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!!!!!