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From Missouri Conservationist: Dec 2015

By Kristie Hilgedick

Bringing Technology and Nature Together

The Department offers a variety of mobile apps for both Android and Apple mobile devices to assist hunters, anglers, and outdoor enthusiasts.

“No matter the season or your outdoor interest, Missouri offers the resources for you and your family to get outside and enjoy,” said Doug Fees, chief information officer. “And to assist you as you go out and enjoy those Missouri resources, the Missouri Department of Conservation offers user-friendly mobile applications to make your experience even better.”

The MO Hunting app enables Missouri hunters, anglers, and trappers to purchase and view annual hunting, fishing, and trapping permits and associated details, as well as view permits purchased during the previous year. The app also allows deer and turkey hunters to download permits to their mobile devices, notch their permits electronically, and then Telecheck their harvest.

The Find MO Fish app allows anglers using Missouri’s waterways to locate public boat ramps, as well as almost 4,000 mapped underwater structures, many placed by Department staff to improve habitat. By using the GPS technology available via their smartphones, anglers can guide their boats right to one of those brush piles, boulders, or underwater stump fields.

Learn more and download the free MO Hunting and Find MO Fish mobile apps, along with the free MO Fall Colors app, at

Winter Trout Fishing for Everyone

The Department will stock more than 70,000 rainbow trout in 31 urban-area lakes around the state for winter trout fishing.

”Trout are typically found in the cold, spring-fed, streams of southern Missouri and the cold water of Lake Taneycomo,” said Department Fisheries Programs Specialist Andrew Branson. ”Stocking selected urban lakes and ponds around the state during the winter months provides close-to-home trout fishing opportunities in parts of Missouri where you normally would not find trout.”

Anglers this year have more opportunities than ever. The Department is now providing trout to Giessing Lake in Farmington and Veterans Park Lake in Fulton, in addition to previously stocked locations.

Many of these areas allow anglers to harvest trout as soon as they are stocked. Others allow harvest as early as Feb. 1. The daily limit for catch-and-keep at these locations is four trout with no length limit. All Missouri residents between the ages of 16 and 64 must have a valid fishing permit. In addition, anglers who plan to keep their catch must have a valid Missouri trout permit. Nonresidents ages 16 and older must also acquire permits. For a list of urban-area lakes stocked for winter trout fishing, visit

Soaring High With Eagle Days

More than 2,000 bald eagles are typically reported around Missouri’s large rivers and reservoirs during the winter, making Missouri one of the leaders in bald eagle viewing amongst the lower 48 states. The Department offers several organized events that include live eagle programs, exhibits, activities, videos, and guides with spotting scopes to help participants see eagles perched in trees, flying, and fishing. Be sure to dress for winter weather and don’t forget cameras and binoculars.

Eagle Days events are set for:

  • Dec. 5, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Dec. 6, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge, south of Mound City. Call 816-271- 3100 for more information.
  • Jan. 9, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and Jan. 10, 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Smithville Lake Paradise Pointe Golf Course Clubhouse, north of Kansas City. Call 816-532-0174 for more information.
  • Jan. 16, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Jan. 17, 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. at Springfield Conservation Nature Center. Call 417-888-4237 for more information.
  • Jan. 16 and 17, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge, south of I-270 off Riverview Drive, St. Louis. Call 314-877-1309 for more information.
  • Jan. 23, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Runge Conservation Nature Center, Jefferson City.
  • Call 573-526-5544 for more information.
  • Jan. 30, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Jan. 31, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Lock and Dam 24 and Apple Shed Theater in Clarksville. Call 660-785-2424 for more information.
  • Feb. 6, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Schell City Community Center, downtown Schell City, and at the Schell-Osage Conservation Area. Call 417-876- 5226 for more information. Can’t make an Eagle Days event? Other hot spots for winter eagle viewing include:
  • Lake of the Ozarks Bagnell Dam Access, east of Bagnell
  • Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area on Route K, southwest of Columbia
  • Lock and Dam 20 near Canton
  • Lock and Dam 25, east of Winfield
  • Mingo National Wildlife Refuge, northwest of Puxico
  • Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary, east of West Alton
  • Moses Eagle Park at Stella
  • Ted Shanks Conservation Area, north of Louisiana
  • Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge, south of Sumner
  • Rock Lake, southwest of Branson
  • Truman Reservoir, west of Warsaw

Give the Gift of Nature This Holiday Season

Wondering what to get the outdoor enthusiast on your list this holiday season? Here are some ideas: The 2016 Natural Events Calendar has 366 days worth of visual thrills and insights into the natural world. It’s the perfect way for the outdoor lover to keep on top of when Missouri’s native species bloom, hatch, migrate, etc. At $7, it’s the bargain of the year

Paddlers on your list would appreciate a copy of the recently updated Paddler’s Guide to Missouri. Originally researched and written by Oz Hawksley in 1965, this greatly expanded reference not only includes updated maps of Missouri’s more popular Ozark streams, but also covers details of lesser-known streams and tributaries waiting to be explored. Each waterway entry includes easy-to-read maps, descriptions of access points, camping, state parks, and   conservation areas along the way. Experienced paddlers consider the guide a handy reference to the best streams and rivers Missouri has to offer. The book retails for $8.

Foodies on your holiday shopping list will love Cooking Wild in Missouri. Whether you hunt, fish, or forage, this $15 book offers fresh ideas for turning your harvest into a mouth-watering feast. Cooking Wild presents more than 100 kitchen-tested recipes that will inspire beginner and advanced cooks to savor Missouri’s game, fish, nuts, fruits, and mushrooms. The 200-page book also features color photographs on nearly every page and tips to make time in the kitchen easy, efficient, and fun.

Waterfowl Hunting and Wetland Conservation in Missouri introduces readers to Missouri’s unique conservation heritage in a richly illustrated volume, featuring color photographs, historic black-and- white images, and reproductions of works of art. Authored by veteran wildlife biologists and wetland managers, this 480-page coffee-table book chronicles and celebrates the state’s waterfowl conservation successes, and is considered by many a must read for serious migratory bird hunters. The book, which sells for $40, is a cooperative effort of the Missouri Department of Conservation, Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation, Conservation Federation of Missouri, Ducks Unlimited, Bass Pro Shops, and other conservation and hunting organizations. All net proceeds from the book’s sales are dedicated to wetland and waterfowl conservation.

You can see the full selection of books, greeting cards, DVDs, CDs, and more at Order online or by calling toll-free 877-521-8632. Many Nature Shop items also are available at conservation nature centers.

Need something to fill a stocking? Hunting, fishing, and trapping permits are great, affordable gifts.

At $19, a Resident Small-Game Hunting and Fishing Permit provides a full year of outdoor fun. Giving a Nonresident Small-Game Hunting Permit ($80) or a Nonresident Fishing Permit ($42) encourages out-of-state family and friends to visit more often. Permits bought on Dec. 1 or later are good from the date of purchase through the following permit year, which ends on the last day of February. So, recipients get 15 months of use out of them.

The Apprentice Hunter Authorization ($10) is an affordable gift that can create memories for a lifetime. This item is not a permit, but rather an authorization to buy hunting permits without first completing hunter education. This is a great option if you have a friend or relative intrigued by the idea of hunting, but doesn’t want to invest time in hunter education to satisfy his or her curiosity. The best part is you will get to share the experience, as a person using the authorization must hunt with you or another hunter education-certified mentor.

The ultimate hunting/fishing gift is a Resident Lifetime Conservation Partner Permit. This entitles the holder to lifetime privileges associated with a Resident Hunting and Fishing Permit,

Trout Permit, Migratory Bird Hunting Permit, and Conservation Order Permit. The price varies from $70 to $800, depending on the recipient’s age. Resident Lifetime Fishing Permits are also available.

Regular permits are available from vendors statewide or online at Lifetime permits are available at or by calling 573-522-4115, ext. 3574.

Salvation Army Embraces Discover Nature — Fishing Program

The Department’s Discover Nature — Fishing program is poised for a nationwide launch, thanks to The Salvation Army Central Territory, which has adopted the curriculum for its children’s outdoor programming.

The Discover Nature — Fishing program provides free, hands-on fishing instruction designed to help people of all ages gain the skills and confidence to go fishing on their own. The program is divided into four lessons. Participants learn about fishing equipment, casting, rigging a fishing rod, baiting a hook, and proper handling of fish. The course also covers fish identification, fish habitat, fishing with lures, and how to stock a basic tackle box.

Jerrie Miller, director of character building for the Salvation Army’s central territory, said Missouri’s program was the perfect balance between too much detail and not enough.

“We wanted a curriculum that was easy to understand, yet still contained enough content to cover what kids need to know,” she said, “and the Missouri Department of Conservation has a curriculum that makes it easy to adjust for different age groups.”

Miller noted many of the children who attend the Salvation Army’s camp programs — the organization operates 43 camps nationwide — live in cities and have limited access to nature. Often adult volunteers aren’t well-versed in outdoor skills, either.

Teaching fishing made sense, she said, since all of the Salvation Army’s camps have access to water. “We want to get kids outside to discover and explore nature,” Miller said. “We want them to appreciate the beauty and embrace conservation stewardship.”

The Department is providing the curriculum and training for the instructors, a service it already provides to other volunteer educators across Missouri.

The first training session for volunteer instructors was held in mid-October. A second training session is slated for May, Miller noted. The Salvation Army hopes to implement the new program at its 2016 National Jamboree in Steelville next summer.

“We are excited to partner with the Salvation Army and help teach fishing to Missourians. Discover Nature — Fishing is a quality program developed by the Department. It’s nice to know that our efforts are being recognized and used by others,” said Fisheries Division Chief Brian Canaday.

MoNASP Targets Success

The Missouri National Archery in the Schools Program, or MoNASP, is exploring a new dimension — the third dimension — next year. With the addition of 3-D targets, organizers hope to encourage students to view bowhunting as an enjoyable and rewarding outdoor activity — one they may want to try themselves. The new 3-D targets take the shape of six game species: deer, turkey, bear, coyote, sheep, and antelope.

The first statewide tournament with a 3-D category is scheduled for April 2 at Helias High School in Jefferson City. The tournament is an addition to, not a replacement of, traditional target shooting, said Education Programs/Curriculum Supervisor Kevin Lohraff.

Currently, 535 schools around the state offer MoNASP programs. Archery is usually taught in physical education courses, but science, math, history, and even English courses have included it, too. The sport has proved to be so popular that nearly half the schools have started after-school archery clubs.

“MoNASP helps build stronger, more confident, and accomplished kids,” said Eric Edwards, MoNASP program coordinator for the Department. “Nearly everyone can succeed at archery. Kids love it. And statistics show that archery helps improve school attendance, boosts selfesteem, and increases physical activity.”

The Department, in conjunction with the Conservation Federation of Missouri, supports

MoNASP by offering schools a $1,500 rebate for equipment purchases. In exchange, school districts agree to teach archery skills for at least two weeks, two school years in a row.

Growing the MoNASP program continues to be a Department goal, said Edwards.

“A lot of schools think they are too small, or don’t have the funds,” he said. “But the program is so simple that all schools have the ability to participate. It only takes one person to get the ball rolling.”

To learn more about how your school can participate, contact Edwards at 573-522-4115, ext. 3295 or via email at To learn more about the MoNASP program, visit

What is it?

Ozark Sculpin | Cottus hypselurus

The Ozark sculpin is one of at least 14 fish species that are endemic to the Ozark Region of southern Missouri and Arkansas, meaning they occur nowhere else in the world. It requires coldwater habitats, occurring almost exclusively in branches and streams that receive much of their flow from springs. It is found in riffles as well as pools, over bottom types ranging from silt to gravel and rock. It hugs the bottom of these streams, lying motionless and blending in with its surroundings in order to escape detection from predators and ambush its prey. Its diet includes the immature stages of aquatic insects (stoneflies, mayflies, midges, black flies, and caddisflies), snails, and small fish, including other Ozark sculpins.

—photograph by Jim Rathert

Conservation Commission Actions

The October Commission meeting featured presentations and discussions regarding a communications update, regulations committee report, Southwest Missouri quail ecology project and quail focus area update, information technology, major construction projects status report, current financial report, and the Fountain Grove Conservation Area pump station. A summary of actions taken during the Oct. 22–23 meeting for the benefit and protection of fish, forests, and wildlife, and the citizens who enjoy them includes:

  • Recognized Department staff members who have received recent awards.
  • Approved the Conservation Priorities Three-Year Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2017–2019.
  • Approved an agreement for the design of 13 radio tower replacements across the state.
  • Approved proposals for the fabrication of exhibit features at Runge Conservation Nature
  • Center located in Cole County.
  • Approved a contract for construction of the Conservation Commission Headquarters
  • Corridor Replacement Project located in Cole County.
  • Approved the designation of Mingo Natural Area in Stoddard and Wayne counties as a new Missouri Natural Area for the Missouri Natural Areas System.
  • Approved revisions to the Department’s Hunting Incident Reporting and Investigation Policy.

The next Conservation Commission meeting is Dec. 10 and 11. For more information, visit or call your regional Conservation office.

Did You Know?

Conservation pays by enriching our economy and quality of life MDC County Assistance Payments

  • $1,612,506 was paid to Missouri counties for levee and drainage district taxes, forest cropland payments, payments in lieu of real estate taxes, and county aid road-trust payments last fiscal year.
  • MDC makes payments in lieu of real estate taxes on land as long as we hold the land in public trust. Payments are no less than at the time of acquisition.
  • $20.8 million has been paid to Missouri counties in lieu of real estate taxes since 1980.
  • The county aid road-trust program is designed to support maintenance of roads accessing Department areas. This program enables MDC to cost-share roadway maintenance with counties and other local area governments throughout the state. Cost-share is usually 50 percent with a county’s match being in-kind services.
  • About $530,000 is provided annually statewide through the county aid road-trust program.

This Issue's Staff

Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld
Art Director - Cliff White
Associate Editor - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Heather Feeler
Staff Writer - Kristie Hilgedick
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Designer - Stephanie Thurber
Circulation - Laura Scheuler