Maybe you have always dreamed of creating your own deer, turkey or quail hunting paradise. Or, perhaps you always wanted to have all the songbirds in your area flock to your land. If you have an entrepreneurial nature, you might have visions of making your property a destination for paying hunters or nature photographers. Whatever your ambitions for your land, you will want to check out the series of eight workshops to be offered in the Master Wildlifer program starting Feb. 28.
The program is a cooperative effort between the Conservation Department, the University of Missouri Extension and the Missouri University School of Natural Resources. It offers participants the chance to learn how to manage land for different wildlife species or landscape types, such as wetlands, ponds or forests. In this way, the agencies hope to encourage greater citizen participation and increase wildlife diversity on private land, which makes up 93 percent of the state’s land area.
The first session covers basic wildlife management principles. The following classes deal with different wildlife species’ management needs, such as creating ideal habitat for quail and turkey, managing ponds and streams for better aquatic species habitat and managing for furbearing animals.
The classes will be offered via interactive television (ITV) at locations throughout the state, so no one need travel outside their home region to take part. Those who attend at least seven of the eight sessions will earn the title ”Master Wildlifer.”
The classes will be offered Feb. 28, March 2, March 7, March 9, March 14, March 16, March 21 and March 23. Contact Extension offices where the ITV broadcast will be shown to inquire about fees and enrollment:
Conservation Department Director John Hoskins, left, joined World Bird Sanctuary (WBS) Director Walter Crawford, center, and Department of Natural Resources Director Doyle Childers at the State Capitol Dec. 2 to release two wild bald eagles. The birds had suffered gunshot wounds and were nursed back to health at the WBS in St. Louis County.
Once rare in Missouri, bald eagles have staged a remarkable recovery, thanks to government and private restoration efforts. The WBS rehabilitates more than 300 indigenous birds of prey annually. Further information is available by calling (636) 861-3225, or visiting online.
The 19th Annual Missouri Deer Classic will be held March 4 and 5 at the Boone County Fairgrounds. Brenda Valentine and Larry Shockey will present seminars Saturday and Sunday, and Bass Pro Shops’ “King of Bucks” trailer will be on display all weekend.
Visitors can bring deer antlers to be officially scored for Boone and Crockett, Pope and Young, Archery Big Bucks of Missouri and Missouri Show-Me Big Bucks. Scorers from Buckmasters, Safari Club International, Longhunter Society and the North American Shed Hunters Club also will be on hand to score antlers.
Other attractions include a taxidermy display, a children’s archery range, laser shot booth and air rifle range, plus more than 200 hunting equipment vendors.
Admission is $6. Children 9 and under are free. Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. For more information, visit online or call (573) 796-2066.
Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery’s Vulture Venture, proclaimed the nation’s best interpretive program by the National Association for Interpreters, will observe its 10th anniversary Feb. 25. The event runs from noon to 6 p.m. and celebrates the many strange and wonderful facets of vulture life.
Visitors will have a chance to view one of Missouri’s largest vulture concentrations through telescopes at the Branson facility. This is a rare opportunity to see both black and turkey vultures in the same location. Late in the afternoon, they can watch as large numbers of vultures swoop down to roost for the night.
Indoor attractions include a live vulture, a video about vultures, vulture games, stickers and crafts. This is a free program and requires no reservations. For more information or directions, call (417) 334-4865, ext. 0.
Hunters between the ages of 11 and 15 will have an opportunity to take part in a chukar and quail hunt and clinic sponsored by the Truman Lake Chapter of Quail Unlimited, Sharp Brothers Seed Company, and the Show-Me Vizsla Club of Kansas City. The event will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 19 at Clear Fork Hunting Preserve, 321 NE 671, Warrensburg. Registration is $15 per hunter. Participants must be hunter-education certified and be accompanied by adult sponsors. The registration deadline is March 1. For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (417) 644-7425.
Missouri hunters closed out the 2005 firearms deer season with a final tally of 249,755 deer, the third-largest deer harvest in modern history. This includes the urban, youth, November, muzzleloader and antlerless segments of the season, totaling 36 days. The 2005 harvest was down 9.3 percent from last year’s record of 275,329. Biologists attribute the decrease largely to an abundant acorn crop that kept deer scattered and relatively inactive. Poor hunting weather also played a role. Furthermore, deer numbers finally are declining in some areas as the strategy of increased doe harvest takes hold. This will help decrease deer problems, such as collisions with cars and damage to crops.
If you have ever wished you had a job working outdoors with wildlife, you might be interested in the Conservation Contractor workshops in February and March. The Conservation Department and the Missouri Agriculture Industries (MO-AG) developed the workshops to fill the need for competent wildlife management work on private land.
Many people want to encourage wildlife on their land, but lack the time or equipment to do the work themselves. Others would like to do the work for pay, but lack the necessary knowledge and experience. The workshops are designed to create a pool of competent contractors for such work.
Training is open to individuals, organizations and businesses with an interest in performing wildlife management work for hire. Training will focus on restoring natural communities and wildlife species that depend on early-successional habitat. This includes bobwhite quail, cottontail rabbits and songbirds.
Sessions are scheduled for:
Pre-registration is required. For more information, call MO-AG, (573) 636-6130 or the Conservation Department’s Private Land Services Division, (573) 751-4115.
In many cases, landowners can receive reimbursement for wildlife contractors’ wages under programs sponsored by the Federal Farm Bill, the Conservation Department and private conservation groups. This makes it practical for landowners to hire out work. You can find contractors who already provide wildlife-management services online.
The St. Louis America’s Center will host the 52nd Annual St. Louis Boat and Sport Show Feb. 7 through 12, featuring boat’s engines, marine accessories, hunting and fishing gear and vacation destinations. Seminars and guest speakers will appeal to every age and interest.
Other attractions this year include a turkey-calling and owl-hooting workshop/contest, a Becky Thatcher Trout Pond, Travelin’ Fish Tank, a live snake and lizard exhibit and Bassmaster Kids Casting Competition. Hours are 5 to 10 p.m. Tuesday, 2 to 10 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, noon to 10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $8 for adults, $2 for children 6 through 12. Children 12 and under are free Friday if accompanied by adults. Further information is available online.
St. Louis Boat Show - http://www.stlouisboatshow.com
Just prior to the opening of the November portion of the firearms deer season, I had discovered some corn scattered on the ground. My district supervisor and I decided to investigate the apparent bait site early the first morning of the season. Both of us had put on our blaze orange caps and vests and started off through the woods toward the site.
As we were walking through some dense cover a deer jumped up not far in front of us. The deer had been wounded, and it took off through the brush.
We continued on to the bait site and made contact with a hunter in a tree stand near it. A short time later, when visiting with some of the other hunters on the property, a woman in the group told us she had shot and wounded a deer earlier that morning. The woman said she later saw the wounded deer moving through some thick brush, but she didn’t take another shot because she saw some glimpses of blaze orange in the woods beyond her target.
Needless to say, those glimpses of blaze orange were my district supervisor and me. I thanked and praised the woman several times for being a safe and responsible hunter and for practicing good firearms and hunting safety.
This incident could have had a different outcome had we not been wearing blaze orange garments. It certainly shows the value of wearing blaze orange when out hunting and really emphasizes the importance of this regulation. The main reason conservation agents strictly enforce the requirement to wear blaze orange is because it saves lives.
Roger Peecher, Sullivan County
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