I just returned from Canada, and brought back about 6 or 8 beautiful pieces of art: carved decoys, sculpture etc, that we will be raffling off and giving away at this Saturday's Outdoorsman's get together.  We should have some beautiful paintings to go with them, maybe 20 or 30 items any outdoorsman would love to have at his den.  
They will be on the Common Sense Conservation table just inside the entrance, where I will be most of the day.  I don't know how many artists we will have, but Sandra McCormick will be there trying to find talented outdoor and wildlife artists, carvers and the like, so she can find paintings and carvings to exhibit and sell in her art gallery over near Bennett Springs.  
I hope this becomes a great opportunity for some young artists.  There is still room for anyone who wants to bring their work and a table on which to display it.  
As for the swap meet people, I think we will have about forty tables where you can buy all kinds of used and new fishing and hunting gear, antiques, etc. from them.  Spread the word, because we haven't had much publicity on this, and I am hoping, just through this column, to generate about 2000 visitors.  
The entire thing is free to the public and free to artists and swap meet vendors alike.  Call or e-mail me this week if you have questions, but actually you can find all the information you'd like on my website, www.larrydablemontoutdoors.blogspot.com
You can't imagine the number of fantastic artists and craftsmen this Ozark region has.  I only recently found out that my neighbor who lives up the road a piece, Dr. Carl Huser, makes beautiful wooden bowls and vases, and I couldn't describe their beauty in words.  You have to see them to imagine what they are.  He'll be there this coming Saturday.  Dr. Huser was a science and biology teacher at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, and my daughter Christy, who today teaches high school science and biology herself was one of his students.

We are going to have a great time this Saturday and I hope you will come.  Barbecued beef and pork with all the fixin's will be served from about 10:30 to 2:30, by Richard's Hawgwild Barbecue from Aurora.  The deer deboning demonstration begins at 9:30, and we still need a deer.  If you see a freshly killed deer on the highway, or if you are a bowhunter who bags one and wants it deboned and cut up, call me this week, 417 777  5227.  
We will be there on Friday evening to allow folks to set up, and again early Saturday morning.  The place is called, "The Complex, a mile and a half east of Wal-Mart on Mt. Gilead road in Bolivar.  It will open at nine and be over when everyone leaves, but we have asked everyone who is a vendor or artist to stay until at least three, so folks coming from Arkansas, Kansas and Oklahoma will get to see everything, even if they get there late.
As for the drawings, they will be at four p.m. on Saturday and you do not have to be there to win.

The most fascinating thing that happened to us in Canada last week was an eagle that befriended us, way out on Lake of the Woods.  She was there last year, and would come up to about fifty yards, taking an occasional yellow perch we would toss to her to eat.  This year she was there again, and we named her Ellie.   I swear I think she remembered us from last year.  My old camouflaged War-Eagle boat is easily distinguished, and I know somehow she recognized it, and us.  
Each day we would bring her fish cleanings, and she would feed them to her fledglings, which were likely hatched in May.  In time it was obvious she was trying to teach them, and would become quite put out at their greediness.  By the second day she was following our boat everywhere we went, and she would come to within fifteen feet of us, feeding on rocks nearby as we fished and threw those perch to her.  
She would come soaring in right over the top of us, less than 10 feet above us, and sit in the closest tree, twittering and chirping at us as we talked to her.  I have never seen a wild eagle ever get that close to humans.  Her mate was there, but he never came within 500 yards.  
The young eaglets followed her around, and one evening the two of them sat on a limb not far away making more of a variety of sounds than you would think they could make.  One of the sounds was exactly identical to what you would hear a quail make to reunite a scattered covey on a winter evening.  
I know that eagle recognized us from last year, and she was very, very close to tame.  When the annual Eagle Days events take place down here, I'll always wonder why folks just don't get outdoors and see the eagles which are so numerous now, living here most of the year and nesting here.  
But eagles also nest in the west like they always did, and in Canada, where the wilderness protected them when their numbers were so few.  I hope that Ellie can bring her brood to the Ozarks and visit, but I hope to see her again there on Lake of the Woods.
The fishing was good in Canada, but there were no real lunkers caught on this trip as there have been in the past.  We had a big feast on walleye filets one evening, and brought back limits of walleyes, lots of crappie, a few bass and northern pike and a bunch of 10- or 12-inch yellow perch that may be the best eating of all.  
Winter seemed to set in the last day, with cold northerly winds.  It was wonderful to be there, but I am glad to be back, to fish and hunt turkeys the next couple of weeks or so, before winter sets in here.

My Sunday radio program will be pre-recorded, and I am hoping to have a very interesting interview with Larry Yamnitz the enforcement chief of the Missouri Department of Conservation.
 On Sunday October 13, I will be speaking at the
Sac River Cowboy Church at the Livestock Marketing Center west of Springfield just off the Highway 160 bypass.  There will be two services, one at 8:30 and one at 9:30 or 10.  I hope I can remember what I said at the early service so I can tell the same stories at the later one.  But then, I doubt anyone will come twice.  If you have no place to go on Sunday, come by and I will tell you a little bit about how God has blessed you and I over the years.

If you have any questions about the Big Outdoorsman's event on Saturday October 12, just call my office, at the number given above.  But first check that website given above, or www.commonsenseconservationist.org.

E-mail me at lightninridge@windstream.net if I can answer that way.