MDC Notable News from 2022

News from the region
Published Date

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) had an assortment of exciting news during 2022, including regulation changes, partnership happenings, new state records, awards, and more. See the news highlights below and follow the links for more information and images.


Discover nature with MDC through Agents of Discovery free mobile app

Looking for a new way to explore and learn about Missouri’s outdoors? MDC encourages kids and adults to check out the free mobile gaming app, Agents of Discovery, while exploring natural areas around the state. More at

First phase of renovation project underway at MDC's Bennett Spring Hatchery

Visitors to Bennett Spring State Park will soon notice the sights and sounds of heavy machinery operating within the park. This work is the first phase of a renovation project at the MDC Bennett Spring Hatchery that will ensure one of Missouri’s most popular trout parks will remain a premier destination for family fishing fun. More at


MDC announces changes to catfish regulations on Mark Twain Lake

MDC began enforcing a 26-inch minimum length limit on the harvest of blue catfish and flathead catfish on Mark Twain Lake Feb. 28. The regulation change was based on research and public opinion. Blue catfish and flathead catfish measuring less than 26 inches in length must be returned to the water unharmed immediately after being caught. More at

Expanded bicycle use on MDC areas starts Feb 28

MDC began allowing the expanded use of bicycles and electric bicycles on many department-area service roads and multi-use trails starting Feb. 28. More at

MDC proposes increased crappie limit for Mozingo Lake

The Missouri Conservation Commission gave initial approval at its Feb. 17 public meeting to MDC proposed regulation changes regarding increasing limits for crappie on Mozingo Lake in Nodaway County. MDC proposed increasing the catch-and-keep daily limit on Mozingo Lake for crappie from 15 to 30 fish while restricting the harvest of crappie over nine inches to 15 fish per person, per day. More at

Missouri Feral Hog Elimination Partnership removes more than 9,800 feral hogs

The Missouri Feral Hog Elimination Partnership removed 9,857 feral hogs from the landscape in 2021, making the total number of feral hogs eliminated more than 54,000 since 2016. Since 2016, the partnership has reduced the watershed acreage with feral hogs present by 61%. The partnership is made up of 13 federal and state agencies along with numerous agriculture and conservations organizations. More at


MDC approves expansion of furbearer hunting, trapping seasons

The Missouri Conservation Commission gave final approval at its March 25 open meeting on regulation changes that extends the current furbearer hunting and trapping seasons for abundant furbearer species. The extension came in response to stakeholder requests to provide additional opportunity for the taking of multiple furbearer species. More at

Lincoln County conservation agent named Ducks Unlimited Missouri Flyway Waterfowl Protection Officer of the Year

MDC Agent Nick Bommarito earned the 2021 Missouri Flyway Waterfowl Protection Officer of the Year Award, presented by the Missouri Chapter of Ducks Unlimited.  The award is given each year to one enforcement agent for doing outstanding work related to waterfowl protection, hunting, and education within the Mississippi Flyway. More at

Jasper County bowfisher swipes first state record of 2022

Congratulations to Josh Lawmaster of La Russell on being the first state-record holder of 2022 after shooting an 8-pound, 5-ounce quillback from Table Rock Lake. Lawmaster was bowfishing March 15 when he shot the fish. His current record breaks the previous record of 7-pounds, 10-ounces set in 2015. More at

Illinois man now holds Missouri paddlefish state record

Congratulations to Jim Dain of Pittsfield, Ill. for snagging a monster 140-pound, 10-ounce paddlefish March 18 at the Lake of the Ozarks. The latest record breaks the previous record of 140-pounds, 9-ounces set in 2015 on Table Rock Lake. More at

Young archers excel during 2022 MoNASP state tournament in Branson

The 2022 Missouri National Archery in the Schools Program state archery tournament was held March 17-19 at the Branson Convention Center and drew more than 4,300 student archers in grades 4-12 from 218 schools across the state. More at


Conservation Commissioner Mark McHenry honored at KC Arbor Day event

Kansas City bestowed Arbor Day honors on Conservation Commissioner Mark McHenry with a commemorative tree planted in the city’s venerable Loose Park. McHenry worked for decades for the Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department. More at


Renovation of rifle/pistol area at MDC's Andy Dalton Range underway

Renovation work began on the rifle/pistol portion of the MDC Andy Dalton Shooting Range and Outdoor Education Center in Greene County. More at

Polk County man catches new state record walleye

Congratulations to Tim Stillings of Morrisville for catching a 7-pound, 8-ounce walleye from the Sac River on May 16 using a trotline. His record breaks the previous alternative methods record of 6-pounds, 14-ounces set in 2018. More at

MDC presents partnership award to Heartland Conservation Alliance

MDC gave special recognition to years of work by the Heartland Conservation Alliance for serving people and nature in the Kansas City area. More at

MDC adds MO Hives KC as a conservation partner in cities

MDC entered into a community conservation partnership with MO Hives KC to be bee friendly in urban neighborhoods. MO Hives has worked in Kansas City to place beehives and native plants in vacant lots in Kansas City, while also serving a youth conservation program. MDC’s support will help the non-profit group expand the program to neighborhoods in the St. Louis, Springfield, and Jefferson City areas. More at

Missouri archers excel during Eastern NASP National Tournament

MDC congratulates the hundreds of students from Missouri’s National Archery in the Schools Program who competed in the 2022 Eastern National Bullseye and 3D Tournament May 12-14 in Louisville, KY. Nearly 6,000 archers from across the country competed in the bullseye portion of the tournament, including 339 archers from 47 Missouri schools. More at

Missouri archers compete in NASP Western National Tournament

More than 100 students from Missouri’s National Archery in the Schools Program traveled to Sandy, UT to compete in the 2022 Western National Bullseye and 3D Tournament held April 29-30. More at


Taney County man shoots new state record sunfish

Congratulations to Andrew Hunt of Hollister on becoming the new state record holder under alternative methods for redear sunfish. Hunt was bowfishing at Lake Taneycomo June 4 when he shot a 2-pound, 2-ounce fish. The previous record was a 2-pound, 1-ounce fish shot last year at Table Rock Lake. More at

MDC inducts Joel Vance into Missouri Conservation Hall of Fame

MDC posthumously honored Joel Vance, formerly of Russellville, for his lifetime of conservation work by inducting him into the Missouri Conservation Hall of Fame on June 17 during a ceremony at the MDC Runge Nature Center in Jefferson City. Vance died on Dec. 9, 2020, at age 86. More at

MDC program can help landowners manage deer populations

MDC began offering Missouri landowners another way to help manage deer numbers on their properties by expanding its Deer Management Assistance Program statewide. More at

MDC encourages anglers to test skills through Smallmouth Slam

MDC and the Missouri Smallmouth Alliance began a new program for anglers to test their fishing skills and pursue a “Smallmouth Slam” by fishing MDC’s 12 Special Management Areas for bass to receive related pins and medallions. More at


MDC honors Dave Murphy with Master Conservationist Award

MDC and the Missouri Conservation Commission honored Clark-County native, lifelong conservationist, and former MDC Commissioner Dave Murphy with their Master Conservationist Award. More at


MDC grant helps purchase track-chairs for Missouri Disabled Sportsmen

Specialized track-chairs help MDC make nature and the outdoors more accessible to all outdoor enthusiasts. MDC awarded a grant to Missouri Disabled Sportsmen to assist in the purchase of four track-chairs and an enclosed trailer. These all-terrain track-chairs will allow MDS to expand their services and create more opportunities for those they serve. More at

MDC biologist's work with endangered plant earns national recognition

Research and field work by MDC Natural History Biologist Rhonda Rimer on federally threatened and state endangered Virginia sneezeweed resulted in national recognition from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. More at

Legislators, MDC, Bass Pro, and others honor archery as Missouri's state sport

Members of the Missouri legislature joined staff from MDC, Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World, the Archery Trade Association, and a number of young archers from across southwest Missouri to recognize archery’s designation as Missouri’s official state sport. More at


MDC names La Plata man Central Region Logger of the Year

Congratulations to Joni Yoder on being named the 2022 Central Region Logger of the Year. Yoder owns Yoder Logging out of La Plata, and he and his crew have worked closely with MDC staff from both Central and Northeast Regions. More at

MDC partners with Bayer to support pollinator education efforts

Pollinators play a critical role in the production of most fruits and vegetables and a great way to support them is by planting native plants. Bayer is helping the cause by giving away 3,600 free native-plant seed packets through a new partnership with MDC. More at

Celebrate Burr Oak Woods Nature Center’s 40th anniversary

Burr Oak Woods Nature Center opened 40 years ago in the Kansas City suburb of Blue Springs. It was the first nature center provided in the state by MDC. More at

MDC and PRA: 85 years of serving nature and you

2022 marked the 85th anniversary of conservation history being made both in Missouri and across the nation. In Missouri in 1937, the work of MDC began when citizen-led efforts created the state conservation agency and the Missouri Conservation Commission. In Washington in 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law The Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act, popularly known as the Pittman–Robertson Act (PRA). This was the first-of-its-kind legislation that provides federal funds through grants to states for wildlife restoration, wildlife habitat, and wildlife management research. More at


MDC reminds Tower Rock Natural Area visitors to explore nature safely

Due to extremely low water levels this past fall, thousands of visitors crossed the Mississippi River by foot to visit Tower Rock in the river channel. During average water levels, the formation is perched in the middle of the Mississippi River and is accessible only by boat. More at

Celebrate Peanut the Turtle’s 38th birthday at Powder Valley Nature Center

Peanut the Turtle has attracted attention as an anti-littering mascot all over Missouri, along with national and worldwide fame. At a young age, the red-eared slider wandered into a discarded plastic six-pack ring, and it stuck around her shell. As her shell grew, it was constricted by the plastic ring and developed an unusual, figure-eight shape. More at  

MDC offers new online hunter education ”game” for certification

Missouri hunters in need of hunter education certification now have a new interactive online offering in addition to existing hunter education courses. The new immersive, scenario-based offering allows hunter education participants to have game-like experiences by creating avatars and selecting their preferred game species and geographies. More at

MDC awards St. Louis Regional Logger of the Year to Jarvis Timber Company

Congratulations to Jarvis Timber Company based out of Mineral Point on being awarded the 2022 St. Louis Regional Logger of the Year award. More at

MDC congratulates 17 new conservation agents on their 2022 graduation

Congratulations to the 17 new conservation agents upon their graduation from MDC’s 2022 Conservation Agent Training Academy in October. More at


MDC and Columbia Public Schools begin construction on Boone County Nature School

The new 8,230-square-foot building will house four nature-themed classrooms, lab space, nature and student-related lobby exhibits, and offices. The building and associated grounds will serve students from all six Boone County school districts through unique “place-based” education as well as the public through special conservation-related programming. More at


MDC inducts “Woody” Bledsoe into Conservation Hall of Fame

The former MDC employee and “singing forester” was honored posthumously for his lifetime achievements in promoting conservation. More at

Get more information and images of MDC news from the Department’s online newsroom at