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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.

Missouri’s firearms deer season is coming up, and hunters need to be careful not to spread a forest pest that could take a terrible toll on the state’s forests.

The emerald ash borer (EAB), a small, metallic-green beetle whose larvae tunnel under the bark of ash trees, always kills its victims. Millions of ash trees have succumbed to the EAB in states north and east of Missouri. Last year the pest turned up in the Show-Me State for the first time. Forestry, agriculture and conservation agencies are doing their best to contain that outbreak in Wayne County and to detect new infestations early enough to do something about them.

What does this have to do with deer season? Many deer hunters travel around the state to reach their favorite hunting spots. Often, they camp out, and nothing cuts November’s chill like a roaring campfire. That means lots of firewood, traditionally moves around the state with hunters. It’s a tradition that could prove devastating for the state’s forests, because infested firewood is the EAB’s most common way of spreading.

You don’t want to see the woods where you hunt devastated, so leave firewood at home this year. Instead, buy firewood locally, and be sure to burn it all before heading home. Moving firewood is a tradition Missouri’s forests no longer can afford.

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