In Brief

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

Catch a Rainbow

Enjoy winter trout fishing thanks to MDC’s stocking efforts across the state

MDC staff have stocked about 80,000 rainbow trout for winter trout fishing in more than 40 community lakes statewide. Many of these areas allow anglers to harvest trout as soon as they are stocked, while others are catch-and-release until Feb. 1. Find locations at

The daily limit for catch-and-keep at these locations is four trout with no length limit. All Missouri residents over age 15 and under age 65 must have a fishing permit. All nonresidents over age 15 must have a fishing permit. To keep trout, all anglers of all ages must have a Missouri trout permit.

Buy permits from vendors around the state, online at, or through our free mobile app — MO Fishing — available for download through Google Play for Android devices or the App Store for Apple devices.

Discover Nature with Eagle Days

From December through February, Missouri’s winter eagle watching is spectacular. Discover nature with MDC through Eagle Days events around the state or enjoy watching bald eagles on your own.

Because of Missouri’s big rivers, many lakes, and abundant wetlands, the Show-Me state is one of the leading lower 48 states for bald eagle viewing. Each fall, thousands of these great birds migrate south from their nesting range in Canada and the Great Lakes states to hunt in Missouri. Eagles take up residence wherever they find open water and plentiful food. More than 2,000 bald eagles are typically reported in Missouri during winter.

Watch for eagles perched in large trees along the water’s edge. Early in the morning you can see them flying and fishing. Be sure to dress for winter weather and don’t forget cameras and binoculars.

MDC offers various Eagle Days events around the state. Some will include live eagle programs, exhibits, activities, videos, and guides with spotting scopes. Some require registration. 

Can’t make an MDC Eagle Days event? Here are some hot spots for winter eagle viewing:

  • Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area on Route K, southwest of Columbia
  • Lake of the Ozarks at Bagnell Dam Access, east of Bagnell
  • Lock and Dam 20 in Canton
  • Lock and Dam 24 at Clarksville
  • Lock and Dam 25, east of Winfield
  • Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge, south of Mound City
  • Mingo National Wildlife Refuge, northwest of Puxico
  • Moses Eagle Park in Stella
  • Old Chain of Rocks Bridge, south of I-270 off Riverview Drive in St. Louis
  • Riverlands Environmental Demonstration Area, east of West Alton
  • Schell-Osage Conservation Area, north of El Dorado Springs
  • Smithville Lake, north of Kansas City
  • Stockton Lake, near Stockton
  • Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge, south of Sumner
  • Table Rock Lake, southwest of Branson
  • Truman Reservoir, west of Warsaw.

For more information on Eagle Days events, visit

MDC Welcomes New Agents 

MDC congratulates 16 new conservation agents on their graduation in October from the 2023 Conservation Agent Training Academy.

The new agents spent six months of training, housed at the Highway Patrol Academy in Jefferson City. They received more than 1,200 hours of intense instruction both in and out of the classroom throughout the state. Agents received training in criminal investigations, defensive tactics, firearms qualifications, and technical instruction in fish, forest, and wildlife management. Training also included courses in legal studies, communications, conducting education programs, and first aid/first responder and CPR certification.

Upon successful completion of this training, agents are issued a Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) license from the Missouri Department of Public Safety. The conservation agent training program is also certified by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Apprenticeship.

The 16 new agents joining the 200 existing MDC agents in protecting Missouri’s fish, forest, and wildlife include: Luke Armentrout, Claire Burch, Brandon Cotter, Austin Davis, Kaitlyn Davis, Zachary Durbin, Jobe Edwards, Juvenal Escobar, Ty Garrison, Kelsey Gillenwater, Breeann Hamblin, Sierra Page, Justin Ralph, Jacob Sieve, Dakota Sweeney, and Gil Turk.

The new agents have been assigned their counties. However, they will be involved in field training operations and special assignments while under the supervision of veteran agents during which they will acquire vital field experience.

For more information on MDC careers, visit

It’s Not Too Late to Get Holiday Gifts From MDC

Holiday shopping is a breeze with MDC’s online Nature Shop. For the nature lover on your list, we offer a variety of items, including the Natural Events Calendar, a variety of books, and more for all ages.

Purchase items through the MDC online Nature Shop at, by calling 877-521-8632, or at one of MDC’s nature centers located across the state. Nature centers are located in Kirkwood, Cape Girardeau, Springfield, Kansas City, Blue Springs, and Jefferson City. Order early in anticipation of slower shipping deliveries. Applicable tax, shipping, and handling costs will apply.

Agent advice
Statistics Elements

Corporal Norman Steelman Jr.
Audrain County
Conservation Agent


Hunting in December might best be described as the calm after the storm. We’re past the rut, over opening day excitement, and the woods are a little less crowded. The cold weather has set in, but the deer are still moving. I like to get out there, sit in the quiet, and converse with nature. It puts you in a different mindset. There is nothing like tracking a deer in the snow. If you are going to enjoy this season of hunting, remember your permit and dress in layers. The weather can change quickly, so be mindful of that. Tell someone where you will be and carry your cell phone. For more information, consult the 2023 Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet online at


Craig’s Picante Pecans

Cooking Wild in Missouri author Bernadette Dryden first tasted Chef Craig Cyr’s namesake pecans at a summer event in downtown Columbia. This combination of ingredients adds an herby-floral-spicy taste to your pecans. And this is a recipe you can play with — adjust the quantities to your taste, depending on the balance of salty, spicy, and sweet you prefer



  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1½ teaspoons fennel seeds, slightly crushed
  • 1½ teaspoons fresh rosemary, coarsely chopped
  • 1½ teaspoons lavender buds, coarsely chopped
  • 1½ teaspoons red pepper, crushed
  • Several pinches coarse sea salt, slightly crushed
  • Several twists of black pepper from a pepper mill
  • 2 tablespoons Missouri maple syrup
  • 1 cup Missouri pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in a small saucepan.

Add fennel seeds and lightly toast, stirring. Add herbs and stir for a moment until they begin to release some of their oils. Add remaining ingredients and toss well.

Pour mixture onto a rimmed baking sheet and bake until toasted, about 5 to 8 minutes (depending upon the size of the nut). Stir several times during baking to make sure the pecans are well coated and that their grooves are stuffed with herby, spicy bits. Watch carefully to make sure they don’t get too brown.

Remove from oven and spread out on a cool baking sheet. When cooled, store in an airtight container.

This recipe is from Cooking Wild in Missouri by Bernadette Dryden, available for $16 at

What is it?

Deer Antlers

Antlers normally occur only in white-tailed bucks, or males. Bucks start growing antlers in April or May. During this growth period, the antlers are “in velvet,” or covered by a plush, hairlike membrane. When antlers reach full size, bucks rub them on trees and shrubs to remove the velvet and polish them to shiny bone. By winter, the connection between the antler and the buck’s skull weakens and the antlers drop off.

Also In This Issue

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