Hunter, Conservation Activist’s Heirloom-Filled Cabin Allegedly Burnt Down by Angry Poacher

by Josh Lanier

Brandon Butler’s dream of creating a hunters’ haven in the Missouri Ozark Mountains was destroyed recently when someone burned down his cabin. He purchased the cabin in 2016 and rebuilt it mostly by hand, turning it into the popular Driftwood Acres hunting camp. Thousands have visited the cabin over the years to go hunting and fishing on nearby public land.

However, all that was put on hold Jan. 4 when someone allegedly torched the cabin. Butler believes the attack was in retaliation for turning in a deer poacher to authorities.

“The dream is over,” Butler posted on Facebook. “Around midnight on January 4th, Driftwood Acres was burned to the ground. I lost everything. It’s still surreal. Anyone who visited or followed along through posts and pictures knows how many irreplaceable items were there — my great-great-grandparents’ bed, paintings scribbled by my daughters when they were babies, my grandfather’s mounts, my grandmother’s cast iron, old family photos, artifacts and so much more. Although these were just “things,” they were the story of much of my life.”

Not much is known about the incident. The only information is what has been posted on social media. But Butler, the former executive director of the Conservation Federation of Missouri, said he will rebuild the hunting camp and continue on.

“My life will go on. I’ll build a new and better place, filled with love where new memories will be made. I look forward to what’s next and sharing the new dream with so many of you.”

GoFundMe Hopes to Help Cover Cost of Rebuilding Cabin

Butler’s friends and colleagues are doing what they can to help. Nathan McLeod, who co-hosts a hunting and conservation media company with Butler called Driftwood Outdoors, started a GoFundMe with the goal of raising $10,000. As of Sunday afternoon they were nearly halfway to their goal.

McLeod explains why Driftwood Acres was so important to so many in the description of the fundraiser’s page.

“For five years, Brandon poured his heart and soul into developing Driftwood Acres. He created a special place where people could experience nature and the beautiful, wild scenery of the Missouri Ozarks. He generously shared this cabin and property with countless others, and was especially proud of how many children spent time there playing in the creek, floating rivers and disconnecting from their devices for a little while.

Brandon had filled his cabin with so many sentimental pieces of his and his family’s past. The fire, set by an arsonist, took everything. He lost more family heirlooms than you can imagine. No amount of money can bring those items back, but we can help him and show support for a man who is suffering because he took a stand for wildlife and for all ethical hunters against the criminal culture of serial poachers.”

GoFundMe for Brandon Butler