprang to flight as if he hadn’t been hurt.  

     I’d like to think he will soar over my decoys here on some Ozarks water, in full winter color, and I will have him for dinner, just like that peregrine falcon meant to do. The way I was shooting in Canada he might cost me two or three shells.

     I ate one of those geese last week… grilled breasts cut into small steaks with bacon, green peppers and onions on long wooden skewers… unbelievably good for supper. And let me assure you, if I didn’t like geese for supper I would never raise a gun barrel again to bring one down.

      I will only write one more column about my October trip to Canada, next week, writing about hunting ruffed grouse. But there was so much more from that stretch of time. My great grandfather was a French trapper from Ontario, and my great grandmother a Cree Indian woman. Maybe that’s why it draws me like it does. I love the place, so few people and so few problems. And because I love using a camera, I got some great photos of the wildlife, fish, birds and wild country. I have put many of those photos on my website, www.larrydablemontoutdoors.blogspot.com A pair of trumpeter swans put on a show for me. Take a look at their antics in my photos.

Trumpeter Swans putting on a fantastic display

Grouse I was hunting
Grouse I was hunting

I ended up getting three

Canadian goggle-eye are big

Dallas shows how big crappie get also
While fishing, a loon decided to join us