Worries misplaced; deer season issue fully loaded
I was a little worried as the November deadline drew near. It didn’t seem to me that our writers had submitted the usual number of good deer hunting stories and I hadn’t contacted Al Agnew about a cover illustration.
One night I woke up in a sweat — how could we have a deer issue without deer stories and a great Agnew cover?
Like most of my worries, these were unfounded. Al provided us with a knockout painting — a buck bounding out of a golden autumn scene — and our writers came through in spades:
Spence Turner, a retired MDC biologist from Columbia who lost a foot this year, turned in a nice piece on a mobility and vision impaired deer hunt at Clarence Cannon National Wildlife Refuge. His story, featuring House Springs hunter Brian West, leads our front page. This is the first appearance for Spence (who now calls himself “Stubby”) since I’ve owned the paper. Welcome.
The son’s thrill at taking his first deer is only matched by that of his father, according to Greg Rudroff, who filed a sweet story on his son’s first harvest.
Old guys, too, can still get excited about actually shooting a deer. Seventy-something Bob Todd admits to buck fever before pulling the trigger on an 8-point buck last season. Jim Featherston, 87, asserts 65 deer seasons are not enough. The Featherstons retrace the turnaround of Missouri’s deer herd since the late 1930s from its decimation in the early 1900s. They remind us of the outstanding job the Missouri Conservation Commission and Conservation Department has done in this regard.
Some deer hunters prefer tree stands. Others like to stay on the ground. Tim Huffman and Howard Helgenberg cover the pluses and minuses of each. Whichever you use, stay safe in the woods this year.
Regular Traveler writer Bill Cooper surprised us this year, not with a deer story, but an account of waterfowl hunting in northeast Missouri. As usual, Bill is entertaining and informative.
Illinois writer John Meacham wraps up our deer coverage with the first installment of “Curse of the Sacred Doe.” John, who lives just across the river from Perryville, Mo., is a heck of a storyteller with a great sense of humor. In this piece, frustrated bowhunter Carlos Muldoon has missed shots at four record-book bucks in a row and concluded that some powerful spirit of the woods is taking revenge on him for shooting a “sacred doe.” Retired hunting guide Fishhook. Fields comes to his aid, proposing to give the demon “a lethal injection right through the heart.”
John’s tale, to be concluded in December. is illustrated by Dan Roberts of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. Dan deftly turns out drawings to illustrate Traveler pieces several times a year.
Our thoughts turn to books this time of year as we think of holiday gifts and spending more time indoors. Jo Schaper reviews three books new to Traveler’s shelf, two from Terry and Roxanne Wilson, fishing writers and seminar presenters from Bolivar, Mo., and one, a childrens book about Lewis and Clark that Jo picked up on her travels.
Jo also interviewed Kaylin Bade, Mrs. International Missouri Tourism. Never heard of this title? Neither had we, but Kaylin made a strong impression as a hard-working young woman with grit and a real interest in promoting the outdoors and helping girls succeed.
Jo’s Rock Talk this month takes you back to 12,000 B.C., when Jefferson County hunters stalked mastodon with torches, rocks and atlatls.
A bonus for readers is a photo essay from reader Bob Frakes about his quest to climb all Missouri firetowers.
Befitting this Thanksgiving issue, Pat Todd warns us not to spend the whole month eating, then piles on mouth-watering recipes to make it hard to take her advice. Kathleen Brotherton explains that expressions of gratitude take various forms.
Our gratitude goes out to our readers, writers and advertisers. Happy Thanksgiving to all!
Here’s a link to a complete summary of stories in the November issue.