In Brief

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From Missouri Conservationist: July 2020

MDC finalizes Black Bear Management Plan

As bear numbers increase, MDC works with partners and the public to plan for the future.

Over the last 50 years, bear numbers in the Missouri Ozarks have increased significantly, and today Missouri is home to between 540–840 black bears. Missouri’s bear population is part of a larger population of several thousand bears distributed throughout the Ozark mountains of Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and the Ouachita mountains of Oklahoma and Arkansas.

Bears in Missouri occupy large tracts of forest land in the southern third of the state, primarily south of I-44. As the bear population continues to grow, bear range in the state is expanding and bears are becoming increasingly more common in areas that have not had bears for many years.

With the growing black bear population, MDC takes an active approach to bear management, which includes extensive research of our bear population, a detailed Be Bear Aware education campaign, and response and mitigation related to human-bear conflict. Additionally, MDC recently updated the state’s Black Bear Management Plan, which will guide bear management over the next 10 years. The Black Bear Management Plan’s goals, objectives, and strategies focus on the multifaceted nature of bear management and were developed with staff, agency partners, and public input.

The goals of the Black Bear Management Plan are:

Goal 1: Use science-based methods to manage a self-sustaining population of black bear, focusing on research and monitoring, population management, and habitat management.

Goal 2: Increase statewide awareness of Missouri’s black bear population and management program through coordinated outreach and education.

Goal 3: Minimize and address human-bear conflicts. The Black Bear Management Plan and additional information regarding black bear management, including information on a proposed hunting season framework, can be found at

Wild Webcast: Attracting Backyard Wildlife

Interested in attracting birds, bees, and other wildlife to your backyard? Join MDC at noon July 1 for a Wild Webcast on Attracting Backyard Wildlife. MDC Urban Wildlife Biologist Erin Shank, Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center, will explain the basics of creating backyard wildlife habitat; the importance of native plants for pollination, wildlife food, and other benefits; planning and designing native plantings; attracting birds; supporting pollinators such as butterflies and bees; and more. Register at Learn more about property improvements to attract wildlife at

Apply for Managed Deer Hunts

Beginning July 1, deer hunters can apply online for a chance at more than 100 managed deer hunts at conservation areas, state and other parks, national wildlife refuges, and other public areas throughout the state. The hunts, held from mid-September through mid-January, are for archery, muzzleloaders, and modern firearms. Some managed hunts are held specifically for youth or for people with disabilities.

The managed deer hunt application period is July 1–31. Hunters are selected by a weighted random drawing. Draw results will be available Aug. 15 through Jan. 15. Applicants who are drawn will receive area maps and other hunt information by mail. Get more information on managed deer hunts, preview hunt details, and apply starting July 1 at

Details about managed hunts can also be found in the 2020 Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet, available starting in early July at MDC offices and nature centers, from permit vendors around the state, and online at

Celebrate Safely

As you celebrate the Fourth of July, MDC reminds everyone to be careful with fireworks, campfires, and other sources of fire that could cause a wildfire.


Don’t light fireworks in any areas where the sparks could ignite dry grass, leaves, or other potential fire fuel. Always have an approved fire extinguisher and an available water supply to douse sparks or flames. Wet the area around where fireworks are being discharged. Check with local ordinances and authorities for bans on fireworks and open burning.

Outdoor Burning

Don’t burn during the wrong conditions. Dry grass, high temperatures, low humidity, and wind make fire nearly impossible to control. Check with local fire departments regarding burn bans that may be in place. A person who starts a fire for any reason is responsible for the damage it may cause.

Driving Off-Road

Wildfires can start when dry fuel, such as grass, comes in contact with catalytic converters. Think twice before driving into and across a grassy field. Never park over tall, dry grass or piles of leaves that can touch the underside of a vehicle. When driving vehicles off-road, regularly inspect the undercarriage to ensure that fuel and brake lines are intact and no oil leaks are apparent. Always carry an approved fire extinguisher on vehicles that are used off-road. Check for the presence of spark arresters on ATV exhausts.

Making a Campfire

Clear a generous zone around fire rings, and store unused firewood a good distance from a campfire. Never use gasoline, kerosene, or other flammable liquid to start a fire. Keep campfires small and controllable. Keep fire-extinguishing materials, such as a rake, shovel, and bucket of water, close. Extinguish campfires each night and before leaving camp, even if it’s just for a few moments.

Call for Help

Call 911 at the first sign of a fire getting out of control.

Report Forest Arson

Wildfires are sometimes set by vandals. Help stop arson by calling 800-392-1111 and reporting any potential arson activities. Callers will remain anonymous and rewards are possible.

Prescribed Fire

Fire used in the wrong way can create disasters. Used in the right way, fire can help create habitat for wildlife. For more information on using prescribed fire as a land-management tool, visit

Jobs: Benefit nature. Join our team.

The Missouri Department of Conservation team is diverse, dedicated, and doing what we love — with a robust employee retention rate of 95 percent to prove it. If you, too, are intrinsically motivated to conserve and protect Missouri’s fish, forest, and wildlife resources, you just might be the secret ingredient we’re looking for. Check out to explore a variety of career possibilities with us.

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Got a Question for Ask MDC?

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

Q: While repotting a chamomile, I discovered what appeared to be a chrysalis. Shaped like a capsule, it was made of tiny leaves that had been painstakingly torn and placed under the dirt. When I picked it up, a bee flew out! Do you know what type it was?

A. It seems you came across the work of a leafcutter bee. Leafcutter bees are in the family Megachilidae, along with mortar, resin, and mason bees. Most leafcutter bees nest in pre-existing holes in wood or in the soil. Female leafcutter bees cut neat round or oval-shaped pieces out of leaves, which they use to construct nests.

Although we cannot confidently identify the species of the bee, since all that remains is the nest, it’s possible it was the flat-tailed leafcutter bee, Megachile mendica. Known to occur in Missouri, this bee also sometimes nests in soil.

Leafcutter bees often prefer to make their nests in preformed holes, such as hollow stems or holes in manmade structures. By providing a solitary bee nesting box, it may be possible to encourage these insects to nest in a more-favorable location. For more information on how to purchase or build a “bee hotel,” visit:

Q: Last summer, I put three Japanese beetle traps on limbs extending over our 2-acre pond, hoping to attract the male beetles, which would then drop into the water and become fish food. I noticed a grass carp patrolling the area and feeding on beetles struggling on the pond’s surface. I thought carp were strict herbivores. Is my observation unusual?

A. Fisheries biologists would rate your observation as unusual, but not unheard of. Grass carp are indeed herbivores. However, it’s very possible they would take advantage of an easy alternative food source, especially if edible vegetation in the pond is limited. They are caught on earth worms and catfish food occasionally, as well.

Young grass carp feed mainly on small crustaceans and other invertebrates, but when they’re about 8 inches long, they shift mostly to aquatic vegetation. This species has a voracious appetite and can eat more than the equivalent of its body weight in a day. Interestingly, their digestive system is not efficient, so about half of the food passes through undigested.

Q: What kind of moth is this?

A. Named for their spots, giant leopard moths (Hypercompe scribonia) are adept at camouflage. They are seen blending into speckled concrete, coarse tree bark, black-and-white carpeting, and other mottled gray surfaces.

They prefer forests and woodlands, and can be found from southern Canada to Florida and Texas.

As caterpillars, they consume an array of forbs and woody plants, including: cherry, dandelion, oak, maples, sunflowers, violets, and willows. They’re reclusive during the day, preferring to hide in leaf litter and under loose bark. But they emerge at night to feed. They have black bristles and red or orange bands between their segments, which become noticeable when they roll into balls for defense.

As moths, they have a wingspan of 3 inches and are nocturnal.

What Is It?

What is it

Golden Mayfly

The golden mayfly, usually found near water, is just one of hundreds of similar species in North America. Its four extensively veined wings are held upright together, much like a butterfly. The forewings are longer and often overlap the hindwings. Adult golden mayflies only live a few days. Once they reach an adult, winged stage, they cannot eat or drink. Their only function is to reproduce.

Golden Mayfly

Agent Advice

Kyle Clinton, Crawford County Conservation Agent

Summer is upon us and so is our nation’s birthday. To celebrate, many people will head to their nearest conservation area to enjoy water activities, picnic, and relax with family and friends. Before you head out, be informed and know before you go! Check out or download MDC’s new MO Outdoors app (available free on Android or iPhone platforms). Users can quickly and easily find out which outdoor activities, like camping, are available at local areas. Always be mindful of litter. If there are trash bins available, use them. If not, pack out all your trash. Leave areas cleaner than when you arrived. Fireworks are never allowed on conservation areas. Celebrate the summer with us, safely and respectfully.

We Are Conservation

Spotlight on people and partners

By Larry Archer

Diana Nacy

For Diana Nacy, the way to sharing her passion for nature and the outdoors began in 2016 with the Field to Fork Program. The program, hosted at the Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center, teaches people how to prepare wild edibles. It was there that Diana was bitten by the volunteering bug. After helping with several Field to Fork programs, she expanded the scope of her volunteering to include children’s programs and school groups.

From fork to field

In addition to volunteering, Field to Fork also led Diana to expand her own outdoor experiences. Already an avid angler, hiker, and nature photographer, she added hunting to her resume, heading afield with her husband, Omar Jawdat, for upland game bird hunting.

“She has a lot of knowledge,” said former MDC Education Specialist James Worley, who coordinated the Field to Fork program Diana attended. “She’s actually been fishing and hunting, and appreciates nature, so having that background knowledge on how hunting and fishing are tools for conservation is really critical.”

In her own words

“When I got engaged with the Field to Fork program, I realized I could give back to the community and share those experiences — or share my passion — with kids and other adults, exploring and appreciating the outdoors and outdoor activities.”

What’s your conservation superpower?

Also In This Issue

Spicebush Swallowtail on a brach
Deception — including false eyes — helps spicebush swallowtail caterpillars survive to adulthood.

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 - Shawn Carey
Designer - Les Fortenberry
Designer - Marci Porter

Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner

Circulation - Laura Scheuler