Much of western Missouri originally was defined by tall- and mid-grass prairie that turned into waving oceans of rainbow-hued wildflowers each June. Today, less than one-half of 1 percent of the Show-Me State’s original prairies remain, but June still is a spectacular month to visit prairie remnants on conservation areas. Prairies’ open character makes constructed trails unnecessary. Strike out on your own and explore Drovers, Paint Brush or Friendly prairies in Pettis County, Wah-Sha-She Prairie in Jasper County, Pawhuska Prairie in Barton County, Taberville Prairie in St. Clair County or Hi Lonesome Prairie in Cooper County. Paint Brush Prairie in particular is known for mysterious hillocks of soil and gravel called Mima mounds. No one knows how they got there — just one of the prairie ecosystem’s secrets. While pondering Mima mounds, watch for signature prairie species like prairie chickens, regal fritillary butterflies, pink katydids, slender glass lizards, upland sandpipers and Mead’s milkweed. Don’t forget to enjoy the riot of prairie wildflowers.
This recreational paradise surrounds the only remaining unchannelized portion of the Chariton River, which offers excellent catfishing. The zigzag river channel harbors a variety of wildlife, including river otters. Facilities include two boat ramps, a pavilion, miles of internal access trails with a wooden foot bridge and a deck overlooking one of seven wetland pools. Besides primitive camping, nature viewing and photography, the area offers good deer, dove, rabbit, squirrel and turkey hunting. Waterfowl hunting depends on autumn rainfall. For more information, visit our online atlas.
Women who have attended introductory-level shooting workshops can take their skills to the next level at a Women’s Shooting Sports Day June 6 at the Andy Dalton Shooting Range and Outdoor Education Center in Greene County. The all-day event includes rifle, shotgun, pistol and archery shooting. This intermediate-level training builds on knowledge and skills acquired in previous workshops. Topics to be covered include shooting safety and technique and hunting strategies and ethics. Participants are encouraged to bring their own bows or firearms. The event, including lunch, is free. To register, call (417) 742-4361. This is part of the Conservation Department’s Discover Nature program. Basic shooting events taken under the old Missouri’s Outdoor Women or Becoming an Outdoors Woman programs meet the previous training requirement. For more information about Discover Nature — Women and Discover Nature — Families program offerings, visit the links listed below.
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