Submissions reflect readers’ opinions and might be edited for length and clarity.
Last week was my birthday (one of those big milestone birthdays!), and my husband asked me what I wanted to do. I told him I wanted to go to Peck Ranch and hopefully see some elk.
We drove through Peck Ranch Saturday afternoon (Oct. 4) and saw a turkey. Okay, I’ve seen turkeys, so no big deal. We went back to Peck about a half hour before sunset and parked the truck at Field 55. Within a couple of minutes an elk cow walked across the road and started grazing. Okay, birthday wish complete, I saw an elk in the wild in Missouri! But then a couple of minutes later a young bull walks out in the field and bugles! Now I’ve got goose bumps. A few minutes later, out walks a 5x5 bull and about 25 cows and calves. Awesome! We heard about four different bulls bugling. Can’t get any better than this!
So we watched this elk show and took pictures until just before sunset and started driving to the exit. We saw one more elk cow and 65 whitetail deer.
In Field 48, we saw a badger. My husband and I have lived in Missouri all our lives, and we are both now 60, and neither of us had ever seen a badger. At first we thought it was a huge groundhog, but the view through the binoculars told us otherwise.
Sunday morning, we drove back out to Peck and got there at sunrise. Saw two young bulls at Field 55, they walked across the road by the wood line, then, as if choreographed, they started sparring.
We had the windows down on the truck and were close enough to hear their antlers clanking. They played for probably a minute, then both lifted their heads and looked at us as if they were saying, “Did you enjoy the show?”
We didn’t see as much wildlife as Saturday evening, but we did see about 30 whitetails, four bull elk, and one cow — and heard more bugling. The whole experience was absolutely awesome. There is no other word to describe the experience. Thank you to everyone for making this experience possible in the state of Missouri. This is one birthday trip I will never forget.
Rita Hawkins, via Internet
My husband and I were inspired by the article in your magazine about fall mushroom hunting [“Agent Notes”; October]. We found a 5-gallon bucket of chanterelles, two 3-pound bunches of chicken of the woods, and one 3-pound bunch of hen of the woods. We deep-fried the chanterelles (like we do with morels), and they were delicious! We sautéed the chicken of the woods, again, delicious! We also used some of them to make “chicken” noodle soup — oh my, fabulous. My son thought it was real chicken. Thanks for the tip. We love fall mushroom hunting!
Marisa and Rick Ellison, Hannibal
Do you have programming for scouts? I saw lots of great programs for teachers, homeschool parents, and families, but none that seemed directed at Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts.
Conservation Department: We do work with scouting programs. Go to mdc.mo.gov and click on your county to find your local outdoor skills specialists. They are your best source for local programs and offerings.
During the regular firearms season I’ll be gun hunting for half the week, and the rest of the season I’ll be bow hunting a bows-only area (yes, I know I have to tag any kill I get with a firearms tag). My question is, do I need to wear hunter orange if I’m bow hunting a bow-only area during the firearms season?
Conservation Department: You are not required to, but we recommend it.
Mark Ramsey, of Chariton County, near Salisbury, Missouri, sent this photo he captured of a deer and a quail on his land. “I was trying to get pictures of deer that night, when the quail came along,” said Ramsey. “The quail started walking up to the deer, and he put his head down to take a better look at the quail. It was a pretty cool experience.” Ramsey said they manage their land strictly for wildlife and have frequently tapped into the various forms of assistance provided by the Department. “We are very excited that we have two coveys of quail on the place this year, and a nice hatch of turkey,” said Ramsey.
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