are going and what to expect will ensure a safer experience and a better chance for a successful hunt. When fishing, know special regulations ahead of time and talk to others about what bait and tackle has been successful so you can plan ahead. You can find hunting and trapping regulations at www.mdc.mo.gov/node/2454 and fishing information at www.mdc.mo.gov/node/3104 and in regulations booklets available at many sporting vendors and Department offices.
If you are new to any activity, or want to try something for the first time, consider taking a class at a nature center, shooting range or other office. You can try your hand at outdoor skills such as orienteering, archery, fishing, hunting, shooting sports, Dutch oven cooking and more. You can also learn more natural history skills, such as bird watching, tracking, wildflower and tree identification, journaling, habitat exploration and natural crafts. Programs, trainings and events can be found online at www.mdc.mo.org/node/91 by clicking on the map in the region you want to visit, or by calling your regional conservation office (see Page 3 for phone numbers).
Caring for Resources
Wherever you go, and whatever you do, remember how you can help us care for the resources you are using. If you have suggestions or comments, or see vandalism or other things that concern you, please take the time to let the area manager or a conservation office know. If you witness any illegal activity, a conservation agent is only a phone call away. Call Operation Game Thief, toll free, at 800-392-1111 to get the information to the right person. This land is yours to use, and abuse of it is stealing from your outdoor experiences.
Manners for a Wild Time
- Check the rules of the area you are going to visit and follow them. If you ever wonder why a rule is in place, please ask!
- Wear appropriate clothing, especially footwear! Avoid discomfort and blisters. Improper shoes can even be dangerous, as the soles may be slick or they may not provide adequate ankle support. Stay on the trail, don’t use cut-offs, switchbacks or paths that aren’t part of the trail. This creates erosion over time and can undermine the original trail. It costs money to repair trails and fight erosion, so help protect what’s there.
- Stay to the right and pass on the left, but always quietly let people know you are coming up behind them. It makes the day brighter when hikers say hello when passing in opposite directions.
- Yield to uphill hikers when you are moving down the hill. They’ve got a much harder task! If they choose to stop, you can then move forward. On trails that allow jogging, bikes and horses, it’s a bit more complicated. Bikes and joggers must yield to walkers, but everyone must yield to horses for safety purposes.
- Bring out what you take in, even food waste such as orange peels, apple cores and peanut shells. These take a long time to degrade and no one wants to see litter destroying an otherwise perfect natural setting. Empty soda cans weigh much less than full ones, and they can be smashed to fit in a pocket. Special rules apply for glass and coolers when on a river or stream. Canoe outfitters are happy to supply you with a mesh litterbag so you can help keep the area clean.
- Cigarette butts are litter too. Filters are not made of cotton and they do not biodegrade. They are made of compressed fibers of cellulose acetate, a plastic, similar to photographic film. Cigarette butt chemicals in our streams, lakes and rivers are a significant threat to aquatic life.
- Don’t collect anything (unless it is specifically permitted). Leave natural items for the next person to see. If you pick a fistful of flowers, they’ll be wilted before you are off the trail and gone for others to enjoy. Wild animals and their homes should be left alone. Never pick up a baby or pursue any animal.
- On trails where pets are allowed, they should be kept on a leash. Even a friendly dog can accidentally injure a child or pursue wild animals, and it can be scary to be eye to eye with a strange canine. Narrow trails do not leave much room for passing so keep your dog on the outside so you are between him and the person you are passing.