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From Missouri Conservationist: February 2017

By Joe Jerek

Upcoming Deer and Turkey Hunting Dates

At its meeting Dec. 16, the Missouri Conservation Commission approved recommendations by the Missouri Department of Conservation for the 2017–2018 turkey and deer hunting season dates.

2017 Spring Turkey Hunting Dates
  • Youth Portion: April 8–9
  • Regular Turkey Season: April 17 –May 7, 2017–2018 Fall Turkey Hunting Dates
  • Archery Season: Sept. 15–Nov. 10 and Nov. 22–Jan. 15, 2018
  • Firearms Turkey Season: Oct. 1–31 2017–2018 Fall Deer Hunting Dates
  • Archery Deer: Sept. 15–Nov. 10 and Nov. 22–Jan. 15, 2018
  • Firearms Deer Early Youth Portion: Oct. 28–29
  • Firearms Deer November Portion: Nov. 11–21
  • Firearms Deer Late Youth Portion: Nov. 24–26
  • Firearms Deer Antlerless Portion: Dec. 1–3
  • Firearms Deer Alternative Methods Portion: Dec. 23–Jan. 2, 2018

Details on hunting regulations, harvest limits, allowed methods, required permits, and other related information will be available in the Department’s 2017 Spring Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet and the 2017 Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet. Both will be available prior to the related seasons where permits are sold and at Department regional offices.

For more information on deer and turkey hunting, visit and click on Hunting/Trapping on the homepage.

Buy Missouri hunting permits from numerous vendors around the state, online at, or through the Department’s free mobile apps, MO Hunting and MO Fishing, available for download through Google Play for Android devices or the App Store for Apple devices.

Apply Online for Spring Managed Turkey Hunts

Missouri youth, archery, and firearms turkey hunters can apply online for 2017 spring turkey managed hunts through the Department’s website at Managed hunt details and application procedures are outlined on the web page. Applications will be taken through Feb. 28, and drawing results will be posted March 13.

“No MOre Trash!” Contest

The Missouri Department of Conservation and the Missouri Department of Transportation invite Missouri public, private, and home-school students in grades K–8 to help fight litter in the Show-Me State — and to have creative and educational fun while doing it — by participating in the 2017 “Yes You CAN Make Missouri Litter-Free” trash-can-decorating contest.

The annual trash-can contest encourages school classes and groups 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. The contest is part of the state’s ”No MOre Trash!” statewide litter campaign.

Schools may submit one entry in each competition category: K–2, 3–5, and 6–8. Entries are judged based on creativity, adherence to contest rules, and effective use of theme and logo.

First-place winners from each competition category receive $200 awarded to the sponsoring schools. All first-place winners are then eligible for a grand prize, which includes a trophy and $600 awarded to the sponsoring school.

There is no entry fee for the contest. Participating school groups must submit a completed entry form online with up to three photos to by Friday, March 17. Contest rules, entry forms, logo, past contest entries and winners, and educational information can also be found at

Changes to Smallmouth and Rock Bass Regulations

The Missouri Conservation Commission gave final approval in December to regulation changes related to smallmouth bass and rock bass. The regulation changes become effective March 30.

The regulation changes create a standard 15-inch minimum length limit for smallmouth bass and a daily limit of one for all smallmouth bass special management areas. They also expand these areas on the Big Piney, Jacks Fork, Big, and Meramec rivers.

The existing minimum length limit for smallmouth bass of 12 inches and daily limit of six fish remain for all other Missouri streams.

The regulation changes also set a statewide length limit of 7 inches for rock bass (also called goggle-eye, warmouth, Ozark bass, and shadow bass) and removed the Osage Fork of the Gasconade River from the rock bass special management areas.

The regulation changes are based on extensive scientific research related to bass populations and harvest with consideration of public input received, including from nine public meetings held by the Department.

For more information on bass fishing, visit

What is it?

Red-Bellied Woodpecker | Melanerpes carolinus

Red-bellied woodpeckers are common statewide and found in forests, woodlands, parks, and suburban areas. They frequent backyard bird feeders during the winter months in search of sunflower seeds and suet. Red-bellied woodpeckers forage amongst the trees for acorns, fruits, and insects, using their strong bill to chip away at bark to expose hiding creatures. Their tongue is long, barbed, and sticky, and the woodpecker uses it to extract insects from crevices. Like many other woodpeckers, this species excavates nest holes in the wood of dead or decaying trees or limbs. Clutches comprise two to six eggs, which incubate for 12 days. Young birds fledge 24–27 days later. The red-bellied woodpecker’s wings are banded with narrow black-and-white lines. The male has a wide red band from its bill over the crown to the nape, while the female has red on the nape only.

—photograph by Noppadol Paothong

Conservation Commission Actions

The December Commission meeting featured presentations and discussions regarding grassland conservation partnerships, 2017 Missouri wild turkey hunting regulation recommendations, CWD mandatory sampling efforts and firearms opening weekend review, major construction projects, information technology projects, and the financial report. A summary of actions taken during the Dec. 15–16 meeting for the benefit and protection of fish, forests, and wildlife, and the citizens who enjoy them includes:

Recognized the Missouri Prairie Foundation with a 50th anniversary proclamation for achievements in grassland conservation and partnership with the Department.

Following consideration of public input, gave final approval of rule changes to establish daily and length limits for smallmouth bass and goggle-eye in special management areas and modify the boundaries of those areas on certain waterways as written.

  • Approved 2017 Missouri wild turkey hunting regulation recommendations.
  • Approved season dates for each portion of the 2017–2018 firearms deer hunting season.
  • Approved bids received for construction of the Montauk Fish Hatchery Bulk Feed Tower Project in Dent County, and authorized a contract with Cahills Construction, Inc., of Rolla. The project will receive 75 percent federal funding through a Federal Sport Fish Restoration Grant.
  • Approved the advertisement and sale of 1,031,214 board feet of timber located on 548 acres of Compartment 6, Sunklands Conservation Area (CA) in Shannon County.
  • Approved the advertisement and sale of 518,840 board feet of timber located on 571 acres of Compartment 2, Rocky Creek CA in Shannon County.
  • Approved the purchase of two tracts in Jefferson County consisting of 18.34 acres and 32.52 acres, respectively, and accepted the donation of an adjacent tract consisting of 24.99 acres as an addition to Young CA.
  • Approved the purchase of 69.93 acres in Platte County as an addition to Platte Falls CA.
  • Approved the purchase of 40 acres in Cass County as an addition to Settle’s Ford CA.
  • Approved the nomination of Leo A. Drey for induction into the Missouri Conservation Hall of Fame.
  • Approved the nomination of Glenn Chambers to receive the Master Conservationist Award.
  • The next Conservation Commission meeting is Feb. 16–17. For more information, visit or call your regional Conservation.

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