Friday, February 28, 2014

Renew hunting, fishing permits for your passport to outdoor adventures

March 1 marks the start of a new permit year.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Many hunting and fishing permits expire at the end of February,
including 2013 permits for small game, fishing, trout fishing and combination hunting and fishing permits. The Missouri Department of Conservation reminds hunters and anglers that now is the time to renew permits for 2014.
Buying permits is easy, with three options. First is the traditional method of purchasing from a local permit vendor, such as a sporting goods or convenience store or bait shop.
The second option is visiting mdc.mo.gov and clicking on “Buy Permits.” This e-Permits option lets hunters, trappers and anglers buy permits at home or on any computer and print them immediately. Sport-fishing and hunting permits are available through e-Permits, along with trapping permits and the Apprentice Hunter Authorization.
Advantages to e-Permits include the ability to save them on a computer, smart phone, or removable memory device so you can print replacements if permits are lost or destroyed. Permits may not be shared, and additional copies of a permit do not provide additional valid permits for the buyer or others to use.
The third option is purchasing by toll-free phone call to 800-392-4115. Be sure to allow up to 10 days for mail delivery with this option.
Commercial permits and lifetime permits can be purchased only through MDC’s Central Office by calling573-751-4115.
Low permit cost for world-class outdoor opportunities is one reason why Missouri is a great place to hunt and fish. In comparison, Missouri residents pay $12 for an annual fishing permit, while residents in the eight neighboring states pay an average of $20 for the same privileges. Missouri’s $17 Resident Any-Deer Permit also is a bargain compared to the average of $46 for equivalent privileges in surrounding states.
LIFETIME OPTION
Resident Lifetime Small Game Hunting, Fishing, or Resident Lifetime Conservation Partner permits offer the ultimate in permit-buying value and convenience. A one-time purchase provides the same privileges as annual resident fishing, trout, small-game hunting, migratory bird hunting and conservation order permits for the buyer’s life.
The cost of these permits is on a sliding scale based on the buyer’s age. The cost drops dramatically for buyers age 60 to 65, when lifetime hunting or fishing permits cost only $35. At age 60, you can get a Lifetime Conservation Partner Permit for $70.  Those same privileges would cost much more if you bought the corresponding annual permits from age 60 through 65. After age 65 Missouri resident hunters and anglers become exempt from some permit requirements.
Lifetime permit buyers get durable plastic cards, like credit cards, to carry in the field. They also receive mail updates about regulation changes and other information that most outdoors people pick up when they visit permit vendors annually.
Information about lifetime permits is printed in MDC’s annual hunting and fishing regulation summaries, which are available wherever permits are sold. The same information is available atmdc.mo.gov/node/9205. You can print the online application or call 573-522-4115, ext. 3574 to apply.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

MDC Xplor magazine receives Parents’ Choice “seal of approval”

To subscribe to Xplor magazine and to Xplor more online, visit www.xplormo.org, or subscribe by calling MDC at 573-522-4115, ext. 3856 or ext. 3249.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation’s Xplor kids’ magazine recently received a national “seal of approval” from the Parents’ Choice Foundation for the publication’s quality and content.
Focusing on ages 7-12 years, Xplor helps kids discover nature through eye-popping art, photos, and stories about Missouri’s coolest critters, niftiest natural places, liveliest outdoor activities, and people who make a living in the wild. Produced six times a year, Xplor is free to Missouri households with out-of-state subscriptions only $5 per year and out-of-country subscriptions only $8 per year.
Established in 1978, Parents’ Choice Foundation is the nation’s oldest nonprofit consumer guide to quality children’s media. Parents’ Choice serves as a trusted and independent source for educators and librarians, journalists, as well as families searching for quality children’s media and toys.
Parents' Choice “approved” seals are given on the basis of the production, entertainment, and human values the products exemplify. A Parents' Choice “approved” seal indicates a wholesome product that helps children enjoy developing physical, emotional, social or academic skills. Only about 20 percent of items submitted to the Parents’ Choice Awards™ program receive any level of commendation. 
According to the Parents’ Choice review of Xplor, “This pamphlet-thin (18 pages) bi-monthly nature magazine produced by the Missouri Department of Conservation is a nice little glimpse into wildlife topics relevant to Missouri. While Xplor pages are high-gloss paper, the design and writing is all short takes about everything from how to make a birdseed wreath and how to build a worm hotel to how to plant a tree and how to take care of turtles. There are regular departments, such as ‘Strange But True’ (wow-factor critter tales such as meadow-jumping mice and Hercules beetles) and ‘Wild Jobs’ (people whose work life connects with nature). And always, sweet photos of animals. For Missouri residents (past and present) or for those planning a visit, the subscription price can't be beat.”
According to Xplor Editor Matt Seek, "It’s a huge honor to win a national award from such a well-regarded foundation and we’re thrilled. The award also reflects how much fun our team of writers, illustrators, photographers, and designers have making a magazine that inspires kids to discover nature."
To subscribe to Xplor magazine and to "Xplor" more online, visit www.xplormo.org, or subscribe by calling MDC at 573-522-4115, ext. 3856 or ext. 3249.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Learn about prairie wildlife at Prairie State Park Bison Hike on March 1

English: Bison bison. Original caption: "...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Visitors are invited to join a park naturalist at Prairie State Park in Mindenmines on a guided bison hike. Sponsored by Missouri State Parks, the hike will take place on Saturday, March 1 at 10 a.m.
With spring around the corner, participants will explore the prairie while learning about bison. Hikers should be prepared for a two mile hike over uneven terrain and are encouraged to dress for the weather and wear sturdy shoes. Hikers may want to bring water, snacks, insect repellent, a hat and sunscreen. Binoculars may also be useful for looking at bison and other wildlife that inhabit the prairie.

Prairie State Park is located at 128 NW 150th Lane in Mindenmines. For more information about the event, contact the park at 417-843-6711. For information about state parks and historic sites, visit mostateparks.comMissouri State Parks is a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Missouri Law Enforcement Officer Earns NWTF National Award

Congratulations to MDC Grundy County Agent Jeff Berti on being named NWTF 2013 National Law Enforcement Officer of the Year and Missouri State Law Enforcement Officer of the Year.
From the National Wild Turkey Federation:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The NWTF named Conservation Agent Jeff Berti of Trenton, Mo., the 2013 National Law Enforcement Officer of the Year at the 38th annual NWTF Convention and Sport Show. Midway USA was the official show sponsor.
Berti, a 20-year veteran of the Missouri Department of Conservation who has served 19 years in Grundy County, also won the NWTF's Missouri State Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award.
In 2013, Berti documented 248 resource violations, made more than 112 arrests, and 31 assisted arrests. His efforts resulted in the detection of 42 violations and 30 arrests for
illegally killing wild turkeys in a single five-month period.
Berti, who was in Nashville for the ceremony, had no previous knowledge he had won.
"I'm most proud of being able to hunt with my dad and will take my daughters hunting soon," said Berti, who was stunned to learn he'd won a national award. "I became a wildlife officer because I grew up hunting and fishing. As hunters, we all must work together to save wildlife habitat. Otherwise, our way of life will disappear."
The NWTF determined this year's award winners based on how their work strengthens the organization's new Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. Initiative.
"Agent Berti is an outstanding example of someone who recognizes the importance of conserving wildlife and habitat, and preserving our hunting heritage," said George Thornton, NWTF CEO. "His dedication to upholding game laws and reaching potential hunters is impressive. We commend his service, and are proud to honor him with this award."
Berti's dedication extends beyond his duties as a conservation agent. He's also an NWTF volunteer who played an instrumental part in forming the local NWTF Green Hills Chapter in 1999. Since then, Berti has served as chapter president and banquet chairman, and is currently treasurer. He helped initiate the local chapter's first JAKES, Women in the Outdoors and Wheelin' Sportsmen outreach events, and has assisted with each event since then.
Berti is actively involved in educating youth in outdoor pursuits. He works with The National FFA organization, and is a hunter education and National Archery in the Schools Program instructor. He's also beloved by local children for capturing a stray bat at their school, offering an impromptu program about the animals, and then safely releasing the bat.
Timothy Brooks, president of the NWTF George Clark Missouri State Chapter, nominated Berti for the NWTF national award. Brooks cited efficiency, professionalism, thoroughness and lack of prejudice among Berti's strengths. He is well-known and esteemed throughout the community he serves for his exceptional rapport with other conservation agencies and for maintaining a respectful attitude, even when issuing citations or making arrests.
The NWTF's Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. Initiative is a charge that mobilizes science, fundraising and devoted volunteers to give the NWTF more energy and purpose than ever. Through this national initiative, NWTF has committed to raising $1.2 billion to conserve and enhance more than 4 million acres of essential upland wildlife habitat, create at least 1.5 million new hunters and open access to 500,000 new acres for hunting, shooting and outdoor enjoyment. Without hunters, there will be no wildlife or habitat. The NWTF is determined to Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt.
For more information about the National Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award or other convention highlights, contact Melanie Swearingen at mswearingen@nwtf.net or (803) 637-7634.

Monday, February 24, 2014

More than 10,000 anglers expected at March 1 trout-park opener

30,000 trout will await their casts.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missourians who have been snowed in too often this winter can March 1 at the Show-Me State’s four trout parks.
shrug off winter’s icy shackles
Saturday, March 1, marks the opening of catch-and-keep trout fishing at Bennett Spring State Park (SP) near Lebanon, Montauk SP near Licking, Roaring River SP near Cassville, and Maramec Spring Park near St. James. That day, in the gray light of dawn, thousands of people clad in down jackets and chest waders will find their spots along the parks’ spring-fed streams, ready to tempt rainbow trout with everything from dry flies to dough bait.
Opening-day weather often is cold and sometimes wet, but it never dampens the spirits of anglers who think nothing of standing up to their bellybuttons in chilly water. No doubt they are warmed by the knowledge that more than 30,000 trout, averaging around 12 inches, are stocked for opening day, with a few hundred “lunkers,” ranging from three to 10 pounds, thrown in for good measure.
Another influence on opening-day attendance is the day of the week March 1 falls on. Weekends draw crowds that can top 10,000. 
The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) operates hatcheries at all four trout parks. To predict turnout on a particular day, MDC hatchery managers rely on records going back more than 70 years. Montauk Hatchery Manager Tom Whelan and Bennett Spring Hatchery Manager Mike Mitchell both are expecting approximately 3,000 anglers and plan to stock 9,000 trout at each park for opening day. Paul Spurgeon, who manages the hatchery at Roaring River, says he expects approximately 2,600 anglers on opening day and will stock 8,000 trout for the event. At Maramec Spring Park, hatchery manager Wesley Swee is planning for 2,000 anglers on March 1 and will stock 6,000 trout.
Gov. Jeremiah “Jay” Nixon and Conservation Department Director Robert L. Ziehmer are expected to attend the opener at Bennett Spring SP.
Three of Missouri’s trout parks – Bennett Spring, Montauk, and Roaring River– are owned by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Maramec Spring Park is owned by the James Foundation. Call the following numbers for more information about trout-park fishing.
Anglers need a daily trout tag to fish in Missouri’s trout parks. Missouri residents 16 through 64 need a fishing permit in addition to the daily tag. Nonresidents 16 and older also need a fishing permit.
For more about opening day at Missouri's trout parks, check out the photo feature article atwww.mdc.mo.gov/node/20893.
Trout hatcheries are just one way that conservation pays in Missouri. The Conservation Department stocks more than 800,000 trout annually at the state’s four trout parks and approximately 1.5 million annually statewide. A survey conducted in 2011 showed that trout anglers’ expenditures that year totaled almost $105 million. These expenditures generated more than $187 million in business activity, supporting more than 2,300 jobs and creating more than $73 million dollars in wages. Thirty percent of Missouri’s trout anglers come from other states, so a substantial portion of trout fishing expenditures is “new money” for the state’s economy.
REMINDER TO ANGLERS: To prevent the spread of didymo, an invasive alga, the use of shoes, boots or waders with porous soles of felt, matted or woven fibrous material is prohibited at all trout parks, trout streams, Lake Taneycomo, and buffer areas.

Learn about Bannerstones and Atlatl Weights at Van Meter State Park March 2

English: Van Meter State Park in Missouri
English: Van Meter State Park in Missouri (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The public is invited to Van Meter State Park near Miami, to attend a lecture by Tom Hartline on bannerstones and atlatl weights. Sponsored by Missouri State Parks, the lecture will be presented at the Missouri's American Indian Cultural Center at 1 p.m. on Sunday, March 2.

Tom Hartline, President of the Sedalia-West Central Chapter of the Missouri Archaeological Society, will discuss the bannerstone, a tool that has intrigued collectors and archeologists for many years. He will discuss his theories of how the bannerstone was used with the atlatl, a hunting tool that was used for thousands of years before the bow and arrow. Mr. Hartline will be available after the lecture to identify artifacts for those attending.

Entrance to the cultural center is free and open to the public. Missouri's American Indian Cultural Center is open from10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays from October through March.

Van Meter State Park is located 12 miles northwest of Marshall on Highway 122. For more information about the event, contact the park at 660-886-7537For information about state parks and historic sites, visitmostateparks.com. Missouri State Parks is a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.