In Brief

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From Missouri Conservationist: February 2018

MDC Earns Sustainable Forestry Certification

SFI certification confirms MDC forest management practices are sound and comprehensive.

MDC recently received certification from the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) for sustainable forestry practices on more than 653,000 acres of state land. SFI is one of the world’s most recognized independent third-party forest management certification standards.

“Certification to SFI considers all aspects of our forest management process — from our actions taken in the woods to the paperwork we keep in our files,” said MDC State Forester Lisa Allen. “We are extremely proud to achieve this certification, which means we have outside validation that we are properly managing our forest resources to ensure their health and sustainability.”

SFI certification is based on principles, goals, and performance measures that were developed nationally by professional foresters, conservationists, and others with the intention of promoting sustainable forest management in North America. SFI and its many partners work together to balance environmental, economic, and social objectives, such as conservation of wildlife habitat and biodiversity, harvesting forest products, protecting water quality, providing forest industry jobs, and developing recreational opportunities. The SFI Forest Management Standard is also the only standard that requires participants to support forestry research. For more information, visit

Commission Passes 2018 Deer, Turkey Hunting Dates

During its regular Dec. 15 meeting, the Missouri Conservation Commission approved MDC’s recommendations for the 2018–2019 turkey and deer hunting season dates. 2018 Spring Turkey Hunting Dates

  • Youth portion: April 7–8
  • Regular turkey season: April 16–May 6 2018 Fall Turkey Hunting Dates
  • Archery season: Sept. 15–Nov. 9 and Nov. 21–Jan. 15, 2019
  • Firearms turkey season: Oct. 1–31 2018–2019 Fall Deer Hunting Dates
  • Archery deer: Sept. 15–Nov. 9 and Nov. 21–Jan. 15, 2019
  • Firearms deer early youth portion: Oct. 27–28
  • Firearms deer November portion: Nov. 10–20
  • Firearms deer late youth portion: Nov. 23–25
  • Firearms deer antlerless portion: Nov. 30–Dec. 2
  • Firearms deer alternative methods portion: Dec. 22–Jan. 1, 2019

Details on hunting regulations, harvest limits, allowed methods, required permits, and other related information will be available in the 2018 Spring Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information and the 2018 Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklets. Both will be available where permits are sold, at MDC regional offices, and online at

Trout Opener Coming March 1 Anglers, mark your calendars! March 1 is the annual opening of catch-and-keep trout fishing at Bennett Spring State Park near Lebanon, Montauk State Park near Licking, Roaring River State Park near Cassville, and Maramec Spring Park near St. James. The catch-and-keep season at the trout parks runs through Oct. 31.

Trout anglers will need a daily trout tag to fish in Missouri’s trout parks. Daily trout tags can only be purchased at each of the four trout parks. Missouri residents age 16 through 64 also need a fishing permit in addition to the daily tag. Nonresidents 16 and older also need a fishing permit.

For more information on trout fishing in Missouri, visit

Buy Missouri hunting permits from numerous vendors around the state, online at, or through our free mobile app, MO Hunting, which is available for download through Google Play for Android devices or the App Store for Apple devices.

Got a Question for Ask MDC?

Send it to or call 573-522-4115, ext. 3848.

Q. I regularly travel the highways of Missouri, Kansas, and Illinois. Last February,
I noticed more dead skunks on the roads than I normally see in an entire summer. Was there a population explosion? Were warmer temperatures the culprit? Or was there another possible cause?

A. The mating season for striped skunks begins in late February and extends through March. As skunks emerge from their winter dens and search for food and mates, they venture onto roadways. Males always travel more than females, and during the breeding season, they may go as far as 4–5 miles a night. Furbearer biologists believe the striped skunk population is stable to slightly increasing.

Q. I will be 65 years old in June of this year. Do I need a fishing license if I go fishing at the lakes and rivers before June?

A. Yes. However, once you reach your 65th birthday, a permit is no longer needed if you are a Missouri resident.

To prove age and residence, a driver’s license will suffice. To stay on the right side of the regulations, you should be aware that a daily trout fishing tag and a trout permit must be purchased when and where required. Missouri is home to four trout parks —
Meramec Spring, Bennett Spring, Montauk, and Roaring River — which are stocked daily from March through October. While fishing inside these trout parks during these months, senior anglers will need to purchase the $3 daily trout tag.

For trout waters outside of the trout parks, a $7 trout permit is needed to possess trout. The $7 permit is also needed for the catch-andrelease season — November through February — in the four parks.

For more detailed information about Missouri’s fishing regulations, and to learn how to purchase permits, visit short.mdc.

Q. I found these marks on a tree in the woods on my land. Do you know what may have made them?

A. These are probably from a buck. They are caused by a male deer using its brow tines — the innermost tines, closest to the base of the skull — to gouge the tree as it moves its head up and down. Bucks use shrubs and saplings to rub the velvet off their antlers. Scientists believe it serves as a way to mark territory and practice combat.

Antler growth starts in April or May. During the growth period, the soft skin and short hair covering the antlers have a plush quality, giving this stage the name “velvet.” By August and September, testosterone increases, causing the antlers to calcify and the velvet to shed. A buck will continue rubbing to leave his scent and visually mark his territory. As a result, the antlers become polished.

Although a buck can make rubs of any size, large ones positioned higher on a tree tend to indicate an older male.

What is it?

Can you guess this month’s natural wonder?

what is it

Agent Advice

from Sarah Ettinger-Dietzel, Iron County Conservation Agent

February is a time of transition in Missouri. We might experience the warmth of a spring-like day one minute, then old man winter rears his ugly head the next, reminding us he’s not done yet. Don’t let the lure of the warm sunshine and mild temperatures make you complacent when heading outdoors to shake off those winter blues. Make a game plan. Tell someone where you’re going and how long you plan to stay. Be prepared by using the acronym COLD.

  • Cover your head.
  • Overexertion — avoid it. Sweating in the cold is bad.
  • Layers are good — dress in lightweight, loose-fitting clothes.
  • Dry is also good — carry extra clothes in case you get wet.

Cajun Duck Gumbo

If you’re getting tired of using the same duck recipes over and over, this one will add a bit of spice to your diet. If your family likes their food spicy, they’re sure to enjoy this Cajun-style meal.

Serves 6


  • 3/4 cup oil
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour


  • 4–5 medium ducks, skinned
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1–2 qts. water
  • 3 medium onions
  • 2 tablespoons
  • Worcester sauce
  • 3 medium peppers
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 cups celery
  • 2 tablespoons pepper
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • 1 10-oz. bag of okra OR gumbo vegetables
  • 1 28-oz. can whole tomatoes − drained, cut up

COMBINE skinned ducks, onion, carrots, and a bay leaf in a large stock pot, adding enough water to cover the ducks. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 1 to 11/2 hours.
REMOVE the ducks, strain and reserve the broth. Discard the vegetables.
REMOVE the duck meat from bones and cut it into small pieces. Skim the broth, measure 1 quart and set aside.
HEAT OIL in a large pot over medium heat, and blend in flour. Cook, stirring constantly, until the roux is golden brown, around 30 minutes.
STIR in onions, pepper, celery, and garlic. Cook, stirring constantly, until vegetables are tender.
ADD duck meat, reserved broth, and remaining ingredients except the okra. Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes.
STIR in okra, simmer another 30 minutes and serve over hot, cooked rice.

Apply Online for Spring Managed Turkey Hunts

Missouri youth, archery, and firearms turkey hunters can apply online for our 2018 spring turkey managed hunts Feb. 1 through Feb. 28 at Managed hunt details and application procedures are outlined on the web page. Drawing results will be posted March 12–May 6.

What is it?

what is it - groundhog


Groundhogs (Marmota monax), also known as woodchucks or whistle pigs, are one of Missouri’s best-known wild mammals. They dig burrows between timbered areas and open land or along fencerows, heavily vegetated gullies, or streams, and they hibernate from October through February. When the groundhog emerges from its winter slumber, legend says if it sees its shadow, we’ll have six more weeks of winter. No shadow means an early spring.

This Issue's Staff

Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld

Associate Editor - Bonnie Chasteen

Staff Writer - Larry Archer
Staff Writer - Heather Feeler
Staff Writer - Kristie Hilgedick
Staff Writer - Joe Jerek

Creative Director - Stephanie Thurber

Art Director - Cliff White

Designer - Les Fortenberry
Designer - Marci Porter

Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner

Circulation - Laura Scheuler