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Ask the Ombudsman

Q: I’ve heard that the native prairie grass, buffalo grass, can be used as a turf grass in home landscaping. Is it a good choice for Missouri homeowners?

A: Buffalo grass can be a good choice for the right site. It performs best in full sun on a well-drained, loamy soil. Spreading by runners and growing naturally to a height of 4 to 8 inches, it may not require mowing in some applications. It is more drought-tolerant than most lawn grasses and will compete well on dry sites with a southern exposure. Buffalo grass is a gray-green color during its growing season and is straw-colored from November through March. It can be difficult to develop a pure (weed-free) stand of buffalo grass in Missouri, especially in areas of greater soil moisture. An excellent reference on buffalo grass lawns can be found listed below.

Q: Which shotgun gauges are legal for use in turkey hunting?

A: The Missouri Wildlife Code restricts the gauge of shotgun for any hunting to not larger than 10 gauge. There are no further restrictions for turkey hunting, so even .410 gauge shotguns are allowed. We have not created any minimum gauge requirements, preferring to allow hunters to choose the shotgun that is appropriate to their skill level and their desired degree of challenge. The same logic is used in the deer hunting regulations, in that any centerfire, expanding-type, pistol or rifle bullet is allowed.

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.

Agent Notes

Protecting our wildlife from commercialization

Agents routinely investigate illegal commercialization of Missouri’s wildlife. An example of such would be poachers taking paddlefish illegally to sell their eggs for caviar or employers illegally paying their employees with venison in exchange for their work. These types of violations are just a few examples of the illegal commercialization of wildlife. In the early 1900s commercialization of wildlife almost eliminated Missouri’s deer and turkey populations. As a result, conservation-focused citizens created the Missouri Department of Conservation in 1936 and ultimately the Wildlife Code of Missouri.

Although it is unlawful to sell, buy or barter the meat of wildlife in Missouri, one can give away legally taken wildlife as provided in Rule 3 CSR 10-4.136 Giving Away Wildlife: “Wildlife legally taken and Protecting our wildlife from commercialization possessed may be given to another only by the taker after completion of the day’s fishing or hunt. Any wildlife given to another shall continue to be included in the daily limit of the taker for the day when taken. Wildlife, except deer and turkeys taken in Missouri, shall be labeled with the full name, address and permit number of the taker, species and the date when taken. Deer and turkeys taken in Missouri shall be labeled with the full name and address of the taker, the date taken, and the Telecheck confirmation number of the deer or turkey. Wildlife received as a gift shall be included in the possession limit of the recipient.”

Further restrictions apply to the sale and possession of wildlife parts and mounted specimens. For more information, consult the Wildlife Code of Missouri or contact your local conservation agent.

Dan Akin is the conservation agent for Stone County. If you would like to contact the agent for your county, phone your regional Conservation office.

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