Last month, I had the honor of joining the annual pilgrimage to Hunnewell hatchery in Shelby County for a celebratory gathering before the start of catfish-harvesting activities. Every October, MDC fisheries staff from around the state meet at Hunnewell, which serves as the headquarters for these efforts, to stock catfish in lakes and ponds in the northern half of the state. Another dedicated group travels to Chesapeake hatchery in Mount Vernon the following week to deliver catfish to the southern half of Missouri.
Before the trucks depart early the following morning, these hearty souls break bread together. They catch up on each other’s families, talk fish tales, and share conservation issues of the day.
There was lots of talk about how technology has improved our ability to deliver conservation to communities. For example, the design of the “kettle,” or the big bathtub-like structure inside the raceway where the catfish are grown at the hatcheries, enables us to capture the catfish in a far superior manner than decades before. Google Earth and GPS technology on smartphones also makes finding various lakes and ponds easier than the hand-drawn maps of the past (see how technology has also changed deer hunting in Missouri Hunting 3.0, Page 16). What hasn’t changed over the years is the excitement of staff coming together for a common conservation purpose — delivering catfish so all Missourians have great fishing opportunities.
At dinner that night, MDC Fisheries Chief Brian Canaday said it best, “Remember the importance of what you’re doing out there. You’re doing this so others can make memories.”
Sara Parker Pauley, Director
Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld
Associate Editor - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Larry Archer
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Staff Writer - Kristie Hilgedick
Staff Writer - Joe Jerek
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Art Director - Cliff White
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Photographer - David Stonner
Circulation - Laura Scheuler