Ask the Ombudsman
Q: When fishing, is each person required to have his or her own fish stringer?
A: Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 4 of the Wildlife Code: “3 CSR 10-4.137 Wildlife Identification: The taker and/or possessor of any wildlife shall keep the wildlife separate or distinctly identifiable from wildlife taken or possessed by another. When not personally attended, the wildlife shall be plainly labeled with the full name and address of the taker and/or possessor….” Party fishing (or hunting) is not allowed in Missouri. Each angler (hunter) is responsible for taking their own game. Successful anglers and hunters may give away what they take only at the end of the day’s outing.
This regulation is helpful in allowing everyone an equal opportunity to take fish and game. The key to complying with the regulation is to be able to identify what you took.
If you have two people sharing a stringer or a live well, one can snip the tail fin of the fish which they catch and keep, or otherwise mark what they take—making it identifiable from fish caught by the other angler. Of course, the simplest and easiest way to stay legal is to keep your catch separate.
For more information about storing and giving away wildlife, see Chapter 4 of the Wildlife Code. Code books and summaries are available wherever permits are sold and at Department of Conservation offices. You can also consult the online version of the Code online.
Ombudsman Ken Drenon will respond to your questions, suggestions or complaints concerning Conservation Department programs. Write him at P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0180, call him at (573) 522-4115, ext. 3848, or e-mail him at
Agents are the face of MDC and have its full support.
We maintain high standards for our conservation agents to ensure the protection of our forest, fish and wildlife resources and the maintenance of the culture of conservation. Agent applicants are not even considered for the job unless they have at least a bachelor’s degree in the field of natural sciences or criminal justice.
We train the most promising applicants for 26 weeks. They learn law enforcement techniques and all facets of resource management. At the end of their paid training, which marks the beginning of their careers, they know the ins and outs of the Wildlife Code, as well as the Criminal Statutes of Missouri, and are prepared to help the public deal with such issues as fish kills, nuisance wildlife and land management.
To me, being an agent is the best job in the world. It combines law enforcement with teaching, helping and public relations. It’s a job ideally suited to those who like people and love the outdoors. Read about the benefits and responsibilities of being a Conservation Agent at online.
If you’re cut out to be a Conservation Agent, now is a good time to apply. The application deadline for the next training class is Aug. 8. Online, click on “Conservation Agent Trainee,” or call me at (573) 751-4115, ext. 3819. I’d be happy to talk with you.
Cheryl Fey is programs supervisor for the Conservation Department’s Protection Division. If you would like to contact the agent for your county, phone your regional Conservation office.
They Might Be Giants was written by Charlotte Overby about giant silk moths. In Missouri, there are 13 species of giant silk moths, one being the Saturniid, the largest member of the moth and butterfly family with silky, carpet-plush wings, furry bodies and delicate legs. Males fly great distances to reach females and will stay attached to their mates for a day. Their life’s work from reproduction is one week. The Saturniid is “among the most spectacular animals found in North America’s forest and neighborhoods.” There are 1,500 species of Saturniids around the world. The majority lives in the tropics and are endangered, but 50 species live in North America. You will see these giant moths in late May or June, after midnight. —Contributed by the Circulation staff
Behind the Code
Sturgeon rules protect endangered species.
by Tom Cwynar
Given the price of caviar, some consider commercial fishing for Missouri’s shovelnose sturgeon to be profitable, despite the $500 Shovelnose Sturgeon Commercial Harvest Permit required and a per net fee. The Wildlife Code prohibits the harvest of federally endangered pallid sturgeon and state endangered lake sturgeon. Commercial harvest of shovelnose sturgeon is restricted to protect the endangered sturgeons and to provide times and places of refuge for all sturgeon. Restrictions are based on the Department’s continuous monitoring of sturgeon populations.
Commercial fishing for shovelnose is allowed only on the Mississippi River and on portions of the Missouri River. No commercial fishing for sturgeon is allowed in a sturgeon-rich stretch of the Missouri between Jefferson City and Chamois, or in the river upstream from Kansas City.
Commercial anglers only may keep shovelnose from 24 to 30 inches long (measured snout to fork of tail) on the Missouri and 24 to 32 inches long on the Mississippi. This preserves maturing stock for future reproduction and reduces the chances of mistakenly harvesting pallid sturgeon, which grow larger than shovelnose.
Commercial anglers must keep shovelnose sturgeon whole and intact and cannot possess extracted eggs of any species while on the water. They also must file monthly catch reports and keep receipts of all transactions involving fish eggs.