By Jim Low
At its April meeting, the Conservation Commission set the following early migratory bird seasons:
If you aren’t one of the more than 390,000 people who have seen information on the Conservation Department’s Facebook page in the past month, you are missing one of the best experiences the Internet has to offer. Facebook members who “like” facebook.com/MDCOnline get updates that connect them to things like a live video feed from a peregrine falcon nest, local fishing events, and biologists visiting bear dens to count cubs. It’s a great place to keep up with Conservation Department activities and exchange information with other Facebook fans about where and how to fish, hunt, find mushrooms, hike, or take nature photos. It’s also an excellent way to trade ideas about conservation issues, hear others’ points of view, and tell the Conservation Department what you think about its programs. The best thing about becoming a fan of the Department’s Facebook page is joining a community of people who are excited about nature and outdoor activities. The Department’s Facebook page currently has more than 91,000 fans. Members of our Facebook community monitor one another’s posts to maintain a respectful, family-friendly atmosphere where everyone feels welcome and comfortable sharing their thoughts. Join this thriving virtual community and join the fun!
The Conservation Department has developed a free mobile app to help anglers find fish. Created for Android devices, iPhones, and iPads, the Find MO Fish app’s geo-location feature can guide you right up to fish-attractor locations. Find MO Fish also includes a “Best Bets” location feature for certain fish species. You can view regulations for specific fish species and locations and get detailed information on various species through the included Fish Guide. The free app will even show you how to obtain fishing permits and give you access to annual fishing prospects and weekly fishing reports for many Missouri lakes, rivers, and streams. Learn more and download our Find MO Fish app at mdc.mo.gov/node/15421.
The June Commission meeting featured presentations and discussions regarding a national overview of chronic wasting disease (CWD) and deer health issues, proposed regulation changes related to captive-deer facilities, and comments on the proposed regulation changes. A summary of actions taken during the June 5–6 meeting for the benefit and protection of forest, fish, and wildlife, and the citizens who enjoy them includes:
Approved Regulations Committee recommendations that will:
Approved the sale of the 5-acre Brookfield Maintenance Center in Linn County.
Approved the purchase of land in Shannon and Texas counties that totalled 2,928 acres as additions to Sunklands Conservation Area (CA).
Approved the exchange of 59 acres of a disjunct tract of Sunklands
CA in Shannon County for 205.5 acres in Franklin County and a lease of 1,241 acres in Cole County.
Approved entering into a contract with Martin General Contractors, L.L.C., Eolia, Mo., for the construction of the Conservation Commission Headquarters Ground Coupled Heat Pumps for C, D, and F Buildings project in Cole County.
Approved entering into a contract with Cannon General Contractors, Inc., Troy, Mo., for construction of the Rocky Forks Lake CA Range Upgrade project in Boone County.
Approved the Fiscal Year 2015 Internal Expenditure Plan.
Approved the advertisement and sale of estimated 939,003 board feet of timber on 331 acres on Compartment 14 of Indian Trail CA in Dent County.
Approved the advertisement and sale of estimated 948,000 board feet and 1,068 cords of timber on 415 acres on Compartment 5 of, Birch Creek CA in Shannon County.
The next Conservation Commission meeting is July 10 and 11.
For more information, visit mdc.mo.gov/node/3430 or call your regional Conservation office.
On July 15 the Conservation Department will release a new mobile app called MO Hunting. This free mobile app will be available in the Google Play and iTunes stores for use with both Android and Apple mobile devices. MO Hunting enables hunters and anglers to purchase and download annual hunting and fishing permits, as well as deer and turkey permits, directly from their mobile device. MO Hunting also gives hunters and anglers the ability to view all of their previously purchased permits.
Deer and turkey hunters can also use MO Hunting to Telecheck their harvest via an easy-to-use fillable form. A confirmation number will be sent back to their mobile device.
As with purchased permits, the new MO Hunting app allows hunters to view all of their previous Telechecks and the associated details.
Learn more, and watch for updates at mdc.mo.gov/node/28397.
Deer hunters have until July 31 to apply online for most managed hunts. For more information, visit mdc.mo.gov/node/3867. Hunters may apply individually or as a group of up to six, except for youth-only hunts. For these, youths may apply singly or with one other youth. Be sure to have the nine-digit Conservation ID number for each hunter. Contact your local MDC office if you don’t have Internet access. All successful applicants will be mailed an area map and other information regarding their hunt. Resident or nonresident managed deer hunting permits are required. Permits will be available to successful applicants anywhere permits are sold.
David W. Murphy, nominated to serve on the Missouri Conservation Commission, is a living example of what outdoor mentorship can accomplish. He says he wants to pay forward the gifts he has received.
Gov. Jeremiah “Jay” Nixon announced the nomination June 4. If confirmed by the Missouri Senate, Murphy would serve a term ending June 30, 2019.
Murphy, 59, is a Lewis County native. He owns and operates a 376-acre farm in Clark County, where his family has been farming since 1857. He grew up driving a tractor, tending hogs and cattle, and hunting and fishing with his family.
Murphy earned a Bachelor of Science degree in forest, fisheries, and wildlife and a master’s degree in wildlife management, both from the University of Missouri, Columbia. After college he worked as a regional director and field supervisor for the National Wild Turkey Federation. He recently retired from a 10-year stint as executive director for the Conservation Federation of Missouri (CFM). In 2009, Outdoor Life magazine named Murphy one of 25 Most Influential People for the Future of Hunting and Fishing.
Murphy grew up in a hunting and fishing family. One of his earliest childhood memories is being carried by his father on a coon hunt.
Conservation agents who were family friends also played key roles in shaping his life goals. Bob King would go on to become chief of the Conservation Department’s Protection Division. Phil Rice later served as Protection Division supervisor in northwest Missouri. Then there was Conservation Agent Dean Novel.
“Dean was a profound influence on me because of the guidance he gave me,” says Murphy. “I told him one day I wanted to be a conservation agent just like him. He told me I was doing pretty well in school, so I ought to become a biologist.” At the time, only a high school diploma was required to become a conservation agent.
Murphy also credits his third-grade teacher, Mrs. Bowen, for encouraging his budding interest in nature. She noticed his keen interest in animals when he was just a first-grader and gave his teacher, Mable Walker, a copy of The Wild Mammals of Missouri by Charles and Elizabeth Schwartz for him to use while learning to read. That book, with its wealth of lifelike illustrations and details about the lives of animals, fired his imagination.
“I don’t know where I would be today without those folks who took an interest in me when I was young,” says Murphy, “but you can bet I wouldn’t have been able to do as much as I have.” When he retired earlier this year, Murphy had business cards printed up proclaiming his new title — citizen.
“I think that’s the most honored title a person can have,” he says. “It was citizens who had the love of nature, the vision and the drive to pass a constitutional amendment in 1936 removing conservation from political control. It was citizens who decided to amend the constitution again 40 years later to provide stable funding for their conservation department.”
Murphy notes that a huge majority of Missourians approve of the job the Conservation Department is doing. He wants to persuade the minority that conservation is a wise investment in the future. “We owe them an explanation, some understanding of why conservation has value. We have to explain it well enough so it makes sense to people if we want it to continue.
I think my background has positioned me pretty well to be that standard bearer. I feel a great obligation to ensure that this world is as good a place as I can leave it for my grandson and for other grandsons and granddaughters out there.”
American lotus is an aquatic plant that can cover large areas. They occur in oxbow lakes, sloughs, and ponds, preferring still waters with a mud bottom. Flowers bloom June through September and grow up to 8 inches across. Large colonies of the plant are important nurseries for fish and other aquatic life as well as shelter for ducks. Although the plant regularly produces seeds, it spreads mainly through its thick rhizomes that grow along the pond bottom. Despite its ornamental qualities, American lotus should not be introduced into most fishing ponds. Lotus spreads rapidly in shallow water and can soon completely cover a pond. —photograph by Noppadol Paothong
Missouri is blessed with more than a million acres of surface water and most of it provides great fishing. More than 200 different fish species are found in Missouri. The state’s more than 1.1 million anglers pursue more than 25 popular game fish species.
Conservation enriches Missouri’s economy and Missourians’ quality of life. Fishing in the state generates more than a billion dollars for local communities and the state’s economy, and supports thousands of jobs.
Public fishing areas are available in every county in Missouri. Many state-owned fishing areas also have special facilities for anglers with disabilities.
This free, hands-on fishing instruction helps kids ages 7–15 and families gain the skills and confidence to go fishing on their own. Contact your local Conservation office about classes in your area.
This free mobile app shows you the locations of public boat ramps on major lakes, rivers, and streams. The map also shows the exact location of underwater fish structures established by the Conservation Department.
To help anglers find the best locations, the app includes the annual prospects and weekly fishing reports for select bodies of water.
The Conservation Department’s statewide weekly fishing report provides fishing conditions for most of the state’s lakes, rivers, and trout parks. Updates are published from April through September. You will also find information from Department biologists on populations, creel surveys, and other fisheries research for more than 135 bodies of water.
Browse fishing tips by species, learn to fish, and prepare your catch for cooking.
For information on permits, fish ID, and more, view or download a copy of the Department’s 2014 Summary of Missouri Fishing Regulations, or pick up a copy where permits are sold or at Department offices.
Browse news and events, and explore information about fishing, destinations, conservation education, and volunteer opportunities on the Department’s regional pages.
The online Conservation Areas Atlas contains information about lands the Conservation Department owns, leases, or manages for public use.
Missourians have a deep and abiding connection to nature. This commitment to forests, fish, and wildlife is so much a part of our heritage that the Show-Me State’s citizens have twice amended their state constitution to ensure the future of the wild resources so near to their hearts. In 1936, through an initiative petition drive, they created a nonpolitical, science-based conservation agency, and in 1976 they voted to create a one-eighth of 1 percent sales tax earmarked for conservation work.
Because they care so deeply about things natural, wild, and free, Missourians were justifiably alarmed when chronic wasting disease (CWD) was found in commercial captive-deer breeding and hunting facilities in Linn and Macon counties in 2010 and 2011. CWD threatens Missouri’s treasured hunting heritage, the millions of pounds of food deer hunting puts on family dinner tables, and the $1 billion annual boost that white-tailed deer provide for Missouri’s economy. The Conservation Department responded to this threat with swift action to determine the extent and severity of the CWD outbreak.
The disease — which is not known to affect humans but is always fatal to infected deer — was found to be confined to a small area along the northern border of Linn and Macon counties.
Armed with this information, conservation officials designated a CWD Containment Zone and enlisted the help of landowners and hunters in reducing the potential for the disease to spread.
This required reducing deer population density in the zone. This voluntary effort has been a significant sacrifice for landowners, many of whom are hunters themselves. While difficult, this sacrifice is consistent with Missouri’s reputation for conservation leadership.
The Conservation Commission recently took the next step in meeting the CWD threat. This involves regulatory measures to ensure that CWD is not spread between captive and wild deer and extending the ongoing CWD monitoring of free-ranging deer to captive deer. The Conservation Department intends to work with the captive-deer industry — just as it does with fish farmers, the forest-products industry, commercial fishermen, and trappers — to ensure the future of white-tailed deer and the traditions and businesses they support. The Department needs your involvement to succeed. You can get involved by expressing your opinions and desires on the attached comment card and by becoming informed about CWD. For more information, visit a Conservation Department office or go online to mdc.mo.gov, www.cwdinfo.org, or www.knowcwd.com.
Editor In Chief - vacant
Managing Editor - Nichole LeClair Terrill
Art Director - Cliff White
Staff Writer/Editor - Brett Dufur
Staff Writer - Jim Low
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Designer - Stephanie Thurber
Circulation - Laura Scheuler