On the Ground
Harvest Does to Reduce Crop Damage
While sportsmen appreciate Missouri’s large, high-quality deer herd, it can be a bane to farmers and other landowners. Take Ralls County farmer Tom Finnigan, for example. In 2004, the deer hit his soybeans hard enough to make him contact his local conservation agent, Josh Badasch. Josh recommended Tom work with hunters to harvest does. “Doe harvest is the key to population control,” Josh says. During archery and firearms season, Tom invited three hunters to aim for does on his property. “They really thinned them out,” he said. In general, Agent Badasch advises landowners who want to control deer damage on their property to work with hunting groups. A common practice is to require hunters to harvest one or more antlerless deer before harvesting an antlered deer. Contact your local Department of Conservation regional office for more information about harvesting does on your property.
Mow and Spray Fescue
Fescue crowds out quail chicks.
Many quail enthusiasts, such as Randolph County landowner David Swinger, control fescue in the fall. He converted 40 acres of fescue to native grassland and now reports seeing and hearing more quail. If you haven’t already, mow or burn fescue now. A few weeks later, set it back with an application of generic, nonselective herbicide. Be sure to mow or burn before spraying to ensure success. For more technical information about controlling fescue and other invasive grasses for quail, see the links listed below.
Line Up Trappers Now
Trapping this fall will reduce damage next spring.
Now that the weather is getting a little cooler, it’s time to think about heading off next spring’s nuisance wildlife problems. If you’ve ever complained about otters in your pond, raccoons in your garden, beavers in your stream or foxes in your chicken coop, you might consider finding an experienced trapper to control problem animals during this fall’s trapping season. Trapping is a proven and effective management tool for controlling furbearer numbers and damage. Contact the Missouri Trapper’s Association or your local conservation agent for assistance. Missouri’s furbearer hunting and trapping season opens Nov. 15 and runs through Jan. 31, 2008. During this period, potential nuisance animals can be legally hunted and trapped.