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From Missouri Conservationist: May 2015

What Is It?

Our photographers have been busy exploring the intricacies of outdoor Missouri. See if you can guess this month’s natural wonder.

What Is It 05-2015


Q: My dog found a nest of baby rabbits in our yard, but I don’t see the mother. What can I do to help them?

A: There was an article in the first issue of the Missouri Conservationist, July 1938, that answered this question perfectly. Here’s a short excerpt: “Leave the wildlife babies in their cradles. With many of the outdoor areas over the state being used by picnickers and fishing parties, some persons almost without any effort on their part find young birds or animals. Some of these people may believe they are doing a kindness in capturing the creatures because they appear to have been abandoned. ... The parents will return and take much better care of them than could any human. The outdoors is a day nursery for these wildlife babies — leave them there.” Sound advice that still rings true today. For more information, visit mdc.mo.gov/node/4706.

Q: What kind of permits do I need to take my grandchildren fishing? Do you have any suggestions on good fishing activities for kids?

A: Everyone who fishes must have the appropriate lifetime, annual, or daily fishing permit, or qualify for an exemption. Any Missouri resident 65 or older, or any person 15 years or younger, doesn’t need a permit. Youth who are fishing without a permit are limited to the following methods: pole and line, gig, bow, crossbow, snaring, grabbing, and snagging. Adults without a fishing permit cannot actively assist with fishing. Since younger kids are unpredictable around fish and fishing, it’s often best for adults to have a fishing permit as well. There are several special events coming up that offer great opportunities for kids and families to fish and have fun, including the Spring Kids Fishing Days May 2 (Bennett Springs and Montauk) and May 16 (Maramec and Roaring River) at the state trout parks. Everyone in the state can fish without a permit during the Department’s annual Free Fishing Days June 6–7. Requirements for special permits may still apply at some county, city, or private areas. For more information about upcoming fishing events, permits, or the free “Find MO Fish” mobile app, visit mdc.mo.gov/node/89.

Q: When I was fishing in another state, I noticed a weird-looking slime covering the bottom of the stream. How do we keep that out of Missouri streams?

A: The weird-looking slime you saw also has a weird-sounding name. It’s called rock snot. Didymo, or rock snot, is a single-celled algae that can take over a stream, making it impossible to fish. To keep rock snot out of Missouri, use wader wash stations at trout park areas before entering a stream. Also, be sure to check your waders and fishing gear for algae. Clean all gear in a 2 percent bleach solution or with dishwashing detergent, or dry any item that’s been in the water by exposing it to sunlight for 48 hours. These simple precautions can make a huge difference in keeping our Missouri streams healthy. Learn more about preventing the spread of rock snot at mdc.mo.gov/node/15265.

Address: PO Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0180
Phone: 573-522-4115, ext. 3848 Email: AskMDC@mdc.mo.gov

Cartoon 05-2015

Agent Notes

Missouri’s Float Streams: A Relaxing Getaway

As the days get longer and the temperatures begin to rise, more and more folks are looking for a relaxing getaway. With dozens of float streams and hundreds of miles of cool, springfed water in Missouri, a float trip is a great option. Floating on any of Missouri’s many streams offers fishing, wildlife watching, and the serenity of listening to the water as it flows downstream.

As with any fun outdoor activity, there are things you must do to ensure a safe and enjoyable floating experience.

Here are a few things to consider. Take time to learn about the stretch of water you plan to float. Make sure that you don’t overdo it. As conservation agents, we regularly patrol waterways throughout the year, and one thing we commonly encounter is people who take on a longer float than they expected.

If solitude is what you’re after, try to go on a weekday.

Make sure to take hats, sunglasses, and, most importantly, sunscreen. Pack your essentials in a dry bag and take a life jacket. There are plenty of businesses along Missouri’s streams that provide canoes, transportation to and from the water, and other essentials.

For more information on Missouri’s float streams, visit mdc.mo.gov/node/17947

What Is It?

Western Kingbird

Tyrannus verticalis

What is it 02 05-2015

Western kingbirds forage from power lines or large trees for flying insects. The name kingbird is derived from a small, bright-orange patch of feathers atop the bird’s head. This “crown” is only flashed on occasion, often in a display of aggression. The western kingbird is most common on the western side of the state. It occurs in semi-open country, roadsides, fields, and agricultural land wherever there are enough scattered trees to provide hunting perches and nesting sites. Nests are often located on the cross arms of power poles or on stadium lights. Pairs mate monogamously, staying together to feed their young for up to three weeks after the young have fledged. Each brood contains three to seven eggs, and one to two broods may be laid each year. Western kingbirds are summer residents, and they spend their winter on the Pacific side of southern Mexico, southward to Costa Rica. —photograph by Noppadol Paothong

This Issue's Staff

Editor In Chief - Nichole LeClair Terrill
Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld
Art Director - Cliff White
Staff Writer/Editor - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Heather Feeler
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Designer - Stephanie Thurber
Circulation - Laura Scheuler