Missouri’s estimated 350 native black bears are preparing for their annual hibernation — and finding food is their main focus. The Department reminds everyone to be bear aware by not feeding bears and not providing potential sources of food.
“A fed bear is a dead bear,” said Wildlife Management Coordinator Alan Leary. “Feeding bears makes them comfortable around people and the places they associate with food, such as campsites, yards, and trash containers. When bears lose their fear of people by being fed, they may defend these food sources or territory. This can make them dangerous. When this happens, the bear has to be destroyed.”
Leary added a fed bear that becomes a problem in one place cannot be relocated to another.
“Keep bears wild. Once a bear associates people with food, its life is ruined,” Leary said. “Even if it is relocated, it will go in search of other places to get food from people, such as homes, residential areas, farms, and campsites. Common temptations include pet food or trash left outdoors, dirty grills or smokers, birdseed or other food at wildlife feeders, food at campsites, and gardens and orchards.”
For more information and tips, visit short.mdc.mo.gov/Zky.
Missouri Department of Conservation offices and nature centers will be closed Friday, Nov. 11, in honor of Veterans Day. Department staffed shooting ranges will be open. Permit Services staff will be answering phones to help with permit inquiries before opening weekend of the fall firearms deer hunting season. Call 573-751-4115.
The Department encourages deer hunters to share their harvest through the state’s Share the Harvest program, coordinated by the Conservation Department and the Conservation Federation of Missouri (CFM).
As part of the program, deer hunters donate their venison — from several pounds to a whole deer — to participating meat processors throughout the state who grind and package the deer meat. The packaged venison is then given to food banks and food pantries for distribution to Missourians in need.
Processing fees are covered entirely or in part by numerous local sponsors, along with statewide sponsors that include the Department, CFM, Shelter Insurance, Bass Pro Shops, Gateway Area Chapter of Safari Club International, Missouri Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, Midway USA, Inc., and the Missouri Food Banks Association.
More than 4,500 deer hunters donated more than a quarter-million pounds of venison from last season’s deer harvest. Since the program was started in 1992, Share the Harvest has provided more than 3.5 million pounds of lean, healthy venison to help feed hungry Missourians.
Find participating processors in the 2016 Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet available where permits are sold, online at short.mdc.mo.gov/Zoz, or by calling the Conservation Department at 573-751-4115 or the Conservation Federation of Missouri at 573-634-2322.
The Department reminds hunters they must show proof of their Hunter Education certification number, unless exempt by age, to buy firearms hunting permits if their certification number is not already in the Department’s permits system. Hunter education is required for hunters born on or after Jan. 1, 1967, and who hunt with firearms. Proof of certification from any state is acceptable.
Hunters can find their number on the front of their Missouri Conservation Heritage Card or on their temporary Hunter Education certificate.
If hunters do not have one of these, they can call the Missouri Department of Conservation’s Hunter Education or Permit Services staff at 573-751-4115.
Missouri hunters and anglers also need their Conservation ID number, their Social Security number, or their driver’s license number to buy hunting and fishing permits. They must also provide their date of birth. The Conservation ID number can be found on the back of your Missouri Conservation Heritage Card along the bar code or on any current or expired permit.
Hunters, anglers, and wildlife viewers now have access to new places to enjoy these outdoor activities through the Missouri Outdoor Recreational Access Program (MRAP). MRAP lands are privately owned properties in which the landowner has allowed public access. In return, the Department provides these landowners with annual incentive payments and habitat improvement assistance. MRAP areas are open to foot traffic only, and area users self-register at the designated parking and entry points.
Approximately 5,000 acres of private land are currently enrolled in MRAP. The Department plans to expand the program further over the next several months.
Enrolled lands range in size from a few acres to several hundred. They offer varying types of outdoor recreation. Participating landowners determine the activities that may occur on their land by selecting one of six public-access options offered by the program:
To promote quality outdoor experiences, all offered land must meet minimum wildlife habitat requirements. Extra incentives are available to landowners who agree to implement habitat improvement practices on their property. Annual payment rates vary, but most landowners earn $20–$25 per acre each year they participate.
Find maps of enrolled MRAP properties, public access rules and procedures, and enrollment information for landowners at mdc.mo.gov/mrap.
This aptly named, long-necked beauty (Anas acuta) can be found on Missouri wetlands during migration and throughout the winter. The male pintail’s characteristic long, pointed tail and the bird’s long, thin neck are good identifying features. The male’s striking plumage of brown and black with a white neck that extends into a white stripe up the side of the male’s head make this bird a treat to see and easy to identify from afar. Females are duller overall, but look for the long neck, pointed tail, and a light brown head with no markings.
Pintails are dabbling ducks, which means they filter-feed off of the water’s surface or feed from the wetland bottom by tipping upside down. They are common, and their year-round range covers most of the U.S. This worldly duck also breeds across northern Europe and Asia, and overwinters in the southern half of the U.S. through Central America, across southern Europe, and in tropical areas such as India, central Africa, and the Philippines.
This year has marked the centennial of the Migratory Bird Treaty signed in 1916 by the United States and Great Britain (for Canada). This treaty and three other similar ones with Mexico, Russia, and Japan form the cornerstones of migratory bird conservation across international borders.
After 100 years of market hunting and unregulated use of migratory birds for their meat, feathers, and eggs, many bird populations had plummeted by the early 20th century. The federal government took action to stop further losses by signing the Migratory Bird Treaty. It prohibits hunting, killing, capturing, possession, sale, transportation, and exportation of birds, eggs, feathers, and nests. Hunting seasons for specific species such as pintails were added later to help maintain healthy bird populations.
The treaty not only protects wide-ranging migratory waterfowl such as the Northern Pintail, it also enhances our lives by ensuring that populations of diverse, beautiful birds remain for generations to come. For more on the Migratory Bird Treaty Centennial, visit fws.gov/birds/MBTreaty100.
Get details on waterfowl seasons by species, daily and possession limits, hunting zones and managed waterfowl-hunting areas, regulations, permits, duck and goose identification images, and more from the Department’s 2016–2017 Waterfowl Hunting Digest, available where permits are sold and online at short.mdc.mo.gov/ZoD.
The Department’s online Nature Shop makes holiday shopping a breeze for anyone interested in nature-themed gifts. Visit mdcnatureshop.com for all your shopping needs.
Holiday shoppers can also skip retail stores and visit one of our nature centers in Kirkwood, Cape Girardeau, Springfield, Kansas City, Blue Springs, and Jefferson City for a surprising array of reasonably priced holiday gifts.
One of the most popular holiday gifts is our annual Natural Events Calendar. With 12 months of stunning photos and daily notes about a wide variety of wild happenings, it’s the gift that keeps on giving throughout the year. Get it from the online Nature Shop or at our nature centers and regional offices.
Conservation makes Missouri a great place to hunt and fish so give the gift of hunting and fishing permits. Buy Missouri hunting and fishing permits from numerous vendors around the state, online at mdc.mo.gov/buypermits, or through the Conservation Department’s free mobile apps, MO Hunting and MO Fishing, available for download through Google Play for Android devices or the App Store for Apple devices.
Mallard | Anas platyrhynchos
Mallard ducks are common statewide and found on lakes, rivers, ponds, and marshes, where they forage for seeds, grass, aquatic vegetation, and invertebrates. Considered the most common dabbling ducks or puddle ducks, you may often see them with their head underwater and tail up in the air. Adult male mallards are easily identified by their green head, while females are brownish with an orange bill and dark saddle markings. The two form pairs in the fall, and females lay eggs in nests along lakeshores and in marshes in early spring. The clutches are comprised of one to 13 eggs, which are incubated in 23–30 days. The newly hatched chicks can follow their mother within a day and will grow to be 23 inches from bill to tail. These transient birds are common in the winter months when most other waterfowl have migrated farther south. Listen for the female’s descending quacking sound and various softer hey-hey-heys. The male doesn’t quack, opting for a loud graeb-graeb or a whistle instead. —photograph by Noppadol Paothong
Conservation makes Missouri a great place to fish.
Enjoy great trout fishing around the state, throughout the year. Browse links to all Department trout area locations at short.mdc.mo.gov/Zou.
The winter catch-and-release fishing season at Missouri’s four trout parks is a good time to learn how to catch trout on a fly. Sharpen your skills at Bennett Spring State Park, Lebanon; Maramec Spring Park, St. James; Montauk State Park, Salem; and Roaring River State Park, Cassville. A Missouri fishing permit and trout permit are required to fish the trout park winter catch-and-release season.
Trout are stocked in 32 winter trout fishing areas — mostly in or near urban areas — beginning in early November. Many of these areas allow anglers to harvest trout as soon as they are stocked, while other areas are catch-and-release until Feb. 1. The daily limit at these locations is four trout with no length limit. A Missouri fishing permit is required, and a trout permit also is required if you plan to keep your catch.
Missouri hatcheries and trout parks not only support our state’s great fishing, they’re also fascinating places to visit. Trout hatcheries are located at each of Missouri’s four trout parks and on Lake Taneycomo. They provide high-quality trout fishing on coldwater streams in Missouri. Learn more about Department hatcheries at short.mdc.mo.gov/ZoL.
Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld
Art Director - Cliff White
Associate Editor - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Heather Feeler
Staff Writer - Kristie Hilgedick
Staff Writer - Joe Jerek
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Designer - Les Fortenberry
Designer - Marci Porter
Designer - Stephanie Thurber
Circulation - Laura Scheuler