Sunday, September 28, 2014

MDC Director Among National Blue Ribbon Panelists Named to Help Develop a 21st Century Model for Sustaining America’s Fish and Wildlife Resources

Missouri Department of Conservation Director Bob Ziehmer among top executives from the outdoor recreation, energy, agricultural, automotive, financial, educational and conservation
sectors accepting challenge of finding funding solutions to prevent Endangered Species listings.
WASHINGTON, DC (September 22, 2014)  — Johnny Morris, founder and CEO of Bass Pro Shops®, and former Wyoming governor, Dave Freudenthal, today named 20 members of the national Blue Ribbon Panel on Sustaining America’s Diverse Fish and Wildlife Resources to advance solutions for funding a 21st century model of conservation. The Blue Ribbon Panel co-chairs, Morris and Freudenthal, made their announcement during a keynote address at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies in St. Louis, Missouri.
The Blue Ribbon Panelists represent the outdoor recreation retail and manufacturing sector, the energy and automotive industries, private landowners, educational institutions, conservation organizations, sportsmen’s groups and state fish and wildlife agencies. The Panelists will work together over the course of a year to produce recommendations and policy options on the most sustainable and equitable model to fund conservation of the full array of fish and wildlife species.
The Blue Ribbon Panelists on Sustaining America’s Diverse Fish and Wildlife Resources:
Kevin Butt–General Manager and Chief Environmental Officer, Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America, Inc. and Board Member, Wildlife Habitat Council
John Doerr–President and CEO, Pure Fishing, Inc. and Board Member, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation
Jim Faulstich–Owner, Daybreak Ranch and Vice Chairman, Partners for Conservation
John Fitzpatrick–Director, Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Co-inventor, eBird
Gregg Hill–President and CEO of Exploration and Production, Hess Corporation
Rebecca Humphries–Chief Conservation Officer, National Wild Turkey Federation
Dr. Stephen Kellert–Professor Emeritus of Social Ecology and Senior Research Scholar, Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and Board Member, Bio-Logical Capital; Founding Partner, Environmental Capital Partners
Jennifer Mull–Chief Executive Officer, Backwoods Equipment, Inc. and Board Chair of the Outdoor Industry Association
John W. Newman–CFO and Treasurer, LLOG Exploration Company, LLC and Board Chairman, Ducks Unlimited
Margaret O’Gorman–President, Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC) and Board Member, Stewardship Action Council
Glenn Olson–Donal O’Brien Chair in Bird Conservation and Public Policy, National Audubon Society (NAS) and Member, North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) Council and the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act Advisory Council 
Collin O’Mara–President and CEO, National Wildlife Federation
Connie Parker–CEO and Founder, CSPARKERGROUP and Board Member, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and the Wildlife Foundation of Florida
Charlie Potter–CEO, Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation and Founder and Chairman, Great Outdoors, LLC
Lynn Scarlett–Managing Director, Public Policy, The Nature Conservancy
John Tomke–President, Ducks Unlimited de Mexico and Chair, Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council
Dr. James Walker–Vice Chairman of the Board, EDF Renewable Energy and Board Member, American Wind Energy Association
Dr. Steve Williams–President, Wildlife Management Institute (WMI) and Board President, National Conservation Leadership Institute; Board Member, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
Bob Ziehmer–Director, Missouri Department of Conservation
“Conservation means balancing the sustainability of fish and wildlife with the many needs of humans for clean air and water; land; food and fiber; dependable energy; economic development and recreation,” said Morris. “By assembling this Panel of highly regarded leaders and problem solvers, we will find a way forward that safeguards not only vital natural resources, but also our nation’s economic prosperity and outdoor heritage.”
“With fish and wildlife species and natural resource-based enterprise at stake, we can’t afford an ‘us vs. them’ mentality,” said Freudenthal. “It is time to create certainty for both industry and the conservation community by building a 21st century funding model.”
State hunting and fishing license dollars, federal excise taxes on hunting and fishing gear and motorboat fuel taxes have provided the backbone for funding states’ fish and wildlife conservation programs over the past century. However, there has always been a significant gap in dedicated funding for conserving the 95 percent of all species that are neither hunted nor fished.
Only partially filling that gap is the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program, the sole federal source of funding to state agencies to prevent new endangered species listings. Since 2010, the program’s funding has been cut by more than 35 percent while petitions for federal endangered species listing has skyrocketed by 1,000 percent.
“Dedicated funding allowing for the management of all fish and wildlife, whether game or non-game species, is essential for this nation,” said Bob Ziehmer, Missouri Department of Conservation director and representative for state fish and wildlife agencies on the Blue Ribbon Panel. “Many species are declining in abundance and will continue to do so if we don’t work toward establishing a sustainable funding source for our nation now and into the future.”
The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies began its quest to secure sustained funding for fish and wildlife diversity conservation in the early 1990s. The launch of the Teaming With Wildlife coalition, which now includes nearly 6,400 organizations, was a critical step in demonstrating broad and diverse support for dedicated fish and wildlife funding.
The co-chairs expect to add approximately three more individuals and four Ex Officio participants to the Panel before it convenes its first meeting in early 2015.
To learn more about AFWA’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Sustaining America’s Fish and Wildlife Resources, go to
# # #
The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies—the organization that represents North America’s fish and wildlife agencies—promotes sound resource management and conservation, and speaks on important fish and wildlife issues. Found on the web at, on Facebook /AssociationofFishandWildlifeAgencies and on Twitter @fishwildlife

Saturday, September 27, 2014

MDC recognizes Wayne County man as Southeast Region Logger of the Year

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) announces Jeff Skaggs, owner of Skaggs Logging in Wayne County, as the 2014 Southeast Region Logger of the Year.
Skaggs is certified as a Professional Timber Harvester and a Missouri Master Logger. According to Regional Forestry Supervisor Joe Garvey, Skaggs' nomination is due to his professionalism and high quality results in the logging woods.
"The quality of Jeff’s logging jobs that I have observed have always reflected positively on Missouri’s Master Logger program," said Garvey.
Skaggs' work on a timber harvest at Flatwoods Conservation Area (CA) in Wayne County was exceptional, according to Garvey. Residual damage levels were low and the water bars that were built for erosion mitigation were well constructed. Skaggs maintained a clean logging site free of litter.
"His work presented a good image of the logging industry and the Conservation Department’s forest management practices," said Garvey.
Skaggs recognizes that it takes teamwork to get the job done. Skaggs’ crew includes Randy Carter, Josh Mullins and Jeff’s father, Curt Skaggs. Skaggs and his crew work with private landowners to recommend trees that can be harvested and trees that should be left. They work to ensure residual damage levels are low and to reduce skid trails on the harvest site.
"We are fortunate to work in an area with a healthy forest products industry and numerous loggers and wood processing mills. The timber harvests conducted by Skaggs represent some of the best quality jobs in this area," Garvey said.
According to Jason Jensen, MDC’s forestry field programs supervisor, regional logger awards are given to the logger that demonstrates the ability to carry out a timber harvest in a manner that causes the least amount of damage to the remaining resources on-site. The purpose is to recognize the abilities of loggers who practice low impact logging and take extra time to harvest forest resources responsibly. Jensen said MDC desires to recognize loggers throughout the state that do an outstanding job in timber harvesting operations and there’s extensive criteria for the award.
Additionally, Jensen said loggers must have completed the Professional Timber Harvester’s Training Program sponsored by the Missouri Forest Products Association and the MDC.
Crader Distributing Company, headquartered in Marble Hill, Mo., the exclusive distributor of STIHL Outdoor Power Equipment in Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and Southern Illinois, sponsors the Logger Award program. STIHL has given Skaggs’ crew members a protective kit valued at $160 to commemorate the award.
For more information on forests in Missouri and forestry Best Management Practices, go online

Friday, September 26, 2014

MDC Outdoor Youth Event planned in Vernon County

Nevada, Mo.  ̶- The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and partners will host the 4th annual Outdoor Youth Event to celebrate National Hunting and Fishing Day 9 a.m. to 4
p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 27, at the Centennial Park Fairgrounds in Nevada.
   The Outdoor Youth Event is free and open to all youth ages 6 to 17. Youths 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult. Lunch and all necessary equipment for activities will be provided. This is a great opportunity for youth to connect with nature and learn outdoor skills. MDC is partnering with local chapters of the National Wild Turkey Federation, Ducks Unlimited and 4-H Shooting Sports.
    Activities will include MDC staff and volunteers teaching hunting, shooting and fishing skills. Youths will get instruction and be able to target shoot with archery gear, BB guns and shotguns. Participants will also learn about handling hunting dogs, duck and turkey calling, trapping, primitive games and deer stand safety.
   All youths will receive a free Jakes membership in the National Wild Turkey Federation and a free Green Wings membership in Ducks Unlimited. There will also be drawings for a firearm, two youth bows and a guided youth spring turkey hunt.
   For more information, contact MDC Conservation Agent Justin Fogle at 417-667-1089.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

MDC event highlights outdoor activities

ASH GROVE, Mo. – On Sept. 27, area residents of all ages will be able to find out what’s
great about the Ozarks outdoors.
People can get information on a variety of outdoor activities at the 20th annual Great Outdoors Day. This day-long event, sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), will run from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Bois D’Arc Conservation Area northwest of Springfield near Ash Grove. It is the local celebration of National Hunting and Fishing Day, a federally designated day which is the fourth Saturday of each September.
The event will include shooting (rifle, trap and skeet) and archery demonstrations at MDC’s Andy Dalton Shooting Range and Outdoors Education Center, which is on the Bois D’Arc Conservation Area. Fishing programs, including two free public fishing sessions (8:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.-3 p.m.), will be at the Bois D’Arc Conservation Area’s urban fishing pond. Anglers who to take part in the free fishing sessions need to bring their own fishing equipment and bait. At the shooting range, all firearms will be provided by Dalton Range staff. No personal firearms will be allowed. There will also be chances to learn more about forestry programs, camping, fly-tying and hiking.
For more information about Great Outdoors Day, call MDC’s Southwest Regional Office in Springfieldat 417-895-6880 or the Andy Dalton Range and Outdoors Education Center, 417-742-4361. Information about this event and others at the Dalton Range can also be found at

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Prairie Jubilee celebrates the tallgrass prairie Sept. 27

Prairie grasses
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Experience the sights and sounds of Missouri’s tallgrass prairie during the Prairie Jubilee at Prairie State Park near Mindenmines on Saturday, Sept. 27. Sponsored by Missouri State Parks, the event will be held from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. All events are free and open to the public.

Guests can spend the day enjoying family-oriented, fun and educational activities and entertainment. Visitors to the event can participate in the living history loop, which includes an Osage Indian lodge, hunters and trappers, a foam cannon, a spinning wheel, a one-tent school and games.   Entertainment during the event includes an old-time medicine show, a bison chip throwing contest and a performance of nature-themed music from WildHeart.

Guests can also see how the Battle of Island Mound was fought with viewings on the hour. Guided tours will be given throughout the day to view the bison. In addition to the activities, the park’s nature center offers many interpretive displays about the prairie, and several trails of varying length offer the chance to explore the prairie on your own.

A smoked bison lunch, provided by the Liberal FFA, Cloud’s Meats and Prairie State Park, will be available to purchase. The Liberal Area Civic Group will sell desserts and beverages. Wildflowers from the Missouri Wildflower Nursery will be available to purchase.

Guests can start the festivities early on Friday, Sept. 26 with stargazing at the park. At 7 p.m., visitors can learn about the constellations in the night sky and look for some deep space objects as well. It is suggested that guests dress for cooler evening temperatures.

Prairie State Park is located 35 miles north of Joplin near Liberal. All traffic should enter from the north. Take Highway 43 to Highway K, turn left on Highway P, then left on NW 150th Lane and continue to the park entrance. For more information, call the park directly at 417-843-6711. For information about state parks and historic sites, visit Missouri State Parks is a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Discover nature with elk driving tours

This year’s offerings include routes on Current River and Peck Ranch conservation areas.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – An additional route will make it easier than ever to see Missouri’s wild elk this year, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation.
The Conservation Department began encouraging Missourians to view elk along designated internal roads at Peck Ranch Conservation Area (CA) shortly after bringing the first wild elk to Missouri in 2011.  The self-guided driving tour has become a popular tourist attraction, especially in October, when bull elk are bugling as part of their mating ritual.
Elk are also establishing themselves on the nearby Current River CA, which is in the 346-square-mile Elk Restoration Zone in and around Peck Ranch CA. Habitat improvements have created excellent elk viewing opportunities along internal roads at Current River CA. To help visitors find elk, the Conservation Department has designated a driving tour route that follows portions of Roads No. 1, 9, and 10. Designated roads on Current River and Peck Ranch CAs are shown on maps available through the Conservation Atlas Simply enter the area name and follow the links to the area map.
“Signs mark the driving routes at both Current River and Peck Ranch,” says Elk Program Manager David Hasenbeck. “Seeing elk in the wild is an awe-inspiring experience, and we are very excited about offering this additional place where people can enjoy elk in October, when bulls are bugling and trees are blazing with fall color.”
Hasenbeck says the Conservation Department worked with local communities, landowners, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and other conservationists to relocate more than 100 wild elk from Kentucky to the restoration zone in Reynolds, Carter, and Shannon counties. The best times to see elk and other wildlife are right after sunrise and right before sunset. The tour route at Peck Ranch begins at the CA office and is marked with signs along the way. The tour route is open from sunrise to sunset daily, unless closed because of inclement weather or a managed deer hunt.
“We encourage people to take photographs from their vehicles,” says Hasenbeck, “but please do not disturb elk or other wildlife in any way. It’s also important for visitors to know that gravel roads on Peck Ranch may not be accessible to vehicles without adequate ground clearance, and some roads may be impassible at times due to high water at stream crossings.”
The elk driving tour routs at Peck Ranch CA will be closed for managed hunts Oct. 11 and 12Oct. 31 through Nov. 2Nov. 15 through 25, and Dec. 6 and 7. For more information about elk driving tours at Peck Ranch CA, call the 855-MDC-ELK (855-263-2355).  For information about the tour at Current River CA, call 573-663-7130.
Hasenbeck also suggests that visitors stop at the Twin Pines Conservation Education Center, which is 1 mile east of Winona on Route 60. Twin Pines is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday. For more information on Twin Pines, call 573-325-1381, or go online to
“The nearby communities of Eminence, Ellington, Winona, and Van Buren also offer fall events and other outdoor activities,” says Hasenbeck. “They are great places to stop for a bite to eat, a bit of shopping, an overnight stay, and other nature-related outdoor adventures.”

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Visions of the Upper Current River

MDC congratulates Strafford man on new record quillback

For more on state-record fish, visit
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) congratulates
David Weaver of Strafford on his new state-record quillback caught from Lake Taneycomo by bowfishing on Aug. 23. The 7-pound-10-ounce fish qualifies for a state record in the alternative method category.
The previous record of 6 pounds, 10 ounces was set this spring at Bull Shoals. The new state record is larger than the current world record by more than a pound, but does not qualify because world records only recognize fish taken by pole and line.
For more info on the quillback, visit
For more on state-record fish, visit the MDC website at

Friday, September 19, 2014

Celebrate National Hunting and Fishing Day with MDC

Reed Memorial Wildlife Area hosts Family Outdoors Day

Kansas City, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and Ducks Unlimited 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 27
(DU) will celebrate National Hunting and Fishing Day by hosting a Family Outdoors Day
, at the James A. Reed Memorial Wildlife Area in Lee’s Summit.

   Family Outdoors Day welcomes those experienced with rod or gun and those who would like to learn about angling and shooting sports. All activities are free. Exhibits and teaching stations will be set up throughout the area at 12405 S.E. Ranson Road.
   DU will offer free Greenwing Memberships to youngsters and teach them how to use a duck call. Visitors can explore the duck wing maze and learn about how wetlands and uplands benefit waterfowl and people.
   Visitors can shoot trap with shotguns, target shoot with air rifles or practice archery. Each shooting site will have MDC staff and volunteers to give instructions on safety and proper shooting techniques. All equipment, firearms and ammunition will be provided.
   MDC fisheries staff will give lessons on how to fish at a Reed Area lake. Staffers can also answer questions about fish populations and trends in the region’s lakes and streams.
   All ages will find activities to enjoy. Visitors can touch real animal furs and test their skills at wildlife identification.
   National Hunting and Fishing Day began in 1972. The event is dedicated to promoting conservation and the outdoor sports. MDC’s Family Outdoors Day at the Reed Area also includes sponsorship by the J.E. Fehsenfeld Family Foundation in memory of Jan M. Dillow.
   For more information call 816-622-0900. To learn about Missouri’s great fishing and hunting opportunities statewide go to

Thursday, September 18, 2014

MDC offers quail habitat field day in Livingston County

Chillicothe, Mo. – Bobwhite quail thrive when management practices provide sheltering
vegetation and food. Often those practices dovetail nicely with production agriculture. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and Quail Forever will offer a field day 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 27, on private lands in the Poosey Quail Focus Area. The field day is free. Lunch and resource materials will be provided.
   Land owners and property managers are invited to learn about habitat management that boost quail populations. Topics will include practices that provide good nesting and brood rearing cover, quail biology, cost share programs for habitat improvements and how to form landowner cooperatives to raise quail numbers within rural neighborhoods. Good quail habitat can also benefit other ground-nesting birds, too. Participants will tour private properties with habitat improvements.
   The field day will begin 10.5 miles west of Chillicothe off Missouri 190 highway. Watch for tour signs.
   Interested land managers are asked to make reservations by Sept. 19. Contact Scott Roy, MDC private lands conservationist, 660-359-5685 ext.; or contact Andrew White, Quail Forever biologist, 660-646-6220 ext.
   Missouri is a great place to enjoy wildlife and hunt game birds. MDC helps people participate in healthy conservation practices. For information on all programs,

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Youth waterfowl hunting clinic offered Oct. 11 and 25

English: crop of File:Bgforhunting.jpg Taken b...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The two-part workshop Oct. 11 and 25 is open to participants age 9 through 15. First-time participants will spend the first Saturday of the event learning about waterfowl hunting rules, safety and calling, duck identification and retrieving-dog training. They will also practice wing shooting and learn how to choose the right combination of shotgun and ammunition for ethical, effective hunting. The program will take place from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The second Saturday will be devoted to a guided waterfowl hunt. Breakfast and lunch will be provided both days, and all activities are free of charge, courtesy of Everhart’s Wilderness Lodge, members of the former West Side Missouri Waterfowl Association, Missouri Department of Conservation, Truman Lake National Wild Turkey Federation, Everhart’s Outdoor Store, Clinton Wal-Mart, and the Kansas City Chapter Safari Club International. This portion of the event will run from 6 a.m. until noon. Everhart’s Wilderness Lodge is at 651 NW Highway O, 6 miles northwest of Clinton. To reserve a place, contact Johnny or Linda Everhart at 660-885-5049.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

MDC Cape Nature Center hosts Missouri author-artist duo

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO. – The Missouri Department of Conservation Cape Girardeau Oct. 24 and Oct. 25. Glines will present from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Friday evening and O’Donnell will bring a group of artists to paint on the grounds of the Cape Nature Center Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m. 
Conservation Nature Center will host author Karen Glines and artist Billyo O’Donnell for a presentation and art demonstration 
Glines and O’Donnell collaborated to create the book, “Painting Missouri: The Counties en Plein Air,” which combines essays and paintings that display unique features of each county in Missouri.
“Their book weaves the natural story of the Missouri landscape throughout the histories and cultures of each county of our state,” said Sara Turner, manager of the Cape Nature Center. “This is representative of how conservation and nature are not only essential to each community, but often set the tone for the formation of a community through rich natural scenery and abundant wildlife.”
Glines said before she and O’Donnell worked on this book, the two worked together on “Artists Along the Katy Trail” where hundreds of artists from across the state painted outdoors with O’Donnell in 2000 and 2001.
“During that time, we realized how our similar interests coincided with the beauty within our state could be part of a book,” Glines said. “With his expertise in art and mine in writing, the end result was “Painting Missouri: The Counties en Plein Air.”
Glines said she has very specific goals for her Friday evening presentation at the Cape Nature Center.
“I hope to convey an appreciation for the diversity within our state regarding land, people, culture, and history,” she said. “While researching for seven years, I came to look upon Missouri almost as a small continent with its separate borders and regions, and immersed myself in learning about the distinctive differences.”
Turner said this perspective of Missouri is not surprising due to the ecological diversity throughout the state.
“From the plains in the north, down through the hills of the Ozarks and then the flat wetlands of the southeast, Missouri’s diversity in landscape, habitats and wildlife species is impressive,” she said.
It’s that diversity that inspired Glines’ writing throughout the project and that she hopes to convey through her presentation.
“The wildflowers, varieties of trees, and abundant waterways create a harmony that is difficult to duplicate,” Glines said. “The audience will go away with a sense of that diversity within our state along with knowing what an important part the people play in making this such a remarkable place to live. Stories upon stories helped compose the tone of the essays and also inspired the artist to choose the subjects chosen by O’Donnell.”  
Glines’ and O’Donnell’s book received the 2009 Governor’s Distinguished Literary Achievement Award by the Missouri Humanities Council.
Glines is an award-winning journalist and photojournalist who lives in Des Peres, Mo. She has taught communication classes at the university level, served as a mentor to journalism students, and served as president of both the Missouri Professional Communicators and the St. Louis Artists' Guild. Her published works have appeared locally, nationally, and internationally.
O'Donnell, lives in Eureka, Mo., and is founder of the Artists along the Katy Trail program, the precursor of Plein Air organized events across Missouri -. He is a signature member of the Plein Air Painters of America and was selected as one of America's Fifty Exceptional Plein Air Painters by the Haggin Museum in Stockton, Calif. His works are included in prestigious collections in the United States, Japan, and Europe.
The public is invited to view Glines’ presentation Friday evening and then return to the Cape Nature Center Saturday for an opportunity to watch O’Donnell and his students in action as they paint natural scenes surrounding the nature center. No registration is required. Saturday’s event is an unstructured event, where guests may view the artists’ work throughout the nature center grounds.
More information about Glines’ and O’Donnell’s work may be found online at More information on this and other programs at the Cape Nature Center may be found

Monday, September 15, 2014

Go mobile with free MDC hunting, fishing, and fall color apps

Discover nature through the Missouri Department of Conservation’s free mobile apps for Learn more and download the apps at
hunting, fishing, and fall color. Our MO Hunting, Find MO Fish, and MO Fall Colors FREE apps are availablefor both Android and Apple mobile devices through Google Play and iTunes stores.
MO Hunting lets you purchase and view hunting and fishing permits directly from a mobile device, and also view previously purchased permits. The app also lets deer and turkey hunters telecheck current harvests and review previous telecheck harvest information.
Find MO Fish shows public boat ramps and underwater fish structures in Missouri's major lakes, rivers, and streams, along with regulations for specific species and specific areas. The app also provides a handy Fish ID Guide along with annual fishing prospects and weekly fishing reports.
MO Fall Colors shows current fall-color scenes around the state and how to get there, along with weekly fall color forecasts for areas of the state from Mid-September through October. You can even add your fall-color finds and share them.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

MDC to hold cable restraint certification class

NEOSHO, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation will hold a cable restraint trapping certification class at 10:30 a.m. Sept. 20 at the Neosho National Fish Hatchery
meeting room, which is located at 520 E. Park St. in Neosho.
When used correctly, cable restraint devices can hold animals alive and allow trappers to release non-target animals unharmed. The devices can be used to take furbearers during Missouri’s furbearer trapping season (see the Wildlife Code of Missouri for details on season dates and regulations) by trappers who have successfully completed a cable restraint training course, validated by a certified instructor.
This free course will cover the basics of safely and legally utilizing cable restraints to capture furbearers. Regulations, proper set location and cable restraint construction will be discussed.
Interested individuals are asked to pre-register by contacting Missouri Department of Conservation Wildlife Management Biologist Frank Loncarich at 417-451-4158 or  

Fishing clinic reels fathers in first

KENNETT, Mo. – More than 600 people converged on Jerry P. Combs Lake near Kennett recently to participate in the 16th annual Missouri Bootheel Regional Consortium (MBRC)
Inc. Fishing Clinic, which is the largest annual fishing event in the Bootheel. The fishing clinic is a cooperative event hosted by the MBRC and the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC).
The purpose of the event, which is part of MBRC’s Fathers First Initiative, is to engage fathers and children in outdoor activities together in an environment where they can learn with equipment provided. In addition to fishing, parents and children enjoyed an archery activity led by representatives from the National Wild Turkey Federation, fish identification, boat rides and fur identification led by representatives of the Corps of Engineers. 
“We had a high turnout and the fish were biting,” said Eric Heuring, an MDC Conservation agent and MDC’s coordinator of the event. 
Heuring has coordinated MDC’s portion of the event for nine years. He said watching children experience nature, sometimes for the first time, never gets old.
“The highlight of this event is always witnessing the children have a great time catching fish, getting a bull’s-eye and going on the boat rides. For many, this was all a first time experience with these activities,” he said.
Heuring said for MDC, this event is part of a mission to help people discover nature. He said the hope is that after experiencing these outdoor activities for the first time at an event, parents and children will incorporate things like fishing, archery and general outdoor time into their regular routines.
Cynthia Dean, CEO of MBRC, said the Fatherhood First program was initiated in 1998 in order to assist fathers in maintaining positive relationships with their children and families. She said the fishing clinic helps support local interventions and services to assist fathers in overcoming barriers to responsible fatherhood.
“MBRC is committed to continuing this important community event to emphasize the importance of male involvement in the lives of their children and families,” Dean said.
Heuring agreed that seeing fathers and their children fish together at this event is representative of the rich cultural tradition of sharing the outdoors with family and friends.
“Fishing, like anything else, is only improved when enjoyed with your family,” he said.
For more information on places to fish in Missouri, use the conservation atlas at

Saturday, September 13, 2014

MDC welcomes new wildlife management biologist to southeast Missouri

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) welcomes a new wildlife management biologist, Ryan Dirnberger, to the River Hills and Crowley’s Ridge districts. Dirnberger is based out of the MDC’s Perryville Forestry Office, although his responsibilities include managing conservation areas in Cape Girardeau, Perry, Scott, Ste. Genevieve, and Stoddard counties.
Matt Bowyer, MDC wildlife regional supervisor, said Dirnberger will also be an asset to the
community as a resource to answer wildlife and habitat questions.
Dirnberger earned his B.S. Degree in Wildlife Conservation Biology from Southeast Missouri State University -.  After obtaining his degree, he worked part time for the MDC’s Fisheries and Resource Science Divisions in the southeast region before being hired as a resource science assistant in Chillicothe.
In Chillicothe, Dirnberger worked as a crew leader for large river sampling on the Missouri River, supervised staff, and assisted with public events and educational programs.  During this time, Dirnberger also produced a report on the growth of sauger that was later published in the American Journal of Fisheries Management. 
In 2010, Dirnberger transferred to the MDC’s Wildlife Division and gained experience in the management of wildlife habitats as a resource assistant at Duck Creek Conservation Area.  In the last four years, he has worked at Duck Creek carrying out numerous management practices on the wetland and upland habitats. 
Over the years, Dirnberger has worked additional assignments doing urban deer surveys, waterfowl banding, dove banding, elk trapping, quail surveys, and swamp rabbit surveys.  He has worked hard to obtain additional training in areas that add to his skill set as a manager, including certification as a Missouri Prescribed Fire Burn Boss and burn planner.  He has federal certifications as a Fire Fighter Type 2 and is chainsaw certified as a Faller Type A.  During his time at Duck Creek, Dirnberger became known for always being one of the first to volunteer to help other districts and divisions in their time of need.  He has repeatedly taken advantage of opportunities to cross train with other divisions including working with professional staff in Fisheries, Forestry, Resource Science and Private Lands Divisions. 
“This desire to grow professionally as a biologist combined with a strong work ethic, great teamwork, and a broad background of on the ground management and monitoring practices will benefit Dirnberger greatly as a wildlife management biologist,” Bowyer said.
“I am really excited to improve habitat on our conservation areas and work with landowners in the River Hills and Crowley’s Ridge districts,” Dirnberger said.
Dirnberger may be reached at the Perryville Forestry Office at 573-547-4537. He currently resides in Chaffee with his fiancĂ©e, Lora Brewer.

Missouri Lawmakers Show who they Really Work For in Governor's Override Attempt

Missouri sports men and women knew what was at stake when Missouri legislators went to Jefferson City to try to override as many of Governor Nixon's vetoes as possible.  Of the utmost interest to the sporting community was the effort to take away regulation of the captive cervid industry from the MDC and turn it over to the Ag Department. Why does it matter so much?

In the immediate term, the MDC has done a magnificent job working to eradicate CWD in Missouri.  Much of this effort centers on captive cervid operations because that is where the first cases occurred.

Clearly, the captive deer farmers did not like the regulations being placed on them and utilized the strategy that works so well with Missouri Republican legislators as of late.  They lobbied hard and got their law passed.

The Missouri Conservation Commission is the authority for the MDC, and by design is nonpartisan. Therefore, Missouri legislators have as of late tried a multitude of ways to take money and authority from the MDC. If the cervid industry had been classified as agriculture and were under the auspices of the Department of Ag, it is possible that further regulation of them would have been difficult or impossile due to the rcently passed Amendment 1.

A family member asked me the question, "Why would it really matter if agriculture regulated the deer farms?"  It's a fair question.  The answer is that having two governmental entities regulate the captive and wild deer populations makes no sense.  Also, as previously outlined, if one of those entities is overseen by legislators who are bought off by the cervid industry, it is pretty unlikely our deer popuations will remain disease free.

In the long term, letting politicians get their foot in the door on wildlife management is a worrisome proposition.  Our legislators have had their grreedy eyes on MDC's sales tax revenue and regulatory authority for some time.  Missouri has been blessed with politics free fish and wildlife management for several generations and has become the envy of sportsmen and women nationwide.

It is this way because oldtimers rolled up their sleeves years ago and got grimy politicians out of the picture,  Our fishing and hunting is seriously being imperiled as we speak.  The success of these politicians relies on their theory that because the majority of us lean conservative, we won't throw their rear ends out if they mess with our hunting and fishing.

I wrote my state "representative," Bart Korman, and told him that because of his override vote I would do all I could do to see him replaced.  I hope you do the same.

Enough is enough!

House Votes on Cervid Override

Senator Munzlinger moved that HCS for SB 506 be passed, the objections of the Governor thereto
notwithstanding, which motion received the necessary two-thirds majority by the following vote:
Brown Cunningham Curls Dempsey Dixon Emery Kehoe Kraus
Lager Lamping LeVota Libla Munzlinger Nasheed Nieves Parson
Pearce Richard Romine Sater Schaaf Schaefer Silvey Wasson—24
Holsman Justus Keaveny Schmitt Sifton Wallingford Walsh—7