Friday, January 28, 2011

46 elk captured, health protocols in progress

Catch includes spike bulls and several pregnant cows.

PINEVILLE, KY – Forty-six animals that will form the nucleus of Missouri’s restored elk herd are in a holding pen in Bell County, Kentucky, undergoing veterinary testing and treatment. By the end of the week, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) will start the clock on a 90-day quarantine period designed to ensure they are healthy and ready for a new life in the Ozarks.

Crews made up of personnel from MDC and the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources finished trapping operations Jan. 22, using two corral-type traps in separate locations. They baited the traps with alfalfa hay, corn and sweet feed. The traps were equipped with remotely controlled gates, allowing workers to watch the traps from a distance and close them when elk were inside.

MDC hoped to capture 50 elk this year. That challenge was complicated by the need to trap only cow elk, their calves and 1.5-year-old bulls, known as “spikes” because of their unbranched antlers. Spike bulls will be 2.5 years old next fall, when cow elk in Missouri are ready to breed.

“Mature wild bull elk are too strong to work with safely in captivity without sedation,” said MDC Elk Project Manager Ron Dent. “Sedation carries more risk for the animals, and without sedation big bulls pose a danger to workers and other elk in a confined space.”

Trapping crews had to experiment with techniques to exclude mature bulls from the traps. They also had to work through technical hitches with the automatic gates.

This year’s catch includes seven spike bulls, 21 adult cows, 10 yearling bulls, four yearling cows and four female calves. Nearly all the mature cows are expected to be pregnant.

State and federal officials conducted the first round of veterinary testing Tuesday. Elk were guided through a “squeeze chute” like those used for working domestic livestock. Once confined in the chute, each elk received an injection to kill internal and external parasites. Workers then shaved a small patch of skin on the animals’ necks for a tuberculosis skin test and to draw blood for other disease testing. Veterinary health protocols approved by the Missouri State Veterinarian are more stringent than any that apply to livestock brought into Missouri.

After veterinary health work-ups, the elk were fitted with ear tags and with passive integrated transponder (PIT) identification tags.

MDC workers will check the tuberculosis skin tests Friday. Then MDC can start the clock on a 90-day quarantine period. The holding pen is surrounded by a perimeter fence that prevents contact with free-ranging elk or deer.

A three-month quarantine leaves time for MDC to bring the elk to a holding pen at Peck Ranch CA in Carter County and let them acclimate to their new surroundings before being released to the wild. The acclimation period will allow biologists the opportunity to observe elk and fit them with them with GPS collars.

The elk are being protected from poaching or disturbance by curiosity seekers. This protection will continue at the holding site at Peck Ranch. Dent said this is critical to the success of the elk-restoration effort.

“These are wild animals,” he said. “They are highly susceptible to human disturbance. We stay away from the holding pen as much as possible, because the elk can become very nervous if they hear, see or smell humans nearby. They can injure themselves if they bunch up or try to jump the fence. That is why we do not allow news media or other visitors at the trapping site. The same will be true when we bring the elk to the holding pen at Peck Ranch.”

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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Hunters shoot mountain lion near Macon

Hunters say animal posed threat. Fourth recent confirmed report brings total to 14 in Missouri since 1994.

KIRKSVILLE Mo – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) has confirmed that a group of hunters killed a young male mountain lion west of La Plata, Mo., on Saturday, Jan. 22. According to conservation agents investigating the incident, the group was hunting coyotes on a landowner’s farm when several came within 20 yards of the big cat. None of the hunters had dogs. Members of the group immediately contacted conservation agents to report the incident.

At this time, no charges have been filed since it appears that the cougar presented enough danger to the hunters to warrant the shooting.

Mountain lions are protected under the Wildlife Code of Missouri. The Code does allow the killing of any mountain lion attacking or killing livestock or domestic animals, or threatening human safety. The incident must be reported to the MDC immediately and the intact carcass, including the pelt, must be surrendered to the MDC within 24 hours. 

The animal weighed 128 pounds. Members of the MDC Mountain Lion Response Team will examine the animal to gather additional information, including DNA, to help determine where the big cat came from.

This is the second young male mountain lion killed in Missouri this month and the fourth confirmed report of a mountain lion in Missouri since November.

“These four reports bring our total number of confirmed reports over the past 16 years to just 14,” said Rex Martensen of MDC’s Mountain Lion Response Team.

Martensen added that, like in this situation, it appears that mountain lions seen in Missouri are young males roaming from other states in search of territory.

“Young male mountain lions go in search of new territories at about 18 months of age and during this time of year,” he explained. “To date, we have no evidence to suggest that a breeding population of mountain lions exists in Missouri.”

He added that mountain lions are nocturnal, secretive and generally avoid contact with humans.

Mountain lions (Puma concolor), also called cougars, panthers and pumas, were present in Missouri before pioneer settlement. The last documented Missouri mountain lion was killed in the Bootheel in 1927. The closest populations of mountain lions to Missouri are in South Dakota and a small population in northwest Nebraska.

Martensen added that MDC has never stocked or released mountain lions in Missouri and has no plans to do so. 

To report a sighting, physical evidence or other mountain-lion incident, contact a local MDC office or conservation agent, or email the Mountain Lion Response Team at

For more information on mountain lions in Missouri, and search “mountain lion.”

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Chesterfield sighting confirmed to be a mountain lion

Cougar / Puma / Mountain Lion / Panther (Puma ...Image via Wikipedia
This third recent confirmed report brings the total to 13 in Missouri since 1994.

JEFFERSON CITY Mo – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) has confirmed a mountain lion sighting in western St. Louis CountyGarrett Jensen, of Chesterfield, recently contacted MDC with photographs taken Jan. 12 from a trail camera showing a mountain lion in a wooded area.

“We have examined the photos and visited the location,” said Jeff Beringer, MDC resource scientist and member of the Department’s Mountain Lion Response Team. “While we did not find further evidence, such as tracks, we can confirm that the photos are of a mountain lion at the reported location. We don’t know anything else about this cat other than it was here.”

This is the third confirmed report of a mountain lion in Missouri since November.A landowner in Platte County contacted MDC in late November with photographs of a mountain lion in a tree on his property. On Jan. 2, a hunter shot a mountain lion while hunting raccoons in rural Ray County.

“The three reports over the past several months bring our total number of confirmed reports over the past 16 years to just 13,” said Rex Martensen. Martensen is on the Mountain Lion Response Team and supervises MDC’s wildlife damage control program. He has hunted mountain lions in Colorado and has worked with cougar biologists in South Dakota and New Mexico.
“We get hundreds of calls and emails from people who claim to have seen a mountain lion,” said Martensen. “When there is some type of evidence we investigate. More than 90 percent of these investigations turn out to be bobcats, house cats, or dogs. Our investigations involving claims of pets or livestock being attacked by mountain lions typically turn out to be the work of dogs. We have no documented cases in Missouri of mountain lions attacking livestock, people or pets.”

He added that mountain lions are nocturnal, secretive and generally avoid contact with humans.

“To date, we have no evidence to suggest that a breeding population of mountain lions exists in Missouri,” added Beringer, “In states where even small populations of these big cats exist, there is plenty of hard evidence. Florida, for example, has a population of only 100 mountain lions, yet several are killed  by automobiles each year.  They also have other clear, hard evidence like tracks, scat, and kill sites.”

Beringer explained that mountain lions seen in Missouri are probably young males roaming from other states in search of territory.

“Young males seek new territories at about 18 months of age,” explained Beringer. “With most births peaking in the spring, young males typically begin roaming in their second fall and winter. And it makes sense that these big cats could roam into Missouri from the west and use the Missouri River corridor to cross the state without being easily detected. These three recent confirmed reports, along with one in Callaway County in 2003 and one in Clay County in 2002, have all been pretty close to the Missouri River.”

Mountain lions (Puma concolor), also called cougars, panthers and pumas, were present in Missouri before pioneer settlement. The last documented Missouri mountain lion was killed in the Bootheel in 1927. The closest populations of mountain lions to Missouri are in South Dakota and a small population in northwest Nebraska.

Beringer said that MDC has never stocked or released mountain lions in Missouri and has no plans to do so. 

He added that there are 32 people in Missouri with permits to keep captive mountain lions and MDC maintains records of these animals’ DNA and identifying microchips.

Mountain lions are protected under the Wildlife Code of Missouri. The Code does allow the killing of any mountain lion attacking or killing livestock or domestic animals, or threatening human safety. The incident must be reported to the MDC immediately and the intact carcass, including the pelt, must be surrendered to the MDC within 24 hours. 

To report a sighting, physical evidence or other mountain-lion incident, contact a local MDC office or conservation agent, or email the Mountain Lion Response Team at

For more information on mountain lions in Missouri, and search “mountain lion.”

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Elk restoration effort moves forward in Kentucky

Missouri’s first elk is in a holding pen, awaiting company.
HAZARD, Ky.–Missouri’s elk-restoration effort took a significant step forward Jan. 7 with the delivery of its first elk.
Photo Courtesy of Missouri Department of Conservation
Workers with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFW) captured a juvenile bull. Of the bulls captured as part of trapping efforts, only calves and spike bulls will be used for Missouri’s restoration program, because mature bull elk with branched antlers are more difficult to handle and more likely to injure themselves or other captured elk.
Before elk trapping could begin, a construction crew made up of workers from KDFW and the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) had to build a corral capable of holding 50 elk in the Appalachian Mountains of eastern Kentucky. The pen was built using funds from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. Despite challenges posed by single-digit temperatures, repeated heavy snowfall and freezing rain, they put finishing touches on the holding pen just days before the first elk’s arrival.
Kentucky’s deer and elk herd coordinator, Tina Brunjes, said the operation has shifted from construction to trapping.
“The holding facility is complete, we have the pens to hold the elk, and we have the handling facility where we can do all the disease testing,” Brunjes said. “It’s all ready to go.”
The first MDC trapping team arrived in Kentucky last week. MDC Wildlife Management Biologist Travis Mills is supervising the four-person team. Mills has a special interest in the project, since he is the wildlife management biologist for Shannon, Carter, Ripley and Oregon counties, which encompass much of Missouri’s elk-restoration zone.
Mills said the assistance from the KDFW is vital to the success of his team.
“We couldn’t do this project successfully without help from the Kentucky team,” Mills said. “They’ve been through their own elk reintroduction in Kentucky and they’re putting their expertise to work helping us to take every precaution to ensure we bring in a healthy elk herd to Missouri.”
The trapping process, according to Brunjes, starts with laying out bait where the elk regularly travel, then letting that bait lead the elk into the trap through a series of fencing. 
“We’ve got bait out in areas where we’re trying to get a significant group of elk to start coming and feeding so we can trap them in the corral,” Brunjes said. By Jan. 10, two elk herds, totaling around 60 animals, were using the bait, setting the stage for trap deployment.
The trapping process is simple, according to Brunjes.  She said the team found an area where they have seen elk and knew they are traveling through that area.  After placing bait to lead the animals into the corral trap, it is just a matter of waiting.
Once elk are in the trap and the corral gate is closed, the trapping team will transfer them to the holding pen as quick as possible to minimize stress on the animals. Health testing will begin when 50 elk have been captured. Veterinarians from several agencies will cooperate on the health assessment and sampling process according to Brunjes.
If all goes well, MDC hopes to have 50 elk in holding pens by the end of January. When trapping ends and the initial health testing is completed, the clock will start running on a three-month quarantine period in Kentucky.
After arriving in Missouri, the elk will undergo another quarantine period in holding pens at Peck Ranch Conservation Area. These measures are intended to protect the health of Missouri’s domestic livestock and wildlife. The holding period also will allow imported elk to acclimate to the area, reducing the likelihood of their wandering far.
Mills said being part of the elk trapping and restoration team is an exciting assignment.
“To me, this is a career highlight,” Mills said. “I’ve spent over 20 years professionally in conservation and I’m excited to play such an integral part in this chapter of history where we’re restoring an important species to Missouri.”
The Missouri Conservation Commission decided to restore elk in a 346-square-mile area covering parts of Carter, Reynolds and Shannon counties for several reasons. These included citizen requests, ecological benefits from restoring a native species and economic benefits to Missouri through tourism and hunting. Before making the decision, the commission gathered citizen comments at public forums and by e-mail, mail and telephone. More than 70 percent of the 2,953 comments received expressed support for elk restoration.
The limited elk-restoration zone was chosen because it has extensive public lands, minimal agricultural activity, low road density and public support.
All elk brought to Peck Ranch CA will be fitted with microchips and radio collars. This will permit tracking their movements after they leave the holding pen as part of a cooperative research project with the University of Missouri.
The elk-restoration plan includes provisions for protecting Missouri wildlife and livestock and dealing with elk that wander onto private land where they are not welcome. The Conservation Department will use hunting to maintain the elk herd at a manageable size.
-Candice Davis-

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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Seeks Comments on Draft Environmental Assessment on Farming and the Use of Glyphosate-tolerant Corn and Soybeans on National Wildlife Refuge System Lands

Selawik Flats, Selawik National Wildlife RefugeImage via WikipediaThe Midwest Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is inviting public comment on a draft Environmental Assessment that considers two issues: 1) the use of row crop farming as a technique to manage National Wildlife Refuge System lands in the Midwest Region, and 2) the use of glyphosate-tolerant corn and soybeans on these lands.

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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reopens comment period on proposed critical habitat designation for endangered Tumbling Creek Cavensail; invites comment on draft economic analysis

Tumbling Creek CavesnailImage via WikipediaThe U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has reopened the public comment period on its June 2010 proposal to designate 25 acres as critical habitat in Taney County, Missouri, for the endangered Tumbling Creek cavesnail. The Service also made available a draft economic analysis that examines the potential economic impact of designating critical habitat for the species. Comments on the proposed designation and the draft economic analysis will be accepted through February 11, 2011.
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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Hunter admits shooting mountain lion in Ray County

Conservation officials say no charges will be filed.
RICHMOND, Mo.–A Ray County man has admitted that he, not a cattleman, shot a mountain lion on Jan. 2. Conservation officials say the admission brings their investigation to a close, and there will be no charges, because the shooter feared for his life.
James “Jimmy” McElwee, 29, of Camden, admitted he shot the 115-pound mountain lion while hunting raccoons in rural Ray County. His confession followed the admission by Bob Littleton, 60, of Richmond, that his initial claim of shooting the mountain lion was false.
“Mr. Littleton only said he shot the mountain lion to protect Mr. McElwee,” said Larry Yamnitz, Protection Division chief with the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC). “Based on the outcome of our agent’s investigation, no charges will be filed in this case.”
According to Yamnitz, McElwee admitted to the shooting, saying he feared for his life.
“He followed his dogs up a draw and shined a light up into a tree and saw eyes that were too far apart for a raccoon,” said Yamnitz. “When he realized it was a mountain lion, he was afraid to run, thinking it might attack him.”
After killing the cat, McElwee and his hunting partner and father-in-law, Larry Danner, 52, of Richmond, contacted Littleton, who took responsibility for shooting the mountain lion.
Yamnitz said everyone would have been better off if all parties involved had told the truth from the beginning.
“The true circumstances of the incident were more clearly within the provisions of the Wildlife Code than the story they made up,” said Yamnitz. “Based on the evidence and statements by all the parties involved, you can make the case of self-defense. There will be no charges.”
The Ray County mountain lion showed no signs of having been held in captivity and was in good health. MDC is conducting DNA tests to learn more about its origins and determine if it is the same animal photographed by a landowner in southern Platte County Nov. 26
The mountain lion (Puma concolor) is a protected species under the Wildlife Code. The Code allows the killing of any mountain lion attacking or killing livestock or domestic animals, or threatening human safety. Anyone who kills a mountain lion is required by law to report the incident to the MDC immediately. The intact carcass, including the pelt, must be surrendered to MDC within 24 hours. 
To report a sighting, physical evidence or other incident, contact a local MDC office or conservation agent, or email MDC’s Mountain Lion Response Team at
For more information on mountain lions in Missouri, and search “mountain lion.”

Monday, January 10, 2011

Firearms deer harvest tops 230,000

A white-tailed deerImage via Wikipedia
Youths posted a strong performance during their two-part deer season,
checking the second-largest number of deer in the youth hunt’s 10-year history.
JEFFERSON CITYHunters age 6 through 15 checked 1,292 deer during the late youth hunt Jan. 1 and 2, bringing the total harvest for the 2010-2011 firearms deer season to 231,513.
The combined early and late youth season harvests total 14,555, or 6.2 percent of the firearms deer harvest. Top counties during the late youth hunt were Osage with 27 deer checked, Macon with 26 and Adair with 24.
This year’s firearms deer harvest was down 6.5 percent from the 2009-2010 figure. Resource Scientist Lonnie Hansen, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) deer specialist, attributed the decline to an abundant acorn crop in southern Missouri and reduced deer numbers in parts of northern Missouri.
“We have reached a second tipping point in Missouri’s deer-management history,” said Hansen. “The first tipping point came at the culmination of a 60-year deer restoration effort. In the 1990s we finally reached the point where we had enough deer in many areas and began to see evidence of actually having too many deer in other areas.”
Hansen said that evidence took the form of increasing damage to agricultural crops and a rising incidence of deer-vehicle accidents. In response to these trends, MDC changed hunting regulations to increase the harvest of deer, especially does. Between 1995 and 2002, Missouri’s doe harvest increased from 70,000 to more than 100,000 a year.
“We moved slowly and cautiously at first,” said Hansen, “looking for the right combination of tools to encourage hunters to take more does. We used antlerless-only permits, an antlerless-only deer season and antler-point restrictions, to boost the doe harvest. We finally reached our goal around 2006, when our firearms deer harvest peaked at 280,000. That was the second tipping point.”
Hansen said that while parts of Missouri still have fewer deer than MDC would like, and others – mostly around urban areas – still have too many, deer populations in much of the state are close to the right size.
“The right number is hard to define,” said Hansen. “It is different for hunters who are mainly interested in deer with big antlers and those who are most interested in putting venison in the freezer. Many farmers would want smaller numbers than most hunters. Deer management today is a balancing act.”
Hansen noted that 93 percent of Missouri’s land is in private ownership. As a result, private landowners hold the key to balancing deer numbers.
Landowners have a tremendous effect on deer management, whether they know it or not. Across most of the state, the amount of access that landowners give hunters to their land determines whether deer numbers increase, decrease or remain steady. One of our biggest challenges in the future will be helping landowners understand their role in deer management and finding ways to help them achieve their goals – whether that means more deer, fewer deer or bigger deer.”
Hansen said solutions to future deer-management challenges likely will include regulation changes, such as reducing the number of antlerless deer permits available in some areas. However, solutions also might include helping neighboring landowners who have common goals develop cooperative management strategies.
“You can’t effectively manage the deer population in an area on 40 or even 400 acres,” said Hansen, “but it is amazing what you can do if enough landowners agree on a particular strategy.”

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Sunday, January 9, 2011

Missouri Walleye Fishing

Walleye (Sander vitreus, formerly Stizostedion...Image via WikipediaOn often overlooked fishing pursuit in Missouri is the walleye species.  We have enjoyed our walleye trips, but have had a hard time finding good information on the various places to go.  Family-Outdoors has put together a pretty nice piece on Missouri walleye fishing.  They have covered seven lakes and three rivers and streams.  There are certainly a few other walleye fishing destinations in the Show-Me-State, but this certainly will give the fisherman a good idea of some good walleye fishing spots.

They also cover tips and specifics of where on the bodies of water to go.  You will even find a nice (if short) video on walleye fishing at Bull Shoals, which was produced by Cabelas.
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Friday, January 7, 2011

MoNASP regional and state tournaments coming January and February

JEFFERSON CITY Mo -- The Missouri National Archery in the Schools Program (MoNASP) will hold tournaments for its St. Louis, Southwest, Central and Kansas City regions during late January through mid February followed by the 2011 state tournament Feb 25-26.

MoNASP is coordinated through the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) in partnership with schools and supporting organizations throughout the state. MoNASP is an affiliate of the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) and promotes education, self-esteem and physical activity for students in grades 4-12 through participation in the sport of archery.

More than 25,000 Missouri students from 148 schools participate in MoNASP. Since NASP's beginnings in 2002, more than seven million students have participated in the program through 7,350 schools in 47 states and five countries.




St. Louis Regional Tournament -- Jan. 29
Seckman High School, 2800 Seckman Road in Imperial
Southwest Regional Tournament – Feb. 5
Willard Middle School,
205 Miller Road in Willard
Central Regional Tournament – Feb. 5,
Perry Christian Academy,
1235 E. Main St. in Perry
Kansas City Regional Tournament – Feb. 12, 2011
Warsaw High School,
20363 Lane of Champions in Warsaw




Linn State Technical College, One Technology Drive in Linn


St. Louis Region Counties: Lincoln, Warren, St. Charles, St. Louis, Franklin, Jefferson, Crawford, Washington, Ste. Genevieve, St. Francois, Iron, Reynolds, Madison, Perry, Cape Girardeau, Bollinger, Wayne, Stoddard, Scott, Mississippi, New Madrid, Pemiscot, Dunklin and Butler

Southwest Region Counties: Barton, Jasper, Newton, McDonald, Barry, Lawrence, Dade, Cedar, Hickory, Polk, Greene, Christian, Stone, Taney, Webster, Dallas, Laclede, Pulaski, Phelps, Dent, Texas, Wright, Douglas, Ozark, Howell, Shannon, Oregon, Carter and Ripley

Central Region Counties: Putnam, Schuyler, Scotland, Clark, Lewis, Knox, Adair, Sullivan, Macon, Shelby, Marion, Pike, Ralls, Monroe, Randolph, Saline, Howard, Boone, Audrain, Montgomery, Callaway, Cole, Moniteau, Cooper, Morgan, Miller, Camden, Maries, Osage and Gasconade

Kansas City Region Counties: Vernon, St. Clair, Benton, Henry, Bates, Johnson, Pettis, Cass, Jackson, Lafayette, Clay, Platte, Ray, Carroll, Chariton, Linn, Livingston, Caldwell, Clinton, Buchanan, Andrew, DeKalb, Daviess, Grundy, Mercer, Harrison, Gentry, Worth, Nodaway, Atchison and Holt

Amy Francka, MDC Education Outreach Coordinator and MoNASP Coordinator
573-522-4115, x3295 or

For more information on this program, including participating schools and communities, visit and search “MoNASP.”
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Managed turkey hunt application deadline is Feb. 28

You can apply online for most of the
hunts listed in the spring turkey hunting guide.
JEFFERSON CITY–Turkey hunters have until Feb. 28 to apply for managed hunts during Missouri’s 2011 spring turkey season.
Missouri hosts special spring turkey hunts at August A. Busch, Bois D’Arc, Caney Mountain and Weldon Spring conservation areas (CAs) and at Current River State Park and Smithville Lake. These hunting opportunities are allocated by random drawing.
All 19 managed turkey hunts are listed in the “2011 Spring Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information" booklet, which is available at . The booklet has application instructions and details of 2011 turkey-hunting regulations. The print version will be available from hunting permit vendors statewide in mid-February.
In addition to 12 events open to all firearms turkey hunters, this year’s offerings include managed hunts for archers, youths age 11 through 15 and for people with disabilities. All take place during the youth turkey season April 9 and 10 or the regular turkey season April 18 through May 8.
Hunters may apply individually or in groups of up to three for most hunts. Youth hunts accept applications only for single hunters or pairs. An individual applying as a member of a party has the same chance of being drawn as someone who applies alone. Successful applicants will receive notice of their hunt dates and other information by mail. Drawing results will be posted March 21 at <
Applications can be made by phone for hunts at Smithville Lake (816-858-5718) and Bois D’Arc CA (417-742-4361). Applications for other hunts are online at http://mdc4/applications/managedhunts/showhunts.aspx.
The number of hunters allowed to take part in each managed hunt ranges from 10 to 40. Participants in some hunts must complete a pre-hunt orientation. Consequently, hunters are urged not to apply for these hunts if they cannot attend the orientation.
The bag limit for managed hunts is one male turkey or turkey with visible beard. Turkeys taken during a managed hunt count toward the season limit of two. Hunters who shoot a turkey during a managed hunt before April 25 may not take another during the first week of the regular turkey season.
All-terrain vehicles are prohibited on areas with managed turkey hunts.
The2011 Spring Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information” booklet lists conservation areas where turkey hunting is allowed, and information about area regulations.
Missouri has some of the best turkey hunting in the nation, thanks to the combined efforts of MDC, citizen conservationists and landowners in a 25-year restoration program. Today Missouri’s fall turkey population is between 500,000 and 600,000 birds. To learn more about wild turkeys in Missouri, visit
-Jim Low-
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Monday, January 3, 2011

Ray County cattleman kills mountain lion

The 115-pound cat was a young male, which is consistent with
the theory that Missouri mountain lions come from other states.
COLUMBIA–Conservation officials say a mountain lion killed by a cattleman in Ray County was a young male that showed no sign of having been held in captivity.
Conservation Agent Tammy Pierson said Bob Littleton went to one of his pastures Sunday night after coon hounds treed a mountain lion where his cattle were grazing. He killed the mountain lion with a shot to the head from a .22-cal. rifle.
Littleton reported the incident as required by law. Pierson collected the mountain lion this morning and sent it to the Missouri Department of Conservation Resource Science Center in Columbia, where resource scientists examined it this afternoon.
Conservation Department furbearer biologist Jeff Beringer said the mountain lion weighed 115.2 pounds and measured a little over 6.5 feet from nose to tip of tail.  The sharp edges of the cat’s teeth and faint barring on the insides of its legs indicate it was a young male, probably three years or younger. Beringer said laboratory tests will provide more detailed information about the cat’s age and genetic makeup.
“We removed a small premolar tooth that will be sectioned so we can count the annual growth rings,” said Beringer. “That will tell us exactly how old it was. DNA testing will tell us whether it was related to native mountain lions in states to the west of Missouri, or if it is more closely related to mountain lions from somewhere else – possibly captive animals.”
Northwest Nebraska is the area nearest Missouri with an established mountain lion population.
Genetic testing also will determine whether the mountain lion killed in Ray County is the same one photographed by a landowner in Platte County in November.
Beringer said nothing in his examination of the Ray County mountain lion led him to believe it had been held in captivity. It had no tattoos or electronic identification tags – customary ways of marking captive cats. Its skin and paws showed no sign of having lived in a concrete-floored enclosure, and it still had its dewclaws, which often are surgically removed in captive animals to prevent injury.
The Ray County cat is Missouri’s 12th confirmed mountain lion sighting since 1994. Most of the mountain lions whose bodies have been recovered have been young males. Young males are the most mobile mountain lions, because they typically leave their birth areas to establish territories not already occupied by adult males. This is consistent with biologists’ theory that the cats are coming into Missouri from other states. Beringer said there is no evidence of reproduction for mountain lions in Missouri to date. This indicates that Missouri does not have  a self-sustaining mountain lion population.
Because of evidence that Missouri no longer had an established population of mountain lions (Felis concolor), the Missouri Conservation Commission reclassified the species from “endangered” to “extirpated” in 2006. This means the species no longer exists as a self-sustaining population.
Also in 2006, the Conservation Commission adopted a policy that re-establishment of a sustainable mountain lion population in Missouri is not desirable, due to the potential for conflict with human activities.
Missouri’s Wildlife Code does protect mountain lions, but the Wildlife Code also allows the killing of any mountain lion that attacks or kills livestock or domestic animals or threatens human safety. People who kill mountain lions mustreport the incident to MDC immediately and turn over the intact carcass, including the pelt, within 24 hours.”
More information about reporting mountain lion sightings and how to deal with mountain lions is available at
-Jim Low-

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