Rocky Fork Lakes Conservation Area

Notice
The shooting range will have new open and closed hours beginning June 23, 2021. It will be closed all day on Mondays and Tuesdays. It will be open Wednesday through Sunday. Summer hours are 12pm to 6pm (April through September) and winter hours are 10am to 4pm (October through March).
Rocky Fork Lakes, Boone County, Missouri
The Rocky Fork Lakes Conservation Area is located in Boone County approximately six miles north of Columbia on Highway 63 and one-half mile east on Peabody road.

Because the area is located near a population center of 100,000+ people, its 2,200 acres are heavily used by many persons for every type of outdoor activity which is suitable to the area.

The terrain is extremely rugged due to strip mining, which occurred prior to acquisition by the Department. The mined area has broad ridge tops and generally steep slopes. Approximately 1,150 acres were strip mined with the balance of the acreage being oak-hickory forest cover and upland fields. One field of 25 acres is mainly bluestem prairie. Approximately 70 percent of the strip mined area has been planted with a mixture of trees and shrubs. The remaining areas were seeded with fescue which developed into excellent ground cover on the seeded area, but is not very favorable for wildlife.

There are over 60 lakes or ponds of significant size, which have a total surface area of 116 acres. The largest lake is over 50 acres. In addition, there are over 30 smaller (less than one acre) pools, some of which hold water the entire year.

Rocky Fork Lakes Conservation Area was purchased by the Department in March, 1979 for a purchase price of $379,000. Prior to acquisition, the land was owned and mined by Peabody Coal Company,from 1963 until 1972. According to a 1917 edition of a topographical map (Sturgeon Quadrangle) there were 15 residences on the tract at that time.

Two very old cemeteries exist on the property and the names on the headstones reflect past local history. There are Browns' buried in one of the cemeteries that were connected with Brown's Station a few miles away. Some of the stones date back to the middle 1830s.

The area has a history of grazing and has been row cropped where possible. No evidence exists to show that the landowners excluded their timber from grazing. There is evidence that fires of moderate intensity occurred periodically throughout the timbered stands.

A ramp has been installed for boating access to the large lake, and a fishing dock designed for wheelchair access is located on the big lakes north shore.

The areas firearms shooting range receives year-round use.
Area Map907.29 KB
Area Brochure214.48 KB
Quick Facts
Total Acres
2199.6
Area Hours
  • Sunday, 04:00 AM - 10:00 PM
  • Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, 04:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Directions
From Columbia, take Highway 63 north 7 miles, then Peabody Road east 1 mile to the area.
For more information call
(573) 815-7900
Title
Map Info
Title
Resources

7912 - 3CSR 10-11 - 105 Title; Authority

Chapter
3CSR 10-11
Rule Number
105 Title; Authority
Rules

Chapter 11 of the Wildlife Code applies to this area. The information provided reflects regulations for most activities on this conservation area but does not contain regulations for all possible uses. For more information on area regulations consult the Wildlife Code or call the phone number listed for the area in the area details section.

7912 - 3CSR 10-11 - 110 General Provisions

Chapter
3CSR 10-11
Rule Number
110 General Provisions
Rules

Department areas designated as open to the public may be accessed and used for hiking; sightseeing; nature observation; entering or remaining on designated portions of department areas; possession of pets and hunting dogs; field trials; use of vehicles, bicycles, horses, and horseback riding;  collecting of nuts, berries, fruits, edible wild greens, and mushrooms; camping; tree stands; target shooting and use of shooting ranges; decoys and blinds; use of boats and motors; taking bullfrogs and green frogs; hunting; trapping; and fishing. The locations and times when department areas may be entered, remained on, or used for these activities may be further restricted by Chapter 11 of the Wildlife Code, signs, this conservation atlas, or area maps. In addition to the rules of the Wildlife Code, federal, state and local laws apply on department lands.

 The following activities are prohibited on department areas and may not be authorized by a special use permit:

1. Destruction, defacing, or removal of department property

2. Digging or excavating

3. Guiding for pay

4. Military or law enforcement training by nongovernment entities

5. Placing of grain, salt products, minerals, and other consumable products on land

6. Placing or using trail or game cameras or other similar devices

7. Use of paint ball, airsoft, or similar projectile weapons not specifically authorized by this Code

8. Placement of honey bee apiaries

9. Parking or storage of watercraft and commercial vehicles during closed hours

10. Use of fireworks

11. Use of remote-controlled boats or land vehicles

12. Prospecting, exploring, mining, or extracting minerals, metals, oil, natural gas, or other nonrenewable resources, except as specifically approved by the commission

13. Commercial or political advertising, except for commercial advertising by authorized concessionaires or by vendors participating in department events

Other activities not listed above, including commercial use and vending, may be authorized by a special use permit when the activity is compatible with other authorized activities. Special use permits may be issued only by the area manager or their designee. Issuance of a special use permit is at the discretion of the department. Application for a special use permit does not guarantee that one will be issued.

Signs, posted regulations, or area maps may further restrict activities, including designating portions of department areas as open or closed to public use. Departmnet areas or designated portions of department areas may be closed, or regulations may be changed, through posting to protect the public from hazardous conditions and threats to public safety, to protect fish and wildlife resources, and for special events or resource management activities where public use conflicts are likely to occur. All persons entering, remaining on, or using a department area shall abide by signs, posted regulations, and area maps.

 

Waste containers located on department areas may be used only for disposal of garbage, trash, refuse, or rubbish generated on the department area. NOTE: Waste containers are not provided on all department areas.

 

Collecting wild animals (including invertebrates) and their unprocessed parts is prohibited except under the provisions of a valid Wildlife Collector’s Permit, or as otherwise authorized in the Wildlife Code. 

Collecting or possessing wild plants and their unprocessed parts is prohibited except by a Letter of Authorization for Plant Collecting, or as otherwise authorized in the Wildlife Code.

 

7912 - 3CSR 10-11 - 115 Closings

Chapter
3CSR 10-11
Rule Number
115 Closings
Rules
This department area is open for public use from 4:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily; however, hunting fishing, trapping, dog training, camping, launching and landing boats is allowed 24 hours a day on areas where these activities are permitted.
Parking or storing watercraft or commercial vehicles is prohibited on department areas during closed hours.

7912 - 3CSR 10-11 - 135 Wild Plants, Plant Products, and Mushrooms

Chapter
3CSR 10-11
Rule Number
135 Wild Plants, Plant Products, and Mushrooms
Rules
Vegetation, including trees, may not be cut or destroyed. The only exception is that willows (Salicaceae spp.) may be cut for use in constructing on-site blinds.
Collecting or possessing wild plants and their unprocessed parts is prohibited except under the provisions of a valid Letter of Authorization for Plant Collecting, or as otherwise authorized in the Wildlife Code.
Nuts, berries, fruits, edible wild greens and mushrooms may be taken only for personal consumption; EXCEPT on locations designated as Missouri Natural Areas, taking edible wild greens is prohibited.

7912 - 3CSR 10-11 - 130 Vehicles, Bicycles, Horses, and Horseback Riding

Chapter
3CSR 10-11
Rule Number
130 Vehicles, Bicycles, Horses, and Horseback Riding
Rules

 

Unless otherwise posted, bicycles, including electric bicycles as defined in the Missouri Wildlife Code, are allowed on roads open to vehicular traffic and service roads (designated in the online conservation atlas). Bicycles must stay on roads open to vehicular traffic or service roads, or on multi-use trails posted as open to bicycles.   Bicycle use is not allowed on service roads passing through designated natural areas (designated in the online conservation atlas). Groups of 10 or more people using bicycles on a department area must obtain a special use permit from the area manager. The area manager can be contacted at the phone number listed in the area details section for this department area.

 

State laws regarding the operation, registration and required equipment apply to the operation of motor vehicles on locations open to vehicular traffic on department areas.

 

Except as otherwise posted, the speed limit on department areas is 45 miles per hour.

Equestrian use is allowed on roads open to vehicular traffic. Horses must stay on roads open to vehicular traffic or on multi-use trails posted as open to horses. Groups of 10 or more people using horses on a department area must obtain a special use permit from the area manager. The area manager can be contacted at the phone number listed in the area details section for this department area.

7912 - 3CSR 10-11 - 140 Camping

Chapter
3CSR 10-11
Rule Number
140 Camping
Rules
Camping is allowed only as designated in the "Things To Do When You Visit" section for this department area. If camping is not listed as an activity in this section, camping is prohibited on the area. Designated camping areas may or may not have defined campsites. Seasonal closures and restrictions may apply to all camping on department areas.
On department areas where camping is allowed, camping is limited to a period of 14 consecutive days in any 30-day period. Personal property must be removed at the end of the 14-day period. Unless a special use permit is obtained, total camping days on all department areas are limited to a total of 30 days within one calendar year. Groups of more than 10 people must obtain a special use permit prior to camping. To obtain a special use permit, contact the area manager at the phone number listed for this area in the area details section.
Quiet hours are in effect in camping areas from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. daily. Visitors who are not occupying a campsite are required to leave the campground by 10 p.m.
On camping areas with established campsites, only two camping or sleeping units are permitted in each site.

7912 - 3CSR 10-11 - 150 Target Shooting and Shooting Ranges

Chapter
3CSR 10-11
Rule Number
150 Target Shooting and Shooting Ranges
Rules
A staffed shooting range is located on this department area. Target shooting is not allowed anywhere on this area except for designated shooting range(s).
Shooting range(s) on this area are open to public use only as authorized by posting. Ranges may be opened or closed at any time for maintenance or department sponsored events or programs.
Possession of alcoholic beverages is prohibited on all ranges and associated parking lots.
Groups of more than 10 people must obtain a special use permit prior to using the range. To obtain a special use permit, contact the area manager at the phone number listed for this area in the area details section.
Use of the range shall be in accordance with posted rules or as directed by the range officer. All range users must allow an agent of the Department or other certified law enforcement officer to inspect their permits, firearms and ammunition.
A rifle and/or handgun range is located on this department area. Only paper targets attached to the provided target holders may be used.
A shotgun shooting range is located on this department area. On portions of shooting ranges restricted to shotguns with shotshells, only clay targets may be used (except paper targets attached to provided target holders may be used in locations designated as a shotgun patterning area).

7912 - 3CSR 10-11 - 120 Pets and Hunting Dogs

Chapter
3CSR 10-11
Rule Number
120 Pets and Hunting Dogs
Rules
Pets and hunting dogs are permitted but must be on a leash or confined at all time. Hunting dogs may be used off the leash and unconfined for hunting and training for the purposes of chasing, locating, tracking or retrieving game on portions of conservation areas designated as open to hunting and dog training. Locations and times where pets and hunting dogs are permitted may be further restricted by area brochures or signs. A valid small game hunting permit is required to train dogs in pursuit of wildlife.

7912 - 3CSR 10-11 - 180 Hunting, General Provisions and Seasons

Chapter
3CSR 10-11
Rule Number
180 Hunting, General Provisions and Seasons
Rules

Hunting is prohibited on some conservation areas, but allowed on others. Special regulations may apply to hunting. To determine the hunting regulations for this conservation area, consult the Missouri Code of State Regulations in Chapter 11 of the Wildlife Code at https://www.sos.mo.gov/cmsimages/adrules/csr/current/3csr/3c10-11.pdf.

7912 - 3CSR 10-11 - 145 Tree Stands

Chapter
3CSR 10-11
Rule Number
145 Tree Stands
Rules
Only portable tree stands are allowed on department areas from Sept. 1 through Jan. 31. Unattended stands must be plainly labeled on a durable material with the full name and address, or Conservation Number, of the owner and be removed from the area before Feb. 1. Use of nails, screw-in steps, and any material or method that would damage the tree is prohibited.

7912 - 3CSR 10-11 - 155 Decoys and Blinds

Chapter
3CSR 10-11
Rule Number
155 Decoys and Blinds
Rules
Decoys and Blinds are permitted on this department area, but must be disassembled and removed daily. Blinds constructed on-site may only be constructed from willows (Salicaceae spp.).

7912 - 3CSR 10-11 - 125 Field Trials

Chapter
3CSR 10-11
Rule Number
125 Field Trials
Rules
Field trials are allowed on this department area only by special use permit. To obtain a special use permit, contact the area manager at the phone number listed for this area in the area details section.

7912 - 3CSR 10-11 - 200 Fishing, General Provisions and Seasons

Chapter
3CSR 10-11
Rule Number
200 Fishing, General Provisions and Seasons
Rules

Fishing is prohibited on some conservation areas, but allowed on others. Special regulations may apply to fishing. To determine the fishing regulations for this conservation area, consult the Missouri Code of State Regulations in Chapter 11 of the Wildlife Code.

7912 - 3CSR 10-11 - 160 Use of Boats and Motors

Chapter
3CSR 10-11
Rule Number
160 Use of Boats and Motors
Rules
Boats (including sailboats) may be used on waters located on department areas. On lakes and ponds, boats may be used only on waters designated as open to boats. State laws regarding the operation, registration, and required safety equipment apply to watercraft being operated on waters under the control of the department. Boats may not be left unattended overnight.
Only electric motors are permitted on lakes and ponds of less than 70 acres.
Electric motors and outboard motors are permitted on lakes of 70 or more acres. Outboard motors of any size may be used, but outboard motors in excess of 10 horsepower must be operated at slow, no-wake speed.
The use of houseboats and personal watercraft are prohibited.
Float tubes may only be used for authorized fishing or hunting activities.

7912 - 3CSR 10-11 - 187 Trapping

Chapter
3CSR 10-11
Rule Number
187 Trapping
Rules
Trapping in accordance with Chapter 8 of the Wildlife Code is allowed only with a special use permit. To inquire about the availability of a special use permit for trapping on this department area, contact the area manager at the phone number listed for this area in the area details section.
Range Name: Shooting range - Rocky Fork
Range ID: 1561
Maintenance Days:
Varies
Business Hours:
1/2 hour before sunrise to 1/2 hour after sunset, unless posted otherwise.
Range Type:
Rifle/Pistol
Target Distance:
7,12,15,25,50,100
Disabled Access: Yes
Range Name: Shooting range - Rocky Fork
Range ID: 1568
Maintenance Days:
Varies
Business Hours:
1/2 hour before sunrise to 1/2 hour after sunset, unless posted otherwise.
Range Type:
Shotgun Informal/Patterning
Target Distance:
Disabled Access: No

Deer - Archery

Dates
Early Portion
to
Late Portion
to
Public Text

During all portions of the firearms deer hunting season, all persons hunting any game, and also adult mentors accompanying them, must wear a cap or hat and a shirt, vest, or coat of the color commonly known as hunter orange, which must be plainly visible from all sides. Camouflage orange garments do not meet this requirement. Exceptions to this rule include the following: Migratory game bird hunters; Archery hunting within municipal boundaries where the discharge of firearms is prohibited; hunting on federal or state land where only archery methods are allowed; hunting only on an archery permit during the Alternative Methods Portion; hunting in a county that is closed during the Antlerless Portion; and hunting small game or furbearers during the Alternative Methods Portion.

Hours

One half hour before sunrise to one half hour after sunset.

Limits

Deer may be taken in accordance with permits held. Hunters may take only two antlered deer during the firearms and archery deer hunting seasons combined. The following restrictions also apply:

Only one antlered deer may be taken prior to the November portion of the firearms deer hunting season. Except, youth hunters who harvest an antlered deer on an archery permit prior to the November portion, may harvest their second antlered deer during the Early Youth Portion of the firearms deer hunting season.

Antlerless permits MAY be used.

Limits apply to the number of antlerless deer hunting permits a hunter may fill in each county. Exceptions to this limit may apply to qualifying resident landowners and lessees. Consult the current Fall Deer and Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information Pamphlet.

The Antler point restriction applies on this Conservation Area (The antler point restriction does not apply to youth hunters hunting on a firearms permit during the youth portions of the firearms season). Only antlered deer with at least one antler having at least four antler points may be taken.

Methods

The following archery methods are allowed: longbows, recurve bows, compound bows, crossbows, and atlatl.

The following methods are prohibited in use or possession while deer hunting: Firearms (except any person may carry concealable firearms, as defined in Chapter 571, RSMo, on or about his/her person while archery hunting, and firearms possessed under this exception may not be used to take wildlife while archery hunting); arrows, bolts, and darts containing any drug, poison, chemical, or explosive; and electronic calls or electronically activated calls.

Deer - Firearms

Dates
Alternative Methods
to
Antlerless (In Open Counties)
to
November Portion
to
Youth - Early Portion
to
Youth - Late Portion
to
Public Text

During all portions of the firearms deer hunting season, all persons hunting any game, and also adult mentors accompanying them, must wear a cap or hat and a shirt, vest, or coat of the color commonly known as hunter orange, which must be plainly visible from all sides. Camouflage orange garments do not meet this requirement. Exceptions to this rule include the following: Migratory game bird hunters; Archery hunting within municipal boundaries where the discharge of firearms is prohibited; hunting on federal or state land where only archery methods are allowed; hunting only on an archery permit during the Alternative Methods Portion; hunting in a county that is closed during the Antlerless Portion; and hunting small game or furbearers during the Alternative Methods Portion.

Archery hunting permits are not valid during the November Portion of the Firearms Deer Hunting Season. Hunters using archery methods during this portion must possess a valid firearms deer hunting permit.

Hours

One half hour before sunrise to one half hour after sunset.

Limits

Deer may be taken in accordance with permits held. Hunters may take only two antlered deer during the firearms and archery deer hunting seasons combined. The following restrictions also apply:

Only one antlered deer may be taken during all portions of the firearms deer hunting seasons (This includes landowners in possession of both landowner any-deer hunting permits and regular any-deer hunting permits).

Only one antlered deer may be taken prior to the November portion of the firearms deer hunting season. Except, youth hunters who harvest an antlered deer on an archery permit prior to the November portion, may harvest their second antlered deer during the Early Youth Portion of the firearms deer hunting season.

Antlerless permits MAY be used.

Limits apply to the number of antlerless deer hunting permits a hunter may fill in each county. Exceptions to this limit may apply to qualifying resident landowners and lessees. Consult the current Fall Deer and Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information Pamphlet.

The Antler point restriction applies on this Conservation Area (The antler point restriction does not apply to youth hunters hunting on a firearms permit during the youth portions of the firearms season). Only antlered deer with at least one antler having at least four antler points may be taken.

Methods

Muzzleloader and Archery Methods during a portion of the deer season when the method is allowed: Muzzleloading or cap-and-ball firearms and/or muzzleloading or cap-and-ball handguns, including revolvers, .40 caliber or larger; longbows, recurve bows, compound bows, crossbows, and atlatls.

Turkey - Archery

Dates
Early Portion
to
Late Portion
to
Public Text

During all portions of the firearms deer hunting season, all persons hunting any game, and also adult mentors accompanying them, must wear a cap or hat and a shirt, vest, or coat of the color commonly known as hunter orange, which must be plainly visible from all sides. Camouflage orange garments do not meet this requirement. Exceptions to this rule include the following: Migratory game bird hunters; Archery hunting within municipal boundaries where the discharge of firearms is prohibited; hunting on federal or state land where only archery methods are allowed; hunting only on an archery permit during the Alternative Methods Portion; hunting in a county that is closed during the Antlerless Portion; and hunting small game or furbearers during the Alternative Methods Portion.

Hours

One-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.

Limits

Two turkeys of either sex. Both turkeys may be taken on the same day.

Methods

The following methods are allowed for hunting turkey: Atlatls, bows, and crossbows.

The following methods are prohibited for turkey hunting: use of dogs, bait, or live decoys. Hunters also may not possess firearms (except any person may carry concealable firearms, as defined in Chapter 571, RSMo, on or about his/her person while archery hunting, and firearms possessed under this exception may not be used to take wildlife while archery hunting); arrows, bolts, and darts containing any drug, poison, chemical, or explosive; and possession of electronic calls or electronically activated calls.

Turkey - Fall Firearms

Dates
to
Public Text

During all portions of the firearms deer hunting season, all persons hunting any game, and also adult mentors accompanying them, must wear a cap or hat and a shirt, vest, or coat of the color commonly known as hunter orange, which must be plainly visible from all sides. Camouflage orange garments do not meet this requirement. Exceptions to this rule include the following: Migratory game bird hunters; Archery hunting within municipal boundaries where the discharge of firearms is prohibited; hunting on federal or state land where only archery methods are allowed; hunting only on an archery permit during the Alternative Methods Portion; hunting in a county that is closed during the Antlerless Portion; and hunting small game or furbearers during the Alternative Methods Portion.

Hours

One-half hour before sunrise to sunset.

Limits

Two turkeys of either sex. Both turkeys may be taken on the same day.

Methods

The following methods are allowed for turkey hunting: shotguns, with shot no larger than No. 4, atlatl, bow, and crossbow.

The following methods are prohibited for turkey hunting: use of dogs, bait, electronic calls or live decoys. Hunters also may not possess a shotgun capable of holding more than three shells in the magazine and chamber combined; shotshells loaded with shot larger than No. 4; arrows, bolts, and darts containing any drug, poison, chemical, or explosive; and electronic calls or electronically activated calls.

While in the act of pursing or hunting turkey with an atlatl, bow, or crossbow on a fall firearms permit, the possession of a firearm is prohibited (except any person may carry concealable firearms, as defined in Chapter 571, RSMo, on or about his/her person while archery hunting, and firearms possessed under this exception may not be used to take wildlife while archery hunting).

Turkey - Spring

Dates
Youth Season
to
Regular Season
to
Hours

During the youth spring season, one-half hour before sunrise to sunset.

During the regular spring season, one-half hour before sunrise to 1:00 p.m. Central Daylight Time.

Limits

Two male turkeys or turkeys with a visible beard, with the following restrictions:

Only one turkey during the first week of the regular spring season. Hunters who are unsuccessful during the first week, may take two turkey during the second and third week of the season, but both turkey may not be taken on the same day. A turkey harvested during the youth spring season counts toward a hunter's spring season bag limit.

During the spring youth season, only one male turkey or turkey with a visible beard. Youths who take a turkey during the youth season may not harvest their second bird until the second Monday of the regular spring season.

Methods

The following methods are allowed for turkey hunting: shotguns, with shot no larger than No. 4, atlatl, bow, and crossbow.

The following methods are prohibited for turkey hunting: use of dogs, bait, electronic calls or live decoys. Hunters also may not possess a shotgun capable of holding more than three shells in the magazine and chamber combined; shotshells loaded with shot larger than No. 4; arrows, bolts, and darts containing any drug, poison, chemical, or explosive; and electronic calls or electronically activated calls.

  • Field Trials

  • Fishing

    • Sunfish
    • Catfish
    • Crappie
    • Black Bass
  • Hunting

    • Deer
      • Muzzleloader and Archery
      • Antlerless Permits Allowed
    • Turkey
      • Archery and Firearms
    • Rabbit
    • Squirrel
    • Dove
    • Quail
  • Trapping

    • Special Use Permit
  • Bird Watching

  • Waterfowl Hunting

    • Open Hunting
  • Shooting Range

    • Shotgun
    • Rifle or Pistol
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