Outdoor Recreation

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From Missouri Conservationist: May 2007

Scout it Out

Smallmouth Bass Fishing

  • Area name: Gasconade River Smallmouth Bass Management Area
  • Directions: Boat ramps for the Gasconade River are located one-tenth of a mile off route D in Jerome and six miles north of St. Robert at the end of route Y.
  • For more information: Visit online to download maps of and learn more about smallmouth bass special management areas

Fish the Gasconade River for big action on smallmouth bass. On the 20-mile stretch of the stream between Highway Y in Pulaski County and Highway D in Phelps County, smallmouth are plentiful and some are trophy-sized. The healthy fish population is the result of a 1995 regulation change that established the stream section as a special management area for smallmouth where anglers may harvest only one smallmouth that measures 18" or longer. Anglers can expect to catch about twice as many 12–15" smallmouth in the special management area than they will fishing in other parts of the stream.

Anglers can enjoy nature viewing and floating while on the Gasconade. A wide variety of wildlife inhabit the hardwood forests surrounding the stream and although it has some surprisingly fast sections, the Gasconade is a good, safe floating stream.

Missouri has more than 300 miles of streams with special management regulations. To learn more about fishing opportunities in those areas visit the fishing page of the Missouri Department of Conservation Web site.

Free Fishing Days

Once-a-year opportunity to get hooked on a new hobby.

Prepare for the summer fishing season by participating in Free Fishing Days June 9 and 10. On Free Fishing Days the Department of Conservation suspends the requirement for fishing permits, trout permits and daily tags. Special permits still may be needed at some county, city or private areas, but fishing is free in most waters of the state. This includes the state’s four trout parks, where daily tags will be issued free of charge. Regulations regarding size and daily limits remain in effect. For more information on Free Fishing Days in Missouri visit online.

Missouri's Outdoor Women

Bring a friend and join us for a weekend of fun at the Lake.

Women looking for exciting outdoor adventures will find them at the Missouri Outdoor Women (MOW) Workshops June 8 through 10. Women of all skill levels have the opportunity to learn or sharpen outdoor skills with expert instructors. Workshops include fishing, canoeing, archery, handgun, shotgun and rifle shooting and wild edibles.

The annual MOW gathering is held at the Windermere Conference Center. The registration fee is $20, and the deadline is June 1. Call now to register, space is limited. For more information or to register, contact Regina Knauer, 573-522-4115, ext. 3829, Regina.Knauer@mdc.mo.gov or Jackie Haffer, 573-522-4115, ext. 3292, Jackie.Haffer@mdc.mo.gov.

Feathered Fascination

 The Dawn Chorus

Your favorite radio jingle and the dawn chorus have a lot in common: Both serve as advertising. Male singing lets females know the singers are available to mate and warns rivals to stay out of the singers’ nesting territories. A male will fly about and sing from different perches in his territory to announce area boundaries. This keeps the area from being invaded by competitors and protects the food supply for his family.

It is well worth the time to rise early this month and treat yourself to a natural concert of birdsong. The dawn chorus occurs during the spring breeding season in May and June. The natural serenade begins as the first light fills the eastern sky.

Robins are the early morning carolers. Their warbled songs mingle and carry for blocks. Next, the cardinals’ whistle is added to the mix, followed by the coo of doves. As rural areas awaken, the songs of meadowlarks, field sparrows and bluebirds join the chorus. The singing quickly builds to a crescendo, then slowly begins to subside around sunrise. After another hour or two the total number of singers has diminished, as many of the birds set about the chore of finding food.

To learn more about birds in Missouri, visit the links listed below.

Tick Avoidance

Preventive measures that will help you enjoy the outdoors.

Usually the worst outcome of a tick bite is knowing you’re a host to a parasite, but in rare instances tick bites can result in serious illness. Ticks carry several diseases, including tularemia, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis and Lyme disease. Symptoms to watch for following a tick bite are:

  • Swelling at the site of the bite. In Lyme disease a raised, target-shaped rash begins to develop within a few days, eventually reaching several inches in diameter.
  • Unexplained flu-like symptoms; fever, headaches, body aches, dizziness.
  • Any unusual rash.

A person infected with a tick-borne disease may have all or none of these symptoms. If you consult a doctor, be sure to mention that you’ve recently been bitten by a tick.

Protective clothing and insect repellent can help prevent tick bites. When outdoors, wear long-sleeved

shirts, long pants and boots with your pants tucked into socks or boots. Rubber bands, blousing bands or tape can be used to secure the cuffs of your pants. Insect repellents containing deet or Permanone also are recommended.

Don't Adopt Newborn Fawns

Good intentions usually lead to unhappy endings.

Look but don’t adopt is the rule to follow when encountering fawns in the wild. Usually the animals have not been orphaned. For the first couple of weeks after birth, a doe leaves her fawns hidden and only periodically returns to feed them. Reducing contact with her young keeps predators from finding helpless fawns. Human adoption generally leads to a deer’s death. It’s difficult to duplicate the natural diet of a deer. Even if you successfully feed the animal, it’s denied a chance to learn from parents how to live in the wild. Missouri research studies have found that fawns raised by humans don’t survive when returned to the wild.

This Issue's Staff

Editor in Chief - Ara Clark
Managing Editor - Nichole LeClair
Art Director - Cliff White
Writer/editor - Tom Cwynar
Staff Writer - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Jim Low
Staff Writer - Arleasha Mays
Photographer- Noppadol Paothong
Artist - Dave Besenger
Artist - Mark Raithel
Designer - Les Fortenberry
Circulation - Laura Scheuler