Can you guess this month’s natural wonder?
Discover Nature with MO Outdoors
Enjoying outdoor activities just got a little easier thanks to MO Outdoors, MDC’s latest free app. MO Outdoors users can quickly find MDC outdoor offerings close to home, work, or even while traveling based on preferred activities.
MO Outdoors can help users find conservation areas, fishing accesses, hiking trails, shooting ranges, and nature centers around the state based on specified outdoor activities, including bird-watching, camping, fishing, hiking, hunting, or shooting. Users can also mark favorite locations to find them again quickly during future searches.
MO Outdoors also connects users to area regulations and season information, hours of operation, images, area closings, and interactive maps of area boundaries and features. The map function displays features such as parking lots, boat ramps, and wildlife viewing areas, and allows users to easily navigate to the features using their device’s GPS. Users can also download maps for offline use.
MO Outdoors is available for download through Google Play for Android devices or the App Store for Apple devices.
Catch-and-keep trout fishing season opens March 1 at Bennett Spring State Park near Lebanon, Montauk State Park near Licking, Roaring River State Park near Cassville, and Maramec Spring Park near St. James. The season runs through Oct. 31.
MDC operates trout hatcheries at all four parks. To help predict angler turnout on opening day, hatchery staff rely on permit records going back more than 80 years.
Montauk, Bennett Spring, and Roaring River hatchery staff expect crowds of about 2,000 anglers at each location and Maramec Spring staff are planning for a crowd of about 1,000. Based on these predictions, hatchery staff will stock three rainbow trout per expected angler on opening day for a total of more than 21,000 fish, averaging a foot in length. The hatcheries will also stock a mix of lunkers, ranging from 3 to 10 pounds.
Trout anglers will need a daily trout tag to fish in Missouri’s trout parks. Daily trout tags can only be purchased at each of the four trout parks. Missouri residents 16 through 64 and nonresidents 16 and older need a fishing permit in addition to the daily tag.
Trout hatcheries are just one way that conservation pays in Missouri. MDC staff stock more than 800,000 trout annually at the state’s four trout parks and approximately 1.5 million trout annually statewide. Trout anglers spend more than $100 million each year in the Show-Me State, which generates more than $180 million in business activity, supports more than 2,300 jobs, and creates more than $70 million in wages. About 30 percent of Missouri trout anglers come from other states, so a substantial portion of trout fishing expenditures is new money for the state’s economy.
For more information on trout fishing in Missouri, visit short.mdc.mo.gov/Zou.
To prevent the spread of didymo or ”rock snot,” an invasive algae, the use of shoes, boots, or waders with porous soles of felt, matted, or woven fibrous material is prohibited at all trout parks, trout streams, Lake Taneycomo, and buffer areas. For more information, visit short.mdc.mo.gov/Z3K.
Send it to AskMDC@mdc.mo.gov or call 573-522-4115, ext. 3848.
Q. I saw a coyote walking across our cul-de-sac and down the neighbor’s driveway. I spotted him in the open at midday. Does this indicate anything about the animal’s health?
A. Coyotes are mostly nocturnal, but occasionally active in the daytime. They show a peak of activity at sunset and in the early evening, with a minor peak at daybreak. It’s possible the cold weather has this animal out in search of more calories. So, it is possible to see healthy coyotes active at midday.
In areas where coyotes are hunted or trapped, they are wary of human beings. In urban areas, where they are more likely to associate people with an easy and dependable source of food, they can become bold. They may frequent backyards, porches, or come right up to the door of a house if food is regularly present. This behavior and the lack of fear of humans is where most of the conflict lies when it comes to urban coyotes. Waving your arms and making noise to scare them is an acceptable way to ensure they maintain a healthy fear of humans.
We always recommend that people avoid feeding wild animals, either on purpose or inadvertently. It’s best to make sure any pet food or garbage is kept out of reach.
Historically, these animals lived in open grasslands and prairies, but they have flourished in the habitats created by humans. In urban and suburban areas, many people enjoy their encounters with coyotes and, by taking a few common-sense precautions, avoid the negative impacts coyotes might otherwise cause. For more information about urban coyotes, visit short.mdc.mo.gov/ZpB.
Q. I have fond memories of listening to whip-poorwills in the evening, but it’s been years since I’ve heard their calls. Have their numbers decreased? Is there anything I can do to attract them?
A. While nationwide breeding data are scarce for many nocturnal birds, from what surveys we do have, the eastern whip-poor-will is declining over much of its range. The reasons are most likely habitat loss, degradation, and widespread land-use change.
In Missouri, whip-poorwills breed in upland, deciduous forests with little or no underbrush, close to open areas. They prefer forests and woodlands filled with pines, oaks, and hickories and they seem to avoid large tracts of uninterrupted, densely canopied forests. Females lay their eggs directly on the leaf litter of the forest floor, typically in the shade of a small shrub.
Much of the habitat that was once favorable for whip-poor-wills has either been lost outright or altered by human encroachment. What good habitat is left is in smaller chunks than before, making it more vulnerable to human-related impacts. It’s also possible feral cats have had an impact on this species’ nesting success, but more research is needed. Because whip-poor-wills are insectivores that don’t nest in cavities, their numbers can’t be improved with feeding stations or birdhouses. Scientists are still working to learn more about why the population is declining. You can help efforts to monitor whip-poor-wills and Chuck-will’s-widows by participating in the nationwide Nightjar Survey Network. For more information, visit nightjars.org.
Ozark witch-hazel (Hamamelis vernalis) is a shrub with fragrant flowers that can bloom as early as January, even if there is still snow on the ground. Witch-hazel is used for landscaping and erosion prevention. In addition, it is a favorite amongst wildlife. Deer eat the shoots and leaves while turkey and grouse eat the seeds and flowers. Beaver, squirrels, and rabbits enjoy the bark.
A Light Goose Conservation Order goes into effect Feb. 7 through April 30. What does this mean for waterfowl hunters? More opportunities to harvest snow, blue, and Ross’s geese. During this time period, there are no bag limits and hunters can use electronic calls and unplugged shotguns. In addition, a Conservation Order Permit is all that is required during this season. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service implemented the Conservation Order to reduce the numbers of snow, blue, and Ross’s geese due to population increases and the resulting damage to habitat and nesting ground. Remember, always get permission when hunting on private property and never shoot from a road or vehicle.
Most venison cuts can be prepared like beef. In this recipe, we take your venison south of the border for a festive twist on traditional quesadillas. Serves 4–6
Mix: marinade ingredients and add venison strips. Let marinate for 30 minutes or longer. Place: all chipotle ingredients in food processor and chop.
Saute: venison in a small amount of oil until nearly done, then add onion and pepper. Cook slightly. Set aside to build quesadillas.
Add: a small amount of oil to a skillet or griddle and warm. Place cheese on half of tortilla shell and add some of the meat mixture. Top with fresh cilantro and other favorites such as tomato, black beans, and corn. Fold over and grill on both sides until golden and warmed through. Serve with fresh fruit chipotle.
Details on hunting regulations, harvest limits, allowed methods, required permits, and other related information will be available in MDC’s 2019 Spring Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information and 2019 Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklets. Both will be available where permits are sold prior to the related seasons.
Learn more about deer and turkey hunting in Missouri at huntfish.mdc.mo.gov.
MDC reminds Missouri hunters and anglers that annual permits expire at the end of February, including 2018 permits for small game, fishing, trout fishing, and combination hunting and fishing.
Buy Missouri hunting and fishing permits from vendors across the state, online at mdc.mo.gov/buypermits, or through MDC’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.
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