Nodaway Valley

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Published on: Dec. 2, 2004

Last revision: Nov. 17, 2010

about one-third of the area harvest was on the open hunting area. They averaged about 1.8 birds per hunter, while they averaged about 1.7 birds per hunter on the rest of the area."

In 2003, area hunters averaged about two birds per trip. That's an impressive average, and when conditions are right, ducks should be even more plentiful. That's just one good reason to plan a trip to one of Missouri's most remarkable conservation areas.


The Department's efforts at Nodaway Valley Conservation Area are possible thanks to the contributions of some dedicated conservation partners. These include:

  • North American Wetland Conservation Act
  • Ducks Unlimited
  • Holt County Levee District #5
  • National Wild Turkey Federation
  • Wildlife Forever
  • The Missouri Prairie Foundation
  • Boy Scouts of America Troop 81 (Oregon, Mo.)
  • Northwest Missouri Quail Unlimited
  • Northland Pheasants Forever
  • Idecker Inc.


To hunt waterfowl on the controlled access portions of Nodaway Valley CA, hunters must participate in a daily drawing.

If all of the marsh habitat is available, the staff at Nodaway Valley generally allows access to 15-20 groups of hunters through the drawing.

Open hunting is allowed on a walk-in basis at selected units. No drawing is required, but hunters must register before entering. Unless they draw into one of the four blinds on the east side of the area, hunters must provide for their own concealment. Layout boats or hunting kayaks are popular among many hunters.

For more information, contact Nodaway Valley Conservation Area at (660) 446-3371, or visit the Conservation Department's web site.


Nodaway Valley Conservation Area provides habitat to a multitude of other bird and mammal species that non-hunters can enjoy.

"With the amount of emergent marsh we have at Nodaway, we have a pretty good mix of species throughout the spring and summer months," said Craig Crisler, wildlife management biologist for the Conservation Department. "We've got some birds that breed here on these wetlands, too, like American coots, pied-billed grebes and least bitterns.

"We also have a pretty good population of river otters," he added.

The wetland pools at Nodaway are also productive fisheries, Crisler said. In late summer, the pools recede from evaporation, concentrating fish into small areas. That attracts minks and raccoons, as well as great blue herons and otters.

"We get a pretty good migration of pelicans in the spring and fall," Crisler said. "They concentrate in the same habitat as the herons and otters, eating young fish and crayfish."

In the spring and fall, you can also see sandpipers, yellowlegs, ibis and other species of herons. Nighthawks and swallows also eat the insects that hatch in the marshes.

"In August, there are just thousands of swallows swarming over the wetlands eating those insects that are hatching," Crisler said.


The Missouri Department of Conservation publishes brochures of most of its conservation areas, including Nodaway Valley. These brochures contain maps of the area, as well as area regulations.

To obtain a brochure of Nodaway Valley Conservation Area, contact the Conservation Department's office in St. Joseph at (816) 271-3100, or the Department's Chillicothe office at (660) 646-6220.

Maps and brochures are also available on the Conservation Department's web site, keyword: nodaway.

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