The 30th Pomme de Terre Open Team Muskie and Bass Tournament will be held Oct. 1-3, and you can get a lesson from the pros beforehand.
The tournament offers $4,000 in cash and prizes. Daily and overall prizes will be awarded for longest muskies caught and released and for the biggest bass. Participants can fish Friday only for $40 per team. The entry fee for Saturday and Sunday is $80 per team.
Proceeds from the tournament benefit the muskellunge management programs of Muskies, Inc., a nonprofit organization. In the past, funds were used to purchase nets to catch hatchery brood stock for the Conservation Department's muskie stocking program.
For entry forms and full tournament details, contact Denis Ledgerwood, (636) 527-5366; Carl Marks, (417) 745-2381; Dick McPike, (816) 436- 4909; or Wayne Humphrey, (314) 878-7732. Information also is available online at .
Marks also is the contact for anglers who want a muskie fishing lesson before the tournament. For a $100 donation to Muskies, Inc., a member of the Pomme de Terre Chapter will take you on a guided fishing trip Sept. 18 and share the secrets of how to catch "the fish of a thousand casts." The deal includes a banquet and social after the day's fishing.
Music with an environmental message will be on the program Oct. 9 at Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center in Kirkwood. Musical duo Curt Carter and Tom Connelley will perform music ranging from acoustic rock to bluegrass beginning at 7 p.m.
Their CD, "Songs from the Seventh Direction," is titled from a Lakota Sioux legend about the strength and wisdom within each person. Call (314) 301-1500 for reservations.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will host a muzzleloader deer hunt for non-ambulatory hunters Oct. 30-31 in the Watchable Wildlife Area at Clearwater Lake in southeast Missouri. Each participant will be allowed to take two deer, one of which must be antlerless. Applicants must have permanent mobility impairments. The application deadline is Sept. 10. For more information, contact Jason Wilson, (573) 223-7777.
The Andy Dalton Training Center and Shooting Range at Bois D'Arc Conservation Area will host the 10th Great Outdoors Day from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Sept. 25. The event features hands-on activities, including shooting sports, fishing and hiking. The training center is of Highway UU, nine miles west of Willard.
Missouri deer hunters will find an unprecedented abundance of hunting opportunities this year, including the chance to win lifetime hunting and fishing permits.
This year's firearms deer season includes five portions totaling 36 days. Archery deer season opens Sept. 15 and runs through Jan. 15. Any number of antlerless firearms deer hunting permits will be available in 81 counties. You don't even have to buy a regular archery or firearms deer permit before purchasing the $7 antlerless permits.
Hunters who own and hunt on at least five acres can receive two archery turkey tags, two archery deer tags, two archery antlerless deer tags, two firearms turkey tags and a firearms any-deer tag free. Those who own and hunt on at least 75 acres qualify for extra antlerless tags.
Hunters who obtain any of these permits by Nov. 5 automatically are entered in a drawing for two Resident Lifetime Conservation Partner Permits and framed wildlife art prints. Buying early also ensures you won't get caught in the last-minute permit buying rush, which could be heavier than usual this year.
You can buy permits online at <www.wildlifelicense.com/mo> or by phone at (800) 392-4115. Phone and online purchases carry a $2 surcharge. Delivery may take up to 10 days. Details of deer hunting permits and regulations are online or in the 2004 Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet, available wherever hunting permits are sold.
"Share the Harvest," the program that puts tons of venison on needy Missourians' tables each year, is expanding. The program's sponsors are looking for new underwriters and meat processors to join the effort.
Share the Harvest is sponsored by the Conservation Department and the Conservation Federation of Missouri. Originally, the program allowed local sponsors to work with meat processors and food banks to get venison to needy families. Hunters had to pay for processing themselves. Even so, the number of local Share the Harvest programs has grown.
The program really took off when sponsors began putting up cash to help hunters pay venison processing costs. This, along with increased deer numbers and expanded hunting opportunities, led to phenomenal growth in recent years. Venison donations nearly doubled from 2002 to 2003, topping 88 tons last year. Conservation Federation Executive Director Dave Murphy says he expects the program to continue expanding rapidly. His optimism is based on several factors.
"For one thing, we have even more hunting opportunity this year," Murphy said. "The urban portion of firearms deer season has been expanded, and antlerless deer permits are more available than ever. Conservation Department employees and Conservation Federation members are working hard to expand the number of local programs and get more hunters interested in donating whole deer."
Murphy said the Missouri Legislature gave Share the Harvest another boost this year when it allowed meat processors to be certified by state inspectors instead of the federal inspection that was required previously. Also, financial support for the program increased this year. In 2003, the Conservation Commission put up $65,000 to help pay for processing donated venison. This year it has approved $100,000. The Federation is looking for other sponsors.
"I expect this thing to continue to grow," Murphy said. "It's limited mostly by the amount of money we can raise to pay for processing. The Conservation Federation already pays $35 toward processing a whole deer. This year we hope to have dozens of local programs that pay the remainder of processing costs so hunters can donate venison at no cost to themselves."
To learn more about Share the Harvest, contact Murphy at (573) 634-2322, <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
The Conservation Department is accepting applications for conservation agent positions until Oct. 22.
Agents are the Conservation Department's primary representatives in their assigned areas. They enforce the rules of the Wildlife Code and other state laws, conduct public meetings, perform wildlife censuses, investigate fish kills and help landowners with forestry, wildlife and fisheries management.
This is a physically demanding job. Applicants must be able to run sprints, jump over obstacles, climb fences, and lift and carry heavy loads.
Minimum qualifications include a bachelor's degree in forestry, fisheries or wildlife management, biology, law enforcement, agriculture, education or related subjects.
Agent trainees must live at designated training facilities in Jefferson City during the six-month training period. Upon completing the training program, new agents must accept assignment anywhere in Missouri.
The training class is tentatively set to begin April 1, 2005. Typical class size is between 12 and 20 students.
For application forms, visit online or contact Human Resources Division, Missouri Department of Conservation, P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102, (573) 751-4115.
Conservationist readers have long appreciated the superb nature photographs that illustrate each issue of the magazine. Now you can enter nature photographer Jim Rathert's photographic world through "In Focus," a new book from the Nature Shop.
During his 20 years as a nature photographer, Rathert has documented the stunning variety of animals, plants and landscapes found in the Show-Me State. He describes his work as "an artistic outlet, a lifelong and intimate relationship with nature and hands-on experience with the evolution of photo and print technology."
The softbound book contains 120 pages in a 9- by 12-inch format. Its 175 color photographs range from expansive landscapes to tiny details. They are organized into chapters on flowing water, prairies, forests, glades and wetlands. Each chapter includes tips for nature photographers and a list of some of Rathert's favorite photographic locations.
"In Focus" is available for $18, plus tax, at Conservation Nature Centers and regional Conservation Department offices. You can order online, or by calling toll-free (877) 521-8632. Ask for item number 10-0270.
In late summer and autumn, Missourians who venture into wooded areas may come across an eye-catching cluster of glossy, bright, reddish orange berries on or near the ground. Some people describe the fruit cluster as resembling a short corn cob with berries in place of corn kernels. Because the plant that produced them has withered or shriveled from an early frost, the fruits often lie on the ground.
Two closely related woodland plants produce these fruits and, with only the fruits in hand, it is difficult to tell which species is responsible for them.
The two possibilities are jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum) and green dragon (Arisaema dracontium). Both are widespread and relatively common in Missouri. Their floral parts and leaves are mostly green and inconspicuous throughout most of the growing season. In autumn, however, the fruits are no longer hidden beneath green foliage and are easy to spot. -- Tim Smith
During No MOre Trash! Week May 1-9, more than 4,000 people picked up 13,500 bags of trash, truckloads of tires and other items too big to fit into trash bags.
Volunteers ranging from Adopt-A-Highway groups and Missouri Stream Teams to jail inmates took part in the week-long cleanup. They collected everything from rusting appliances and a fully decorated Christmas tree to a $100 bill.
Several Missouri high school students created video public service announcements about litter. The Missouri departments of Conservation and Transportation are co-sponsoring a video ad contest for youths under age 22. Winners receive $200. Visit online for more information.
Congratulations to the winners of the No MOre Trash! Video Ad contest for 2003-2004:
Have you been working to get rid of brome or fescue grass to improve habitat for bobwhite quail and other wildlife on your land? If so, now is the time to apply herbicides to these plants.
Cool-season grasses can reduce the quail potential of fence lines or other grassy areas by creating a dense turf that crowds out seed-producing plants and blocks quail movement. These grasses resume growing with the return of cool weather. Because grass-selective herbicides work best when plants are growing, now is an excellent time to treat problem areas.
Spraying cool-season grasses can expose bare ground, creating dusting areas that quail need and thinning turf, permitting quail to move freely. Knocking back cool-season grasses also gives more beneficial plants a chance to establish themselves.
The private land services biologist in your regional Conservation Department office can tell you about cost-sharing programs to help improve quail habitat. Quail Unlimited chapters also can help. For information about QU programs, contact Jef Hodges, (660) 885-7057, <email@example.com>.
Women age 16 and older can take part in the Women's Pheasant Hunt and Clinic Oct. 30 at Hertzog's Hunting Reserve near Holden. The Conservation Department sponsors the event to introduce novice hunters to the sport of pheasant hunting in a relaxed, non-competitive environment.
Along with the pheasant hunt, participants will learn about wildlife conservation and dog handling. They will also hone their marksmanship skills by shooting clay targets. There will be special emphasis on safety, ethics, sportsmanship and hunting traditions.
The cost of the event is $15. Registration closes Oct. 12. Hunters who were born on or after Jan. 1, 1967 are required to have successfully completed a Hunter Education Certification Course. A small game hunting license is required. Shotguns are available, but participants are encouraged to bring their own shotguns and ammunition.
For more information or to register for the Women's Pheasant Hunt and Clinic, contact the Missouri Department of Conservation, 2010 S. Second St., Clinton, MO 64735, (660) 885-6981.
I received a call during deer season from a landowner in Monroe County.
The farmer said he was sleeping when his door bell rang. He rose and saw a young man in blaze orange standing at his door. He opened the door.
The man told the farmer that he had shot a buck and wondered if the farmer would let him go retrieve it. The visitor pointed in the direction of one of the farmer's fields. This bewildered the farmer because he doesn't allow anyone but his family to hunt on his property. The farmer then asked the man where he was hunting when he shot the deer. The man replied, "On the public ground." The farmer scratched his head doubtfully. The nearest public ground was about five miles away.
The farmer started to get a little suspicious. He asked exactly on what public ground the man had shot the deer. The man replied, "I shot it off the road--that is all public hunting ground." The farmer told the hunter that he thought that road hunting was illegal, but the man insisted the road was "public ground."
The farmer then told his visitor to wait a minute and he would be right back. That is when he called me. The man quickly departed, but not before the farmer got his license plate number. With a little investigation, I was able to track the him down and introduce him to a new sort of public ground, the courthouse. -- Paul Kay
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