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Dan Kreher

MDC Public Comment Meetings -New SMB Regs

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When Europeans first settled the Ozarks, they found a land that was NOT very fertile.  There weren't many of them, and they did a lot of subsistence hunting and fishing because raising your own meat and vegetables wasn't easy unless you were one of the few who owned river bottom land.  By the 1920s, the timber had all been cut, the wildlife was disappearing, and there were more people living in the rural Ozarks than there would be 50 years later, most of them hunting and fishing with no regard for the resource.  By the end of the Great Depression, the Ozarks had been nearly de-populated as the game was gone, the land was worn out, and there was almost no way to make a living.  Too much timber removed, too much burning off the land to supposedly make the grass grow and keep the ticks down, too much erosion.

Yet many people living in the Ozarks think the old ways are better.  Too many people following the old ways nearly ruined the Ozarks by the 1930s, and now we have more people yet living in the Ozarks, with far, far more advanced technology to help them exploit the resources.  That's the key.  A few people like Oneshot eating lots of fish and wildlife don't have much of an impact.  But it isn't a few people anymore.  Yes, perhaps it's a minority of anglers that keep lots of smallmouth, for instance.  But even a minority of the numbers of anglers we have now is still more people, in absolute terms, than the numbers killing smallmouth 50 years ago.  And they are better at it.

It's not that I think NO smallmouth should be harvested.  If we could depend upon people to be smart about it; to not pound the same water over and over again every week or weekend, to keep the occasional limit of 12-13 inchers (the best eating anyway) and release the larger fish, and to treat the fish they release carefully (not to mention, do it all legally), I'd have no problem with it. But things change.  Regulations change for two main reasons--either too many people are exploiting the resource and the population of a particular kind of fish or game is declining, or, as is the case in many streams with smallmouth, more people want quality over quantity.  The current regulations on stream bass were a huge improvement over what came before, but geez, they've been in place for nearly 50 years, and a LOT has changed in the Ozarks in that time.

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When Europeans first settled the Ozarks, they found a land that was NOT very fertile.  There weren't many of them, and they did a lot of subsistence hunting and fishing because raising your own meat and vegetables wasn't easy unless you were one of the few who owned river bottom land.  By the 1920s, the timber had all been cut, the wildlife was disappearing, and there were more people living in the rural Ozarks than there would be 50 years later, most of them hunting and fishing with no regard for the resource.  By the end of the Great Depression, the Ozarks had been nearly de-populated as the game was gone, the land was worn out, and there was almost no way to make a living.  Too much timber removed, too much burning off the land to supposedly make the grass grow and keep the ticks down, too much erosion.

Yet many people living in the Ozarks think the old ways are better.  Too many people following the old ways nearly ruined the Ozarks by the 1930s, and now we have more people yet living in the Ozarks, with far, far more advanced technology to help them exploit the resources.  That's the key.  A few people like Oneshot eating lots of fish and wildlife don't have much of an impact.  But it isn't a few people anymore.  Yes, perhaps it's a minority of anglers that keep lots of smallmouth, for instance.  But even a minority of the numbers of anglers we have now is still more people, in absolute terms, than the numbers killing smallmouth 50 years ago.  And they are better at it.

It's not that I think NO smallmouth should be harvested.  If we could depend upon people to be smart about it; to not pound the same water over and over again every week or weekend, to keep the occasional limit of 12-13 inchers (the best eating anyway) and release the larger fish, and to treat the fish they release carefully (not to mention, do it all legally), I'd have no problem with it. But things change.  Regulations change for two main reasons--either too many people are exploiting the resource and the population of a particular kind of fish or game is declining, or, as is the case in many streams with smallmouth, more people want quality over quantity.  The current regulations on stream bass were a huge improvement over what came before, but geez, they've been in place for nearly 50 years, and a LOT has changed in the Ozarks in that time.

We need to keep in mind what happen before 1930's People were going through a Great Depression and not that many years before thousands were traveling through the area fighting one of the worst wars we had ever seen and let us not forget the drought at the time.

I was just having a discussion the other day during the 50's farming in the area was very different most raised grain even though the ground was not the easiest to work with. We picked many tons of rock off the fields every year. We raised our own feed. If you had acreage you had Milk Cows, milking twice a day by hand, Grade C Milk that was picked up in Cans taken to the Cheese Plant in Springfield. People raised Tomatoes to be sold and Cucumbers for the Pickle Plant in Springfield. We cut Saw Logs, Firewood and Post. We picked Black Walnuts. Yes we burned the woods every Spring because we knew that was the only way that Cedars were thinned and there was good undergrowth for the animals. But there was many Rabbits, Squirrels and Quail. In early 70's I made enough Trapping and running Coon Hounds to buy me and my wife our first Farm, got away from paying $35 a month Rent. It was a good place down on the creek where I caught plenty Bullheads and Carp some times caught another variety. We had our Garden and heated with wood. But yes even when I was young I lived as I was taught to use the Land.

In late 60's I started seeing what I considered Farmers getting lazy. They sprayed the Timber, many thousand acres. Cleared it sometimes with Goats and then Fertilized with Turkeys. Either way was being cleared and planted in Fescue. Everyone went to Beef Cattle. Yes I seen many wild animals dwindle in numbers because of these changes.

I have also seen the MDC get Tunnel Vision. Seems they get focused on one thing ignoring other things going on. They are worried about Endangered Plants, Animals and Fish, so you can no longer do this with the Land, they ignore the fact that maybe this is the reason this Species is in the area, because the Woods were burnt and thinned, the Gravel was taken out of the Stream making a deeper hole. Maybe there is less Turkeys and Small Game because there is more Predators, including the Coyote we use to never see. I was involved with bringing back the Otters in the 80's. I asked when numbers would be to where we could Trap them? I was told they was just a Novelty and would never be a Trappable number. Then they have people chosen for just one area. I had a Forester come out check my Timber, didn't mention burning. I talked with another MDC worker that was over an other area that they burnt often. He told me I had a Forester come out and he would never advice burning, if I had a Wildlife Manager come out it would have been different.

Yes I live off the Land always have but I eat many things so many turn their nose to. But I learned from my family how to cook and make anything the best you could ever ask for. Lot of it is in peoples head, even my wife had this problem one time. We went to my Grandparents for Christmas Dinner. Grandma had cooked bunch of Coons and Possums. My wife looked at them and made a face. I said what is the matter Dear you like eating Coons and Possums? Yes but I'm not use to them grinning back at me. Grandma had left the Heads on which was the custom. Use to be there was Ponds where people paid to fish for Carp. It was common to see Carp in the Store.

Many say you can not live off the Land with out Poaching but I have found most are thinking along the line of Deer, Turkey, Catfish, Crappie, Bass and Trout.; But like I say there is far more out there.

Never said it was all Smallmouth

 

oneshot

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MDC invests a ton burning their own property and in workshops and resources to help private landowners burn theirs, too.  I;ve participated in burns on private property with MDC personnel using MDC equipment..  Of course an MDC forest is not going to recommend burning:  burning causes fire.  Fire scars are a timber defect.  I don't know why you think a forester would recommend a practice which will devalue timber.  If you're main goal is more wildlife then sure- a wildlife manager has no problem with burning. 

So no, MDC is not anti-burning.   They just don't want everyone burning everything every year, because we've already tried that in the Ozarks and it doesn't help wildlife, fisheries, or landscape health.  Same with gravel:  MDC isn't preventing private landowners from pulling gravel out of streams on their property for their own use.  What they are doing is preventing industrial-scale gravel operations which, time and again, have damaged streams. 

You're absolutely right folks can eat a ton of carp or suckers or raccoons or possums without having major native impacts on the total population.  They're all omnivores and herbivores, which means the ecosystem can support more of them than it can predators like smallmouth.  Carp and suckers are broadcast spawners and produce thousands of offspring, while smallmouth are nest guarders and may only produce a few hundred.  And carp and gar are not as heavily targeted as smallmouth, they're underexploited while smallmouth (depending on who you ask) are overexploited.  Not all wildlife is created the same.

And if you can get by surviving on carp, suckers, possums and raccoons- go for it.  If you can get by without smallmouth, then stricter smallmouth regs, like those 4-point regs, have no affect on you.  

 

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Many say you can not live off the Land with out Poaching but I have found most are thinking along the line of Deer, Turkey, Catfish, Crappie, Bass and Trout.; But like I say there is far more out there.

I would wager that if the majority of the people living today primarily lived off the land, even in the manner you do, eating animals that most nowadays would look down upon eating, within a little bit of time, even the ones better at it like you would still find yourself in a tough situation to continue living off of it successfully.

 

Nowadays sure, you can pull it off especially if you grew up learning it like you, but if you had most of the people that live in cities, towns, suburbs, as well as even more in the rural areas doing it alongside you, instead of eating chicken and other stuff raised in a facility full of them, pretty soon you'd even run out of racoon, squirrel, and suckers. If those reality shows about Alaskans are anything near true, then even they have a hard enough time with it, without having to contend with a neighbor to compete harvesting something first against, for several tens if not hundreds of miles. I'm all for some reasonable accommodations for the animals we grow to eat, I'm just saying "living off the land" is probably a bit over-romanticized and for different reasons than what people are willing to eat.  

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Ok far as burning the woods things have changed, use to be if it was burning isolated property and not endangering any buildings, it was let to burn. if by chance it was needing stopped I was out there with Forestry, Rake in hand running the hills, would Rake or Blow a Line and Back fire. Set watching many nights completely surrounded by fire but never found myself in danger. Now days if I wanted to help and was able they wouldn't let me. Seen a fire that burnt for miles took out structures. Over that distance there was way too many places to stop it but they was afraid to Back Fire. Go through there now, piles of dead trees laying on each other, underbrush growing very thick in it. Last couple Springs I cringe looking at it knowing it will burn and be 5X worse. I told the Guy in charge that the fire should have never got that much out of control in the first place and these places needed burning to just clean up the dead stuff. You know he really disagreed until he seen me burning off a place. After that he said he would trust very few to light a match in the woods and I was one that he would trust. 

Use to be we would wade Sac River Bass Fishing and if had a Boat hit some lakes catch stringers of them. Back then was the only time I would truly Target Bass. Now I go out after a rain and get Night Crawlers, go to the river, cast out if it is legal it goes home, most time it is either Suckers or Goggle Eye, if it happens to be a Bass so be it. Not in my Book hurting them I usually don't catch that many but to me it is just wrong to turn a 13 inch fish back.

To some now days look at animals or fish as fun I look at them as food. Don't Dove hunt because there is just not enough meat to justify using shells. Road Kill I will pick up even Squirrels if fresh. I pick up Snapping Turtles, some are putting me down for this.

Matthew 6:26

MDC helping me stop a fire at my place.

oneshot

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Ok, we get it. You eat possum and other critters. Big deal. You're tough. I can introduce you to some people who escaped concentration camps, where their families were slaughtered before their eyes. They are tough too.

Regardless, my opinion remains the same: Smallmouth fishing in the Missouri Ozark streams suffers because of the action of selfish locals and a timid government.

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2 rednecks are walking along the river bank and come across a dead possum. One grabs it and starts to eat it, and offers some to the other redneck.
The other one says he doesn't want any of the possum. A few minutes later the fella who ate the possum started puking and the other 
took off his hat and put it under the heaving rednecks mouth. He said I thought you didn't like possum, to which he replied "I was jus' waitin for it to be warmed up".

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That's great Oneshot!  My Dad (from a dirt poor Depression Era family in the Dakotas) taught me similar ways.  I have no issue of someone eating fish, as long as they are legal.  

I fished for trout during last winter at Bush Wildlife and was checked by a nice ranger.  Problem was (and other anglers commented as well), the rangers were not checking the hordes of Bosnians that were there.  Their modus operendi is to set up a grill; catch a four or more, grill them, and go out and catch more.  This continues all day until closing. 

I saw this too at Meramec Springs, and even asked if it was legal to set up a grill right by the stream.  The park ranger said it was.  I heard some scuttlebutt this year, that a group of Bosnians started a fight with an off-duty ranger there.  Local police were called in to break it up.  One mans' cooler had 20 trout in it! A couple did not possess a fishing license.  Eight had expired daily tags (it was found they were getting old ones out of the trash cans to use.)  Meramec Springs banned a few of them for life, and fined the lot.  I have been there twice over late summer, and no longer see 30-80 Bosnians as in years past.

 

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That's great Oneshot!  My Dad (from a dirt poor Depression Era family in the Dakotas) taught me similar ways.  I have no issue of someone eating fish, as long as they are legal.  

I fished for trout during last winter at Bush Wildlife and was checked by a nice ranger.  Problem was (and other anglers commented as well), the rangers were not checking the hordes of Bosnians that were there.  Their modus operendi is to set up a grill; catch a four or more, grill them, and go out and catch more.  This continues all day until closing. 

I saw this too at Meramec Springs, and even asked if it was legal to set up a grill right by the stream.  The park ranger said it was.  I heard some scuttlebutt this year, that a group of Bosnians started a fight with an off-duty ranger there.  Local police were called in to break it up.  One mans' cooler had 20 trout in it! A couple did not possess a fishing license.  Eight had expired daily tags (it was found they were getting old ones out of the trash cans to use.)  Meramec Springs banned a few of them for life, and fined the lot.  I have been there twice over late summer, and no longer see 30-80 Bosnians as in years past.

 

I also learned from many that went through the Depression plus was raised by an Logger with us 7 kids. Back then there wasn't Deer or Turkeys but plenty of Rabbits, Squirrels and Quail. Which he didn't care about Game Laws on them. He would also fill Ice Chest at Taney.

Know many that are just as bad. Always wonder how so many get away for so long.

Went to the river late this morning caught two Rainbows for Lunch and two short Smallmouth that were released. While there seen one Rainbow swimming they had a Gig mark :rolleyes: Thing is I wasn't taught to observe Game Laws but as an adult I have continued to obey all Laws to the letter and set an example to my kids, Grandkids and Great Grandkids and still receive what the Lord offers from the Land.

oneshot

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YEP One shot you got me. I do mostly man over woman. that is called the missionary position. You see I am a certified sailor, student of Kama Sutra. and practiced it all over the world. But your right at my age I prefer man over woman

 

Truth I didn't know I was just told by others.

Still Praying for you.

oneshot

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