Outdoors Caney Mountain
Caney Mountain Conservation Area
Deer and turkey are common now, but in 1940, when Caney was established, there were only 300 deer and few turkey left in the entire state. The last recorded deer kill in the area had been in 1910. One of the first acts at Caney was to build a fence of cedar poles and barbed wire around the entire area. This helped keep predators and poachers out and wildlife in. Caney Mountain played a big part in the success story of restoring deer and turkey in Missouri. A snow track census in 1940 found ten wild turkeys in Caney. A total of twenty five turkeys were found in the Caney Mountain region. The turkey population steadily grew to 135 by 1945. Thirty deer were trapped in Skaggs Ranch near Forsyth and released in Caney. By 1945 there were 175 deer inside the fence. Some of these animals were trapped and released around the state to help rebuild populations. Today Caney is known for its special hunts. There is a black powder deer hunt in October, and a spring archery hunt for turkey.
The other log cabin sits near the manager's residence by the entry road. It was built in the 1880s by Robert Grisham, a peddler and farmer. This cabin was moved to this site by area manager Joe Morrison. Many Morrison descendants still live in the area.
Because of frequent fires, the forest was not as dense in presettlement times as it is now. Open woodlands were common on sunny south slopes and ridgetops. Savannas, where widely spaced trees grew over a carpet of grasses and wildflowers, were widespread. Glades, now often overgrown with cedar, occur on places where thin soils prohibit easy growth of hardwoods. Glades were also kept open by fire.
Indians, and early settlers, burned the forest to keep it open to hunt game. Fire kept grass and forbs for grazing wildlife growing on the sunny ground under the widely spaced trees. The grass and broad-leaved plants carried lightning - and human-set fires, across large areas. You can see restored savannas and glades in Caney Mountain Conservation Area. Carefully controlled periodic burning is returning savanas and glades to their presettlement appearance.
Sources: Directory of Missouri Natural Areas, Missouri
Natural Areas Committee, 1996.