MDC found 33 new cases of chronic wasting disease (CWD) following the testing of 24,486 free-ranging Missouri deer through the 2017–2018 sampling and testing efforts. The new cases were from the following counties:
Of the 33 new cases, 16 were from hunter-harvested deer, one was from a road-killed deer, and 16 were from our post-season targeted culling efforts in the immediate areas where previous cases have been found.
This year’s findings bring the total number of free-ranging deer in Missouri confirmed to have CWD to 75. For more information, visit mdc.mo.gov/cwd. MDC will again require mandatory sampling of deer harvested during the opening weekend of the fall firearms deer season, Nov. 10 and 11, in and around counties where the disease has been found. We will again offer voluntary CWD sampling during the entire fall and winter hunting season for deer harvested in these same counties. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends hunters in areas known to have CWD have their deer tested before consuming the meat. Starting in July, more information on specific counties, sampling locations, and requirements will be published in the 2018 Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet, available where permits are sold and online at mdc.mo.gov/cwd.
Get hooked on fishing in Missouri. Our annual Free Fishing Days occur June 9 and 10. During Free Fishing Days, anyone can fish in the Show- Me State without a fishing permit, trout permit, or trout park daily tag.
Other fishing regulations, such as limits on size and number of fish an angler may keep, remain in effect. Special permits may still be required at some county, city, or private fishing areas. Trespass laws remain in effect on private property.
Prairies help keep water clean, control flooding, improve soil, store carbon, provide wildlife habitat, and bring beauty to our lives. Prairies are vitally important but vanishing landscapes. Join MDC and the Missouri Prairie Foundation to celebrate National Prairie Day and Missouri prairies by learning more about their importance. For more information, visit moprairie.org.
Join MDC and the American Hiking Society in celebrating National Trails Day by hitting your favorite trail — or finding a new one to explore. Visit short.mdc.mo.gov/Z4V to find a trail near you. MDC’s conservation areas offer 830 miles of designated hiking trails. Share your adventure with us on Instagram at instagram.com/moconservation.
Spring rains and warmer temperatures entice turtles out of their burrows in search of food, mates, and nesting sites. Sometimes these searches lead them across roadways.
MDC asks motorists to slow down when they see a turtle in the road and safely steer around it, if possible. When helping a turtle cross a road, keep human safety as the number-one concern. Check for traffic and move the turtle across the road in the direction it is traveling.
Three-toed box turtles, ornate box turtles, and common snapping turtles are species often seen crossing roads in Missouri. For more information on Missouri turtles, visit MDC’s online Field Guide at short.mdc.mo.gov/Zi4.
Can you guess this month's natural wonder?
Got a Question for Ask MDC? Send it to AskMDC@mdc.mo.gov or call 573-522-4115, ext. 3848.
Q: Can you please help me identify this wildflower?
This is a black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta), but there’s a reason it doesn’t look like the familiar yellow-and-black perennial we know and love. These flowers have been plagued by a condition called aster yellows, a chronic plant disease that affects native plants, ornamentals, and vegetable crops.
Q: A box turtle laid her eggs in my front yard. Is there a way I can protect them from predators? And, how long before they hatch?
Box turtle eggs are easy targets for predators such as raccoons, who often find the nest within three to five days due to the scent of the female turtle. But turtle nests can be safeguarded with a dome of chicken wire. Simply leave a couple of 2-inch gaps around the base of the dome. This will allow the hatchlings to slip through, while preventing predators from entering.
In Missouri, most egg laying takes place from mid-May to early July. Usually at dusk, females select an elevated, open patch of loose soil where she digs a 3- to 4-inch hole with her hind limbs. The eggs are laid mostly at night.
Accurately predicting the length of the incubation period is difficult, since several factors — humidity, temperature, and weather conditions — all play a role. Typically, baby turtles hatch in about three months. However, if eggs are laid in the late summer, hatchlings can overwinter in the nesting chamber, emerging the following spring.
Q: What animal would dig up a yellowjacket nest and why? This is the third one I’ve found this year.
Skunks, armadillos, raccoons, badgers, and even bears are major predators of yellowjackets (Vespidae). Two native species occur statewide, and an introduced German yellowjacket is expanding its range in Missouri.
These wasps often nest underground in cavities and rodent burrows. Their paperlike nests feature parallel layers of comb with downward facing cells.
They are famous for aggressively defending their nest sites and pose a significant stinging threat. Mammals mitigate the danger by digging up the nests at night when the colony is inside and motionless. Since yellowjackets rely mostly on sight to sting predators, their ability to protect the nest is greatly reduced in the dark. A single skunk can easily wipe out an entire colony in a night, eating all the adults and brood (larvae).
Yellowjackets and most other wasps don’t make honey, but they are a great source of protein for the raiding mammals.
This bright-green amphibian is found mainly in the Bootheel. By day, it hides in the green leaves of the cattails, but by night, it is on the hunt. Green treefrogs (Hyla cinereal) eat insects, which helps to keep those populations in check. Males chorus in the evenings from May to early August, and together, they sound something like distant Canada geese.
If the deep croak of Missouri’s bullfrogs and green frogs are calling your name, you’re in luck. Frogging season opens at sunset on June 30. This is a great time to introduce kids to outdoor sports. Frogging is fun, hands-on, and the weather is usually pretty nice. Since the action occurs at night, it’s best to scout your location beforehand. Be on the lookout for sinkholes, root wads, or anything that may trip you up in the dark. This is a unique season because frogs can be harvested with a fishing or a hunting license and an artificial light can be used. For a full list of legal methods, check the Wildlife Code of Missouri. Get hoppin’!
These are two fruits that you are unlikely to find fresh in Missouri at the same time.
Gooseberry season usually is ending by the time blueberries begin ripening. However, should you have socked away a few bags in your freezer during the picking
season for each, you can make this quick little treat when the cold wind blows.
PREHEAT oven to 375ºF. In a large bowl, combine gooseberries, blueberries, sugar, flour, cinnamon, lemon juice, and water; mix well. Pour into a greased 8½- by 8½-inch baking dish. IN a small bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, oats, butter, and nuts. Sprinkle topping over fruit. Bake for about 1 hour or until berries bubble, top is nicely browned, and mixture is set.
The amount of sugar in this recipe makes for a slightly tart result. Should you like things a little sweeter, add a bit more sugar. If nature has allowed for both berries to be available concurrently, then, by all means, try this dessert with the fresh fruit. However, frozen berries work well, and there is no need for thawing, either.
Bag Limit: 6 ducks daily with species restrictions of:
Possession Limit: Three times the daily bag or 18 total, varies by species
Hours: One-half hour before sunrise to sunset
For more information on migratory-bird hunting and waterfowl hunting, visit short.mdc.mo.gov/ZZn and select the specific species, or get a copy of the Waterfowl Hunting Digest and Migratory Bird Hunting Digest available beginning in July where hunting permits are sold.
Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld
Associate Editor - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Larry Archer
Staff Writer - Heather Feeler
Staff Writer - Kristie Hilgedick
Staff Writer - Joe Jerek
Creative Director - Stephanie Thurber
Art Director - Cliff White
Designer - Les Fortenberry
Designer - Marci Porter
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Circulation - Laura Scheuler