Wednesday, July 27, 2016

MDC and partners provide mentored dove hunts for first-time hunters

Dove fields around state offer ample opportunities to learn to hunt these migratory game birds.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Interested in dove hunting but have never given it a try? The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) in partnership with the National Wild Turkey Federation, Quail Forever, Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation, the Missouri Prairie Foundation, and private landowners will provide mentored dove hunts for first-time hunters on 12 fields primarily located on private land across the state. Field locations will be in or near Cape Girardeau, Chillicothe, Joplin, Kahoka, Lynchburg, Marceline, Mokane, Paris, Pittsburg, Rolla, St. Genevieve, and Washington.
There will be three hunts offered on each field including one on opening day of dove season,Sept. 1, and then two other days with dates to be determined. Field assignments will be determined on a first-come-first-served basis. First time hunters can attend multiple hunts as registration space permits. 
Each participating new hunter will be assigned a mentor and pre-hunt workshops will provide basic hunter safety in addition to information about dove biology and management, the importance of hunters and hunting, and the opportunity to practice shooting a shotgun. Participants are encouraged to attend a dove hunting workshop or hunter education prior to participating in a hunt.
Each field will be limited to two first-time hunters and their mentors per acre to maximize safety and provide a quality experience. Priority will be given to anyone 11 and older that is hunting for the first time. Second priority will be given to new migratory-bird hunters and youths 11-15.
Register for the mentored dove hunts at tinyurl.com/nuv6gos. Get info on MDC dove-hunting workshops at mdc.mo.gov/events. Get information on hunter education athuntfish.mdc.mo.gov/hunting-trapping/hunter-education-skills-training.
For more information, contact John Burk at 573-676-5994 or jburk@nwtf.net, or Elsa Gallagher at 660-277-3647 or EGallagher@quailforever.org.

Missouri dove-hunting season opens Sept. 1

Basics of Dove Hunting

Finding a Place to Hunt on Public Land in Missouri

MDC reminds dove hunters of 20 more hunting days this year and of numerous conservation areas for hunting.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – With dove hunting season in Missouri opening Sept. 1, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) reminds dove hunters of its more than 180 conservation areas around the state that allow dove hunting, including nearly 100 planted in crop fields that attract the popular game birds. Crops include sunflower, corn, millet, wheat, and buckwheat.
MDC is offering hunters 20 more days of dove hunting this fall. Mourning doves, Eurasian collared doves, and white-winged doves may be taken from Sept. 1 through Nov. 29 from one half hour before sunrise to sunset with a combined daily limit of 15 and a combined possession limit of 45 for all three species.
Get more information on dove hunting – including permit requirements, places to hunt, recipes, and more -- online at huntfish.mdc.mo.gov/hunting-trapping/species/dove. Information on dove hunting is also available through MDC's "2016 Migratory Bird Hunting Digest" available starting in mid-August where hunting permits are sold.

Discover Nature with MDC at State Fair Aug. 11-21

See live wildlife, learn about conservation, and have hands-on fun discovering nature.
SEDALIA, Mo. -- Discover nature with the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) at the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia Aug. 11-21. Visit MDC’s Conservation Building from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily to see aquaria full of live fish and other aquatic wildlife along with displays of other live native animals such as snakes, turtles, and amphibians. Ask conservation questions of MDC staff, get educational materials, and have fun.
Check out the Department’s air-conditioned Conservation Kids’ Discovery Room between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.to have hands-on fun discovering nature through crafts and other activities.
Enjoy conservation-related demonstrations at the Department’s outdoor pavilion.
  • See a live eagle and other birds of prey up close at the Raptors of Missouripresentation on Aug. 11 and Aug. 20 at 11 a.m.1:30 p.m., and 4 p.m.
  • Learn how to prepare a fresh catch at the Fish Cooking and Cleaning lesson onAug. 12 and Aug. 13 at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
  • Learn about black bears in Missouri and how to Be Bear Aware Aug. 14 and Aug. 21 at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
  • Learn more about Chronic Wasting Disease, what MDC is doing to limit the spread of this deadly deer disease, and what hunters and others can do to at Missouri’s Deer Herd: CWD Updates on Aug. 15 at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
  • Discover what makes bees, butterflies and other pollinators so important at The Buzz About Insect Pollinators on Aug. 16 and Aug. 17 at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
  • Find out how to stop exotic invasive plants and animals threatening the state atAlien Invaders in Missouri! on Aug. 19 at 11 a.m. and 1:3 p.m.


Popular Peanut the Turtle has retired from State Fair

One animal offering from MDC that will no longer be at the State Fair or other events is Peanut the Turtle. The large red-eared slider with the misshapen shell is the mascot for the state’s No More Trash! anti-litter campaign. Peanut has been a regular MDC attraction at the State Fair for years.
Due to minor health issues with his shell and his advancing age, Peanut has been retired from traveling and now resides fulltime at MDC’s Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center in Kirkwood. Eliminating the stresses of traveling will help maintain his overall good health. Nature Center staff note that Peanut is doing well for his age of about 30 years. In the wild, red-eared sliders live to be 20 to 40 years.
Peanut’s story started in the 1980s when, as a small turtle, he went through a plastic six-pack ring someone had carelessly left behind. The ring got stuck around his shell. As he grew over the next five or so years, his shell grew around the ring, causing the peanut shape that gave him his name. When he was about 9 years old, someone found the turtle and took him to the St. Louis Zoo where the ring was removed. They named him Peanut because of his shell’s shape and gave him to the Missouri Department of Conservation.
Learn more about MDC programs, events and other offerings at mdc.mo.gov.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

MDC invites youth to dove clinic and hunt at Prairie Fork Conservation Area Sept. 2-3

Participants will learn the basics of dove hunting, firearms safety, and shooting skills. 
COLUMBIA, Mo. — The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) will partner with the National Wild Turkey Federation to introduce youth to dove hunting basics at a free clinic and hunt on opening weekend of the 2016 dove season. 
The event, for kids ages 8-15, will begin at Prairie Fork Conservation Area with a dove clinic on Friday, Sept. 2, from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m., followed by a mentored hunt on Saturday, Sept. 3. At the clinic, youth will learn the basics of dove hunting, firearms safety, and shooting skills. Participants must attend the clinic in order to participate in the Saturday hunt. 
Participants must have completed hunter education certification prior to the event and should bring a properly licensed adult mentor. If a mentor is not available, one will be provided.  
“This is one of my favorite yearly activities that MDC provides for youth hunters,” said MDC Wildlife Biologist Nicky Walker. “Youth hunters will see several birds working our managed dove fields, learn proper bird identification, and hunting ethics in the field. Overall, it is an excellent opportunity for us to help Missourians explore nature and master outdoor skills together.”
Limited space is available, and participants need to register by Aug. 26. To register, or to learn more about this event, contact Walker at (573) 254-3330 orNicole.Walker@mdc.mo.gov. For more information about other upcoming events, go tomdc.mo.gov/events

Monday, July 25, 2016

MDC welcomes participants in dove banding project

Program at Reed Memorial Wildlife Area part of long-term scientific studies

The range of the Mourning Dove
The range of the Mourning Dove (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Kansas City, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is offering the public a chance to participate in research on mourning dove populations. Each summer, MDC employees trap doves and affix small identification bands. The doves are then released back into the wild. Band information returned by hunters and birders helps monitor dove populations. Scientists also track the popular gamebird’s migrations in Missouri and other states.
A limited number of openings are available for people interested in dove banding to join MDC crews at the James A. Reed Memorial Wildlife Area at Lee’s Summit. Public participation in dove banding is available on Aug. 2, 3 and 4, and again on Aug. 9 and Aug. 10. Two trapping and banding sessions will be held on each day beginning at 5:30 and 7:00 p.m.
Space is limited to six people per session. Participants must register in advance by calling 816-622-0900. Rick Bredesen, Reed Area manager, said the sessions will give participants a chance to work closely with doves and see science-based wildlife management in action. The sessions will also be a chance to discuss ecology and wildlife topics such as bird migration and habitat.
For more information on doves and science-based conservation in Missouri, visithttp://mdc.mo.gov.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Long-time conservation agent wins hunter education honor

MDC recognizes Laclede County agent Walt Hutton for teaching efforts.
LEBANON, Mo. – Walt Hutton’s hunter education efforts in 2015 showed that a quarter-century of conservation work has not slowed him down.
Each year, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) recognizes hunter education instructors whose efforts exceed regular teaching duties. Hutton, who lives in Lebanon and has been Laclede County’s agent for all but two of his 27 years with MDC, has been named the 2015 Hunter Education Conservation Agent Instructor of the Year. He was recognized for his achievement by MDC on July 12 in Jefferson City.
This past year, in addition to helping to coordinate classes for other instructors, Hutton personally taught eight classes and certified 222 students. Hutton also did 16 radio segments promoting hunter education classes in Laclede County and wrote eight newspaper articles promoting classes in the county. He also made contacts with individuals in the county to make arrangements for teaching sites.
“Through selfless service and dedication, Walt continues to make a positive impact on other people’s lives and on the communities he serves,” said MDC Outdoor Skills Specialist Greg Collier, who helps coordinate hunter education in MDC’s 17-county Southwest Region. “The results of his efforts are citizens and communities with a greater awareness of conservation, wildlife management and a greater appreciation for safe and ethical hunting.”
Missouri’s hunter education program is administrated by MDC and taught state-wide by more than 1,400 instructors. With the exception of exemptions listed in the Wildlife Code of Missouri, all hunters born on or after Jan. 1, 1967 must complete an approved hunter-education program to buy a firearms hunting permit.

Want to be a Conservation Agent with MDC?

MDC is accepting applications until Aug. 29 for its next class of conservation agents.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is accepting online applications through Aug. 29 for its next class of conservation agent trainees. Selected candidates will undergo 26 weeks of intense training in all facets of law enforcement and resource management.
Those who make the grade will receive county assignments and become the face of conservation in their assigned communities – enforcing the Wildlife Code of Missouri and helping the public with issues such as nuisance wildlife and land management.
To qualify, applicants must have a bachelor's degree in a field related to the natural sciences or criminal justice.
To apply -- and for more information including salary range, duties and responsibilities, degree requirements, qualifications, and special-ability requirements -- visit the MDC website at mdc.mo.gov/about-us/careers.
For more information, contact MDC Protection Programs Specialist Travis McLain at 573-522-4115, ext. 3261 or Travis.McLain@mdc.mo.gov, or MDC Protection Programs Supervisor Cheryl Fey at 573-751-4115, ext. 3819, or Cheryl.Fey@mdc.mo.gov.