News and Almanac

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From Missouri Conservationist: Jul 1999


Dates for the upcoming firearms and archery deer and turkey hunting seasons have been set, and some of the regulations have been changed. Following is a brief summary. For full details, check the 1999 Fall Deer and Turkey Hunting Information booklet. The publication will be available July 1 where hunting permits are sold.


  • Nov. 13-23

Dec. 4-12 (Muzzleloading firearms only)

Jan. 8-11 (Only in units 1-17, 20, 22-24, 58 and 59)


  • Oct. 1-Nov. 12

Nov. 24-Jan. 15

The Commission eliminated resident and nonresident muzzleloading firearms deer hunting permits and changed the muzzleloading season to the December Portion of the firearms season. Only muzzleloading firearms will be allowed during the December Portion of the season, as in the past. The only difference is that buying a firearms deer hunting permit will entitle hunters to hunt with any legal method (modern firearms, muzzleloader or archery equipment) during the November and January portions of the firearms deer season.

The Commission established a Youth Deer and Turkey Hunting Permit. The permit costs $15 for residents or nonresidents. It allows hunters under age 12 to participate in the spring and fall deer and turkey seasons if they hunt in the immediate presence of adult hunters. Adult companions must be licensed to hunt and must have successfully completed a hunter education course themselves. The permit allows young hunters to take one bearded turkey during the spring season, one turkey of either sex during the fall season and one deer in the fall.

The Commission also created a new Managed Deer Hunting Permit ($15 for residents, $125 for nonresidents). With this permit, hunters no longer have to use their regular deer hunting permits for managed hunts. The Managed Deer Hunting Permit will be required to participate in managed hunts, and deer taken in these hunts will not count toward the regular deer season limit.

The Commission also decided to go back to issuing transportation tags separately from deer and turkey hunting permits.

Bass tourney to benefit spinal cord research

Bass anglers have until Aug. 7 to enter the Fourth Annual Spinal Cord Society Buddy Bass Tournament Aug. 15 at Osage Bluff Marina on Truman Lake. Proceeds support research into helping people with spinal cord injuries.

Contestants will have a chance to win a Champion Model 171 bass boat and $13,000 in cash prizes. Tournament participants also can attend an auction and barbecue the evening before the contest. For registration information, call (816) 540-2691.


The Missouri Natural Areas System protects some of the best examples of Missouri's native landscapes. Hanging fens, igneous glades, shrub swamps, mesic prairies and sandstone cliffs are among the living treasures found on these areas. For information about locations and features of Missouri's natural areas, contact Carol Davit, Natural History Section, Missouri Department of Conservation, P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102.


Runge Conservation Nature Center in Jefferson City will hold three special weeks of "Summer Splash" programs dealing with ponds, swamps and streams in July. Summer Splash I is set for July 13 through 15 for children in grades

K-5. Summer Splash II is scheduled for July 20 through 22 for preschoolers and parents. Summer Splash III is set for July 27 through 29 for children of minorities or people in financial need. Call (573) 526-5544 for more information and reservations.

Runge will host Friday Night Live!--What's Eating You? from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. July 16. Learn about the critters that sometimes use us for a meal. Have fun creating crafts, playing games and enjoying the cool night hikes. This event is free and open to the public. Reservations are not needed. Call the nature center for more information.


Pledges of support for the Kansas City Discovery Center took some giant steps forward recently, thanks to tax credits offered through the Missouri Development Finance Board.

Donations of $2,500 or more made to the Discovery Center from now through the year 2000 qualify for a 50 percent tax credit. This incentive recently convinced the Hall Family Foundation to up its original pledge from $250,000 to $500,000. Miller and Jeanette Nichols increased their pledge from $53,000 to $106,000. The increase brought total pledges to $1,792,403. An estimated $3,000,000 is needed for the project.

For information about pledging support for the Discovery Center and tax credits, call Jim Pyland at (816) 356-2280, ext. 228, or Kit Freudenberg at (573) 751-4115, ext. 379.


Missouri hunters toughed out rain, wind and unseasonably cool weather to set a new harvest record in the 1999 spring turkey season, bagging 50,338 birds.

This year's take almost certainly would have fallen short of last year's 48,323 bird harvest without the third week of spring turkey hunting, because hunters didn't hear many birds gobbling until late in the season. Until last year, the season ran only two weeks.

Although it was a good season in terms of birds bagged, eleven hunters were injured in turkey hunting accidents. Two of the injuries were self-inflicted. In the other nine cases, hunters mistook other hunters for game. None of the accidents was fatal.

Land donation secures historic site

Shepherd Mountain dominates the Arcadia Valley and looks down on the towns of Ironton, Pilot Knob and Arcadia. It is the location of the Battle of Pilot Knob, a Civil War battle that took place around Ft. Davidson, now a historic site. Every three years, Civil War re-enactors descend on the town and refight the historic battle.

The Conservation Department has given the city of Ironton a 196-acre tract of land. Ironton will sell this land to the USDA Forest Service. Proceeds from the sale, along with funds from a half-cent city sales tax, will enable the city to buy about 700 acres on Shepherd Mountain.

The land deal will protect Ironton's water supply. It also will allow better control of storm drainage and ensure continued economic development and tourism.

Run, walk, hop or fly to the Endangered Species Walk/Run

Run, walk, hop or fly. Do whatever it takes to get to the Endangered Species Walk/Run Oct. 9 on the KATY Trail in Central Missouri.

The Endangered Species Walk-Run is sponsored by the Missouri departments of Conservation and Natural Resources. It will include a 10K run, 5K walk/run and a half-mile kids' fun run. Medals and ribbons will be awarded to top finishers in several age classes. Event headquarters will be the North Jefferson City Pavilion, near the KATY Trail at the intersection of Highways 63 and 54. Part of the certified 10K course follows the scenic, level KATY Trail.

There are hundreds of reasons to attend, starting with the many species of birds, lizards, frogs, bats and other wild animals and plants that will benefit from the event's proceeds. Money raised will go to the

Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation. The Foundation will channel the money into habitat restoration, research and education projects for endangered species.

Race registration costs $15, which includes a long-sleeved T-shirt emblazoned with the specially designed artwork shown at left. Registration forms can be obtained by writing to Endangered Species Walk/Run, Missouri Department of Conservation, Natural History Section, P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0180, or calling (573) 751-4115, ext. 204. You also can download and print a registration form.

Zebra mussel gains a toehold in the Missouri River

Missouri officials are preparing to move into the next phase of zebra mussel control following the discovery of the first zebra mussel in the Missouri River. The inch-long mussel was discovered in April, about 15 miles downstream from Sioux City, Iowa. It was attached to a water intake at the Neal Four Power Station.

Serious zebra mussel infestations typically develop within two years of the first sighting. Missouri officials are reexamining monitoring strategies and funding to respond to the threat.

Zebra mussels made the jump from Europe to the St. Lawrence Seaway in the 1980s by hitching a ride in ballast water carried by oceangoing ships. Sweeping across the Great Lakes with astonishing speed, they reached the southern tip of Lake Michigan in five years. From there they spread into the Illinois River and downstream into the Mississippi River.

The problems created by zebra mussels stem from their tremendous reproductive capacity. They encrust any solid object to a depth of several inches, clogging water intake pipes, weighing down boat hulls and smothering larger native mussels. When they die, they wash up on beaches where their decaying bodies and sharp shells make swimming unpleasant. City water plants and power generating plants spend tens of thousands of dollars annually to keep intake pipes clear.

Zebra mussels also have the potential to alter the ecology of lakes and streams. They displace native species and gobble up the microscopic foods that form the base of food chains.

The first zebra mussel turned up in the Mississippi River in 1991. The Missouri River's strong current has slowed their spread upstream. Until now, Missouri's only defense against the zebra mussel has been the conscientious efforts of recreational boaters and anglers to avoid spreading the pesky clam. Careful washing and flushing of bilges and motor cooling systems prevents the exotic mussel from hitching a ride when boats move from one body of water to another.

Boaters and anglers still can play an important role in delaying the spread of zebra mussels to waters upstream and inland from the Missouri River. If you move your boat from the Mississippi River or other areas with zebra mussel infestations, give it a good cleaning with a high-pressure hose at a car wash before putting it back in the water here. Empty any water from bilges, live wells and bait buckets before leaving infested areas. Flush these and motor cooling systems with a dilute solution of household bleach between destinations.

Search for mountain lion's origin continues

Genetic test results have ruled out some geographic origins of a mountain lion pelt that turned up in Texas County last fall. The next round of testing could reveal how closely the cat was related to mountain lions found in different parts of North America.

Dr. Melanie Culver of the National Cancer Institute conducted mitochondrial DNA analysis of tissue samples from the pelt. The DNA matched a genetic type that is widely distributed across North America. If the analysis had shown a link to cats from Central or South America, it would have strongly suggested that the cat had been released from captivity.

Still unanswered is the question of which part of North America has mountain lions most closely related to the cat found here. Microsatellite DNA analysis could answer that question. This test takes a more detailed look at DNA. Is the cat related to those in Texas or Colorado, potentially close enough to have come here on its own? Or did its ancestors come from California, Canada or some other far-distant spot? It will be a few more weeks before microsatellite test results arrive, giving investigators more information to help answer those questions.


If you use supplementary feeding to boost catfish growth in your pond, keep an eye on water conditions. You may want to discontinue feeding when the water temperature tops 90 degrees.

Water this warm doesn't hold as much oxygen as cooler water. Fish react to low oxygen levels by becoming inactive. They don't move around much and stop eating. Continuing to put food in the water under such conditions is a waste of money. Worse, it can contribute to a fish kill. Excess food decomposes, using up already scarce oxygen. If oxygen levels fall low enough, fish can suffocate.

While water temperature is a good rule of thumb, it isn't the only indicator of when to take fish off food. Small, shallow ponds with lots of fish may have low oxygen at temperatures below 90 degrees. Any pond can experience low oxygen during cloudy weather. Lack of sunlight causes aquatic vegetation to die and decompose, using up precious oxygen.

Discontinue feeding if you notice a decrease in fishes' feeding activity and the water temperature is high. You can resume feeding when fish resume normal activity.

For more information on channel catfish in small impoundments, request the "Monoculture of Channel Catfish in Farm Ponds" Aquaguide from the Missouri Department of Conservation, Fisheries Division, P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0180.

This Issue's Staff

Editor - Tom Cwynar
Assistant Editor - Charlotte Overby
Managing Editor - Jim Auckley
Art Editor - Dickson Stauffer
Designer - Tracy Ritter
Artist - Dave Besenger
Artist - Mark Raithel
Photographer - Jim Rathert
Photographer - Cliff White
Staff Writer - Jim Low
Staff Writer - Joan McKee
Composition - Libby Bode Block
Circulation - Bertha Bainer