In Brief

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From Missouri Conservationist: November 2018

What Is It?

Can you guess this month's natural wonder?

what is it

News and updates from MDC

Enjoy Winter Trout Fishing Be Sure to Check for Special Area Regulations Before You Fish

MDC staff are stocking more than 70,000 rainbow trout in urban-area lakes around the state for winter trout fishing beginning in early November. Stocking dates vary among locations. Many of these areas allow anglers to harvest trout as soon as they are stocked, while others are catch-andrelease until Feb. 1. Find locations at

The daily limit for catch-and-keep is four trout with no length limit. All Missouri residents over age 15 and under age 65 must have a fishing permit. All nonresidents over age 15 must have a fishing permit. To keep trout, all anglers, regardless of age, must have a Missouri trout permit. See Permits for purchasing information.

Mandatory CWD Sampling Nov. 10 and 11 in 31 Counties

MDC is conducting mandatory chronic wasting disease (CWD) sampling Nov. 10 and 11 in 31 of the 48 counties in the CWD Management Zone.

The counties are Adair, Barry, Bollinger, Cape Girardeau, Cedar, Cole, Crawford, Franklin, Grundy, Hickory, Jefferson, Knox, Linn, Macon, Madison, McDonald, Mercer, Moniteau, Ozark, Perry, Polk, Putnam, St. Charles, St. Clair, St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve, Stone, Sullivan, Taney, Warren, and Washington.

Hunters who harvest deer from these counties on opening weekend must take their deer — or the head with at least 6 inches of the neck in place — on the day of harvest to one of 61 CWD mandatory sampling stations. Deer may be presented at any mandatory sampling station.

To find sampling stations, visit and look for Mandatory CWD Sampling Nov. 10–11. MDC will also offer free voluntary CWD sampling and testing of deer harvested anywhere in the state throughout the entire deer hunting season, and hunters can also get free test results for their deer. Find locations and more information on voluntary CWD sampling at under Voluntary CWD Sampling All Season.

CWD is an infectious and deadly illness for white-tailed deer and other members of the deer family, called cervids. There have been no known cases of CWD infecting people, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) strongly recommends having deer tested for CWD if harvested in an area known to have cases of the disease.

The CDC also recommends not eating meat from animals that test positive for CWD. Cases of CWD are relatively rare in Missouri, with 75 confirmed cases in free-ranging deer since the disease was first found in free-ranging deer in 2012. Learn more at

Help Limit the Spread of CWD

Carcass parts from infected deer can spread chronic wasting disease (CWD). Deer may be infected even if they appear healthy. To help reduce the risk of spreading CWD, dispose of deer carcass parts by bagging and placing them in trash containers destined for a landfill, bury them near the site of harvest, or leave them on the immediate area where the deer was harvested and field dressed. Learn more at under Carcass Disposal.

Hunters, Help Us!

Mandatory CWD sampling of deer opening firearms weekend in 31 counties.

Bring your deer to a sampling station near you. November 10–11

The 31 mandatory CWD sampling counties are: Adair, Barry, Bollinger, Cape Girardeau, Cedar, Cole, Crawford, Franklin, Grundy, Hickory, Jefferson, Knox, Linn, Macon, Madison, McDonald, Mercer, Moniteau, Ozark, Perry, Polk, Putnam, St. Charles, St. Clair, St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve, Stone, Sullivan, Taney, Warren, and Washington.

Get information on chronic wasting disease and sampling locations at, or in the 2018 Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet available where permits are sold.


Got a Question for Ask MDC? Send it to or call 573-522-4115, ext. 3848.

Q. Do bluebirds stay in Missouri all winter? How far do they migrate?

A. As short-distance migrants, eastern bluebirds (Sialis sialis) don’t undertake long journeys to wintering grounds in Central and South America. Instead, as temperatures dip and days grow shorter, smaller groups may flock up and shift, for example, from Iowa into northern Missouri or from southern Missouri into Arkansas.

According to State Ornithologist Sarah Kendrick, bluebirds are predators of grasshoppers and crickets, which they locate from a perch and pounce on, pinning them to the ground with their bills. They also eat beetles, bugs, caterpillars, spiders, and flying insects.

As the weather turns colder, the birds that winter in Missouri turn to other sources of food, such as the berries of cedars, poison ivy, and sumac plants.

Although some bluebirds in the northernmost part of the species’ range make true migration movements a few states south, most bluebird populations don’t make large migration movements. These nonmigratory populations stick near their breeding areas all year, wandering the landscape in response to a variety of factors, Kendrick said.

“The movements of the year-round populations are fairly local,” she explained. “Bluebirds tend to gather in small flocks in the winter and move around the landscape together looking for food and helping each other look out for predators.”

By January, wintering flocks begin to break up. By February, pairs arrive on their breeding territories and begin territorial singing.

Q. During fall deer and turkey season, can I leave a ground blind or a tree blind unattended on MDC lands?

A. Ground blinds — because they are typically lightweight and easy to pack in and out — must be removed daily. Portable tree stands may be placed and used on conservation areas between Sept. 1 and Jan. 31. Unattended stands must be plainly labeled on durable material with the owner’s full name and address or conservation number. However nails, screw-in steps, or any other material that would damage a tree is not allowed. Finally, all tree stands must be removed before Feb. 1.

Q. We found Osage orange fruits gathered on our property. The ripe ones were torn in pieces and the green ones were still whole. What animal would eat them like that?

A. The most likely culprit is either an eastern fox squirrel or an eastern gray squirrel. Both species are known to tear apart these dense, gummy fruits — sometimes called hedge apples — to devour the seeds. Native to several Southern states, Osage orange (Maclura pomifera) was probably introduced to Missouri when settlers planted these trees for use as windbreaks and as living hedgerows for livestock.

Both species of squirrels eat the fruit, although fox squirrels may eat it more often because they are more common residents of the upland grassland country where Osage orange fencerows are planted.

With their irregular crowns and stout thorns, these trees are sometimes considered a nuisance. However, Native Americans prized the heavy, decay-resistant wood for archery bows, which is why the species is also sometimes called bois d’arc.

What Is It?

Erupting Common Milkweed Seed Pod

What is it?

The beautiful pink and white flowers of common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) give way to large, elongated seed pods in the fall. When left to dry, the pods split and release hundreds of seeds, each attached to a “parachute” of white, silky, flossy hairs that carry them on the wind.

Agent Advice from Aaron Post, Platte County Conservation Agent

Many Missouri hunters anxiously await the opening of firearms deer season. You’re ready. Your permits are purchased, your stand is up, and you’ve checked your cameras more times than you can count. But do you have a post-hunt plan? This is an important step for the health of the landscape. Once processed, properly dispose of your deer carcass — wrap it in a trash bag and place it in a permitted landfill. If this is not possible, telecheck and quarter it at the harvest site and leave the carcass, preferably buried. This eliminates the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD). For more disposal tips and CWD information, check out the 2018 Fall Deer and Turkey booklet or visit

We Are Conservation: Spotlight on people and partners

What’s your conservation superpower?

by Cliff White

East Campus Invasive Plant Volunteers

In 2016, Columbia resident Jane Phillips rallied her neighbors to fight invasive bush honeysuckles in their East Campus neighborhood. On select Saturdays, they gather to cut honeysuckles from their own yards, and they help city staff clear invasives from adjoining parks. With help from MDC Private Land Conservationist Ryan Lueckenhoff, this residential effort was awarded a Wildlife Diversity grant. Funds pay
a contractor to control large infestations on willing landowners’ properties.

She Reached Out

“I was really happy to get Jane’s call,” Lueckenhoff said. “We are here to help fight invasives, but it takes dedicated landowners like Jane and her neighbors to make a difference.”

In Her Own Words

“Once I cleared my own place,” Phillips said, “I looked at the thicket around me and started thinking, this is futile. I’ve got to get some help. Seeing the neighborhood, the city, and the state all come together to tackle this project has been so rewarding.”

Share the Harvest

MDC and the Conservation Federation of Missouri (CFM) encourage deer hunters to share their harvests this deer season.

Share the Harvest allows deer hunters to donate their extra venison — from several pounds to whole deer — to participating meat processors who grind and package the deer meat. The packaged venison is then given to local food banks and food pantries for distribution to Missourians in need of food assistance.

Last deer season, thousands of Missouri deer hunters donated more than 289,200 pounds of venison to the program, including nearly 5,600 whole white-tailed deer. Since the program started in 1992, Share the Harvest has provided nearly 4 million pounds of lean, healthy venison.

Processing fees are covered entirely or in part by numerous local sponsors, along with statewide sponsors, including MDC, CFM, Shelter Insurance, Bass Pro Shops, Missouri Chapter Whitetails Unlimited, Missouri Chapter Safari Club International, Missouri Chapter National Wild Turkey Federation, Drury Hotels, Midway USA Inc., Missouri Deer Hunters Association, and Missouri Food Banks Association.

For more information, including participating processors, get a copy of the 2018 Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet, available where permits are sold, and online at

Donating Deer From a CWD-Positive County

Deer donated to Share the Harvest must be tested for chronic wasting disease (CWD) if harvested from any of these 11 counties where CWD has been found: Adair, Cedar, Cole, Franklin, Jefferson, Linn, Macon, Perry, Polk, St. Clair, and Ste. Genevieve. These deer can only be donated through processors participating in the Share the Harvest CWD Testing Program and located in or near any of the 11 CWD-positive counties. For more information, including participating processors, visit and look for Sharing the Harvest.

Give the Gift of Nature

MDC’s online Nature Shop makes holiday shopping a breeze. Offerings include the ever-popular Natural Events Calendar, plus a variety of books, CDs, DVDs, and more for all ages. Visit the shop online at, or check out October’s Missouri Conservationist for the 2019 Nature Shop insert.

Holiday shoppers can also visit one of MDC’s nature centers, located in Kirkwood, Cape Girardeau, Springfield, Kansas City, Blue Springs, and Jefferson City, for a surprising array of reasonably priced holiday gifts.

Permits Make Great Gifts

Conservation makes Missouri a great place to hunt and fish, so permits make a great gift, too. Buy them from vendors across the state, online at, or through our mobile apps, MO Hunting and MO Fishing, available for download through Google Play for Android devices or the App Store for Apple devices.

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