Jack Remembers: Protecting baby quail at any cost

Carl Shelby lived in Oak Grove for 85 years.  His great-grandfather was Civil War Gen. Joe Shelby.

Carl graduated from Oak Grove High School in 1932 and was the Phillips 66 oil and gas distributor. He owned two filling stations, with one in Oak Grove and one in Grain Valley. Carl’s dad, Carl Sr., was first a Ford dealer and later had a Plymouth-DeSoto dealership, located in downtown Oak Grove.  Carl and his brother, when they were only 6 or 7 years old, would swipe cars off the showroom floor and drive around town.  One of them operated the pedals and the other did the steering and shifting.

Carl was a true wildlife conservationist. He loved to hunt and fish like a lot of people, but he put something back. He would borrow 10-gallon milk cans from my dad, go to the Lake of the Ozarks to a fish hatchery and bring back bass and crappie fingerlings. He stocked every pond around Oak Grove. If the farmer wouldn’t let him on his place, knowing Carl would want to come back and fish in the pond, Carl would come back after dark and put a few bass in the pond.  To this day, most of the old ponds around Oak Grove have bass and crappie in them.

In my opinion, Carl sometimes overdid his love of conserving wildlife. One day, we were driving down a gravel road in Lafayette County in Carl’s Jeep stationwagon. A cat ran across the road in front of us.  Carl slammed on the brakes, reached in the back seat, grabbed his gun, jumped out and shot. That cat went up in the air three or four feet, turned a couple of somersaults, and when he came back down on that gravel road, the cat had used up all nine lives.

I said, “Carl, that cat probably belongs to that house over there.”  Carl replied, “They should have kept him in the house because he was hunting baby quail.”

Now I guess he figured if any one was going to hunt those quail, it was going to be Carl.

Jack can be reached at P.O. Box 40, Oak Grove, MO 64075 or Visit

You must be logged in to post a comment Login