News & Events

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From Missouri Conservationist: May 2017

by Joe Jerek

Squirrel, Black Bass Seasons Open Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day weekend is significant for squirrel hunters and black bass anglers in Missouri. The Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, May 27, marks the opening of both squirrel season statewide and catch-and-keep bass season in most streams south of the Missouri River.


Hunters can pursue fox and gray squirrels from May 27 through Feb. 15, 2018, with rifles, shotguns, and other legal firearms methods, along with archery equipment, slingshots, or atlatls. The daily limit for hunting and trapping is 10, with a possession limit of 20. Valid permits for squirrel hunting include archery hunting, daily small game, small game hunting and fishing, and small game hunting.

Hunters with valid permits can also take squirrels with cage-type traps. Traps must be plainly labeled on a durable material with the user’s full name and address or conservation number. Squirrel traps must have openings measuring 144 square inches or less, for instance, 12 inches by 12 inches. Hunters must tend to their traps daily. The same regulations apply to rabbits and groundhogs during their respective seasons.

For more information on squirrel hunting, check out the 2017 Summary of Missouri Hunting and Trapping Regulations, available where permits are sold or online at

Black Bass

The black bass catch-and-keep season applies to most streams south of the Missouri River for largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted or Kentucky bass and runs from May 27 to Feb. 28, 2018. Anglers may catch these species legally all year, anywhere in the state. They may keep legal-sized bass caught from impoundments all year long, statewide. In most of the state’s waters, the daily limit on black bass is six. Black bass taken from streams must be at least 12 inches long in most areas. Additional specific regulations may apply to specific waters or areas. Anglers must have a valid fishing permit or be exempt.

For more information on bass fishing, visit or check out the 2017 Summary of Missouri Fishing Regulations, available where permits are sold.

Get Hooked on Fishing

Get hooked on fishing with Free Fishing Days June 10 and 11. During this event, anyone can fish in the Show-Me State without purchasing a fishing permit, trout permit, or trout park daily tag. Normal regulations remain in effect, such as limits on size and number of fish an angler can keep. Special permits can still be required at some county, city, or private fishing areas. Trespass laws remain in effect on private property.

Conservation makes Missouri a great place to fish, and Free Fishing Days encourages people to sample the state’s abundant fishing opportunities. Missouri has more than a million acres of surface water, and most of it provides great fishing. More than 200 different fish species are found in Missouri, with more than 20 of them being game fish for the state’s more than 1.1 million anglers.

For information on Missouri fishing regulations, permit requirements, fish identification, and more, get a copy of 2017 Summary of Missouri Fishing Regulations where permits are sold or online at

Auction in Salem

We will hold our next semi-annual public auction of used MDC vehicles and equipment June 10 at 10 a.m. at the Salem Maintenance Center, located at the junction of Highway 72 and Highway 32. The auction will include boats, outboard motors, tractors, dozers, farm equipment, vehicles, and more.

Cash, check, and credit/debit cards will be accepted. As required by state statute, MDC must charge a convenience fee to all customers who pay by credit or debit card.

Those interested can view auction items June 9 at the Salem Maintenance Center from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with preregistration starting at 9 a.m. Registration the day of the sale begins at 7:30 a.m. A complete lot listing and terms of sales will be available at the registration desk the day of the auction. A list of auction items will be available online the week before the auction at

Find Places to Discover Nature

Does spring fever have you itching to get outside? Do you enjoy hiking, biking, hunting, fishing, photography, shooting sports, wildlife watching, or other outdoor activities? Let the MDC website help you find Places to Go to discover nature on our more than 1,000 conservation areas, accesses, shooting ranges, nature centers, and more all around the Show-Me State. Visit and search by activity, facility, natural feature, city, county, zip code, or specific area. See our featured Places to Go — Wah’Kon-Tah Prairie — in this issue.

Plant for Pollinators

May brings to mind Mother’s Day for many, and flowers are a popular gift. Give the gift of native flowers this May by planting native flowering plants. Whether you have a small urban lot or balcony, a suburban yard or rural acreage, you can include native plants in your landscape. Various types thrive in sun, shade, wet, or dry conditions.

Missouri’s wide variety of native plants creates beauty and interest with their foliage, flowers, and fruits. They also furnish food and cover for important pollinators, such as butterflies, bees, birds, and other wildlife. Native plants make gardening easier because they are adapted to our climate and soils, require little or no extra watering, and seldom require fertilizer or pesticides.

Get tips, types, information, and instructions from the free MDC publication

Native Plants for Your Landscape available online at, by emailing a request to, or by calling 573-751-4115, ext. 3630.

Wildlife Management for Missouri Landowners

This free booklet provides new and updated information on wildlife habitat needs and improved habitat management techniques for grasslands, native prairies, wetlands, uplands, forests, woodlands, and savannas.

Private landowners in Missouri are responsible for the care and management of over 90 percent of land in the state. The continued survival of Missouri’s fish, forests, and wildlife — and their habitats — depend on conservation stewardship by private landowners. This publication is a landowner’s and land manager’s guide to implementing quality land management practices that will protect and conserve these valuable resources. Request a copy by emailing pubstaff@ or by calling 573-751-4115, ext. 3630.

Don’t Move Firewood

Most insect pests emerge from firewood during warm months, and moving firewood to new locations — such as from home to a campsite — can easily spread invasive pests to new areas.

Insects and diseases can be very hard to detect in firewood because they are often concealed under bark. Even seasoned wood with no signs of bugs, holes, or sawdust can harbor insect eggs or fungal spores capable of starting a new infestation that destroys trees, decreases property values, and costs a lot of money to manage.

Pests that pose the biggest threat to Missouri forests include the emerald ash borer, Asian longhorned beetle, gypsy moth, and thousand cankers disease for black walnut.

Missouri is under a statewide quarantine that restricts the movement of hardwood firewood out of the state as well as the importation of hardwood firewood from some states.

Firewood is legal to move within the state, but tree-health experts strongly recommend not moving firewood more than 50 miles from where it was harvested to reduce the risk of spreading invasive pests. Moving firewood less than 10 miles from its origin is best. Learn more at

What is it?

Checkered Madtom | Notorus flavater

The checkered madtom is a moderately small catfish with a yellowish back and four prominent black crossbars down the length of its body. Its upper jaw protrudes beyond its lower jaw, revealing saw-like teeth. The checkered madtom can reach 6.7 inches in length, and is found in the southern Ozarks from the upper White River east to the Current River. It is less abundant than other madtoms and seems to be declining in the White River system. Little is known about the habits and life history of this fish. Like other madtoms, it is secretive and nocturnal, remaining under cover in the daytime and actively searching the bottoms for food at night. —photograph by Jim Rathert

Wild Webcast: Missouri Birds and Birding

Join our Wild Webcast: Missouri Birds and Birding May 10 from 1–2 p.m. to learn about:

  • Common birds found in Missouri
  • Building bird habitat in backyards and on big acreage
  • Birding for beginners
  • The Great Missouri Birding Trail, and more

MDC staff with personal and professional expertise with birds and birding will provide a brief presentation and then answer questions from webcast participants. Register at

Watch previous MDC Wild Webcasts on Talking Hogs, The Buzz About Pollinators, Be

Bear Aware, The Fight Against Chronic Wasting Disease, and Discover Nature — Fishing at MDC will also offer Wild Webcasts on mountain lions in September and invasive species in November.

Did you know?

Conservation makes Missouri a great place to fish.

MDC Makes it Easy to Get Hooked on Fishing

Our cold- and warm-water hatcheries help keep fish plentiful in Missouri waters, and our online services make getting fishing permits and finding good places to fish easier than ever. Kids and families brand-new to fishing can learn angling basics through our Discover Nature — Fishing program.

Check out these details:

  • MDC cold-water hatcheries stocked more than 1.3 million trout in
  • 2016. These fish were distributed in four trout parks, 12 stream specialmanagement areas, and in Lake Taneycomo and 34 urban lakes.
  • MDC hatcheries stocked 3.2 million warm-water fish in 2016. Species stocked include hybrid striped bass, muskie, lake sturgeon, paddlefish, largemouth bass, hybrid sunfish, channel catfish, and walleye.
  • Buy permits from vendors by calling toll free 1-800-392-4115 or through the MO Fishing app. To buy fishing permits online for immediate printing and use, visit
  • Our free MO Fishing phone application helps you plan a successful fishing trip. Browse fishing reports for conditions at selected lakes, rivers, and trout parks across Missouri. Find MDC boat ramps on Missouri’s major lakes, rivers, and streams, and see where MDC has established underwater fish structures that attract fish. With the geo-location feature, you can guide your boat to a fish attractor and start fishing. You can also view a fish identification guide and purchase and store your paperless fishing permit. For more information and to download the application, visit
  • Our Discover Nature — Fishing program helps kids ages 7 to15 and families gain the skills and confidence to go fishing on their own.
  • Call your regional MDC office to learn when program classes are available in your area, or browse the Discover Nature — Fishing events calendar online at

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