If you want to see bald eagles this month, visit the Conservation Department river access below Bagnell Dam or Willmore Lodge at Lake of the Ozarks Jan. 3-4. Another eagle watching event will take place Jan. 17-18 at the Chain of Rocks Bridge in St. Louis.
The events are free, and telescopes will be available for visitors to use. Staff from the World Bird Sanctuary will be on hand at Willmore Lodge with live eagles. You also can take an "Eagle Watch" cruise on the paddle wheeler Tom Sawyer Jan. 3 for $4 per person. Cruises will leave at 11 a.m. , noon, 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. The rain date for the cruises is Jan. 4. Additional information is available from the Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, (800) 451-4117.
The events will take place Jan. 3 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. , and on Jan. 4 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The St. Louis' Chain of Rocks Bridge will be the site of another Eagle Days event from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 17-18. Eagle education programs will be offered every half hour from 10 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Lewis& Clark re-enactors will be on hand with a circa 1804 encampment for visitors to see. Call (314) 416-9930, or visit online and click on key word "events" for more information.
The Conservation Department frequently receives questions from dog owners, landowners and hunters about laws pertaining to free-running dogs. A common question asked is, "Can free-running dogs be killed?"
Missouri Revised Statutes, Chapter 273, Section 273. 030, makes it clear that the only circumstances in which free-ranging dogs can be killed is when dogs are encountered chasing and/or killing sheep or other domestic animals. Dogs that merely enter private property may not be killed.
Dogs are also considered personal property. Anyone killing a dog under circumstances other than the narrow ones described above expose themselves to significant legal difficulty. Dog killings are investigated by local law enforcement authorities, not by conservation agents. Those who kill dogs may be forced to pay restitution and/or face criminal charges.
We can keep free-running dogs from becoming a problem if dog owners, landowners and hunters respect one another's interests. Owners should keep dogs from hunting on private property without permission, but dogs will sometimes follow game onto private property despite the dog owners best efforts to restrict them. The chasing or killing of domestic animals are the only circumstances in which dogs may be killed.
Avid bowhunters won't want to miss the United Bowhunters of Missouri's annual festival at the Jefferson City Ramada Inn Feb. 6-8. The event will include seminars, auctions, raffles and equipment displays by custom bowmakers and other vendors.
Also slated are a photography contest, displays of game mounts and the annual awards banquet on Saturday night. Guest speakers will include Fred Eichler of Full Draw Outfitters and world-traveling bowhunter Monty Browning. For more information, call (573) 243-7113 or (636) 742-4947.
Conservation Department Director John Hoskins (left) and State Conservationist Roger Hansen of the Natural Resources Conservation Service recently signed an agreement to cooperate in delivering services to landowners through the 2002 Federal Farm Bill. The two agencies will share costs of implementing fish and wildlife conservation programs statewide. Farm bill provisions have farreaching effects on fish and wildlife by offering incentives for farmers to use conservation-friendly management practices.
The Conservation Department has chosen agency personnel with a wealth of field and administrative experience to lead two of its Private Land Services and Fisheries divisions.
Lisa Allen of Jefferson City was named in October to lead the Private Land Services Division. She replaced George Seek, who led the division since its formation in 1999. Allen holds Bachelor's and Master's degrees in forestry from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Before taking over as Private Land Services Division administrator, she worked for five years as one of two management chiefs in the Forestry Division. Other jobs she has held with the Conservation Department include forestry field programs supervisor, resource forester and assistant resource forester.
"I'm excited about leading the Private Land Services Division, "Allen said. "Most of Missouri is privately owned, so that's where conservation has to succeed or fail. Cooperation between the Conservation Department and private landowners is critical to keeping healthy, diverse forests, fish and wildlife. I want to make sure that landowners have the tools they need to succeed at conservation. "
Steve Eder of Jefferson City was named in October to lead the Fisheries Division. He replaced Norm Stucky, who led the division since 1997. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Fishery and Wildlife Biology from Michigan State University and a Master of Science degree in Fishery Biology from Colorado State University. Before taking over as Fisheries Division Administrator, Eder worked as fisheries field operations chief and fisheries management supervisor in the central office, and as a fisheries regional supervisor and a fisheries management biologist in northwest Missouri.
"I feel very fortunate to have spent my entire career working in Missouri, " Eder said. "Our citizens are enthusiastic about the outdoors and appreciate the diversity of our natural resources. Witnessing the strong support that Missourians show for conservation day in and day out, makes a person want to serve the public to the best of his or her ability. The opportunity to serve as the Fisheries Division Administrator is a professional dream come true for me. "
Private landowners in Missouri are invited to attend the 24th annual Tree Farm Conference, Feb. 27-28, at the Country Club Hotel at Lake of the Ozarks.
This year's Friday afternoon field workshop will highlight best management practices. A Friday evening session will allow attendees to consult with state and private professional foresters. The Saturday conference will focus on tree care and forest management for wildlife.
Registration before Jan. 28 is $45 for individuals and $80 for couples. After that date, the prices are $50 for individuals and $90 for couples. Registration includes continental breakfast, breaks, buffet luncheon and conference materials. For more information, contact Hank Stelzer, University of Missouri, 203 ABNR Bldg. , Columbia, MO 65211, (573) 882-4444, stelzerh@missouri. edu.
Missouri deer hunters can begin the new year in style at the Missouri Show-Me Big Bucks Club Deer Classic Feb. 14-15 at the State Fairgrounds in Sedalia.
The event will be held Saturday and Sunday at the Mathewson Exhibition Center and Assembly Hall. At least 50 official Boone & Crockett Club measurers will be present to measure and score deer racks. A display board will also be erected that can display as many as 500 mounted deer heads. These mounts will feature some of the biggest bucks taken during Missouri's 2003 deer seasons.
In addition, the event will feature many exhibits and seminars. Among these will be white-tailed deer biology and management by Lonnie Hansen, a wildlife research biologist with the Missouri Department of Conservation, wild turkey biology and management by MDC Research Biologist Jeff Beringer;small game management on private lands by MDC Private Lands Conservationist Kathy Cooper, farm pond management by MDC Fisheries Management Biologist Trish Yasger, and wild game calling by the MDC's Ralph Duren.
For more information, call the Missouri Show-Me Big Bucks Club at (660) 947-3650.
If you love unique plants and want to attract more birds and butterflies, check out the Grow Native! web site.
The site has detailed information on more than 300 species of Missouri native perennials, shrubs and trees. It also presents landscape plans, plant lists for sun or shade, and alternatives to non-natives. A new section addresses farm and ranch needs.
One of the newest features, the "Plant Picker," allows a gardener to find plants based on color, habitat value, season interest, and use for cut flowers. Another new feature is a "Supplier Search" that allows you to find plant and seed retailers, landscape designers, installer/maintainers and more. They can search by Zip code or by products and services offered.
To request one of the three new Grow Native! guides or for more information about professional membership, contact Grow Native!, P. O. Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102. -- Judy Allmon
The 2004 Natural Events Calendar awaits your wall. These gorgeous calendars, produced by the Missouri Department of Conservation, are always popular-- so buy early.
Twenty-four of the calendar's 32 pages have stunning color photos of Missouri wildlife, plants and landscapes. Date squares keep you posted on what's blooming or nesting and myriad other natural events. The remaining eight pages contain bonus photos, a list of citizen conservation groups and information about other nature-related topics and publications. We've also included a list of monthly tips for native plant gardeners.
The calendar is available for $5 plus tax at Conservation Department Nature Centers and regional offices. To purchase by mail, contact the Nature Shop, P. O. Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102 or call, toll free, (877) 521-8632. Shipping and handling charges will be added to mail orders. Calendars also can be ordered online.
Editor - Tom Cwynar
Managing Editor - Bryan Hendricks
Art Director - Ara Clark
Artist - Dave Besenger
Artist - Mark Raithel
Photographer - Jim Rathert
Photographer - Cliff White
Staff Writer - Jim Low
Staff Writer - Joan McKee
Circulation - Laura Scheuler