This is my last column as your MHHF President. On March 30th, at our Annual Business Meeting, Stacie Hubler will be named President of Missouri Hunting Heritage Federation. She is the second person to serve the Federation in this position. Stacie has served MHHF and its members for seven years, both as a volunteer and as a member of our Board. I’m excited for this transition and look forward to supporting her as she leads our organization over the next several years.

In addition to helping with this leadership transition, I will continue on the Board for another year representing MHHF at Conservation Federation of Missouri (CFM) and other association events, producing our Annual Progress Report, developing an endowment for the continued funding of our organization, supporting new member recruitment, continue to coordinate the Annual Henry County Waterfowl Clinic and, oh yeah, expanding the Henry County Chapter!

Before I go, I’m very excited to announce the appointment of Kenneth Kieser to our Board of Directors. Ken is an award-winning outdoor writer of 41-years with several thousand bylines in newspapers and magazines. His work, writing and photos have appeared in most of America’s top outdoor magazines and numerous newspapers. Ken is very passionate about getting youngsters outside and behind a firearm or a fishing pole.

In addition, Brandon Butler has accepted the Board’s nomination to a three-year Director term. I met Brandon 10 years ago at the annual conference of the Professional Outdoor Media Association in St. Louis. Despite the 22-year difference in our age, we found we had much in common. For the last five years he has been the Executive Director of the Conservation Federation of Missouri, as well as an MHHF life member and clinic mentor.

Speaking of CFM, Stacie and I attended the 83rd Annual Conference in Jefferson City March 9th and 10th. At the Affiliate Luncheon, MHHF received a check for $1,250 from the CFM-David Risberg Memorial Grant. This is the second year this grant has been awarded, and MHHF has been a recipient both times. Conference speakers included Ben Ellis, Division Director of Missouri State Parks and Sarah Parker Pauley, Director, Missouri Department of Conservation. It is always a thrill to be at a conference surrounded by so many others who are passionate about Missouri’s outdoors.

CFM’s Explore the Outdoors-Kansas City Banquet will be held May 2nd at The Bass Pro Shops, Independence. If you haven’t attended, this is like a mini-conference with dinner, key note speaker and silent and live auctions. If you are interested in attending please let me know. Depending on the number of us going, we may be able to get a MHHF table.

I sincerely hope you’ll consider joining us on Saturday, March 30th at the Annual Business Meeting and stick around for the 8th Annual Spring Fling Trap & Turkey Shoot Benefit. In addition to the usual business of electing officers, reviewing our accomplishments and presenting our Keith McCanse, Allan Hoover and Volunteer of the Year Awards, we’ll get to meet our new State Hunter Education Coordinator, Justin McGuire. Come on out!!!!


Last week, from a beach on Hawai’i Island, I saw a humpback whale cow execute a full breach and then watched her calf repeat the maneuver. A full breach is where the giant mammal swims up from the depths with great speed and flies out of the water, its entire body airborne, and then flops back in a horizontal position.

Spinner dolphins also do this, but their splashdown doesn’t displace as much water as their 33 ton cousin. So they add their own twist, if you will, a corkscrew technique to add a little pizazz. Hence the name, ‘spinner’ dolphin.

Even after more than six decades of life, this Missouri boy still experiences a sense of overwhelming awe at the wonders of our natural world. My next thought is almost always: How can we get more young people to experience the miracles of the great outdoors?

Recently, MHHF Director Stephen Bramlett circulated an article to the Board from the New York Times about members of the Millennial Generation turning to hunting for the benefit of eating better.

My favorite part is reading about the 33-year-old chef who tried to teach himself how to field dress a deer by surfing Google. But what the heck! If the motivation for the next generation to become outdoorsman is through their gourmet hobbies, more power to them!

Nationwide, the number of hunters and other folks skilled in the ways of the outdoors are going the way of the Jedi Knight. Scientific studies continue to point out and make known the serious implications of this trend. Fortunately, there are growing numbers of resources available starting with our Missouri Department of Conservation. Their website and publications provide terrific information for individuals, families and school classes. Another resource to check out is the Children & Nature Network website.

Of course, for the most hands-on experience, the Missouri Hunting Heritage Federation continues to provide free hunter education clinics for five to six families at a time. For a parent (or any relative) who wants to introduce their youngster to Missouri’s hunting tradition, plus give them the knowledge and skills that come with being a hunter, this is one great weekend. And, short of buying a hunting tag when applicable, it’s all free.

Thank you, as always, for your support of our efforts and please come join us on March 30, for the Annual Member Business meeting and eighth Annual Spring Fling Trap & Turkey Shoot Benefit at Lake Lotawana Sportsmen’s Club.


Greetings! Wishing you a year of good health and exceptional prosperity.

In May 2017, the MHHF Board of Directors set a goal to graduate the 500th family by December 31, 2018. We fell short of this goal by 16 families. Three more clinics would have put us over the top. Although we didn’t meet our goal, I believe we achieved something of equal – or perhaps greater – value. I think back on a number of occasions where young people I did not immediately recognize approached me, reintroduced themselves and shook my hand. These clinic graduates are considerably taller and more mature these days. Sometimes they share pictures of hunts they have been on with family and friends. What a thrill to know I was, in a small way, involved in their development with this activity that brings them so much joy. It’s a fun and humbling experience.

There are many roles and components to our clinics. We need a classroom, shooting range, land to hunt. We need instructors, mentors and other volunteers to take pictures, help with equipment and our camp lunch. Our Clinic Organizers are the front line “sergeants” who pull everything and everyone together.  It’s not a difficult job and honestly, a lot of fun. It just takes time. The process is all lined out in our MHHF Procedure Manual. We revised this document last year to keep it up to date. It states everything that needs to be done, when to do it and what to do when something doesn’t quite come together as expected. Every time I complete a clinic, I’m so amped-up I’m ready to start working on the next one.

This year we need to recruit more Clinic Organizers. Please consider this for yourself or someone you know and send their name to me at

In this update you’ll note that we already have dates for most of our annual events. Our annual Membership Meeting is Saturday, March 30th. Part of the agenda will be the presentation of the MHHF Keith McCanse, Allan Hoover and Volunteer of the Year awards. You can see previous recipients and the criteria for nomination on our new recognition page  Consider nominating someone and send it to by March 1st.

Our 8th annual Spring Fling Trap and Turkey Shoot/Benefit is also Saturday, March 30th. We are seeking sponsors for Spring Fling now. Email us at to get sponsorship information.

Our 9th annual Shoot for the Future Sporting Clays Benefit is Saturday, August 17th.  Please put these dates on your calendar now.

It’s going to be a great year for MHHF! I’m looking forward to sharing it with you.


When you think back on the winter holidays growing up, were there traditions that involved going outside? I’ve heard when families gathered in the country, they would set up targets for “plinking” with a 22 or BB gun. Sometimes the kids would build snow forts and have a “war.” Perhaps, for city kids like me, it was critical to build a snowman who would greet the family when they arrived or stand guard as everyone bundling up and headed out to “walk off” dinner. Regardless of the activity, it was done as a family – young and old.

I’m concerned that, for whatever reason, there are traditions involving the outdoors that have been lost and replaced with passive forms of entertainment. What does the family, specifically the young people, spend their time during the family gatherings today? Do they go outdoors or do they sit around the TV to watch a movie, curl up on the couch with a video game or find comfort in their own private activity on their mobile device.

Regardless of what they do, the consequence of staying indoors is a less active lifestyle.

According to a WebMD article, “Years ago, it was rare to hear about a child with type 2 diabetes. Doctors used to think kids only got type 1. It was even called juvenile diabetes for a long time. Not anymore. Now, according to the CDC, more than 208,000 people younger than 20 have this disease. That number includes both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. The single biggest cause of type 2 diabetes in children is extra weight.”

One of the contributing factors to weight gain is the lack of physical activity. If our family traditions encourage a reluctance to go outside, especially if it’s too cold to go without a coat, aren’t we doing our kids a great disservice?

In the coming months, the leadership of MHHF will focus on reaching more youngsters and parents to promote the joy and benefits of learning about the outdoors through our hunter education clinics.

We greatly appreciate your support in this effort.

Please have a safe, joyful and active holiday!


Last week, Fox News posted a story about a Wisconsin man who harvested a 19-point buck after pursuing it for five years. As you can imagine, this started a debate between those who don’t understand the value of hunting as a means of sustainability and those who are proponents of hunting. Over the course of time, nastiness prevailed and the debate lost any opportunity for real thoughtful commentary.

We see these extremes everywhere these days. The middle ground doesn’t get represented.

The solution to bridging this gaping difference in point of view is better understanding developed through education. If people don’t experience hunting and the outdoors way of life, they don’t have a basis to understand it or others who love it.

One day, years ago in early November, I was hunting alone not expecting to see any ducks. A HUGE flock came into the flooded field and stayed there. All of the other hunters in my group were away on trips. I called a very good friend who is not a hunter and pleaded for him to bring his daughter and join me. He did and after spending that beautiful afternoon in the blind he completely understood my passion for this experience.

Shortly after that he became an MHHF life member and was later elected to our Board of Directors. Now, he and his wife frequently volunteer at our waterfowl clinics. While I doubt he will ever become a hunter, he has become an advocate for hunting as a means of conservation. While this is just one example, it represents one of the many reasons why I feel the mission of our organization and the efforts of our volunteers and supporters is so important.

We shouldn’t for a minute think all the young people who participate in our hunter education clinics will become lifelong hunters. But we feel they will have had the experience to understand the love of the outdoors, the hunting traditions, the importance of conservation and why others have such a passion to get outside and “be amongst’em.” 

You can help introduce a family to Missouri’s hunting tradition by inviting them to participate in our Henry Country Waterfowl Clinic, December 7-9. If you know an adult with a young person who would be interested, please send him or her my way at

Thank you for your support and Happy Thanksgiving!!!


Off the coast of Maine lies the island of Mount Desert which includes the charming seaport of Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. While visiting last month, I learned that, in the island’s early days, maintaining a healthy population of white tail deer was no problem because the indigenous tribes of the Wabanaki Indians hunted the deer for food. But that was a long time ago.

In the 1600s, the island was discovered by the French and shortly after that the British and eventually surrendered to the Americans. By the late 1800s, the island had become a summer destination for the rich and the famous. John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and others purchased land and built flamboyant summer “cottages.” From 1915 to 1933 Rockefeller led a campaign among his peers which resulted in a donation of 35,000 acres to the US government for the national park. He played a big role in the design of the park including financing many of the improvements, trails and bridges, personally.  

But I digress….

With no Wabanaki hunters and the land now a federally managed park, the number of deer grew to the point where there was not enough food to sustain a healthy deer population and over-browsing was having considerable impact on the forests. Park rangers introduced coyote to the island to reduce the number of deer but being the opportunists they are, the coyote decided domestic dogs and cats were their preferred fare. Soon they had issues with two animal populations.

I asked a noted historian if the authorities considered managed hunting within the park to reduce the number of deer. That option has proven effective elsewhere, including in Missouri. He said the park staff met with the local community and this option was considered but rejected.

Though not everyone agrees with every management decision made by the Missouri Department of Conservation, we know considerable scientific research and conversation with Missouri citizens is made before action is taken. In the hunter education certification class our clinic participants learn about the important role humans and specifically hunters play in wildlife management. With this perspective, understanding and appreciation of the natural world we are better prepared to make wise management decisions.  

 Thank you for supporting our hunter education clinics.  And thanks to all of you who participated in our 8th Annual Shoot for the Future Sporting Clays Tournament.

For more interesting examples of great mistakes in managing wildlife, consider reading Nature Wars by Jim Sterba.


The fall hunting season is beginning. This is the time of year where we relive the stories with our friends and family about our prior experiences and make plans for what we hope to accomplish in the upcoming year. Just as you enjoy talking about getting outdoors with them, this is also a perfect time to talk to them and other people you know about Missouri Hunting Heritage Federation.

Why is this important?

Last month, MHHF gained three new member mentors. How did these new members come our way? Was it advertising? Was it through a booth at Bass Pro? No. All three were introduced to the work of MHHF by talking with a current member.

I recently attended the Conservation Federation of Missouri’s Affiliate Summit. One of the most talked about topics among more than one hundred affiliate organizations was volunteer recruitment. Fortunately, the goals of MHHF to introduce youth to hunting, the shooting sports and an outdoor way of life are applauded by most people. I’ve never had anyone tell me they thought what we are doing is wrong. Whether someone’s a hunter or just a person interested in the well-being of the next generation, the activities of MHHF resonate well with just about everyone.

Admittedly, not everyone can share in our mission in the same way. Some have time and experience, some have dollars, some have land and others enjoy teaching hunter safety. Regardless of how a person supports MHHF, the first key to getting them involved is to make them aware of what we do.

As we head into this wonderful time of year when we prepare to get back outside, I have one simple thing to ask you – tell the MHHF story. Ask those you know if they would be willing to spend a day or two this year to introduce a young person to the shooting sports or teach a couple of hunter safety chapters in a class. If they show interest, encourage them to visit our website ( to learn more and to become a member. Finally, bring them to our Shoot for the Future Sporting Clays Tournament, September 29th, so they can meet other like-minded people and see their passion for assuring the future of our hunting tradition.

As always, thank you!


Our MHHF Hunter Education Clinic model continues to receive strong praise from our participant families as well as other youth education and outdoor organizations. To assure that we continue to provide the best possible experience and increase involvement, MHHF recently introduced another event that is enjoying a high degree of success – it’s our New Mentor Orientation. This casual get together provides potential volunteers an in-depth understanding of how our clinics work and the thinking behind its design.

This year’s orientation will be on Thursday, August 22, 5:30 p.m. at Brewbakers in Belton, MO. Our New Mentor Orientation has been especially beneficial in helping prospective mentors and other volunteers learn enough about our clinics to make a decision to become an MHHF member. At 5:30 participants will have the opportunity to order food and beverage. At 6:00, Director of Clinic Operations Steve Rulo will present an outline of our clinic process. This includes a step-by-step walkthrough that demonstrates how easy it is to be a clinic volunteer.

For those new to MHHF, and even our seasoned veterans, these evenings prove to be thought provoking and enjoyable while raising awareness and goodwill for MHHF. If you, or someone you know, might consider becoming an MHHF member, or wants to become more involved as a mentor for our fall clinics, please consider joining us for our third New Mentor Orientation on August 22. RSVP by emailing


A new wild flower appeared on the west facing hillside at our hunting lodge this April. Red Indian Paintbrush is the first of what I’d hoped would be many native wildflowers I planted almost two years ago. Then last month Black-Eyed Susan, Wild Bergamot and Gray Headed Coneflower appeared.

Obviously, this has nothing to do with attracting mallards in the fall but there is a connection.

Two years ago, our creek bottom stayed too wet to plant milo for the waterfowl season to follow. Frustrated and looking for something to do, I worked with a private lands conservationist from the Missouri Department of Conservation to develop a plot of native wildflowers. It’s a long process taking anywhere from 18 months to two years. First, you have to kill off the cool season grasses by mowing, spraying and burning. Then you purchase the seed (available only certain months of the year), broadcast it between September and April with the intention of placing it on the ground with 60% soil contact. Yes, 60% is what the biologist advise. No more. No less. Then it’s up to the winter weather to freeze and thaw the ground, expanding, contracting. Depending on weather and water they will hopefully germinate and start to bloom in April through the fall.  

In addition to looking pretty, native wildflowers support pollinators, which have been in decline. Pollinators, like butterflies and bees, play an important role in private and commercial food production.

My stepfather passed away fourteen years ago. Neither he nor I could have anticipated the random chain of events that happened when he introduced me to duck hunting when I was 11. That simple gesture has turned into a lifetime passion for hunting and conservation, that now includes me growing native wildflowers in my 60s.

When our MHHF members take a weekend to introduce a half dozen young people and their families to hunting, conservation and getting outdoors, we have no idea what interests, passions, hobbies or potentially, careers will germinate from that first experience.

Thank you for your support.


Between hunting seasons, the MHHF Board and volunteers take time to evaluate what we’re doing and work on other projects that support our long-term goals. The list below highlights a few of the things we’re working on. If you see something you’re interested in, please let me or Stacie Hubler know. We’re always looking for new ideas and appreciate the extra support.


Clinic Manual: The committee has completed revisions to our Clinic Manual. Over the years, both regulations change as do our processes. The Board of Directors will review for approval at the next quarterly board meeting in July. Copies will be available for all members.


MHHF Annual Report: Is in production and the mailing date to all members and supporters is scheduled for the beginning of July. If you would like extra copies to share with others who might be interested in the mission of MHHF, please let me know at


Expansion/New Clinics: Director, Sean Flanagan is coordinating a new clinic this fall in Henry County during the special Youth Waterfowl Season October 19-21.  If you would like to volunteer, contact Sean at . If you know of a youth who would be interested in signing up, direct them to


Director, Rehan Nana and I will be meeting with a landowner near Urich, MO later this month to discuss a new Henry County Upland Game clinic for 2019.


Marketing: Conservation Federation of Missouri’s (CFM) Explore the Outdoors-Kansas City is being held Thursday evening, May 31st at Boulevard Brewing. Former Missouri Conservation Commissioner Anita Gorman is speaking. Please consider attending. Enjoy a fun evening and support CFM! More information is available at


Gentlemen’s Wild Game Dinner, Banquet & Benefit for MHHF is set for Thursday, November 8 at Affäre. Do you know someone who should be invited? Please contact Director, Steve Bramlett at (816) 214-8095.


Member Development: The Annual Hunter/Mentor Rendezvous will be held Saturday, June 16 at Baiers Den Kennels and Hunting Preserve, 25219 S Baiers Den Rd, Peculiar, Missouri 64078. This meeting provides our mentors and volunteers the opportunity to discuss the prior year’s Clinics and share best practices. All active members who volunteer in any way at our clinics are encouraged to attend.


New Mentor Orientation, Wednesday, August 15th, Brewbakers in Belton. Do you know someone who’d be a great mentor, instructor or clinic volunteer? This event is a terrific opportunity to learn about our clinics and what we do. Please put this on your calendar and bring someone to this orientation. The folks who join will be our ‘new people’ for the fall Clinics.


Member Recruitment:

We are looking for a dedicated individual who can help organize our Annual Sporting Clays Benefit, Shoot for the Future. Do you have a knack for detail, relationship building and organizing a fund raiser, or know someone who does? If so, please contact President-Elect, Stacie Hubler at


I know I speak on behalf of the entire MHHF Board when I say, thank you for all that you do! It is through your support of both time and money that MHHF is able to continue to introduce youth to Missouri’s outdoor way of life.


Have a great holiday weekend,



Last month, two MHHF members received formal recognition at our annual meeting.

David Wyatt received the Keith McCanse award, recognizing pioneers in modern day conservation and defenders of our hunting heritage. David has been involved with MHHF since before our formal beginning in 2007. Working with Allan Hoover, and others, he helped define the concept of the Federation. From 2011 thru 2014, he served on the Board of Directors. From those early days to now, he continues to be an active volunteer and support our clinics and events.

The MHHF President’s Award was presented for the first time. This recognition is determined by (and only by) the Federation President to recognize any individual or entity for whatever criteria he or she chooses. During the last five years, Stacie Hubler has contributed more hours to MHHF than anyone. In addition to being our Events Chair since 2013, Stacie has been an at-large Board Director, Board Secretary, and President-Elect. Additionally, on three different occasions Stacie has taken over the duties of Executive Director handling the day-to-day business of the Federation (which she is still doing today). She is the first recipient of this award Recognizing Extraordinary Support of the Mission.

Congratulations David and Stacie. Thank you for your support and helping MHHF achieve our goal. And thank you to all of you who attended the meeting. We had a record turnout!

To date, MHHF members, sponsors and volunteers have completed 78 Clinics and introduced 465 families to Missouri’s hunting tradition.

Please take a look at the photos from our last clinic in this Update. At any given clinic you have no idea how much you may impact a young person’s perception of the outdoor world or know how that impact may be paid forward in the future.

Now is the time of year to turn our focus on growth for the future. Take time to consider hunters, landowners, or others who would enjoy helping the next generation to learn about Missouri’s outdoor way of life and hunting tradition. If you know someone who can help, please contact me, Stacie Hubler or any of our Directors to share their name and make an introduction. To show our appreciation, we’ll send you an MHHF decal for your car.

Thanks again for all YOU do!


This past weekend, the 82nd Annual Convention of the Conservation Federation of Missouri (CFM) was in Jefferson City. It may go down in history as one of the most significant for Missouri Hunting Heritage Federation.

Years ago, when Allan Hoover and I were just trying to ‘get the word out,’ we set up an exhibitor table at this event. We wanted to educate Missouri’s stakeholders and influencers of MHHF’s intentions to take youth beyond simply receiving their hunter education certification. With MHHF, youth get hands-on training in firearms and the experience of a mentored hunt. Through CFM we hoped to gain support, potential members and create awareness for our commitment to ensuring Missouri’s hunting heritage.

Friday night, I had the great honor to be presented with CFM’s 2017 Hunter Educator of the Year award. I’m the third MHHF founding member to receive this recognition after David Rush and Allan Hoover. MHHF was well represented at this event. Thank you Stacie Hubler, Karen Hoover, Steve Bramlett, Steve Rulo and his dad, Mark Rulo, Bryan Flanagan, my wife Allison, Jerri Lynn Keith and Bruce Keith for your commitment to MHHF and your participation at the Convention.

CFM members represent every individual and group who holds a stake in the health and wellbeing of Missouri’s fish, forests and wildlife - from the governor, Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) to local bird watchers, and sportsman’s club. It’s this type of commitment that makes Missouri a model for conservation.

At the Affiliate Luncheon on Saturday, MHHF was announced as one of the 11 recipients of a grant from the new David Risberg Memorial Affiliate Grant Program. John and Mary Risberg created this memorial for their son, David, an avid outdoorsman who was lost in an automobile accident last year. Stacie and I had the honor of meeting them and learning more about their son. It did not take long to see the Risbergs are very gracious and noble people. It was a truly moving experience, not only to have the efforts of MHHF recognized and encouraged in this way, but to be a part of this inaugural grant giving event. 

Hal Herring, contributing editor to Field & Stream, was the keynote speaker at the Saturday banquet. He also took the opportunity to say a few words at the Affiliate Luncheon. As a reporter and writer, he has traveled the world, covered wars and “…written hundreds of articles about conservation and the environment.” He is a very interesting individual. Originally from Alabama, a major theme in his remarks is the lack of knowledge by the general public of the significant strides the concerned citizens of America have made toward restoring and preserving the quality of our soil, water and air and how this is a contrast to much of the rest of the world, or to put it more succinctly:  “Too many folks don’t know how they got what we have.”

During his address, Missouri Department of Natural Resources Deputy Director, Dru Buntin, announced preliminary investigation into the creation of a second state trail corridor utilizing 144 miles of the old Rock Island Rail line. He also mentioned properties recently acquired for four new state parks; Bryant Creek, Eleven Point, Jay Nixon and Ozark Mountain. These projects will be years in development, but when complete, will provide additional recreation and outdoor opportunities for Missouri residents and visitors.

In her remarks, MDC Director, Sarah Parker Pauley, mentioned Missouri HB 1873 regarding  poaching penalty provisions and H.R. 4647 Recovering America’s Wildlife Act.

Don’t forget, CFM Executive Director, Brandon Butler will be joining us at our annual Business Meeting and Spring Fling Trap Shoot Benefit on Sunday, March 18. In addition to Federation business, we’ll share more details from the convention at the meeting. If you haven’t already, please click here to register.

See you there!!!!!


I often take the opportunity in February to reflect upon the bigger picture. My step-daughter, Amanda, recently shared a story with me and, once again, I’m inspired to reflect on how fortunate we are to be citizens of this great country.

Amanda spent the holidays in Europe, visiting her cousin in France and some girlfriends in Germany. While in Germany, she stayed with a host family, which provided her a great opportunity to visit casually and get to know the people and their culture.

One evening the conversation touched on holiday traditions and celebrating the incoming New Year with fireworks. Apparently, this is common in Germany. Fireworks are available for a short time in in many stores and folks can set them off anywhere. When asked if this occurred in the U.S., Amanda reported that the sale of fireworks was highly regulated, could only be purchased and ignited in restricted areas and tolerated over a limited period of time during our celebration of Independence Day.

Later, Amanda’s hosts asked about her parents. She told of my involvement with MHHF and how we introduce youth to hunting. They thought this very strange. “You mean, your country strictly regulates the use of fireworks, but you teach children how to hunt animals with guns?!” Amanda had to laugh but acknowledged, “Yeah, that pretty well describes it.”

Two things come to my mind immediately. First, the number of burns treated at hospital emergency rooms during any given Fourth of July is numerous and (thanks in great part to hunter education) cases involving treatment for hunting related firearms injuries is very few over the course of an entire year. Statistically, you are much safer in the field during season than you are igniting a roman candle.

Secondly, I’m reminded that there are aspects of our culture and laws that are not common in other parts of the world. Early immigrants landing on the shores of this continent and later the frontier families settling this country had to learn to hunt game in order to eat. This tradition has been handed down through generations and is part of American culture. Not so in all other cultures.

In many places, outside the U.S., there aren’t public hunting spaces. Wildlife is generally considered part of the land and therefore the property of the landowner. Historically, landowners were wealthy (often “royalty”). The commoner needed permission from the landowner to harvest game. If game was harvested without permission there could be consequences, potentially deadly.

When our nation was very young, it was determined that the wildlife was the property of the people and was managed in trust for the people by the state (to learn more, do a search for Marten v Waddell 1842 or North American Model of Wildlife Conservation).

Today, Missouri residents can go online, purchase a $17 deer tag and head out to the family farm or State public land and bring home dinner. Folks from most other lands have never been able to do this. For them, the idea of us teaching our youth woodsmanship, sportsmanship and marksmanship must appear very strange indeed.

Perhaps a little bit of the spirit of the Frontier; the self-reliance, the connection to the wild, is still with us. I like that. We are fortunate.

As always, to our sponsors, members, volunteers and participant families, thank you for your support of MHHF and for all you do to keep our great hunting traditions alive for future generations.

See you at the Business Meeting March 18th!


Happy 2018! And what a year it is going to be!

This can be a tough time of year for those of us who thrive on being outside. The extraordinarily cold temperatures have caused me to pass on the last two weeks of deer season. Our floating duck blind is trapped in four inches of ice delaying my ability to drain the flooded field. Even cutting firewood and burning brush piles has been a challenge with below zero wind chills.

The best way I know how to cope with cabin fever is to throw myself into doing activities I can do from the warmth of indoors while I wait for the weather to turn nice. This includes working on MHHF planning initiatives, going to meetings of other organizations with similar goals as MHHF and participating in conservation conferences.

Please mark your calendars now for our Annual MHHF Membership Meeting, 12:30 p.m., Sunday March 18th at the Lake Lotawana Sportsmen’s Club. Immediately following the meeting MHHF will host our 7th Annual Spring Fling Benefit Trap Shoot.  

During the Membership Meeting we’ll review the progress we’ve made last year, recognize your contributions and visit with the movers and shakers in our Hunter Education and Missouri Conservation community. Conservation Federation of Missouri (CFM) Executive Director, Brandon Butler, will be sharing remarks about current topics impacting Missouri’s outdoors. Our meeting is a week after the CFM annual convention, so I’m sure there will be much to hear about.

Speaking of which, please check out CFM’s 82nd Annual Convention details below. I have been able to attend many of these events and it is a very rewarding experience.  The CFM non-member registration rate to the conference includes an individual membership at a discounted price. The special rate at the Plaza Capital Hotel is very reasonable, too!

I look forward to seeing you in March and celebrating another successful year of MHHF! Thanks for all you do and stay warm.


What a month! What a year!!!!

In the first two weeks of December, MHHF staged two clinics:

  • Waterfowl in Henry County with seven youth participants, and

  • Our first Crossbow Deer/Turkey clinic in Cass County with five youth.

All our participants successfully completed the Missouri Hunter Education Certification course, proved proficiency at the supervised live-fire session and enjoyed a personally mentored hunt. Congratulations and “Thank You!” to our member volunteers.

This brings our total number of clinics to 75 and youth graduates to 451 since we started more than 10 years ago. We are on our way to achieving our goal of 500 “families served” by January 1, 2019.

Turning to the business of doing business - nominations are now open for Board of Director and officer positions. Presently, your Board has two nominations to recommend:

  • Mike Borgerding to a re-elected three-year term as Treasurer

  • Rehan Nana to an elected three-year term as At-Large Director

Both of their profiles can be found on our website.

All MHHF Members in good standing will receive an e-ballot soon.

The officer position of Secretary, a two-year elected term and two positions of At-Large Director are currently open. The descriptions of responsibilities are stated in our By-Laws which are available for download.

We are also updating our MHHF By-Laws. As soon as the wordsmithing is complete, we will share the changes with the membership for review. Any members wishing to comment prior to the Board vote is encouraged to attend our January Board of Directors Meeting, Thursday January 11th, 6 p.m. at Jess & Jim’s Steak House, Martin City.

Next month we will publish our calendar of events for 2018. Meanwhile, Safe and Happy Holidays to you and yours!


The third annual Gentleman’s Wild Game Dinner was quite the success, with no shortage of great food, beverages, cigars and fellowship. This year’s event will be remembered for a very high level of energy. The silent auction included a number of new and unique items including a silver liquor flask from Meierotto’s with an engraved MHHF logo adorning the front. I hope something like that is available next year since I did not have the winning bid.

Dinner committee chair J.D. Selby stepped in as auctioneer for the live auction and demonstrated considerable prowess in keeping the bids and laughter coming. Three beautiful CZ long guns and an elegant dinner for four at Affare were snatched up! Funds from the event will be used to support future MHHF Clinics. Thank you to all who joined us for dinner, participated in the auctions and showed your support for Missouri’s hunting heritage.

While enjoying fine dining and city life with friends is fun, few things this time of year beat sitting in a quiet deer stand in the wooded bottoms of Big Creek. From my perch, I had time to reflect on  Missouri’s hunting tradition and all it encompasses. Those who don’t hunt, can’t imagine how this activity connects individuals with each other and with nature. The active, face-to-face fellowship within the brother and sisterhood of hunters is becoming increasingly important at a time when “connectivity” is so often limited to text, social media, emails and telephone. When we teach hunter education we are reminded of all that goes into the hunt, from planning and preparation to important choices we make in deciding to harvest or “let one pass,” to the responsibility to locate, process and use the gift of game. No matter how much we know, there is always more to learn, right?

Another aspect that I feel has become even more important today is the opportunity to sit in the wild, often for hours at a time reflecting and connecting with the natural world. We know (and the studies back this up) that having that ‘downtime’ is important to maintain mental balance.

As we enjoy this November season of gratitude, thank you for being an active supporter of the efforts of MHHF to preserve this wonderful hunting tradition. And thank you for your friendship.



The temperatures may be dropping outside, but it’s been a hot time for MHHF members and supporters in the Kansas City area. And, with all that’s on the calendar, it doesn’t look like it’s going to cool down soon.

Thanks to all who joined us at the Sportsman’s Gala and congratulations to our MHHF 2017 Volunteer of the Year, Karen Hoover, and MHHF Allan Hoover award recipient. Wayne Baier. Thanks to all who participated in the silent auction and congratulations to all who had the winning bids. There were some terrific prizes awarded.

More thanks to everyone who joined us for the 7th Annual Shoot for the Future and congratulations to the high scorers who are listed on our website and Facebook page. Combined, our volunteers drove 1,851 miles and dedicated 125 hours creating these two spectacular events. Thank you to all the volunteers and sponsors who made this event happen.

Kudos to our Cass County chapter for the outstanding chukar clinic noted at the top of this update. This was our 73rd clinic since we were founded and brings the total number of families introduced to Missouri’s hunting tradition through the efforts of our volunteers to 438.

As you can see from our calendar of events, all clinics from now through January are fully booked. It’s great to see that so many families are interested in experiencing the outdoor way of life. However, in order for MHHF to continue to meet this growing demand, we need to grow our chapters. On Saturday, October 21 at 7:30 a.m., I will be a guest of Jeff Leonard on the Roads End Outdoors radio program on KFEQ 680 AM, St. Joseph. I hope this conversation, and extra publicity, will generate enough interest to support the creation of a new MHHF chapter in Northwest Missouri. If you know people who live in that area, please reach out to them an encourage them to listen and help promote MHHF.

We’re looking forward to seeing many of you Thursday, November 9 at this year’s Gentlemen’s Wild Game Dinner – A Hunting Affare Benefit. Invitations are mailing this week. Please come support us at this fun and unique event. Details and tickets are available

Again, thanks to all for your support!


For supporters of Missouri Hunting Heritage Federation, this time of year is a lot like the holidays for everyone else. There are parties, events and opportunities to have a good time and celebrate the season… as in the upcoming hunting season(s).

September’s calendar of events is packed and includes a little something for everyone:

·        Sept. 9-10: First MHHF Clinic of the season took place at Settle’s Ford Conservation Area.

·        Wednesday, Sept. 20: Our first-ever New Mentor Orientation at 5:30, Brewbaker’s Bar & Grill in Belton. (More about that later.)

·        Thursday, Sept. 28: MHHF Sportsmen’s Gala saluting our 2017 special event sponsors at The Emaline Ballroom.

·        Saturday, Sept. 30: MHHF’s 7th Annual Shoot for the Future Sporting Clays Tournament/Benefit is at Powder Creek Shooting Park.

Looking beyond September, we have our Gentleman’s Wild Game Dinner at Affäre Restaurant on Thursday, November 9. Surrounding that are several more youth hunting clinics.

All this during what many consider to be the most wonderful time of year in Kansas City with mild days, cool nights and spectacular fall colors. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

To help introduce people to our clinic model, we have historically asked prospective members to come to a clinic and observe what we do and how we do it. That practice has served us well. As we focus on growing MHHF, waiting for hunting season to audit a clinic becomes somewhat limiting for folks who would like to actively participate in the four remaining clinics we have scheduled this fall.

If you’re interested in learning more about MHHF or volunteering at one of our upcoming clinics this fall, please join us this Wednesday, 5:30 at Brewbaker’s Bar & Grill in Belton. Clinic organizers, directors and other members will present an introduction to our clinic model and outline our procedures. New members, with a filled application and first year’s dues, will receive a hardcopy of our procedure manual, no downloading and printing necessary!

Whether you are a veteran or prospective member, I hope you will join us. More information about these events and upcoming clinics is on our website and Facebook page.


Passing Along- the Fifth Component

When MHHF first created our clinic model we saw three primary components:

  1. the Missouri Department of Conservation hunter education certification class,

  2. the supervised live-fire session, and

  3. the mentored hunt.

Very soon thereafter, the MHHF founders recognized that the after hunt camp lunch, where the kids told each other their tales of the hunt, was another important part of the traditional hunting experience. At that moment, we considered the camp lunch a fourth component of our clinic.

Several years ago, we stuggled with a concern that introducing youth to hunting was not enough. We felt we needed to do something more to assist our clinic graduates with finding opportunities to connect with like-minded hunters for continuing education and friendship. To that end we welcomed hunting organizations like Ducks Unlimited, National Wild Turkey Federation and Pheasants Forever to partner with us.

“How?” you might ask.

First, they provided MHHF a $250 donation to assist in offsetting our hard costs of running our clinics, things like eye and ear protection, shells, targets and hot dogs.. Additionally, we encouraged a representative from one of those organizations to join us the day of the hunt. In some cases, that person was one of our mentors. During the camp lunch, we recognized this individual for their service, and their organization as an association that supports youth and Missouri’s hunting heritage. He or she is given a few minutes to share the value of becoming a member of their organization. Collateral material and contact information is provided.

In this way, MHHF plays the role of the “farm team,” for the partnering organization, providing a flow of new member prospects fresh from their first time afield. We are also providing an important next step for our clinic graduates so, if they choose to continue to pursue hunting and the outdoor way of life, they have somewhere to go.

It is our hope to have a partner with every hunter education clinic and hunt we provide.  If you are a member or on the board of a related organization and would like to learn how to leverage the value of MHHF as your “farm team”, please contact Jerri Keith



I’d like to take a minute to comment about the new Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) all-online hunter-education course , launched this month. Like many new ideas, it’s easy to be against a concept at first blush. My first thought upon hearing about this at the Conservation Federation of Missouri conference in March was “Are they nuts? What are they thinking?” My mind jumped to memories of youngsters, sitting at the back of the hunter ed class, messing around who would later fail the test or be asked to leave. The human component of watchful instructors was critical to making sure those who displayed behavior showing a lack of appreciation for firearm safety should be denied hunter education certification. This human monitoring can’t take place online and who knows who is really filling out the test, right?

My second concern was where does MHHF’s hunter education clinics fit now that people can be certified not only without a supervised live-fire session and mentored first hunt, but without participating in-person in a class?

I spoke with MDC Deputy Director Aaron Jeffries during a visit in April and on the phone last Monday. Some points he made…

-The big objective is to create a variety of opportunities for new hunters to get certified in order to counter the declining number of hunters. That is something on which I think we can all agree.

-Students must be 16 years of age or older. It is designed for a slightly older demographic than most MHHF clinic participants. Aaron said in the first week the majority of online students were over 21, definitely not our target market.

-The department will include verification as to how a shooter was certified in any hunting incident investigation. In other words, the department is watching. If incidents grow with this new means of getting certified, they will not hesitate to make changes.

Although I can’t say I’m totally comfortable with this new certification option, I applaud the Department’s continued, and innovative, efforts to keep the hunting tradition from fading away. As to where MHHF’s efforts fit in, I believe we provide the best and safest way to introduce a young person, who lacks access and opportunity, to Missouri’s hunting heritage.

Once again I’m excited to report how our Directors and members are engaging in MHHF’s Mission the last several weeks. Here are just some of the results of their efforts…

  • Treasurer, Mike Borgerding completed and submitted applications for two grants for MHHF.

  • The Cass County chapter has added two new clinics to the fall schedule.

  • The Board of Directors have added the Joplin/Webb City, MO area to our list for chapter development.

  • The board has updated our Purpose/Mission/Vision statements. You can review these statements on our website under ‘what we do’ which is being updated by new member, Bruce Keith.


  • Director Emeritus, Sam Goller has been keeping our Facebook page current.

  • Director, Steve Rulo and Clinic Coordinator Jerri Lynn Keith represented MHHF at Cabela’s Family Outdoors Day, last month. The event had over 300 attendees.

  • The Instructor Mentor Rendezvous will take place Sunday, August 13th from nine to noon at D.H. Restoration in Grandview. This provides an opportunity to review the operations of our clinics, capturing new, best practices and creating solutions for problem areas. We will also introduce some new and improved plans for gathering participant feedback and promotion of future clinics.

  • President-Elect and Event Chair, Stacie Hubler has announced this year’s Sportsmen’s Gala September 28th will be at the Emaline Ballroom in Lee’s Summit.

  • Director J.D. Selby, and the committee for the Gentlemen’s Wild Game Dinner fundraiser (Thursday, November 9 at Affare Restaurant), announced the ticket price has been reduced to $150, one hundred dollars less than previous years. Invites will be in the mail soon.

Whew! That’s a lot going on during a time of year when we are not even staging clinics!!!  Soon, we will be holding a New Mentor Orientation meeting in preparation for the fall clinics. If you know someone who would be interested in participating in any of the above activities please have them contact me at

Thank you for all you do to support and help grow Missouri Hunting Heritage Federation.