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I have noticed that there are more skunks in the Ozarks than I have ever seen before, and I want to remind readers that skunks often get rabies, likely carriers of that disease second only to bats.  If you see one during the day, or have one around your home that acts strange any time of the day, shoot it. A skunk killed instantly will not spray its scent.   Don’t take a chance by ignoring them!  Killing skunks will not harm species numbers. From what I see now, there are likely twice as many skunks across the Ozarks as there should be, many more than what is a normal population. 

I think I wrote about black vultures years ago and their migrations northward.  I notice that people in the Conservation Department are just now talking about what a problem they might become.  Those birds should be shot on sight, and you can only do it with a rifle, because they are very wary, not often approachable with a shotgun.  The problem is, there are so many armchair naturalists out there who are incensed about shooting any wild creature.  They have no idea what Ozarks ecology is and what species like skunks, armadillos, black vultures, cormorants, coyotes and other species can do to that ecology.  

Invasive species never, ever fit in the Ozarks, and many times native species go wildly out of control as well, like raccoons, beaver, possums and now skunks.  And you never talk to people about the connection of armadillos to the dreaded leprosy disease. In the southeast, humans are contracting leprosy because of that animal.

I hear constantly from snake defenders who do not want poisonous snakes killed and are upset because I recommend it.  I was a contract naturalist who studied wild areas in the Arkansas Mountains and undammed rivers.  In those areas, I did not kill any snakes, and I came across many timber rattlers, copperheads and cottonmouths.  But if I find them out of that wild habitat, around where humans were found, I kill all I come across.  Last February, Sonya Cansler, who lives near Bull Shoals Lake, enjoyed the several different days of unseasonable 80-degree temperatures, so she went on a walk. On the second day of that month, sat down on a log and was bitten on the hip by a large copperhead. Do you realize that if she killed it, she could have been cited for breaking a Missouri Department of Conservation law?  

I will have her story in our summer magazine.  She called the MDC and was told that the venom of a copperhead had never killed anyone. Folks need to know that is simply untrue statement.  The MDC put out a color publication about snakes years ago that stated that no one has ever died from a copperhead bite.  At Missouri’s Sam A Baker State Park, a man got the publication and believed it. A day or so later a copperhead got in his tent and he picked it up.  It bit him and he did not seek medical attention.  He died from the venom a day later. The same year, I think, another man died from a cottonmouth bite. 

If anyone is bitten and seeks medical attention as Ms. Cansler did, there are antivenin injections today that will save your life.  As a park naturalist for the State of Arkansas and later on the Buffalo River as a naturalist for the National Park Service, I made it a point to interview many elderly people born in the 1890’s and early 1900’s.  I was surprised that many told of people they knew from the past era they lived in, who died or lost limbs from the bite of a copperhead.  It was a time when medical attention for snakebite, didn’t exist. The venom kills if there is a sufficient amount injected.

In this day of young biologists who grew up in cities, there is much information given out by them that is not correct; that assertion about copperheads being one of them.  The ineptness of people being hired for jobs they have little knowledge about is the reason for many incorrect statements which are taken as the gospel.  See it for yourself in the proliferation of otters, stocked with no forethought.  That is also the reason that wild turkeys have declined in the past years to about 40 percent of what we once had.  Young, city bred biologists in Missouri claim we have 1200 or so bears in the Missouri when the number is likely half that.  But whatever today’s conservation departments say is never questioned by the public nor the news media.  

If the people of the Ozarks believe the MDC’s false information about poisonous snakes, there will be more deaths from copperhead bites and cottonmouth bites in the future. Ms. Cansler didn’t believe what she was told, and she recovered.  In that magazine story, she will tell you what she went through.

OUTDOORS

Current KDWP fishing reports for Linn County

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Want to do some late fall fishing? Here are the current Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks fishing reports for Linn County. These reports were updated on Nov. 9. La Cygne Lake Currently at La Cygne lake crappie fishing is excellent and catfish, carp, and largemouth bass... [More]

KDWP to host cooking competition featuring wild game, foraged foods

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SHAWNEE – Whether grilled, smoked, poached, canned or dehydrated – wild foods procured from the Kansas outdoors will be on showcase at the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks’ first-ever cooking competition in Lawrence on Sunday, November 19, 2023. Whether... [More]

And ye shall know the truth on occasion

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This past weekend, a young lady reporting on deer season changes for Springfield television station KYTV, channel 3, made the statement that the deer killing “Chronic Wasting Disease” does not affect people.  That is an incorrect statement, which is easily debunked. ... [More]

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NEWS

Pull Tabs for Pound Puppies

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     The City of Pleasanton is raising funds to help make needed renovations and repairs at the city pound. To do so they are collecting tabs from aluminum cans at various businesses in the city.      All participating businesses will have collection... [More]

Linn County Planning Commission proceeds with prohibiting commercial solar fields

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The Linn County Planning and Zoning Commission began their April 9 meeting by relooking at the Sunshine Meadows preliminary plat that last month was turned down by the commission because of outcries from surrounding neighbors. Sunshine Meadows is proposed to be a housing development... [More]

Commissioners send CUP for rock quarry back to P&Z again

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Stephanie Walker reviewed the reasons she and her family do not want the new quarry, Mulberry Limestone that recently applied for a conditional use permit to do business at near Linn Valley to be located at the intersection of U.S. Highway 69 and 2200 Road. Planning and Zoning... [More]

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COMMUNITY

Spaghetti dinner and silent auction benefit set for Saturday at fairgrounds

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A Spaghetti Dinner and Silent Auction benefit is set for this coming Saturday from 5 to 7 p.m. at the 4H building on the Linn County Fairgrounds. In an effort to help Bonnie Riley, local photographer, cover medical bills and just overall help in general, Courtney Lanham, Kyla... [More]

Mound City couple builds HVAC and party bus services

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When Jeff Cornelius graduated from high school he went to work in the HVAC industry. “A friend had a delivery service delivering to a guy with a heating and cooling business and that’s how I got into it,” Jeff explained. In 1993 Jeff opened his own business... [More]

Youth Track meet organized for April 27

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Mary Jane Britz, a junior at Prairie View High School has organized a track meet for grade school age students in the Prairie View District. “I lived in Wisconsin before moving to Kansas and while living in Wisconsin the track team would put on a youth track meet every... [More]

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