Monday, January 30, 2012

Conservation Action January 2012

The Conservation Commission met Jan. 26 and 27 at Cape Girardeau. Commissioners present were:
Don R. Johnson, Festus, Chair
Don C. Bedell, Sikeston, Vice Chair
James T. Blair, IV, St. Louis, Member

ADMINISTRATION
The Commission:
Received the following presentations.
Ø An e-Permits status report from Permit Services Supervisor Greg Jones.
Ø A hunter-education program review from Outreach & Education Division Chief Mike Huffman.
Ø A habitat-management report from Forestry Division.
Approved entering into a contract with KAT Excavation Inc., Bates City, for the construction of the Lost Valley Fish Hatchery Ambient Pond Renovation project in Benton County at a total estimated cost of $943,910. Seventy-five percent of the cost of the project will be paid by the Federal Aid in Sportfish Restoration Program.
Approved conveying .014 acre of Burr Oak Woods Conservation Area in Jackson County to the City of Blue Springs for a road-improvement project, and granting the City of Blue Springs temporary construction easements on an additional .028 acre and .031 acre, respectively, until the project is complete.
Approved the advertisement and sale of an estimated 1,321,010 board feet of timber located on 519 acres of Compartment 4, Coldwater Conservation Area in Wayne County.
Suspended hunting, fishing and/or trapping privileges of 10 Missouri residents for Wildlife Code violations and affirmed actions taken by Missouri courts suspending privileges of one Missouri resident. Those whose privileges were suspended are:
Logan D. Byrn, Downing, all sport privileges, 1 year
James M. Cazzell, Keytesville, all sport privileges, 1 year
Johnny L. Collis Jr., Purdin, hunting and fishing, until 9/8/2013
Robert G. Hankey, Tipton, all sport privileges, 5 ½ years
Antonio L. Hayes, Moberly, all sport privileges, 3 years
Howard E. Jackson, Grandview, all sport privileges, 1 year
Buddy W. Kennedy, Aurora, all sport privileges, 2 years
Jeffrey C. Margis, Chillicothe, all sport privileges, 1 year
Jewell Rowland, Sedalia, all sport privileges, 1 year
Dakota C. Savage, California, all sport privileges, 1 year
Nathan D. Wolf, Amity, all sport privileges, 3 years
Approved the suspension or revocation of all hunting and fishing privileges of 271 people who are not in compliance with applicable child-support laws. Privileges suspended for noncompliance are reinstated once the Division of Child Support Enforcement notifies MDC that suspendees have come into compliance with the required laws.
Suspended privileges of 241 persons under the provisions of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact.
· Imposed hunting privilege suspensions of three years for two Missouri residents who injured other persons in hunting incidents. The hunters must complete a hunter-education training course before restoration of privileges.
· Reinstated the fishing privileges of one person. Revocation of hunting and trapping privileges remains in effect.
· Set the next regular Conservation Commission meeting for March 7 and 8.
- end –

This document is provided for public information only and is not an official record of the Missouri Department of Conservation or Missouri Conservation Commission.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Temporary Deer Stands Need to be Removed from Mark Twain National Forest

ROLLA, Missouri – Hunters who put up temporary deer stands on Mark Twain National Forest need to remove them.

Portable deer hunting tree stands are permitted to be placed on Mark Twain National Forest two weeks before deer season.

Portable deer hunting tree stands are to be removed no later than two weeks after the close of archery deer season, which ended on January 15, 2012.

Tree stands discovered on Mark Twain National Forest after January 30, 2012, are subject to seizure and impoundment under 36 CFR 261.58V.

Permanent deer stands are prohibited. Permanent deer stands are any wooden or metal structure that has been attached or fixed to a tree and used for the purpose of hunting deer when in season.

Any permanent deer stands found on Mark Twain National Forest will be treated as unauthorized structures, prohibited under law and regulation, and are subject to removal under 36 CFR 261.10A.

In addition, use of screw-in steps, screws or nails, and any material that would damage trees is also prohibited.

When using temporary portable deer stands on Mark Twain National Forest, the temporary portable deer stand must have the full name, address, and telephone number of the user. Stands that don’t have identifying information are unauthorized structures and can also be impounded by Mark Twain National Forest law enforcement personnel.

If you have questions concerning Mark Twain National Forest’s deer stand policy, please contact Toby Barton, Poplar Bluff Ranger District law enforcement officer; 1420 Maud Street, Poplar Bluff, MO, or by phone at (573) 785-1475.

You can also contact Sam Beaty, Eleven Point Ranger District law enforcement officer; #4 Confederate Ridge Road, Doniphan MO, or by phone at (573) 996-2153.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Big Springs Non-Profit Wins Grant to Clean Up Tires on Mark Twain National Forest

DONIPHAN, MO – Big Springs Resource Conservation and Development Council recently received a Missouri Department of Natural Resources grant to help clean up dumped tires on Mark Twain National Forest.

The grant from Missouri Department of Natural Resources’ Solid Waste Management Program will focus on cleaning up Mark Twain National Forest around Ripley, Shannon and Carter Counties.

Raben Tire, Poplar Bluff, has partnered with Mark Twain National Forest and Missouri Department of Natural Resources and will be handling the collected tires for recycling.

Missouri citizens generate an estimated five million scrap tires a year; many wind up discarded on public lands.

“An environment free of scrap tires is important to public health and the environment,” said Mark Twain National Forest Eleven Point District Ranger Tim Bond. “Scrap tires harbor mosquitoes and snakes. Many disease carrying pests flourish in the stagnant water that collects inside tires.”

Chief culprits are mosquitoes that can carry deadly diseases such as the West Nile virus and encephalitis.

There are other, less visible costs.

“Dumped tires also contaminate our soils and waterway systems, are toxic to plants and wildlife, and then there’s the loss of aesthetic beauty,” Bond said.

“One of our organization’s objectives is to restore, improve, and protect the quality of the environment,” said Big Springs Resource Conservation and Development Council Manager Becky Paxton. “This is a worthwhile project because it will help reduce dumped tires on Mark Twain National Forest on three counties in our district.”

Recycled tires are used as fuel; they are also recycled into products such as rubber-modified asphalt on Missouri highways.

Mark Twain National Forest is the largest public land manager in Missouri with 1.5 million acres in 29 counties in southern and central Missouri. Mark Twain National Forest’s mission is to continue to restore Missouri’s natural communities and maintain a healthy, working forest.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Archery deer, turkey harvests up from last year


Counties bordering urban areas had the biggest totals.
JEFFERSON CITY–Bowhunters posted increases in both deer and turkey harvests during Missouri’s 2011-12 archery deer and turkey hunting seasons, topping the previous year’s figures by more than one-third.
Hunters checked 52,671 deer during the four-month archery season. That is an increase of 10,299 (24 percent) from the previous year. Archers checked 2,923 turkeys, an increase of 739 (33.8 percent) from the 2010-2011 season.
Jason Isabelle, a resource scientist for the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), said two factors probably contributed to the increased archery turkey harvest.
“I attribute the increase in harvest to the good hatch that we had last year in most of the state and to increased archery permit sales,” said Isabelle. “There were both more turkeys and more archers in the woods in 2011 than in 2010.”
MDC sold 110,647 archery hunting permits and issued another 82,486 no-cost landowner archer’s permits last year. The total of 190,133 archery permits is a record and continues a long-term trend of increasing interest in archery hunting.
“More people discover the enjoyment of archery season every year,” said Isabelle. “The challenge of bowhunting appeals to many hunters who start with firearms. For others, the attraction is a huge increase in hunting opportunity. For quite a few hunters, opening day of deer season can’t come soon enough and closing day comes too soon. Taking up the bow and arrow allows them to pursue their outdoor passion all fall and into winter.”
MDC Resource Scientist Jason Sumners said the reason for this year’s increased archery deer harvest is harder to nail down.
“Over the past decade we have seen a steady increase in the number of archery hunters and a resulting increase in archery harvest,” said Sumners. “However, that doesn’t explain the fluctuations we see in archery harvest from year to year. There are likely other factors at work that create annual variation in hunter effort or success. We had very mild weather last fall, and that might have caused hunters to spend more time pursuing deer. But there is still a lot we don’t know about the relationship between weather and hunter behavior and other factors that affect archery harvest.”
Sumners said he hopes to explore those factors in the future to gain a better understanding of what causes sizeable archery harvest fluctuations like those that have occurred over the last four years. For example, the deer archery harvest increased from 44,434 in 2008 to a record 51,972 in 2009 and went back down to 43,281 in 2010.
Missouri’s 2011-2012 archery and firearms deer harvests total 291,592. That is up 6 percent from the previous year. The 2011-2012 firearms and archery turkey harvests total 52,226, down 3.8 percent from the previous year.
The top archery deer-harvest counties were Jefferson with 1,092 deer checked, Franklin with 1,088 and Jackson with 1,040.  Top archery turkey-harvest counties were Callaway with 76 turkeys checked, Franklin with 67 and Jefferson with 58.
All of the top counties for archery deer and turkey harvest were in or near metropolitan areas. Isabelle and Sumners agree this probably is largely because all four counties are within easy driving distance of large numbers of hunters. Also, Callaway and Franklin counties are larger than average, and both have excellent deer and turkey habitat.
“Those four counties are natural choices for folks who live in nearby cities,” said Isabelle. “Franklin and Callaway counties are between the St. Louis and Columbia-Jefferson City areas and have some of the best turkey habitat in the state. Jefferson and Jackson counties are right at the edge of the state’s two largest metropolitan areas, so it’s not surprising that lots of archers would spend time hunting there.”
MDC recorded eight firearms-related deer-hunting incidents during the 2011-2012 hunting season. One was fatal.
-Jim Low-

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Nikon ProStaff 3 & ProStaff 5 Rangefinders Video Interview at SHOT Show!


We have a lot of SHOT Show Video Interviews coming out today, so I’m going to keep on rolling them out as quick as I can.  Here we have our second interview with Nikon representative Jon LaCorte.  Jon shows Steve two new rangefinders displayed by Nikon at SHOT Show.  Both models are part of the Nikon ProStaff line of products, and will give you quality performance at a great price.
Watch as Jon first shows off the Nikon Prostaff 3 Rangefinder.  With one button operation, it doesn’t get much easier to operate, and it has a very fast processor for quick range finding.  This is really important when you’re out hunting and finally spot a buck after hours of waiting.  You won’t want to miss that shot because you were waiting for the rangefinder to figure out the distance.  It has a great range of about 550 yards, and the optics are nice and bright, so you’ll have no trouble seeing your intended target.  6x power is just right for finding distance, and the tough construction is both waterproof and fog proof, so you don’t need to worry about it breaking on you when you need it!
The Nikon ProStaff 5 Rangefinder was even more impressive.  The ProStaff 5 is actually a fair bit smaller than any other Nikon Rangefinder, and as Steve points out, though you may not think about the size very often, it makes a big difference when you’re trying to put it in or take it out of a pocket.  While the overall size of the Nikon ProStaff 5 is smaller, they made the ocular bigger, so you’ll have an easier time seeing your target.  An additional feature that really sets the ProStaff 5 apart is the LED illumination.  This LED can be turned on with a single button press, and your reticle will be illuminated for easier use.  This is especially welcome in the morning or evening, when light is scarce.
I’ve been really impressed so far with everything Nikon brought to SHOT Show this year.  I’ll have another video interview with Jon LaCorte up soon that talks about the Nikon Monarch 3 and Monarch 5 binoculars, so stay tuned!

Restoring southwest Missouri’s natural resources focus of meetings, restoration plan


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo., JAN.24, 2012 – The Missouri Department of Natural Resources and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service have developed a regional restoration plan to restore southwest Missouri’s natural resources injured by hazardous substances. The agencies will hold a series of upcoming public meetings and are seeking comments on the restoration plan.
Representatives from the department and Fish & Wildlife Service will explain the Draft Springfield Plateau Regional Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment at public meetings in Springfield, Joplin and Neosho. During the meetings, the public will have the opportunity to ask questions and formally comment on the restoration plan, available online atdnr.mo.gov/env/hwp/sfund/nrda.htm.
The Springfield Plateau ecoregion includes major portions of Cedar, Dade, Jasper, Newton, Lawrence and Greene counties; portions of Polk, Webster, Christian and Barry counties; and minor portions of St. Clair, Hickory, Barton, McDonald, Stone and Douglas counties.
The public meetings will be held:
·                     Jan. 25 in Joplin at MSU’s Billingsley Student Center, 3950 E. Newman Rd.
·                     Jan. 26 in Neosho at the Neosho National Fish Hatchery, 520 Park Street.
·                     Jan. 30 in Springfield at the Library Center, 4653 S. Campbell Ave.
            The meetings will start at 6 and end at 8:30 p.m.
Written comments on the restoration plan must be postmarked no later than Feb. 24. Comments and questions or requests for copies of the plan can be directed to:
Frances Klahr                                                                  John Weber,
Natural Resources Damages Coordinator                       Restoration Coordinator

Missouri Department of Natural Resources                    U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
P.O. Box 176                                                                   101 Park DeVille Dr., Suite A
Jefferson City, MO 65102-0176                                                 Columbia, MO 65203
573-522-1347                                                                  573-234-2132 (x177)
Frances.klahr@dnr.mo.gov                                             John_S_Weber@fws.gov      

Copies of the restoration plan are be available for on-site review at the Joplin Public Library, 300 S. Main Street, Joplin; Neosho Public Library, 201 W. Spring Street, Neosho; Springfield Public Library, 4653 S. Campbell Ave, Springfield; U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, 101 Park DeVille Dr. Suite A, Columbia; and Missouri Department of Natural Resources, 1730 E. Elm St., Jefferson City. 
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service are charged, primarily through federal Superfund law, with assessing injuries to and restoring natural resources that have been injured by environmental hazards such as oil discharges and hazardous substances releases. This process is referred to as Natural Resources Damage Assessment and Restoration. Citizens have the right to use and enjoy natural resources and states have the duty and responsibility to protect these resources.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

CWD found in two free-ranging deer from Macon County

English: Distribution of Chronic Wasting Disea...
Image via Wikipedia

Two positive results for Chronic Wasting Disease are first for free-ranging deer in Missouri.

JEFFERSON CITY Mo – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) received two positive test results for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) from 1,077 tissue samples taken from free-ranging deer harvested by hunters in north-central Missouri during the 2011 fall firearms deer season. Both positive test results were from adult bucks harvested by Missouri hunters in Macon County, and are the first CWD-positive results for free-ranging deer in Missouri.

MDC plans to obtain more tissue samples for CWD testing by harvesting additional deer in the immediate area where the two infected deer were harvested.

“Teamwork among landowners, hunters and MDC staff allowed us to detect this infection early,” said MDC Deer Biologist Jason Sumners. “We will be working with local landowners to harvest additional deer for tissue sampling. This is a first step and one of our best hopes for containing, and perhaps even eliminating, what we believe to be a recent localized event.”

MDC staff have contacted the two Missouri hunters who harvested the CWD-positive bucks to inform them of the situation and answer questions.

CWD is a neurological disease that is limited to deer, elk, moose and other members of the deer family, known as “cervids.” CWD is spread by animal-to-animal contact or by animal contact with soil that contains prions from urine, feces or the decomposition of an infected animal. Deer and other cervids with signs of CWD show changes in natural behavior and can exhibit extreme weight loss, excessive salivation, stumbling and tremors. CWD can spread through natural movements of infected animals, transportation of infected live captive animals, or the transportation of infected carcasses.

The Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA) says there is no evidence from existing research that CWD can spread to domestic livestock, such as sheep or cattle. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (MDHSS) says there is no scientific evidence that CWD is transmissible to humans through contact with or the consumption of deer meat.

MDC conducted its tissue-sampling effort during the fall firearms season in November in response to two cases of CWD found in captive white-tailed deer at two private, captive-hunting preserves in Linn and Macon counties. A third captive deer at one of the preserves tested positive for CWD in December. The two earlier cases of CWD found at the private hunting preserves were detected in February 2010 and October 2011. The two free-ranging bucks that tested positive were harvested within two miles of the Macon County preserve.

CWD in deer can only be confirmed by laboratory testing of the brain stem or lymph tissue.  Tissue samples collected by MDC were tested by the Southeast Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study Laboratory of the University of Georgia, Athens, with confirmation by the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa.

The disease was first recognized in 1967 in captive mule deer in Colorado. CWD has also been documented in both captive and free-ranging deer in neighboring Kansas and Nebraska. It has been documented in free-ranging deer in neighboring Illinois.  CWD has also been documented in both captive and free-ranging members of the deer-family in Colorado, Minnesota, New York, South Dakota, Wisconsin and the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. Maryland, New Mexico, North Dakota, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming also have documented cases of CWD in free-ranging members of the deer family. Michigan and Montana have documented cases of CWD in captive members of the deer family.

CWD is transmitted through prions, which are abnormal proteins that attack the nervous systems of these species. These prions accumulate in the brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, and lymph nodes of infected animals. While there is no scientific evidence that CWD is transmissible to humans or animals other than deer and other cervids, health officials caution that consumption of these parts is not recommended. They also advise people to not eat meat from animals known to be infected with CWD or that exhibit signs of any disease.

While CWD is new to free-ranging deer in Missouri, MDC has been testing for it for years.  With the help of hunters, MDC has tested more than 34,000 free-ranging deer for CWD from all parts of the state since 2002.

Missouri also has a Cervid Health Committee to address the threat of CWD to Missouri’s free-ranging and captive cervids. The Committee is composed of wildlife biologists, veterinarians and other animal-health experts from MDC, MDA, MDHSS and the USDA.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Capping pipes can save birds’ lives

Western Bluebird
Image via Wikipedia

Open vertical pipes and posts take a toll on wildlife.
JEFFERSON CITY–Do you have a fence with hollow posts made of PVC or metal pipe?  What about a metal sign post? Bird experts say these and other open vertical pipes can be death traps for birds and other wildlife.
Wildlife Ecologist Brad Jacobs with the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) learned about the problem from Audubon California’s Kern River Preserve.
“They discovered it by accident,” said Jacobs. “Audubon staffers went to remove a 20-foot-long vent pipe that had rusted and fallen over. The lower seven feet of the 8-inch pipe were filled with the decomposed bodies of hundreds of birds and other animals that got inside and couldn’t get out. It was a horrible sight.”
Victims of the irrigation pipe, which had been in place more than 50 years, included bluebirds, woodpeckers and kestrels – small birds of prey. Other animals, such as lizards, also perished.
The death trap was part of an abandoned irrigation system. After the macabre discovery, the Audubon staffers began noticing similar hazards on their preserve and neighboring land. They found dead animals in pipes ranging from 1 to 10 inches in diameter and set to work removing or capping the pipes to prevent further carnage.
Jacobs says he fears that similar hazards exist throughout Missouri.
“It isn’t something we ever considered before,” he said. “But now that we know about it, I think it’s important to let everyone know, so they can take action to prevent needless losses of wildlife.”
Solutions include capping pipes or covering open ends with screen wire or hardware cloth. Removal is an option for pipes that no longer are needed. More information is available at www.ca.audubon.org/workinglands-pipes.php.
Jacobs said anyone, even conservation groups, can unintentionally contribute to such problems. He noted that for several years MDC and Missouri Stream Team have encouraged concerned citizens to construct disposal bins for used fishing line at popular fishing spots. The bins consist of PVC pipe mounted vertically on posts with caps on the bottom and uncapped elbows on top. Anglers can place scrap line in the pipe, preventing it from becoming a hazard to wildlife.
“This was a commendable effort,” said Jacobs. “When it began, no one considered that the recycling bins might be hazards to cavity-nesting birds. However, tree swallows and prothonotary warblers have been found dead and entangled in fishing line inside similar receptacles in other states. The birds apparently explore the plastic tubes as potential nest sites and get tangled up in the used line inside.”
Line-recycling bins can be retrofitted with covers with a slit that still allows insertion of used fishing line without letting birds get inside. The covers are made from tire inner tubes or rubber roof sheeting held in place by pipe clamps. See http://mdc.mo.gov/node/16060/ for details. MDC is refitting all its fishing-line disposal bins.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Volunteers needed to continue to Document Historic Trail of Tears

Trail of Tears sign on Hwy 71 through Fayettev...
Image via Wikipedia

ROLLA, Mo.– Mark Twain National Forest is looking for volunteers to continue to document historic Trail of Tears on Mark Twain National Forest’s Poplar Bluff Ranger District March 26-31, 2012, including weekends.
Applications to volunteer are due by Monday, February 13, 2012.
The week-long project is the second phase of a Passport in Time project. Passport in Time is a USDA Forest Service volunteer archaeology and historic preservation program.
Please visit: http://www.passportintime.com/Click on “Current Projects” and then click on “Mark Twain NF” MO-4059 project to apply.
Passport in Time’s goal is to preserve the nation’s past with volunteer help. Volunteers work with professional Forest Service archaeologists on diverse activities such as surveys and excavation, rock art restoration, historic structure restoration, analysis of artifacts, and more.
In the 1830s, approximately 100,000 American Indians from the Cherokee, Creek, Seminole, and Choctaw nations, among others, were forcibly removed from Southeastern U.S. homelands and marched to reservations in what is now Oklahoma.
Many suffered from exposure, disease, and starvation while en route to their destinations, and many died, including 4,000 of the 15,000 relocated Cherokee.
Approximately 30 miles of the Old Military Road (a.k.a. Natchitoches Trace) that served as this sad pathway crosses Mark Twain National Forest as part of the Benge Route of the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail. Almost half of that land is managed by Poplar Ranger District.
“Thanks to a successful Passport In Time project last year, nearly all extant trail segments through the Forest have been identified and their locations have been accurately mapped with a resource grade GPS unit,” said Mark Twain National Forest Heritage Program Manager Keri Hicks.
In this second phase of the project, volunteers will help photograph and document each segment in detail, including preparing individual feature forms that will be used to supplement the existing site record.
“We will also sweep a metal detector across the surface and perform cruciform shovel testing to determine presence/absence of a sub-surface component,” Hicks said. “We will also record width, depth, terrain, vegetation, and any disturbances to the Trail and the cultural landscape. We will make particular note of segments in need of immediate management action. This is an important project and, once again, one that promises to be as fun as it will be interesting. “
Volunteers need to be at least 12 years old; under 18 accompanied by a responsible adult.
Helpful skills include  previous archaeological survey and mapping, sketching, GPS use, and/or photography experience helpful, but not required
Tent and RV camping available at no charge at Markham Springs Recreation Area. Water, showers, vault toilets; lodge house available at Markham Springs Recreation Area; water, showers, flush toilets; rental fees apply.
Greenville and Poplar Bluff are full-service communities with motels, restaurants, and a range of other amenities; volunteers responsible for personal camping equipment/lodging, meals, extra water, and transportation.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Current River Trout Fishing Trip

My youngest son, David, and I took an excursion to the Current River last weekend before he had to get back to classes on Tuesday.  We headed out from our home about 50 miles West of St. Louis on Saturday morning and were fishing by early afternoon.

Photo taken at Baptist Camp Access of the Current River in
February of 2010.  The ice was hanging from the bluffs on our trip
beginning on January 14th of 2012, but there was much less of it.
We stopped by the Montauk State Park store to pick up a few beadhead eggs patterns and headed down to Baptist Camp.  We headed on down to Baptist Camp and got our lines wet right away.  I headed a little bit upstream and David headed downstream.  There are no great spots directly above Baptist Camp, and me not felling like going way up there, I decided to join David.

By the time I reached David he had already put a couple of stocker sized rainbows in his net and gently released them.  He caught several more before we left and I even managed to land one or two as well.

Typical Egg Pattern-
non-beaded
We used beaded egg
patterns to get deep in
the many deeper pools found
on the Current
We decided we would go down to our usual camping spot at Parker Hollow only to find it occupied.  We decided a nearly empty campground at Montauk State Park seemed like a good alternative.  We had gathered quite a bit of campwood for the fire down by Parker and it turned out to be plenty to get us through the weekend.

Saturday night was pretty chilly.  We pitched our one-man tents and built a fire to roast hot dogs before turning in for the night.  The one-man tents are nice because they are quick to set up and due to their small size, retain the body heat of the occupant.  Combined with our zero degree sleeping bags, we slept quite well.

The next morning we woke to 17 degree temperatures and a pretty steady breeze.  We knew it was supposed to warm to the fifties and the sun was out, so that made things seem a lot better.  We warmed water on the fire and ate oatmeal and then David was ready to hit the water.

I love fishing, but no one has the level of dedication to it that David does.  I took him down to the fly fishing portion of Montauk State Trout Park and turned him loose with the understanding we'd head somewhere else at noon.  I stayed in the truck until 10 am and then headed up towards where David had headed.

There is a boulder garden a little ways up the fly area and this is where he wanted to fish.  It turned out to be pretty heavily occupied so I found him fishing just down from there.

It had been a little while since we'd fished the park, and last year there were some pretty heavy floods that transformed the river in many places.  We had noticed this the previous day below Baptist Camp, where some of the holes that had held some big browns were either gone completely, or had changed quite a bit.

Anyway, at this part of the trout park, there had been a low-hanging tree just below the boulder garden riffle where I would drift a fly underneath and land a trout on almost every cast.  The tree was gone and it really made the area look different.  The fishing was still quite good.

David Mann fishing Current River
between Baptist Camp Access & Tan Vat
Access - January 2012
When I met up with David, we decided we'd kind of fish our way back to the truck, and then head back to Baptist and then fish our way up to the Tan Vat access. We caught and released quite a few fish on our way back down.

We actually got to Baptist Camp and started upstream around noon.  By this time the weather was outstanding, although a bit windy.  We stocked up on a supply of granola bars and water, grabbed our headlamps in case of an after dark return, and headed off.

One of the nice stretches of water on the
Current River between Baptist Camp
and Tan Vat - January 2012
This stretch of river is characterized by fairly long stretches of slow and shallow water broken up by some nice fishing riffles that empty into great fishing deep holes that hold some nice fish.

All the way up and as far as we got back downstream before it was too dark to fish, we stuck with egg patterns.  In reality, we could not solicit takes from the larger browns on these patterns, but the action was good enough on the smaller fish, we never switched to the nymph and streamer patterns that we typically do well on for these bigger fish.  It was just what we felt like doing this day.

Small Rock Dam just below Tan Vat Access
January 2012
There is some quite beautiful water and surroundings in this stretch.  There are small bluffs with small caves along the north bank of the river and on the south side there is somewhat of a trail that can be used in stretches you don't want to wade.
Tan Vat Access of the Current River - January 2012

David Mann fishing rock dam at
Tan Vat Access of Current River
January 2012
The entire stretch of river we waded, we encountered only two men that were floating from Tan Vat to  Parker Hollow.  I asked them how their float was going and they stated that they were spending much of their time dragging their canoe.  The stretch from Tan Vat to Baptist Camp is often a tough float, and at this time of year it is almost certain to be.  The floatable water improves greatly below Baptist Camp and gradually improves.  On a nice winter day, the Current is an outstanding floating destination if proper precautions are undertaken.

We arrived at Tan Vat at around 3 pm and fished here for awhile.  There was one couple we encountered here spin fishing, but that was it.  There were some cars parked in the lot so perhaps some folks were fishing the good spots upstream from the Tan Vat access.

We headed back downstream fishing casually, as we'd kind of satisfied our need to catch fish.  We enjoyed the scenery a bit more and did concentrate a bit more on the deeper holes where we's encountered some bigger fish on the way up.

Eventually the sun began to drop, and along with it the temperature.  We broke down our rods and took the trail back on the south side of the river.  We heard owls hooting and various critters scurrying away as we stumbled through the brush by now in the dark.  We got down to the access and managed to wade back across the river without a stumble.

David's Books he Brought Camping and Fishing-
  • Spanish Text (College Text)
  • Stars Upstream (Essay on Current River History and Experiences)
  • Walden
  • True Grit
Evening brought chili and fritos, one of our camping favorites.  That night was considerably warmer and we did not wake until the 8 am Montauk Park horn sounded the signal for the start of fishing.

We again had oatmeal and David got a last bit of fishing before our trip back to Mizzou.  I packed up camp and then retrieved him from the river.

These outdoor excursions, whether hunting, fishing, camping, or other are a restorative force for all of us.  David was returned to campus with a fresh and enthusiastic attitude after a great weekend of fishing.














Friday, January 20, 2012

Managed turkey hunt application deadline is Feb. 29


Courtesy MDC
JEFFERSON CITY Mo – Turkey hunters have until Feb. 29 to apply for managed hunts during Missouri’s 2012 spring turkey season. All 19 managed turkey hunts are listed in the “2012 Spring Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information" booklet. The booklet, along with other information on spring turkey hunting, is available online atwww.mdc.mo.gov by searching “Spring Turkey Hunting.” The booklet and website have application instructions, outlook information on Missouri’s turkey population, conservation areas where turkey hunting is allowed, related regulations and more. The print version of the booklet will be available from hunting permit vendors and at MDC offices in mid-February.

In addition to 11 hunts open to all firearms turkey hunters, this year’s offerings include a managed hunt for archers, five hunts for youths age 11 through 15 and two hunts for people with disabilities. Managed hunts will take place during the youth turkey season, March 31 to April 1, or regular turkey season, April 16 through May 6.

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 14 through May 6 at www.mdc.mo.gov/hunt/turkey.

For the youth hunt and hunt for people with disabilities at Smithville Lake, applications should be made by phone by calling 816-858-5718. To apply for the hunt for people with disabilities at Bois D’Arc CA, call 417-742-4361. Applications for other hunts should be made online atwww.mdc.mo.gov/hunt/turkey.

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. Hunters should 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 23 may not take another turkey during the first week of the regular turkey season. All-terrain vehicles are prohibited on areas with managed turkey hunts.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

MEETING OF THE MISSOURI CONSERVATION COMMISSION

Map of Missouri highlighting Cape Girardeau County
Image via Wikipedia

Thursday, January 26, 2012
Drury Suites
3303 Campster Drive, Cape Girardeau
3:00 p.m. – Executive Session (Closed)

Friday, January 27, 2012
Cape Girardeau Nature Center
2289 County Park Drive, Cape Girardeau
8:30 a.m. – Regular Open Meeting

TENTATIVE AGENDA

(Background documents related to each agenda item are available for public viewing at Conservation Department Headquarters, Jefferson City, for eight calendar days prior to the meeting. Any person who would like to comment to the Commission about a specific agenda item must make a written request to the Director at least four calendar days prior to the meeting. Speakers will be limited to five minutes each and number of speakers may be limited.  Recording the open meeting is permissible, pursuant to any guidelines established by the Commission to minimize disruption to the meeting. Individuals wishing to record the open meeting by audiotape, videotape or other electronic means should notify the Director at least four calendar days prior to the meeting so accommodations for such recording can be made.)

Thursday, January 26, 3:00 p.m.
Executive Session (Vote to go into closed session – reconvene open meeting at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, January 27:
(1)        Call to order and approval of minutes of previous Executive Session(s). (610.021 RSMo.)
(2)        Consideration of supporting documentation for recommendation to suspend or revoke all hunting and fishing privileges of individuals who are juveniles or who are not in compliance with applicable child support laws. Action to be taken in open meeting. (Disclosure protected by law, 610.021(14), 454.440.9, 211.321, RSMo.)
(3)        Consideration of confidential or privileged communications between the Commission and its Internal Auditor regarding work product. (Communications between public governmental body and its auditor, 610.021(17) RSMo.)
(4)        Consideration of recommendation relating to the hiring/firing/disciplining/promoting of personnel. (Hiring, firing, disciplining or promoting, 610.021(3) RSMo.)
(5)        Consideration of negotiated contracts. (Documents related to a negotiated contract, 610.021(12) RSMo.)
(6)        Update on potential real estate transactions/negotiations.(Leasing, purchase or sale of real estate, 610.021(2) RSMo.)
(7)        Consideration of legal actions and attorney-client privileged communications involving the Conservation Commission. (Legal actions, causes of action or litigation, 610.021(1) RSMo.)

Friday, January 27, 8:30 a.m. – Regular Open Meeting:
Approval of minutes of previous meeting.

Recommendation for approval to convey .014 acre of Burr Oak Woods Conservation Area in Jackson County to the City of Blue Springs for a road improvement project, and to grant the City of Blue Springs temporary construction easements on an additional .028 acre and .031 acre, respectively, until the project is complete.  

Consideration of bids received for the construction of the Lost Valley Fish Hatchery Ambient Pond Renovation project located in Benton County, and authorization to enter into a contract with the low bidder.

Recommendation for approval of personnel reclassifications; Quarterly Report of Personnel Changes approved by Director.

Staff Presentations:
8:45 a.m.         E-Permits Status Report – Permit Services Supervisor Greg Jones.

9:00 a.m.         Missouri Hunter Education Program Review – Outreach & Education Division Chief Mike Huffman.

December Monthly Financial Summary and Fiscal Year 2012 Mid-Year Review of Revenue and Expenditure Trends.

Status of Major CI-IT Projects Funded in FY12 Budget and Construction Budget Mid-Year Review Summary.

Staff Presentation:
10:15 a.m.       Habitat Management by Forestry Division – Forestry Division Chief Lisa Allen.

Recommendation for authorization to advertise and sell an estimated 1,321,010 board feet of timber located on 519 acres of Compartment 4, Coldwater Conservation Area in Wayne County.

Legislative Report.

Recommendations for approval to 1) suspend or revoke one or more hunting, fishing, or trapping privileges of individuals for cause; 2) reinstate one or more hunting, fishing, or trapping privileges of an individual previously suspended for cause; 3) suspend or revoke all hunting and fishing privileges of individuals who are not in compliance with applicable child support laws; 4) suspend or revoke one or more hunting, fishing and trapping privileges of individuals in accordance with the terms of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact; and 5) suspend or revoke hunting privileges of individuals who inflicted injury to another person while hunting.

Announcement of actions taken in executive session, if any.

Other matters of interest.

Confirmation that the next regular meeting will be held March 7-8, 2012.