I got a call this morning from a dairy farmer who says there is a bear hanging around his barn that sends his dairy cows into a panic, and they won’t even go into the barn to be milked. He says he believes it is a female with a cub because he has seen the cub in past years. I didn’t realize that a black bear would cause such wild-eyed panic amongst dairy cows, but he has a real problem if that panic causes a drop in milk production.
There is a lot I could write about black bears in Missouri after interviewing the “bear biologist” who says there are twice as many bears in the Ozarks than there actually are. She has good reason to exaggerate that number. Last year, the MDC made only 10 thousand dollars selling 400 bear permits for 25 dollars each. But they made 73-thousand dollars raking in 10 dollars each from 7300 hunters who merely APPLIED for one of those tags. None of those seven thousand-plus applicants got their 10 dollars back, but 400 got to pay 25 dollars more to receive a tag allowing them to actually hunt a bear. Only 8 of those 400 were successful. I will write more about all that in a later column.
What a story there is about a conservation agent (game warden) calling a “bear biologist” in the middle of the night with a trapped bear in a cage, and the fight that ensued over whether or not it should be shot. The agent wanted to take it to a national forest. He was fired because of his insistence! The biologist shot the bear in the cage and apparently sold the hide. The entire thing was related to me by a Joplin policeman, somewhat amused by witnessing the whole thing.
I have long begged the MDC to allow me to rent a good-sized venue in Springfield where I could debate some of their ‘biologists’ in front of a couple hundred outdoorsmen and country folks about subjects like CWD, bear and elk seasons, and the alarming decline in wild turkey numbers.
So here is what I am proposing… I want to meet with them, as many of them as want to come, in a debate before turkey season. I’m saying that I know more about wild turkey than they do! How can they pass up a challenge like that??? What an opportunity to discredit me and prove that they know more about wild turkey than I do. What an entertaining event that would be, allowing questions from the audience!!!???
My letter goes out to the MDC Director, Sara Pauley this week proposing such a debate, and an opportunity for Missouri turkey hunters to learn why the MDC will not act to stop the decline. What I wouldn’t give to have Mrs. Pauley join the group. She and I met for 4 hours a few years back and she had no idea what I was talking about. I kept bringing up new proposals for and past history of MDC operations. All I got from her were blank looks.
I have proposed such a debate for years and there has never been a response. With the crisis coming in wild turkey populations the past ten years, what would it hurt to answer some questions and hear some ideas? I want to propose some solid ideas for bringing wild turkey numbers back. Arrange that, Mrs. Pauley, a discussion which I will be a part of anywhere, anytime, just me against the best of your wild turkey biologists. And we’ll abide by your rules. Please?!
As to the bear around the dairy barn, you can so easily bait that bear with big quantities of popcorn well away from the barn. If that is a female with a cub, as it almost certainly is, she has a hibernation den not far away. In the Ozarks, bears won’t hibernate long, but cubs are born in the dead of winter as the female hibernates, though that period may only be two or three weeks or so. I would, and could, find that den and destroy it, so that in the future winters the bear would have to move away. That needs to be done. The bear could easily be baited, trapped and moved into the National Forest miles away where it would never return. Or the farmer could send in ten non-refundable dollars to be considered for one of those 25-dollar tags. He would have a one-in 200 chance to get drawn for a tag, at which time he could bait the bear like all other bear-harvesters do, and kill it. That would help the MDC increase its annual revenue, and he could sell the hide and eat some of the awfullest-tasting meat a hunter will ever put in the freezer.
As someone who hunted black bear in Canada with a camera, I could pass on some valuable information to you who want to hunt bear. And I have a friend who has killed eight black bears in the Arkansas Ozarks with a bow. I think my readers would enjoy his story and adventure, which I will put in a future column this summer. A female bear with a cub nearly ended his hunting adventures forever. What a hair-raising story that is.
Of the five thousand I printed, I have a thousand of the publications remaining entitled, “The Truth About the Missouri Department of Conservation.” It is free if you will pay the postage. Call 417 777 5227 to order one. My address is Box 22, Bolivar, Mo 65613 or email me at lightninridge47@gmail.com.

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