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DON'T LEAVE QUAIL DE-FENCE-LESS

Quail love weedy fences, but they'll abandon fence lines that become overgrown with small trees. To keep quail around:

  • Cut down small and undesirable trees in 50-foot sections 200 feet apart.
  • Don't cut and stack trees in brush piles. Let them lie where they fall.
  • Treat undesirable tree stumps with herbicides to prevent regrowth.
  • Kill dense, turf-forming grasses in the fence line with herbicide.

For more information about creating quail habitat, request the free publication, "On the Edge, "from the Distribution Center, Missouri Department of Conservation, P. O. Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0180. To get advice tailored to your property, contact a private land conservationist at your local Conservation Department office.

March madness returns to trout parks

Each year on March 1, tens of thousands of Missourians enjoy the catch-and-keep season opener at the state's four trout parks. Some come to fish, others to watch the spectacle. All share the opportunity to shake off cabin fever and enjoy the outdoors in some of the Show-Me State's most scenic settings.

The Conservation Department provides fish for trout parks, but the parks themselves are owned and operated by other agencies. For information about Bennett Spring State Park near Lebanon, Montauk State Park near Licking and Roaring River State Park near Cassville, call the Missouri Department of Natural Resources toll-free information line, (800) 334-6946 or visit online. For information about Maramec Spring Park, call the James Foundation at (573) 265-7387 or visit <>.

Year 2004 fishing permits are available now. If you don't already have one, buying ahead of time will save time at trout parks on opening day.

Vulture Venture is back!

Since 1996, the Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery in Branson has hosted Vulture Venture, one of Missouri's most unusual wildlife viewing opportunities.

The event is an opportunity to learn about these often misunderstood birds of prey. This year's event will be held Feb. 28 from noon to 6 p. m. and will feature both indoor and outdoor activities. Indoor attractions include a live vulture from the Wonders of Wildlife Museum in Springfield, a video about vultures, vulture games, stickers and crafts. Naturalists will be on hand, and spotting scopes will be available for viewing one of Missouri's largest vulture wintering roosts.

This is a rare opportunity to see both black and turkey vultures in the same location. Late in the afternoon, you will be treated to vulture "kettling"as the big birds swoop down to roost for the night. This is a free program and requires no reservations. For more information or directions, call (417) 334-4865, ext 0.

COMING SOON TO YOUR MAILBOX: Community Forestry Questionnaire

In early March, the Conservation Department will ask citizens in 44 Missouri towns to help manage and improve the publicly owned trees in parks and along streets.

The Community Forestry Program provides tree improvement training and grants to cities and towns throughout the state. To run the program effectively, the Department needs to know what Missourians want from their trees. If you receive the questionnaire "Trees in Your Town, " please take a few minutes to fill it in. Return postage is pre-paid, and all answers are voluntary and confidential. If you have any questions, call Justine Gartner at (573) 522-4115, ext. 3117, or e-mail at <Forestry. Survey@mdc. mo.gov>.

RV show joins Lewis & Clark mania

Re-enactors in period garb will be on hand at the 27th annual St. Louis RV Camping and Travel Show Feb. 19-22 at the America's Center in St. Louis.

In observance of the 200th anniversary of the Corps of Discovery's journey through the area, the RV show also will feature a circa 1804 encampment, a 40- foot pirogue, seminars on following the Lewis and Clark Trail, and a Lewis and Clark gift shop. You will also find hundreds of recreational vehicles and vendors showcasing campgrounds, resorts, camping equipment, RV accessories and other products. Add activities like miniature car racing, a laser shooting game, balloontying clowns and a collection of snakes from the St. Louis Herpetological Society, and you have the makings of a great day. For more information, visit <www. stlouisrvshow. com> or call (314) 355-1236.

Youth Deer Hunts Popular with Kids

Nevan Woehr, with his 15-point buck, and his brother Nathaniel, with his 4-pointer, were among the 9, 054 young hunters who bagged deer during the youth segment of the 2003 firearms deer season.

The two-day, youth-hunting segment of the firearms deer season was established in 2001 to allow youngsters an opportunity to experience hunting under adult supervision without the competition and distraction of the nearly half a million hunters who head into the woods during the regular firearms deer season.

The youth season has proven popular. The harvest has increased by approximately 20 percent each year, and no hunting accidents have been reported. The number of deer taken is still less than 5 percent of the total number of deer harvested during Missouri's deer seasons.

Nevan and Nathaniel, guided by their uncle, Kevin Fincher, were hunting on the farm of Ambrose and Helen Grellner, their grandparents. At about 7:15 a.m. , Nov. 2, they walked over a ridge and spotted three deer--two bucks and a doe.

Nevan set up for the first shot and hit the larger buck. The smaller buck ran in a circle and stopped, giving Nathaniel an opportunity to shoot him about 30 seconds later. Each deer fell to a single shot.

Lori and Larry Woehr, the parents of the two young hunters, said Nevan and Nathaniel can't stop talking about their great hunt, and both are looking forward to becoming Hunter Education Certified this summer.

Lewis and Clark commemorative book available

Conservation Department Nature Shops are offering a bicentennial commemorative book describing the travels of Lewis and Clark through Missouri.

The 120-page, full color "Lewis & Clark's Journey Across Missouri, " compiles the seven-part series on Lewis and Clark originally published in Missouri Life magazine. It also includes a chapter on the plants and animals the explorers encountered in Missouri. The book features the wildlife art of John James Audubon from the collection of the Missouri Historical Society.

You can purchase"Lewis & Clark's Journey Across Missouri" from Conservation Nature Centers in Blue Springs, Kirkwood and Jefferson City or by calling the Nature Shop, toll-free, at 877-521-8632. The book costs $24. 95 plus $1. 55 sales tax, where applicable, and $5. 95 for shipping and handling.

Missouri River Conference set for May 23-26

The Missouri River Natural Resources Committee and the U. S. Geological Survey will hold the eighth annual Missouri River Natural Resources Conference May 23-26 in Columbia.

The conference theme is "Rediscovering the Missouri River: Opportunities for Connections. "The event provides a forum for all stakeholders to pursue cooperative approaches to river management. Hands-on workshops will explore the connection between research and citizens and the use of independent science review to resolve management problems. Other events include the presentation of papers, a poster session, exhibits, river field trips and a fish fry on a Missouri River sandbar. Registration information is available from Jeanne Heuser, (573) 876-1876, <jeanne_heuser@usgs.gov>.

AGENT NOTEBOOK: Caught in the (Good) Act

Much of our job as Conservation Agents involves enforcing the Wildlife Code and state laws. We apprehend those who are abusing our resources or are in some other way doing something wrong, but our job also gives us many opportunities to catch people doing something right.

I once saw a veteran hunter help an obviously inexperienced hunter field-dress his deer at a check station and then hauled the deer to a processor so that the new hunter wouldn't risk getting blood stains on the inside of his S. U. V. The helpful hunter didn't know the other hunter, but saw an opportunity to make another person's outdoor experience better.

I caught him in the (good) act.

Once, when another agent and I were checking stream anglers, we watched a man quit fishing, go back to his truck and return with a garbage bag. He spent the next 30 minutes picking up cans , bottles, diapers, fast food wrappings and other trash. Until we thanked him later, the man hadn't known we were around. We just happened to catch him in the (good) act.

Most people obey our laws and don't do the wrong thing, but how much better would it be if more people went out of their way to do the the "right" thing. The rewards for doing right in the outdoors mostly come from within. However, it's nice for everybody on those occasions when you get caught in the (good) act. --Mark Haviland

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