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From Missouri Conservationist: Sep 2011

Ask the Ombudsman

Q: What are the webs that I’m seeing at the ends of tree branches? Will they harm the trees?

A: You are seeing the silken webs of a small, white moth that occurs throughout Missouri, called the fall webworm moth. Its larval stage, the caterpillar builds the silken nests on the branches of many species of deciduous trees in late summer and fall. In Missouri, pecans, walnuts, hickory, elms, persimmon, sweetgum and fruit trees are preferred hosts. The caterpillars will feed on the leaves of the tree and can defoliate branches. Usually not significantly harming the tree, the unsightly webs are more of an aesthetic issue than a plant health problem.

Q: I heard that birds can eat fertilized fish eggs from one pond and then, through their droppings, “seed” another pond with those eggs. Is that true?

A: The digestive process and the anaerobic conditions that the fish eggs would experience in the bird’s gut would be fatal. It may be possible for fish eggs to be moved by birds if the eggs were stuck to their feet or, more likely, contained in vegetation transported by a bird. A lot of things would have to go right for that to occur and it would certainly be very uncommon. When fish appear in an unstocked pond, it is usually the result of wild fish moving upstream or downstream from other ponds or streams in the watershed during wet periods or due to intentional stockings.

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

Learn the regulations before you pick a flower.

Take a drive down any Missouri road and you’re likely to see all kinds of wildflowers growing in the ditches and right-of-ways. These wildflowers are not only pleasing to the human eye but they also have an important role in the environment. While it may be tempting to pull over and pick a few for the vase on the kitchen table or dig some to transplant to your own yard, it’s not legal to do so.

The removal of any tree, shrub, vine, wildflower, grass or fern from any real property of the Transportation Commission, or right-of-way of any highway or roadway, is illegal. The good news is any seeds, fruits, nuts, berries or edible wild greens may be collected for the personal consumption of the taker. However, none of the seeds, fruits, nuts berries or edible wild greens may be offered for sale by the taker.

In regard to the collection of wild plants, plant products and mushrooms on most conservation areas throughout the state, the Wildlife Code of Missouri states in 3 CSR 10-11.135(1), “Nuts, berries, fruits, edible wild greens and mushrooms may be taken only for personal consumption, unless further restricted in this chapter.” The Wildlife Code does not allow the taking of any of the aforementioned edible items from any Conservation Nature Center or the Conservation Commission Headquarters located in Jefferson City.

The next time you’re out take time to admire the beautiful wildflowers growing along Missouri’s roadways or throughout conservation areas but remember to just look and don’t pick. Leave them so others can enjoy their beauty, too.

Jarrad Jewell is the conservation agent for Dallas County. If you would like to contact the agent for your county, phone your regional conservation office listed on Page 3.

Outdoors Calendar

To view fishing and hunting seasons, visit mdc.mo.gov/seasons

For complete information about seasons, limits, methods and restrictions, consult the Wildlife Code and the current summaries of “Missouri Hunting and Trapping Regulations” and “Missouri Fishing Regulations,” the “Fall Deer and Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information,” the “Waterfowl Hunting Digest” and the “Migratory Bird Hunting Digest.” This information is on our Web site at mdc.mo.gov/about-us/about-regulations and at permit vendors.

The Conservation Department’s computerized point-of-sale system allows you to purchase or replace your permits through local vendors or by phone. The toll-free number is 800/392-4115. Allow 10 days for delivery of telephone purchases. To purchase permits online go to www2.mo.wildlifelicense.com/start.php.

Wingshooting Workshops

Free workshops to help hunters develop wingshooting skills continue through Oct. 8. These are hands-on events, including range time with expert shooting coaches and ammunition provided. Topics include choke and load selection for nontoxic ammunition, shooting skills, range estimation and shotgun patterning. Events are scheduled for:

  • Warrensburg, Sept. 10 at University of Central Missouri, 660-530-5500;
  • St. Louis, Sept. 16 through 18 at Henges Range, 636-938-9548;
  • Ashland, Sept. 17 at the Charles W. Green Conservation Area, 573-882-8388, ext. 230;
  • St. Joseph, Sept. 24 at MDC’s Northwest Regional Office, 816-271-3100;
  • Kirksville, Sept. 24 at MDC’s Northeast Regional Office, 660-785-2420;
  • St. Louis, Sept. 30 through Oct. 2 at Busch Range, 636-300-1953, ext. 302;
  • Bois D’Arc CA, Oct. 1 at Dalton Range, 417-742-4361;
  • Kansas City, Oct. 8 at Lake City Range, 816-249-3194;
  • Hannibal area, Oct. 8 at Ted Shanks CA, 573-882-8388, ext. 230.

For more information on the effective wingshooting workshops, visit mdc.mo.gov/node/3710.

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 - Mark Raithel
Circulation - Laura Scheuler