From the Missouri Conservationist Magazine
September 2014 Issue

News & Events

by Jim Low

Report Banded Turkeys

If you shoot a turkey in Marion, Monroe, Putnam, or Schuyler counties this fall, be sure to check it for leg bands. Reporting your harvest will help ensure the most effective management of Missouri’s wild turkeys in the future.

Conservation Department and University of Missouri researchers have banded more than 260 turkey hens, gobblers, and jakes (juvenile males) in the four-county area during the past year as part of a research project. The project’s goal is to gather information about the birds’ reproduction and survival, with an eye toward increased effectiveness of monitoring wild turkey populations.

The cooperation of partners and landowners has been invaluable in trapping and banding turkeys. Now it is hunters’ turn to pitch in by reporting banded birds they shoot. Each band is engraved with a toll-free phone number that finders can use to make reports.

More information about the turkey research project is available as part of the 2013 Missouri Wild Turkey Harvest and Population Status Report, at mdc.mo.gov/node/28711.

Missouri Selected to Pilot Online Duck Stamp Sales

Missouri is one of five states chosen by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for a test run of online duck stamp sales, a convenience for sportsmen. Hunters must buy a Federal Waterfowl Conservation Stamp (Duck Stamp) to hunt waterfowl. Many wildlife enthusiasts and stamp collectors also buy the stamps, which sell for $15. Proceeds from the sale of duck stamps support waterfowl research and conservation programs. In the past, the stamps have been available at U.S. Post Offices, Conservation Department offices, and some retail permit vendors, but not online. This year paper stamps will still be offered at post offices and Conservation Department offices,

but not at retail permit vendors. Instead, hunters will have the option of buying waterfowl

E-Stamps at permit vendors or online at mo.wildlifelicense.com. Hunters will receive an E-Stamp at the time of purchase, and a paper duck stamp will be sent to them through the mail. Hunters can use their E-Stamps immediately and for 45 days following purchase. After 45 days, they must sign and carry the paper duck stamp. The E-Stamp will have a $2.50 convenience fee for handling and mailing. The decision not to sell paper duck stamps through retail vendors came from federal officials after printing of the 2014 Early Migratory Bird Hunting Digest was complete. As a result, the digest says hunters can buy duck stamps from some retail vendors, without mentioning details of purchasing E-Stamps.

Elizabeth Schwartz Joins Hall of Fame

The induction of conservation pioneer Elizabeth R. “Libby” Schwartz into the Missouri Conservation Hall of Fame serves as a reminder that nominations for this honor are open from now until Oct. 1.

Schwartz became Missouri’s 40th Conservation Hall of Fame member in a ceremony June 20 at Conservation Department Headquarters in Jefferson City. Elizabeth Reeder, PhD, taught biology classes at the University of Missouri-Columbia, where she met her future husband and professional collaborator, Charles W. Schwartz. The multitalented couple helped set the standard for generations of conservation professionals to come.

The Schwartz family literally lived their work, spending countless weeks studying, photographing, and filming wildlife in Missouri, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Africa, and other locales during a career that spanned seven decades. Together, they conducted pioneering field research on prairie chickens and box turtles. Their 24 films won 23 national and international awards. They also authored numerous Conservationist articles and scientific as well as popular publications. Their book The Wild Mammals of Missouri is so comprehensive, so rich in detailed information and life-like illustrations, its subjects practically jump off the pages. First published in 1959, it remains the definitive text for university-level mammalogy courses today.

Libby’s insatiable intellectual curiosity led her to take college courses well into her 80s and travel to Alaska to see for herself the melting glaciers she was reading about in the news. She was born on Friday, Sept. 13, 1912, and died on Friday Sept. 13, 2013. While her passing is an incalculable

loss to Missouri and the world, perhaps her greatest legacy are the thousands of professional and citizen conservationists who have been and continue to be inspired by her work.

The Conservation Commission needs your help identifying citizen conservationists who deserve recognition through the Missouri Conservation Hall of Fame Program and the Master Conservationist Program. The hall of fame recognizes deceased individuals, while the Master Conservationist Award honors living or deceased citizens. Those who can be considered for either honor are:

  • Citizens who performed outstanding acts or whose dedicated service over an extended time produced major progress in fisheries, forestry, or wildlife conservation in Missouri.
  • Employees of conservation-related agencies who performed outstanding acts or whose dedicated service over an extended time produced major progress in fisheries, forestry, or wildlife conservation in Missouri.

Anyone can submit a nomination, which should include a statement describing the nominee’s accomplishments and a brief biography.

Elizabeth R. “Libby” Schwartz was inducted into Missouri’s Conservation Hall of Fame on June 20. Criteria and nomination forms for each award are available at mdc.mo.gov/node/7763 and mdc.mo.gov/node/7759. Please submit nominations by Oct. 1 to Denise Bateman, Missouri Department of Conservation, PO Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0180, Denise.Bateman@mdc.mo.gov.

Videos Explain Waterfowl Reservations

If you are new to duck hunting in Missouri, the Conservation Department has new videos that will interest you. The series of videos at mdc.mo.gov/node/3718 explains how the Quick Draw, Every Member Draws, and One Member Draws reservation systems allocate hunting opportunities on 15 managed wetland areas. All four videos can be viewed in less than 30 minutes. Additional information is available in the 2014–2015 Waterfowl Hunting Digest, which is available from hunting permit vendors statewide or at mdc.mo.gov/node/303.

New Foundation Promotes Bear Awareness

A new foundation has been formed to help educate Missourians about their growing black bear population and foster an understanding for the habitats in which they live.

The Missouri Black Bear Foundation (MBBF) is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to informing the public and landowners about black bear conservation efforts in the Show-Me State. MBBF plans to conduct educational programs and coordinate field research in partnership with the Conservation Department and other conservation groups to foster better understanding of black bears.

“Rebuilding the black bear population, what they need to survive in their natural habitat, and what we can do to educate people to help minimize conflicts with bears are the main goals,” says MBBF founder Terry Woodruff. “Through MBBF’s time and resources, we can help track and learn more about how to support the return of this iconic animal to the state of Missouri.” For more information about MBBF, visit moblackbears.org.

100 Years Since

The flapping masses sounded like muffled thunder and created their own breeze. Thousands and thousands of passenger pigeons would fly low across the sky and block out the sun. It was a startling, but not uncommon, scene for the pioneers heading west in the early to mid-1800s.

However, in roughly 40 years, the estimated 3 to 5 billion passenger pigeons would be brought to extinction. Possibly the most abundant bird species on the planet, passenger pigeons were decimated through market hunting. Thousands of pounds of passenger pigeons and other game birds were shipped to restaurants and hotels in New York, Boston, and London.

It’s a sad tale, but one we can learn from. How can we prevent history from repeating itself?

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) works to conserve Missouri’s natural resources so we don’t relive the tragedy of the passenger pigeon. Animals that were once on the brink statewide, such as white-tailed deer and wild turkeys, have been restored to healthy populations. Also, conservation projects are underway in Missouri that include the reintroduction of elk to our landscape, breeding programs for the hellbender in our Ozark waterways, and much more. The Department also works with private landowners to create wildlife-friendly habitats, remove invasive species, and plant native plants.

The 100th anniversary of the extinction of the passenger pigeon is Sept. 1, 2014. Find fresh ideas on how to be a good steward of our resources in Missouri on these websites and at upcoming passenger pigeon-related events.

  • Project Passenger Pigeon at passengerpigeon.org GrowNative! at grownative.org Audubon at Home at athome.audubon.org Project FeederWatch at feederwatch.org
  • The Great Backyard Bird Count at gbbc.birdcount.org

Passenger pigeon-related events:

  • Protecting Our Natural Treasures for the Future: Remembering the Passenger Pigeon Saturday, Sept. 27; 3:30–8 p.m. Rockwoods Reservation, Wildwood; 636-458-2236
  • A Day at the Confluence, Celebrating National Hunting and Fishing Day Saturday, Sept. 27, 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Columbia Bottom Conservation Area, St. Louis; 314-877-6019
  • Remembering the Passenger Pigeon Thursday, Sept. 11, 6–8 p.m. Runge Conservation Nature Center, Jefferson City; 573-526-5544
  • Leaving the Station: The Last of the Passenger Pigeons Friday, Sept. 12 , 6:30–7:30 p.m. Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center, Cape Girardeau; 573-290-5566
  • Film Premier: From Billions to None Thursday, Sept. 18, 7–8:30 p.m. Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center, Cape Girardeau; 573-290-5566
  • Nature Center at Night Thursday, Sept. 18, 5–8 p.m. Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center, Cape Girardeau; 573-290-5566
  • Lost Birds — Activity and Outdoor Movie Night Friday, Sept. 12, 6:30–9:30 p.m. Springfield Conservation Nature Center, Springfield; 417-888-4237
  • Lost Birds — Remembering Missouri’s Extinct Birds Saturday, Sept. 13, 1–4 p.m. Springfield Conservation Nature Center, Springfield; 417-888-4237

—by Angie and Aaron Jungbluth

Bring Your Photos to Prairie Day

Nature lovers and nature photographers in particular won’t want to miss the 2014 Prairie Day Oct. 11 in Cole Camp. Sponsored by the Missouri Master Naturalists Hi Lonesome Chapter, this event offers prairie hayrides, children’s games and crafts, primitive skills demonstrations, mist-netting, and bird banding demonstrations and, after dark, stargazing. One special event will be an amateur nature photography contest judged by Conservation Department Photographer David Stonner. The contest has a youth division for photographers 18 and younger and an adult division. Cash prizes will be awarded for first, second, and third places in each division.

Photographs must be submitted between 8 and 10 a.m. Oct. 11 at the Cole Camp Chamber of Commerce at the corner of Highway 52 and Olive Street in downtown Cole Camp. For full contest rules and other details, visit extension.missouri.edu/masternaturalist/colecamp, and select “Hi Lonesome.” Field events will begin at 10 a.m. at Wayne Morton Prairie. Follow signs to the area 1 mile west of Cole Camp on Highway 52.

What is it?

Snapping Turtle Hatchling | Chelydra serpentina

Snapping turtles are large aquatic turtles with big, pointed heads, long, thick tails, and small lower shells. Upper shell length is usually 8–14 inches, and they can weigh between 10–35 pounds. They commonly occur in farm ponds, marshes, swamps, sloughs, rivers, and reservoirs — anywhere there is permanent water. They prefer bodies of water with a mud bottom, abundant aquatic vegetation, and submerged logs. June is the usual month for egg-laying. The female digs a nest in deep sand or loose soil and deposits usually 20–30 eggs. These hatch 55–125 days later, depending on environmental conditions. Snapping turtles help to keep the populations of many aquatic animals (and aquatic plants) in check. Their diet includes insects, crayfish, fish, snails, earthworms, amphibians, snakes, small mammals, and birds. However, up to a third of the diet may consist of aquatic vegetation. Carrion may also be consumed. —photograph by Noppadol Paothong

Did You Know?

Conservation makes Missouri a safe place to hunt.

Hunter Education

  • Nine hundred and fifty hunter education classes were offered, and more than 22,000 students were certified last year.
  • Hunter education and bowhunter education are taught in more than 160 schools as part of the curriculum.
  • Classes are taught by Department staff and more than 1,000 volunteers.
  • Three options for completing the hunter education certification: students may choose to take the knowledge portion of the course online, via home study of the manual, or in a classroom session. All three options also require completion of a 4-hour skills session.
  • You must be hunter-education certified if: you plan to hunt alone with a firearm, you were born on or after Jan. 1, 1967, or you are 16 years of age or older. You must take and pass a hunter education course or purchase an Apprentice Hunter Authorization before you can buy a permit. You must be at least 11 years old to take the Hunter Education class.
  • Missouri’s Apprentice Hunter Program is available for experienced hunters who want to share the joy of hunting with a friend or relative, and it’s for the curious who want to try hunting before making the commitment to become hunter-education certified. Learn more at mdc.mo.gov/node/10054.
  • Topics covered in the hunter education course include: hunter responsibility and ethics; how firearms work and firearm safety; wildlife identification, game care, survival and first aid skills; firearm handling skills and hunting techniques; awareness about wildlife conservation and management; and rules and information unique to Missouri.

For more information on hunter education, including where to enroll, visit mdc.mo.gov/node/3095.

Also in this issue

Gigging season on an Ozark Stream

Fish Gigging: An Ozark Tradition

The arrival of summer gets Missourians out floating streams, spending time at the lake, and catching catfish. Fall and winter bring deer season, duck hunting, and an Ozark tradition called “gigging.”

Julian Courtois

A Tale of Two Mentors

Do you know a youngster with a spark for hunting? Pass that torch.

Orchard Oriole

Bringing Back the Birds: Full Life-Cycle Bird Conservation

While we may think of birds that reside in our state as Missouri’s birds, in reality many of those birds are migratory and can spend nearly eight months of the year in different countries.

Morris Ratliff

When Chronic Wasting Disease Hits Home

Landowners partner with the Department of Conservation to protect our white-tailed deer herd.

And More...

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This Issue's Staff:

Editor In Chief - Nichole LeClair Terrill
Managing Editor - vacant
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