Get Outside in February

By MDC | February 1, 2023
From Missouri Conservationist: February 2023

Ready the Poles

Have your fishing poles been on pause since before the temperatures dipped below freezing? If so, dust them off and get them out! MDC stocks rainbow trout in certain lakes and streams in winter. In February, trout anglers are getting ready for the big annual March 1 trout park opener. After a winter of being limited to catch-and-release fishing at these popular trout parks, trout anglers look forward to being able to keep their catch. If trout is not your fish, we have you covered. Bass, crappie, walleye, and catfish are some of the fish anglers go after in Missouri winters. For more information on fishing in Missouri, visit

Track Hunter

Suffering from cabin fever? Get outside! There’s plenty to do in the woods right now. You don’t have to wait for spring. After a fresh snow, bundle up in layers and head out. Look for animal tracks in the freshly fallen snow. Take family or friends and make it a game. Who can find the most tracks? Who can correctly identify the tracks? To help you plan the day, visit

Chipmunks on the Loose

Eastern chipmunks are small, ground-dwelling squirrels. These beautiful little mammals are active and fun to watch because they can be easily seen in the daylight. Chipmunks have varied hibernating schedules — some are completely dormant in winter while others are active during mild days and still others are active all winter. Regardless of their preferred hibernation schedule, chipmunks start coming out by the end of the month to begin their breeding period. Watch for them scurrying near wooded banks, stone piles, shrubbery, and old outbuildings.

Birds of a Feather

If you are a bird lover, get your binoculars ready. From songbirds to waterfowl and everything in between, birds are getting active, returning, or migrating through this month. Here are just a few birds to watch out for:

  • Cedar waxwings flock to feed on cedar berries and other fleshy fruits.
  • Northern pintails and mallards migrate north.
  • Geese migrate through Missouri.
  • Northern cardinals sing on sunny days.
  • Eastern screech-owls search for mates.
  • American robins return in large flocks.
  • American woodcocks begin courtship in southern Missouri. Listen for their nasal peenting at dusk in brushy fields.

For more information about birds and birdwatching, visit

Reconnect with Nature

Interested in exploring the outdoors but unsure where to start? The Nature Boost podcast with host Jill Pritchard covers everything from natural health benefits to outdoor recreation.

Natural Events to See This Month

Here’s what’s going on in the natural world.

  • Watch for mourning doves’ courtship flights.
  • Listen for spring peepers.
  • Look for harbinger of spring, one of the earliest-blooming wildflowers.
  • Watch for mourning cloak butterflies on warm days.
  • Listen for coyotes howling during the mating season.

This Issue's Staff

Magazine Manager - Stephanie Thurber
Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld
Associate Editor - Larry Archer
Photography Editor - Cliff White
Staff Writer - Kristie Hilgedick
Staff Writer - Joe Jerek
Staff Writer – Dianne Van Dien
Designer - Shawn Carey
Designer - Marci Porter
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Circulation - Laura Scheuler