News & Events

by Jim Low

Calling All Trappers

Grizzled veterans, greenhorns, and people who simply are curious about the craft and lore of fur trapping will find a feast of fascination at the Missouri Trappers Association’s (MTA) Fall Rendezvous Sept. 20 through 22 at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds in Montgomery City. The event offers seasoned trappers a chance to renew old friendships, make new ones, and learn about the latest developments in the fur trade. The event also is an opportunity for the next generation of trappers to learn from old salts and watch demonstrations of trapping equipment and tricks of the trade.

In addition to the annual fall rendezvous, MTA sponsors trapping clinics throughout the state in September and October. These are scheduled for:

  • Sept. 6-8 at Lake of the Ozarks Sept. 14 at Versailles Sept. 28 at Orscheln Farm and Home, Camdenton Oct. 5 at Orscheln Farm and Home, California Oct. 19 at Warsaw and Oct. 26 at Orscheln Farm and Home, Eldon. Contact Dale Verts 573-789-5690, ozarktrapper@yahoo.com
  • Oct. 5, at Ropp’s Fur Buying, 33046 Oval Ave., Jamesport. Trapping demonstrations, trapping supplies available, and lunch served as part of customer appreciation day
  • Oct. 12-13 at Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge. Meals and camping provided. Preregister by calling 660-856-3323.
  • Oct. 19-20 — Beginners Trapping Clinic at Prairie Star Restoration Farm, Bland.

Students 15 and under need a parent or guardian present. Contact Clay McDaniel 573-368-7564, or paydown318@yahoo.com for details.

Check the MTA website for additional opportunities at missouritrappersassociation.org.

World-Class Archer

Shelby Winslow of Lee’s Summit recently scored 290 out of a possible 300 to win third place in the 2013 World National Archery in Schools Program (NASP) Championship. Winslow represented Summit Lakes Middle School competing against nearly 3,000 other young archers June 27 through 30 in St. Louis. The tournament is part of the National Archery in Schools Program.

Apparently the 14-year-old Winslow performs well under pressure. Her performance at the world tournament topped her score at the state NASP tournament in March, when she shot a 287. Hers was the highest score at the state level.

All NASP participants, regardless of age or gender, shoot with the same model of compound bow. Using identical equipment means that archery skills, such as concentration and good aim, are all that counts. The competition is divided into male and female divisions and further segmented into divisions for elementary, middle school, and high school students.

NASP offers a quiet, skills-based sport that allows all participants to build confidence and success. Teachers say the responsibility, concentration, and confidence that students develop through NASP carries over into academics.

The Conservation Department coordinates the Missouri National Archery in Schools Program (MoNASP) in partnership with schools, volunteers, and the Conservation Federation of Missouri. Conservation Department education consultants are available to assist schools in starting archery programs. For more information, visit mdc.mo.gov/node/3409.

Governor’s Christmas Tree

Do you have a grand, old evergreen that is near the end of its life? Don’t just lose it, let it enjoy the spotlight at the Governor’s Mansion in Jefferson City.

Each year the Conservation Department searches statewide for an ideal tree to be displayed on the Governor’s Mansion lawn in Jefferson City and serve as the centerpiece for holiday festivities. This year, we are asking the public to submit photos of suitable trees for this honor.

Many homeowners and communities have wonderful trees that must be removed for home expansion, utility work, or other reasons. Donating such a tree for use at the Governor’s Mansion ensures that it will be seen and remembered by many Missourians for years to come.

To be eligible for donation, trees must be a white pine, Norway spruce, or eastern red cedar. They must be at least 40 feet tall, fully branched on all four sides, and accessible by large equipment. Once a tree is selected, the Conservation Department will coordinate the cutting and delivery of the tree to the Governor’s Mansion at no cost to the owner. Full guidelines are available at mdc.mo.gov/node/23091.

If your evergreen is chosen to be this year’s Christmas tree, you will receive a personalized thank-you from the governor, an invitation to the lighting ceremony that usually occurs the first week of December, and of course, bragging rights!

Photos of possible trees can either be emailed to holidaytrees@mdc.mo.gov or mailed

to Missouri Department of Conservation, attn: Holiday Tree, PO Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102. Make sure to include your telephone number, email address, location of the tree, and several pictures taken from different angles and distances. All entries must be submitted by Sept. 30. For more information or questions, contact Forest Field Program Supervisor Nick Kuhn at Nick.Kuhn@mdc.mo.gov or 573-522-4115, ext. 3306.

New Video Explores Mountain Lion Sightings

A new YouTube video from the Conservation Department explores the increasing frequency of mountain lion sightings in the Show-Me State. The 7-minute video includes photos of several mountain lions captured on trail cameras and features an interview with a hunter who was surprised to find not deer, but a big cat on his trail camera. Also included is an interview with furbearer biologist Jeff Beringer, who explains what is known about mountain lions that have found their way into Missouri from other states. The video also explains how Missourians can document sightings for the best chance of confirmation and how the Mountain Lion Response Team evaluates reported sightings. View the video at youtu.be/YcDLlhDUo-0.

Attend a Meeting About White-Tailed Deer

Infectious diseases such as Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) threaten Missouri’s deer herd. Missouri has nearly 520,000 deer hunters, thousands of landowners, 12,000 jobs, and businesses and communities around the state that depend on the $1 billion in annual economic activity related to deer hunting and watching.

The Conservation Department is working with hunters, landowners, businesses, and partner organizations to identify and limit the spread of CWD in Missouri. All deer hunters, landowners, businesses, and conservation organizations must do their parts, including captive deer breeders and big-game hunting operations.

The Conservation Department is proposing common-sense regulation changes for deer breeding facilities and big-game hunting preserves to help limit the spread of CWD. Proposals involve more effective fencing to separate captive and free-ranging deer, restricting the importation of live deer into Missouri, and mandatory disease testing.

Attend one of the Conservation Department’s public meetings around the state.

  • Sept. 3 6:30-8:30 p.m. Macon County Expo Center, HWY 63
  • Sept. 5 6:30-8:30 p.m. Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center, 11715 Cragwold Road, Kirkwood
  • Sept. 16 6:30-8:30 p.m. West Plains Civic Center, 110 St. Louis St., West Plains
  • Sept. 18 6:30-8:30 p.m. Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center, 2289 County Park Drive.
  • Sept. 23 6:30-8:30 p.m. Runge Conservation Nature Center, HWY 179, Jefferson City
  • Sept. 30 6:30-8:30 p.m. Missouri Western University Kemper Recital Hall in Leah Spratt Hall, 4525 Downs Drive, St. Joseph
  • Oct. 1 6:30-8:30 p.m. Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center, 1401 NW Park Road, Blue Springs
  • Oct. 9 6:30-8:30 p.m. Springfield Conservation Nature Center, 4601 S Nature Center Way

Be informed. Get involved. Share your comments online at mdc.mo.gov/deerhealth. For more information about CWD, visit mdc.mo.gov/node/16478.

Hunters Can Help Contain CWD

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) has been found in captive and free-ranging deer in Linn and Macon counties. The Conservation Department is encouraging hunters to properly dispose of deer carcasses to help prevent further spread of the disease to other parts of the state.

The infectious agents that cause CWD are abnormal proteins known as prions. They remain in the soil for years after being deposited through the bodily fluids or carcasses of infected deer. Because most hunters process their own deer, they should follow proper disposal procedures if efforts to limit the spread of CWD are to succeed.

The first thing to remember is that CWD prions are concentrated in the spine, brain, spleen, eyes, tonsils, and lymph nodes. When processing deer, avoid cutting through bones, the spine, or brain. The spleen, located next to the stomach near the center of the body cavity, should be avoided, too.

If you hunt somewhere other than home, bring knives and containers so you can quarter the animal, removing the front and hind legs from the spine. Remove loins, back straps, and other usable meat and send the spine, internal organs, and head to a state-approved landfill. If landfill disposal isn’t practical, bury the carcass deep enough that scavengers can’t dig it up.

Deer destined to be mounted require different treatment. Taxidermists use artificial forms to create mounts, so there is no reason to keep the entire skull, which could carry prions. When removing the cape from the carcass, also skin the head. Use a saw to remove the antlers along with a small portion of the skull that joins them. Clean the inside of the skull plate with chlorine bleach before leaving the area where the deer was taken.

The primary way that CWD spreads is by nose-to-nose contact between deer. Anything that artificially concentrates deer populations increases the likelihood of CWD transmission. For this reason, MDC has prohibited artificial feeding of deer in the six north-central Missouri counties designated as the CWD Containment Zone. Because CWD could spread to other areas without warning, MDC strongly urges hunters and landowners not to feed deer and turkeys.

More detailed information about CWD prevention is found on pages 2 through 5 of the 2013 Fall Deer and Turkey Hunting Information booklet. The booklet is available from permit vendors or online at mdc.mo.gov/node/3656.

New Conservation Commissioner

Gov. Jeremiah “Jay” Nixon appointed Tim Dollar, Blue Springs, to a six-year term on the Missouri Conservation Commission. Dollar, 53, grew up in the Kansas City area. He traces his interest in conservation to time spent outdoors with his maternal grandfather, Alden Jaynes.

“He took me squirrel and rabbit and quail hunting, and I fell in love with it immediately,” says Dollar. “I didn’t have too many opportunities to explore that during my childhood, but even then I knew the passion I had for it.”

Dollar recalls that his outdoor career got a jump-start when he met his soon-to-be father-in-law, Robert Hammond. “He introduced me to deer hunting in his home area of St. Clair County,” says Dollar. “That was a life-changing experience. I was absolutely hooked.”

Dollar pursued his passion for hunting for two decades, until a friend, West Plains attorney Lynn Henry, showed the future conservation commissioner what he was doing to improve some hunting land he owns. “I became obsessed with Dollar

acquiring land and managing it for deer, turkey, and quail and other wildlife,” says Dollar.

Dollar focused his new-found passion for wildlife management on his wife’s family farm in St. Clair County. He worked closely with St. Clair Conservation Agent Joanna Bledsoe to tailor management techniques to the farm’s special needs. Now, through arrangements with neighboring landowners, he manages nearly 900 acres for deer, turkey, quail, and other wildlife.

Asked if he has any special interests or programs he wants to advance during his term on the Conservation Commission, Dollar said, “No, I’m really interested in it all, and I’m eager to learn. The Missouri Conservation Department is one of the finest, best-run organizations of its kind in the country. When I travel to other states and am asked about Missouri, I start by talking about the Conservation Department, because it is respected around the country. So I’m eager to learn and support this great tradition we have.”

The Conservation Commission consists of four members appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Missouri Senate. The Conservation Commission controls, manages, restores, conserves, and regulates the bird, fish, game, forestry, and all wildlife resources of the state.

Muckermans Donate Land

Patricia (Pat) and David Muckerman donated about 55 acres in St. Louis County to the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) as an addition to Rockwoods Range. The donation was made in memory of Pat Muckerman’s aunt, LaVerne Rogan, from whom she inherited the property.

Muckerman has fond memories of her aunt, whom she knew as “Aunt Lovie,” and Rogan’s husband of 44 years, George. The Rogans acquired the property in the early 1950s. Although they worked in the city, they loved the outdoors and wildlife. Rogan continued to live on the farm after her husband died in 1989 until her death in 2009. Muckerman recalls that whenever they spoke, Rogan would talk about the deer, raccoons, and all the wildlife that she had seen. “She was a conservationist at heart. It makes me and my entire family happy that the Rogan farm is in conservation ownership, where the land can be protected and enjoyed

by others. It would have pleased Aunt Lovie so much!” Muckerman said.

The land is primarily forested and is home to abundant wildlife including deer, turkey, songbirds, and more. Gus Raeker, Conservation Department forestry district supervisor said, “One of the most impressive aspects of this donation is how it fits into the big picture. These 55 acres add to a roughly 5,000-acre continuous block of protected forestland including Rockwoods Reservation, Rockwoods Range, and Greensfelder County Park—all within Missouri’s most heavily populated county. ”

Directions to Rockwoods Range: From Interstate 44 west of St. Louis, take exit 261 (Allenton-Six Flags), then go north on Allenton Road and take an immediate left on Fox Creek stay on Fox Creek for two miles. For more information, call 636-458-2236 or visit mdc.mo.gov/node/a4649.

Noodlers Caught

Conservation agents in northwest Missouri cited 25 people for illegally taking catfish by hand-fishing in July. Teamwork by several agents led to the arrests at five different streams in the state’s northwest region.

Hand-fishers, sometimes called noodlers or grabbers, remove large catfish from their nests during spawning season, ensuring the death of thousands of young catfish. Large brood fish can be taken even from small streams.

One of the primary cases in the recent arrests occurred as agents observed illegal hand-fishing activity on the 102 River in Andrew County, according to Steve Nichols, an MDC protection district supervisor based in St. Joseph. Several large fish were seized from those cited. Agents also cited one group of anglers for using an illegal hoop net. Citations were also issued for littering and drug possession.

Hand-fishing is a Class-A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and fines up to $1,000. The loss of hunting and fishing privileges is also possible. Anyone spotting illegal fishing activity, including noodling, can contact their local conservation agent or call Operation Game Thief anonymously and toll free at 1-800-392-1111, 24 hours a day. Rewards are available for information leading to arrests.

Hunting and Fishing Day Events

Sept. 28 is National Hunting and Fishing Day, and the Conservation Department plans events throughout the month to recognize and promote the Show-Me State’s strong tradition of healthful, wildlife-based, and family-oriented activities.

Kansas City-area residents can attend the Discover Nature Family Outdoors Day from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Sept. 28 at James A. Reed Conservation Area in Lee’s Summit, Mo. The event will be a cooperative effort with Ducks Unlimited who will offer free memberships in their Greenwing program for youths under age 16. The event will also feature free shotgun, pellet rifle, and archery shooting, as well as fishing and booths staffed by other citizen conservation groups. There will be hunting dog demonstrations, kids’ coloring tables, a replica beaver lodge for kids to climb through, and more.

Mark Twain Lake’s Warren G. See Spillway, located 9 miles north of Perry, Mo., will be the site of a National Hunting and Fishing Day celebration from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 28. Live demonstrations, educational booths, and a National Archery in the Schools Program tournament will be featured at this event. More information is available by calling 573-248-2530 or emailing robert.garver@mdc.mo.gov.

A Day on the River at Cape Girardeau’s Riverfront Park.

From 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., Conservation Department staff will reveal Mississippi River mysteries and show how the river has changed over time. Hands-on activities will help them understand the importance of wetlands through entertaining family activities, including crafts, live animals, and boat rides on the river. Youth and adult groups are welcome.

The Conservation Department and St. Louis County Parks are cosponsoring a Great Outdoors Day on Sept. 28 near the Jay Henges Range on Antire-Beaumont Road directly across the entrance to the Boy Scout Reservation. The event will include displays from conservation and outdoor organizations, Operation Game Thief exhibit, archery and air gun shooting activities, and cannon-netting demonstrations. The event will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

In the Ozarks, Twin Pines Conservation Education Center in Winona will get an early start on Hunting and Fishing Day on Sept. 21. The fun will start with archery shooting for all ages from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Come see a demonstration of fencepost call making from 2 to 4 p.m. Women are invited to a gigging workshop from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Enjoy a crisp autumn evening on the Current River and get an introductory lesson on gigging followed by actual gigging and a fish fry. A fishing license is required. Everything else is provided. For further information or to make a reservation, call 573-325-1381.

Bois D’ Arc Conservation Area in Greene County will host the 19th Annual Great Outdoors Day from 8:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. Sept. 28. Hands-on shooting sports — archery, rifles, handguns, and shotguns — will be featured at this event, along with demonstrations of outdoor skills from fishing and fly tying to camping and canoeing. No need to register for this free event. All firearms and ammunition are provided, and no personal firearms are allowed on this day. For more information send an email to DaltonRange@mdc.mo.gov, or call 417-742-4361.

Also on Sept. 28, fans attending the University of Missouri football game in Columbia will have a chance to learn about Missouri’s forests, fish, and wildlife.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Conservation Department helps you discover nature.

Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery

  • The largest trout production facility in the Conservation Department’s trout production program.
  • The hatchery typically produces 1,125,000 catchable trout annually, weighing 301,000 pounds. The primary role for this facility is the production of rainbow and brown trout to meet the Conservation Department’s management requirements. This facility also plays an important role in supplying eggs and fingerlings for grow-out at other Conservation Department trout production facilities.
  • A Conservation Center on the 211-acre hatchery complex receives 250,000 visitors annually and provides a vast amount of information to the public with a focus on fisheries.
  • The 7 millionth visitor came to the hatchery in August.
  • Located on Highway 165 just south of Branson, below the dam at Table Rock Lake. The address is 483 Hatchery Road, Branson, MO 65616.
  • Area Hours: Sept. through June open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Memorial Day to Labor Day open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The area is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.
  • Tours: Self-guided tours are available year-round. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, guided hatchery tours are provided at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 2 p.m. weekdays.
  • Area Information: The area has a boat ramp and several fishing access points along Lake Taneycomo, where trout fishing is allowed year-round. Four hiking trails are also available for nature viewing. The Ozarks’ forests and glades are home to a beautiful yet unusual diversity of plants and animals .
  • or more information: Call the hatchery at 417-334-4865, or go online at mdc.mo.gov/node/290.
  • Conservation facilities statewide: The Conservation Department has nature centers, shooting ranges, and other facilities around the state that offer events, programs, exhibits, and other exciting ways to connect you with nature. To learn more about these facilities call your regional conservation office, or visit mdc.mo.gov/node/252.
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