John Winkelman

John Winkelman

The state Department of Conservation announced last week that the Truman Access on the Mississippi River in southern Jefferson County would be closed indefinitely in the latest attempt to overcome flood damage at the area.

Over the past several years the department has removed the silt that accumulates with each flood event and then trucked in rock to repair the road and parking areas. Now the strategy is changing to allow the sediment to build up over the period of several floods and then restore the location on top of the sediment.

“The flood from last summer deposited anywhere from two to six feet of sediment over the entire access area and parking lot after being under water for many weeks,” said Mike Norris, a maintenance supervisor for the department.

All of the rock that had been hauled in after previous floods was buried in the silt every time the river has flooded in recent years, he said. Now the strategy is to use the problem as its own solution.

The system of allowing sediment to build up has been used effectively in other locations in the state. Construction crews use deposits as building material to shore up the accesses. The accumulated silt is bulldozed into place, graded and surfaced with rock.

“We have worked this strategy at a river access in southeast Missouri that was in the same situation as Truman, and they were able to raise the elevation there after a few years,” Norris said. “Now the frequency of the river overtopping it has been reduced significantly.”

Depending on the frequency and severity of flooding in the coming years, the earliest possible date for construction to begin at the access would be January 2022.

State suggests alternative field dressing option for deer hunters

Earlier this year the state Department of Conservation posted a video on its Facebook page of a process it called the gutless method of field-dressing a deer. It is an option for areas like Jefferson County where regulations to stop the spread of chronic wasting disease restrict the movement of deer carcasses out of the county of harvest. 

Traditional field-dressing is basically the opposite of the suggested process. Opening the deer's stomach and removing the internal organs and digestive tract gets your harvest ready for transportation and leaves the most unusable parts in the woods. It also allows the deer's body temperature to cool more rapidly.

The gutless method is familiar to hunters who pack in and out of remote areas. Hunters only take out the four legs and the strips of meat along the spine commonly referred to as the back straps. On a hog those parts are called the pork loin, but the deer, pig or beef tenderloin is actually inside the cavity, and cannot be accessed through the gutless method. On a full-sized steer these are significant slabs of tender beef. Depending on the size of the deer they may not be particularly large chunks.

The alternative method starts with the back straps, so the deer is positioned flat on its stomach with its legs splayed on both sides. The hunter cuts through the skin along the spine and separates the hide from the body, from the back toward the belly. The loins are removed and packaged to carry out.

Then the process moves to the legs, and the deer is rolled onto one side. The skin is cut away before separating the front leg behind the shoulder. The back leg is treated similarly, slicing it away from the carcass and removing it at the hip. The deer is rolled over and the other two quarters are removed.

To have the deer tested for chronic wasting disease, hunters also must remove the head with at least six inches of neck to make sure that a lymph node sample can be collected.

The new regulation is designed to slow the spread of CWD. Whole carcasses and deer heads harvested from counties inside one of four containment zones in the state can only be taken out of the county if they are delivered to a licensed meat processor or taxidermist within 48 hours of leaving the county.

For complete details, refer to the 2020 Fall Deer and Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet from the conservation department, wherever permits are sold. It is available as a downloadable pdf at

John Winkelman is Marketing Manager for Liguori Publications in Barnhart, Mo., and the Associate Editor for Outdoor Guide Magazine. If you have story ideas to share for the Leader outdoor news page, e-mail, and you can follow John on Twitter at @johnjwink99.