Note To Our Readers
This month we are reminded of the many blessings for which we have to be thankful. Here in Missouri, those blessings extend to breathtaking beauty and rich bounty of the outdoor world around us, and to the generations of Missourians who have helped, and continue to help, make the Show-Me State a leader in conservation.
As your Conservation Department, we work hard to provide world-class hunting,
fishing, wildlife watching and numerous other outdoor activities, along with managing healthy and sustainable forests, fish and wildlife. As hard as we work, we cannot do it alone. As Department staff, we are most thankful for you, and all citizens who help to make this season an exciting time to be outdoors.
Missourians support conservation through our one eighth of one percent sales tax, and many do much more. Thank you to the tens-of-thousands of landowners who manage their properties for wildlife. Thank you to the more than 1 million anglers, 600,000 hunters and thousands of trappers who support conservation through their prowess, passion and permit sales. Thank you to the 900,000 visitors to our nature centers each year and countless people who enjoy our hundreds of conservation areas. Thank you to the hundreds of volunteers who teach hunter education, and to the many other volunteers who support our nature centers, Stream Teams, Master Naturalist program and other efforts of conservation. We are blessed to have so many Missourians working with us for the benefit of conservation.
One of the great benefits of our strong partnership with citizens in Missouri is that we are a national leader in hunter recruitment. Here are just a few reasons why hunting has remained a vital activity for the youth of our state:
- Special youth hunting seasons for deer, turkey, quail, waterfowl and pheasants, where mentoring adults can focus their efforts on teaching, and where the probability of successful youth harvest is greatest.
- Free small-game hunting and reduced-cost deer and turkey permit prices for resident and nonresident youth under 16.
- Low-cost resident hunting and fishing permits, a bargain when compared to surrounding states.
- Online hunter education courses with hands-on field days for those who pass the required test after independent study.
- The Apprentice Hunter Authorization, which allows persons 16 years old or older, who are not hunter education certified, to hunt with a mentor for up to two years.
- A statewide network of five staffed and more than 75 unstaffed shooting ranges that provide safe environments for youth to learn and practice shooting skills.
- Statewide public lands provide hunting access.
- Hunting skills programs that provide safe and accessible ways for youth to not only be introduced to those skills, but also to grow beyond the basics.
Hunter recruitment represents renewal and hope for the long-term continuation of not only our outdoor heritage, but also the continuation of what is a significant economic boost for our state. In Missouri, hunting contributes more than $1.4 billion to our economy and supports more than 24,000 jobs. Fishing adds another $2.1 billion and 21,000 jobs. Deer hunting alone generates more than $1 billion annually in overall business activity.
Deer hunters in Missouri also help those less fortunate through the Share the Harvest program. Last year, hunters donated more than 6,100 deer that put almost 318,000 pounds of venison on the tables of hungry families in our communities. We hope to increase those numbers this year and encourage deer hunters to Share the Harvest.
The one thing that binds all Missourians together is our appreciation and passion for the outdoors. It is this love that inspired Missourians to vote for and pass Amendment 4 in 1936 to create the Department, to vote for and pass Amendment 1 in 1975 to create dedicated funding for the management of all wildlife, and what continues to inspire citizens all across our state to use, enjoy and learn about our natural resources.
I hope you take time this month to enjoy the outdoors and the work conservation has accomplished with you and for you. On behalf of staff and hundreds of volunteers, we give thanks for your help in creating and sustaining the beauty and bounty of the outdoor world around us. Happy Thanksgiving.
Robert L. Ziehmer, director