Find local history, hunting, fishing, birding and scenic views at this area on the Gasconade River.
November is a good time for history buffs, hunters, anglers and birders to visit this little-known area near the village of Cooper Hill in Osage County.
Situated at the confluence of Third Creek and the Gasconade River, Cooper Hill CA is the site of the former Leach Steam Saw and Grist Mill. It was constructed in 1858 and operated continuously, producing cordwood, until 1924. Although the old mill is gone, you’ll find the Leach-Baker Cemetery, which has several interesting headstones dating from the 1800s, up the hill from the parking lot.
The 214-acre area includes 35 acres of food-plot crops as well as two watering ponds for dove, deer, turkey and other wildlife. Another 15 acres of fields are currently planted in native forbs and grasses. The rest is in woodland, with mixed oak and hickory, along with other mixed hardwoods and cedars. November hunters will find decent populations of deer, dove, turkey, squirrels and waterfowl.
Floaters will find access to the Gasconade River at the parking lot and from gravel road C.R. 821, where it is possible to hand-launch canoes or small boats. There is no access for trailered boats. Anglers can try their luck for bass, catfish, crappie, suckers and sunfish in the Gasconade River.
Primitive camping is allowed in and next to the parking lot. The area has no designated hiking trails, but hikers can use maintenance roads to explore the area. It’s also possible to hike along the north side of the area, where bluffs afford scenic views of the Gasconade River.
Birders can expect to see a variety of species, including red-bellied woodpecker, golden-crowned kinglet, white-throated sparrow and white-breasted nuthatch in the forest and woodland areas. Grassland and shrub birds, such as indigo bunting, can be seen on the area’s hilltop. For a full list of the bird species you can find at Cooper Hill, visit the Audubon Society of Missouri’s website at http://mobirds.org/CACHE/trips.asp.
As always, browse the area’s webpage (listed below) for directions, area map, dove management map, brochure and regulations before beginning your outdoor adventure.
Bonnie Chasteen, photo by David Stonner
Recreation Opportunities: Bird watching, fishing, floating, hiking and hunting in season
Unique Features: Historic features, mixed habitat supporting a variety of wildlife, access to the Gasconade River and scenic bluff-top views
For More Information Call 573-884-6861 or visit www.MissouriConservation.org/a9605.
Editor In Chief - Ara Clark
Managing Editor - Nichole LeClair Terrill
Art Director - Cliff White
Staff Writer - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Jim Low
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Designer - Stephanie Thurber
Artist - Dave Besenger
Artist - Mark Raithel
Circulation - Laura Scheuler