Sunday, March 17, 2019

Box call draws 22 toms during spring turkey hunt

wild turkey huntign
Fun, food, fellowship and turkey stories are the norm at thousands of National Wild Turkey Federation Hunting Heritage fundraising banquets held annually across the United States.

For the second consecutive year, I had the pleasure of attending the Turkey Creek Longbeards banquet, held recently at the Joplin Elks Lodge.

One of the highlights was hearing a turkey story by Terry McGinnis, who was born in Joplin and raised in Webb City. He currently lives near Diamond.

Terry approached and said that I looked familiar. In no time, he and I bonded. We are graduates of Webb City High School and, of course, avid turkey hunters.

He noted that he and his wife, Honie, had “a heck of a hunt” for longbeards last spring in Southwest Missouri.

On the opening morning of spring turkey season, the couple was well-concealed, sitting in a blind in a brushy fence roll.


Saturday, March 16, 2019

Roaring River State Park hosts Birding Boot Camp March 30-31

Roaring River State Park hosts Birding Boot Camp March 30-31

JEFFERSON CITY, MO, MARCH 15, 2019 – Come to Roaring River State Park for Birding Boot Camp during the weekend of March 30-31. Beginning and experienced birders are invited to learn about topics such as bird identification, songs, nests and helping scientists around the world protect birds. Strap on your boots, grab your binoculars and get ready for 2019 Birding Boot Camp! These free events are open to the public.

Saturday March 30
9 a.m. Birding March - Bring your binoculars for our first bird watching experience. We will hike Chute Ridge Glade to observe the birds in this unique habitat. Meet at the nature center.

12 p.m. Fancy Feathers and Field Marks - Learn the basics of bird anatomy and field marks. Field marks are crucial for learning to identify new birds. Meet at the nature center.

3 p.m. Bird the Builder - Birds build unique homes. Come learn about the different styles of nests, and get a chance to create your own. Meet at the nature center.

Sunday March 31
9 a.m. Birding March - Bring your binoculars for a short hike. We will hike River Trail to observe the birds along Roaring River. Meet at the nature center.

3 p.m. Birding by Ear - Come listen to recordings of bird calls. You will learn tips to recognize bird songs and calls. After, we will test our skills outside of the nature center.

Roaring River State Park is located seven miles south of Cassville on Highway 112 in Barry County, southwest Missouri. For more information about the event, contact the park office at 417-847-2539.

For more information about Missouri state parks and historic sites, visit the web at Missouri State Parks is a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

Battle of Pilot Knob State Historic Site hosts Dutch oven cooking for beginners March 30

JEFFERSON CITY, MO, MARCH 15, 2019 – Ever wonder how settlers got fresh bread as they moved across Missouri? Or how Civil War soldiers prepared their dinner, if they were lucky enough to have something to eat? Dutch ovens are one of the most historic versatile cooking pots available and can be a valuable addition to your outdoor experience. Come to Battle of Pilot Knob State Historic Site March 30 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and staff will teach and demonstrate the basics of Dutch oven cooking.

If you have your own Dutch oven but don't know how to use it, bring it along and staff will help you cook in it. If you would like to learn the basics on how to choose an oven, and how to prep and clean an oven, this class is for you. If you do not have an oven, and we will have a few for you to try out.

Call the park staff to sign up and get the list of supplies you will need to bring if you are going to try cooking. Spend the day with us learning about this historic cooking pot and how to use it today, make some good memories and sample hot pie cooked outdoors.

Battle of Pilot Knob State Historic site is located in southeast Missouri at 118 E. Maple St., Pilot Knob. For more information about the event, call the site at 573-546-3454.

For more information about Missouri state parks and historic sites, visit the web at Missouri State Parks is a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

MDC reports November firearms deer harvest ends with 199,427 mdc news release MDC reports November firearms deer harvest ends with 199,427

Top counties: Franklin with 4,021 deer checked, Howell with 3,858, and Callaway with 3,695.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Preliminary data from the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) shows that deer hunters in Missouri harvested a near-record 199,427 deer during the November portion of fall firearms deer season, Nov. 10- 20. Of the 199,427 deer harvested, 102,930 were antlered bucks, 19,924 were button bucks, and 76,573 were does.

Top harvest counties were Franklin with 4,021 deer checked, Howell with 3,858, and Callaway with 3,695.

Last year hunters checked 192,797 deer during the 2017 November portion of firearms deer season with 100,161 being antlered bucks, 20,267 being button bucks, and 72,369 being does.

The recent-record season was 2012 with 204,668 deer harvested, including 87,368 antlered bucks, 27,143 button bucks, and 90,157 does.

For current ongoing preliminary harvest totals by season, county, and type of deer, visit the MDC website at For harvest summaries from past years, visit

MDC reported eight firearms-related hunting incidents during the November portion of firearms deer season of which three involved fatalities -- two of which occurred incidental to hunting while at hunting camps and one self-inflicted incident while in the field. Of the five non-fatal incidents, four were self-inflicted and the fifth occurred when the shooter struck a victim while swinging on game.

Deer hunting in Missouri continues with archery deer hunting from Nov. 21 through Jan. 15, 2019. The late youth portion of firearms deer season runs Nov. 23-25. The antlerless portion of firearms deer season runs Nov. 30 through Dec. 2. Lastly, the alternative methods portion will run Dec. 22 through Jan. 1, 2019. Learn more about deer hunting in Missouri at

Missouri offers some of the best deer hunting in the country and deer hunting is an important part of many Missourians’ lives and family traditions. Deer hunting is also an important economic driver in Missouri and gives a $1 billion annual boost to the state and local economies.

MDC offers women’s basic handgun workshops near Hartsburg

Preregister today to attend this free program on Dec. 13.

HARTSBURG, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) invites women to attend a free workshop near Hartsburg on the basics of handguns and shooting.

The class will take place 6–8 p.m. on Dec. 13 at Ammo Alley, LLC, 11562 Callaway County Road 395, south and east of the Highway 63 bridge over Cedar Creek.

Women will learn handgun parts and operation, ammunition, handgun safety, and shooting fundamentals. Participants will receive classroom training and one-on-one shooting instruction in a climate-controlled indoor shooting range.

MDC offers this workshop and classroom instruction free of charge.  However, Ammo Alley requires a $10 range fee from each participant, to be paid directly to Ammo Alley.

MDC will provide handguns and ammunition. Participants are welcome to bring their own, unloaded, cased handguns to the class, but will be required to provide their own new, factory ammunition (no reloads).

Women ages 14 years and older are invited to register for this workshop, however, participants younger than 18 years old must be accompanied by a parent or guardian who also registers for the workshop.

“Women are the fastest-growing group of gun owners in the U.S.,” said MDC Outdoor Skills Specialist Justin McGuire. “This workshop is designed to help women become more comfortable with handguns and improve their shooting abilities.”

Space is limited to the first 16 registrants. Register for this workshop by visiting

For more information, contact McGuire at 573-815-7901, ext. 2866, or

Still time to take MDC hunter education

MDC offers hunter education year-round online, through self-study, and in the classroom.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – While firearms deer hunting is coming to an end, waterfowl, rabbit, squirrel, furbearer, quail, and other hunting seasons continue into the new year. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) reminds those pursuing game with firearms that hunter education is required for most hunters. MDC offers hunter-education classes year-around online, through a self-study option, and in the classroom.

Missouri's hunter-education course is required for any hunter born on or after Jan. 1, 1967, who uses a firearm while hunting, unless exempt. Anyone 11 or older is eligible to take the course and exam. Hunters who have completed an approved hunter-education course in another state are not required to take Missouri’s hunter-education course.

“MDC’s hunter-education program provides a foundation in hunting safety and ethics,” said MDC Outreach and Education Unit Chief Kyle Lairmore, who coordinates the program. “It instills responsibility, improves skills and knowledge, and encourages interaction between beginner and veteran hunters. In fact, hunter education has reduced hunting incidents and deaths in Missouri by more than 70 percent since it became mandatory in 1987.”

Hunter education covers: hunter responsibility and ethics, how firearms work and firearm safety, wildlife identification, game care, survival, first-aid skills, firearm-handling skills and hunting techniques, awareness about wildlife conservation and management, and rules and information unique to Missouri.

“Nearly 24,000 new hunters have taken hunter education so far in 2018, including about 11,400 taking the all-online course,” Lairmore added. “We’re also seeing a pretty even split among male and female participants with most participants being ages 16 to 35, which are the younger hunters we are trying to reach.”

Hunter Education Options
MDC offers two options to complete hunter education. The “blended format” is for all ages and includes a knowledge session that must be completed online, in the classroom, or through a self-study guide followed by a skills session and final exam. MDC’s “all-online” option is for Missouri residents 16 years of age and older. They can complete the entire program online through coursework and a final exam without having to take the skills session.

For more information on MDC hunter education, visit

Bowhunter Education Too!
MDC also offers voluntary bowhunter education in the classroom and online. While classroom offerings are limited, the online offering can be taken any time through a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer. It includes live‐action, high-def videos complemented by a comprehensive instruction booklet. Participants must be at least 16 years old and a Missouri resident to take the online course. There is a $30 fee.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Watkins Woolen Mill hosts Christmas on the Farm Dec. 1

Come join Watkins Woolen Mill State Park and State Historic Site staff as they host Christmas on the Farm from 2 to 7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 1. Visit with costumed interpreters as you stroll along lantern lit paths to the Watkins’ family home where you will be greeted with the smell of hot apple cider and wassail and the sound of Christmas carols.

Enjoy free samples of traditional treats, the flaming of the plum pudding, reading of family letters and a visit with Father Christmas. Activities at the visitor center will include crafts for the kids and live holiday music. The event is free.

Watkins Woolen Mill State Park and Historic Site is located at 26600 Park Road North in Lawson, north of Kansas City. For more information about the event, call the visitor center at 816-580-3387.

For more information on state parks and historic sites, visit Missouri State Parks is a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.