Friday, February 20, 2015

MDC holding meeting in Cape on proposed deer reg changes

Share comments March 10 at MDC Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center.

Cape Girardeau, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is seeking public input on proposed changes to the state's deer hunting regulations for the 2016-2017 hunting season. To help explain the proposed changes and gather public feedback, MDC will hold a public meeting on March 10 from 5 to 8 p.m. at its Cape Girardeau Nature Center, 2289 County Park Drive.
MDC also welcomes public comments online. To learn more about the proposed regulations, additional public meetings being held, MDC's deer management plan, past public comments, and to provide comment, visit the Department's website at mdc.mo.gov/node/28079. Mail comments to: Missouri Department of Conservation, Attn: Policy Coordination, P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102.
For the fall firearms deer season, MDC proposes:
  • Maintaining the current timing of the November portion but reducing the length from 11 days to nine days,
  • Expanding the late youth firearms weekend from two days to three days and having it begin the Friday after Thanksgiving instead of early January,
  • Reducing the length of the antlerless firearms portion from 12 days to three days and beginning it on the first Friday in December, and
  • Eliminating the urban zones portion.
For the fall archery deer and turkey season, MDC proposes:
  • Allowing crossbows as a legal method, and
  • Reducing the limit of antlered deer during the archery season from two to one.
MDC also proposes simplifying conservation area regulations and also wants public comment on permit fees for nonresidents regarding a possible increase, decrease, or no change in price.
The proposed regulation changes are a result of public input and MDC deer management research and practices. During the summer of 2014, MDC gathered more than 4,000 public comments on deer management and possible regulation changes through open houses, online comments, letters and emails. MDC also surveyed many deer hunters regarding potential regulation changes. MDC staff will present final regulations recommendations to the Conservation Commission in late 2015.

RATIONALE FOR REGULATION CHANGES

MDC expanded the November portion of firearms deer season to 11 days in 1995 in response to a rapidly growing deer population in many parts of the state. Deer numbers in most parts of Missouri are now at or below desired levels. According to MDC biologists, reducing the length of the November portion by two days will help increase those numbers.
The Department's reasoning for changing the timing of the late youth portion from early January to the weekend after Thanksgiving is that it should increase youth-hunter participation and success as a result of better deer activity and weather conditions. Adding the Friday after Thanksgiving will provide an additional hunting day when schools are closed.
MDC anticipates that reducing the length of the antlerless season from 12 days to three days will help increase deer numbers to more desirable levels. The antlerless portion of the firearms deer season was implemented in 1996 to increase the harvest of female deer, or does, in response to a rapidly growing deer population in many parts of the state. The deer population in most of Missouri is currently at or below desired levels.
According to MDC, eliminating the urban zones portion of the firearms season is being considered because firearms hunting in urban zones is significantly limited by city ordinances and safety concerns. As a result, this portion does not significantly lower deer numbers in areas where urban deer conflicts occur.
The department anticipates that allowing crossbows as a legal method during the archery deer and turkey season will help younger hunters enter the sport and also prolong participation for older hunters. MDC research shows that most deer hunters are in favor of allowing crossbows during the archery season and bow hunters are about equally divided on the topic.
Reducing the buck harvest during archery season from two to one per hunter will make hunters more selective and help more bucks reach older age-classes. Regulations allowing bow hunters to harvest two bucks were implemented in 1988 when there were fewer than 100,000 individuals with a permit to hunt deer during the archery season compared to more than 180,000 in 2013. Also, the harvest of bucks by bow hunters has nearly doubled from 11 percent of the total harvest in 2000 to 19 percent in 2013.
The Department anticipates that simplifying deer hunting regulations on conservation areas to archery only, archery and muzzleloader only, or archery and firearms will both increase hunter satisfaction and allow area managers to adjust regulations based on current deer numbers.
MDC permit fees for nonresident hunters are competitive with those of surrounding states and have remained the same since 2009.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

March 1 marks opener of catch-and-keep season at Missouri trout parks

MDC expects more than 10,000 anglers and will stock more than 33,000 trout on
opening day.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Sunday, March 1, marks the opening of catch-and-keep trout fishing at the Show-Me State’s four trout parks: Bennett Spring State Park near Lebanon, Montauk State Park near Licking, Roaring River State Park near Cassville, and Maramec Spring Park near St. James. Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) permit records show that weekend trout park openers can draw crowds of more than 10,000 anglers.
MDC operates trout hatcheries at all four parks. To help predict angler turnout on opening day, hatchery staff rely on permit records going back more than 70 years. Montauk, Bennett Spring, and Roaring River hatchery staff expect crowds of about 3,000 anglers at each location and Maramec Spring staff are planning for a crowd of about 2,000. Based on these predictions, hatchery staff will stock three trout per expected angler on opening day for a total of more than 33,000 fish averaging around a foot in length. The hatcheries will also stock several hundred “lunkers” ranging from three to 10 pounds.
Three of the 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. Daily trout tags can only be purchased at each of the four 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.
Trout hatcheries are just one way that conservation pays in Missouri. MDC stocks more than 800,000 trout annually at the state’s four trout parks and approximately 1.5 million annually statewide. Trout anglers’ spend more than $100 million each year in the Show-Me-State, which generates more than $180 million in business activity, supports more than 2,300 jobs and creates more than $70 million dollars in wages. About 30 percent of Missouri trout anglers come from other states, so a substantial portion of trout fishing expenditures is “new money” for the state’s economy.
For more information on trout fishing in Missouri, visit mdc.mo.gov/node/5596.
REMINDER TO TROUT ANGLERS: To prevent the spread of the invasive alga called didymo or “rock snot”, 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. Go online for more information tomdc.mo.gov/node/16930.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Coyotes: How Fast Can They Run?

Interesting video on these interesting animals. Coyotes are some of the most adaptable creatures in nature.  Even if you don't see much of them, they are likely around.  They can be a slight risk to pets, but are not to people.  Most importantly, they are an integral part of the natural world!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

MDC offers TRIM grants for community tree care

Upcoming MDC workshops can help with grant applications.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is offering Tree Resource Improvement and Maintenance (TRIM) cost-share grants to help government agencies, public schools, and not-for-profit groups with the management, improvement, and conservation of trees and forests on public land. TRIM grants are used to help fund tree inventories, removal or pruning of hazardous trees, tree planting, and the training of volunteers and city and county employees to best care for community forests.

TRIM grants are administered by MDC in cooperation with the Missouri Community Forest Council and the U.S. Forest Service. The TRIM grant program provides reimbursements of $1,000 to $25,000 to grant recipients to fund up to 60 percent of money needed for projects. Projects located in communities with The Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree City USA designation are eligible for an additional 10 percent in matching funds.

The deadline for TRIM grant applications is June 5.

Get more information on TRIM grants, including grant applications and workbooks, online at mdc.mo.gov/node/11123.

MDC OFFERS GRANT WORKSHOPS

To assist potential grant applicants, MDC will hold the following TRIM-grant workshops:

LICKING: March 9, 9 to 11 a.m., at the MDC George O. White Nursery on Shafer Road. Contact MDC Resource Forester William Travis Mills to register at william.mills@mdc.mo.gov or 417-967-3385. This workshop will include a basic information session on the Arbor Day Foundation recognition program for Tree City USA.
KIRKSVILLE: March 19, 10 a.m. to noon, at the MDC Northeast Regional Office, 3500 S. Baltimore. Contact MDC Resource Forester Kyle Monroe to register at 573-248-2530 or Kyle.Monroe@mdc.mo.gov.
JOPLIN: March 24, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., at Wildcat Glades Conservation and Audubon Center, 201 W. Riviera Drive. Contact MDC Community Forester Jon Skinner to register at 417-629-3423 or Jon.Skinner@mdc.mo.gov.
SPRINGFIELD: March 25, 9:30 a.m. to noon, at the MDC Southwest Regional Office, 2630 Mayfair. Contact MDC Community Forester Cindy Garner to register at 417-895-6880 or Cindy.Garner@mdc.mo.gov.
KANSAS CITY: March 26, 10 a.m. to noon, at the MDC Gorman Discovery Center, 4750 Troost Ave. No registration is required.
COLUMBIA: April 8, 10 a.m. to noon, at the MDC Columbia Regional Office, 3500 E. Gans Road. Contact MDC Resource Forester Ann Koenig to register at Ann.Koenig@mdc.mo.gov or 573-815-7901 ext. 3479.
KIRKWOOD: April 28 at 6 p.m. at the MDC Powder Valley Nature Center, 11715 Cragwold Road. Contact Powder Valley Nature Center to register at 314-301-1500.

Friday, February 13, 2015

MDC Cape Nature Center to host 10th annual Native Plant & Garden Seminar

When landscapers decide to grow native, native plants can be difficult to find. The Missouri 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the MDC Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center. This event is designed to help well intentioned gardeners and landscapers find what they need.
Department of Conservation (MDC) and the Cape Girardeau County Master Gardeners will host the tenth annual Native Plant and Garden Seminar Saturday, March 14, from
“This is a much anticipated event in our area,” said Sara Turner, manager of the Cape Nature Center. “Each year we look forward to sharing ideas and connecting with fellow native plant enthusiasts.”
The Native Plant & Garden Seminar traditionally features guest speakers to offer inspiration and tips, presentations on choosing native plants, wildlife damage, propagation, herbs, mushrooms and other topics, as well as a native plant sale, coordinated with the Cape Girardeau County Master Gardeners.
Native plant and garden product vendors, such as the Missouri Wildflowers Nursery, Forrest Keeling Nursery, and the Master Gardeners, will be available Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. 
This event is free, but seating is limited for both sessions. Registration begins Feb. 2. To register, call (573)290-5218. For more information about this and other nature programs at the Cape Nature Center, go online to mdc.mo.gov/capenaturecenter.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Vultures to be focus of special MDC event on Feb. 21

19th annual Vulture Venture program highlights birds' benefits to humans
BRANSON, Mo. – Vultures are well-known, but under-appreciated members of the bird
world. Few people realize it, but these large, dark-colored birds that many people refer to as “buzzards” perform valuable roles in nature.
            Thanks, in part, to the natural features bordering Lake Taneycomo, people will have a chance to view these misunderstood birds on Feb. 21 at the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) 19th annual Vulture Venture program. The program will be from noon to 5 p.m. at MDC’s Shepherd of the Hills Hatchery, located on the west end of Lake Taneycomo, just below Table Rock Dam.
            Vultures can be seen at Lake Taneycomo throughout the year, but in winter, this well-known trout-fishing spot attracts hundreds of these birds. One reason this location attracts large numbers of resident and migrating vultures in winter is its canyon-like topography that gives the birds a haven from cold winter winds. There are also plenty of large sycamore trees along the shoreline that supply vultures with sturdy roosting sites.
            This mass gathering of vultures provides great opportunities to view these birds, which have an undeserved bad reputation. Although many people find vultures disgusting, they perform a valuable clean-up service by ridding the environment of dead animals.
            The Vulture Venture event will consist of outside viewing opportunities and indoor activities. Outside, people will be able to see vultures along the lake through spotting scopes. Indoors at the hatchery’s Conservation Center, people can get an up-close-and-personal view of a live, captive vulture from the Wonders of Wildlife Museum in Springfield.
            No reservations are required for this free event. For more information, call the Hatchery at 417-334-4865, extension 0.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

MDC offers Effective Wingshooting workshop in Southeast Missouri

Clay Pigeons loaded into an automatic thrower.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) presents an Effective Wingshooting workshop March 14 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Duck Creek Conservation Area. This course is designed for upland bird, waterfowl and turkey hunters and is an advanced shotgunning education program designed to evaluate wingshooters and identify problem areas.
“One of the complaints from hunters is that their shooting skills are inconsistent but they can’t determine the cause,” said DeeDee Dockins, MDC Outdoor Skills Specialist. 
After evaluating shooting skills, modifications will be applied to existing shooting techniques to improve participants’ wingshooting skills. 
“Corrections to existing shooting techniques, gun fit, and gun mount can make huge improvements resulting in more consistent performance in the field,” Dockins said. “Taking fewer marginal shoots, spending less money on equipment and ammunition, and most importantly reducing the wounding loss of the resource are paramount to being an ethical and successful hunter.”
Distance estimation, equipment and ammunition selection will also be topics covered in the course. In addition to boosting wingshooting performance and conservation results, this training can help save money on expenses with fewer wasted shells, she said.
Registered attenders should bring their hunting shotgun, choke tubes, nontoxic shotgun ammunition to pattern, eye and ear protection, a stool or chair, a sack lunch and drink. Clay targets, 12 and 20 gauge non-toxic practice ammunition will be provided.
Dockins said the course is free, but registration is required since space is limited. The MDC’s Southeast Regional Office is taking registrations at (573) 290-5730. For information on other conservation related events in southeast Missouri, go online tomdc.mo.gov/capenaturecenter.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Help UBM Replenish Stolen Supplies

As a Federation, we help each other in our times of need. Today, the
United Bowhunters of Missouri needs your help. 

Just days before the UBM annual conference, their trailer was stolen from the yard of UBM President, Darren Haverstick. The UBM lost all their merchandise and supplies, including the bows they use to train youth archers. Please don't let this evil deed diminish all the good work the UBM does for archery and bowhunting. We hope you will consider donating what you can to help the UBM replenish their supplies so their efforts with our youth will not be interrupted. 

Donating is simple. Just click the link below, and then please share the link so others may learn of this important fundraiser. 

MDC seeks public input on proposed deer hunting regulation changes

Possible changes involve firearms season lengths, use of crossbows, archery bag limits, regulations on conservation areas, and non-resident permit fees.  

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is seeking public input on proposed changes to the state’s deer hunting regulations for the 2016-2017 hunting season.
For the fall firearms deer season, MDC proposes:
  • Maintaining the current timing of the November portion but reducing the length from 11 days to nine days,
  • Expanding the late youth firearms weekend from two days to three days and having it begin the Friday after Thanksgiving instead of early January,
  • Reducing the length of the antlerless firearms portion from 12 days to three days and beginning it on the first Friday in December, and
  • Eliminating the urban zones portion. 
For the fall archery deer and turkey season, MDC proposes:
  • Allowing crossbows as a legal method, and
  • Reducing the limit of antlered deer during the archery season from two to one.
MDC also proposes simplifying conservation area regulations and also wants public comment on permit fees for nonresidents regarding a possible increase, decrease, or no change in price.
The proposed regulation changes are a result of public input and MDC deer management research and practices. During the summer of 2014, MDC gathered more than 4,000 public comments on deer management and possible regulation changes through open houses, online comments, letters and emails. MDC also surveyed many deer hunters regarding potential regulation changes. MDC staff will present final regulations recommendations to the Conservation Commission in late 2015.
MDC WELCOMES PUBLIC COMMENT
To explain the proposed changes and gather public feedback, MDC will hold the following public meetings around the state from 5 to 8 p.m.:
  • Feb. 24 – MDC Burr Oak Woods Nature Center, 1401 N.W. Park Road in Blue Springs;
  • Feb. 26 – MDC Powder Valley Nature Center, 11715 Cragwold Road in Kirkwood;
  • March 3 – MDC Springfield Nature Center, 4601 S. Nature Center Way in Springfield;
  • March 5 -- West Plains Civic Center, 110 St. Louis St. in West Plains;
  • March 10 – MDC Cape Girardeau Nature Center, 2289 County Park Drive in Cape Girardeau;
  • March 12 – MDC Northeast Regional Office, 3500 S. Baltimore in Kirksville;
  • March 16 – MDC Central Regional Office, 3500 E. Gans Road in Columbia; and
  • March 31 – MDC Northwest Regional Office, 701 James McCarthy Drive in St. Joseph.
MDC also welcomes public comments online. To learn more about the proposed regulations, MDC’s deer management plan, past public comments, and to provide comment, visit the Department’s website at mdc.mo.gov/node/28079.
Mail comments to: Missouri Department of Conservation, Attn: Policy Coordination, P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102.
RATIONALE FOR REGULATION CHANGES
MDC expanded the November portion of firearms deer season to 11 days in 1995 in response to a rapidly growing deer population in many parts of the state. Deer numbers in most parts of Missouri are now at or below desired levels. According to MDC biologists, reducing the length of the November portion by two days will help increase those numbers.
The Department’s reasoning for changing the timing of the late youth portion from early January to the weekend after Thanksgiving is that it should increase youth-hunter participation and success as a result of better deer activity and weather conditions. Adding the Friday after Thanksgiving will provide an additional hunting day when schools are closed.
MDC anticipates that reducing the length of the antlerless season from 12 days to three days will help increase deer numbers to more desirable levels. The antlerless portion of the firearms deer season was implemented in 1996 to increase the harvest of female deer, or does, in response to a rapidly growing deer population in many parts of the state. The deer population in most of Missouri is currently at or below desired levels.
According to MDC, eliminating the urban zones portion of the firearms season is being considered because firearms hunting in urban zones is significantly limited by city ordinances and safety concerns. As a result, this portion does not significantly lower deer numbers in areas where urban deer conflicts occur.
The department anticipates that allowing crossbows as a legal method during the archery deer and turkey season will help younger hunters enter the sport and also prolong participation for older hunters. MDC research shows that most deer hunters are in favor of allowing crossbows during the archery season and bow hunters are about equally divided on the topic.
Reducing the buck harvest during archery season from two to one per hunter will make hunters more selective and help more bucks reach older age-classes. Regulations allowing bow hunters to harvest two bucks were implemented in 1988 when there were fewer than 100,000 individuals with a permit to hunt deer during the archery season compared to more than 180,000 in 2013.  Also, the harvest of bucks by bow hunters has nearly doubled from 11 percent of the total harvest in 2000 to 19 percent in 2013. 
The Department anticipates that simplifying deer hunting regulations on conservation areas to archery only, archery and muzzleloader only, or archery and firearms will both increase hunter satisfaction and allow area managers to adjust regulations based on current deer numbers.
MDC permit fees for nonresident hunters are competitive with those of surrounding states and have remained the same since 2009.

Monday, February 9, 2015

MDC hosting atlatls’ and archery in Columbia

AJ Hendershott of Cape Girardeau County holds
an atlatl. The use of this hunting tool  predates
 the bow and arrow in North America by
 thousands of years.
The FREE class will teach the basics of primitive hunting techniques in Missouri.
COLUMBIA, Mo.— Do you have an interest in primitive hunting techniques? The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is hosting Atlatls’ & Archery: Primitive Hunting Techniques in Missouri from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Mar. 7 at the MDC Columbia Regional Office, 3500 East Gans. Rd., Columbia. The class is free, but registration is required by Mar. 4.
Participants will learn about some unique primitive hunting tools and hunting methods that early Missourian’s used. Plus, all will have the opportunity to tour the University of Missouri’s Grayson Collection of archery and archery-related items, which contains over 5,000 pieces and is one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of its kind in the world.
 “The use of the atlatl predates the bow and arrow in North America by thousands of years,” said MDC Outdoor Skills Specialist Brian Flowers.  “Today, hunters use the atlatl and also the long bow to harvest a variety of wild game.”
The atlatl, pronounced by some as “at’-lat-ul,” was for 30,000 years or so a popular worldwide hunting tool. Native Americans brought the atlatl to North America about 12,000 years ago. The bow and arrow are relative modern hunting weapons in comparison. Atlatl throwers hurl a dart forward with a throwing motion of the arm. A board with a notch or tip for the dart to rest against is held with the arm and used as a throwing device that gives the dart extra speed and power.
The class is open adults and children 11 and older.  Those ages 17 or younger must be accompanied by an adult.
To register or for more information, contact Flowers at Brian.Flowers@mdc.mo.gov 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.
For more information about this and other Discover Nature programs in mid-Missouri, go online to mdc.mo.gov.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

MDC Wild Edibles: First Time Hickory Nut Pie

The whole family enjoyed this delicious
Hickory nut pie with pecans for decoration.
 (Photo by A. J. Hendershott
By A. J. Hendershott, Missouri Department of Conservation Outreach and Education Regional Supervisor
The idea of a hickory nut pie isn’t all that far-fetched in these days of organic eating and natural living. However, I wanted to make a hickory nut pie more to connect with the past than to keep up with the latest trends. I wanted to make one like my grandmother used to bake. 
Hickory nuts are hard to pick out of the shell and the notion of picking hickory nut meat out for hours is what has held me back.  I’m a self-proclaimed busy guy and have little time to waste, even on things I enjoy. Fortunately, Native Americans solved this hickory nut processing problem centuries ago.  I had the good fortune to read about it in some primitive skills literature and it bolstered my confidence that I could do this quickly.
You can work up quite an appetite cracking and picking the "goodie" out of the shells.  When compared to other native Missouri nuts, hickories yield the least amount of nut meat for the time invested.  But Native Americans preferentially harvested and processed a lot of the hardwood fruits.  Their secret was water and I used this secret to make the process bearable.
First, I collected every shellbark and shagbark hickory nut I could beat the squirrels to.  Both trees are easy to identify with their shaggy unkempt looking bark. They have reasonably large nuts compared to other hickories and possess a pleasant flavor.  I avoided bitternut hickories.  As their name indicates, the edible nuts are unfortunately bitter. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) has a free publication Missouri’s Oaks and Hickories with identification references available online at mdc.mo.gov or at a local MDC nature center.
Second, I poured my harvest in a bucket of water. One third of the nuts sank and the remaining two thirds floated.  According to my sources, I needed to discard the floaters.  Just to be sure, I cracked open over 25 of the floaters and found every single one was a cull.  No edible meat whatsoever.  So the float test was a fully accurate way to determine if the nut was good or bad.  This left roughly one and a half quarts of raw uncracked hickory nuts. 
The third step was the cracking process.  My thirteen-year-old son helped with this task. Equipped with two rocks each, we bashed the nuts with deft blows. Hickories are not thin shelled nuts like hazelnuts or pecans. After about 45-minutes, we had the nuts bashed into small pieces.  We later realized that they were not quite small enough but it was a learning experience.  Some additional cracking set things right. 
The final processing step was where the real magic took place. Hickory nuts are the only nut I am aware of that work for this process.  I selected a large pot and filled it with water.   I was going to use a floating process once again, but this time I wanted floating.  I poured my crushed mixture of nut meat and shells into the pot, stirred the mixture a few times and watched. To my elation the nut meat began to float to the surface. The shells stayed on the bottom and never surfaced. My son and I took turns skimming the nut meat off with a ladle and put the wet nuts in a glass pan so they could dry. 
I skimmed and stirred repeatedly, seven or eight times.  Then I poured off the water and examined the shells.  A few small scraps of nut meat clung to the shells but not enough to warrant further effort. The process removed about ninety percent of the nut meat without picking in just 30 minutes.
All told, I had over two cups of nut meat from that small basket of nuts.  I see why the Native Americans used this process, it works exceptionally well and gave me more than enough for a hickory nut pie. 
Hickory nut pies are made exactly like pecan pies, so it wasn’t hard to find an appropriate recipe by simply substituting hickories for pecans. We used pecan halves as decoration and put the pie in the oven. The whole family enjoyed this delicious pie that was much like the one I used to enjoy with my grandmother. I have room to grow if I want to make a pie as good as grandmother used to, but it was success to be sure.  In fact, it was so good, I’m pretty sure I’ll have help collecting hickory nuts next fall in anticipation of another pie.
If you’d like to try your hand at making a hickory nut pie, try a pecan pie recipe and just substitute hickory nuts for the pecans. Or, if you’d like to try the same recipe my family enjoyed, here’s the one I retrieved from my father:

Hickory Nut Pie

Ingredients
3 eggs
1 cup Karo syrup
¾ cu sugar
2 tbsp melted butter
1tsp vanilla extract
⅛  tsp salt
1 cup chopped hickory nuts
1 pie crust

Directions
In a small bowl, beat eggs just until blended but not frothy. Beat in the corn syrup, sugar, butter, vanilla and salt until blended. Stir in nuts. Pour into pie crust.
Cover edges loosely with foil. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes. Remove foil; bake 10-15 minutes longer or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Garnish with additional nuts if desired. Yield: 6-8 servings.
For help identifying hickory trees or for more wild edible ideas and recipes, go online tomdc.mo.gov.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

MDC talks winter turtle power

Instead of hibernating, cold-blooded turtles like this
Southern painted turtle slow their metabolic processes
 down tremendously when temperatures drop. (MDC file photo)
MDC biologist explains how our cold-blooded turtles survive the winter months.
By Candice Davis
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. -- As winter sets in, some of our wildlife, like turtles, seem to disappear. According to Bruce Henry, a natural history biologist with the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), turtles are still here, they just have ways of hiding away to stay safe from the elements.
Instead of hibernating, cold-blooded turtles slow their metabolic processes down tremendously when temperatures drop, he said. 
“They’re in a dormant, inactive state,” he said. 
When temps drop they seek out environments that will provide the most stable temperature to wait out the winter months.  Turtles have to save energy in order to survive the winter, so if they have to endure fast temperature changes, it costs them some of their fat stores, which puts them in danger.
“For example, a common snapper may descend to a deep submerged log pile in a pond or creek and curl up and wait out the winter with little movement, if any,” Henry said, adding that even the turtle’s respiration and heart beat rates will decrease dramatically to help save energy.
“Instead of breathing, aquatic turtles can absorb oxygen from the water through their skin,” he said.
Box turtles dig burrows and red eared sliders burrow into mud at the bottom of wetlands for protection from extreme winter temperatures.  They won’t eat as much food throughout the winter either since eating will increase their metabolic rate.
“Slow and steady is the name of the game for a turtle to survive the winter,” Henry said.
Henry said people can help turtles by providing good places for them to hide. They need soil to burrow in the forests, plants to take shelter in in the wetlands, and overall healthy habitat and waters where they can seek refuge from the cold.
“Like us, turtles need a place to take shelter from the cold,” he said. “That shelter can be a rotted-out log on the south slope of an Ozark woods or a downed cypress treetop in a bootheel slough.”
“Turtles and other wildlife are tremendously stressed when temperatures decline to the levels we experience in Missouri,” he said. “The main thing people can do during the winter months make sure they don’t disturb habitat unnecessarily when weather conditions are bad.”
For example, a pond drained in the winter may freeze many of the aquatic species that may have been able to move to nearby wetlands had the temperatures been higher.
“Wildlife can’t survive the disturbances or destruction of habitat while they struggle against adverse weather conditions,” he said.
To find more information on winter wildlife and what you can do to help them, go online tomdc.mo.gov.

Friday, February 6, 2015

How are conservation areas important to you?

Little Dixie Lake Conservation Area
The Missouri Department of Conservation is in the process of updating management plans for conservation areas and invites public comments. To view management plans and share comments online, visit mdc.mo.gov/areaplans.  
The following draft Conservation Area Management Plans are available for public comment from February 1-28, 2015.  

Central Region 

Little Dixie Lake Conservation Area Management Plan - This conservation area includes 733 acres that contain a 205-acre fishing lake, research ponds and facilities, and managed forests, woodlands and grasslands.The area also provides rental boats, a fishing dock, concrete boat ramp, fishing jetties, picnic areas, additional fishing ponds and hiking trails that are available for public use.

Ozark Region 

Eminence District Towersites Area Management Plan - These towersites provide fire detection, emergency communication and managed forest resources. Towersites included in this plan are the Doniphan, Rose Hill, Thomasville and Hunter Towersites.
Howell and Ozark County Towersites Area Management Plan - These towersites are managed for emergency communications and fire detection purposes. Towersites included in this plan are the West Plains, Mountain View, Tecumseh, Brandsville and Timber Knob Towersites.
Phelps and Pulaski County Towersites Area Management Plan - These areas are maintained primarily for wildfire detection purposes. Towersites included in this plan are theDixon, Fort Leonard Wood and Rosati Towersites.

Take a look at management plans and share your thoughts online at mdc.mo.gov/areaplans.


Thursday, February 5, 2015

Conservation Department schedules Landowner Workshop in Malden

English: Devil's Honeycomb atop Hughes Mountai...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Southeast Missouri landowners are invited to attend the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) 2015 Landowner Workshop at Southeast Missouri State University’s Malden Campus, Feb. 28, from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Participants are asked to sign in at 8 a.m.
According to Tony Jaco, MDC Private Lands Regional Supervisor, the Department holds these workshops to help landowners develop wildlife habitat and manage natural resources on their land.
“More than 90 percent of Missouri is privately owned,” said Jaco. “It’s vital that we equip private landowners to care for that land and its resources and that’s what we do at the landowner workshops.”
Attendees will choose from various one-hour presentations on topics that pertain to private land management. Sessions are designed to offer landowners plenty of how-to suggestions. Topics include
statewide deer management, pond management, waterfowl management, timber management, aquatic vegetation in ponds, trespassing issues, cost share and incentive programs, invasive plants and furbearers and nuisance wildlife.
Lunch will be provided. Class size is limited, so pre-registration is required by Feb. 20. To pre-register, call the MDC’s Southeast Regional Office at 573-290-5858.
Southeast Missouri State University - Malden, (SEM) is located at the Harry L. Crisp Bootheel Education Center (CBEC) at 700 North Douglass St. in northwest Malden, Mo., south of the Wal-Mart store when arriving via Highway MO-25 from the North.
For more information on how the Department of Conservation works with private landowners go online to mdc.mo.gov.