Thursday, September 16, 2010

New rules for bringing hunter-killed deer, elk into Missouri

Distribution of Chronic Wasting Disease in the...Image via Wikipedia
Kansas City Mo - Missouri residents who hunt in other states should be aware of a new regulation regarding chronic wasting disease, which sets rules for transporting harvested antlered game into the state.

Archery deer season began Wednesday (Sept. 15) in Missouri and similar archery or blackpowder rifle seasons are underway or will soon start in neighboring states. Regular firearms seasons will follow later in autumn and winter.

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) now requires that any hunter who brings a deer, elk or moose into the state with the head or spinal column attached to report the carcasses’ entry by calling 1-877-853-5665 within 24 hours of entering the state. If the head or spinal cord is intact on the animal, the hunter cannot process the meat or the trophy mount. Instead, they must take the carcass to a licensed meat processor or taxidermist within 72 hours of entry. Meat processors and taxidermists are required to dispose of the spinal cord and other parts in a properly permitted landfill.

Hunters do not need to report if they simply bring back meat, hides, antlers, teeth, skulls or skull plates with no brain tissue attached.

Chronic wasting disease is fatal neurological disease that affects cervids -- deer, elk and moose. There is no evidence that the disease can be transmitted to humans or livestock. What causes CWD and how it is transmitted is inconclusive. But the disease affects brain and spinal tissue, and there is concern that it could be passed into Missouri’s deer herd by bringing infected tissues into the state.

Missouri’s first confirmed case of CWD was a single whitetail deer identified in February in Linn County. That animal was in a fenced enclosure for deer and elk on a hunting ranch in Linn County in north central Missouri. Biologists tested other cervids within the enclosure and free-ranging deer killed in adjacent areas, and they found no additional CWD cases.

But that portion of the state will be under special surveillance for CWD this autumn. Anyone who encounters a deer in poor condition that has no obvious injuries, anywhere in the state, should contact local Missouri Department of Conservation staff.

Kansas and Nebraska have confirmed CWD cases in deer in recent years in western counties, while states farther west such as Colorado and Wyoming have for several years monitored cases in both deer and elk. The disease has also been found in other states including in the Midwest and the East, but authorities want to keep it out of Missouri.

Available at MDC offices and places where permits are sold, the MDC’s “2010 Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information” booklet has more information, or visitwww.missouriconservation.org.

-          By Bill Graham, MDC


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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Fall into Missouri’s Hunting and Fishing Opportunities

Lands (owned and leased) that were managed by ...Image via WikipediaJEFFERSON CITY, Mo. --- The heat of summer has given way to fresh breezes and the relaxing, cool air of the approaching autumn. Now is a great time to experience Missouri’s hunting and fishing opportunities first-hand.

Today marks the beginning of the first of two bow seasons for hunters seeking deer and turkey in Missouri. Deer season for bow hunters runs through Jan. 15, 2011, though there is an 11-day break for the firearms portion of deer season, which runs Nov. 13-23.

Bow hunting proved to be a popular and productive method for harvesting Missouri deer during the 2009-10 archery season. According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, a record 51,972 deer were taken, marking the first time more than 50,000 deer were harvested during archery season.

Those looking for public lands on which to hunt will find the Missouri Department of Conservation has thousands of acres of public hunting areas around the state, which means it’s not difficult to find area where deer hunting is allowed during archery season.


A few places to consider deer hunting include Bluffwoods Conservation Area, a 2,300-acre tract near St. Joseph, where the conservation department reports a good deer population; or the 348 acres of Montgomery Woods Conservation Area near Kirksville, where another good population of deer resides.

Don’t forget Little Dixie Lake Conservation near Millersburg, a 733-acre area in Callaway County where there’s a designated area for archery; Holly Ridge Conservation Area, near Bloomfield, with its good population of deer and an on-site archery range; and the 4,790-acre Bushwhacker Lake Conservation Area near Bronaugh, featuring the 157-acre Bushwhacker Lake.

Missouri’s population of deer leads to great opportunities for hunters, and the same can be said for the Show-Me State’s gobbler hunters. With 3,298 wild turkeys harvested the 2009-10 archery season proved to be a record-setter, too.  The upcoming season runs Sept. 15-Nov. 12 and Nov. 24-Jan. 15, 2011.

Popular public lands for turkey hunting include the Huzzah Conservation Area, near Steelville, where a good population of turkey, combined with 6,000 acres of forest and portions of the Meramec River and Huzzah and Courtois creeks, creates a bountiful and scenic hunting venue. Also, hunters find a first-rate turkey population at the Apple Creek Conservation Area, a 2,000-acre site about 20 minutes northeast of Cape Girardeau.

Another venue for turkey hunting is the Parma Woods Conservation Area near Parkville. This area, situated on 200 acres near the Missouri River, features an on-site range for honing your bow-hunting skills. Outdoors enthusiasts may use the archery range and enjoy good turkey hunting at the Compton Hollow Conservation Area, located nine miles west of Marshfield. This area includes special use hunting area for those with medical exemptions.

Other areas for turkey hunters to consider include: Rudolf Bennitt Conservation Area, located near Higbee, at the point where Boone, Randolph and Howard counties meet; Deer Ridge Conservation Area near Lewistown; and the Caney Mountain Conservation Area near Gainesville.


For those who’d rather spend late summer/early fall fishing, Missouri offers the chance to catch everything from catfish and bass to trout, walleye and muskie. Whether you’re launching a boat, wading or walking the banks of one of the state’s rivers, lakes or streams, it’s safe to say the fish are always biting somewhere in Missouri.

Even though Missourians aren’t prone to “fish stories,” here are a couple of tales to consider when planning your next fishing getaway.

In July, a pair of anglers fishing the Missouri River, near the Columbia Bottom Conservation Area north of St. Louis, hauled in a state-record and world-record blue catfish. The 130-pound blue catfish measured 57 inches, outweighing the previous state-record by 27 pounds. A couple of days later, a father-son tandem hauled in a 99-pound flathead on the Missouri River near Mokane.

Then there’s the state-record, 58-pound, 10.4-ounce striped bass taken earlier this year from Bull Shoals Lake in Taney County. This prize catch was slightly more than 48 inches from nose to tail. Table Rock Lake, which is part of this region’s Tri-Lakes area, is home to great bass fishing, striped and other types.

Not far from Bull Shoals is Lake Taneycomo, which offers the chance to catch some of the state’s largest rainbow and brown trout. The water temperature stays about 58 degrees year-round and the lake usually is stocked with about 750,000 trout. And if you enjoy trout fishing, be sure to visit Bennett Spring State Park near Lebanon. This park is home to the state’s third-largest spring and, from April-October, is a major trout-fishing destination.

Other great fishing spots include Lake of the Ozarks, which is stocked with bass, catfish, paddlefish, walleye and hybrid stripers; Pomme de Terre Lake in Pomme de Terre State Park, which offers the chance to catch several varieties of fish, including walleye and muskie; and Stockton Lake, which is one of the best walleye fishing lakes in the Midwest (and a great lake for sailboat use).


Don’t overlook Truman Lake in Harry S Truman State Park, where crappie and black bass are abundant; Mark Twain Lake, known for excellent crappie and bass fishing; and Lake Wappapello, in Lake Wappapello State Park, which is known for white bass, crappie and blue gill fishing.

In addition to hunting turkey and deer, fall in Missouri brings the season for game such as quail, geese, ducks, teal, crow, dove, and pheasant, plus furbearers such as bobcat, beaver and otters.

Regardless of which outdoor activity you choose, make sure to study Missouri’s regulations and the specific rules for state-maintained hunting and fishing areas; and remember to have the proper permits for the activities in which you’ll be participating. For more info on Missouri permits, seasons and regulations, visit www.mdc.mo.gov/hunting-trapping or www.mdc.mo.gov/fishing.

For more information on Missouri’s hunting and fishing opportunities, as well as other vacation ideas from around the Show-Me State, please log on to www.VisitMO.com; call 800-519-4800 to order your free copy of the Official 2010 Missouri Travel Guide

 

Missouri Conservation Area Guide

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Conservation Department still seeking comments on elk restoration

Elk posing for photos in Wyoming.Image via Wikipedia
The Conservation Department says it wants to address all concerns.
JEFFERSON CITY–If you are excited, concerned or just interested in the possibility of returning elk to the Show-Me State, now is the time to express your feelings about the issue.
In July, the Conservation Commission directed the Conservation Department to develop a proposed plan for releasing between 80 and 150 elk into a 365-square-mile restoration zone around the Peck Ranch Conservation Area in Shannon, Carter and Reynolds counties. The initial release could take place as soon as early 2011. The chosen area has suitable habitat, few roads and limited agricultural activity. The area also has a large proportion of land owned by the Conservation Department, the USDA Forest Service and the National Park Service.
In August, the Conservation Department hosted open houses in Van Buren, Eminence and Ellington, towns in or near the proposed elk-restoration zone, to learn citizens’ views on the idea of elk restoration. The approximately 300 people who attended the meetings got to ask questions of Conservation Department staff and were encouraged to make written or verbal comments on the proposed plan. The majority of written comments received at the public meetings were in favor of elk restoration.
At the same time, the Conservation Department began seeking comments statewide. Results of public comments received through Oct. 1 will be included in the report to be considered by the Conservation Commission at its meeting Oct. 15. The Conservation Department will continue gathering public comments after Oct. 1.
Comments can be sent to Missouri Department of Conservation, Director’s Office, PO Box 180, Jefferson City MO 65102-0180 or filed at the Conservation Department’s website, www.mdc.mo.gov/contact-us under “Elk Restoration Comments.” Information about the MDC’s proposed elk restoration efforts is available at www.missouriconservation.org by searching “elk restoration.”
Under the proposed plan, elk would be quarantined before and after arriving in Missouri and would be tested for diseases that could affect wildlife or domestic livestock. These measures are being developed in consultation with the state veterinarian and the Missouri Department of Agriculture.
All imported elk would be fitted with microchips and radio collars to permit tracking their movements and health monitoring. The proposed elk-restoration plan will include measures to keep elk off private land where they are not welcome and within the targeted restoration zone. Hunting would be used in the future to maintain the elk herd at a manageable size.
Elk-vehicle accidents have been infrequent in other states with elk-restoration programs. This is partly because bull elk assemble groups of cows and guard them, rather than pursuing individual females, as white-tailed deer do.
Arkansas has a larger elk herd than is contemplated in Missouri. The road density is nearly twice as great in Arkansas’ elk-restoration zone as in Missouri’s proposed restoration zone. Records maintained by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission show one or two elk-vehicle accidents annually since elk restoration began 25 years ago. The Game and Fish Commission receives approximately two complaints of pasture damage and one or two complaints of fence damage annually.
According to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, statistics from eastern states with elk-restoration programs show no human fatalities from collisions with elk, and automobile insurance rates are no higher in states with wild free-ranging elk.
The Conservation Department is considering elk restoration for several reasons, including citizen requests, ecological benefits from restoring a native species and economic benefits to Missouri through tourism and hunting.
-Jim Low-

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SEVEN RIPLEY COUNTY MEN PLEAD GUILTY TO CHARGES OF CONSPIRACY TO VIOLATE THE FEDERAL LACEY ACT BY USING DOGS & ALL-TERRAIN VEHICLES TO HUNT DEER

Map of Missouri highlighting Ripley CountyImage via WikipediaSEVEN RIPLEY COUNTY MEN PLEAD GUILTY TO CHARGES OF CONSPIRACY TO VIOLATE THE FEDERAL LACEY ACT BY USING DOGS & ALL-TERRAIN VEHICLES TO HUNT DEER
 
ST. LOUIS Mo -- The United States Attorney’s Office announced today that seven men from Doniphan and the surrounding area have entered guilty pleas, and were each ordered to pay fines from $500 to $1500 involving a conspiracy to illegally hunt deer in the Mark Twain National Forest with the aid of dogs and all-terrain vehicles.
According to court documents, it was part of the conspiracy that the defendants illegally hunted deer in the Mark Twain National Forest by utilizing dogs and all-terrain vehicles to assist with the hunt. They released some dogs wearing radio-location transmitters on their dog collars to scare the deer and cause them to run from the dogs. The dogs chased the deer to keep them running, which assisted the hunters in locating them. They were able to track the location of the dogs (and thus the location of the deer) by using radio telemetry, which picked up radio transmissions attached to the dog collars. They also used marine-band radios to evade law-enforcement officers by transmitting the locations of Missouri Conservation Agents during a hunt with dogs and the location of co-defendants, dogs, and deer.
Pleading Friday, Sept. 3, in Cape Girardeau:
Mitchell G. Pearson, 23, Fairdealing, MO;
Neil Turner, 27, Naylor, MO;
Kevin Turner, 31, Doniphan, MO;
Jackie Elliott, 56, Doniphan, MO;
Nathan Foulks, 45, Doniphan, MO; and
Nicholas S. Keck, 29, Doniphan, MO.
Frank S. Moman, 30, Doniphan, MO, entered his plea today in Cape Girardeau.
Each defendant pleaded guilty to conspiracy to illegally hunt deer in the Mark Twain National Forest by utilizing dogs to assist with the hunt between Nov. 14, 2008, and Nov. 25, 2008, all in violation of 16 U.S.C. §§ 3372(a)(1) and 3373(d)(2).
Henry L. Hudson, 57, Doniphan, MO, faces the same charges and is awaiting trial.
This charge carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison and/or fines up to $100,000.
This case was investigated by the Missouri Department of Conservation and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The charges set forth in an information are merely accusations, and defendant Hudson is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Emergency closure of hunting season not the end of Missouri’s ruffed grouse story

Ruffed Grouse from USFWSImage via Wikipedia
Emergency closure of hunting season
not the end of Missouri’s ruffed grouse story 
The Conservation Department and the Ruffed Grouse Society are still
working to establish sustainable numbers of grouse and habitat to support them.
JEFFERSON CITY–Missouri will not have a ruffed grouse hunting season this year for the first time in more than 25 years. However, the Missouri Department of Conservation says that does not necessarily mean ruffed-grouse hunting is gone from the Show-Me State forever.
Acting on a recommendation from its staff, the Conservation Commission voted earlier this year for an emergency closure of the grouse season, which was to run from Oct. 15 through Jan. 15. Low grouse population numbers were cited as the reason for the emergency closure. The action supersedes information printed in the 2010 Summary of Hunting and Trapping Regulations, which were printed before the decision to close grouse season.
Ruffed grouse are native to Missouri, although the Show-Me State is near the southwestern edge of the species’ historic range. Habitat destruction and unregulated market hunting largely eliminated them from Missouri forests by the 1930s.
The Conservation Department launched a successful ruffed-grouse restoration program in 1959, and Missouri had its first modern hunting season in 1983. Earlier this year, the agency’s Regulations Committee recommended closing the season. This was partly because grouse numbers remain low in spite of repeated attempts to reintroduce grouse in areas with suitable habitat as late as 1994. Closing the season also made sense because the Conservation Department and the Ruffed Grouse Society are seeking a source of grouse to resume reintroduction work.
“It didn’t make sense to have people hunting grouse if we were going to be bringing them in from other states to try to build the population,” said Wildlife Division Chief DeeCee Darrow. “Our grouse numbers are so low right now that very few hunters pursue them, and very few are taken each year. This is probably a good time to pause and regroup.”
 Ruffed grouse are ground-nesting birds closely related to quail. They are much larger, however, with adults averaging more than a pound compared to five or six ounces for adult bobwhite quail. Bobwhites favor habitat with large amounts of pasture, row crops and other open land interspersed with shrubby cover. In contrast, ruffed grouse are adapted to a patchwork of forest and the dense vegetation that develops on land where timber harvests have occurred.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Discover Hunting: Deer Calling Techniques on October 6th

Hill Country Whitetail Deer - BucksImage by huntingdesigns via Flickr
Wednesday 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
(Ages 6 & up) This class offers the opportunity to understand
how deer communicate. Learn how to make the right calls
to attract deer closer to your stand or viewing platforms. We
will discuss the sounds whitetail make, what they indicate
to other deer and what it means to us. Bring a notebook, a
pen, and any calls you may have. This class is at the main
building at the Busch Conservation Area. (Reservations begin
September 6.)

Busch Shooting Range
and Outdoor Education Center 
2360 Hwy D, St. Charles, MO 63304
For program reservations call (636) 441-4554 Monday through Friday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
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PRAIRIE DAY!

The Shaw Nature Reserve lies south of I-44 at ...Image via Wikipedia
Saturday September 25, at the Shaw Nature Reserve
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
This fun-filled family event portrays old time prairie life.  There will be guided hikes, a sod house, a teepee, pioneer games, music, a story teller, a blacksmith, a candle maker, a natural dye maker and other craft demonstrations.  Also live animals, pony rides, free wagon rides and living history characters.  Food and beverages will be for sale.  Entrance fees are $5 for adults and $1 for children (age 12 and under).  The Shaw Nature Reserve is 35 miles south of St. Louis.  Take 1-44 to Gray Summit (exit 253) and follow the signs. (No reservations necessary)
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Thursday, September 2, 2010

CFM to celebrate 75th anniversary the weekend of Sept. 10-12

Missouri Conservation Photography Seminar 10Image by jmk286 via Flickr
Conservation Federation of Missouri anniversary celebrations will include party, wildlife exhibit and commemorative issue of magazine.

JEFFERSON CITY MO – The Conservation Federation of Missouri (CFM) will celebrate its 75th anniversary the weekend of Sept. 10-12 with an anniversary party Friday night at the Tiger Hotel in Columbia, a wildlife art exhibit at Bass Pro Sportsman’s Center in Columbia Friday through Sunday and a commemorative issue of CFM’s Missouri Wildlife released Friday. 

On Sept. 10, 1935, nearly 100 forward-thinking Missourians gathered in the ballroom of Columbia’s Tiger Hotel to discuss the sad state of Missouri’s fish, forests and wildlife. To retrieve their squandered natural legacy, they formed the Restoration and Conservation Federation of Missouri and launched a movement that revolutionized natural-resource management. This citizen-led effort has become Missouri’s oldest and largest private-citizen conservation organization with more than 90,000 individuals and 80 affiliated organizations.

CFM members and guests will return to the founding location to enjoy a celebration party Friday night at the Tiger Hotel, 23 S. Eighth St. in Columbia. Evening festivities will begin at 6:30 p.m. and include social time, dinner and prominent speakers including Bill Crawford, the only known living participant from the founding meeting in 1935. Seating is limited and tickets are $100. For reservations or more information, call CFM at 1-800-575-2322.

The State Historical Society of Missouri will open the weekend activities with the art exhibition Charles Schwartz, Missouri’s Audubon: An Artist in Nature on Friday from 3-8 p.m. at Bass Pro Sportsman’s Center, 3101 Bass Pro Drive in Columbia. A wine and cheese reception, guided tours, and remarks from art, history, and conservation specialists will be part of the events. The cost is $10 per person and can be paid in advance or at the door. 

The exhibition will showcase highlights of the Society’s collection of more than 500 drawings and studies by the late Charles Schwartz. Schwartz was a long-time biologist, artist and photographer for the Missouri Department of Conservation who captured people and wildlife in oil, watercolor, pen and ink, charcoal, scratchboard and bronze. Most of his nationally renowned artworks belong to the State Historical Society of Missouri or Conservation Charitable Trust.

The exhibition will remain on display at Bass Pro through Sunday. Children and adults can enjoy free educational and art activities on Saturday and Sunday from 1-4 p.m. The exhibition will then move to the Historical Society at 1020 Lowry St. in Columbia, where it will remain through Feb. 12.

For more information on the art exhibit, contact Dr. Joan Stack, Art Curator for the State Historical Society of Missouri, at 573-882-7083.

The CFM will also issue a commemorative issue of its Missouri Wildlife magazine at the Friday events. The special issue will include personal notes on their dreams for the Missouri outdoors from numerous contributors. Additional contributions will be featured on the CFM website at www.confedmo.org and published in future issues of the magazine.

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