JEFFERSON CITY–Missouri’s newest conservation commissioner traces his outdoor roots to hunting small game as a boy. That passion for nature now finds expression in hands-on wildlife management.
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 acquiring land and managing it for deer, turkey, and quail and other wildlife,” says Dollar. “Seeing what he was doing on his property in the Ozarks was an eye-opener. After that, managing land for wildlife became a consuming passion and hobby.”
Dollar focused his new-found passion for wildlife management on his wife’s family farm in St. Clair County, a place he refers to as “sacred ground.” 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. He built a hunting lodge a mile or so from the old home place, where his father-in-law was born.
Dollar eagerly discusses ongoing efforts to improve wildlife habitat on the farm. This includes restoring fencerows and creating thickets as escape cover for quail and other ground-nesting wildlife. Planting corn, soybeans, and winter wheat ensures ample food for wildlife.
“For the first time that I can remember down here, we are having some success,” he says. “Last week, driving through the milo and millet, we several times came across a ton of quail. We haven’t seen that in a very long time.”
An avid bowhunter, Dollar says Sept. 15 will find him sitting in a tree stand looking for white-tailed deer.
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.”
“Commissioner Dollar’s interest and knowledge of fish and wildlife combined with his business experience make him a solid addition to the Conservation Commission,” said Conservation Department Director Robert L. Ziehmer. “His energy and enthusiasm to enhance forest, fish, and wildlife resources will prove beneficial for citizens and the outdoor resources of Missouri. I look forward to working with Commissioner Dollar.”
Dollar, a Democrat, will serve through June 30, 2019.
The Conservation Commission consists of four members appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Missouri Senate. To ensure non-partisan oversight of the Conservation Department, no more than two members may be from the same political party.
Dollar replaces Becky Plattner, whose term expired this year. The other commissioners are Chairman Don C. Bedell, R-Sikeston, Vice Chair James T. Blair, IV, R-St. Louis, and Don R. Johnson, Festus.
The Conservation Commission controls, manages, restores, conserves and regulates the bird, fish, game, forestry and all wildlife resources of the state, including hatcheries, sanctuaries, refuges, reservations and all other property owned, acquired or used for such purposes, as well as the acquisition and establishment of those properties.