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Surprising details in deer season booklet - Hunter 'feel' sunrise - New record brown trout - Special tour of Old Mills - Big River, Castor River, St. Francis River IN THE September
ISSUE OF RIVER HILLS
TRAVELER


There was a cover story about a float trip on Big River from Merrell Horse to Brown's Ford. Fishing was just so-so, but some lessons about life could be drawn from the experience. Basically, it is "catch what's biting." The trip was also scenic and the tempo of the stream was good for putting a young paddler in control of the canoe.

If you hunt on or near state land, the deer and turkey publication by the Conservation Department contains some interesting details that have not been previously published. About 50 additional state areas have been closed to deer hunting this year, for instance, and rules about deer hunting on a number of others have been changed.

The last in a series about a Missourian's amazing career is in this issue. It is about John Marmaduke, who rose to be a Confederate general, then served time in federal prison, but was finally elected Missouri's governor.

An editorial made a distinction between "growth" and "development", saying many Ozark tourism businesses may be near the limit in sheer growth, but development or enrichment of those businesses has a long way to go.

There is a story about an exceptional rock skipper, and a story by Don Rathert on his first wade fishing trip after major surgery. Charlie Slovensky writer about the difference between hunting and just getting up early.

If you have a choice between a weed eater and a fly rod . . . September is also a good time to sight in a deer rifle. Traveler covered a float fishing trip on Castor River as it exits the Ozark and flows past cypress knees. A new ranger station is proposed to Akers Ferry on Current River, and there's an account of floating through a new channel that claimed the St. Francis River this year.

A new brown trout record has been set. And duck season is another 60 days with a six bird limit. Dove populations are stable. Bill Cooper writes about finding a neat place to hunt doves in the Ozarks.

There's a story on a tour of several old mills in the Ozarks. It is repeated below. There are also stories on a number of news developments, seasons, recipes, sunrise/moonrise tables and a story about the Osage as the dominent tribe in Missouri.

Making a tour of several mills


By Judy Schnable
The Mill Tour in Ozark County Missouri is a step back in time.
Traveling east on Hwy.160 out of Gainesville to Hwy. PP, brings you to Dawt Mill. The mill sits below the spillway on the North Fork River.
While sitting on the deck overlooking the spillway, you can observe kids and adults alike, enjoying the cool pristine water. If you’d like a snack, you can walk down to the “Chuck Wagon” restaurant. It’s situated on the banks of the “raceway”.
The old weathered mill is no longer operational, but a trip upstairs exhibits a collection of well worn equipment from the 1800s.
On the premises sits the “Cotton Gin Inn.” This quaint new structure houses overnight guests. What a treat! Guests can sit on the verandah and watch the river roll by, churning its way to Tecumseh.
On any given summer evening, the smell of an open campfire will summon you to “come and sit a spell.”
Here, campers gather around the fire pit and reminisce about earlier times. Stories abound about leisure floats down the river. Canoe rentals are available .
After leaving Dawt Mill, travel PP Hwy. to Hwy. H, then on to 181. As you come around the bend, Hodgson Mill delights your visual senses.
The mill sits on the flowing, crystal clear waters of the Bryant Creek. As you sit beside the stream, you are taken back to a time when “hill” people came to the mill to conduct business.
You can imagine sumpters pulling up with their grain ladened wagons. You can envision gentlemen conversing, while waiting for their grain to be turned into a valuable commodity. Visions of ladies visiting outside on the porch come to mind. After all, this was the “hub” of their community.
The grinding came to a halt in the late 1900s, but I do believe, if you listen real close, you can hear the “spirit” of the mill. While traversing the incline to the mill, whispers can be heard in the breeze wafting through the old oak trees.
The old wood flooring creaks and moans with every step. The smell of aged wood and moisture from the spring-fed waterfall summons a “Time Past.”
This building has withstood floods throughout the years, but some of the equipment is still standing. A complete restoration has restored the mill to its original ambiance.
There’s a certain comfort about this old barn-red mill. A ‘bird’s eye view’ from the porch reveals the springfed waterfall below. It’s astounding to see this sparkling, pure water rushing from the ebullient pool, down to the watercress effused stream.
Zanoni Mill will come into view on Hwy.181, after leaving Hodgson. This mill is owned and operated as a private bed & breakfast. From the road, if you look real close, you will see the “overshot” wheel.
It’s one of a few mills designed in that fashion, to capture water power. The setting for this mill brings to mind “South Fork”, of the old Dallas t.v. series.
Continue on 181 to Hwy. N, and you will come to Rockbridge. It’s tucked away in a small valley.
Here is a “picture perfect” grist mill, sitting beside a rock dam. Water from Spring Creek flows over the dam into a pool.
The tiny village of Rockbridge inhabited this area. However, today the mill and a few restored buildings provide the historic backdrop for the modern day fly fishermen. They can be seen presenting their hand tied flies to some voracious trout.
You can sit in the refurbished mill, known now as the Grist Mill Club, and have a cold drink. It’s a quiet place, but then the art of fly fishing seems to be quiet.
The silence is broken by an occasional “I got one,” coming from a novice. The seasoned fly fisherman, decked out in his waders and hand tied flies, seems to just nod, when they hook one.
When they’ve had their fill of fishing, they can bring their “catch” up to the restaurant, where the chef will prepare the trout and present a gourmet meal.
You won’t be disappointed with this restaurant. Lodging is available - 417-679-3619.
The old Hammond Mill sits alongside the Little North Fork River, in Hammond. It has been restored and serves as a residential structure. Admiring it from the road is worth the trip.
During your tour, stop and have lunch at Stone Ridge Inn. Stone Ridge is located in Dora on Hwy. 181. Meals here are prepared by appointment - 417-261-2177. I guarantee, you won’t go away hungry.
This is a beautiful bed & breakfast with gardens to die for. Bess, the proprietress, works the kitchen much like I remember Gramma did. Bess says, “Coming to Stone Ridge is like coming to Gramma’s house.” I agree.
The vicinage of these mills is conducive to a day trip from St. Louis. If taking “The Road Less Traveled” is what you yearn for, you will be delighted with this tour.
If you need any information about the area, please call 417-273-4859

Two dozen years ago, September 1981

Public officials were trying to figure out what to do with land that had been acquired for the Meramec River Dam now that the dam idea has been put on the scrap heap.
At the same time, a meeting was scheduled by officials to see where to go on the proposed Pine Ford Dam on Big River.
(In the end, the only water impounded under the grand Meramec Plan was the 500 acre Council Bluff Lake in the Mark Twain National Forest.)
Oddly, however, official deauthorization had not taken place and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was going ahead to condemn three more parcels of land, three years after voters thumbed the dam down and Congress was trying to divvy up the land that had already been purchased for Meramec Lake.
Traveler had a story speculating on what the first humans to visit the Ozarks might have seen. An interesting point - before the last ice age, much of the continental United States drained to the St. Lawrence, or into Hudson Bay, not to the Gulf of Mexico. Early man saw a very different world than we see today.
As September rolled in, waterfowl seasons were still not settled. Missouri wanted a three-part season, but the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had not yet approved it.
Controversial steel shot would be required on public waterfowl hunting areas.
Dove numbers were up and hunting was excellent again in the Missouri bootheel. And the Conservation Department was saying the state had the best rabbit numbers since 1967.
The U.S. Forest Service had purchased an access to the St. Francis River at Highway 72 west of Fredericktown but it was not yet open.
The Reagan administration had put a hold on all federal land purchases, but the outcry from local folks who’d worked hard for this access got the hold lifted for this purchase.
Using a private access, Traveler editor Bob Todd, and artist Al Agnew sampled the fishing to be opened up by the new access and declared it good.
The Conservation Department announced purchase of a 161 acre tract on Castor River to be used as a public access. (It has since been named Sweetgum Access.)
Bollinger Mill, on Whitewater River west of Jackson, was now a state park and was opened for tours.
Onondaga Cave State Park was reported to be shaping up well too. It had been a commercial attraction for many years but was acquired by the state with the help of the Nature Conservancy.
You could buy a set of bib overalls for $15.99 at P.N. Hirsch stores in southeast Missouri.

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