Get Outside

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From Missouri Conservationist: February 2018

Groundhog Day

The groundhog emerges from its burrow on Feb. 2 as the world watches in anticipation. Will he see his shadow or won’t he? If he sees his shadow, keep those coats and gloves handy because we are in for another six weeks of winter. If it’s a shadowless appearance, that means an early spring.

I Spy Tracks

A fun family activity on a cold February day — identifying animal tracks in the snow. For tips and pictures of mammal prints to help get you started, visit

Southeast Region: Maple Sugaring

Saturday, Feb. 17 • 1–4 p.m. Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center, 2289 County Park Drive, Cape Girardeau, MO 63701 No registration required, call 573-290-5218 for more information All ages. Discover one of the forest’s sweetest gifts. Maple sugaring is rich in history and still practiced today. Learn the history, equipment, and process of making maple syrup.

Southwest Region: Vulture Venture

Saturday, Feb. 24 • 12–5:00 p.m. Shepherd of the Hills Conservation Center,
483 Hatchery Road, Branson, MO 65616 No registration required, call 417-334-4865 for more information All ages. This event includes hourly presentations featuring Socrates, a live turkey vulture from Springfield’s Wonders of Wildlife museum, indoor activities, and outdoor vulture-viewing opportunities. The last presentation begins at 4 p.m.

Chipmunks Appear

Chipmunks come out of hibernation this month, and you don’t have to walk deep in the woods to find these pint-sized mammals. They are active during the day near city homes, farmhouses, shrubbery, wooded banks, and timber borders.

Love is in the Air

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, love is in the air for humans and animals alike. American woodcocks begin their courtship in southern Missouri. At dusk, listen for their nasal “peenting” in brushy fields.

Natural Events to See This Month

Here’s what’s going on in the natural world.

  • Walleye move into shoals for spawning
  • Watch for the flap and glide of mourning doves’ courtship flights
  • Mink begin breeding
  • Eastern tiger salamander courtship begins
  • Opossums begin breeding in wooded areas along streams
  • Walleye move into shoals for spawning
  • Watch for the flap and glide of mourning doves’ courtship flights

Renew Your Hunting and Fishing Permits Today

Annual permits expire at the end of February. Buy Missouri hunting and fishing permits from vendors around the state, online, or through MDC’s free mobile apps, MO Hunting and MO Fishing.

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