In Brief

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

Record Mountain Lion Sightings

MDC’s special response team confirms numbers of reported incidents

While MDC cannot yet confirm a mountain lion breeding population in Missouri, we can confirm more than 100 sightings in the state since 1994. The 100th confirmed sighting came out of Livingston County in October 2022 and was verified through trail camera photographs. MDC confirmed at least seven more sightings since.

MDC receives many reports of mountain lion sightings every year, but the majority of those have no physical evidence, such as photographs, hair samples, scat, or footprints, to verify the sighting. MDC’s Large Carnivore Response Team, composed of specially trained individuals, receives the reports of sightings and conducts a sight visit in some situations if there is physical evidence. In some situations, the team must give the report an “unconfirmed” determination because of a lack of information and evidence.

“This doesn’t mean that it wasn’t a mountain lion,” said MDC Wildlife Management Coordinator Alan Leary. “It means we didn’t have enough information or evidence to confirm it, such as a photograph being too blurry.”

Leary added that the number of reports generally goes up in the fall when there are more people and trail cameras in the woods.

“MDC has no evidence that there is a breeding population of mountain lions in the state at this time because we have never been able to confirm a female with kittens,” said Leary, who co-chairs the Large Carnivore Response Team. “There have only been two female mountain lions confirmed in the state. The first one was shot by hunters in Carter County in 1994. The second was confirmed from DNA taken from an elk carcass in Shannon County in 2016. We believe most of the individuals seen in Missouri are juvenile males that are dispersing from nearby states and looking for a territory and a mate.”

To learn about our more than 100 confirmed mountain lion sightings, how to report a mountain lion, and more, visit online at

Celebrate Missouri Trees through Arbor Days in April

Celebrate the value of Missouri trees and forests during Arbor Days in April by planting native trees and practicing proper tree care.

Missouri Arbor Day is Friday, April 7. Missouri has been observing the state’s official Arbor Day on the first Friday in April since 1886 when the General Assembly declared that day be set aside for the appreciation and planting of trees. National Arbor Day is recognized on the last Friday of April, which is April 28 for 2023.

Get information on backyard tree care, including types of trees for urban and other landscapes, selecting the right tree for the right place, planting tips, watering and pruning, and more at

MDC’s George O. White State Forest Nursery near Licking offers residents a variety of low-cost native tree and shrub seedlings for reforestation, windbreaks, erosion control, and wildlife food and cover. Orders are accepted through April 15. For more information, visit

Communities around the state also hold local Arbor Day activities. For more information on Arbor Day and Missouri’s Tree City USA communities, visit the Arbor Day Foundation at

Missouri forests cover about one-third of the state and provide outdoor recreation, wildlife habitat, natural beauty, and watersheds for streams and rivers. Spending time in Missouri forests can provide a natural health benefit, too. Exposure to nature contributes to your physical well-being, reducing your blood pressure and heart rate, relieving stress, and boosting your energy level. Get more information at

Celebrate the Outdoors in April!

Spring in Missouri is magical — the days get longer, the woods come alive with tiny buds on trees, dainty wildflowers spring from the earth, and peepers are peeping, turkeys are scratching, coyotes are calling, owls are hooting, and birds are singing. This is the time of year to get outside and discover nature by finding a new turkey hunting spot or crappie fishing spot, biking or hiking new trails, birding, camping, kayaking, canoeing, and other outdoor adventures.

MDC joins the Conservation Federation of Missouri and the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation to recognize April as Missouri Outdoors Month. April is traditionally when warm weather brings out nature’s best, and this partnership encourages and challenges individuals and families to discover nature and enjoy the outdoors.

Discover things to do at and new places to go at Share your outdoor adventures with us through social media, using #MissouriOutdoorsMonth.

Agent Advice
Statistics Elements

Katie Stoner
Osage County
Conservation Agent


Missouri’s outdoors provide a lot of opportunity in April. From mushroom hunting to crappie fishing and turkey season, your springtime calendar can fill up quickly. Going turkey hunting? Remember, safety first. There are more hunting incidents statewide during turkey season, but with proper precaution and planning, it doesn’t have to be that way. Practice proper firearm safety, always know your target, and what is beyond it. While carrying a turkey out of the woods, wrap your harvest in hunter orange and wear hunter orange to make you visible to other hunters. Mushroom hunting? Wear bright colors to make sure you are easily visible to turkey hunters. Following these simple tips can keep everyone safe.


Mushroom Lover’s Creamed Morels

Most people think of morels when they hear the words “wild mushrooms.” Morels are treasured for their delicious flavor and the fun of the hunt, often a family tradition spanning generations. This dish is described as “pure bliss for morel enthusiasts.” Use the bread to dip and scoop.

Serves 6 to 8

Bernadette Dryden
Right to Use


  • 2 cups fresh or 1 handful dried morels
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 pint cream (or half and half; however, cream makes it absolutely superb)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons Marsala (see Ingredient Tip)
  • Good rustic bread

If using fresh morels, cut each one in half lengthwise. Pick out bugs and dirt and wash only if necessary. If you have large morels, cut them into smaller pieces — but not too small.

If using dried morels, reconstitute in water. When sufficiently plump, drain mushrooms through a fine strainer and reserve liquid in a small bowl. Squeeze out any liquid from the mushrooms into the strainer over the bowl. Cut mushrooms into pieces as above.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan or skillet. Add shallots and sauté for a few minutes. Add the morels, stir, and sauté for a few minutes more. If you have used dried morels, add the morel liquid, being careful not to pour in any sediment that may have slipped through the strainer (it could be sand or bugs).

Cook morels until most of the liquid in the pan has evaporated. Add cream and cook for a few minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste, then Marsala to taste.

Serve in shallow bowls and accompany with bread.

Ingredient Tip

Marsala, a fortified wine from Sicily, usually is available where wines are sold.

What is it?

Common Violet

The common violet is one of 17 species of violets in Missouri, and true to its name, is indeed common and widespread in our state. It is also quite variable, and often hybridizes with close relatives, making it tricky for botanists to identify. The common violet usually has purple or bluish flowers with five petals and heart- or kidney-shaped leaves. Violets bloom from March to June, and sporadically in October through December.


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