Hunting in the Hills
Hunting is an integral part of the Ozarks region — and has clearly been so since these mountains were first populated by Native Americans. Today, some methods may have changed, but where and how to hunt (and associated culture from cameraderie to kitchen table) cannot be separated from these hills.
Excerpt from Land of the Osage by Ron Miller
The Osage were great hunters, and there were plenty of buffalo — or bison if you will — roaming the prairies in those days.
They also hunted deer, bear, turkey, ducks and other small game. They collected mussel shells from the mud along the shores of streams. When I was a little river rat at Galena along the James, we kids would wade along the shore and spot the mussels by a tell-tale stream of tiny bubbles that would go right up to the surface.
We would dig them out, test our muscle against their muscle… prying them open. Then, we would cut the mussel meat in little bits for use as fish bait.
I have a hunch that many an Osage kid did the same thing. By the way, Galena was a camping area for the Osage. They would come right on down from their main camp near Nevada to Galena, then, veer off east to Swan Creek, near present day Forsyth.
Of course, they had many other trails all over their vast territory, but I believe that was one of their favorites. I'll have more about this later...
— Ron Miller is author and publisher of the World Archeological Society website and son of the late Steve Miller, renowned Ozarks artist.
Plate 1. George Kieffer artwork depicts deer and hunter in a dark wood. A sprawling lake may be see in the upper left. This image is a small portion of the Ozark-themed mural near the exist of Silver Dollar City. October 19, 2008.
Plate 2. Kieffer’s palette, shown above, is easily recognized in nature. October 19, 2008.
Plate 3. Blackjack oak leaves (Quercus marilandica) showcase phenomenal autumn color. October 19, 2008.
Plate 4. Late fall afternoon near Bull Shoals. October 19, 2008.