Making the Rules

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Published on: Oct. 2, 2007

Last revision: Dec. 3, 2010

the one-gallus hunter, the guy with a broken strap on a worn pair of bibs, was his way of asking how a change would impact the average hunter.

If you have ever been selected for a hunter survey you know how we check the pulse of the average hunter. We ask. Surveys give us the big picture about how people view regulations. E-mails, phone calls, letters, public meetings, one-on-one contacts, all the way to scheduling a hearing with the regulations committee, give people a chance to express their personal opinions. Personal opinions and group opinions are both vital.

We listen to what people say, and we let our biologists, conservation agents and other experts pick apart any new proposed rule. Only then does a recommendation take form. But, now what happens? Who makes the final call?

Essentially, Missourians get that option. The system our citizens put in place in 1936 to “protect and manage the forest, fish and wildlife of the state” ensures that the conservation commissioners, four citizens asked to serve six-year terms by Missouri’s governor, make the final call.

The Conservation Commission reviews and takes action on regulation recommendations at their monthly meetings. The recommendations must first be approved by the Department’s Regulations Committee and our director, but the Commission’s four citizens are charged with making the final decision.

As was the case with the gentleman from the Piedmont area (I never got his name), ideas for regulation changes often come from our citizens, and in the end it is four citizens who approve or disapprove changes. In between, as it should be, are a lot of biology, substantial social science, questions of enforceability and many, many, many opinions.

So the next time you have an idea for a regulation don’t be shy. Sometimes all it takes is the willingness to ask.

Current Commissioners

The four current commissioners are charged with making the final decision regarding all Wildlife Code regulations. To contact the commissioners with your comments, write to Conservation Commission, MDC, P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0180.

Don Johnson

Commissioner Don Johnson seldom fishes alone. “When I go fishing,” he said, “I always try to take a young person or somebody else with me and give them the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors.”

Johnson, who works as human resources vice president for Cequel III Communications in St. Louis, said he mostly casts big plugs for muskies and brings along a cradle to help him release the

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