Miscellany

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Ask the Ombudsman

Q: How can I replace my lost Heritage Card?

A: New or replacement Heritage Cards may be purchased for $2 wherever fishing and hunting permits are sold. The plastic card resembles a credit card with a magnetic strip on the back that stores information. The hunter-education identification number appears on the card and verifies completion of that training. When buying permits, the clerk can scan the card and eliminate the need to key in your personal information. Heritage Card holders also receive a 15 percent discount on selected retail merchandise at Conservation Department facilities, including seedling orders from the state nursery. For more information, see the links listed below.

Q: What happened to the tumble bug? Growing up on a farm north of Kansas City, we had cattle and frequently saw tumble bugs rolling up manure balls. It has probably been 40 years since I last saw one.

A: Tumble bugs, or dung beetles, do appear to have declined in Missouri and elsewhere. There are several likely causes for the decline. These include the use of fly and intestinal parasite control chemicals on cattle, which pass through their system and can make their dung toxic to insects. The popularity today of cool-season grass pastures can lead to drier and more compacted soils that are less hospitable to digging insects (dung beetles bury their dung balls to provide food for their young). As we manage more native prairies using grazing cattle, dung beetles are becoming more common on those sites. They provide many benefits, such as controlling insect pests, nutrient recycling and improving soil structure. For more information, visit the links listed below.

Ombudsman Tim Smith will respond to your questions, suggestions or complaints concerning Department of Conservation programs. Write him at PO Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0180, call him at (573) 522-4115, ext. 3848, or e-mail him at Ombudsman@mdc.mo.gov.

Time Capsule

June 1979

The Scrappiest Guy on The Block… was written by Michael McIntosh about bluegills. Bluegills eat anything and are great for farm ponds. Because of their “grizzly bear” appetite and “tenacity of a snapping turtle” they can survive living conditions of ponds unlike other fish. The best places to catch them are near their nesting and feeding grounds on the edge of the ponds. Bluegills usually move to the deeper part of the water during the day then go back to the edges before nightfall. Nesting season for bluegill begins in May and ends in early August. You can catch a bluegill on any type of rod and lure. Bluegill are great to catch for those who just want to fish and enjoy the sport.—Contributed by the Circulation staff

Agent Notes

Stay on target at the Andy Dalton Shooting Range.

A fair amount of knowledge, skill and experience is required to become a successful hunter or target shooter. One of the essential skills is good marksmanship, which is accurately and consistently hitting the target where planned. The Missouri Department of Conservation operates five staffed shooting ranges located in the St. Louis, Kansas City and Springfield areas for shooters to practice and improve their marksmanship skills.

The Andy Dalton Shooting Range is a staffed complex that includes a 100-yard, baffled, rifle/pistol range with 20 covered booths, four trap and skeet fields, a 3-D archery course, a static archery range, two indoor classrooms, an outdoor classroom and a 3/4-mile hiking trail with a wildlife viewing blind all  available for public use. While the facility is open year-round, the most popular times are just before deer and dove seasons. Continual upgrades and programs have been added, making this staffed facility one of the best in Missouri.

The range is located on the Bois D’Arc Conservation Area in Greene County just southwest of Willard. To learn more about the Andy Dalton Range and Outdoor Education Center and the other staffed shooting ranges and outdoor education Centers around the state, see the links listed below.

Mike Loe is the conservation agent for Greene county, which is in the Southwest region. If you would like to contact the agent for your county, phone your regional Conservation office.

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