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From Missouri Conservationist: July 2016

by Joe Jerek

Celebrate Safely

The Missouri Department of Conservation reminds people to be extremely careful with fireworks, campfires, and other sources of fire that could cause a wildfire.


  • Don’t light fireworks in any areas where the sparks could ignite dry grass, leaves, or other potential fire fuel.
  • Always have an approved fire extinguisher and an available water supply to douse sparks or flames.
  • Wet the area around where fireworks are being discharged.
  • Check with local ordinances and authorities for bans on fireworks and open burning.

Outdoor Burning

  • Don’t burn during wrong conditions. Dry grass, high temperatures, low humidity, and wind make fire nearly impossible to control.
  • Check with local fire departments regarding burn bans that may be in place.
  • A person who starts a fire for any reason is responsible for any damage it may cause.

Driving Off Road

  • Wildfires can start when fine, dry fuel, such as grass, comes in contact with catalytic converters.
  • Think twice before driving into and across a grassy field.
  • Never park over tall, dry grass or piles of leaves that can touch the underside of a vehicle.
  • When driving vehicles off road, regularly inspect the undercarriage to ensure that fuel and brake lines are intact and no oil leaks are apparent.
  • Always carry an approved fire extinguisher on vehicles that are used off road.
  • Check for the presence of spark arresters on ATV exhausts.

Making a Campfire

  • Clear a generous zone around fire rings.
  • Store unused firewood a good distance from a campfire.
  • Never use gasoline, kerosene, or other flammable liquid to start a fire.
  • Keep campfires small and controllable.
  • Keep fire-extinguishing materials, such as a rake, shovel, and bucket of water, close.

Never Leave a Campfire Unattended

  • Extinguish campfires each night and before leaving camp (even if it’s just for a few moments).

Smokers: Practice Extra Caution

  • Extinguish cigarettes completely and safely and dispose of them responsibly by burning them in a controlled campfire or packing them out.

Call For Help

  • Call 911 at the first sign of a fire getting out of control.

Report Forest Arson

  • Many wildfires are set by vandals. Help stop arson by calling 800-392-1111. Callers will remain anonymous, and rewards are possible.

Fire used in the wrong way can create disasters. Used in the right way, fire can help create habitat for wildlife. For more information on using prescribed fire as a land-management tool, visit and search “prescribed fire.”

Department Offers New Magazine App

Enjoy reading the Missouri Conservationist? Get it through your smartphone or other mobile device with our new free MO Con Mag mobile app. The free app gives you access to the latest issue of the magazine to save and read. Get more information and download the new app for Apple or Android devices at

Managed Deer Hunt Applications Open

Deer hunters can apply online from July 1–31 for a shot at more than 100 managed deer hunts for archery, crossbow, muzzleloader, and modern firearms from mid-September through mid-January at conservation areas, state parks, national wildlife refuges, urban parks, and other public areas. Managed hunts include ones specifically for youth only and for people with disabilities. Hunters are selected by a weighted random drawing. Results will be available Sept. 1 through Jan. 15. Selected applicants will receive area maps and other hunt information by mail.

Get more information on managed deer hunts and apply starting July 1 at

Details about managed hunts can also be found in the Department’s 2016 Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet, available at regional offices, nature centers, permit vendors, and online at

Grab Your Gear for Frogging Season

Have a taste for frog legs? Grab your gear and find a pond to catch some green frogs and bullfrogs during frogging season, June 30 at sunset through Oct. 31. The daily limit is eight frogs of both species combined. The possession limit allows you to have no more than 16 frogs at a time.

Frogging can be done with either a fishing permit or a small-game hunting permit. Children under the age of 16 and Missouri residents 65 or older are not required to have a permit. Those with a fishing permit may take frogs by hand, hand net, atlatl, gig, bow, trotline, throw line, limb line, bank line, jug line, snagging, snaring, grabbing, or pole and line. With a small game hunting permit, frogs may be harvested using a .22-caliber or smaller rimfire rifle or pistol, pellet gun, atlatl, bow, crossbow, or by hand or hand net. The use of an artificial light is permitted when frogging.

For more information about bullfrog and green frog hunting, visit

What Is It?

Eastern Prickly Pear | Opuntia humifusa

The eastern prickly pear is a low spreading, succulent cactus. Its numerous yellow flowers with orange centers bloom from May through July. The large, paddle-like green pads are technically the thickened, flattened stems. New pads have tiny, soft, conical bumps that are the true leaves. These persist only briefly before drying and falling off. At the base of each leaf is a cluster of one to six spines plus many tiny, hair-like bristles that are very difficult to remove from the skin once they are embedded. Its fruit is edible, purplish red, and pear-shaped, with tufts or bristles. The seeds are embedded in a pale, slimy substance. The eastern prickly pear can be found nearly statewide, preferring to grow in sunny, dry places. Some of the plant’s typical habitats include upland prairies, sand prairies, glades, bluffs, rocky stream terraces, pastures, roadsides, and open, disturbed areas.

—photograph by Jim Rathert

Migratory Game Bird and Waterfowl Seasons

Missouri’s upcoming 2016 migratory game bird season and 2016–2017 waterfowl season includes 20 more days for dove hunting, a 60-day duck season, and changes to season timing and length for geese.

2016 Migratory Game Bird Hunting 2016

Mourning doves, eurasian collared doves, and white-winged doves

  • Season: Sept. 1 through Nov. 29
  • Limits: 15 daily and 45 in possession, combined total for all three species
  • Hours: One-half hour before sunrise to sunset

Sora and Virginia rails

  • Season: Sept. 1 through Nov. 9
  • Limits: 25 daily and 75 in possession, combined for both species
  • Hours: One-half hour before sunrise to sunset

Wilson’s (common) snipe

  • Season: Sept. 1 through Dec. 16
  • Limits: 8 daily and 24 in possession
  • Hours: One-half hour before sunrise to sunset

American woodcock

  • Season: Oct. 15 through Nov. 28
  • Limits: 3 daily and 9 in possession
  • Hours: One-half hour before sunrise to sunset

2016–2017 Waterfowl Hunting


  • Season: Sept. 10–25
  • Limits: 6 daily and 18 in possession
  • Hours: Sunrise to sunset



  • North Zone: Oct. 29 through Dec. 27, 2016
  • Middle Zone: Nov. 5 through Jan. 3, 2017
  • South Zone: Nov. 24 through Jan. 22, 2017

Bag limit: 6 ducks daily with species restrictions of

  • 4 mallards (no more than 2 females)
  • 3 scaup
  • 3 wood ducks
  • 2 redheads
  • 2 hooded mergansers
  • 2 pintails
  • 2 canvasbacks
  • 1 black duck
  • 1 mottled duck
  • Possession Limit: Three times the daily bag or 18 total, varies by species
  • Hours: One-half hour before sunrise to sunset


  • Season: Concurrent with duck seasons in the respective zones
  • Limits: 15 daily and 45 in possession
  • Hours: One-half hour before sunrise to sunset

Snow and Ross’s geese

  • Season: Nov. 11 through Feb. 6, 2017
  • Limits: 20 blue, snow, or Ross’s geese daily with no possession limit
  • Hours: One-half hour before sunrise to sunset

White-fronted geese

  • Season: Nov. 11 through Feb. 6, 2017
  • Limits: 2 daily and 6 in possession
  • Hours: One-half hour before sunrise to sunset

Canada geese and brant

  • Season: Oct. 1–9 and Nov. 11–Feb. 6, 2017
  • Limits: 3 Canada geese and brant in aggregate daily, 9 in possession
  • Hours: One-half hour before sunrise to sunset

Youth hunting days

  • Seasons:
  • North Zone: Oct. 22–23
  • Middle Zone: Oct. 29–30
  • South Zone: Nov. 19–20
  • Limits: Same as during the regularwaterfowl season
  • Hours: Same as during the regular waterfowl season
  • Requirements: Any person 15 years old or younger may participate in youth waterfowl hunting days without a permit provided they are in the immediate presence of an adult 18 years old or older. If the youth hunter is not certified in hunter education, the adult must have the required permits and have in his or her possession proof of hunter education unless exempt. The adult may not hunt ducks but may participate in other seasons that are open on the special youth days.

Falconry season for doves

  • Season: Sept. 1 through Dec. 16
  • Limits: 3 daily and 9 in possession, singly, or in the aggregate (any waterfowl taken by falconers must be included in these limits)
  • Hours: One-half hour before sunrise to sunset

Falconry season for ducks, coots, and mergansers

  • Season: Feb. 10 through March 10
  • Limits: 3 daily and 9 in possession, singly, or in the aggregate during the regular duck hunting seasons (including teal and youth seasons) and extended falconry seasons (any doves taken by falconers must be included in these limits)
  • Hours: One-half hour before sunrise to sunset

Light goose conservation order

  • Season: Feb. 7, 2017 through April 30, 2017
  • Limits: No daily or possession limits
  • Hours: One-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset
  • Requirements: Hunters must possess a conservation order permit unless he or she is 15 years old or younger and in the presence of an adult 18 years or older, who has successfully completed hunter education or is exempt.
  • Methods: To take blue, snow, and Ross’s geese, hunters may use shotguns capable of holding more than three shells, recorded or electronically amplified bird calls, or sounds or imitations of bird calls or sounds.

For more information on migratory bird hunting and waterfowl hunting, visit

Did You Know?

Missourians care about conserving fish, forests, and wildlife.

Tools For Conserving Sensitive Plants, Animals, and Habitat

If you love to hunt, fish, and enjoy nature, you’re probably familiar with Missouri’s more common kinds of plants, animals, and habitats.

  • Many of our lesser known plants, animals, and habitat types have declined sharply since European settlement. Yet they remain a valued — and valuable — part of our state’s natural heritage. These rare organisms work in their ecosystems in ways we don’t fully understand, and they could contribute to future solutions for healthcare and economic enterprises if we continue to conserve and sustain them.
  • To help people, communities, builders, and land-use agencies conserve these sensitive-but-important wild organisms and wild places, the Department and its partners have established two key tracking tools.
    • The first is the Natural Heritage Program. Since 1981, this collaborative effort has tracked and ranked 25 lichen species, 504 plant species, 408 animal species, and 85 natural communities. To find the species and communities of conservation concern in your county, visit, and click on your county.
    • A related tracking tool is the Missouri Species and Communities of Conservation Concern Checklist. Updated annually, this booklet shows the level of concern about each of the listings in the Natural Heritage Program’s database. To download your copy, visit

This Issue's Staff

Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld
Art Director - Cliff White
Associate Editor - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Heather Feeler
Staff Writer - Kristie Hilgedick
Staff Writer - Joe Jerek
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Designer - Les Fortenberry
Designer - Marci Porter
Designer - Stephanie Thurber
Circulation - Laura Scheuler