The Cameron Hunting and Fishing Club
Gene Hills recruited local sportsmen to attend a meeting about the Burlington Lease. On July 7, 1933, the new "Cameron Hunting and Fishing Club" was born at the American Legion Hall. It had 29 charter members, and Gene Hills was named president.
The new Cameron Hunting and Fishing Club assumed the lease of Burlington Reservoir in 1933 and immediately sponsored many site improvements, including the construction of privies, a shelter house, boat docks, and picnic tables. They also stocked the lake with bass, crappie, bluegill and channel catfish.
Each club member was responsible for maintaining detailed catch and harvest records. Also, kerosene lanterns were hung over the water to attract insects for fish to eat, and rolled oats were scattered over the water for fish food.
Club membership was open to anyone residing in Daviess, Clinton, Caldwell or Dekalb counties. However, 60 percent of the membership had to be Cameron citizens. Later, the club offered junior memberships to boys younger than 16-years old for 50 cents per year.
Membership brought privileges, but members had to live up to the club's code of ethics. These read: "All club members shall conduct themselves in a manner becoming all sportsmen, and shall carefully maintain strict cooperation with other club members, landowners, game conservation agents, law enforcers, for the building of pleasant and wholesome relations between such parties."
The Cameron Hunting and Fishing Club of 1933 came together to promote the raising, distribution, and conservation of fish and wildlife. However, the volatile political atmosphere concerning fish and game laws in Missouri was brewing up a storm. Within the next few years, the club would find new purpose. Under the leadership of Gene Hills, the club took an active role in conservation advocacy and helped reshape the future of Missouri's forest, fish and wildlife resources.
On Sept. 10, 1935, Roland Hoerr, Nash Buckingham and E. Sydney Stephens organized a statewide meeting of sportsmen scheduled at the Tiger Hotel in Columbia. The purpose of the meeting was to create a "Restoration and Conservation Federation" to take politics out of conservation in Missouri. The Cameron Hunting and Fishing Club endorsed the federation on September 25, 1935. The meeting was successful in forming the goal of establishing a bi-partisan Conservation Commission.
Soon, the club campaigned for the federation throughout northwest Missouri. It started by obtaining signatures for a petition to get amendment No. 4 on the ballot. It