Wisdom From The Woods - August 7, 2014

Aug 12, 2014

Colonel Sanders was “over the hill” at age 80 when he started Kentucky Fried Chicken. I’m over 80 now and re-starting my weekly outdoor column.

I have never given a complete story about my outdoor activities, so as a start of this new writing experience, this is how it all began and developed as my life took several turns along the way as almost everyone’s has.

Following after my dad, my first hunting remembrance is of going rabbit hunting after a snowfall when I was probably four years old. I had to walk in dad’s boot prints to keep my footwear from getting wet.

That hunt produced some squirrels that a dog, who joined us after we got in the woods, treed. We ate everything we bagged on our trips as dad didn’t like the idea of anything going to waste. Mom was an excellent cook and if we brought in anything she didn’t know how to cook, she experimented and always got the meat where it was good.

My first real hunting experience was probably at the age of five. That year at Christmastime, Santa left me a 500-shot Daisy Red Ryder BB gun. That afternoon we went rabbit hunting and my brother Walter found a swamp rabbit that hadn’t jumped and he called me over to take careful aim and shoot it in the head. I did and I can remember it like it was yesterday.

That started my hunting career. Fishing was something that came to us Woods boys and girls as part of our natural growing up. There were five boys and five girls. One boy that came along after my birth did not survive and then there were five girls. We all knew how to fish as we grew up in East Poplar Bluff and lived on the river bank. We had to move to the other side of the street as they built the East Side Ring Levee and it went right through where our house stood.

I started carrying newspapers for the Daily American Republic when I was nine years old and worked in all departments of the newspaper which included working in the job department helping with the commercial printing. Nothing interfered with my outdoor activities as working in the summer didn’t take much time. The carrier job provided money to get fishing tackle and hunting supplies.

I have bagged just about everything that is covered by the Missouri Department of Conservation Commission’s wildlife code book. Just about every species of fish has been put on a stringer of mine. The exceptions are the spoonbill and the trout. I never caught a keeper trout the few trips I took to Eleven Point River.

As a teenager, my neighbor, Al Price, started me out coon hunting. We got one on the first trip and I got hooked. Dad had done a lot of coon hunting and encouraged me to get a hound and do some serious night hunting. My first hounds were Blueticks and I have never regretted making that hound choice. Most of the Blue dogs I have owned never were bad after trash (in coon-speak that refers to deer, fox, coyotes and possums).

Duck hunting was tremendous in the 1960’s and 70’s. Wappapello at that time provided some excellent hunting. Things are different at the lake now as there is very little food around the lake. In the early days of the lake, food plots were planted and any duck that came through spent some time at Wappapello.

My efforts to furnish the readers of the SEMO TIMES with information about outdoor seasons, tournament schedules and results, upcoming outdoor events, and, especially, coon hunts.

I subscribe to a magazine, Coonhound Bloodlines, that provides a list of all UKC events. I have been criticized for not including other hunts that are scheduled by other registering offices but their schedules are mostly unavailable and I think that money hunts cause too many hard feelings. The dollar signs might cause someone to bend the rules to win a few dollars. In most cases, the prize is bigger than a few dollars.

The first UKC event for this weekend is in Kinder, sponsored by the Southeast Missouri Coon Hunters Association. They have a show August 8 at 5p.m. followed by a water race at 7 and hunt entries close at 8:30. August 9 the Bollinger County CHA will have a show at 7p.m.and hunt entries close at 8:30.

August 15, the club at Doniphan has a show at 7p.m. and hunt entries close at 8:30. August 16 the Kinder Club will again have a show at 5p.m., a water race at 7, and hunt entries close at 8:30.

Fishing reports haven’t been too good and the weights of the winners of events at Wappapello show that the events have bad weather, bad water conditions, or the reports from the fisheries’ biologists about the fish being in good condition aren’t totally accurate.

Wappapello has a tremendous amount of fishing that is done through the week by anglers who know where the bass and crappie hang out. Small lakes or pond fishing is reportedly good with lots of catfish being taken by rod and reel and trot-lines.

A friend, John Uebelein, reported recently spending 20 minutes landing a channel catfish. The fish was over 11 pounds as the story made it to me. John was using a fly rod.

We have a new wireless system and very few people have my number. If anyone else is interested in contacting me, the number is (573) 872-7887 and my wife or I will take any outdoor news the readers give me.