Outdoor Communicators of Kansas Conference

I love it here in Florida but one thing I miss about moving from Kansas is the Outdoor Communicators of Kansas twice a year. It’s always fun to get together with old friends. Especially when they’re people whose work you admire and respect.

El Dorado, KS hosted this year’s conference May 3 – 5th. A hardy welcoming dinner kicked off the festivities Friday night followed by a business meeting. Saturday and Sunday were devoted to the important things: fishing and turkey hunting.

A crappie tournament was being held simultaneously with the OCK conference. I’ve never attended a crappie tournament, but if they’re like the three Bassmasters Classics I attended where the contestants had to release their catch, it’s a travesty of justice. Crappie are DELICIOUS and should be filleted, rolled in cornmeal , fried and EATEN!

Fishing was difficult due to recent rains and high water, but the winning team in the Kansas Crappie Club Big Fish tournament had one 2 lb. fish. 

Doesn’t sound too good to me.

I’ve attended many Outdoor Communicators of Kansas conferences in the past. In May of 2008 photographer Blumb and I boated an obscene number of crappie on Clinton Lake near Lawrence with the help of a local fisherman. One crisp November morning in ’09 I lay on my back in a frozen field near Larned and listened to thousands of snow geese squawking overhead and never fired a shot. You can’t shoot what you can’t see and the fog was so thick I could hardly see a nearby treeline. So as you can see, being guided by local “experts” doesn’t guarantee success.

But it’s always fun.

I’ve asked some of the current attendees to send photos about this year’s conference to my blog. Let’s see what happens.

Blumb writes ..”Fishing was difficult due to recent rains and high water, but the winning team in the Kansas Crappie Club Big Fish tournament had one 2 lb. fish. 

Sunday Josh Peck and I went turkey hunting, guided by Jason Barnes of Whitewater, KS. We were near a flock, but the gobbler and jakes ignored our calls, and drifted away with numerous hens, out of sight. We moved to another farm, located a distant solo gobbler, and proceeded to try to sneak closer and call him in. He drifted away, and we had a 1 mile hike back to our vehicle.

To finish the morning, we returned to the area where we started, and Josh attempted a sneak with a fan blind. Still no luck, so we called it a hunt and unloaded our shotguns. The temperature had risen to 72 degrees by noon, and we had walked a total of 4 miles, so I was ready for a break.”

Many thanks to Jon Blumb and Dave Zumbaugh for the photos.

Brad Loveless and Mark Murrell show off a pair of keeper walleyes. Some uninformed people call walleyes walleyed pike which is incorrect. I call them FOOD!

Good morning at the Lone Oak Duck Club

The latest duck count at Four Rivers Waterfowl Management   Area east of Rich Hill, MO is 147 thousand ducks, most probably mallards.

It looks like a few strayed too far from the refuge . After breaking a hole in 1 to 2” ice and braving 17-degree temperatures this morning Jay Lang and son Chuck bagged a goodly number of birds.  Their many hours of work all summer on habitat at the  Club are finally paying off.

 Wish they could field dress one nice, fat mallard and mail it to me.

Fishing On the White River

Long time, no blog. Apologies to my loyal followers …both of you.

Another fun two days on the White River with outfitter and philosopher Miles Riley. No huge wall-hangers but enough action…mostly rainbows… to keep the days interesting.

White River Beach

The first morning Riley’s son Gavin drove us to Rim Shoal where Raleigh Eggers and I stayed out of the way while Miles launched hi battered johnboat and we motored upstream toward Redbud shoal in dense fog, picking up a trout or two along the way. Floating back downstream, fishing was uncharacteristically slow through Rim shoal and lower Rim but picked up as the fog lifted. We finished the day in Riley’s home water. The bite had slacked off considerably but Raleigh and I were too pooped to care. Besides, a cold drink and a hot shower were beckoning.

White River Brown

Next morning, after a false start due to lightening, we motored from Riley’s Station upstream to buffalo shoal where we spent the entire day boating and releasing eleven to fourteen inch rainbows, most of which took a #16 sow bug imitation tied by Miles and Michelle’s 11-year-old daughter Jalen.

Lunch on the White River

After drinks in Raleigh’s “party room” at the Mountain Home Days Inn we headed for nearby Colton’s Steak House where we ate both nights. After dinner we retired to our separate rooms (Raleigh snores something awful) to rest up for the five hour drive back to Kansas City next day.

Want some beautiful Arkansas scenery with a mess of trout thrown in? Check out Miles and Michelle’s website at RileyStation.com. or email Miles at info@rileysstation.com.

R.I.P. The Old North Blind 1985-2015

The Old North Blind had a long and interesting life. Lab pups gnawed its door frames and Canada geese nested in it. Wet, gloved hands were warmed over its charcoal stove while sausage patties sizzled over glowing coals.

Like the men who hunted from it, it began to sag in the middle and its joints loosened with age. Rotten joists were replaced and new plywood flooring added,  to be covered once again with muskrat droppings, spent shotgun shells and assorted feathers.

In spite of annual repairs the blind finally became so dilapidated we feared it could no longer support the weight of men, guns and dogs. So in 2015, like a faded, tattered old flag, it was honorably retired by burning.Blind

 

 

 

 

The Straight Poop On Canada Geese

This story was published in the October 2009 issue of Wildfowl magazine.

Let’s put one vicious rumor to rest right now: Canada geese do not produce one pound of solid waste per day. Some goose hunters might, after a bowl of bad chili or a tainted pizza, but Canada geese? No way.

It may seem like they do if your kid plays soccer or baseball on a field where several dozen geese have been grazing, but according to Dr. Bruce Manny, research fishery biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, the average Canada goose produces 0.3432 lbs. (5.49 oz.) of wet droppings per day, which is equivalent to 0.0722 lbs. (1.15 oz.) of dry droppings. I find this hard to believe, since I’ve scraped that much off my shoes after nine holes of golf.

Now, to me, the key word in this scenario is average. To get an average figure, someone has to weigh the “production” of more than one goose. In fact the more geese used in the study the more valid your average becomes. Therefore someone has what is probably a full-time job weighing goose poop. {I know, I know. it’s a nasty job but somebody has to do it.}

No matter where you work you know that the new guy gets the worst assignments, then works his way up toward the plums that come with seniority. I’m sure Dr. Manny himself doesn’t crawl around on his hands and knees with a little scale picking up blobs of goose poop and weighing them {although he may have when he first went to work for the U.S. Geological Survey}. This assignment probably goes to an intern, maybe a biologist wannabe, or the kid who was hired last week, just out of college. When this unfortunate person gets home from work after a hard day in the field, you can imagine what his answer will be when his wife asks, “How were things at work today, Dear?’

The more you think about it, the more questions arise. Do they put diapers on individual geese, then take them off at the end of the day and weigh the contents? Or is each employee assigned a specific goose to monitor, walking around behind it with a pad and pencil and a measuring cup? What happens if your goose decides to fly away? Are you just **** out of luck? And what is a goose poop day anyway, twelve hours or twenty-four? How do you measure your goose’s production when it goes to roost on water at night? Is proficiency at scuba diving, or at least snorkeling, a prerequisite for the job? What about the poor soul who has to crawl around on his hands and knees trying to decide whether the droppings are wet or dry? There’s only one way to tell. Right?

According to someone named Choo Choo Love {I’m not making this up, as Dave Barry would say} who is evidently an authority on the subject, “theirs smells better than ours”. On what empirical evidence does she base this statement? Personal experience? Talk about your cruddy jobs….

If we think Canada geese make a mess on our golf courses, our parks, and ball fields, we should hope snow and blue geese never take up the habits of their darker cousins. Can you imagine zillions of snows and blues waddling around on your favorite golf course, each one depositing its individual 5.4 oz. wet {1.5 oz. dry} allotment of waste per day? You think sand traps and water hazards are problems…

However they arrive at their alleged “average”, I’m just glad someone other than yours truly has this important job. The next time I’m lying on my back in a layout blind watching these majestic birds circle my decoys, I’ll try to remember that they don’t each produce a pound of waste per day. And I’ll hope that, as they reject my decoys and fly away high overhead, they don’t punctuate their disapproval of my spread and my lousy calling by depositing any of it, either wet or dry, on my face.

I don’t know about you, but I’m pooped out just thinking about it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rockbridge, Missouri

Rockbridge, just a hoot and a holler north of Gainesville, MO, is the perfect place to take a kid fishing. It’s the perfect place for anyone who likes to catch big, dumb trout. Sort of like sending a struggling young ballplayer down to the minors to get his confidence back.

With a picturesque old mill, modern cabins, and an excellent restaurant it’s a relaxing place to spend a few days. The stream, a tributary of Bryant Creek, is stocked with rainbow trout and you must keep every fish you catch. A guy cleans and packages them and you pick them up when you check out. You pay for your fish by the pound and if you’re a competent fisherman it can get expensive. But it’s worth every penny.

Raleigh Eggers of Manhattan, KS and I spent two days there recently. Old geezers like me wear out easily so I never fished more than an hour at a time. Using a #12 beadhead olive & black woollybugger I caught all the trout I wanted.

Check it out at www.rockbridgemo.com .

If you can't catch fish here you can't catch fish anywhere.

If you can’t catch fish here you can’t catch fish anywhere.

Typical Rockbridge rainbows

Typical Rockbridge rainbows