Kansas City, Mo. – Spring and summer flooding will affect the habitat conditions that waterfowl hunters will find this autumn at some Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) areas managed with a wetland emphasis. But some wetlands will offer normal conditions for migrating waterfowl.
The Settle’s Ford Conservation Area in Cass and Bates counties south of Kansas City flooded four times this spring and summer. But the area did not suffer significant damage and waterfowl hunting opportunities should be normal, said Brian Bokern, MDC wildlife management biologist. The growth of moist soil plants that provide food and cover for waterfowl was poor to excellent, varying between pools. Hunters may want to scout the conditions ahead of the season in locations open to hunting. MDC staff did plant corn in bottom fields. But the crop was planted late and it is uncertain if the plants will mature enough to produce corn.
Settle’s Ford Conservation Area does have good water levels in all pools. That should benefit migratory waterfowl, non-game wildlife, and hunting opportunities.
The Montrose Conservation Area in Henry County is expected to have good water levels until the end of the waterfowl season, Bokern said. Hunting blinds will be available, all normal regulations and procedures for the area remain in place.
Moist soil plant growth was poor in the area’s wetland pools, but that growth is fair to good in the upper end of Montrose Lake.
High water has not helped conditions at the Grand Pass Conservation Area in Saline County. Also, hunter accessibility may depend on the weather and Missouri River levels.
The high river levels prevented MDC staff from planting any agriculture crops in wetland pools at the area, said Chris Freeman, MDC wildlife management biologist. Some wetland pools on the area’s east side have limited natural cover due to high water for extended periods. Other pools with good plant growth will likely have no managed openings in the cover. Both conditions may make hunting challenging and reduce opportunities at Grand Pass. The west side pools do have good moist soil plant production.
According to Missouri River level predictions by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, there is a possibility that major highway access to Grand Pass Conservation Area may be closed at times. Some levees were damaged by earlier high water. Large rainfall and flooding events this fall could increase the chances for breaches in levees. High water may prompt portions of the area to be closed to ensure user safety.
For more information about MDC wetlands and waterfowl hunting in Missouri, visit https://short.mdc.mo.gov/ZQg.