Hike, bike or ride to celebrate National Trails Day on June 5
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Discover nature by exploring some of MDC’s 700-plus miles of foot, bicycle and equestrian trails.
JEFFERSON CITY MO - Celebrate the American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day 2010 on Saturday, June 5, by exploring some of the Show-me State’s 700-plus miles of foot, bicycle and equestrian trails provided by the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC). The Department offers various types of trails at more than 136 conservation areas and 10 nature and education centers throughout the state. These opportunities include 43 areas with 420 miles of multi-use trails that allow horseback riding and 49 areas with 417 miles of multi-use trails that allow cycling.
Foot traffic is permitted on all designated trails. Cycling and horseback riding are allowed only on designated trails in some areas. Pets are allowed on many conservation-area trails but must be leashed or confined at all times. Pets are not permitted at Nature Centers.
When hiking or riding a trail, follow these tips to help ensure a safe experience:
· Get a map of the conservation area you will be visiting to help get familiar with it.
· Let someone know about your plans, including when you expect to return.
· Check weather conditions and avoid inclement weather.
· Dress appropriately.
· Learn to recognize possible plant and animal hazards such as poison ivy and ticks.
· Follow all area regulations.
· Leave only footprints and take only photographs.
Find a trail near you by visiting your local Conservation Department office, or through our online Conservation Atlas at www.MissouriConservation.org by searching “Trails.” The online database can provide trail information by region, county or type, along with area maps and specific regulations.
MDC Nature Shops also offer “Conservation Trails,” a comprehensive guide to MDC trails that includes maps and facility information, points of historical and geological interest, and flora and fauna you may encounter along the way. Order it online at www.mdcnatureshop.com, or pick up a copy at a Nature Center near you. Cost is $5 plus tax. Get a 15% discount with a Heritage Card.
Enjoy Free Fishing Days in Missouri June 12-13
Monday, May 24, 2010
Share a pastime that can last a lifetime. Along with the fish, you may catch some priceless memories.
JEFFERSON CITY MO – Discover the lure of Missouri outdoors with Free Fishing Days on June 12 and 13. Each year the Missouri Department of Conservation designates the weekend after the first Monday in June for permit-optional fishing. The goal of Free Fishing Days is to encourage people to sample the state's abundant fishing opportunities. During Free Fishing Days, anyone can fish in the Show-me State without having to buy a fishing permit, trout stamp or trout park daily tag.
Missouri is blessed with more than a million acres of surface water, and most of it provides great fishing. Fly fish for trout in a spring-fed Ozark stream or trotline for monster catfish on Missouri’s Big Rivers. Our waters hold ancient paddlefish and sturgeon, ferocious muskies, wary bass and tasty bluegill, crappie and walleye. More than 200 different fish species live here, and 40 of them are the targets of anglers.
Normal regulations, such as limits on size and number of fish an angler can keep, remain in effect during Free Fishing Days. Regulations are outlined in the 2010 Summary of Missouri Fishing Regulations available at bait shops and other stores where fishing permits are sold, or online at www.MissouriConservation.org. Some private fishing areas still require permits on free fishing days, and trespass laws remain in effect on private property.
Public fishing areas are available in every county in Missouri. Many state-owned fishing areas also have special facilities for anglers with disabilities. To learn more about fishing and find local spots, visit www.Missouri Conservation.org and search “fishing” or contact the nearest Conservation Department office.
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Let MDC help you discover nature through a summer "staycation"
Friday, May 21, 2010
Online Conservation Atlas can help you plan Missouri outdoor adventures.
JEFFERSON CITY MO – Looking for ways to save time and money on outdoor-adventure vacations this summer? Let the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) help you discover nature through a “staycation” in Missouri. Birdwatcher, geocacher, hunter, angler, camper, paddler, backpacker, day hiker, cyclist, horseback rider, or nature photographer -- MDC has something for just about every outdoor enthusiast.
With more than 900 conservation areas (CAs), lake and river accesses and natural areas throughout Missouri, plus 18 nature and visitor centers and more than 80 shooting ranges, the trick is finding the right place.
To help you navigate this dizzying array of opportunities, MDC provides a searchable online Conservation Atlas database at www.Missouri Conservation.org. Just click on “Conservation Areas” under “Quick Links” on the homepage. You can even do a “Detailed Search” for conservation areas by available activities from horseback riding to canoeing or goggle-eye fishing.
You can also filter search results by disabled-accessible offerings, designated trails or shooting ranges.
A search for “boat-in camping along the Missouri River” turns up 17 alternatives, from Atchison County to St. Louis County. Searching for areas where you can bicycle reveals 49 options, from Bollinger County to Buchanan County.
To minimize travel time and expenses, you can narrow such searches to a particular region or county. Regional searches enable “staycationers” to put together vacation itineraries that let them sleep in their own beds every night.
You also can choose to focus your search on available facilities and services, including visitor centers, picnic areas, pavilions, wildlife viewing blinds, boat rentals or primitive campsites. You might choose to spend your vacation visiting all 18 MDC nature and visitor centers around the state.
Or you might want to focus your search on natural features, such as lakes, ponds, glades, forests, springs or streams. An imaginary itinerary might focus on “walk-in camping” on areas with “springs” in the “Ozark Region.” This search combination turns up five areas: Carter Creek CA in Carter County, Fourche Creek CA in Ripley County, Indian Trail CA in Dent County, and Rocky Creek and Sunklands CAs in Shannon County.
Replace “springs” with “designated natural areas,” and the Conservation Atlas directs you to Angeline or Rocky Creek CA in Shannon County, Little Black, Mudpuppy or Sand Pond CA in Ripley County or – once again – to Indian Trail or Sunklands CAs.
Change the search combination to “hiking,” “springs” and “designated trails” gets you 25 choices scattered throughout the St. Louis, Kansas City, Southwest, Ozark and Central Missouri regions.
Boaters and anglers can choose from hundreds of fishing accesses on major lakes and rivers, plus small community lakes. A search for fishing lakes and ponds in the 12-county Kansas City region finds 72 such areas.
With the online Conservation Atlas, you can plan an exciting summer “staycation” tailor-made for your interests and budget. You might even find yourself taking mini-staycations throughout the year.
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Squirrel season opens May 22
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Changes to this year’s regulations are increased bag limit of 10 and possession limit of 20.
JEFFERSON CITY MO – The fourth Saturday in May marks the opening of squirrel season in Missouri. Hunters may pursue gray and fox squirrels from May 22 through Feb. 15, 2011, with rifles, shotguns or archery equipment. New to squirrel hunting regulations this year is an increase in the aggregate bag limit from six to 10 and an increase in the possession limit from 12 to 20.
“In the aggregate” means hunters may bag any combination of fox and gray squirrels so long as they do not exceed 10 squirrels total in one day. If hunters bag a daily limit two days in a row, they will have a possession limit of 20 squirrels. After that, they must eat or give away some squirrels before going hunting again in order to stay within the possession limit.
Hunters also may take squirrels with cage-type traps, as long as they label traps with their full name and address. Squirrel traps also must have openings measuring 144 square inches or less, for instance, 12 inches by 12 inches. Hunters must attend their traps daily. The same regulations apply to rabbits and groundhogs during their respective seasons.
Lonnie Hansen, the Missouri Department of Conservation’s resource scientist in charge of squirrel management, explained that squirrel numbers in the Ozarks are somewhat dependent on acorn production.
“Squirrel populations in the Ozarks often fluctuate from year to year, increasing following falls with good acorn production, decreasing following poor production,” Hansen said. “Acorns were scarce during the fall 2009 in the Ozarks, possibly causing some squirrel population declines.”
He added that squirrels have a more diverse and dependable food base in northern Missouri, thanks to corn and other agricultural crops. As a result, squirrel populations are more stable there, and hunting is uniformly good from year to year.
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Black bass season opens May 22 for Ozark Streams
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
JEFFERSON CITY MO – The fourth Saturday in May marks the opening of catch-and-keep black bass season in Missouri Ozark streams for largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass. The Ozark-streams season runs from May 22 to Feb. 28, 2011.
Black bass fishing and possession is open year ‘round for impoundments and areas of the state other than the Ozarks. These other areas are defined as: the Mississippi river, all waters north of the south bank of the Missouri River, the St. Francis River downstream from Wappapello Dam and on streams in that portion of southeast Missouri bounded by a line from Cape Girardeau following Missouri highways 74 and 25, U.S. highways 60, 67 and 160, and the west bank of the Little Black River to the Arkansas state line.
While the daily limit on black bass in most of the state’s waters is six with a possession limit of 12, there are many lakes, rivers and streams with special daily limits, as well as different length limits. It is important for anglers to know the specific black bass fishing regulations for the areas they will fish.
Check pages 58-62 of the Wildlife Code of Missouri for special regulations regarding length and daily limits for specific bodies of water. More information is also available in the 2010 Summary of Missouri Fishing Regulations available from fishing permit vendors and online at www.MissouriConservation.org.
Nature lovers invited to "BioBlitz" May 29-30
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Help discover and document plants, butterflies, birds, mammals and more on a remnant of Missouri prairie.
STOCKTON, MO – Missourians with a passion for nature can help document some of Missouri’s vanishing biological diversity at a “BioBlitz” sponsored by the Missouri Prairie Foundation.
On the afternoon and evening of Saturday, May 29, and the morning of Sunday, May 30, professional biologists whose expertise spans everything from ants and orchids to birds and butterflies will lead volunteers across Penn-Sylvania Prairie in Dade County. They will survey and inventory as many species as possible in 24 hours. Amateur naturalists are welcome. Following the afternoon activities on May 29, participants are invited to stay for a potluck picnic supper, stargazing and free tent camping on the prairie.
“Public involvement is an important part of the event,” said Carol Davit, the Prairie Foundation’s development coordinator. “We encourage anyone with a strong interest in nature to join us. We want to spur people’s interest in prairies. Besides, the more eyes we have looking, the better our chances of finding new plants and animals.”
Participants must RSVP to take part in the BioBlitz. To RSVP, for a detailed BioBlitz schedule, and for directions to the prairie, visit www.moprairie.org
The 160-acre Penn-Sylvania Prairie is tiny fragment of grasslands that once covered more than 15 million acres in Missouri. The Missouri Prairie Foundation owns the prairie remnant and has protected it since 1971. Botanists have identified more than 260 plant species there. However, much less is known about other species that live on the area.
“Tallgrass prairie is one of the richest ecosystems on the planet but also one of the rarest,” said Davit. “Collectively, our remaining prairies in Missouri support up to 800 plant species, dozens of vertebrates and thousands of invertebrates. We want to see how many of them we can find at Penn-Sylvania Prairie.”
BioBlitzers will work in groups under the guidance of Missouri Department of Conservation staff and other experts in subjects such as insects, snails, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals, mosses, liverworts and butterflies.
“We are thrilled that so many professional biologists are giving their time to help uncover the plant and animal treasures of this prairie,” said Davit. “If you love wildlife, this is a great opportunity to learn from experts passionate about their given subjects, as well as to have a tremendous amount of fun.”
Conservation Department Naturalist John Miller, who will lead the amphibian and reptile group added that prairies are important habitat for at least 15 amphibians and reptiles. “This is going to be a neat event because spending time like this helps connect us to the past. We’re going to see some of the same plants and animals that pioneers saw when they settled the prairies and traveled west across the plains.”
- Jim Low –
MDC gives used trucks a Purple Wave goodbye
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Thirteen pickup trucks will be sold online.
JEFFERSON CITY–Truck buyers who are accustomed to driving to Brookfield for the Missouri Department of Conservation’s surplus property auction each spring instead will bid online this year. The Conservation Department has listed 13 light- to heavy-duty pickup trucks at Purple Wave online auction, purplewave.com/cgi-bin/pwdetails.cgi?100520.
The auction closes May 20. The trucks are mostly four-wheel-drive models, some with extended cabs, campers, toolboxes and other add-ons. Truck photos and detailed descriptions are available at the Purple Wave website.
The trucks are available for inspection by appointment only. Contact Terry Gullick, email@example.com, 660-258-7225 or Gary Crawford, firstname.lastname@example.org, 573-522-4115, ext. 3283.
The agency still plans to hold its annual fall auction, including vehicles and a wide variety of other items, Oct. 16 at Salem.
Spring turkey harvest tops predictions
Monday, May 10, 2010
Hunters were aided by a slight improvement in turkey reproduction last year and mostly good hunting weather during the three-week spring season.
JEFFERSON CITY–Hunters made the most of the final week of Missouri’s 21-day spring turkey season, shooting 8,263 birds. The last week’s harvest boosted the regular-season tally to 42,254, an increase of 429 from last year.
Top harvest counties for the regular season April 19 through May 9 were Franklin with 872, Texas with 755 and St. Clair with 701.
Missouri’s spring turkey season has two parts. Hunters age 6 through 15 shot 3,945 turkeys during the youth season April 10 and 11. This boosted the combined spring turkey harvest to 46,199, which is 1,491 more than last year.
Resource Scientist Tom Dailey had predicted the total harvest would be approximately 44,000. He attributed the 5-percent larger harvest to two factors.
“We had the usual mixed bag of weather during the hunting season this year,” said Dailey, the Missouri Department of Conservation’s turkey expert. “The opening weekend was pretty rough, with lots of wind and rain, and the last Saturday was windy. Other than that, though, conditions were extremely favorable for hunting.”
The second factor contributing to this year’s better-than-expected turkey harvest was a slight increase in wild turkeys’ nesting success in 2009. The Conservation Department measures nesting success by the number of poults – young turkeys – seen with turkey hens during the summer by volunteer observers.
“Compared to the long-term average, last year’s poult-to-hen ratio wasn’t what you would call great,” said Dailey, “but it was slightly better than the two previous years. It allowed turkeys to hold their own in many areas and increase in some others.”
Dailey said he was pleased that this year’s spring harvest did not include a higher-than-normal percentage of young turkeys. “Jakes,” as year-old male turkeys are called, made up 21 percent of this year’s harvest, compared to the historic average of approximately 25 percent.
“Hunters could have shot more jakes this year because we had a few more of them than in recent years,” said Dailey. “Apparently the opposite happened, so we will carry over quite a few jakes to next year. That means more two-year-old birds next spring.”
Dailey said 2-year-old toms are the ones that gobble most, and hunters measure the quality of a day’s hunt largely by the presence or absence of gobbling birds. He said the moderate take of jakes is a good sign for the future.
Also a good sign is the return of more moderate spring weather. Cold and rain reduce wild turkey’s nesting success, and the past few years have set records for both. Dailey said with more normal weather during the summer there is every reason to expect the state’s turkey population to rebound from its current dip.
“I’ve got my fingers crossed,” said Dailey, “and I’m sure lots of other turkey hunters do, too.”
The Conservation Department received reports of four firearms-related hunting incidents during the regular spring turkey season. That is the same number as last year, but none of this year’s incidents was fatal, while one person died last year. Two hunting incidents – neither fatal – were reported during the youth season.
Women Invited to Discover Nature through MDC Summer Workshop June 4-6
Monday, May 10, 2010
The Discover Nature Women Summer Workshop at Windermere Conference Center gives women a fun, safe way to learn outdoor skills.
JEFFERSON CITY -- The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) invites women to get hands-on outdoor skills training at its Discover Nature Women Summer Workshop, June 4-6, at the Windermere Conference Center in Roach, Missouri. The registration deadline is May 14.
The workshop provides a safe and friendly environment where women experience hands-on outdoor skills training at the beginner level, taught by a team of longtime professionals. Courses include archery, basic hunting, canoeing, Dutch oven/outdoor cooking, an introduction to firearms, camping, fishing fundamentals, fly tying, map/compass/GPS reading and shotgun shooting.
The special weekend is targeted to women 18 years and older, along with young women age 14-17 when accompanied by a woman 18 years or older. The workshop is free, but a $20 deposit is required at the time of registration. The deposit will be refunded at check in. There is no deposit fee for young women aged 14–17 when registered with an adult.
Participants are responsible for making room and meal reservations directly with Windermere by calling 573-346-5200 or (800) 346-2215, or online at www.windermereusa.org. Various lodging options are available including lodge, motel, cabins and camping. MDC will provide dinner on Saturday.
For more information, and to view photos from last year’s event, visit mdc.mo.gov/programs/mow/weekend.htm, or contact Lynn Merritt-Goggins at 573-522-4115, ext. 3808 or Kevin Lohraff at 573-522-4115, ext. 3294.
The Windermere Conference Center is flanked by 1,300 acres of wooded Ozark hills and occupies 3.5 miles of shoreline on the Lake of the Ozarks. For more information, visit www.windermereusa.org.
- Joe Jerek -
Hunters shoot 12,970 turkeys during second week of season
Tuesday, May 04, 2010
The strong second-week harvest pushes this year’s harvest slightly ahead of last year’s.
JEFFERSON CITY—Hunters checked 12,970 wild turkeys during the second week of Missouri’s spring turkey season, boosting the two-week tally slightly above last year’s figure.
Hunters killed 21,021 turkeys during the first week of the season. This brings the tally for the first two weeks to 33,991. Hunters checked 32,607 turkeys during the same period last year.
Top counties for the first two weeks of this year’s season were Franklin with 713, Texas with 612 and Ste. Genevieve with 570.
The spring turkey season runs from April 19 through May 9. Before the season opened, Resource Scientist Tom Dailey with the Missouri Department of Conservation said he expected a total harvest of 41,000 turkeys during the regular spring season and approximately 3,000 for the youth season, for a spring harvest total of approximately 44,000. The youth season exceeded Dailey’s expectations with a harvest of 3,945 turkeys.