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From Missouri Conservationist: Nov 2009

Ask the Ombudsman

Q: What are the regulations regarding persons taking antlers from road-killed deer?

A: The Missouri Wildlife Code, Chapter 10, states that “Any person who finds a dead deer with antlers still attached to the skull plate while afield and takes those antlers into possession must report the taking to a conservation agent within twenty-four (24) hours to receive possession authorization. Shed antlers not attached to the skull plate found while afield may be possessed, bought and sold by any person without possession authorization.” That means that a person sawing off antlers from a road-killed deer must receive authorization within 24 hours from a conservation agent to legally possess the antlers. The same is true for a person hitting a deer with a vehicle and wishing to keep the deer. They must contact a conservation agent to receive authorization to legally possess the deer.

Q: I’ve noticed large numbers of circling vultures in the sky during the fall. Can you explain their behavior?

A: Missouri’s two vultures, the turkey vulture and the black vulture, both move south in the fall. They overwinter from southern Missouri to the Tropics. Vultures will gain elevation by circling in “thermals,” zones of rising warm air resulting from the sun warming the earth. A gathering of circling birds is called a “kettle.” Once sufficient altitude is gained, they will glide south for a great distance with minimal effort, losing altitude gradually. Then they will find another thermal and circle upward for the next glide. November is a good time for observing vultures and hawks moving south by riding thermals.

Ombudsman Tim Smith will respond to your questions, suggestions or complaints concerning Department of Conservation programs. Write him at PO Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0180, call him at (573) 522-4115, ext. 3848, or e-mail him at Ombudsman@mdc.mo.gov.

Agent Notes

Wildlife laws are meant to benefit man and nature.

A Conservation Agent’s job is to try to achieve an acceptable level of compliance with the Wildlife Code. While enforcing the rules is an obvious part of that objective, education can play just as an important role. I believe that once people understand why we have certain rules they are more likely to follow them.

Simply put, wildlife laws are in place to make hunting and fishing safe, fun and fair. One violation that conservation agents deal with frequently is road hunting. The Wildlife Code prohibits taking wildlife from a motor vehicle and from/across a public roadway. The reason for this is safety. The most recent incident involved a camouflaged bow hunter who was sitting in his stand at the edge of a field. Late in the evening a car came creeping down the road. The driver poked a shotgun out of the car window and fired at a turkey that was standing in the field, striking the bow hunter with several pellets. This exemplifies why such laws are in place.

Other laws are in place to ensure the future of certain species. When wildlife populations are plentiful and can handle the pressure, harvest laws are more liberal. Wildlife populations that are struggling have more restrictive rules to protect them from overharvest. All this is designed to benefit the resources of Missouri. Responsible hunters and anglers know and understand that wildlife laws are their friend. Once you know this, following the rules just makes sense.

Jeff Scott is the conservation agent for Bollinger County, which is in the Southeast Region. If you would like to contact the agent for your county, phone your regional Conservation office.

Share the Harvest

Share the Harvest is a program that allows hunters to donate venison to needy Missourians. Many families and individuals have no dependable source of protein in their diets. Red meat can provide that important component. Deer is a valuable source of protein; however, unlike most red meat, it is unusually low in fat. Through Share the Harvest, Missouri hunters can help provide this part of the daily diet. Learn how you can contribute by visiting the link listed below.

This Issue's Staff

Editor In Chief - Ara Clark
Managing Editor - Nichole LeClair Terrill
Art Director - Cliff White
Writer/Editor - Tom Cwynar
Staff Writer - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Jim Low
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Designer - Stephanie Thurber
Artist - Dave Besenger
Artist - Mark Raithel
Circulation - Laura Scheuler