Saturday, June 30, 2012

National Forest Restricts Open Fires Due To High Fire Danger

ROLLA, Mo. – Mark Twain National Forest is restricting open fires due toheightened fire danger, drought conditions and continued hot, dry weather forecast for the next few weeks. Mark Twain National Forest Acting Forest Supervisor Teresa Chase said no open fires are permitted except within campfire rings or pedestal grills located in developed recreation areas such as campgrounds and picnic areas.

No other open fires are permitted while these restrictions are in place.

Visitors may still use propane or gas cook stoves but are asked to use caution and to not leave stoves unattended.

These restrictions are temporary and will be in effect until the Forest receives significant rainfall.

In addition to restrictions on open burning, visitors are not allowed to possess or discharge fireworks or other pyro-technic devices on Mark Twain National Forest lands.

These restrictions are intended to protect the safety of Forest visitors and area residents by preventing unintentional wildfires started from campfires not fully extinguished or fireworks landing in dry vegetation.



Missouri wildfire worries widen as heat wave continues


Fire concerns in Missouri widened Friday as crews battled a blaze of several hundred acres in the Mark Twain National Forest.
Officials hoping to prevent more fires amid soaring temperatures and a lack of rain barred campfires on thousands of acres of public land heading into the Fourth of July holiday.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/06/29/3683762/missouri-wildfire-worries-widen.html#storylink=cpy

Weekly Fishing Report, 6/28/2012

CENTRAL REGION (573) 882-8388

    LAKES

Binder Lake: 79 degrees, normal, clear; channel catfish fair on stinkbaits;  bluegill fair on crickets and worms;  all other species slow. (Report made on 6/27/2012)

Blind Pony Lake: 82 degrees, low, clear; all species slow; the lake is closed to private boats, and bait held or transported in containers with water is prohibited. (Report made on 6/26/2012)

Lake of the Ozarks (Glaize): 82 degrees, dingy; black bass fair on dark colored soft plastics and buzzbaits; white bass slow on light colored soft plastics and spoons; crappie fair on  minnows and crappie jigs; catfish fair on bluegill, chicken livers and stinkbaits. (Report made on 6/27/2012)

Lake of the Ozarks (Gravois): 81 degrees, dingy; black bass and catfish fair; crappie and white bass slow. (Report made on 6/27/2012)

Lake of the Ozarks (Niangua): 81 degrees, dingy; black bass good on soft plastics and spinnerbaits; crappie fair on jigs and minnows; catfish good on live bluegill and hot dogs; white bass slow on soft plastics; sunfish good on small jigs and worms.
 (Report made on 6/27/2012)

Lake of the Ozarks (Osage): 81 degrees, normal, dingy; black bass good using soft plastics and crankbaits; crappie fair using jigs and minnows; catfish good on worms, cut bait and live bluegill; white bass slow, try using light colored soft plastics; sunfish good using worms. (Report made on 6/27/2012)

Little Dixie Lake: 80 degrees, low, clear; largemouth bass good on topwater lures;  all other species slow; the area is closed to all activity including fishing from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. (Report made on 6/26/2012)

    RIVERS

Lamine River: 3' low;  all species slow.

 (Report made on 6/27/2012)

Missouri River (middle): low, muddy; channel catfish fair on worms and stinkbaits;  flathead catfish fair on live goldfish and bluegill;  blue catfish fair on cut baits;    all other species slow. (Report made on 6/27/2012)

Osage (Bagnell Tailwater): 82 degrees, normal, dingy; black bass slow on dark colored soft plastics and worms; white bass fair on light colored soft plastics and crappie jigs; crappie slow on crappie jigs and minnows; catfish fair on chicken livers, stinkbaits and worms.
 (Report made on 6/27/2012)

Osage (lower, at Tuscumbia): 81 degrees, normal, dingy; black bass slow on dark colored soft plastics and worms; white bass fair on light colored soft plastics and crappie jigs; crappie slow on crappie jigs and minnows; catfish fair on chicken livers, stinkbaits and worms.
 (Report made on 6/27/2012)

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KANSAS CITY REGION (816) 655-6254

    LAKES

Atkinson Lake (Schell-Osage CA): 84 degrees, low, clear;  all species fair; fishing pressure light. (Report made on 6/28/2012)

James A. Reed Memorial Wildlife Area: 82 degrees, clear; water level 4" low; channel catfish good; largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish and crappie fair; all other species slow. (Report made on 6/27/2012)

Montrose Lake: 83 degrees, low, dingy; catfish fair; all other species slow; fishing pressure light. (Report made on 6/28/2012)

Schell Lake (Schell-Osage CA): 86 degrees, low, dingy; all species fair; fishing pressure light. (Report made on 6/28/2012)

Truman Lake: 78 degrees, normal, clear; crappie good on minnows and jigs; black bass good on buzzbaits and worms; white bass fair around the dam area on shad; catfish good on main channels on fresh cut bait. (Report made on 6/28/2012)

Truman Lake Tailwaters: 78 degrees, normal, clear; black bass fair; all other species slow. (Report made on 6/28/2012)

    RIVERS

Missouri River (Kansas City area): 77 degrees, falling, muddy; blue and flathead catfish good using cut asian carp; all other species slow. (Report made on 6/27/2012)

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NORTHEAST REGION (660) 785-2420

    LAKES

Hunnewell Lake: 81 degrees, low, clear; bluegill fair using earthworms; largemouth bass fair using spinnerbaits and Rebel lures; all other species slow; the lake is closed to private boats, and bait held or transported in containers with water is prohibited. (Report made on 6/28/2012)

Long Branch Lake: 77 degrees, low, dingy; crappie good near structure and rocks; channel catfish fair on leeches, liver, stinkbaits and shrimp; hybrid striped bass fair off points with shad style lures; all other species slow.  (Report made on 6/28/2012)

Mark Twain: 82 degrees, normal, dingy; crappie fair on minnows and assorted jigs; channel catfish fair on nightcrawlers and cut bait. (Report made on 6/28/2012)

Sever: 83 degrees, normal, clear; catfish good on stinkbaits and liver; black bass fair on white spinnerbaits; sunfish good on mealworms and red wigglers in coves; all other species slow.  (Report made on 6/28/2012)

Thomas Hill Reservoir: 76 degrees, normal, clear; crappie fair on Hwy. T rocks and deeper water brush piles using minnows; channel catfish good; all other species slow.  (Report made on 6/28/2012)

    RIVERS

Mississippi River (upper): 81 degrees, normal, dingy; flathead catfish good on nightcrawlers and live baits; all other species slow.  (Report made on 6/28/2012)

Salt (below Mark Twain): 76 degrees, low, clear; smallmouth bass fair on chartreuse spinnerbaits and soft crayfish; catfish good on stinkbait near bottom of riffles; drum good on worms. (Report made on 6/28/2012)

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NORTHWEST REGION (816) 271-3100

    LAKES

Bilby Ranch Lake: 77 degrees, falling, clear; all species slow. (Report made on 6/28/2012)

Lake Paho: 79 degrees, normal, clear; largemouth bass and hybrid striped bass are both good on topwater lures; channel catfish good on prepared commercial baits; all other species fair.
 (Report made on 6/27/2012)

Mozingo Lake: 80 degrees, normal, clear; all species fair. (Report made on 6/27/2012)

Pony Express Lake: 77 degrees, low, clear; catfish good on chicken liver and stinkbait; all other species fair.
 (Report made on 6/27/2012)

Smithville Lake: 78 degrees, low, clear; crappie fair in 10 - 12' of water around brush piles on jigs in white, purple and chartreuse with or without minnows; black bass fair in shallow weedy or timber areas on topwater lures, spinnerbaits and brush jigs; catfish good in shallow water on a variety of baits including prepared and crayfish; white bass good on windy points or trolling on crankbaits or shad style baits; walleye fair on points and flats on worms and leeches. (Report made on 6/27/2012)

    RIVERS

Grand River: 74 degrees, falling, muddy; channel catfish, blue catfish and flathead catfish good, all other species good. (Report made on 6/27/2012)

Missouri River (upper): 75 degrees, falling, clear; channel catfish excellent on worms and cut bait, good on dip baits;
flathead catfish excellent on worms and live bait; blue catfish good on cut bait, fair on worms. (Report made on 6/27/2012)

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OZARK REGION (417) 255-9561

    LAKES

Bull Shoals Lake (East): 82 degrees, normal, clear; black bass good on topwater lures; all other species slow. (Report made on 6/27/2012)

Norfork Lake: 80 degrees, normal, dingy; black bass fair on soft plastics; all other species slow. (Report made on 6/27/2012)

    RIVERS

Big Piney River (lower, Pulaski Co.): 75 degrees, low, dingy; smallmouth bass and goggle-eye fair on soft plastic baits and jigs. (Report made on 6/27/2012)

Big Piney River (upper, Texas Co.): 77 degrees, low, clear; black bass fair on topwater lures in early morning and late evening; goggle-eye fair on live bait.  (Report made on 6/27/2012)

Bryant Creek: 78 degrees, low, clear; smallmouth bass and goggle-eye fair on soft plastics. (Report made on 6/27/2012)

Current River: 78 degrees, low, clear; goggle-eye and sunfish good on soft plastics. (Report made on 6/27/2012)

Eleven Point River: 62 degrees, low, clear; rainbow trout good on minnows; all other species slow. (Report made on 6/27/2012)

Gasconade River (middle): 76 degrees, low, dingy; channel catfish fair on live bait; smallmouth bass and goggle-eye fair on soft plastics and jigs.  (Report made on 6/27/2012)

Gasconade River (upper): 80 degrees, low, dingy; all species slow. (Report made on 6/27/2012)

Jacks Fork: 71 degrees, low, clear; all species good on soft plastics. (Report made on 6/27/2012)

North Fork of the White River: 68 degrees, low, clear; smallmouth bass and goggle-eye fair on soft plastics. (Report made on 6/27/2012)

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SOUTHEAST REGION (573) 290-5858

    LAKES

Clearwater Lake: 87 degrees, normal, clear; all species slow. (Report made on 6/26/2012)

Council Bluff Lake: 80 degrees, normal, clear; channel catfish fair on liver and worms; largemouth bass fair on dark colored soft plastics during low light periods; all other species slow. (Report made on 6/27/2012)

Cypress Lake: 84 degrees, normal, dingy; channel catfish fair on worms, crickets and stinkbaits in 2 - 8' of water; bluegill and redear sunfish fair on jigs, crickets and worms in 1 - 3' of water; largemouth bass slow on minnows, jigs, plastic worms and crankbaits in 1 - 3' of water; all other species slow. (Report made on 6/27/2012)

Duck Creek CA Pool 1: 80 degrees, low, clear; bluegill good on crickets; largemouth bass good on topwater lures; all other species slow.  Note: boaters be aware of tree stumps due to low water levels. (Report made on 6/28/2012)

Lake Girardeau: normal, clear; bluegill good on worms; largemouth bass good on worms; channel catfish fair on stinkbaits; all other species fair. (Report made on 6/28/2012)

Perry County Lake: 87 degrees, clear; redear sunfish fair on crickets; channel catfish good on stinkbaits; all other species slow. (Report made on 6/26/2012)

Robert DeLaney Lake: 85 degrees, normal, channel catfish fair on stinkbaits and worms; bluegill fair on crickets and wax worms; all other species slow.  (Report made on 6/27/2012)

Wappapello Lake: 85 degrees, normal, black bass good on spinnerbaits and buzzbaits early and late; channel catfish good on trotlines and jug lines using live bait at night; all other species slow.
Anglers should note the 9" minimum length limit regulation for crappie on Wappapello Lake.  Call the Wappapello Lake Recreation Hotline for updates at 573-222-8139. (Report made on 6/26/2012)

    RIVERS

Black River (above Clearwater Lake): 78 degrees, low, clear; all species slow. (Report made on 6/26/2012)

Black River (below Clearwater Lake): 71 degrees, low, dingy; black bass good on topwater lures in early morning; channel catfish fair on live bait and worms, especially trotlines in lower basin; walleye fair on crankbaits; all other species slow.  (Report made on 6/27/2012)

Castor River (above Zalma): low, clear; all species fair. (Report made on 6/28/2012)

Mississippi River (middle): rising, muddy; blue and channel catfish good on worms and cut bait; all other species fair. (Report made on 6/28/2012)

Mississippi River (Ohio River to Arkansas): normal, muddy; channel catfish fair on livers and cut bait; all other species slow. (Report made on 6/27/2012)

St. Francis River (above Wappapello): low, dingy; all species slow. (Report made on 6/26/2012)

St. Francis River (below Wappapello): No report available.

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SOUTHWEST REGION (417) 895-6881

    LAKES

Bull Shoals Lake (West): 76-80 degrees, normal, clear; Dam Area - bluegill good on crickets and earthworms; black bass fair on soft plastics and nightcrawlers; Beaver Creek Arm - black bass good on crankbaits, soft plastics and nightcrawlers; crappie fair on minnows; bluegill fair on crickets and earthworms; catfish fair on nightcrawlers; all other species slow. (Report made on 6/28/2012)

Lake Taneycomo: 55 degrees, normal, clear; trout good in upper portion of lake on marabou jigs, Rooster Tails and San Juan worms, also try glo balls; trout good in lower portion of lake on orange and green Power Baits, corn and nightcrawlers. (Report made on 6/28/2012)

Pomme de Terre Reservoir: 81 degrees, high, clear; crappie good on minnows and jigs in 10 - 25' of water over structure; black bass good on buzzbaits, spinnerbaits and jigs in the back of coves and in structure; walleye fair on bottom bouncers and jig and minnow or jig and earthworm combinations off of points; catfish fair on cut bait using trotlines or jug lines; all other species slow. (Report made on 6/28/2012)

Stockton Lake: 80 degrees, falling, clear; walleye good on plastic worms while trolling in about 25 - 30' of water; catfish fair on chicken livers and earthworms near the shoreline; crappie fair on minnows in 20 - 25' of water; black bass fair on chartreuse jerkbaits on flats in 20 - 35' of water; all other species slow. (Report made on 6/28/2012)

Table Rock Lake (James River arm): 85 degrees, low, dingy; black bass good on soft plastic crayfish, hula grubs, tube baits and extra large plastic worms in 20 - 30' of water, pumpkin, watermelon, motor oil, and plum colors working well, try topwater lures in early morning and late evening casting close to submerged treetops and brush piles; bluegill good on live earthworms and crickets or small soft plastic tube jigs; catfish fair on nightcrawlers, cut shad, small live sunfish and chicken liver; white bass fair on shallow diving crankbaits and spoons, find surfacing fish and cast into the middle of them; crappie fair on minnows in 20 - 30' of water around submerged brush piles. (Report made on 6/28/2012)

Table Rock Lake (main lake): 85 degrees, normal, clear; black bass good in early morning or late evenings on deep running crankbaits, tube baits and drop shots in 20 - 30' of water; white bass fair on white 1/2 oz. spoons in 20 - 30' of water or find surfacing fish in early morning or late evening and cast into the middle of them; flathead catfish good on small bluegill; channel catfish good on bait fish, cut baits and earthworms using pole and line or trotlines along bluffs; all other species slow. (Report made on 6/28/2012)

    RIVERS

James River: 80 degrees, falling, clear; black bass good on poppers and spooks, use Carolina rigs with soft plastics and spoons around trees in the afternoon; white bass good on 1/2 oz. white colored spoons; crappie good on green pumpkin jigs and minnows around brush in 6 - 10' of water; catfish good on live bait fish, cut bait and earthworms using pole and line or trotlines. (Report made on 6/28/2012)

Niangua River: 70 degrees, normal, clear; trout fair, best on natural baits and Power Baits below Bennett Spring; goggle-eye fair, best on natural baits and soft plastics; black bass fair, best on soft plastics and natural baits; all other species slow. (Report made on 6/28/2012)

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ST. LOUIS REGION (636) 300-1953

    LAKES

Busch Memorial Conservation Area Lake 33: 76 degrees, normal, dingy; Lake 33 is under construction for dam repairs, no boats available, walk-in fishing is still allowed. (Report made on 6/28/2012)

Busch Memorial Conservation Area Lakes 3, 4, 5, 7, and 23: 77 degrees, low, dingy; channel catfish good on cut bait, worms, doughbait, blood bait and livers; limit 4; black bass fair on spinners, plastic worms and crankbaits; please remove litter.


 (Report made on 6/28/2012)

    RIVERS

Big River: 77 degrees, low, dingy; channel catfish fair on blood bait and cut bait; all other species slow. (Report made on 6/28/2012)

Bourbeuse River: 78 degrees, low, dingy; channel catfish fair on blood baits and cut bait; all other species slow.
 (Report made on 6/28/2012)

Meramec River (Crawford Co.): 77 degrees, low, clear; channel catfish fair on minnows and worms; black bass good on spinners, topwater lures and soft plastics; bluegill fair on worms; all other species slow. (Report made on 6/28/2012)

Meramec River (St. Louis Co.): 78 degrees, low, dingy; channel catfish fair on cut bait and worms; black bass fair on topwater lures; carp good on corn; drum good on worms; all other species slow. (Report made on 6/28/2012)

Missouri River (lower): 73 degrees, normal, muddy; channel catfish good on cut bait and livers; all other species fair. (Report made on 6/28/2012)

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TROUT PARKS

Bennett Spring State Park: 57 degrees, the spring level is about normal and clear; Zone 1 and 2 best lures: olive colored roaches; bedspread colored, and white sparkly blue-green colored mini-jigs; cream colored scuds; green grizzly colored and red holographic colored Cracklebacks; black and yellow colored and gingersnap colored marabou jigs; crayfish colored and rainbow trout colored Rooster Tails; easter egg colored and hatchery brown colored glo balls; olive or brown colored wooly buggers with gold spinner; Zone 3 best lures: black and yellow colored plastic worms; white colored and yellow colored Power Baits, salmon eggs. Fishing hours for July are 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. (Report made on 6/28/2012)

Maramec Spring Park: 56 degrees, fishing is good; the water is extremely low and very clear; use very light weight line and tackle; throughout the spring branch feather jigs in dark colors are producing good numbers of fish; orange, green, and red trout worms are producing well; fish are holding in shady areas and swift water below the waterfalls and around boulders, target these areas for best success;  fishing hours for the month of June and July are 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. (Report made on 6/28/2012)

Montauk State Park: 59 degrees, the river level is slightly below normal; the water is clear; fishing is good on most baits; white, brown and yellow scented dough and putty baits are working well in the bait zones; most flies, Rooster Tails and jigs in black and yellow, white, and olive colors are working well; the best fishing is in the mornings and evenings. June fishing hours are 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. July fishing hours are the same as June.
For up-to-date stream conditions check  http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?07064440(Report made on 6/27/2012)

Roaring River State Park: 58 degrees, clear; the river is getting very low; conditions are similar to late summer; use 2 pound test or lighter; beetles, ants and hoppers, Cracklebacks, pheasant tails and copper johns are good; olive, black, and brown wooly buggers or worms are good; orange, white, chartreuse, fluorescent yellow plastic eggs are working well; cheese yellow, white, mint green, yellow/orange, pink, and the orange, and orange/white plastic worms are good; spinners are good early, black, brown, olive and black/yellow are good early; marabou jigs in white, tan and pinks early and later in the day; use black, black/yellow, brown, brown/yellow, and black/olive marabou jigs in 1/16th - 1/100 in size; in Zone 3 use nightcrawlers, corn, Power Bait paste and nuggets.  (Report made on 6/28/2012)

MDC issues immediate FIRE BAN on all conservation areas


Extreme dry conditions increase threat of wildfire so prevention is critical. JEFFERSON CITY Mo – Effective immediately, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) has issued a FIRE BAN on all conservation areas. The fire ban includes prohibiting campfires and other open fires, including charcoal grills. The fire ban does permit the use of contained camp stoves and charcoal cooking fires in concrete or metal fire rings. The use of firewood in cooking fires is prohibited under the fire ban.
 The use of fireworks is already prohibited on conservation areas under the Wildlife Code of Missouri. “The fire ban is an effort to prevent wildfires under these extreme dry conditions,” said MDC Wildland Fire Supervisor Ben Webster. “The fire ban on all conservation areas will stay in effect until weather conditions change and we get significant rain.” The U.S Forest Service and numerous counties and communities have also issued fire bans. 
 
Webster also urges people to use caution when driving off road.

Wildfires can start when fine, dry fuel, such as grass, comes in contact with catalytic converters on motor vehicles,” he explained.  “Think twice before driving into and across a grassy field. Never park over tall, dry grass or piles of leaves that can touch the underside of a vehicle. When driving vehicles off road, regularly inspect the undercarriage to ensure that fuel and brake lines are intact and no oil leaks are apparent. Always carry an approved fire extinguisher on vehicles that are used off road. Check for the presence of spark arresters on ATV exhausts.”

He urges smokers to practice extra caution. “Extinguish cigarettes completely and safely,” he said. “And dispose of butts responsibly.”

Webster added that people should call 911 at the first sign of any fire getting out of control, and should call Operation Forest Arson at 800-392-1111 if they see or suspect possible arson. Callers will remain anonymous and rewards are possible.

Friday, June 29, 2012

The Return of the Pink Mucket: Endangered Mussels Released in Lower Osage River


Photo credit: Scott Faiman, Missouri Dept. of Conservation
Photo credit: Scott Faiman, Missouri Dept. of Conservation
Conservation partners including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Missouri Department of Conservation, Kansas City Zoo and Missouri State University have released about 3,000 pink muckets, an endangered species of freshwater mussels, into the Lower Osage River in central Missouri.
The release is part of a larger effort to conserve and restore resources in the Lower Osage River that have been affected by the operation of Bagnell Dam, near Lake of the Ozarks. 
"This release is important because it augments a small, existing wild population of pink muckets in the Lower Osage River," said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Bryan Simmons. "We know there is suitable habitat here, and we’re hopeful these released mussels will become established and thrive."
A 2005 agreement for the Bagnell Dam calls for a variety of conservation measures to improve aquatic habitat, protect and enhance aquatic resources, and reduce adverse effects of dam operation on the federally endangered pink mucket and scaleshell mussels in the lower Osage River. The measures were incorporated in the 2007 relicensing of Bagnell Dam by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The environmental conservation program is funded annually by Ameren Missouri and was initiated in 2008.
Simmons said the partners have been highly successful raising pink muckets at facilities at Missouri State University and the Kansas City Zoo. In addition to today’s release, almost 3,000 pink muckets were released last fall, each tagged so that biologists can track their progress. Additional releases are scheduled for fall of 2012.
Freshwater mussels are among the country's most imperiled native species. Mussels have complicated life cycles and depend on specific fish species to act as hosts for their larvae as they develop into juvenile mussels. Changes in water flow, water temperature, increased sedimentation and other impacts from operation of hydropower facilities like Bagnell Dam can lead to declines in mussel populations.
"If mussels are declining, it means there are problems," Simmons said. "The measures we are taking below Bagnell Dam will ensure the future of these mussels and the health of the Lower Osage River."
For more information on endangered mussels and the conservation measures on the Lower Osage River, go to  http://www.fws.gov/midwest/endangered

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Be careful with fireworks to prevent wildfires

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) reminds people to be extremely careful with fireworks during this time of very dry conditions and lack of rain. MDC also urges campers and others in the outdoors to follow the precautions below to protect lives, property and Missouri’s precious forests, fish and wildlife.

Fireworks
Do not light fireworks in any areas where the sparks could ignite dry grass, leaves or other potential fire fuel. Always have an approved fire extinguisher and/or an available water supply to douse sparks or flames. Also wet the area around where fireworks are being discharged. Check with local ordinances and authorities for bans on fireworks and open burning.

Outdoor Burning 
Dry fuel combined with high temperatures, low humidity and wind make fire nearly impossible to control. Check with local fire departments regarding burn bans that may be in place. A person who starts a fire for any reason is responsible for any damage it may cause. For more information on using prescribed fire as a land-management tool, visit mdc.mo.gov and search “Prescribed Fire.”

Driving Off Road
Wildfires can start when fine, dry fuel, such as grass, comes in contact with catalytic converters.
·        Think twice before driving into and across a grassy field.
·        Never park over tall, dry grass or piles of leaves that can touch the underside of a vehicle.
·        When driving vehicles off road, regularly inspect the undercarriage to ensure that fuel and brake lines are intact and no oil leaks are apparent.
·        Always carry an approved fire extinguisher on vehicles that are used off road.
·        Check for the presence of spark arresters on ATV exhausts.

Making a Campfire
·        Clear a generous zone around fire rings. When humidity is low and wind is high, debris can become tinder for a stray spark or ember.
·        Store unused firewood a good distance from the fire.
·        Never use gasoline, kerosene or other flammable liquid to start a fire.
·        Keep campfires small and controllable.
·        Keep fire-extinguishing materials, such as a rake, shovel and bucket of water, close by.

Never Leave a Campfire Unattended!
·        Extinguish campfires each night and before leaving camp (even if it's just for a few moments).

Smokers: Practice Extra Caution
·        Extinguish cigarettes completely and safely and dispose of butts responsibly by burning them in a controlled campfire or packing them out.

Don't Delay Call for Help!
·        Call 911 at the first sign of a fire getting out of control.

Report Forest Arson
Many wildfires are set by vandals. Help stop arson by calling 800-392-1111. Callers will remain anonymous and rewards are possible.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Managed deer hunt applications open July 1, close Aug. 15

Find hunt dates, locations and other details at mdc.mo.gov/node/8712 starting July 1.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri deer hunters can apply online for managed deer hunts beginning July 1. More than 6,000 hunters will have a chance to participate in 99 managed hunts from mid-September through January.

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) holds an electronic drawing to determine who gets to participate in special managed deer hunts at conservation areas, state parks, national wildlife refuges and urban parks. The hunts are open to Missouri residents and nonresidents and help achieve MDC’s deer-management goals for the state while also providing additional hunting opportunities. Types of hunts include archery, crossbow, muzzleloader, historic methods and modern firearms – plus youth hunts and hunts for persons with disabilities.

Hunt dates, locations and other details will be listed on the managed hunt application page on the MDC website starting July 1 at mdc.mo.gov/node/8712. Details about managed hunts also are available in the 2012 Fall Deer and Turkey Hunting Regulations & Information booklet, available at MDC offices, on the MDC website and from permit vendors around the state.

Hunters may apply individually or as groups of up to six, except for youth hunts. Youths 11 years of age or older may apply singly or with one other youth and must be accompanied on the hunt by a qualified adult. Applicants need a nine-digit Conservation ID number for each hunter to complete the application process. To get a Conservation ID number, call 573-751-4115.

MDC will post drawing results at the same website address from Sept. 14 to Dec. 31. Successful applicants will receive area maps and other information regarding their hunts in the mail.

Resident or nonresident managed deer hunting permits are required to participate in managed hunts. These permits will be available to successful applicants after Sept. 14 from any permit vendor statewide.

MDC implemented a weighted preference point system in 2007 to give unsuccessful applicants for managed deer hunts an advantage in future drawings. Hunters who apply for the first time or who were drawn for hunts the previous year are statistically less likely to be drawn than those who entered but were not drawn in previous years.

Elk and Opportunity in Carter and Shannon Counties


I am a little late updating the current status of the Peck Ranch restoration effort in Missouri, but I kind of wanted to see how things were settling out with the newest group of elk that had been brought over from Kentucky, and also to see how things shook out after the MDC had to put down one of the elk that had wandered quite a ways out of the elk restoration zone.

First, the good news. Additional elk have been added to the herd at Peck Ranch and are doing quite well. These majestic creatures that once thrived in Missouri, even at times and in certain locales outnumbering bison, are being given another chance.  Of course these are not the descendants of the same elk that graced the land, but it seems right and fitting that they take their place once again where their species once roamed.

There has been a certain reluctance by some who inhabit the region to be accepting of the return of elk to their area.  It is akin to a population that many generations ago drove out another group of people, and though now their consciences convict them that they should make room for those displaced, realize that there may be some cost to obeying their conscience. Similar stories are repeated where bear, wolves, mountain lions, and other native species are re-introduced.

The analogy related above only serves to illustrate this scenario partially.  First, elk are not people.  It could be argued that, since most believe the needs of humanity are elevated above those of the animal world, we have less responsibility to allow them where they may not be welcomed by some.  The other side of the coin is that animals have less capacity to relocate as they have no capacity to modify the environment in which they dwell.  Humans can go anywhere today and exist at some level via technology and human ingenuity. But what is missed by either of these two arguments is the incredible value the re-introduction of these animals brings to the people of the region and to us all.

The folks that live down in the Ozarks have an aversion to government interfering in their lives, or so they say.  It should be noted that a huge percentage of people in the area around Peck Ranch derive their income, either directly or indirectly, from the government they criticize. The per capita expenditure by the federal government alone in Carter County, where most of Peck is located, was in 2004 approximately $7500 per year, totaling nearly $48 million.  In 2005, 20% of the employed population was in fact employed by a government entity.  Given that the average income of employed residents of Carter County was about $32,000, the $7500 per capita expenditure (again, federal government alone), represents a meaningful portion of the cash flow of the county.  In other words, were the area residents to get what they profess to want, they would be plunged into a state of abject poverty.  In fact, as the Missouri Department of Conservation began to explore reintroducing elk to Peck, local residents were immediately involved in the process.  

Public forums were held throughout the counties to be impacted and the concerns of area residents were taken into account.  Landowners were assured that wandering elk would be relocated if they were not desired on their land.  Stipulations were put into place so that if elk wandered from the 220,000 acre restoration zone, the elk would be removed.  Application of this rule, in fact, resulted recently in the unfortunate end of one of the elk originally brought to Peck.

The elk of Peck have occasionally strayed outside their restoration zone briefly.  Last month a resident of Ripley County, south of Carter and Shannon Counties, reported an elk that had wandered almost to the Arkansas border.  The MDC made every effort to tranquilize the animal for transport back to Peck, and when this failed the animal was shot.  Ironically, there was criticism of the MDC's decision to kill this elk in adherence to the plan area residents had insisted upon. The MDC undoubtedly was sensitive to the thought that they must demonstrate to area residents that they would adhere to the plan agreed to when they chose to put this animal down.  

As this example shows, the MDC has and will continue to assure area residents that the elk will not be allowed to spread beyond the restoration zone, or to impact crops in the region.  The MDC did a marvelous job of showing statistical evidence that elk were far less likely to be involved in collisions with traffic than deer - this was another stated concern of area residents. Finally, the MDC has gone way out of its way to address the concerns of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), and continues to monitor for it.  This concern, in fact delayed the elk program for several years.  So, in the mind of this author, the important concerns of the area residents have in fact been adequately addressed.

What seems to be missing from the region in a broad sense, is a strategy for capturing the benefits of the inflow of visitors to the region.  Whether these visitors are Current River, Jacks Fork, or Eleven Point River floaters; whether they are the throngs of hunters that arrive in the Fall; or the many fishermen who utilize the beautiful spring-fed waters of the region, too many dollars are missed out on by the region's inhabitants.  The elk restoration project represents one more jewel to place in the crown of this region.  

For those who have not witnessed the beauty of an elk in the wild or heard its bugle from afar, it is hard to describe the majesty of these creatures.  Area residents, as Peck begins to welcome visitors after the elk have made their transition, should make every effort to make a trek on the nice roads through the fenced portion of the refuge.  The chance for the sighting of one of these beautiful animals, or a resident black bear, or even the many deer that inhabit the area, is well worth the effort of going.  Moreover, instead of resisting the relocation effort, I cannot for the life of me understand why towns like Eminence and Van Buren are not wrestling over the title of "The Elk Capitol of Missouri".  Why were there not signs placed on every highway entering Shannon and Carter Counties with murals depicting the opportunities for fishing, hunting, wildlife viewing and the bear, deer, trout, smallmouth bass, and now elk that, along with the charm of the Ozark hills make this region so nearly perfect?  

Peck Ranch and the Ozarks have represented a meaningful part of the life of the author of this blog and his two sons as they grew from little boys to men.  We treasure memories like hunting and fishing trips, the swimming in Rocky Falls plunge pool, and the awakening to the midnight howls of coyotes as we camped in our one man tents nestled under the mature pine grove of rustic Peck Ranch campground.  It brings me a feeling of contentment to understand that a dad trying to raise his sons or daughters in tune with the outdoors of Missouri, can now add to the symphony of coyotes, the bugle of an elk.