Ask the Ombudsman
Q: How can I obtain a hornets’ nest without being stung?
A: Bald-faced hornets do not occupy their paper nests during the winter and they don’t reuse the nests the next year. The colony dies each fall except for fertilized females that will overwinter in sheltered crevices (not in the nest) and start new colonies the following spring. The best time to take a nest is in the fall after we’ve had a few nights where temperatures were below freezing. That will ensure that the nest will not contain living hornets. As an added precaution, you may want to put the nest in a freezer for a week. The nests will be in the best condition if taken during the fall, because they will deteriorate over the winter due to weathering and lack of any maintenance by the hornets.
Q: Why are some of the shrubs in my yard starting to flower now, rather than in the spring as they normally do?
A: Known as remontant flowering, it is not unusual to have a few flower buds opening in the fall on species that typically flower in early spring. In Missouri, the evergreen rhododendrons and forsythia shrubs will commonly open a few flowers in October. Because most plant growth is halted over the winter, early spring-flowering plants have their flower buds developed and ready to go in the fall. Environmental cues to flowering such as temperature, moisture and day length can be the same in the fall as they are in early spring and some buds are “fooled” into opening. Usually only a small proportion of the flower buds will open prematurely, and you aren’t likely to notice any fewer flowers next spring, during the normal flowering period.
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.
No MOre Trash! Keep the outdoors litter free.
Fall is a great time to get outdoors and enjoy the spectacular colors of changing leaves. I especially like to view the colorful trees while doing a boat patrol. While I check hunters and fishers on the rivers and banks, I always take a minute to soak in the vibrant landscapes that surround me. Moments like these truly connect you with nature.
Unfortunately, my enjoyment of the fall colors is dampened when I look around the river dykes and banks and observe the accumulation of litter. Some of the trash is washed downstream to pile up on riverbanks after water levels recede. Other items are left or discarded on dykes until the rising river swallows them up. To stop the river litter cycle, we all have to do our part.
When I’m on the water, I keep a large plastic container in my boat that has a locking top. I put my trash in it as well as trash I find in the river. I’ve seen fishers who put their trash in their boat’s empty live well while on the water. I know hunters who place their litter in decoy bags or dismantled blinds when traveling to and from their river hunting spots. I’ve talked to riverbank campers who use all-weather bags to hold and take their trash with them. Responsible resource users always find a way to get their litter where it needs to go. The rewards are cleaner waterways and a great view of our natural resources, wherever you look!
Jeff Breuer is the conservation agent for Jefferson County. If you would like to contact the agent for your county, phone your regional conservation office listed on Page 3
Youth Trapping Clinic
Join the staff of the Missouri Department of Conservation along with volunteers from the Missouri Trappers Association for this fun and exciting educational clinic. The clinic runs Oct. 22 and 23 on the Whetstone Creek Conservation Area near Williamsburg in Callaway County. Participants will learn basic trapping techniques including water sets, dry land sets, trapping equipment care and maintenance, skinning, fleshing and proper fur handling.
While under the guidance of experienced trappers, participants will set their own traps. There is no fee for this training, but pre-registration is required. Participants should bring snacks and drinks. Dinner will be served on Saturday evening and breakfast on Sunday. This program is open to youth ages 11 to 17 and their parent or adult mentor. For more details or to register, call 573-864-3559. For more information about hunting and trapping in Missouri, visit mdc.mo.gov/node/88.
To view fishing and hunting seasons, visit http://mdc.mo.gov/seasons
For complete information about seasons, limits, methods and restrictions, consult the Wildlife Code and the current summaries of “Missouri Hunting and Trapping Regulations” and “Missouri Fishing Regulations,” the “Fall Deer and Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information,” the “Waterfowl Hunting Digest” and the “Migratory Bird Hunting Digest.” This information is on our Web site at http://mdc.mo.gov/about-us/regulations and at permit vendors.
The Conservation Department’s computerized point-of-sale system allows you to purchase or replace your permits through local vendors or by phone. The toll-free number is 800/392-4115. Allow 10 days for delivery of telephone purchases. To purchase permits online go to https://www2.mo.wildlifelicense.com/start.php.