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From Missouri Conservationist: Jan 2011

Save Time and Money with e-Permits for Hunting and Fishing

Missouri is moving to a new system that will make buying hunting and fishing permits more convenient and help keep the cost of permits low.hunting

Beginning March 1, Missourians will be able to purchase sport hunting, fishing and trapping permits online through the e-Permits System and print them at home. Online permit buying has been available in Missouri since 2002. However, under the current online system, buyers receive only confirmation at the time of purchase. They use this confirmation while waiting to receive the actual permits through the mail, which can take up to two weeks. E-Permits will enable turkey and deer hunters to buy permits, print them and use them immediately.

Hunters will still be able to buy permits from traditional permit vendors under e-Permits if they prefer. Vendor-issued permits will continue to be printed on the current material until July 2012. The current material used to print permits will be phased out between July 2012 and July 2013. After that all permits, whether issued by vendors or printed at home, will be on paper.

Deer and turkey tagging procedures will change under e-Permits. The main difference will be that permits no longer will include a removable transportation tag. Instead, the permit itself will be the transportation tag. These permits will have months printed along one edge and dates on another edge. Hunters will notch the month and day when they shoot their game and then attach the permit to the animal.

E-Permits will not be printed on traditional yellow permit stock, so hunters will need to provide a means of attaching them to harvested game. Hunters are encouraged to put e-Permits inside clear plastic sandwich bags, laminate them or protect them in some manner and attach them to deer or turkeys with string, twist-ties, wire, plastic cable ties or tape. Protecting paper permits in this way will make it easier for hunters to write confirmation numbers on permits when Telechecking deer and turkeys.

Because e-Permits printed on paper will not be waterproof, hunters will need to put them inside clear plastic sandwich bags or other protective covers.

E-Permits will enable the Conservation Department to make better use of several million dollars in taxpayer money over the next five years as it phases out POS software, hardware and special permit material.

When fully implemented, e-Permits are expected to save approximately $500,000 in state funds annually. Hunters and anglers will gain the flexibility to choose between buying permits from vendors or online 24 hours a day.

Low permit cost is one more reason Missouri is a great place to hunt and fish. For comparison, Missouri residents pay $12 for an annual fishing permit, while residents in the eight neighboring states pay an average of $20.80 for the same privileges. Missouri’s $17 Resident Any-Deer Permit is a fantastic bargain compared to the average of $46.63 for equivalent privileges in surrounding states.

Deer Harvest Update

Hunters checked 188,205 deer during the 11-day November portion of the firearms deer season. Top harvest counties were Benton with 3,390 deer checked, Howell with 3,246 and Macon with 3,195.

Harvest numbers were up in northern Missouri compared to last year. This was mostly because weather delayed last year’s corn harvest, giving deer thousands of acres of hiding cover during deer season. This year’s weather favored an early harvest, making deer more visible to hunters.

The Department’s goal is to maintain deer numbers at levels that serve the best interest of citizens. To ensure that we can meet these goals in the future the Department continually seeks public comment. In recent years the Department has taken several steps to enhance efforts to manage the state’s deer herd. Some of these efforts have proven effective.

  • Low-cost antlerless tags
  • Four-point rule
  • Free landowner tags
  • Telecheck
  • Managed deer hunts on public land and urban areas
  • Urban season

Hunters play a critical role in managing deer numbers. Deer hunting is a powerful economic engine, too. Nearly 500,000 deer hunters spend more than $750 million each year directly related to deer hunting. Deer hunting generates more than $1 billion in overall business activity in Missouri annually and supports more than 11,000 jobs.

2010 Fishing Records Wrap-Up

In 2010 Missouri’s world-class fishing was spotlighted through anglers certifying six state records, four of which are confirmed or potential world records.

The action began Jan. 19, when 15-year-old Joshua Lee Vance of Bolivar gigged the 4-pound, 5-ounce white sucker from the Niangua River. His was not only the first fishing record of 2010, it was the first white sucker entered in the “alternate methods” category.

On April 9, when Nicholas Wray caught a 2-pound, 4-ounce black bullhead from a Cass County farm pond using a jug line. The bullhead nudged aside the previous record by 4 ounces. Missouri’s pole-and-line record for black bullhead is 4 pounds, 11 ounces.

Things really heated up in July, when John West, of Republic, caught a 58-pound, 10.4-ounce striped bass at Bull Shoals Lake in Taney County. At that time, the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) line-class record for inland waters was 47 pounds, 11 ounces.

A few days later, Greg Bernal, of Florissant, caught a 130-pound blue catfish on a handheld fishing pole while fishing on the Missouri River north of St. Louis. The fish was out of the water for nine hours and died before weighing, and likely had lost considerable weight. Nevertheless, the monster topped Missouri’s previous blue catfish record by 27 pounds. The IGFA has certified Bernal’s fish as an all-tackle world record. The previous world record was a 124-pounder taken from the Mississippi River near Alton, Ill.

July’s third record was a 99-pound flathead catfish caught with a bank pole by Robert Neal Davidson, of Mokane.

George Pittman Sr. landed an 8-pound, 3-ounce shortnose gar while fishing with a rod and reel at Lake Contrary in his hometown of St. Joseph. It topped the previous Missouri state record—a 1995 catch from Lower Big Lake, by 3.5 pounds. At the time, the IGFA recognized a 7-pound, 1-ounce fish from Texas as the world all-tackle record.

Entry forms and rules for registering Missouri state-record fish are available at A list of Missouri fishing records is available at The Conservation Department also has a Master Angler Program to recognize notable catches that fall short of records. For qualifying lengths and weights, visit

“No More Trash!” Contest

Missouri elementary, middle and home school students K-8 are invited to help in the fight against litter—and to have creative and educational fun—by participating in the 2011 “Yes You CAN Make Missouri Litter Free” Trash-Can Decorating Contest. The annual contest is sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and the Missouri Department of Transportation (Mo-DOT) as part of the state’s ongoing “No MOre Trash!” campaign to raise awareness about Missouri’s litter problem and to discourage littering.

“Littering isn’t just ugly, it hurts wildlife, it costs Missourians millions of tax dollars each year, and it’s illegal,” said MDC No MOre Trash! Coordinator Joe Jerek. “Birds, fish, turtles and other animals get tangled in litter, such as plastic six-pack holders and fishing line, and it can kill them. Litter and other trash can also poison fish, birds and other wildlife.”

Jerek added that MoDOT spends more than $5 million each year cleaning litter from Missouri’s roadsides and MDC spends almost $1 million a year to clean litter from conservation areas and other department locations.

The 2011 “Yes You CAN Make Missouri Litter Free” Trash-Can Decorating Contest encourages students to join in the fight against litter by decorating and displaying a large trash can with the “No MOre Trash!” logo and a litter-prevention message using a variety of creative media. There is no entry fee. Participating classes and groups must submit an entry form and photo of the completed can. Schools may submit one entry in each competition category: K-2, 3-5 and 6-8. Only Missouri schools, including home schools, are eligible. Entries are judged based on creativity, adherence to contest rules and effective use of theme and logo. Deadline for entries is March 1.

The first-place entry from each category receives a $100 award. All first-place winners are eligible for a grand prize of $500 and a trophy.

Contest rules, entry forms, the “No More Trash!” logo, 2010 contest winners, facts on litter and educational information are available online at For more information, call 573-522-4115, ext. 3362, or e-mail

Become a Master Naturalist

Co-sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation and University of Missouri Extension, the Master Naturalist™ program helps you become a well-informed community leader dedicated to improving natural resources.

To become a Master Naturalist, enroll in a 50-hour course on Missouri’s natural resource ecology and management. Once your training is complete, join your local chapter. To support your chapter, plan to donate 40 hours of natural resource-based volunteer service and achieve eight hours of continued education each year. Volunteer service falls into three categories: stewardship, education and interpretation, and citizen science.

Spring training starts in February and March in Camdenton, Columbia, Rolla and West Plains. Cost for the training varies by chapter. Visit for more information.

Video Helps Navigate MDC Website

The Conservation Department has a new, 3-minute YouTube video to help web surfers navigate the MDC website with greater speed and ease. Web Developer Chris Haefke introduces viewers to tips and tricks, such as using the new search tool designed to find the content you want among the treasure troves of information about outdoor recreation and forest, fish and wildlife management. For the quick and easy introduction to the newly redesigned MDC website, visit

Confirmed Mountain Lion Sighting

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) receives dozens of reports each year from Missourians claiming to have seen a mountain lion. Of the more than 1,000 recorded reports received since 1994, only 10 have yielded enough evidence to confirm the presence of a mountain lion. A recent confirmed sighting brings that number to 11.

A landowner in Platte County, north of Kansas City, contacted the MDC with a photograph he took the evening of Nov. 26 of a mountain lion in a tree on his property.

“The photo is clearly of a mountain lion,” said Rex Martensen, a wildlife damage biologist with the Department’s Mountain Lion Response Team (MLRT). “We visited with the landowner, who wishes to remain anonymous, to confirm the location and to gather additional information.”

Martensen added that the MLRT identified claw marks on the tree where the mountain lion was photographed and collected hair samples from where the big cat was perched for DNA testing.

“We will use the DNA results to help us identify where the cat came from,” explained Martensen. “We will compare the results with our database of captive mountain lions in Missouri and also look at mountain lion DNA information from western states.”

The MLRT conducts field investigations only in situations that involve human safety, or where there is potential physical evidence such as photographs, a wildlife kill, scat, hair or tracks directly linked to a sighting. The MLRT has investigated hundreds of mountain lion reports since it was created in 1996.

“More than 90 percent of reported mountain lion sightings turn out to be bobcats, house cats or dogs,” Martensen said. “And most of the photos we get turn out to be doctored photographs circulating on the Internet.”

He added that there have been no documented cases in Missouri of attacks on livestock, people or pets by mountain lions.

“Most mountain lions confirmed in Missouri in modern times, such as two killed on highways, are young males traveling from western states looking for new territory to the east,” he said. “While mountain lions occasionally wander into Missouri from other states, there is no proof of a self-sustaining, reproducing population.”

He added that the MDC has never stocked or released mountain lions in Missouri and has no plans to do so.

Mountain lions (Puma concolor), also called cougars, panthers and pumas, were present in Missouri before pioneer settlement. The last documented Missouri mountain lion was killed in the Bootheel in 1927. The nearest known populations are in Wyoming, Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota and Texas.

Mountain lions are a protected species in the state under the Wildlife Code of Missouri. The Code does allow the killing of any mountain lion attacking or killing livestock or domestic animals, or threatening human safety. The incident must be reported to the MDC immediately and the intact carcass, including the pelt, must be surrendered to the MDC within 24 hours.

To report a sighting, physical evidence or other incident, contact a local MDC office or conservation agent, or e-mail the MLRT at mountain.

For more information on mountain lions in Missouri, visit

Fall Firearms Turkey Harvest

Hunters checked 5,928 wild turkeys during Missouri’s fall firearms hunting season Oct. 1 through 31. It was the second-smallest harvest in the fall season’s 33-year history.

Top harvest counties were Greene with 199 turkeys checked, Franklin with 157 and Webster with 154.

Resource Scientist Jason Isabelle, who oversees the Missouri Department of Conservation’s turkey management program, said the harvest was about what he would expect based on the number of fall firearms turkey hunting permits sold.

This year’s fall firearms turkey harvest included 3,877 hens, or approximately 34 per county. Isabelle said a fall turkey harvest of this size has no effect on the number of turkeys available to hunters the following spring.

“Missouri’s wild turkey population is estimated at approximately 500,000 birds,” said Isabelle. “Population modeling indicates that as long as fall harvest does not exceed 10 percent of the statewide turkey population, it has little impact on the population. Even when you combine the fall archery and firearms harvests, the total is less than 2 percent of the state’s turkey population. That is well below the 10-percent threshold.”

Isabelle said that although turkey numbers are down in parts of the state due to poor reproduction, turkey hunters can still expect some outstanding hunting opportunities during the 2011 spring season. Spring turkey hunting information is available on our website in January at

Take Part In Our Furbearer Program

Great conservation work happens with the help of citizens. MDC has several furbearer programs that need your assistance.

Badger Study

We are still collecting badger sightings and carcasses as part of a study to learn more about their distribution, food habitats, reproduction, etc. Call 573-882-9909 to report badger sightings or to turn in a carcass.

Otter and Bobcat Study

Our plan is to measure trapper effort and sex/age data from harvested bobcats and otters. This information will allow us to build a database to learn about abundance, survival and harvest rates of these species so we can ensure an effective and sustainable harvest strategy. If you trap, you have received a packet and letter asking you to return a lower canine tooth from trapped otters and trapped or shot bobcats. Your cooperation with this project is greatly appreciated.

Big Critter Weigh-In

We will begin keeping information on record weight furbearers taken during the legal hunting or trapping seasons here in Missouri. We will have a certified scale at each of the fur auctions this winter, so if you catch an exceptionally large raccoon, bobcat, muskrat, etc., bring it to one of the auctions for a chance to hold a Missouri furbearer weight record. No awards will be given, but we will be publishing the results and plan to keep these records on file.bobcat

Did You Know?

Conservation Pays

  • The amount of state sales tax revenue generated from fish, forest and wildlife recreation spending is about the same amount of sales tax revenue received by the Conservation Department from the one-eighth of one percent Conservation Sales Tax.
  • $11.4 billion is the total economic impact of fish and wildlife recreation and the forest products industry in Missouri.
  • More than $1.47 million was paid to Missouri counties in fiscal year 2009 for forest cropland payments, levee and drainage district payments, inlieu-of-property-tax payments, and county aid road trust payments.
  • 31,700 jobs in Missouri are supported by the forestry and wood products industry—an industry that generates more than $5.7 billion.
  • 64,186 jobs in Missouri are supported by the annual expenditures related to fish, forest and wildlife recreation.
  • $211 million is spent each year in Missouri by nonresident anglers and hunters.
  • $1.1 billion is generated annually from deer hunting in Missouri. This results in $83 million in state and local tax revenue each year.
  • 11,824 jobs annually are supported by deer hunting in Missouri.
  • $382 million in state and local tax revenue is generated annually from fish, forest and wildlife spending.
  • For more information about the economics of conservation and MDC’s accomplishments and expenditures, read our complete fiscal year 2009–2010 annual report at

This Issue's Staff

Editor In Chief - Ara Clark
Managing Editor - Nichole LeClair Terrill
Art Director - Cliff White
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