Outdoor Recreation

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Shooting Practice

  • Name: Andy Dalton Shooting Range and Training Center Complex
  • Location: Greene County Farm road 61, 2.5 miles south of US Highway 160, 4 miles west of Willard
  • For more information: (417) 742-4361 or visit our online atlas and search “Andy”

Southwest Missourians looking to sharpen shooting skills should set their sights on the Andy Dalton Shooting Range and Training Center Complex. Located on Bois D’Arc Conservation Area near Springfield, the Department of Conservation range is one of the state’s best-equipped and most modern public ranges. It offers a 100-yard baffled, rifle/pistol range, four trap and skeet fields, a shotgun patterning range and a gravel archery range trail with 3-D targets. A $3 fee is charged for use of the range facilities. Assistance with sighting in firearms, handgun training and shotgun reloading are among the services provided free-of-charge by the range staff.

The Dalton range is open five days a week on a first-come, first-served basis, but hours are subject to change due to scheduled activities. For full details on fees and regulations at the range contact the Training Center staff at (417) 742-4361.

The Conservation Department maintains more than 60 shooting facilities. Five are outdoor skills training centers with full-time staffs. Learn more about ranges in your area with through the links listed below.

Hunting Season Preparation

Fall is approaching, take hunter ed now to get ready.

Prepare now for upcoming hunting seasons by attending a hunter education certification course. Hunter ed provides a foundation in hunting safety and ethics that helps hunters focus on more than just harvesting game. The 10-hour course teaches participants how to handle firearms safely, hunting ethics and much more. The safety course is required for anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 1967 and anyone who goes afield to assist a youth who hunts with a youth permit. For details on hunter education training and information on course dates, see the links listed below.

Preference Points

New managed deer hunt drawing procedure.

A new weighted random drawing procedure will help increase hunters’ chances of being selected in future hunting seasons for Department of Conservation managed deer hunts. In the past, participation was allotted through a random drawing in which all applicants had an equal chance. Beginning this year, each unsuccessful applicant will earn one preference point that will entitle the applicant to two entries the next time the hunter applies for a managed deer hunt. Hunters will continue to accumulate preference points—one for each unsuccessful application year—until they are drawn. Hunters have through Aug. 15 to apply for managed deer hunts. You may apply only for one hunt. Find details on the managed deer hunt application process and the new weighted random drawing procedure online.

Feathered Fascination

Bird Beaks

Imagine using only your lips and mouth to perform all the functions of your mouth, arms and hands. You’d get a sense of how bird beaks, or bills, work. The beak is part of a bird’s skull that is covered with a tough layer of skin. The skin is especially thick at the tip of the beak which, generally, gets the most wear. The bill consists of the upper and lower mandibles. On most birds the upper mandible is perforated by nostrils.

The shape and edges of beaks vary greatly among bird species depending on the species’ habitat and diet. For example, a raptor’s strong, sharp, hooked beak is designed for tearing apart prey, a duck’s bill is flattened with toothlike edges for straining food out of water and the cardinal’s short, thick beak enables it to break open seeds.

While the main purpose of a beak is to obtain food in the easiest and most effective way possible, beaks also perform many of the tasks that mammals use their forearms to do. Grasping and carrying items, scratching, fighting, digging and building nests are among the many other ways birds use their beaks.

Order our free publication Feeding Backyard Birds to learn more about attracting birds to your yard. To order, write to MDC, Feeding Backyard Birds, P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102 or e-mail pubstaff@mdc.mo.gov.

Camp on Conservation Areas

Find an area near you to plan an inexpensive getaway.

Get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, without breaking the bank, by taking a camping vacation at a Missouri Department of Conservation area. Most areas offer only primitive-style camping with no hookups and few amenities, making them ideal for those who enjoy a challenge. No reservations are required for camping on Conservation lands.

Campers who enjoy roughing it should consider “walk-in camping.” Walk-in sites provide no amenities and often require campsites to be at least 100 yards from parking lots and roads.

Designated primitive Camping areas with Defined Campsites generally offer a gravel parking pad or mowed area designated as a camping site. The areas also may have picnic tables, fire grates, garbage cans and privies. Designated primitive Camping areas without Defined Campsites typically allow camping on a gravel or dirt parking lot or areas adjacent to the parking lot.

When camping on Conservation lands remember to leave behind only footprints, respect wildlife and properly dispose of all trash. View the Department’s online atlas for information on camping opportunities on Conservation lands near you.

Summer Show

Compass plants are in bloom now through September.

Virtually every direction you travel this month in Missouri will lead you to blooming compass plants. You can view the showy plants along roadsides and in prairies and glades through September. The most noticeable features of the compass plant are striking, big, yellow flowers and a hairy stem that grows up to 8 feet tall. The plant derived its name from the tendency of its bottom leaves to align north and south to maximize exposure to sunlight. Early travelers across the central plains used the plants to help give them direction. Compass plants can be found throughout most of Missouri except the southeast corner of the state.

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