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From Missouri Conservationist: December 2019

Central Region | Plowboy Bend Conservation Area

Bottomland area continues transition following historic floods.

By Larry Archer

After being inundated by the historic floods of 1993 and 1995, Plowboy Bend Conservation Area (CA) began a transformation from farmland to forestland that continues to this day.

Named for a 19th century steamboat that sank in the nearby Missouri River, the nearly 2,617- acre Plowboy Bend CA was one of several areas of former farmland converted to conservation areas as part of a flood mitigation plan, said Plowboy Bend CA Manager Frank Drummond.

“It’s a river bottom area,” said Drummond, a wildlife management biologist. “It was pretty much nearly all cropped until the department acquired it in ’95.”

While nearly one-third of the area remains in crops — some for the benefit of wildlife, some in traditional agriculture — the remainder of the area has reverted, or been converted, to forest, he said.

“A lot of that has grown up in cottonwoods, sycamores, willows, and the like,” he said. “The department’s been involved with putting in about 80 acres of largely oak, but also pecan trees, on the area trying to introduce a mast component.”

As during 1993 and 1995, Plowboy Bend CA has spent much of 2019 underwater, so check on conditions before planning a visit.

“There’s a zone anywhere from 50 to 100 yards or better of woods between the levee and the river, but there are some parts where the river comes up pretty close to the levee.”

—Plowboy Bend CA Manager, Frank Drummond

Plowboy Bend Conservation Area consists of 2,616.9 acres in Moniteau County. From Jamestown, take Route Y north 5 miles to the end of the pavement, and then continue on Riverbottom Road east 1/2 mile, crossing railroad tracks to the area. 573-815-7900

What to do When You Visit

Bird-Watching Included in the National Audubon Society’s Manitou Floodplain Important Bird Area ( The eBird list of birds recorded at Plowboy Bend CA is available at

Camping Designated campsites available. Float-in open camping allowed within 100 yards of Missouri River between April 1–Sept. 30.

Fishing Along Missouri River. Catfish

Hiking No designated hiking trails. Hiking allowed along maintenance access roads and levee.

Hunting Deer and turkey. Deer and turkey regulations are subject to annual changes. Please refer to the Spring Turkey or Fall Deer and Turkey booklets for current regulations. Also dove, quail, and rabbit

Waterfowl Hunting Open hunting. Please refer to the Migratory Bird and Waterfowl Hunting Digest for current regulations.

What to Look for When You Visit

  • White-tailed deer
  • Eastern cottontail
  • Bald eagle
  • Northern harrier

Also In This Issue

Ben Yeargan's Drake
Collectors find joy in unraveling the mysteries of Missouri’s duck decoys.
Brad Jacob
"The truth is that everyone has obsessions. Most people manage them. Birders, however, indulge them.” —Mark Obmascik in The Big Year

This Issue's Staff

Magazine Manager - Stephanie Thurber

Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld

Associate Editor - Larry Archer

Staff Writer - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Heather Feeler
Staff Writer - Kristie Hilgedick
Staff Writer - Joe Jerek

Art Director - Cliff White

Designer - Les Fortenberry
Designer - Marci Porter

Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner

Circulation - Laura Scheuler