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Notes From Hunter Creek 11.10.2016

Fall Firearms Season

Ready for the Fall Hunting Season:

Shooting/Hunting Hours: ½-hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset.

Archery, including cross-bow this year: from Sept. 15 to Nov. 11 and Nov. 23 – Jan. 15, 2017. During archery hunting, no firearm may be possessed.  Fall turkey firearm season: Oct. 1-31, either sex, two-turkeys, any day.   In my opinion, the best tasting game available in the Ozarks, other than quail –– and when’s the last time you saw a covey of huntable, wild quail in the Ozarks.

Other fall hunts: Coyotes and other furbearers, squirrel and rabbit.  No use of daytime hunting with dogs in most circumstances.

Fall firearm season for deer: Nov. 12-22 *One any deer, and one antlerless deer with additional permit in this area. Know the MDC regulations or get their 68-page booklet on fall hunts in Missouri. (I can remember at one time it was eight pages only).  For example, if you have an any deer permit and want a second available antlerless deer permit, which must also be purchased in this area, you must be careful to only harvest deer with no antlers or one that does not protrude over three-inches. This is a tough order when you are sighting a small deer in the brush with low light, especially when the antlers blend in with all of the brush.

My hat is off to the Missouri Conservation Department. They and their field agents have done a wonderful job managing Missouri’s vast numbers of deer herds, limited in diverse populated and geographic regions. And, this is further complicated by deer collaring, be alert in Douglas and neighboring counties for reporting any kills, and chronic wasting disease.

But I do get the impression that the rules could be somewhat simplified if the Department would be a little less active in macro and micro deer management.

Don’t get me wrong. I can remember squirrel hunting with my grandfather in the mid-fifties, and my grandfather proudly exclaiming his joy at spotting a deer track in the creek bottom.

Unfortunately, partly due to little or no conservation management, but mainly due to hungry people killing off almost all of the deer and turkey during the recession and depression of the twenties and thirties, deer and turkey became almost non-existent in Missouri by the beginning of World War II.

Now, as for the current status of deer and turkey in Hunter Creek Valley, it looks to my unqualified eye that there are fewer turkeys than normal.

As for deer, they seem plentiful. This year I have observed a large number of small yearling deer and last year’s larger year-old yearlings. Great eating!  I have seen one six-point buck, but I imagine there are other larger and older bucks secreting themselves in the nearby groves of timber.

And by the way, coons and especially coyotes are doing great, maybe too great. I have only spotted one lone eagle twice –– of course they could be partners, but I am worried because as you probably know, eagles are monogamous and mate for life.

Autumn in the Ozarks, in my opinion, is our best and most glorious season, and usually our most colorful one.  For 26 fall seasons, Hunter Creek and its valley foliage has been beautiful, and some years, simply awesome.  But not this year, the colors are actually a little drab.  To me, it’s still pretty.

Now, I understand from friends whom have been traveling recently that NW Arkansas is looking good, and the northern Ozark hills up around Lake of the Ozarks and along the Missouri River near Jefferson City, are looking very colorful.

But in Hunter Creek Valley, I can say without any doubt, that it is our least colorful autumn ever.

Note:  Taxes.               Does it ever seem to you like every governmental unit has their hand out recently for more?

Every household has to or should live within their budget, and the same rule should apply to government also, should it not?

When the government asks for a tax increase, they are saying to the public that “I need a raise to pay for a new project”.

Now, the average household tries to save for a new purchase or at least a decent down payment.  Most people soon realize that while they would like to own a Cadillac, they can only afford a Volkswagen.

For example, the statewide sales tax in rural Missouri at one time was 3%. I believe it is now well over 6% in Ava. This is more than double.  I do not believe people’s incomes have doubled.

What follows are a few examples of the government holding their hand out. Since around 1978, Missouri taxpayers have paid 1/8-cent on the dollar in sales tax. It’s allowed Missouri to have one of the top Conservation Departments in the USA.  Now maybe a 1/10-cent on the dollar might suffice.

Then Soil and Conservation wants their 1/10-cent extended for another decade.  The State of Missouri would also like to gradually increase Missouri’s state fuel tax, in stages, for a total of six-cents per gallon to repair the State’s crumbling roads and bridges.

Tobacco taxes have also been requested, stating that all monies would go to secondary education.

Supporters of these projects state that Missouri has the nation’s lowest state gasoline and tobacco taxes, like that is a crime in and of itself.

Douglas County wants to triple their bed space with a new jail, based on the facility in Ozark County. That smaller county jail has strapped the Ozark County budget for years.

Maybe what is needed is a regional circuit wide jail for Wright, Ozark, and Douglas counties, preferably located in Ava or Mansfield, with all these counties sharing the cost and operation of a jail, and hopefully, with an agreement to hire employees on a 1/3-basis out of each county.

In the last year, Skyline School has requested the state-allowed maxi-mum for a property tax increase. Like all of the projects listed above, it is a worthy cause and without it, Skyline R-2 School may eventually cease to exist.

I make a personal exception and always support all educational taxes as I view them as an investment in the county’s future.  But apparently, I am in the minority as the tax increase for Skyline School has failed to pass for the last two elections.

Don’t get me wrong. All of the above projects are probably well-deserved in motive and purpose, but I wonder, if working people, or those retired on fixed incomes, will be able to look over the proverbial “hand that is always out.”

So when you voted on November 8, I hope you remembered there are many other important issues on the ballot besides who we elect for president, governor or senator.

Now, get up and go enjoy our beautiful Ozark outdoors!