By Kristie Hilgedick
Some Missouri hunters may qualify for no-cost, resident landowner permits — just in time for spring turkey hunting season — if they meet a few simple qualifications.
To qualify for these no-cost hunting permits, an applicant must:
Resident landowner permits can be obtained anywhere regular hunting permits are sold, including:
When purchasing your permit, you will need:
No-cost resident landowner permits are not a license to harvest additional turkeys. Every hunter — landowners and non-landowners alike — may harvest only two turkeys during spring turkey season.
Also, all resident landowner hunting permits are valid only on the land for which they are issued. And, finally, hunters must purchase regular permits to hunt on land that they do not own or lease and reside on.
Compared to surrounding states, Missouri offers some of the lowest-priced permits to resident hunters.
“Low permit prices compared to neighboring states keep healthful, sustainable outdoor activities affordable,” said Nathan Bess, permit services supervisor.
The Missouri Department of Conservation’s 2016 Summary of Missouri Hunting and Trapping Regulations, 2016 Summary of Missouri Fishing Regulations, and 2016 Spring Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklets are now available. The booklets contain information on regulations in an easy-to-read format, including changes from the previous season and new information for the year ahead. Get copies of the free booklets where permits are sold, at Department offices throughout the state, and online at mdc.mo.gov.
If all goes well, bird lovers likely will be able to view nesting peregrine falcon chicks on two webcams this spring in St. Louis and Kansas City.
For the fifth year at the St. Louis location, the public has online access to FalconCam, a bird’seye view of peregrine falcons raising their chicks.
The project is made possible through a cooperative effort among the Missouri Department of Conservation, Ameren Missouri, and the World Bird Sanctuary.
The nesting box is securely located 168 feet above the ground of the Ameren Missouri Sioux Energy Center.
Last year, the live camera stream was viewed more than 80,000 times, peaking at more than 2,000 views per day in early April and May when the eggs were laid and the chicks hatched. St. Louis falcon activities can be viewed via the FalconCam from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. (CDT), seven days a week on Ameren’s website at AmerenMissouri.com/FalconWatch and at worldbirdsanctuary.org.
Sanctuary experts will offer periodic website commentary about what’s happening in the nest. The link will be available until nesting activity is complete and the young have left the nest.
A similar camera system will offer birding enthusiasts a view of a peregrine falcon nest atop the American Century Investments building located north of the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City.
Both St. Louis and Kansas City falcon activities can be viewed via the Department’s website at nature.mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/ photos-live-cams.
Urban Wildlife Biologist Joe DeBold said the birds use a skyscraper’s tiers and ledges the same way they would a cliff towering over a river. “They are the fastest animal in the world, having been clocked at 261 mph, and they hunt from the air,” DeBold said. “They plunge downward in a deep swoop, smacking their prey with an extreme blow.”
DeBold noted the nesting boxes offer the birds a crevice-like shelter to lay their eggs. The birds were already laying their eggs on a ledge atAmerican Century when a nesting box was established to offer the peregrines an added degree of security.
In April, Missouri’s black bears rouse from hibernation and emerge from their winter dens. Bears are an exciting part of the state’s natural history, and they are making a comeback in the southern half of the state. Most live south of Interstate 44, but wandering individuals — mostly males — have been seen as far north as the Iowa border. Although bears almost never attack people, taking a few precautions is sensible.
By following these guidelines to be bear aware, you will be able to stay safe in bear country and keep Missouri’s bears wild.
First and foremost, hikers and campers should stay alert and avoid confrontation. By making noise — clapping, singing, and talking loudly — and traveling in groups, you can better ensure you don’t startle a bear. It’s also a good idea to keep pets leashed and watch for bear signs such as tracks and claw or bite marks on trees.
“If you see a bear, leave it alone,” said Resource Scientist Jeff Beringer. “Make sure it has an escape route.”
If you do encounter a bear, it’s best to back away slowly with arms raised and speak in a calm, but loud voice.
“Walk away slowly, but do not turn your back to the bear and do not run,” Beringer advised. Additionally, odors attract bears, so be sure to keep a clean campsite and store all food, garbage, and toiletries in a secure vehicle or strung at least 10 feet high between two trees.
Unfortunately, a fed bear is a dead bear. Never feed bears — on purpose or by accident. Bears that have grown accustomed to getting food from humans may become aggressive and dangerous. When this happens, they have to be destroyed.
If you live or camp in bear country, don’t leave pet food sitting outdoors. Clean barbecue grills and store them indoors. Don’t use birdfeeders from April through October in bear country. Store garbage and recyclables securely until trash day. Use electric fencing to keep bears out of beehives, chicken coops, vegetable gardens, orchards, and other potential food sources.
Feeding bears makes them lose their natural fear of humans and teaches them to see people as food providers. They will learn to visit places like homes, campsites, and neighborhoods to look for food, instead of staying in the forest. “Help bears stay wild and healthy, and keep you and your neighbors safe,” Beringer said. “Don’t feed bears.”
For more information on bear reports, visit on.mo.gov/21GqYz7.
The Department is now offering grants to assist government agencies, public schools, and nonprofit groups to apply for funding to help with the management, improvement, and conservation of trees and forests on public land. The Tree Resource Improvement and Maintenance (TRIM) cost-share grants can help communities fund tree inventories, removal, or pruning of hazardous trees, tree planting, and the training of volunteers and city/county employees to best care for community forests.
“By accessing this cost-share assistance, communities in Missouri have the opportunity to better plan and manage their trees,” said Department Forestry Management Chief Justine Gartner. “TRIM grant recipients focus on keeping their neighborhood trees healthy and thriving, which translates to a whole host of social, economic, and environmental benefits for the community and the state. Properly caring for your community’s trees helps make your town safe and beautiful.”
The TRIM grant program provides reimbursements of $1,000 to $10,000 to fund up to 60 percent of money needed for projects. Proposals are assessed on a competitive basis for their value to the community, the ability to promote, improve, and develop a community’s urban forest and economic feasibility.
TRIM applicants must submit completed applications by June 3. To assist potential applicants, the Department will hold TRIM grant workshops at the following locations:
Workshop details and grant application forms are available at on.mo.gov/1oRThsw.
Discovered in Missouri Department researchers in late February first documented evidence of invasive black carp reproduction in the wild in North America.
This means big problems for native river species, according to Department Resource Scientist Quinton Phelps.
“The discovery of reproductive-capable black carp means their population will expand, possibly unchecked,” Phelps said.
The finding resulted after two small, unidentified carp were collected in a ditch directly connected to the Mississippi River near Cape Girardeau in November. Genetic analysis identified them to be juvenile black carp. Both were found to be capable of reproduction.
Black carp is just one species of invasive Asian carp that are found in many rivers in Missouri. They originally arrived in the United States with shipments of grass carp that were first introduced into farm ponds for control of parasites, then as a food fish. When they were introduced, regulations specified they be altered so they could not reproduce. Due to flooding, and cases of accidental release from bait buckets, they’ve spread in recent decades and thrive in many rivers.
This newly confirmed information about their reproductive capability suggests there are likely more adult black carp present in the river than biologists originally anticipated, Phelps said, which is a big problem. Invasive species in Missouri can be detrimental to the survival of native species.
For example, Asian carp compete with native fish species for food sources. They’re voracious eaters of native mussels, which are a vital species to the health of river habitat.
“Given that many of our mussel populations in the state are currently in jeopardy, additional consumption by black carp could drastically reduce their numbers,” Phelps said.
Nearly two-thirds of the 65 species of mussels found in Missouri are of conservation concern. These freshwater mussels are filter feeders, meaning they clean impurities from the water.
They provide food for native muskrats, raccoons, river otters, some birds, and many native fish species. Through their gills, mussels filter out small particles from the water and transform them into food for fish and other animals. Black carp consumption of native mussels and competition with native species could lead to an overall poor water quality system, directly affecting humans as well as native fish.
Although this news paints a discouraging picture, Phelps said it doesn’t mean the fight against black carp is over. Instead, he said everyone can get involved in reducing their spread by avoiding accidentally introducing the species into new bodies of water when they dump bait, ensuring stocked fish come from licensed vendors, and sharing information about these practices with others.
Black carp sightings should be reported to the Department, either by contacting a fisheriesbiologist at the Southeast Regional Office at 573-290-5730 or by contacting Phelps and his colleagues at the Big Rivers and Wetlands Field Station in Jackson at 573-243-2659. For general information about black carp, go online to on.mo.gov/1QOeFoU.
Eastern chipmunks range widely in Missouri but are most common in the Ozarks. They prefer timber borderland rather than deep forests. They select wooded banks, log heaps, stone piles, broken rocky ridges, or rubbish heaps as sites for their tunnels and nest chambers.
Occasionally they live around city homes and farmhouses, where they inhabit shrubbery, stone walls, and old outbuildings. They make a variety of calls, especially “chips” and a soft “cuck-cuck.” They make a trilling “chipp-r-r-r-r” when surprised. Chipmunks are food-storing animals, mainly eating nuts, seeds, and berries, particularly hickory nuts, acorns, beechnuts, hazelnuts, and walnuts, plus corn and wheat. Perishable foods such as mushrooms and many types of berries are relished but not stored. Breeding begins when hibernation ends in early March. Most young are born in April and May, and again in July and August. Females have one or two litters a year. The young start exploring aboveground when they are 5 or 6 weeks old. —photograph by Jim Rathert
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