Hunting, fishing, birding, and scenic views on the Gasconade River.
By Bonnie Chasteen
November is a good time for history buffs, hunters, anglers, and birders to visit this little-known area near the Osage County village of Cooper Hill.
Situated at the confluence of Third Creek and the Gasconade River, the 214-acre Cooper Hill Conservation Area (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 headstones dating from the 1800s, up the hill from the parking lot.
November hunters will find decent populations of deer, dove, turkey, and squirrels. Anglers can try their luck for bass, catfish, crappie, suckers, and sunfish in the Gasconade River.
Floaters can access the Gasconade River from the parking lot and from gravel road C.R. 821, where it is possible to hand-launch canoes or small boats, but there is no access for trailered boats.
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.
Cooper Hill Conservation Are consists of 214 acres in Osage County. From Mt. Sterling, take Route A south 2.5 miles, then Route D west 2.75 miles to the village of Cooper Hill. short.mdc.mo.gov/ZuL 573-897-3797
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