Grizzled old outdoorsmen ready to meet

ColumnistFebruary 16, 2017 

This week’s Lightnin’ Ridge nature question for all those master naturalists out there: “Mountain lions do well when their number one food source, the white-tail deer is plentiful. Another mammal, which is steadily increasing, is a prey animal mountain lions would rather have than venison. Mountain lion numbers might rise in the Ozarks solely because of this animal. What is that animal?

It is likely the best time to discuss our spring Grizzled Old Outdoorsman’ Swap Meet, because the fishing is getting good and in the next few columns I am apt to be bragging about the fish I have been catching.

Believe me you are going to be amazed at all the big fish I am going to catch soon. But on March 25, I will not be fishing. I hope to be with lots of you folks at the Brighton Assembly of God church gymnasium, where we will have about 50 tables of outdoor gear for sale at bargain prices.

Honest to goodness, at that swap meet five or six years ago I saw an antique fishing lure worth $60 or $70 sell for $3. And I saw an antique muzzle-loader sell for about half of its true value.

The thing about our swap meet is…there is no charge to get in and there is no charge for a table. In this day and time, that is unusual. There was a swap meet in Springfield recently where they charged $85 per table, and $5 to each visitor who wanted to come in and buy something.

But we have a hard time getting tables for everyone who wants to bring something to sell. So if you want to be a vendor, you need to contact me soon.

We’ll open at 8:30 a.m. and close things down at 2 p.m. The church has a youth group that prepares coffee and biscuits and gravy for breakfast, and hamburgers, pork sandwiches, potato chips, cake and pie later in the day.

It’s a great way for them to make some money for the activities they undertake. And this year, we are going to have a room set up with antiques and various things for sale, which will help us with the Panther Creek Youth project we have set up for underprivileged kids.

You will be able to hear about and see photos of the place. And there will be lots of items for sale, which will go toward paying electricity, insurance and taxes there.

Out on the main floor of the gymnasium, I expect to have about 50 tables.

One of them might be particularly interesting to visitors who are into antique lure, rods and reels. Jerry McCoy, from Lakeview, Ark., probably knows more about those old lures than anyone in the Midwest, and he will be there to buy and sell antique lures. But if you have some that you want to keep, Jerry can tell you what they are, when they were made and what they are worth.

This year we will have lots of wildlife paintings of deer, bear, elk, eagles and more for those folks who want to decorate a den or office or cabin with art. Already I have purchased a half dozen for my own home. They are really something.

Woodworker Harold Mitchell will be coming from my boyhood town of Houston, Mo., with handmade wooden bowls and other wood items that he sells for a great deal less than they are worth. I saw his work several years ago and kept after him until he agreed to come to our swap meet.

Woodworker Dale Olson has been to every swap meet we have held, and he makes things like birdhouses, bird feeders, jewelry boxes and many other things. He has been a favorite vendor of cooks, who come to our swap meet because he makes cutting boards that are absolutely beautiful.

They’re priced below their actual value, as Dale is a grizzled old outdoorsman like me who hasn’t been to the big cities much and doesn’t realize how good he is at this stuff. We will also have a fellow from down around Norfork Lake, who makes cedar cabin furniture and picnic tables. His with his handiwork will be displayed outside the door.

David Preddy usually comes from southern Missouri with tanned furs, mounted predator heads sitting on deer antler stands and fur caps like the earlier frontiersmen wore. Vernon Myers likely will be there with a whole table full of handmade knives.

In fact many tables have old antique knives, pocket knives like my grandfathers and the old-timers at the pool hall used to carry. On those tables, which just have a hodge-podge of outdoor items, you will also see good usable rods and reels, camp stoves, minnow buckets, bait traps, steel traps, old carbide lamps, lanterns and duck decoys. There will also be vendors there selling turkey calls, duck calls and predator calls, with some archery equipment as well.

I intend to put up for bid one of my Uncle Norten’s handmade sassafras paddles and one of my grandfather’s sassafras paddles made some time in the 1930s. The money from those will help with expenses at the Panther Creek Youth Retreat.

Remember that this event is free. There will be tables where visitors can sit, relax, drink coffee and enjoy food while hanging out with others who love the outdoors.. I’ll be there among ’em. The event gives me the opportunity to meet and talk to those folks who read this column.

I cannot thank enough the Brighton Assembly of God church for giving us this opportunity year after year, and assistant pastor Mark Cross for all the help he gives us to make this work so smoothly.

The answer to the nature question: feral hogs!

To find a map to the Grizzled Old Outdoorsman’ Swap Meet, go to, or you can write to Box 22, Bolivar, Mo. 65613 and request a map. Or get one by email,

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