Saturday, January 31, 2015

Apply for MDC spring managed turkey hunts

Online applications run through Feb. 28.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri youth, archery, and firearms turkey hunters can apply online for managed hunts during the 2015 spring turkey season beginning Jan. 9 to Feb. 28through the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) website Managed hunt details and application procedures are outlined on the webpage. Application results will be available beginning March 13.
Spring turkey hunting youth weekend will be April 11 - 12 with the regular spring season running April 20 - May 10.
Detailed information on spring turkey hunting will be available in MDC’s 2015 Spring Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet available online at in late January with printed booklets available from permit vendors and MDC offices and nature centers around the state beginning in mid-February.
Conservation makes Missouri a great place to turkey hunt. To learn more, go online

Friday, January 30, 2015

Missouri Forest Health Update: 2014 Summary

As we cope with the frigid weather at the start of the new year, here is a review of some of the major forest health events from warmer times in 2014. The December 2014 edition of ourMissouri Forest Health Update newsletter, along with previous issues, is now available at
Topics in the new issue include:
  • Emerald ash borer & its known locations in Missouri
  • Thousand cankers disease & recent survey efforts
  • An update on rapid white oak mortality research 
  • Updates on other insects & diseases
Rapid white oak mortality pocket at Huzzah Conservation Area in Crawford County, Missouri. Photo: courtesy of MDC.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Love nature? Become a Master Naturalist with MDC

Missouri Master Naturalist volunteers support conservation efforts and natural resource education in their local communities.
COLUMBIA, Mo.— Missouri Master Naturalists mix science with service. They engage Missourians in the stewardship of our state's natural resources through science-based education and volunteer community service. To get started as a volunteer, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), along with the University of Missouri (MU) Extension, will be holding Master Naturalist training sessions in Columbia and Camdenton.
MDC will offer the following Master Naturalist training in Columbia:
  • The Columbia Boone’s Lick Chapter is offering a training class beginning Mar. 3. Classes will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday’s from Mar. 3 to May 12 at the MU Family Impact Center, 105 E. Ash St., Columbia. Individuals interested in learning more about the program should attend an orientation from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 3 at the MU Family Impact Center.
  • Participants must register by Feb. 16 and the enrollment fee is $95.
MDC will offer the following Master Naturalist training in Camdenton:
  • The Lake of the Ozarks Chapter is offering a training class beginning Feb. 23. Classes will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. on Monday’s from Feb. 23 to May 18 at the MDC Camdenton office, 783 Thunder Mountain Rd., Camdenton. Individuals interested in learning more about the program should attend an orientation from 6 to 8 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 2 at the MDC Camdenton office. 
  • Participants must register by Feb. 9 and the enrollment fee is $100.
“The intent of the Master Naturalists program is to better connect people to the environment and nature,” said MDC Volunteer & Interpretive Program Coordinator Syd Hime.  “There are a lot of people with an interest in nature who are looking for opportunities to develop their skills as a naturalist and use those skills in volunteer service. We provide that through a community-based natural resource volunteer and education program.”
Master Naturalists are given special training regarding nature in the region where chapters are based. Members help out MDC and conservation partners through public events, educational demonstrations, and stewardship projects. To become a certified Master Naturalist, participants must complete an initial training course and eight hours of advanced training. They must also contribute 40 hours of natural resource-related volunteer service through a local chapter.
The Master Naturalist program is a partnership between the MDC and MU extension, and the volunteers who serve in the program.
For more information about the Columbia Boone’s Lick Chapter contact Kent Shannon, MU Extension, at or 573-445-9793; or Suzanne Wright, or 573-445-9793. For the training in Camdenton, contact Jackie Rasmussen, MU Extension, at or 573-346-2644; or Jodi Moulder, MDC private land services specialist, or 573-346-2210 ext. 233.
Information about the Master Naturalist program is available at
For information about all MDC volunteer opportunities, visit

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Women: Celebrate nature and Valentine’s Day with MDC’s rabbit hunting clinic

PUXICO, Mo. – Valentine’s Day is the perfect time for Southeast Missouri women to relax and have fun hunting rabbits, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC). MDC announces the annual Women’s Rabbit Hunting Clinic is scheduled for Feb. 14, beginning at 8 a.m., at Duck Creek Conservation Area (CA).
“This is a very hands-on course and is an environment where anyone can learn, even if they’ve never fired a gun before,” said Conservation Agent Mic Plunkett.
The clinic begins with an introduction to rabbit hunting, where the women learn rabbit species identification, hunting techniques, safety and regulations. They then learn how beagles assist in hunting rabbits before testing their shooting capabilities with expert instruction.
"We ensure each participant gets an opportunity to target shoot with one-on-one instruction before we take them to the field to hunt,” Plunkett said.
“This is an opportunity where someone who’s never hunted before, or had little opportunity to hunt, to get a hands on experience and really become comfortable with heading to the field to hunt,” Plunkett said.
After target practice and classroom instruction, the group is accompanied by guides while they try their hand at hunting rabbits. At the end of the day, there’s instruction on cleaning and cooking the harvest, before the new hunters share their stories around a dinner table.
Plunkett said those who sign up should come prepared for camaraderie, shared adventures and excitement.
"Every part of the clinic is designed to take someone through the whole experience step by step to ensure safety, a fun time and an understanding of why hunting is important,” Plunkett said.
“This rabbit hunting clinic is part of the Conservation Department’s mission to help people discover nature and improve their quality of life by spending time outdoors,” Plunkett said.
For more information and to sign up for the 2015 Women’s Rabbit Hunting Clinic, call the MDC’s Southeast Regional Office at (573) 290-5730. For more information about rabbit hunting in Missouri, go online to

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

MDC offers Basic Reloading: Metallic Cartridges classes in Mid-Missouri

The FREE classes will teach you the basics of reloading safety and techniques.
COLUMBIA, Mo. – Reloading cartridges is a great way to enjoy your firearms. Now that factory ammunition costs have risen, it may be worth the time and effort to learn how to reload your own rifle ammunition.  Join the staff of the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) to learn these skills at one of two Basic Reloading: Metallic Cartridges classes on the following dates:
  • Thursday, Feb. 5 from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. at MDC Conservation Regional office, 3500 East Gans Rd., Columbia
  • Thursday, Feb. 26 from 5 to 8 p.m. at Runge Nature Center, 330 Commerce Dr., Jefferson City
Whether you want to enjoy more time on the shooting range or develop a special load for your next hunt, this class will teach you the basics of reloading safety and techniques. Classroom lessons will be mentored by an experienced ammunition reloader. Participants will learn the basics of safety, techniques, equipment and much more. 
“Whether your goals include squeezing out additional accuracy or shooting more for less money, this class will give you the foundation needed to start making safe cartridges right away,” said MDC Outdoor Skills Specialist Brian Flowers. “Our Discover Nature programs are designed to help Missourians explore nature and master outdoor skills together.”
This program is open to adults age 18 or over. There is no cost for the program, but pre-registration is required.  All equipment is provided.
To register for either class, or for more information, contact Flowers, or 573-815-7901, ext. 3388.
The E. Sydney Stephens Central Regional Office and Conservation Research Center is conveniently located off of US Highway 63 just west of the Discovery Parkway exit on the south side of East Gans Road.
Runge Nature Center is located on Hwy 179 in Jefferson City approximately .5 mile north of Hwy 50. Building hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday with extended hours until 8 p.m. on Thursdays. The building is closed on Sunday and Monday. The outdoor trails are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
For more information about this and other Discover Nature programs, go online

Monday, January 26, 2015

MDC offers hunting-skills weekend for families

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) invites families to its first-ever Discover Nature – Families Hunting Skills Weekend workshop on March 13–15 at the Windermere Conference Center on Lake of the Ozarks. 
Families with members age six years and older who are interested in learning how to hunt with firearms and archery equipment, and in finding new ways to spend time outdoors together, will have fun learning skills they need.
The workshop will be conducted in a beautiful lakeside setting with sessions taught by professional instructors.
To qualify for the workshop, family members who are age 11 years and older must complete the first part of Missouri’s two-part hunter-education certification. This initial knowledge portion of hunter education can be completed online, through self-study with a student book, or by registering for and attending a four-hour classroom session. For details on how to complete the knowledge portion of hunter education, go online
The weekend will begin on Friday afternoon with family members having an opportunity to complete the second part of hunter education – a four-hour skills session in which students demonstrate what they have learned through the first knowledge portion.
On Saturday and Sunday, families will participate in three hands-on skills sessions: Introduction to Firearms, Beginning Archery, and Basic Hunting.
All equipment will be provided. Weekend activities will be held outdoors so participants should dress appropriately for the weather.
The workshop is free to all registered participants, but families are responsible for makingarrangements for their own lodging and meals through Windermere Conference Center. There are several options for lodging, including Lakeview Lodge, motel, family cabins, and camping. Contact Windermere at 573-346-5200 or 1-800-346-2215 for details, or go online to
To register or for more information on MDC’s Discover Nature – Families Hunting Skills Weekend, go online to

Sunday, January 25, 2015

MDC offers outdoor skills Discover Nature Girls Camp

For girls ages 11 to 15
Kansas City, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) will offer a Discover Nature Girls Camp June 16-18 at Camp Palestine near Chilhowee, Mo., in Johnson County. The camp is free, but is limited to 32 girls ages 11 to 15. The first 32 applications received by Conservation Agent Brian Bartlett will be accepted. Applications must be received by March 31.
   The three-day, two-night camp will introduce girls to outdoor skills in a supportive learning environment. Campers will spend three fun-filled days learning with a hands-on approach. MDC staff will teach skills such as archery, firearms safety and shooting, fishing, canoeing and water safety. The MDC Hunter Education class will be offered. Campers will learn all aspects of fishing such as casting, knot tying, fish identification – and they will actually go fishing. MDC will provide all necessary gear and materials.
   All teaching occurs in a group setting of peers. Classes are taught by knowledgeable instructors who make participants comfortable and learning fun. 
   To request an application form and apply for Discover Nature Girls Camp, contact Agent Bartlett at 816-835-6087, or call the MDC Kansas City Regional Office at 816-622-0900.
   For information about all MDC programs that connect people with nature, visit

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

MDC to match $1.3 million in federal dollars to help Missouri landowners with key habitat conservation

MDC anticipates matching USDA grant monies over next five years to help Missouri landowners improve wildlife habitat on grasslands, glades and woodlands.
J. R. Flores, Missouri State Conservationist
for the Natural Resources Conservation Service of the
 U.S. Department of Agriculture (left) and
Director of the Missouri Department of Conservation
Bob Ziehmer (right) sign contracts that will provide
more than one million dollars in federal funds to
MDC for habitat conservation by Missouri private landowners.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) recently announced that it will receive $1.3 million in federal grant monies from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help private landowners in Missouri improve grasslands, glades, and woodlands on their properties for both wildlife habitat and agriculture production. As the Conservation Commission approves annual expenditure plans, MDC plans to match the federal grant monies over the next five years through its existing Private Lands Services program.
The $1.3 million in federal dollars was provided through the USDA’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). The purpose of the RCPP is to further the conservation, restoration, and sustainable use of soil, water, wildlife, and related natural resources by providing cost-share and incentives to private landowners.
“The Missouri Department of Conservation has a proven track record of successfully implementing USDA conservation programs and we have brought millions in federal cost-share dollars to Missouri landowners,” said MDC Private Land Services Division Chief Bill White. “Our partnership with the USDA is a national model.”
MDC’s Private Land Services staff provides expert advice and assistance to more than 29,000 private landowners in Missouri each year to help integrate forest, fish and wildlife management with agriculture production to help landowners reach their land management goals. These services often include financial assistance through cost-share grant mo
nies from the Department and other sources.
White explained that the cost-share grant monies will be dedicated to enhancing grasslands in northern and western Missouri for both livestock grazing and wildlife, such as quail, and will include MDC Quail Focus Areas and grassland Conservation Opportunity Areas. The funds will also be focused on restoring glade and woodland habitats in the Ozarks of southeastern Missouri through cost-share funds and incentives for forest landowners.
“Quality of the land for both livestock and wildlife is one of our main concerns, and programs such as these that help us reach our goals are greatly appreciated,” said Dennis Puppe, president of the Harrison County Cattleman’s Association.
“We endorse the RCPP for glades and woodlands in southeast Missouri and offer to assist the Department of Conservation with regional outreach and education to promote healthy and sustainable woodlands,” said Jim Summers, executive director of the Missouri Forest and Woodland Association.
For more information on the Department’s Private Lands Services and cost-share-grant-funding opportunities, contact an MDC Regional Office or local MDC Private Land Conservationist. Find both online at under LOCAL CONTACTS.

MDC workshop shows prescribed fire as land, wildlife management tool

Landowners can learn to use prescribed
 fire as a land management tool at a
Prescribed Fire Workshop presented by the
Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC)
 Tuesday, Feb. 10, at the MDC’s
Southeast Regional Office in Cape Girardeau.
 (MDC file photo)
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – Landowners can learn to use prescribed fire as a land management tool at a Prescribed Fire Workshop presented by the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) Tuesday, Feb. 10, at the MDC’s Southeast Regional Office in Cape Girardeau. This workshop is offered two different times to provide landowners a better opportunity to attend. The first is from 1 to 4:30 p.m. and the second is from 6 to 9:30 p.m.

Prescribed fire is an ancient technique used to manage grasslands, Conservation Reserve Program and old fields for forage production and improvement of wildlife habitat. Used first by Native Americans, the technique is now taught by the MDC across the state.

“Prescribed fire is a low-cost method for landowners to use,” said Brad Pobst, an MDC Private Lands Conservationist.

Pobst said the workshop will include classroom discussions on methods, equipment, safety, and why and when to use fire as a management tool. Emphasis will include how to conduct a safe and effective burn to control sprouts, encourage beneficial plants and create better quality quail habitat. Pobst said participation in this workshop will qualify landowners to have a prescribed burn plan prepared for their fields and use available loan equipment.

Workshop attendees are also invited to optional demonstration burns held later in the spring to demonstrate the use of tools and techniques.

To register for one of these workshops, contact the MDC’s Southeast Regional Office at (573)290-5730. For more information about prescribed fire, go online to