Michael Pearce

State park to hold mountain man rendezvous; waterfowl cooking demonstration planned

Fall River State Park is taking a step back about 200 years on Saturday, Sept. 24. The public is invited to tag along, as part of the 14th annual Fall River Rendezvous.

A press release for the event said it will involve mountain men and Native American reenactors, and camps, to replicate the legendary trading rendezvous of the Rocky Mountain fur trade period.

There will be muzzleloader shooting, archery demonstrations, tomahawk throwing and assorted events for kids.

A regular state park entrance permit will be required to access the rendezvous site in the Fredonia Bay area of the state park. The event is scheduled to run 9 a.m.-6 p.m. For more information call 620-637-2213.

More updates

I’ll be doing a waterfowl cooking demonstration at Cabela’s on Oct. 1. Yes, some samples will be provided. The store will also be selling our Taste of the Kansas Outdoors cookbook. They can be signed, if requested. More details will be provided as I learn it from Cabela’s.

Most teal hunters have pretty good reports for the season that opened on Saturday. Conditions were pretty crowded at Cheyenne Bottoms, McPherson Valley Wetlands and the Quivera National Wildlife Refuge but most hunters had nice success.

Some hunters working private lands have done well, too. I talked to three hunters who spent Sunday morning on a flooded spot in a field of wheat stubble. Their combined limits of 18 teal came pretty quick.

Not a lot of success reports from the youth deer season, which closed on Sunday. The best of the few I’ve heard about was a 204-inch buck shot in central Kansas. A deer hunting magazine is running the photos of a huge buck shot near Coldwater online, but I haven’t pursued any details.

For the few who know what I’m talking about, now’s the time to hit the woods to pick paw-paws. Jake, my young friend, Kai, one of his friends, and I picked up about 60 in less than hour from some small paw-paw groves near El Dorado Reservoir. It seemed like the best crop since I started checking those trees about 10 years ago.

I brought quite a few to work. It’s always surprising how many people don’t care for them. To me they taste like a sweet banana custard. Maybe it’s the soft texture of the fruit, or that you have to spit out sizable seeds as you eat them that turns some people away.

My friend/co-worker, Beccy Tanner, likes the fruit as much as I do, maybe even more. She might try making ice cream from some of the paw-paws. I’ve had other friends substitute paw-paws for bananas when baking a breakfast bread. A place in Lawrence serves paw-paw cheese cake. That sounds pretty darned good.

Upcoming coverage

Sometime soon we’ll be running an article I did on what Eagle Scouts are doing to make the outdoors more accessible and enjoyable for Kansans. Some of the Eagle Scout projects are impressive. One I wrote about took 11 consecutive weekends to complete, and that’s with five or six scouts working both days, and doesn’t include the behind the scenes time getting materials donated, or funded, and delivered.

It was a fun article.

Sunday’s Outdoors page will probably have a pinch-column by Roy Wenzl, one of our reporters. Roy had a memorable day hiking the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, near Strong City, and got some nice photography. His text is pretty short, but describes the setting well.

I’m pretty deep into the article about how ranchers in the Red Hills, west of Medicine Lodge, are faring six months after the notorious Anderson Creek Fire. Some sustained sizable losses like scores of cattle killed and many miles of barbed wire fencing,. Most have found some good news amid all the bad. Bo Rader, our senior photographer, has been working on some time lapse photography and videos for several months to go along with the article.

There are probably five or six articles in the works that have me pretty enthused right now. One is on killer bees. Remember them? They may be on their way back into the headlines, and have come closer to Kansas than most people realize. Some experts say it’s only a matter of time before we deal with them. This year they’ve caused deaths in Texas and Arizona.

Michael’s world

My teal hunts have been fair, averaging four to five birds per two guns. Just bad timing on my part, largely. OK, so maybe I’ve missed a few shots, too. I doubt I’ll get to go again before the season ends on Sept. 25. I’m not complaining, though.

Kathy and I have hired a house-sitter to watch things and care for our dogs while we spend most of next week in Durango, Colo. Why, yes, I am taking a fly rod or three along with me. I’ll be taking my float tube, too, in case I get a chance to throw some streamers for big trout on a lake out there.

We’re heading out this time of year so we can see the aspens, which hopefully will be in full fall color. Kathy was raised west of Boulder but hadn’t been back to see the fall aspens until last year. I have a feeling this might end up being an annual vacation for us. Sounds good to me. Good fishing. Few people. Gorgeous scenery and if I hear an elk bugling, that will be fine, too.

The only thing that could complicate things is if our grandson, due around Oct. 3, decides to come into the world early. If I’m out casting on a lake or stream, turn around and see my truck headed towards Overland Park at a high rate of speed with Kathy behind the wheel, I’ll know what’s going down.

I’m still working Cade, our young Lab, about every morning. Some days he is a champ and some days he’s a chump. I guess that’s kind of like my shooting. Overall, he’s coming along pretty well. It helps that he’s probably the most enthusiastic animal I’ve ever worked with.

On the subject of dogs, our friend Mark Kennedy lost his dog, Boomer yesterday. Mark and Jerrod were roommates in college beginning 11 yearsago and they got the beagle-mix from a shelter. Boomer was Mark’s first dog but he stepped up and made the right decision yesterday and put him down.

The only word I can think of to describe Boomer is, “clown.” He was also a very determined clown.

We used to keep him sometimes when Mark was out of the area. Boomer loved being able to run in and out our pet door. I came home from work one day and he some how had pulled a giant, braided rug through the 14-inch opening and 90 feet across our backyard. Even with hands, thumbs and two pretty fair human brains Kathy and I could never figure out how he got something so large, and relatively thick, through an area that small.

It was one of the most impressive feats I’ve ever known of a dog to do.

I hope some of you can come by Cabela’s on Oct. 1st, to see how to turn duck and goose into quality meals.


Michael Pearce