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 shooting range is open Wednesday through Sunday and the hours are 10am - 4pm October through March and 12pm - 6pm April through September.
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 and is open 12pm - 6pm in the spring and summer and 10am - 4pm in the fall and winter.
- Sunday, 04:00 AM - 10:00 PM
- Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, 04:00 AM - 10:00 PM
7912 - 3CSR 10-11 - 105 Title; Authority
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
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. Department 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
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
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. Vegetation, including trees, may not be cut or destroyed.
7912 - 3CSR 10-11 - 130 Vehicles, Bicycles, Horses, and Horseback Riding
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
7912 - 3CSR 10-11 - 150 Target Shooting and Shooting Ranges
7912 - 3CSR 10-11 - 120 Pets and Hunting Dogs
7912 - 3CSR 10-11 - 180 Hunting, General Provisions and Seasons
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 the Missouri Code of State Regulations website.
7912 - 3CSR 10-11 - 145 Tree Stands
7912 - 3CSR 10-11 - 155 Decoys and Blinds
7912 - 3CSR 10-11 - 125 Field Trials
7912 - 3CSR 10-11 - 200 Fishing, General Provisions and Seasons
Fishing is allowed on most conservation areas, but prohibited on some. To determine if fishing is an activity that is allowed on this conservation area, and any special regulations that may apply, please consult the Missouri Code of State Regulations in Chapter 11 of the Wildlife Code.
7912 - 3CSR 10-11 - 160 Use of Boats and Motors
Boats (including canoes, kayaks, paddleboards, and 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.
The use of houseboats, airboats, and personal watercraft are prohibited.
7912 - 3CSR 10-11 - 187 Trapping
Seasonal Hunting and Fishing Information
Fall Deer and Turkey Season - Archery and Firearms
Deer hunting is allowed only on Conservation Department Areas that are listed in the current Fall Deer and Turkey Pamphlet. Please reference pages 44-57 for regulations about this specific area. If an area that is owned or managed by the department is not listed in the booklet, then deer hunting is not allowed.
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.
Deer may not be hunted, pursued, taken, or killed: While in a stream or other body of water; from a boat with a motor attached; with the aid of a motor-driven land conveyance or aircraft; with the aid of dogs, in use or possession; with the aid of artificial light or night vision equipment; within any area enclosed by a fence greater than seven feet in height that could contain or restrict the free range of deer; and with the aid of bait.
Fall firearms turkey hunting is allowed only on Conservation Areas listed on pages 44-57 in the current 2023 Fall Deer and Turkey Pamphlet. Fall firearms turkey season regulations can be found on page 28 of the pamphlet.
One half hour before sunrise to one half hour after sunset.
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).
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.
Antler point restrictions apply in some counties. In these counties, only antlered deer with at least one antler having at least four antler points may be taken (The antler point restriction does not apply to youth hunters hunting on a firearms permit during the youth portions of the firearms season). Consult the current Fall Deer and Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information Pamphlet.
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.
Deer may be hunted on department areas as authorized in the current Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet. Please reference pages 44-57 in the booklet for information on METHODS and PERMITS allowed on specific conservation areas. Click here: 2023 Fall Deer and Turkey Pamphlet, to view the regulation booklet.
Deer hunting is only allowed on conservation areas that are listed in the regulation booklet.
Things to Do When You Visit
Rifle or Pistol
Special Use Permit
Muzzleloader and Archery
Antlerless Permits Allowed
Archery and Firearms
Special Use Permit