The Pine NeedleMore posts

Our Own Little Slice of …Yellowstone

Nov 24, 2012

 

 

Last week a couple came in very excited after their trip thru the driving tour at Peck Ranch Conservation Area. They had seen not only herds of deer, flocks of turkey, a smattering of elk but a black bear as well. On a visit from St. Louis, the staff from another nature center remarked on the wildlife they saw on their driving tour with a highlight of “live” skunks. I never tire of hearing the stories, wildlife IS exciting.

Restoration in Progress

In a conversation with our State Forester Lisa Allen, she referred to Peck Ranch as Missouri’s Yellowstone. What an incredibly good description of Peck Ranch! More than 3 million people visit Yellowstone each year for the wild beauty and natural resources. Peck Ranch can offer a similar experience on a smaller scale. Designated a wildlife refuge to protect the last remaining herds of deer and turkey in Missouri, today Peck Ranch is so much more. The restoration efforts there have benefitted not only game species but non-game as well.

Discover Nature at Peck Ranch

I think we can all agree on just how special Yellowstone National Park really is. I have been fortunate enough to visit there on several occasions and no matter what the season, the place is simply awe-inspiring. I know, what a cliché – but there is just no other way to describe it. What you may not realize is that there is a little slice of Yellowstone here in Missouri, Peck Ranch Conservation Area. The Missouri Department of Conservation makes discovering nature easy. You can download the map or stop by Twin Pines Conservation Education Center and we’ll provide a map and any recent reports of wildlife. No matter the season, Peck Ranch offers a glimpse of Missouri’s wild beauty. Still need some incentive? Check out the photos taken by our Naturalist Reta Barkley.

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Herd of elk in fall at Peck Ranch Conservation Area
Herd of elk in fall at Peck Ranch Conservation Area
Herd of elk in fall at Peck Ranch Conservation Area

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American Bald Eagle perched near Mill Creek at Peck Ranch Conservation Area
American Bald Eagle perched near Mill Creek at Peck Ranch Conservation Area
American Bald Eagle perched near Mill Creek at Peck Ranch Conservation Area

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Barred Owl at Peck Ranch Conservation Area
Barred Owl at Peck Ranch Conservation Area
Barred Owl at Peck Ranch Conservation Area

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Bobcat at Peck Ranch Conservation Area
Bobcat at Peck Ranch Conservation Area
Bobcat at Peck Ranch Conservation Area

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Bull and cow elk at Peck Ranch Conservation Area
Bull and cow elk at Peck Ranch Conservation Area
Bull and cow elk at Peck Ranch Conservation Area

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Bull elk bugling at Peck Ranch Conservation Area
Bull elk bugling at Peck Ranch Conservation Area
Bull elk bugling at Peck Ranch Conservation Area

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Bull elk duel at Peck Ranch Conservation Area
Bull elk duel at Peck Ranch Conservation Area
Bull elk duel at Peck Ranch Conservation Area

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Collared Lizard at Peck Ranch Conservation Area
Collared Lizard at Peck Ranch Conservation Area
Collared Lizard at Peck Ranch Conservation Area

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Juveline opossum at Peck Ranch CA
Juvenile opossum at Peck Ranch CA
Juvenile opossum at Peck Ranch CA

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Striped Skunk at Peck Ranch Conservation Area
Striped Skunk at Peck Ranch Conservation Area
Striped Skunk at Peck Ranch Conservation Area

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Flock of Wild Turkey at Peck Ranch Conservation Area
Flock of Wild Turkey at Peck Ranch Conservation Area
Flock of Wild Turkey at Peck Ranch Conservation Area

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Coyote at Peck Ranch Conservation Area
Coyote at Peck Ranch Conservation Area
Coyote at Peck Ranch Conservation Area

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Herds of White-tailed Deer can be seen at Peck Ranch Conservation Area
Herds of White-tailed Deer can be seen at Peck Ranch Conservation Area
Herds of White-tailed Deer can be seen at Peck Ranch Conservation Area

Comments

The elk are still not worth it.

I am a volunteer for the Ozark Trail Ass. & have my adopted trail in Peck Ranch! It is not a wildlife refuge in any way! I think it is farcical to call it that as when I stayed there at the beginning of deer season; I could hear semi automatic rifle shots all through the park! I did see some deer the day before the season started but none on the first day of the season. Did not see any Elk! I am sure that the Elk will be on the list for hunting there as soon as they can! How ironic & naive to call this a wildlife refuge!!! Change it to a state park as it should be & it could be! Cheers, Paul

Mr. Corley,Thank you for your support on the Ozark Trail at Peck Ranch Conservation Area (PRCA) but we’re sorry you didn’t enjoy your time here. Peck Ranch has played an important role in the history of conservation of our state. Consisting of a 23,048 acre conservation area with a 12,000 acre refuge located in the center, it continues to provide recreational opportunities to those who visit. With some of the last remaining wild turkey and deer in Missouri, PRCA provided stock for restoration efforts of deer and turkey in the early days of conservation. It was important to protect these remaining populations from hunting pressure but today, it is just as important to protect them from starvation and disease. Managed hunts conducted in the fall are an important management technique to provide that protection. Although the area outside the refuge is open to statewide regulations throughout the year, the interior refuge is closed during the firearms deer season. According to local conservation agents who patrolled the area on several different occasions, four citations were written on the area for various reasons during the firearms season. Again firearms hunting of deer can occur outside of the signed refuge portion which could account for the shots that you heard on the area.We are fortunate to have the Ozark Trail that crosses PRCA. The portion that crosses the refuge is closed only during managed hunts and special times due to elk reintroduction. These closures are posted on the PRCA web site and on the Elk Hotline. We regret any inconvenience these closures cause and do so only when necessary.I’m sorry you didn’t see any elk while you were here but they tend to stay within the refuge near the open fields and are most visible early morning and late in the evening. There is a self-guided driving tour which is open most of the year – closed only as mentioned earlier. We hope you are able to visit again and do see some elk. For more information or closures call (Elk Hotline 855-263-2355 or Twin Pines 573-325-1381) or go check out PRCA in the Places to Go section of our web site.-Preston MabryWildlife Biologist

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