In Brief

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

CWD Mandatory Sampling, New Firearms Portion

MDC urges hunters to help in the fight against CWD

MDC reminds hunters who harvest deer in select Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Management Zone counties during opening weekend of deer season, Nov. 11-12, that they must take the deer (or its head) on the day of harvest to one of our mandatory sampling stations.

MDC has included 14 new counties as part of the CWD Management Zone this year: Bollinger, Caldwell, Carroll, Clay, Clinton, Dallas, Grundy, Jasper, Livingston, Madison, Montgomery, Pemiscot, Ray, and Schuyler.

As with all counties in the CWD Management Zone, grain, salt products, minerals, and other consumable products used to attract deer are prohibited year-round. Hunters must also follow carcass transportation regulations. The antler-point restriction has also been removed from Caldwell, Carroll, Clinton, Grundy, Livingston, Montgomery, Ray, and Schuyler counties.

MDC is also offering a new CWD portion of firearms deer season Nov. 22–26 in CWD Management Zone counties. Hunters will be able to use any unfilled firearms deer hunting permits during the CWD portion and must abide by the statewide limit of one antlered deer during the firearms deer season, all portions combined. Hunters must also abide by county-specific firearms antlerless permit numbers.

Get more information on regulation changes and other details for deer hunting from our 2023 Fall Deer & Turkey Regulations and Information booklet, available where permits are sold and online at

Staffed Shooting Range Fees Increasing

Operation and maintenance costs at MDC’s five staffed shooting ranges have dramatically increased over the past several years, including labor costs, supplies, and contracting for general maintenance. As a result, MDC will increase shooting fees from $4 per hour/round to $5 per hour/round for rifle, handgun, shotgun, and archery shooting starting Nov. 1. The price increase will apply at the following ranges:

  • Andy Dalton Shooting Range and Outdoor Education Center in Greene County
  • August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area Shooting Range and Outdoor Education Center in St. Charles County
  • Jay Henges Shooting Range and Outdoor Education Center in St. Louis County
  • Lake City Range in Jackson County, and
  • Parma Woods Range and Training Center in Platte County.

“While our staffed shooting ranges were primarily constructed for hunters to prepare for hunting seasons, the public’s use for recreational target shooting has increased significantly,” said MDC Hunter Education and Shooting Range Coordinator Justin McGuire. “Operation costs, maintenance costs, and supply costs have also increased over the past several years.”

About 80,000 shooters use the ranges annually.

Learn more about MDC shooting ranges online at

Governor Appoints New Commissioner

Missouri Governor Mike Parson appointed Raymond T. (Ray) Wagner Jr., of Town and Country in St. Louis County, as the newest member of the four-person Missouri Conservation Commission on Sept. 29.

“We welcome Ray Wagner to the commission and look forward to serving with him to protect and manage the fish, forest, and wildlife of our beautiful state,” said Commission Chair Steven Harrison. “He brings a wealth of business expertise, valuable public-service experience, and a love of conservation.”

Wagner has been an avid outdoorsman all his life, actively supporting conservation issues. He serves on the board of directors for the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation and is active with the Great River Habitat Alliance. He is also a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association, Ducks Unlimited, and a member of Quail Forever and Pheasants Forever.

“All these activities continue to fuel my love for the outdoors and conservation advocacy,” Wagner said. “My interest in wildlife and conservation has never wavered. The outdoors and conservation-related activities have long been my passion and I look forward to the opportunity to serve on the Missouri Conservation Commission.”

Wagner serves in the Office of Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey as the first assistant attorney general and chief counselor. Previously, Wagner served as the senior vice president of global government and public affairs for Enterprise Holdings, the rental car company.

Wagner holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Missouri–Kansas City School of Law, an LLM law degree from Washington University School of Law, a Master of Business Administration degree, and Bachelor of Arts degree in political science, both from Saint Louis University. He also was an adjunct professor of law at Washington University School of Law. Wagner and his wife, U.S. Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R-MO), have three children and one grandchild.

The Missouri Conservation Commission consists of four members appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the Senate. Commissioners serve six-year terms with no salary or other compensation with not more than two allowed from the same political party. Their responsibilities include appointing the MDC director, serving as MDC policy makers, approving regulations of the Wildlife Code of Missouri, strategic planning, and budget development and major expenditure decisions.

Wagner replaces Barry Orscheln of Columbia whose six-year term as a conservation commissioner expired July 1. Wagner joins Commission Chair Steven D. Harrison of Rolla, Vice Chair Margaret F. (Margy) Eckelkamp of Washington, and Secretary Mark L. McHenry of Kansas City.

For more on the commission, visit MDC online at

Give Nature-Themed Holiday Gifts

Have nature lovers on your holiday gift list? MDC’s online Nature Shop makes holiday shopping a breeze for anyone interested in nature-themed gifts. Offerings include the ever-popular 2024 Natural Events Calendar, plus a variety of books and more.

Holiday shoppers can also skip retail stores and visit one of our nature and education centers around the state, including in Kirkwood, Cape Girardeau, Springfield, Kansas City, Blue Springs, and Jefferson City, for an array of reasonably priced, nature-themed holiday gifts. Find hours and locations at

MDC’s popular holiday gift offerings include:

  • 2024 Natural Events Calendar ($9) — This annual favorite has amazing images of native animals, plants, and places, along with phases of the moon, holidays and days of recognition, daily notes about natural events, and more.
  • Coneflower Nature Journal ($8) — It includes simple tips to get started drawing or writing about nature. It is spiral bound with plenty of blank pages.
  • Cooking Wild in Missouri ($16) — This favorite cookbook features more than 100 recipes for native game, fish, fruits, nuts, and mushrooms.
  • Strange but True ($8.95) — This fun offering was adapted from the pages of MDC’s Xplor magazine and features 350 weird and wild facts and illustrations about creatures that inhabit Missouri.
  • A Paddlers Guide to Missouri ($9) — This newly revised edition makes a great gift for canoeists, kayakers, and floaters with color photos, maps, and descriptions of 54 rivers and streams. The 102 page, spiral-bound guide includes trip planning tips, equipment recommendations, paddling pointers, and more. New to the 2023 edition are maps of the upper Mississippi River from Hannibal to St. Louis and an expanded section on the Big River.
  • Owl and Nuthatches Notecard Sets ($8 each) — This is great for gift giving. Each set includes 12 cards of either a barred owl or pair of brown-headed nuthatch birds.
  • Missouri’s Wild Mushrooms ($26) — This book is a great guide for hunting, identifying, and cooking the state’s most common mushrooms.
  • Discover Missouri Natural Areas, Second Edition ($19.95) — This handy reference helps nature lovers experience 50 great examples of our state’s natural heritage. The new edition features updated maps, text, references, and scientific names.
  • The Amphibians and Reptiles of Missouri, Third Edition ($29) — This classic book has been updated and expanded to a 514-page illustrated guide that provides descriptions, distribution, habitats, habits, breeding, and other information on nearly 120 species of native salamanders, toads, frogs, turtles, lizards, and snakes.

Buy these and other items at our nature or education centers, through our online Nature Shop at, or by calling 877-521-8632. Order early. Applicable tax, shipping, and handling costs will apply.

Give the gift of hunting and fishing permits for hunters and anglers on your list. Buy permits from vendors around the state, online at, or through our free mobile apps, MO Hunting and MO Fishing, available for download through Google Play for Android devices or the App Store for Apple devices.

Agent Advice
Statistics Elements

Landon Leonard
Cass County
Conservation Agent


November ushers in one of Missouri’s most popular times of the year — deer season. If you’re looking for a place to hunt, MDC has options that are only a click away. The 2023 Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet lists conservation and public areas — divided by region — open for hunting. It further details the game you can harvest and allowable methods. MDC also offers a Places to Go tab on its website where you can type in a county of interest and find a list of areas and available activities, including hunting. Be sure to have a proper permit and understand all regulations for the area you will be visiting. To access the booklet, visit, and to access Places to Go, visit

We are Conservation

Julia Hunter

Finding Her Spark

Julia Hunter loves teaching kids about the beauty and benefits of nature. She attributes her own experiences from childhood — fishing with her dad and sitting outside amongst the trees — for sparking her passion for the outdoors.

Julia Hunter and Granddaughter
Emily Franklin
Right to Use

Lighting the Spark for the Next Generation

After college, Julia looked for ways to relieve stress. She started volunteering with the Missouri Master Naturalist program, Forest ReLeaf, Stream Team, and visiting conservation areas around Missouri. Julia uses her knowledge as a master naturalist to teach groups, such as her granddaughter’s girl scout troop, about nature and valuable outdoor skills.

In Her Own Words

“I just have so much fun being outdoors. It is a stress-reliever for me. We, as Missourians, need to get our kids outdoors, help them connect with nature, and spark their curiosity by showing them the lifecycle of a butterfly, taking them hiking or fishing.”

What’s your conservation superpower?

What is it?

Wild Turkey Strutting

Adult male wild turkeys — or toms — are very large and dark birds with bare, red and blue heads and red wattles on their throats and necks. Their feathers are bronzy and iridescent. Male turkeys gobble to announce themselves to males and to attract females. They also perform elaborate strutting displays for females, spreading their tails like a peacock and puffing out their feathers.

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 – Marcia Hale