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Waterfowl Seasons Coming Up

Duck hunters’ long wait is almost over, and prospects are bright. Numbers of mallards and most other ducks are above long-term averages. This year’s nest success was good, so many of the birds hunters encounter this fall will never have seen a decoy or a duck blind. With a little help from the weather, 2009 could be a year to remember. Season dates for all ducks are:

Waterfowl Seasons

Zone Season Date

North Zone:

Youth season

Oct. 24 and 25

Regular season

Oct. 31 through Dec. 29

Middle Zone:

Youth season

Oct. 31 and Nov. 1

Regular season

Nov. 7 through Jan. 5

South Zone:

Youth season

Nov. 21 and 22

Regular season

Nov. 26 through Jan. 24

The daily limit is six ducks, including four mallards (no more than two mallard hens), three wood ducks, two scaup, two redheads, two hooded mergansers, one canvasback, one black duck, one pintail and one mottled duck.

The season for blue, snow and Ross’s geese is Oct. 31 through Jan. 31 statewide with a daily limit of 20 and no possession limit. White-fronted goose season is Nov. 26 through Jan. 31 statewide (daily/possession limits 2/4). This year’s season for Canada geese is Sept. 26 through Oct. 7 (limits 3/6) and Nov. 26 through Jan. 31 (limits 2/4) statewide.

Full details of waterfowl hunting regulations are available in the 2009–2010 Waterfowl Hunting Digest, available wherever hunting permits are sold or online.

Plants & Animals

Wetland Acreage Expands

The recent dedication of an addition to Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge demonstrates the power of conservation partnerships. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was about $20,000 short of the purchase price of 502 acres adjacent to the refuge’s Overton Bottoms Unit. Ducks Unlimited stepped up to the plate with $15,000, and the National Wild Turkey Federation chipped in $5,000. The result was a 4.4-percent increase in the size of the refuge, which now covers 11,815 acres.

Missouri DU Chairman Tom Shryock said thousands of citizen volunteers made the 502-acre refuge addition possible through fundraising work. He said the project will benefit many species of wildlife and people through wetland preservation, erosion control, water retention and water quality.

Congress has authorized expansion of the refuge up to 60,000 acres in units along the Missouri River. Although the Missouri River’s popularity is increasing among waterfowl, turkey and deer hunters, Manager Tom Bell said he still considers it Missouri’s most under-utilized outdoor recreation resource.

Clean Water

Zebra Mussels on the Move

Routine plankton sampling at Pomme de Terre Lake turned up a surprise — zebra mussel larvae. Conservation Department workers found the free-floating larvae, known as velligers, in samples taken at several locations around the lake. Since Truman Reservoir is downstream from Pomme de Terre, it is only a matter of time until the larger lake is infested. This illustrates anglers’ and boaters’ critical role in slowing the spread of potentially devastating invasive aquatic species. For more information, visit online or write to MDC, Zebra Mussel, PO Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0180 or e-mail pubstaff@mdc.mo.gov.

Outdoor Recreation

Henges Renovation

The rifle and pistol range at the Jay Henges Shooting Range and Outdoor Education Center on Forest 44 Conservation Area in St. Louis County will close for 10 months of renovation starting Dec. 1. Trap, shotgun patterning and archery ranges will remain open during the renovation. St. Louisarea rifle and pistol shooters are encouraged to visit the range at August A. Busch Memorial CA in nearby Defiance. For directions, visit our online atlas, keyword, "Henges".

Plants & Animals

Wildlife Compact Growing

During Fiscal Year 2009, the Missouri Conservation Commission suspended hunting and fishing privileges of 164 people who committed serious or repeated wildlife code violations. Those who lose hunting and fishing privileges in Missouri lose the same privileges in 30 other states, too. That is because Missouri belongs to the Interstate Wildlife Violators Compact. Participating states honor one another’s privilege suspensions. IWVC members include Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Four states are in the process of joining the IWVC, and three others have passed the legislation necessary to join. The average hunter or angler who intentionally or unintentionally commits a violation and gets a ticket does not have to worry about running afoul of the Compact. The only people affected are repeat offenders or those who commit very serious violations. Missourians can turn in poachers by calling the toll-free Operation Game Thief Hot Line (800) 392-1111. Cash rewards are available for poaching reports leading to arrests.

Conservation Education

Shrub and Vine Field Guide

Amateur naturalists will find all they need to identify 170 woody shrubs and vines in the Shrubs and Woody Vines of Missouri Field Guide, a daypack-sized version of a large-format book published in 1997. The book has color illustrations, distribution maps and habitat notes on 133 shrubs and 37 vine species. It is available at conservation nature centers and regional offices statewide for $7.50 plus tax. You also can order by calling toll-free (877) 521-8632, or online. Shipping and handling charges apply to phone and electronic orders.

Outdoor Recreation

Antler-Point Restrictions

Deer harvest data show a significant increase in the number of older bucks taken by hunters in the 29 counties where the antler-point restriction went into effect in 2004. Resource Scientist Lonnie Hansen has been studying the number of 1.5-, 2.5-, 3.5- and 4.5-year-old bucks. He found that in the fourth year of the restrictions, hunters in affected counties shot 20 percent more 2.5-year old bucks, 62 percent more 3.5-year-olds and 202 percent more 4.5-year-olds, compared to nearby counties designated as “controls.”

“Increased age equates to increased antler size,” said Hansen. “You have to be a bit cautious about the big changes in 3.5- and 4.5-year-olds because the number of big deer shot by hunters is small, and small sample sizes make for less reliable conclusions. Still, the numbers do seem to indicate an important trend.”

In long-term studies, bucks’ antlers attained only 25 to 35 percent of their maximum size when they were 1.5 years old. The figure increased to 60 percent for 2.5-year-olds. Three and one-half-year- old bucks’ antlers were 75 to 80 percent of maximum size, while those 4.5 years old grew antlers that were 90 to 95 percent as large as they would ever grow.

Conservation Education

2010 Calendars On Sale

The 2010 Natural Events Calendar and Missouri Outdoor Heritage Calendar go on sale this month at conservation nature centers and regional offices statewide. In addition to stunning photographs of Missouri plants, animals and places, this year’s Natural Events Calendar celebrates 25 years of publication with reminiscences by long-time calendar editor Bernadette Dryden. Other bonuses include monthly tips for native plant gardeners. The Missouri Outdoor Heritage Calendar shines a spotlight on fish and game, hunting and fishing, past and present. Color photos of monster muskellunge, boss gobblers, trophy deer and drying raccoon pelts are sandwiched between black-and-white memories of Missouri’s hunting heritage. The calendars sell for $7 per copy, plus shipping and handling and sales tax where applicable. You also can buy copies by calling toll-free (877) 521-8632 or through The Nature Shop online.

Outdoor Recreation

Youth Trapping Clinic

Join us at Whetstone Creek Conservation Area in Williamsburg for this fun and exciting educational clinic Saturday, Oct. 24 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 25 from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. Learn basic trapping techniques including water sets, dry land sets, trapping equipment care and maintenance, skinning, fleshing and proper fur handling. Under the guidance of experienced trappers, participants will set their own traps. There is no fee for Missourians. Lunch and dinner will be served on Saturday and breakfast on Sunday. This program is open to ages 11 to 17 and their parent or adult mentor. Reservations are required. For more details or to register, e-mail brian.flowers@mdc.mo.gov or call (573) 884-6861.

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