Blog Posts from Fresh Afield - 2009

Nursery Orders for Wildlife

Dec 29, 2009

If you’re like me and have ordered plants or seeds from mail-order nurseries in the past, you’ve probably received several plant catalogs in the mail recently.

Looking Ahead

Dec 22, 2009

Several Missouri hunters have contacted me recently because they are wishing to plan their vacation time for 2010 around turkey and deer seasons.

A Bird of a Different Color

Dec 18, 2009

In my position as ombudsman, I receive a number of photos from the public of unusual birds.

Fragile Frost Flowers

Dec 14, 2009

If you’ve been out exploring the countryside on a cold morning recently, you may have encountered the short-lived frost flower.

The Cycle of Life

Dec 10, 2009

Nature is red in tooth and claw. That paraphrase of the English poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson came to mind when I saw the sharp-shinned hawk make a pass at the birds around my feeders. The hawk’s presence can usually be assumed when the smaller birds scatter wildly, some of them taking refuge in the dense, multi-stemmed deutzia shrub near the feeders.

A Place in the Pageant

Dec 08, 2009

Waterfowl hunters are the original cockeyed optimists.

Did I See a Bald Eagle?

Dec 04, 2009

As the winter season approaches, bald eagles are moving into Missouri from breeding areas to our north.

Shoot a Deer This Weekend!

Dec 04, 2009

I just checked the tally for the ongoing Antlerless Portion of Firearms Deer Season and found that hunters have checked a little more than 13,600 deer since Nov. 25.

Tree-stand Safety Odyssey

Dec 02, 2009

When I took up deer hunting seriously about 20 years ago, I also took a serious interest in safety.


Nov 26, 2009

It’s easy to focus too much on negative changes to our natural world, be it increasing urban sprawl, threats from invasive exotic species or natural disasters like flooding and ice storms.

When Green Is No Good

Nov 24, 2009

It was one of the warm, sunny weekends in November, and I was happily going from new bluebird box to bluebird box, brushing a coat of water sealant on the wooden top of each.

What Kind of Deer Hunter Are You?

Nov 19, 2009

I never thought I cared about antlers until I shot this 10-pointer.

Whose Deer are They Anyway?

Nov 17, 2009

A recent e-mailer wanted to know why this department doesn’t pay for deer damage to vehicles but will collect fines for the wildlife code violations pertaining to deer.

Deer Hunters Beware!

Nov 13, 2009

Firewood looks harmless, but it can harbor the emerald ash borer, a devastating forest pest. Hunters are urged not to move firewood to and from their camps. Instead, buy firewood locally and burn it all before returning home.


Nov 10, 2009

For a few weeks now, I’ve been receiving questions on the subject of ladybugs, also known as lady beetles.

New Leadership for Missouri Conservation

Nov 09, 2009

The Missouri Conservation Commission named Bob Ziehmer as the new director who will replace John Hoskins when John retires Jan. 15, 2010. Bob is currently one of our assistant directors.

Firewood Cutting as Eco-activism?

Nov 03, 2009

Now that the air has a crisp autumn tang, I will be spending some time with a chainsaw in the woods around my house.

Nature's Secrets Revealed

Oct 29, 2009

The literary naturalist Loren Eiseley described the way vegetation reveals its secrets in the fall and winter, when the lush growth of summer is reduced to the freeze-tolerant mechanical parts of stems, bark, wood, leaves, fruits and seeds.

Bird Dog Season Opening

Oct 26, 2009

There’s the old expression, “That dog won’t hunt,” meaning that someone’s assertion lacks credibility.

Invasion of the Squirrel Neuterers

Oct 23, 2009

A horror story was the last thing I expected when I recently picked up "By a Thousand Fires," an antique book about Ernest Thompson Seaton. But there it was, creepy and gross enough for a Hollywood thriller.