Imagine spending a couple of days with a modern-day version of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The only difference is that instead of blowing up trains and robbing banks for treasure, these two high-plains desperados are passionately focused on another treasure — Missouri’s beloved game bird, the bobwhite quail.
Recently, I had the opportunity to head to the southwest corner of the state to meet up with two such characters, MDC biologists Kyle Hedges and Frank Loncarich (aka Butch and Sundance). Kyle looks like a cross between Butch and Wyatt Earp and sounds just like comedian Jeff Foxworthy. Then there is Frank, the calmer more pensive spirit of the two, yet exuding the same fiery passion for the prairie and its bounty.
It was there on the grasslands of southwest Missouri with its beautiful public-land prairies that the two shared with great enthusiasm the work they and their teams have labored over for the last seven years. Their vital research has been all about unlocking the secrets of what makes quail thrive in Missouri, much like treasure seekers finding piles of gold after years of searching.
It was fitting, then, as we made the last stop of our journey on a beautiful prairie filled with vibrant colors of blooming wildflowers, that we heard the distinctive whistles of bobwhite quail from various directions. There it was, treasure all around us, and Butch and Sundance smiled.
Sara Parker Pauley, Director
Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld
Associate Editor - Larry Archer
Staff Writer - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Heather Feeler
Staff Writer - Kristie Hilgedick
Staff Writer - Joe Jerek
Creative Director - Stephanie Thurber
Art Director - Cliff White
Designer - Les Fortenberry
Designer - Marci Porter
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Circulation - Laura Scheuler