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BURN LATER FOR HEALTHIER PRAIRIES

Landowners who burn grasslands in the spring see dramatic improvement in warm season grass stands. Often, however, they also notice a decrease in the vigor of wildflowers, such as coneflower, black-eyed Susan, compass plant and blazing star.This is because spring burns favor grasses at the expense of broad-leafed plants, collectively known as "forbs."

The solution is burning in late summer or fall. Burning late in the growing season favors forbs over grasses. In fact,making fall burns part of your long-term grassland management improves wildlife habitat by ensuring that warm-season grass stands don't become too thick for ground-nesting birds, such as quail, or for rabbits and other mammals. Fall burning boosts forb seed production and helps maintain the botanical diversity that is the foundation of a healthy prairie.

Fall burning isn't a good idea in low-density grass stands.Also, you should burn only part of your grassland acreage in a given year so that some cover remains for wildlife throughout the winter.Be aware that fall burns require safe weather conditions and adequate fire lines.

Dove hunt for disabled hunters

A special dove hunt at Ten Mile Pond Conservation Area is being offered to hunters with mobility impairments.The Conservation Department and the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) are sponsoring this special event Sept. 3 at the conservation area in Mississippi County.This is the second day of the dove hunting season, so odds are good the hunting will be excellent.

The Conservation Department will reserve hunting areas for participants' exclusive use.NWTF volunteers will serve as guides, helping hunters get to and from the field and retrieving downed birds.

Participants will need to arrive at Ten Mile Pond CA headquarters at 5:30 a.m. and must leave the fields by 1 p.m.They must have small-game and migratory bird hunting permits and hunter education certification cards. For reservations, call Larry Neal, (573) 334-8881, or Tim Hendershott, (573) 335-9350.

Buying Deer Permits Early Makes Sense

Have you bought your deer hunting permit yet? If not, consider the following facts.

  • Buy early to avoid standing in line.This is the first year that landowner permits will be distributed through permit vendors, so lines will likely be longer than usual.
  • Those who buy by Nov. 5 automatically are entered in a drawing sponsored by the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation for one of two lifetime hunting and fishing permits and framed wildlife art prints.
  • Read up early on changes in deer hunting regulations, including the antler point restrictions in 29 counties, outlined in the 2004 Fall Deer and Turkey Hunting Information booklet.

Surplus property auction

Trucks,farm tractors,a bulldozer,boats,trailers and office equipment will be sold at auction Aug.14 at Brookfield beginning at 10 a.m.

Auction items will be on display from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Aug. 13 at the Conservation Department's office at 115 Pershing Road, two blocks north of Highway 36 in Brookfield.The items will be on display again at 8 a.m. Aug. 14.

A list of sale items and terms are available at the registration desk the day of the sale. Property must be paid with cash, MasterCard or Visa credit cards or personal checks with proper identification on the day of the sale and before removal. Another auction will take place Oct.16 in Salem. For complete lists of sale items, call the Conservation Department General Services Division at (573) 522- 4115, ext 3279 or 3283.

Missourians walk toward better habitat Oct. 9

Missourians understand the importance of grassland habitat to wildlife and plants, including some endangered species.That's why hundreds of people will gather in North Jefferson City Oct. 9 to participate in the Conservation Department's annual Healthy Habitat Walk/Run.

Race packets will be available starting at 8 a.m. at the Katy Trail pavilion at the junction of Highways 63 and 54.The race starts at 9 a.m. rain or shine. Participants may register for a 10K run, a 5K run or a 5K walk on a separate course.

Proceeds from the event will go to the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation for habitat restoration, research and education projects that benefit endangered animals and plants in Missouri. For more information, visit online.

Emerald beetle no gem for Missouri trees

Missourians should be on the lookout for a beetle that could devastate the state's forests and landscape trees. Timely reporting of its occurrence to forestry officials is critical to protecting Show-Me State resources.

The emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) is a metallic-green beetle. Native to Asia, its larvae injure the inner bark of green ash and white ash trees. It most commonly reaches new areas in nursery stock or firewood. Infestations have been documented in Michigan, Ohio and Maryland.

Early evidence of emerald ash borer damage includes dead branches in the crown of a tree and the sprouting of many small branches along the tree trunk. Larvae create S-shaped, hollow trails under the bark of infested trees.When the borers emerge, they leave D-shaped holes up to 3/16-inch in diameter. Adults emerge as early as May. Larvae may be present year-round.

For more information about emerald ash borers, call (573) 882-9909, ext.3303, visit online or or e-mail <Robert.Lawrence@mdc.mo.gov> or <Michael.Brown@mda.mo.gov>.

MDC plugs grant money into bird conservation

Federal money is helping fund the Missouri Bird Conservation Initiative (MOBCI). The Conservation Department is channeling State Wildlife Grant funds into the state program, which conserves bird habitat.

Selected for funding were 16 proposals ranging from wetland restoration for waterfowl, shorebirds and marsh birds to grassland restoration for greater prairie chickens, bobwhite quail and Henslow's sparrows. Fourteen organizations (including Audubon Missouri, Ducks Unlimited and the Ruffed Grouse Society) submitted project proposals, along with 49 additional partners. These partnerships are the wave of the future.

The second annual MOBCI conference will be held August 20-21 in Columbia. Representatives from the 30 MOBCI member organizations and other conservation partners will meet to discuss opportunities for advancing bird conservation in Missouri. For more information, contact MOBCI, 2620 Forum Blvd., Suite C-1, Columbia,MO 65203, (573) 447-2249.

RAMPING UP MISSOURI RIVER ACCESS

The Missouri River has attracted national attention during the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial, and the Conservation Department anticipates increased interest in river recreation as a result.New river accesses are available for boaters, campers, hunters and anglers, and more are under construction. Those already in service include:

  • Columbia Bottom Access, in northern St. Louis County,with a two lane, wheelchair-accessible boat ramp, restroom facilities, a 10- by 50-foot wheelchair-accessible fishing pier and bank-fishing opportunities.
  • Stump Island Access at Glasgow, in Howard County,with a two-lane boat ramp and restroom facilities, handicapped-accessible parking and bank-fishing opportunities.
  • LaBenite Park Access, immediately southeast of the Highway 291 bridge at Sugar Creek in Jackson County,with a single-lane boat ramp, restroom facilities, bank-fishing opportunities and handicapped-accessible parking.
  • Riverfront Park Access, in Jackson County just upstream from the Chouteau Bridge on Riverfront Drive, with a two-lane,wheelchairaccessible boat ramp, handicapped-accessible parking, restroom facilities and bank-fishing opportunities.
  • Fort Osage Access in Sibley, just downhill from the Fort Osage Education

Center,with a boat ramp, parking lot and bank-fishing opportunities. Still under construction or in the planning stage are:

  • Pelican Island Access, in northern St. Louis County.
  • Lexington Access, in Lafayette County.
  • Dalton Bottoms Access, northwest of Glasgow in Chariton County.

For more information about Missouri River accesses, check the Conservation Department's online Conservation Atlas at <www.missouriconservation.org/ATLAS/>.

Join backpacking experts for Ozark Trail Trek

You can explore the spectacular landscapes of the Ozark Trail with some of Missouri's most accomplished backpackers Oct. 11-18 during the 15th annual Ozark Trail Trek.

Sponsored by Hosteling International/American Youth Hostels and the Ozark Trail Council, the event joins novices with seasoned veterans. October's cool, sunny days and crisp nights are perfect for enjoying fall colors and the rugged beauty of the Taum Sauk and Karkaghne sections of the Ozark Trail.

The cost for Ozark Trail Council members is $90 for a half-week or $175 for a full week. Nonmembers pay $100 or $185.The price includes transportation from St. Louis, guides, a T-shirt, an Ozark Trail patch, motel accommodations for full-week hikers and the evening meal Oct.11. Part of the proceeds goes to Ozark Trail upkeep.

For more information, contact Gateway Council HI/AYA, 7187 Manchester Road, St. Louis, MO 63143, (314) 644-4660, info@gatewayhiayh.org.

LEARN MUSKIE FISHING FROM A PRO

Would you like to catch a muskellunge, the big, toothy fish of northern angling legend? If so, the Pomme Terre Chapter of Muskies, Inc., has a deal for you.

Missouri's cadre of hard-core muskie anglers is sponsoring a Guide for a Day event Sept. 18 to pair veteran anglers with neophytes. It's a chance to fish one of the state's prettiest reservoirs and tangle with the king of freshwater game fish. All they ask is a $100 donation to Muskies, Inc.The money will benefit muskie management.The price includes a guide for the day, boat, fuel, muskie fishing seminar and dinner.

"Guide for a Day is designed for those who would like to learn about muskie fishing and have a great time in the process," said event chairman Dean Dowdall." The guides are among the best all-around fishermen in this part of the country. Their expertise will help anyone improve their fishing, not only for muskie, but for all other species as well."

The average keeper muskie caught at Pomme de Terre last year measured 38 inches, prompting Dowdall to call fishing at the southwest Missouri lake "trophy fishing at its best."

For more information, call Dowdall at (417) 852-4163 or Carl Marks at (417) 745-2381.

YOUTHS 11 to 15 invited to hunt pheasants

Hunters 11 to 15 years old can register now for the Youth Pheasant Hunt and Clinic Oct. 2 at Herzog's Hunting Reserve near Holden,Mo.

The day-long event offers participants the chance to learn about hunting, handling hunting dogs and conservation, and to sharpen their wingshooting skills on clay targets. Safety, ethics, sportsmanship and hunting traditions will be given special emphasis.

Sponsors include the Conservation Department, the Truman Lake, Old Drum, Pettis County and Kansas City chapters of Quail Unlimited and Sharp Brothers Seed.

The registration deadline is Sept. 13 To register or for more information, contact the Conservation Department 2010 S. Second, Clinton, MO 64735, (660) 885-6981.

RV show set for Sept. 10-12

Join other recreational vehicle enthusiasts at the 15th annual St. Louis Fall RV Show Sept. 10-12 to see the latest Class A motor homes, travel trailers, fifth-wheel trailers, folding campers, sport trailers,miniature motor homes, conversion vans and van campers.

The event at the Westfield Shoppingtown South County in Oakville is free to all. Hours are 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. Sept. 10 and 11 and 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. Sept. 12. For more information, call (314) 355-1236 or visit <www.stlouisrvshow.com>.

Aluminum-only bass tourney set for Sept. 12

If you have an aluminum boat, you can take part in U.S.A. Bass Club #7549's ninth annual aluminum-only buddy bass tournament Sunday, Sept. 12, at Indian Creek Marina on Mark Twain Lake.

For an entry fee of $85 you can compete for prizes equal to 70 percent of entry fees.The top 10 percent of the field will receive cash prizes. There will be an optional big-bass pot with an entry fee of $15 and first-, second- and third place prizes. For rules and regulations, call Jeff Risinger at (314) 878-4857 between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m., or visit <www.bass.com>.

Lamar resident enters Fishing Hall of Fame

Everyone has dreams, but some follow those dreams and make them come true. That's what Jim Rogers of Lamar did. His dream was fishing.

Official recognition of Rogers' dream fulfillment came at a ceremony at Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World in Springfield March 18.There,Bass Pro Shops Founder Johnny Morris inducted the veteran angler into the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame.

The road that led to Rogers' enshrinement began with a boyhood love of fishing.Not content with the fishing lures available to him in 1944, he designed the first of many Rogers originals, the X-9 wooden plug.In the ensuing years, he founded three fishing lure manufacturing companies, including Rogers Lures and Flies, which operated out of his home town of Lamar. During his manufacturing career he helped develop the fishing boat livewell that has allowed tournament fishing to become the thriving industry it is today.

During his 23 years of professional angling, he helped launch the Bass Anglers Sportsmen's Society, taught at the Indiana University Bass Fishing Institute and was one of the first anglers invited to fish and teach in Cuba.

Rogers' partner in both fishing and business has been his wife, Pauline "Babe" Rogers. Together, they worked the professional bass angling circuit, twice winning the title "Mr. and Mrs. World of Sportfishing." In endorsing the 72-yearold angler's nomination to the Hall of Fame, ESPN fishing show host Jerry McKinnis said Rogers' contribution to education, tackle development and the fishing industry "has been something for all of us to be proud of."

First Trail Summit set for Oct. 7-9

The first-ever Missouri Trail Summit, Oct. 7-9, is a must-attend event for trail enthusiasts statewide.The event will be headquartered at Columbia's Activity and Recreation Center, but also will have sessions in area parks.

The summit offers trail users and advocacy groups an opportunity to connect with local, state and federal agency planners to discuss issues, share ideas and learn about trails. Sessions will address trail design and construction, signage, ethics, liability, funding, partnerships, volunteerism, accessibility issues and the health benefits of trails.

The event is a cooperative effort of the Missouri departments of Conservation, Natural Resources and Transportation, the Missouri Park and Recreation Association, Ozark Greenways, Inc., Trailnet, the National Park Service, the Mark Twain National Forest, Ozark Trails ATV Club, the Missouri Parks Association, Columbia Parks and Recreation and Cedar Valley Riders Saddle Club. For more information, contact Paula Diller, 2018 William St., Jefferson City, MO 65109, (573) 636-3828.

DUCK INTO WEB FOR WATERFOWL RESERVATIONS

Waterfowl hunters can apply for reservations at Missouri's 16 managed wetland areas 24 hours a day, seven days a week from Sept. 2 through Sept. 19 by calling (800) 829-2956 or via the internet.

You can apply for anyone in your immediate household, but the reservation holder must be present at the draw for the reservation to be valid. Results of the drawing will be available at the same phone number and Web site beginning Oct. 1.To make reservations or check results you will need your nine-digit conservation ID number,which is found on the top of your hunting permit or on the back of your Heritage Card, next to the bar code.

AGENT NOTEBOOK

People I talk to in my job as agent and during hunter educations classes that I teach often bring up their "right" to hunt.

I usually tell them that hunting in Missouri is a privilege, not a right. It shouldn't be confused with the basic rights granted to us in our Constitution, such as the right to "keep and bear arms." People usually aren't aware that the privilege of hunting can be suspended or revoked through the court system, or by the Conservation Commission.

The Conservation Commission has the authority to withhold hunting, fishing and/or trapping privileges for several reasons.

If a person has been delinquent in child support payments, privileges can be suspended until the situation is remedied.

If a person is involved in a hunting incident in which they injure someone through careless or reckless behavior while afield, their privilege to hunt can be revoked for a period of time.

If a person is convicted of wildlife violations deemed significant by the Commission or an accumulation of violations, their privileges may be revoked. Because of agreements with other states, the commission also revokes hunting privileges of nonresidents convicted of serious wildlife violations in other jurisdictions.

Remember that a privilege abused might end up as a privilege removed. To ensure our hunting privileges,we should strive to abide by the rules and regulations that guide our activities, make every effort to make handle firearms safely and make prudent decisions when hunting and angling. -- Kelly Knowles

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