From the Missouri Conservationist Magazine
October 2020 Issue

In Brief

What Is it?

Can you guess this month’s natural wonder?

What is it

News and updates from MDC

Changes to  2020–2021 Waterfowl Managed Hunts

Processed modified to assure safety of hunters, staff during the Covid-19 Pandemic.

MDC is committed to providing hunting opportunities on managed waterfowl hunting areas throughout the waterfowl season. To allow for flexibility during COVID-19, there will be no pre-season reservations for the 2020–2021 waterfowl season. There also will be no teal season or youth season morning drawings. Procedures for individual conservation areas will be posted on the MDC website closer to the season.

All reservations, including ADA blinds, will be allocated through the weekly in-season reservation draw. The first application period will open Oct. 20 and results will be announced Oct. 27. The weekly application period opens every Tuesday at 8 a.m. and closes the following Monday at 3 p.m.

Throughout the season, hunters will be asked to follow precautionary guidelines to assure the safety of everyone at the site during the morning draw. There will be a sliding scale of procedural levels that could range from no staff-hunter contact at all to close to business as usual. At the start of the season, every conservation area will be assigned a certain procedural level based on the status of COVID-19 in the county. The decisions will be made in consultation with the appropriate county health department. Throughout the season, an area could move to a more restrictive procedural level depending on the county health department or other COVID-19 related factors. Some details of the procedural levels are as follows:

Red Level (very high COVID-19 risk)

  • No staff-hunter contact.
  • No facility use.
  • 100 percent allocation for Missouri residents only through in-season reservation draw.
  • Hunt positions will be pre-assigned.
  • No poor line or vacancy filling.

Orange Level (high COVID-19 risk)

  • Limited facility use and social distancing employed.
  • 100 percent allocation for Missouri residents only through in-season reservation draw.
  • Hunt parties will be able to select hunt location.
  • No poor line or vacancy filling.

Yellow Level (moderate COVID-19 risk)

  • Limited facility use and social distancing employed.
  • 100 percent allocation for Missouri residents only through in-season reservation draw.
  • Hunt parties will be able to select hunt location.
  • Poor line only for reservation no-shows.

Green Level (low COVID-19 risk)

  • Facility use as guidance allows and social distancing employed.
  • 50 percent allocation through in-season reservation draw.
  • Hunt parties will be able to select hunt location.
  • Poor line for no-shows and 50 percent of hunt positions.

Throughout the season, procedures could change with limited time to notify hunters. To receive updates as quickly as possible, subscribe to the Waterfowl email update list at short.mdc.mo.gov/ZoP. Interested hunters also can refer to the MDC website as information is available at short.mdc.mo.gov/ZXx.

MDC has designated staff to help answer any questions hunters may have about the changes to this year’s waterfowl season. Please contact the following staff members at the numbers below:

Statewide

  • Lauren Hildreth 573-522-4115, ext. 3259
  • Joel Porath 573-522-4115, ext. 3188

North Zone

  • Chris Freeman 660-646-6122
  • Craig Crisler 660-446-3371
  • Mike Flaspohler 573-248-2530

Middle Zone

  • Luke Wehmhoff 573-624-5821, ext. 4662
  • Gary Calvert 636-441-4554, ext. 4180

South Zone

  • Lauren Hildreth 573-522-4115, ext. 3259

Ask MDC

Got a Question for Ask MDC?

Send it to AskMDC@mdc.mo.gov or call 573-522-4115, ext. 3848.

Q: What is this fungus near my ash tree? The outside is like a polished leather boot; the underside is bright yellow with a pin-hole texture. Some are over 5 inches in diameter. The stems are short, woody, and hard to pull. No rotten wood lies beneath them, only grass roots and dirt. Does this mean my tree is dying and do I need to have it removed?

A: Based on the description and location of these mushrooms, they are likely the ash tree bolete mushroom. This native fungus has a fascinating symbiotic relationship with the leafcurl ash aphid. In addition to feeding on ash leaves, these aphids also can suck sap from the roots of ash trees. The mycelium, or rootlike structure, of the ash bolete fungus forms a protective knot around the aphids feeding on tree roots. As aphids feed on tree sap, they produce a sugar-rich liquid excrement known as honeydew. In this symbiotic relationship, the fungus gains nutrients from the aphid honeydew and in turn provides protection to the aphids inside the fungal knots.

Although there is still little known about this relationship, neither the presence of ash tree bolete mushrooms nor the aphids are causes for concern, and treatment is not considered necessary or practical.

Q: Why do I keep seeing box turtles soaking in my pond? I have noticed this since late August.

A: Box turtles are terrestrial, but it is quite common for them to seek out water during the hottest months of the year. Typically, they will bury themselves in the shallow water’s muddy soil or loiter near the water’s edge. This helps them keep hydrated until cooler autumn temperatures occur.

Q: I planted moon flowers and on the very first bloom this moth arrived. Can you tell me what it is?

A: This appears to be a Carolina sphinx moth (Manduca sexta). This moth, also called the six-spotted sphinx moth due to the six pairs of orangish-yellow spots on the abdomen, is a breeding resident found throughout Missouri. Adult Carolina sphinx moths take nectar from deep-throated flowers such as this moonflower. Carolina sphinx moth larvae are found on host plants in the nightshade family — such as tomato, potato, tobacco, and pepper — and many gardeners are familiar with them as large, green caterpillars, called tobacco hornworms.

Moonflowers are native to tropical America, but can be grown in Missouri as warm-weather annuals. Gardeners enjoy their fragrant, white flowers, which attract night-flying insects and bloom at dusk from mid-summer into fall. Although moonflowers may be beautiful, sphinx moths also visit many native plants, including trumpet creeper and phlox.

Although Missouri’s insects can use nonnative flora, conservationists are proponents of using native plants because they provide the largest bulk of nourishment Missouri’s wildlife needs to survive. For more information about how to include natives in your garden landscape, visit short.mdc.mo.gov/ZBX.

What Is it?

Eastern Mole

Eastern Mole

The chipmunk-sized eastern mole lives in a series of tunnels underground, using its palmlike, short front feet to move through the soil. Although its eyes are only good for telling light from dark, its senses of hearing, touch, and smell are acute.

Often deemed a nuisance, moles’ constant digging and tunneling aerates the soil, permitting air and rainwater to penetrate deeper. They eat half their body weight daily, harvesting destructive insects like cutworms and Japanese beetle larvae.

Agent Advice

Michael Collins, Stoddard County Conservation Agent

Youth firearms deer season is Oct. 31–Nov. 1. It’s a great time to pass on the tradition of hunting to the next generation, and to instill proper safety measures. Always wear hunter orange afield. Identify your target and what’s beyond it. When using a tree stand, use a harness. Make sure you are comfortable holding, aiming, and shooting your firearm. Remember, during this weekend, youth hunters age six through 15 can purchase resident or nonresident deer hunting permits at a reduced price. If a youth has not received hunter education certification, he or she must be accompanied by an adult who has a valid hunter certification or who was born before Jan. 1, 1967.

For more information, visit SHORT.MDC.MO.GOV/ZXV.

Venison Kebabs

’Tis the season. Deer season in Missouri is upon us, and freezers will soon be stocked with venison. Before you use it all in traditional ways — chili, jerky, and sausage — give this recipe a try. Not only is it quick and easy, but it can easily be adjusted to suit any taste. These miniature meatloaves on a stick are versatile enough to be served with your favorite sides, too.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground venison
  • ½ cup onion, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoon black pepper, coarsely ground
  • ½ teaspoon paprika (or smoked Spanish paprika)
  • ¾ teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Equipment Needed

  • oiled baking sheet
  • 6 bamboo skewers (10 or 12 inches long)*

Mix all ingredients together and chill for at least 3 hours or overnight. Remove skewers from water and shake off excess. Firmly pack meat mixture around the skewers in 3-inch-long, 1-inch-thick links — two to a skewer.

Place skewers on the oiled baking sheet and carefully turn them to lightly coat the meat with oil. Remove skewers from the sheet carefully and place them on a grill heated to medium. Cook 10 to 15 minutes — carefully and gently turning them halfway through. A metal spatula gently pushed under the kebabs helps to turn them.

*Soak your skewers: Be sure to soak bamboo skewers in water for at least 30 minutes (or more) to keep them from igniting on the grill. Metal skewers don’t need to be soaked, but they are often bigger and tear the meat when threading in a way the smaller bamboo ones don’t.

CWD Info to Know for the 2020–2021 Deer Season

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a deadly, infectious disease in deer and other members of the deer family (cervids) that eventually kills all animals it infects.

There is no vaccine or cure. CWD is spread from deer to deer and through the environment. MDC continues efforts to limit the spread of CWD in Missouri by finding new cases as early as possible and slowing the spread to more deer in moreareas. Learn more at mdc.mo.gov/cwd.

Mandatory CWD Sampling Nov. 14 and 15

Hunters who harvest deer in any counties of the CWD Management Zone during opening weekend of the November portion of fall firearms deer season (Nov. 14 and 15) are required to take their harvested deer (or the head) on the day of harvest to an MDC CWD sampling station. Sampling and test results are free. Find locations online at mdc.mo.gov/cwd or from MDC’s 2020 Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet.

Any changes to mandatory sampling requirements due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic will be posted online by Nov. 1 at mdc.mo.gov/cwd and be available from MDC regional offices.

Voluntary CWD Sampling All Season Statewide

MDC will again offer statewide voluntary CWD sampling and testing of harvested deer during the entire deer season at select locations throughout the state. Find locations and more information online at mdc.mo.gov/cwd or by contacting an MDC regional office.

Before arriving at a sampling station:

  • Field dress and Telecheck deer.
  • Bring the carcass or just the head.
  • Capes may be removed in preparation for taxidermy.
  • Position deer in vehicles with head and neck easily accessible.
  • Be sure the person who harvested the deer is present.
  • Have the hunter’s conservation number, along with the county of harvest.
  • If using a paper permit, have it detached from the deer for easy access.
  • If using the MO Hunting app, have permit and Telecheck information available.

CWD Test Results

Get test results for CWD-sampled deer online at mdc.mo.gov/CWD TestResults. Results are free and will be available within weeks after the sampling date.

New Regulations on Cervid Carcasses

These new regulations, included in the Wildlife Code of Missouri, are part of MDC’s ongoing efforts to slow the spread of CWD.

For hunters who harvest deer in Missouri from a CWD Management Zone county:

  • Deer must be Telechecked before any parts of the carcass may be transported out of the county of harvest.
  • Whole carcasses and heads may only be transported out of the county of harvest if delivered to a licensed meat processor and/or taxidermist within 48 hours of exiting the county of harvest.

The following carcass parts may be moved outside of the county of harvest without restriction:

  • Meat that is cut and wrapped or that has been boned out
  • Quarters or other portions of meat with no part of the spinal column or head attached
  • Hides from which all excess tissue has been removed
  • Antlers or antlers attached to skull plates or skulls cleaned of all muscle and brain tissue
  • Upper canine teeth
  • Finished taxidermy products

For hunters bringing deer and other cervids into Missouri from another state:

  • Hunters may no longer transport whole cervid carcasses into the state.
  • Heads from cervids with the cape attached and no more than 6 inches of neck attached may be brought into Missouri only if they are delivered to a taxidermist within 48 hours of entering Missouri.
  • There is no longer a requirement that cervid carcass parts coming into the state be reported to the MDC carcass transport hotline.

The following cervid parts can be transported into Missouri without restriction:

  • Meat that is cut and wrapped or that has been boned out
  • Quarters or other portions of meat with no part of the spinal column or head attached
  • Hides from which all excess tissue has been removed
  • Antlers or antlers attached to skull plates or skulls cleaned of all muscle and brain tissue
  • Upper canine teeth
  • Finished taxidermy products

For taxidermists and meat processors:

  • Taxidermists and meat processors throughout the state are required to dispose of deer, elk, and other cervid parts not returned to customers in a sanitary landfill or transfer station permitted by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
  • Proof of disposal must be retained for 12 months for meat processors and for three years for taxidermists.

Share the Harvest

Missouri’s Share the Harvest program helps deer hunters donate venison to those in need. To participate, take harvested deer to an approved meat processor and let the processor know how much venison is to be donated. Deer harvested within the CWD Management Zone may only be donated to approved processors in the Share the Harvest CWD Testing Program. Deer harvested outside of the CWD Management Zone may be donated to any Share the Harvest processor. Learn more online at mdc.mo.gov/share or from MDC’s 2020 Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet.

More Information

Get more information on CWD regulations and other CWD information online at mdc.mo.gov/cwd or from MDC’s 2020 Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet, available where permits are sold and online at short.mdc.mo.gov/ZXv.

Help Us!

Mandatory CWD sampling of deer opening firearms weekend(November 14-15) in 30 counties. Bring your deer to a sampling station near you.

The 30 mandatory CWD sampling counties are:

Adair, Barry, Cedar, Chariton, Christian, Clark, Crawford, Franklin, Gasconade, Hickory, Howell, Jefferson, Knox, Linn, Macon, Mercer, Oregon, Ozark, Perry, Polk, Putnam, St. Charles, St. Clair, St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve, Stone, Sullivan, Taney, Warren, and Washington.

Any changes to mandatory sampling requirements due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic will be posted by Nov. 1 at MDC.MO.GOV/CWD and be available from MDC regional offices.

Also in this issue

Purseweb Spider

Hidden Architects

Purseweb, trapdoor spiders rely on camouflage for survival.

Woman with her falcon

Blue Sky Ballet

At its most basic, falconry is a partnership between two hunters — one human, the other avian.

Feral Hog

Trapping the Enemy on our Land

MDC, partners make strides in eradicating feral hogs.

And More...

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This Issue's Staff:

Magazine Manager - Stephanie Thurber

Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld

Associate Editor - Larry Archer

Staff Writer - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Heather Feeler
Staff Writer - Kristie Hilgedick
Staff Writer - Joe Jerek

Art Director - Cliff White

Designer - Shawn Carey
Designer - Les Fortenberry
Designer - Marci Porter

Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner

Circulation - Laura Scheuler