to biologists, all-day hunting should have little effect on the turkey population. Studies in states with all-day hunting have shown that hen disturbance by hunters is not a problem. The theory that more disturbance by hunters may decrease gobbling has not been scientifically tested, but Conservation Department scientists are conducting preliminary data on gobbling rates so they can study changes in the future.
Protecting migratory birds
Many hunters enjoy hunting on privately owned hunting areas, and many hunting preserve operators want to include mallard duck hunting on their licensed game bird hunting preserves. The Conservation Department wanted to allow people this option, but biologists were concerned with the threat of disease from the captive birds spreading to wild populations. Wildlife managers in other states have reported cases of disease transmission associated with releasing captive-reared mallards, and some states restrict the locations where these ducks can be released to limit their interactions with wild birds.
To protect wild mallards, the Conservation Department worked with preserve owners to establish regulations that would permit the hunting of captive-reared mallards on licensed hunting preserves in a manner that is consistent with sound management of native wildlife populations in Missouri and North America. To keep wild and captive ducks separate, holding facilities must be designed to re-capture captive-reared birds after a hunt, and a reasonable effort must be made to re-capture them each day to prevent their escape to the wild. Captive mallard ducks also may not be used on preserves that are located within 5 miles of conservation areas and wildlife refuges that have wetlands frequented by wild mallards.
As with many regulation changes, not everyone was completely satisfied. Some operators would prefer to release captive-reared waterfowl without being required to re-capture them daily. However, the Commission felt this compromise would provide more opportunities for people to hunt mallard ducks, while minimizing contact between captive ducks and wild migratory birds.
Because of the inherent danger and potential liability associated with the possession of bears, mountain lions, wolves and their hybrids, the Conservation Commission now requires owners of these animals to identify each individual with a microchip embedded under the animal’s skin. The owners also must submit a blood or tissue sample for DNA analysis. All animals must be registered with the Department when acquired, born, at death, or when sold. This will aid enforcement of illegal sales of these animals and will help Department biologists distinguish escaped and released