2000 was a great year for Missouri Stream Teams, which devoted nearly 70,500 hours to cleaning up and monitoring the health of the state's rivers and streams.
Stream Teams removed more than 300 tons of litter from Missouri waterways last year. They also established a fund that will help with future stream cleanups. The Revolving Tire Fund was created to cover the fees for disposing of tires collected during litter pickups.
Stream water quality monitoring was a popular activity last year. Volunteers made 1,349 trips to monitor state waters for pollutants at 264 sites. They also started a long-term sediment monitoring program and planted more than 18,000 trees to stabilize stream banks and for greenway projects. They also stenciled 998 storm drains with the message "Dump no Waste/Drains to Stream!"
The program grew by 244 teams in 2000, bringing the total to 1,671. Nearly 33,400 Missourians participate in the program.
Missouri Stream Teams got their start in 1989. The Conservation Department, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the Conservation Federation of Missouri launched the cooperative effort to promote citizen awareness and involvement in river and stream conservation. To learn more about Stream Team activities or to become a member of a Stream Team, call (800) 781-1989.
To waterfowl hunters, banded birds are trophies. Because so few ducks and geese carry these little metal rings, having half a dozen on a duck call lanyard speaks volumes about the depth of the wearer's hunting experience.
Bands are more than just fashion accessories. They are put on birds' legs so researchers can garner valuable data about waterfowl migration habits and populations. The system works because duck and goose hunters report the numbers from bands they remove from dead birds. To report taking banded birds, call, toll-free, (800) 327-2263. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will return the favor by sending you information about where and when the bird was banded.
Students in conservation-related fields might be surprised at the range of scholarships available to them.
The Charles P. Bell Conservation Scholarship Fund scholarships are available to students in natural resources fields and is sponsored by the Conservation Federation of Missouri and the Conservation Foundation of Missouri Charitable Trust, 728 West Main Street, Jefferson City, MO 65101-1534.
The Buck Rogers Memorial Scholarship Program is for college students interested in careers in outdoor communications and is sponsored by the Missouri Outdoor Communicators. Applications are available from Barbara Baird, 12596 Whippoorwill, Rolla, MO 65401.
The Betty Broemmelsiek Memorial Scholarship Program is for students pursuing studies related to soil and resource management. It is sponsored by the Missouri Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society. Applications are available from Ross Braun, 601 Business Loop 70 West, Parkade Center No. 250, Columbia, MO 65203.
The Bodie McDowell Scholarships are available to students interested in careers in outdoor communications. The scholarships are sponsored by the Outdoor Writers Association of America. Schools must request scholarship participation questionnaires from Cara Howell, 121 Hickory St., Ste. 1, Missoula, MT 59801.
A crew conducting a fish population survey at Lake Taneycomo Aug. 27 shocked up a brown trout that measured 36 1/2 inches long and had a girth of 28 1/2 inches.
A clipped fin allowed fisheries workers to determine that the fish was stocked in 1988 or 1991, so it was at least 11 years old. The fish sampling crew didn't have a scale large enough to weigh the fish, but a standard formula for calculating a fish's weight from its dimensions indicates it weighed about 37 pounds.
Missouri's current state-record brown trout weighed 26-pounds, 13-ounces. It was caught by Rob Caudel of Springfield at Bull Shoals Lake in 1997. The International Game Fish Association (IGFA) recognizes a 40-pound, 4-ounce fish caught from Arkansas' Little Red River in 1992 as the world all-tackle record.
Does Lake Taneycomo harbor a world-record brown trout? Fisheries Regional Supervisor Chris Vitello said fisheries workers have seen several fish in the same size class as his crew's recent, heart-stopping catch. Furthermore they released the 37-pounder unharmed, so it's probably still out there.
Someone already had a brush with that fish. The lunker brown had a broken piece of monofilament fishing line trailing from its mouth.
The Conservation Department stocks about 10,000 brown trout per year at Lake Taneycomo. Fall is a good time to catch these fish in the upper end of the lake, as instinct prompts them to swim upstream to spawn.
If you land a big fish of any species, you can enter it in the state fishing records program. Current records are listed on the Conservation Department's Web site. Click on "fishing records."
The IGFA Web site lists world records, with the details of a new program that allows anglers to register state line-class records. The program covers brown trout, largemouth bass, crappie and flathead and channel catfish caught on 4-, 12- and 20-pound-test line. So far, all three classes are wide open for all five species.
Foresters and firefighters from across Missouri helped battle blazes in Western forests this summer, earning valuable experience for fighting natural-cover fires in the Show-Me State.
Fifty-eight Missourians filled jobs ranging from plotting firefighting strategy to clearing fire lines. They were part of a nationwide effort to stop fires that eventually charred more than 3 million acres in California, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. The Missouri contingent included workers from the Conservation Department, Mark Twain National Forest and several rural fire departments.
Fighting fires is one of many jobs the Conservation Department staff does during fire emergencies. The Conservation Department also maintains one of four fire mobilization centers in the northeastern United States. Fire crews from throughout the eastern United States fly into St. Louis, where the Conservation Department's forestry staff helps arrange transportation and assures the crews are properly trained and equipped. The Forest Service reimburses the Conservation Department for costs associated with fire fighting outside the state.
Out-of-state work provides intensive learning about fire behavior and fuels and how to handle fires under adverse conditions. The practical experience teaches incident management and organizational skills. Helping fight wildfires in the West also assures that Missouri gets help with its own fire emergencies.
Indignation over illegal netting of fish landed an offender a hefty fine. It also netted the commercial fisherman who tipped off conservation agents a $500 reward.
Randy Jenkins of Triplett, Mo., was bowfishing on the Grand River when he discovered hoop nets set in waters where commercial fishing isn't permitted. That angered Jenkins, who is a commercial fisherman himself, so he called Conservation Agent Clay Creech.
Creech staked out the nets and apprehended the fish thief. By the time the legal dust settled, the offender was $544.50 poorer.
Without Jenkins' tip and the detailed information he provided, it's likely the illegal commercial fishing operation would have continued. The case illustrates how important citizen involvement is to protecting game and fish resources. Conservation agents can't be everywhere, regardless how many we have. In this case, as in many others, the only reason the poacher was stopped was that a citizen said, "This is wrong, and I'm not going to stand for it."
The Conservation Federation of Missouri offers cash rewards to citizens whose tips lead to poaching convictions. To report poachers, call the Operation Game Thief hot line, (800) 392-1111.
If you have bought an any-deer permit this year, you might be puzzled by the absence of the words "Any-deer" on the permit. About one in three any-deer permits issued before October came without "Any-deer" on them. This led some permit buyers to wonder if they had the correct permits.
Making sure you have the correct type of permit is easy. Every bonus-deer permit bears both the words "first bonus" or "second bonus," the words "Antlerless deer only" and the number of the unit for which it was issued. Any-deer permits that were issued without the formal "Any-deer" designation have only the number of the unit where they are valid. You can rest assured that yours' is an any-deer permit if it lists a unit and doesn't say "bonus."
Any-deer permits can be used to take antlered deer anywhere in the state or to take either antlered or antlerless deer in units for which they were issued.
Waterfowl hunters looking for the best places to hunt have invaluable resources at their fingertips at two websites.
The Conservation Department conducts weekly waterfowl surveys covering managed wetland areas, lakes and streams statewide and posts this information online. Included is information about the number of ducks and geese at dozens of locations and the percentage of those numbers represented by various duck species.
Ducks Unlimited provides a similar service on a national scale at <www.ducks.org>. Instead of offering waterfowl survey data gathered by biologists, as the Conservation Department site does, DU's website puts duck hunters in touch with other waterfowlers nationwide. This network allows participants to get reports from any area coast-to-coast. To access DU's information, you have to be a DU member. Membership information is available at the same site.
The Conservation Department also includes a waterfowl hunting forum in the Conservation Café. Go to www.mdc.mo.gov. Click on "Conservation Café," and then click "waterfowl."
Ten Commandments of Duck Hunting
X-Thou shalt use only federally approved, non-toxic shot to hunt all waterfowl.
Missouri's Share the Harvest program is going strong and will continue to provide food for needy Missourians, says Protection Unit Chief Bob White, who oversees the program.
Last year, hunters donated 49,260 pounds of venison to the needy through Share the Harvest, a statewide effort that allows hunters to donate venison to food banks. Concerns about chronic wasting disease (CWD) have had no effect on donations to the program.
"There is no evidence that chronic wasting disease is present in Missouri," White said, " and Share the Harvest is on track to channel lean, healthful food to thousands of deserving families again this year. The Conservation Department strictly enforces the requirement that participating packing houses be USDA-inspected to ensure the quality of the meat that goes to food banks."
To learn more about Share the Harvest, call White at (573) 751-4115, ext. 3819. For participating meat processors in your area, visit and click on "Humanitarian Services," then "processors."
A coalition consisting of the Missouri Prairie Foundation, the Grasslands Coalition, the Conservation Department and Dr. Wayne Morton (a private landowner) has received a grant from the National Wildlife Federation's Keep the Wild Alive Species Recovery Fund. The coalition will use the money to restore an important breeding ground and brood rearing area for the greater prairie chicken on Dr. Morton's land near Taberville Prairie Conservation Area.
Taberville Prairie was the first tallgrass prairie purchased by the Conservation Department specifically for prairie chicken recovery. By itself, the 1,680-acre area is not large enough to provide the needs of prairie chickens throughout the year. The $6,600 grant will pay for restoration of a prairie chicken mating area on a 320-acre tract east of the conservation area.
Restoration work will include planting native vegetation to improve cover for young prairie chickens, fencing to keep cattle out of the area and removing trees and exotic plants that reduce the area's suitability for prairie chickens.
The project will serve as a model for future public/private prairie chicken habitat restoration projects.
Conservation On Call, the Conservation Department's weekly radio show, is reaching more Missourians than ever. That's because radio stations that air the show understand their listeners' keen interest in hunting, fishing and other outdoor subjects.
Missouri has 935,000 anglers and 499,000 hunters. Wildlife watchers number 1.6 million. Add those Missourians who engage in other wildlife-related outdoor recreation, and the potential audience for a conservation radio show swells to 1.9 million. The eight radio stations that now broadcast Conservation On Call each week are well aware of those numbers.
Listeners are treated to a lively mix of timely topics hosted by Conservation Department Director Jerry Conley and Arleasha Mays, the department's broadcast news services coordinator. They get information about the latest fishing gear, pond building and stocking, as well as state fish hatcheries and ongoing fisheries research.
For hunters in the audience, topics include changes in deer regulations, hunting safety and how to identify the hottest waterfowl hunting areas. If your interest runs more to trees and plants, you'll find segments about edible wild plants, tree planting, gypsy moths and chip mills. You'll also hear information about nature photography, bird feeding, endangered species and nature programs for kids.
You can listen to Conservation on Call on:
If you can't get Conservation On Call in your area, contact your local radio station and request that they offer this free service to the thousands of hunters, anglers and other outdoors enthusiasts in their listening area. Mention that it will do wonders for their Arbitron or Birch ratings.
Director Conley would like to hear from you, even if you can't get Conservation On Call in your area. To ask questions or make suggestions, call (573) 751 4115, ext. 3671, from 8 a.m. through 5 p.m. weekdays. If you don't live in an area where the program is broadcast, you will receive a call or letter in response to your message. If you prefer written replies, send your questions or suggestions via E-mail to <firstname.lastname@example.org> or by regular mail to Conservation on Call, P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0180.
Verified black bear sightings in several northeast Missouri counties illustrate how the species is expanding across the state. They also highlight the importance of avoiding situations that put the animals in contact with people.
Wildlife Damage Biologist Ron McNeely responded to a report of a bear sighting in Clark County in late May. He found unmistakable bear tracks in a garden in Kahoka. The same day, he checked out a report of a sighting in a corn field northwest of Palmyra in Marion County and found good tracks there, too.
The Marion County bear's tracks were several days older than those in Clark County, but the distance between the two sets of tracks-about 40 miles-raised the possibility that they were made by different bears.
A few weeks later, Conservation Agent Sam Gunter received a credible report of a bear getting into garbage in northern Knox County. An investigation again turned up bear tracks.
Days later, Conservation Agent Gene Lindsey got a report of a bear that had gotten into a bird feeder near Deer Ridge Conservation Area in Lewis County. At about the same time, Conservation Agent Dave Riggs received a reliable report of a bear in Scotland County.
Bears can destroy property and endanger people if they lose their natural fear of humans. The Conservation Department encourages Missourians to keep garbage, pet food and livestock feed inside or in bear-proof containers. If a bear gets into your bird feeder, take it down for a few weeks so the bear won't get accustomed to eating in your back yard. Report bears that become bold or bothersome to the nearest conservation agent. Most bears can be discouraged from frequenting inhabited areas if wildlife damage biologists are called early enough.
The Conservation Department does not release bears or mountain lions and has no plans to do so. Releasing such animals without Conservation Department permission is illegal.
Deer hunting at Fort Leonard Wood is an early casualty in the United States' war on terrorism.
In late September, following the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, U.S. Army officials cancelled all firearms hunting on the base.
Hunters who already have bought managed deer hunt permits for the Fort Wood hunt can return the permits for refunds to the Missouri Department of Conservation, Attn: Lynn Totten, Fiscal Services Section, P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0180.
Storing the meat from a successful deer season can tax the limits of your refrigerator's freezer compartment. One solution is to dry the meat and store it as venison jerky. Jerking also is a good way to use odd bits of venison and less choice cuts of meat.
"Jerky," a new book by A. D. Livingston, (The Lyons Press, 2001) is perfect for novice jerky makers. The 151-page book contains sections on cutting, drying and storing jerky. It even has a chapter about cooking with jerky, not to mention dozens of recipes for jerking everything from beef and emu to catfish.
How much jerky will an average deer yield? A white-tailed deer weighing 150 pounds field dresses to about 115 pounds and yields about 75 pounds of meat. According to "Jerky," it takes about 2.5 pounds of meat to make a pound of jerky, so the average deer carcass would yield about 30 pounds if all the meat were jerked.
Following is a sample recipe for one of the more traditional forms of jerky:
Cut 2 pounds of venison into strips 1/4- inch thick. In a non-metallic container, mix:
Add the meat a few strips at a time, tossing to coat all sides with sauce. Cover and marinate in refrigerator eight to 10 hours. Drain and dry on a rack in a kitchen oven at 140 degrees for six to eight hours, or until dry.
Editor - Tom Cwynar
Managing Editor - Bryan Hendricks
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