Outdoor Recreation

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From Missouri Conservationist: Nov 2007

Scout it Out

Deer Hunting

  • Name: Bonanza Conservation Area
  • Location: Caldwell County, two miles south of Kingston on Highway 13, then five miles east on Route F.
  • For more information: visit our online atlas, keyword "Bonanza".

Deer hunters will find Bonanza Conservation Area appropriately named when it comes to opportunities to pursue whitetails. The 1,871-acre area includes 700 acres of forests and woodlands and 290 acres of crop land that deer find irresistible. Bonanza’s deer population draws many hunters from Kansas City, so hunting pressure is high most of the firearms season. During the firearms season a hunter may harvest only one deer from the area using a Firearms Any-Deer Hunting Permit or a Youth Deer and Turkey Hunting Permit. Bow hunters may take two deer using an Archer’s Hunting Permit. A limited number of disabled-accessible hunting spots are available at Bonanza. Camping is permitted on and adjacent to the area’s parking lots. Use of ATVs is prohibited. A review of Bonanza’s area regulations is a must for anyone who wants to hunt there. To download a PDF of the brochure, visit our online atlas or call (816) 675-2205 to request a brochure by mail.

Bonanza is just one of many conservation areas with good deer hunting opportunities. To find a conservation area near you that allows deer hunting, visit the Department of Conservation online atlas.

New Trapping Season Dates

A shorter season is found to be more beneficial.

An adjustment in duration is the only significant regulation change for the Nov. 15–Jan. 31 Missouri trapping season. The past three years’ trapping seasons had been expanded to three months in length as part of an effort to increase raccoon harvest. During that period the raccoon harvest declined, and the longer season increased the potential for waste in the fur industry as fur dealers faced the task of processing large volumes of raw fur during warm spring weather. The 2007–2008 trapping season will be 2 1/2 months long. Trappers are advised to review the Summary of Missouri Hunting and Trapping Regulations, available at permit vendors, for details on trapping regulations.

Feathered Fascination

Navigation and Orientation

For many years people have marveled at how birds migrate precisely between nesting and wintering habitats that are hundreds or even thousands of miles apart. Although birds can’t use maps like we do, they do have navigational tools that rarely fail to steer them to their intended destinations.

Birds use a variety of tools to orient, or determine direction, and navigate, or judge their position while traveling. According to The Birder’s Handbook by Paul R. Ehrlich, David S. Dobkin and Darryl Wheye, birds get directional information from five sources: topographical features, including wind direction which can be influenced by major land forms; stars; the sun; the earth’s magnetic field; and odors.

By observing the positions of the sun and stars, in conjunction with an internal sense of time, migrating birds can determine their position on the surface of the earth. If it is overcast, they can still detect polarized light from the sun. A songbird’s ears can hear far lower frequency sounds than we can hear. This may enable a bird to plot its course by hearing the sounds of seashores and distant mountain ranges. Doves actually have metal in their brains that enables them to navigate by sensing differences in the earth’s magnetic field. As birds approach their destinations, they may be able to recognize landmarks or smells.

Duck Viewing Opportunities

Two ducks that are rarely seen and some tips on the best way to spot them.

A wide variety of ducks migrate to and through the state this month providing great nature viewing opportunities. Birdwatchers can enjoy a special treat by keeping their eyes peeled for two colorful duck species that are rarely seen in Missouri, canvasbacks and redheads.

Canvasbacks and redheads are diving ducks, or ducks that feed by diving underwater for vegetation, insects, snails and mussels. The canvasback has a white back, flanks and belly. The most prominent feature of the species is the male’s chestnut-colored head and distinctive red eyes. Females are brown and gray in color. Male redheads seem similar to canvasbacks, but a closer look shows darker plumage on the head, yellow eyes and a bluish bill, tipped in black. Female redheads are brownish-colored with a faint ring near the tip of the bill. Look for these and other diving ducks in deep, open waters.

The following tips can help you get the most out of nature viewing:

  • Study field guides. The more you know about the habits and habitats of the ducks you want to observe, the easier it will be to find them.
  • Go to "Waterfowl Hunting" listed below and click “Duck Numbers and Habitat Conditions” for information on duck species present on public lands.
  • Adjust your schedule to times when ducks are active.
  • Don’t interfere with the animals’ daily activities. Observe from a distance. Spotting scopes are excellent for viewing water birds.

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
Photographer - David Stonner
Designer - Stephanie Ruby
Artist - Dave Besenger
Artist - Mark Raithel
Circulation - Laura Scheuler