In Brief

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From Missouri Conservationist: August 2018

What is it?

what is it 01

Can you guess this month's natural wonder?

Get hunting details by species at

Migratory Bird and Waterfowl Hunting Start Next Month

Get info, buy permits, and apply for reservations.

September marks Missouri’s migratory bird hunting seasons, with doves, snipes, and rails beginning Sept. 1. Waterfowl season kicks off with opening day for teal Sept. 8.

Get detailed information on related migratory bird and waterfowl seasons, species, regulations, permits, limits, and more from our Migratory Bird and Waterfowl Hunting Digest 2018–2019, available where hunting permits are sold and online at

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

Waterfowl Reservations Open Sept. 1

Waterfowl hunters have from Sept. 1–18 to apply online to hunt on 12 wetland areas intensively managed for waterfowl. For more information and to apply starting Sept. 1, visit

The reservation system allocates half of the available hunting opportunities on these areas for Missouri residents chosen through a random drawing. The other half are for walk-in hunters who draw on-site each morning for the remaining spots.

Discover Nature at the Missouri State Fair

Visit the Conservation Building at the Missouri State Fair from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Aug. 9 18 and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 19 to see live fish and other native animals such as snakes, turtles, and amphibians. See displays of native plants that help butterflies and other important pollinators. Talk to staff, get educational materials, and have fun.

Don’t miss our air-conditioned Conservation Kids Discovery Room between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. for hands-on fun discovering nature through crafts and other activities.

Enjoy these free conservation-related programs at our outdoor pavilion:

  • Raptors of Missouri - See a live eagle and other birds of prey up close Aug. 9 and 18 at 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 4 p.m.
  • Fish Cooking and Cleaning Demonstrations - Learn to prepare your fresh catch Aug. 10 and 11 at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
  • Mushroom ID - Learn about Missouri mushrooms Aug. 16 at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
  • Forest Products - The Circular Sawmill: See a working model sawmill Aug. 17 at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
  • Dutch Oven Demo - Watch a live demonstration on Aug. 19 at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

Don’t miss the special program on invasive plants and animals from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 10 at the Missouri Department of Transportation Highway Gardens, located next door to our outdoor pavilion. It will include displays and activities on how invasives harm native species, habitats, crops, roadsides, and backyards. Help stop the invasion by joining the fight and learning what you can do to help eliminate these unwanted invaders.

Learn more about our programs, events, and other offerings at

MDC Launches Research Website

Want more information on the science behind Missouri’s world-class fish, forest, and wildlife management? MDC recently launched a new website dedicated to the extensive scientific research staff conduct on these and other topics.

Black bears in Missouri is a popular topic, and staff have been conducting research since 2010. One new and exciting feature of the website is the Missouri Black Bear Project Story Map at You can explore maps, photos, and videos of Missouri black bears and the research we are conducting.

For more information, visit


Got a Question for Ask MDC?

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

Q: What bird is this?

A: This is a juvenile black-crowned night-heron. Sometimes confused with juvenile yellow-crowned night-herons, black-crowned herons have black-and-yellow bills and more pronounced white spots on their wings than the yellow-crowned herons.
These birds breed in colonies near Missouri’s swamps, marshes, ponds, rivers, and lakes. Males choose the nesting sites and often select places over water on an island or in a swamp — safe from predators.

Studies of their stomach contents show these opportunistic foragers eat a wide variety of foods, including fish, insects, worms, amphibians, leeches, crayfish, mussels, reptiles, other birds, eggs, carrion, and plant materials.

Q: Recently I watched two eastern cottontail rabbits engage in what appeared to be a choreographed tumbling or dance routine. They somersaulted over each other for a few minutes before they took off. Is this behavior common?

A: You witnessed ritualized courtship behavior, better known to humans as flirting. When this occurs, the male approaches the female from the rear, and she quickly turns to face him. He then rushes at her, and she jumps over him. They may continue this pattern, or they may reverse roles

Cottontail breeding season begins in mid-February and continues through September. Multiple litters can occur in a single season, and nests tend to have four to six young per litter. At birth, cottontail rabbits are about 4 to 5 inches long, mostly naked, with eyes and ears closed. After a week, they have their complete fur coat and their eyes and ears are open. They leave the nest 13–16 days after birth.

Q: What would cause these toadstools to grow in a circle like this?

A: Commonly called a “fairy ring,” these naturally occurring mushroom circles grow in grassy areas, lawns, and meadows.

To understand how a fairy ring is created, it helps to understand how mushrooms grow. Like peaches on a tree, mushrooms are the fruiting body of a fungus. They typically appear above ground and contain the organism’s reproductive units or spores. The vegetative portion of the fungus — the mycelium — is typically below ground and consists of a mass of branching, threadlike strands that push through the soil, feeding on nutrients.

When the surrounding soil is evenly composed, and the food supply is uninterrupted — which is common in carefully tended lawns — the mycelium continually spreads outward looking for nourishment. So, when the mushrooms surface, they can appear in an arc or complete circle that gradually expands over time.

Many different terrestrial mushroom species can pop up in fairy rings. With or without the mushrooms, these circles are sometimes visible because the grass often grows darker in places where the mycelium is active.

Agent Advice from Chris Decoske, Randolf County Conservation Agent

In August, conservation areas are busy with visitors trying to enjoy the remaining days of summer. Lots of people can mean lots of litter — cans, bottles, fishing line, empty bait containers, and more. This trash is not only unsightly, it’s dangerous. I recently received a call about a goose with its leg trapped in discarded fishing line. If not caught, that goose will suffer as the fishing line continues to tighten, leading to infection, amputation, or eventual death. Littering is also costly. It can result in a fine, and cost conservation employees and partner agencies valuable time cleaning up rather than doing important work conserving our precious resources. Let’s leave nature better than we found it. Don’t litter, and dispose of trash you find, especially on conservation areas.

Walleye Tidbits

When it comes to eating fish, you can’t beat walleye. It has a light, delicate flavor that can be served in many ways. This recipe can be used as an appetizer or an entrée.

These tidbits are hearty enough for a meal, but they fry up like chips, so they may not make it to the supper table!


  • Walleye filets
  • Cornmeal
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Peanut oil*

CLEAN and wash walleye filets. Use a very sharp knife and cut across the width of each filet, making extremely thin slices.

COMBINE cornmeal, salt, and pepper in a plastic bag. Add tidbits and shake until coated. Continue this process until all pieces are breaded. Fry the tidbits in the hot peanut oil until crisp and golden brown. Drain on paper towel. Salt to taste. Serve.

*For easier browning, use pre-seasoned oil or oil that has been used to fry something else Watch a video for this recipe at

Nominate Citizen Conservationists for Awards

The Missouri Conservation Commission recognizes citizens who make outstanding contributions to conservation. It is seeking nominations for its Master Conservationist Award and the Missouri Conservation Hall of Fame.

The Master Conservationist Award honors living or deceased citizens. The Missouri Conservation Hall of Fame recognizes deceased individuals.

Those who can be considered for either honor must be:

  • A citizen who performed an outstanding act or developed an innovative idea or technique that contributed to major progress in conservation in Missouri.
  • An employee of the Department of Conservation, other conservation-related government agencies, universities, or organizations who performed an outstanding act or developed an innovative idea or technique that contributed to major progress in conservation in Missouri.

Learn more about the Master Conservationist Award and get the nomination form at Learn more about the Missouri Conservation Hall of Fame and get the nomination form at

Anyone can submit nominations, including a statement describing the nominee’s accomplishments and a brief biography. A screening committee meets annually to consider nominees with the Conservation Commission conveying final approval.

Submit nominations by Sept. 1 to: Denise Bateman, Missouri Department of Conservation, PO Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0180, or email

Get Federal Duck Stamps Online

MDC no longer sells physical Federal Duck Stamps through our offices, but hunters can still buy electronic duck stamps through our online permits website at or through our free mobile app, MO Hunting.

Electronic Federal Duck Stamps purchased through our permits website or the MO Hunting app will appear on the app. Learn more about MO Hunting at Out of the 33,300 duck stamps sold through MDC last year, only around 500, or 1.5 percent, were physical stamps. The rest were electronic duck stamps purchased online.

For more information on the Federal Duck Stamp program, go online to

What is it?

Tiger Moth (Apantesis)

what is it

Missouri is home to many species of tiger moths, including three that can be difficult to distinguish. The banded, nais,and harnessed tiger moths all share similar colors and wing patterns. You may have seen one of these common moths on your back porch after leaving the light on all night. Tiger moth caterpillars feed on low-growing plants like dandelions, violets, plantain, and clover. These caterpillars are often covered in hairs and sometimes referred to as “woolly bears.”

Hiked It... Liked It!

Hiking is a great way to get out and discover nature. It’s good for your health, and it can be enjoyed by people of all ages and ability levels.

How to Prepare

  • Wear comfortable shoes
  • Plan to layer your clothing
  • Pack water and a light snack


  • Camera and binoculars
  • Guides to identify birds, tracks, and wildflowers
  • Family and friends

Check out hiking opportunities at these Conservation Areas:

  • Busiek State Forest and Wildlife Area Christian County — 18 miles of hiking trails
  • Bethany Falls Trail at Burr Oak Woods Nature Center Jackson County — 1.33 mile hiking trail
  • Engelmann Woods Natural Area Franklin County — 1.5 mile hiking trail
  • Millstream Gardens Conservation Area Madison County — 2 miles of hiking trails
  • Peck Ranch Conservation Area Shannon County — 2.5 mile section of the Ozark Trail Runge Conservation Nature Center Cole County — 2.4 miles of hiking trails
  • Big Creek Conservation Area Adair County — 0.7 mile hiking trail

For more information, visit

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