Monday, August 31, 2015

MDC seeks experienced anglers to share fishing knowledge with others

Missouri Department of Conservation fisheries biologists in Cape Girardeau are looking for a few good anglers to share their knowledge and love of nature by teaching others how to fish. (MDC file photo)
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) fisheries biologists in Cape Girardeau are looking for a few good anglers to share their knowledge and love of nature. MDC Fisheries biologists Salvador Mondragon and Kamaria Pearson run the MDC’s Discover Nature -- Fishing (DNF) program that aims to reel in future anglers.
“We’re looking for individuals who have that natural love of fishing and who like to share it with others,” Pearson said. “We need people who will help new anglers learn how to bait a hook, safely unhook a fish and really experience what’s great about fishing.”
DNF consists of a series of free courses where those who’ve never fished before can learn the basics and try out their skills right next to experts who guide them along the way. The program helps Missourians develop skills so they can then fish on their own and with family.
Mondragon and Pearson hope to recruit volunteers who will help lead local DNF courses. MDC offers volunteer training with small class sizes to encourage a focus on teaching and coaching. Volunteers can focus on a single lesson or master all four courses.
Pearson said she enjoys sharing her love of fishing, so she knows others will enjoy the mentoring opportunity, too.
Anyone interested in being a DNF mentor can call MDC’s Southeast Regional Office at(573)290-5730 and ask for Mondragon or Pearson. More information on DNF can be found at mdc.mo.gov.

Live hummingbird banding at Montauk State Park Sept. 6

Male Ruby-Throated hummingbird (Archilochus co...
Male Ruby-Throated hummingbird (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Researcher Lanny Chambers will visit Montauk State Park to capture, band and study Missouri’s smallest flying machine, the ruby throated hummingbird. Sponsored by Missouri State Parks, the event will take place between 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 6 at the Hummingbird Garden in front of the Dorman L. Steelman Lodge.

Visitors will get a close-up look at this tiny bird, and will learn about its life history. Guests are welcome to bring cameras, but will be instructed to keep an adequate distance from the birds and researchers in order to insure the safety of the birds. The event is free and open to the public.    

Montauk State Park is located 22 miles southwest of Salem on Hwy. 119 in Dent County. For more information about the event, call the Montauk State Park naturalist at 573-548-2225. For more information on state parks and historic sites, visit mostateparks.com. Missouri State Parks is a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Dick Vaught inducted into Missouri Conservation Hall of Fame

The Missouri Conservation Commission recently inducted Dick Vaught posthumously into the Conservation Hall of Fame. Pictured (l-r) are Commissioner David Murphy, Vaught’s granddaughter Lisa Davis, son David Vaught, daughter Valerie Brown, daughter-in-law Dawn Vaught, and Commissioner Marilynn Bradford.
Waterfowler and researcher honored posthumously for lifetime of conservation work.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Conservation Commission recently inducted Richard “Dick” W. Vaught posthumously into the Conservation Hall of Fame on Aug. 21 at the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Runge Conservation Nature Center in Jefferson City. The Missouri Conservation Hall of Fame honors deceased individuals who made significant contributions to the cause of conservation in Missouri during their lifetimes.
Vaught’s granddaughter Lisa Davis, son David Vaught, daughter Valerie Brown, and daughter-in-law Dawn Vaught accepted the award on his behalf. “Thank you from the bottoms of our hearts for this special honor for the man we loved as much as you did,” said daughter Valerie Brown.
Vaught began his 36-year career with the Department of Conservation in 1948 at the August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area in the St. Louis area. By 1951, he had begun research for MDC on goose nesting at Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge in north-central Missouri near Sumner. From 1975 until his retirement in 1984, Vaught oversaw management of wetland areas statewide. 
“Dick Vaught was a pioneer in banding and research on young, flightless geese and ducks and traveled to Churchill, Manitoba, Canada multiple times to assist with those efforts,” said MDC Director Robert Ziehmer. “That work led to an early understanding of waterfowl migration, and the baseline data he collected is still held in trust by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Dick implemented innovative and effective methods to estimate goose populations and harvest numbers at Swan Lake, which lead to improved management of one of the largest Canada goose populations in North America.”
Vaught was also instrumental in efforts to implement shell limits to reduce goose mortality, and in the development of the cannon net trap, which has become a primary tool for capturing waterfowl and other wildlife. He was also influential in lead shot studies, which ultimately resulted in federal regulations that require waterfowl hunters to use non-toxic shot.
Throughout his career, Vaught was also heavily involved in state and national waterfowl policy.  For 15 years, he was Missouri’s representative on the Mississippi Flyway Council and served two terms as chair of the Flyway’s Technical Section. In 1983, the Council presented him with the Mississippi Flyway Waterfowl Conservation Award, one of only three presented since 1952.  In 1979, he was recognized by the Missouri Chapter of The Wildlife Society with the E. Sydney Stephens Award for his efforts.
“Dick Vaught’s legacy to the citizens of Missouri includes a large snow goose population at Squaw Creek, nesting Canada geese, and abundant hunting opportunities at multiple managed wetlands around the state,” Ziehmer said.
Ziehmer noted that the recently published book, Waterfowl Hunting and Wetland Conservation in Missouri — A Model of Collaboration, was dedicated to Dick Vaught because of his waterfowl work and legacy. Many of the book’s co-authors also worked with or for Vaught during his time with the Conservation Department. Proceeds from sales benefit wetland and waterfowl conservation. The book is available through the MDC Nature Shop by calling 877-521-8632.

MDC offers hundreds of crop fields around state for dove hunting

Get more information on hunting doves and other early migratory birds in MDC's "2015 Migratory Bird Hunting Digest" available where hunting permits are sold, at MDC offices and nature centers, and online at mdc.mo.gov.
More than 180 MDC areas offer dove hunting with nearly 100 providing crop fields.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – With dove hunting season opening Sept. 1, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) reminds dove hunters of its more than 180 conservation areas around the state that allow dove hunting, including nearly 100 planted in multiple crop fields that attract the popular game birds. Crops include sunflower, corn, millet, wheat, and buckwheat.
A list of conservation areas that offer dove hunting and maps of areas that have dove fields are available from MDC online at mdc.mo.gov/node/8905.
Weather conditions can impact the quality of field crops so MDC encourages dove hunters to check field conditions ahead of time.
Mourning doves, Eurasian collared doves, and white-winged doves may be taken from Sept. 1 through Nov. 9 from one half hour before sunrise to sunset with a combined daily limit of 15 and a combined possession limit of 45 for all three species.
Get additional information on hunting doves and other early migratory birds in MDC's "2015 Migratory Bird Hunting Digest" available where hunting permits are sold, at MDC offices and nature centers, and online at mdc.mo.gov.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

MDC offers Effective Wingshooting classes in KC area

Improve game harvest with sharpened shotgun skills and shot shell knowledge

Kansas City, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) will offer Effective Wingshooting for the Hunter courses in the Kansas City and Warrensburg areas. These courses help shotgun hunters improve shooting skills, understand shot shell loads and choke patterns, estimate range, and understand the benefits of nontoxic shot.
   Registration is now open for an Effective Wingshooting course 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 19, at the University of Central Missouri Shooting Range, 454 S.E. Division St., in Warrensburg. The course is free but limited to 20 participants. Registration closesSept. 13. Refreshments will be provided but participants are on the own for lunch. For more information or to register, call 660-530-5500.
   MDC’s Lake City Shooting Range in Jackson County will offer a two-day Effective Wingshooting course on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 2 and Oct. 3. The course is free but pre-registration is required. Registration opens Sept. 1 and closes Sept. 26. The Oct. 2 session will be from 6 to 9:30 p.m. at the range, 28505 E. Truman Road, Buckner, Mo. On Oct. 3, the session will be from 8 to 11:30 a.m. To register, call 816-294-3194.
   Participants in Effective Wingshooting must bring their own shotguns and choke tubes. They can bring hunting ammunition if they wish to test patterns. MDC will provide nontoxic steel shot free of charge. The courses will including shooting on trap ranges.
   For more information on Effective Wingshooting course benefits and class schedules, visithttp://on.mo.gov/1Lg89Y3. Missouri is a great place to hunt and for information on upcoming autumn hunting seasons, visit http://mdc.mo.gov.

Conservation Commission approves changes to 2016-2017 deer regulations

Missouri offers some of the best deer hunting in the country, and deer hunting is an important part of many Missourians' lives and family traditions. Deer hunting is also an important economic driver in Missouri and gives a $1 billion annual boost to the state and local economies.
Approved changes include shortening November and antlerless portions and expanding late youth portion. Potential changes include allowing crossbows during archery seasons and reducing antlered deer limit.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Conservation Commission set season dates and limits for the 2016-2017 fall deer season and gave initial approval to several deer-hunting regulation changes proposed by the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) at the Commission’s Aug. 19 meeting in Jefferson City.
Approved changes to fall deer season structure for 2016-2017 include:
  • Maintain current timing of the November portion and reduce the length from 11 to 9 days.
  • Expand the late youth portion to three days beginning the first Friday after Thanksgiving.
  • Reduce the length of the antlerless portion from 12 to 3 days and begin on the first Friday in December.
  • Eliminate the urban zones portion.
Proposed regulation changes to fall deer season structure for 2016-2017 include:
  • Allow crossbows as a legal method during the archery deer and turkey seasons.
  • Allow the use of crossbows during the fall firearms turkey season.
  • Reduce the limit of antlered deer from 3 to 2 during the combined archery and firearms deer hunting season, with no more than one antlered deer taken during the firearms deer hunting season.
  • Remove the hunting method exemption requirement related to crossbows.
Missouri’s rule-making process includes a 30-day public comment period. Comments related to the proposed regulation changes can be submitted online to the Conservation Department from Oct. 2-31 at mdc.mo.gov/node/24141. Full verbiage of the proposed amendments will be posted on the webpage after Sept. 15.
The Commission will make its final decision on these proposed changes at its December meeting. With final approval, the regulation changes would become effective in March 2016 and implemented for the 2016-2017 deer hunting seasons.
The Department is also working to simplify conservation area deer-hunting regulations by limiting methods and use of firearms and archery antlerless permits. To see the list of conservation areas with proposed changes to hunting methods and to provide comments, visit the MDC website at mdc.mo.gov/node/18891 from Sept. 1 to Nov. 30. The webpage will not be available until Sept. 1.
The Department will also continue to gather input from citizens on a variety of deer hunting-related topics, including nonresident permits and prices, through public surveys and its website in early 2016. 
When formulating recommendations for these regulation changes, the Conservation Department used deer hunter surveys, landowner surveys, archery-hunter observation surveys, deer population simulations, biological data, harvest summaries, and public input gathered from 22 public open houses held around the state and about 11,800 public comments received at the public meetings and online.
“The goal of the Conservation Department’s deer management program is to use science-based wildlife management combined with public input to maintain deer population levels throughout the state that provide quality recreational opportunities while minimizing human-deer conflicts,” said MDC Deer Biologist Jason Sumners. “As deer populations in Missouri have changed over the last 75 years, so have our management strategies. In modifying the hunting season structure, our aim is to achieve a deer population that is biologically and socially acceptable while also promoting hunter participation, recruitment, and retention.”
Missouri offers some of the best deer hunting in the country, and deer hunting is an important part of many Missourians' lives and family traditions. Deer hunting is also an important economic driver in Missouri and gives a $1 billion annual boost to the state and local economies.


2016-2017 DEER HUNTING SEASON DATES

Archery Season
  • Sept. 15 - Nov. 11, 2016, and 
  • Nov. 21, 2016 - Jan. 15, 2017
Firearms Season
  • Early Youth Portion: Oct. 29 - 30, 2016
  • November Portion: Nov. 12 - 20, 2016
  • Late Youth Portion: Nov. 25 - 27, 2016
  • Antlerless Portion: Dec. 2 - 4, 2016
  • Alternative Methods Portion: Dec. 24, 2016 - Jan. 3, 2017


REASONS FOR REGULATION CHANGES

REDUCING NOVEMBER PORTION LENGTH
Regarding maintaining the current timing of the November portion and reducing the length to nine days, MDC Deer Biologist Jason Sumners explained that over the last two decades deer hunter numbers and deer harvest opportunities have increased substantially while the deer population has stabilized or been reduced in many parts of Missouri so additional harvest opportunities are no longer necessary to meet desired deer population goals. 
“The final two days of the November portion of the firearms deer season have traditionally been the two days with the lowest hunter harvest and number of hunting trips,” said Sumners. “Reducing the November portion by two days will not result in a dramatic decrease in harvest or hunting opportunities. This one regulatory component, when combined with other changes, will help to stabilize and increase deer populations in some areas.”
EXPANDING LATE YOUTH SEASON
Sumners explained that the current late December or early January timing of the late youth portion has resulted in low participation and low success. Expanding the length to three days and adjusting the timing to the weekend after Thanksgiving should increase participation and success as a result of better deer activity and weather conditions in late November compared to the current timing.
“Hunter recruitment and retention is an important component in maintaining Missouri’s hunting heritage and our ability to manage deer populations in the future,” Sumners said.
REDUCING LENGTH OF ANTLERLESS PORTION
Regarding reducing the length of the antlerless portion to three days and beginning on the first Friday in December, Sumners explained that the deer population in most of Missouri is currently at or below population goals so the additional antlerless-harvest opportunities are no longer necessary to meet desired deer population goals. 
“Shortening the antlerless portion is a compromise to maintain some additional hunting opportunities and allow for additional antlerless harvest where necessary,” Sumners said. “The increase in the number of deer hunting days over the last two decades as a result of the creation of early and late youth portions, and the expansion of November, antlerless, and alternative methods portions has created conflicts between deer hunters and other outdoor users such as small game hunters. Therefore, the reduction is a compromise that is acceptable to most firearms deer hunters and will reduce conflicts that occur between deer hunters and other outdoor users due to the length of the current deer hunting seasons.”
ELIMINATING URBAN ZONES
Sumners explained that eliminating the urban zones portion will simplify the deer season structure and will not jeopardize progress towards effective urban deer management that has occurred in many communities across the state.
“The urban zones portion was implemented as one tool to address issues associated with overabundant urban deer populations,” Sumners said. “However, additional firearms hunting opportunities in urban zones do little to manage deer populations where the ability to use firearms is limited. The majority of harvest during the urban zones portion occurs in the most rural areas and does not ensure adequate deer harvest in the locations where urban deer conflicts occur.”
ALLOWING CROSSBOWS DURING ARCHERY SEASON
Sumners explained that allowing crossbows as a legal method during the archery deer and turkey season will provide additional opportunities for young hunters and prolong participation for older hunters while not significantly increasing the harvest.
“Physical limitations of young hunters delay their entry into archery hunting and physical limitations of older archery hunters result in their declining participation,” Sumners said. “Our challenge is to balance contrasting hunter opinions with the desire to provide maximum hunting opportunities while also responsibly managing Missouri’s deer population. We have received an increasing number of requests to expand the archery season to include crossbows. We expect that the inclusion of crossbows will increase the harvest during the archery season, but do not expect it to result in a significant increase in total deer harvest.”
ALLOWING CROSSBOWS DURING FALL TURKEY FIREARMS
Sumners explained that allowing the use of crossbows during the fall firearms turkey season would be consistent with method allowances for other firearms hunting seasons and spring turkey season.
“The Department has tended to allow all lesser hunting methods during firearms hunting seasons so it is natural to allow crossbows during the fall firearms turkey season,” Sumners said. 
REDUCING ANTLERED DEER LIMIT
Sumners explained that reducing the antlered deer limit stems from an increasing desire of hunters to see more bucks in older age classes.
“We considered a number of regulation changes, including pushing back the opening of the November portion of the firearms season and limiting hunters to one buck during the combined archery and firearms hunting season,” Sumners said. “However, results from our archery and firearms hunter surveys showed little support for those changes. Therefore, reducing the limit for antlered deer from three to two during the combined archery and firearms deer hunting season, with no more than one antlered deer taken during the firearms deer hunting season, is supported by many hunters, and a step in the right direction.”
REMOVING HUNTING METHOD EXEMPTION RELATED TO CROSSBOWS
Sumners explained that allowing crossbows during archery seasons will make the crossbow medical exemption no longer necessary.
SIMPLIFYING AREA REGULATIONS
Sumners explained that simplifying various conservation area regulations by limiting methods and use of firearms and archery antlerless permits would both increase hunter satisfaction and give area managers the ability to adjust regulations to adapt to current deer population conditions.
“We continue to strive to manage deer numbers at desirable levels while providing diverse deer hunting opportunities for the public,” Sumners said. “The current set of deer hunting options on conservation areas can be confusing and do not allow managers to adapt regulations to changing deer populations. As a result, deer hunters on public land generally have lower success rates, perceive lower deer numbers, and tend to rate their hunting experiences lower than hunters on private land.”

Friday, August 28, 2015

Guided bison hike at Prairie State Park Sept. 5

American Bison (Bison bison). Image taken at W...

Guests can enjoy a guided hike to see the bison at Prairie State Park. Sponsored by Missouri State Parks, the event will take place at 10 a.m.Saturday, Sept. 5 at the Regal Tallgrass Prairie Nature Center.

Guests should be prepared for a two mile hike over uneven terrain. It is recommended that guests bring water, snacks, insect repellent, a hat, sunscreen, and wear sturdy shoes. Those who attend may also bring binoculars to view bison and other animals.

Prairie State Park is located at 128 NW 150th Lane near Mindenmines. To register of for additional information, contact the park at 417-843-6711. For information about state parks and historic sites, visit mostateparks.com. Missouri State Parks and Historic Sites is a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

MDC announces waterfowl seasons and outlook

Additional details about Missouri waterfowl hunting regulations, including zone descriptions, will be published in the MDC 2015-2016 Waterfowl Hunting Digest, available starting in late September from permit vendors, MDC offices and nature center, and online at mdc.mo.gov.
Duck numbers are high, but limited food and cover and warm weather may limit availability. 
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) announces that duck hunters will again have a 60-day season for 2015-2016 hunting. The Missouri Conservation Commission set upcoming Missouri waterfowl hunting seasons at its Aug. 19 meeting.
DUCK SEASONSNorth Zone: Oct. 31 – Dec. 29
Middle Zone: Nov. 7 – Jan. 5
South Zone: Nov. 26 – Jan. 24
Shooting Hours: One-half hour before sunrise to sunset.
Daily Bag Limit: Six ducks daily with species restrictions of:
  • 4 mallards (no more than 2 females)
  • 3 scaup
  • 3 wood ducks
  • 2 redheads
  • 2 hooded mergansers
  • 2 pintails
  • 2 canvasback (increased from 1 last year)
  • 1 black duck
  • 1 mottled duck
Possession Limit: Three times the daily bag limit (18), including species restrictions.
COOT SEASONS:
Concurrent with duck seasons in the respective zones with a daily bag limit of 15 and a possession limit of 45.
GOOSE SEASONS:
Light geese: snow, blue, and Ross’s: Statewide, Oct. 31 - Jan. 31
White-fronted geese: Statewide Nov. 7 - Jan. 31
Canada geese and brant: Statewide Oct. 3 - Oct. 11 and Nov. 26 - Jan. 31
Shooting Hours: One-half hour before sunrise to sunset.
Daily Bag Limit and Possession Limit: No more than three Canada geese and brant geese in aggregate daily and nine in possession, 20 light geese (snow, blue, or Ross’s) daily with no possession limit, and two white-fronted geese daily and six in possession.
YOUTH HUNTING DAYS:
North Zone: Oct. 24 and 25
Middle Zone: Oct. 31 and Nov. 1
South Zone: Nov. 21 and 22
Bag Limit: Same as during regular waterfowl season.
Shooting Hours: Same as during regular waterfowl season.
Participation Requirements: Any person 15 years of age or younger may participate in the youth waterfowl hunting days without permit, provided they are in the immediate presence of an adult 18 years of age or older. If the youth hunter does not have hunter-education certification, the adult must meet permit requirements for small-game hunting and have in his or her possession valid hunter-education certification unless born before Jan. 1, 1967.  The adult may not hunt ducks, but may participate in other seasons open on the youth days.
LIGHT GOOSE CONSERVATION ORDER:
The Conservation Order for light geese will be in effect Feb. 1 through April 30 with no bag limit. Hunters may use electronic calls and unplugged shot guns. Shooting hours are from one-half hour before sunrises to one-half hour after sunset. A Conservation Order permit is the only permit required for resident and nonresident hunters.
FALCONRY SEASON FOR DUCKS, COOTS AND MERGANSERS:The federal framework allows 107 days. Falconry is open during teal season (16 days), regular duck season (60 days), and youth season (two days) in the respective zones, leavingFeb. 11 – March 10 (29 days) for extended falconry statewide.
Hunting Hours: One-half hour before sunrise to sunset.
Bag and Possession Limits: The daily bag and possession limits shall not exceed three and nine birds, respectively, singly, or in the aggregate, during the teal, regular duck, youth waterfowl and extended falconry seasons.
TEAL SEASONS:
As previously announced by MDC in July, blue-winged, green-winged, and cinnamon teal may be taken from Sept 12 through Sept. 27 from sunrise to sunset with a combined daily limit of six and a combined possession limit of 18 for all three species. Additional details are published in MDC's 2015 Migratory Bird Hunting Digest available where hunting permits are sold, at MDC offices and nature centers, and online at mdc.mo.gov.
WATERFOWL POPULATION ESTIMATES:
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the total number of North American ducks is estimated to be at a record high for the fourth year in a row at 49.5 million, 43% above the long-term average (LTA). Estimates of breeding populations for various duck species from 2015 survey results are:
  • Mallard numbers are similar to the 2014 estimate and 42 percent above their long-term average.
  • Blue-winged teal numbers are similar to 2014 and 73 percent above their long-term average.
  • Green-winged teal numbers increased by 19 percent, which puts them 98 percent above their long-term average.
  • Northern shoveler numbers dropped by 17 percent but still remain 75 percent above their long-term average.
  • Gadwall and American wigeon numbers are similar to 2014 and 100 and 17 percent above their long-term averages, respectively.
  • Redhead numbers are similar to 2014 and 71 percent above their long-term average.
  • Canvasback numbers increased slightly. They are now estimated to be 30 percent above their long-term average.
  • Scaup numbers are similar to the 2014 estimate and 13 percent below their long-term average.
  • Pintail numbers are similar to 2014 and 24 percent below their long-term average.
HUNTING OUTLOOK:
MDC Resource Scientists note that there are three factors equally or more important than overall population numbers in contributing toward a season’s outcome: local habitat conditions, weather, and migration timing. They caution that preseason outlooks for habitat and weather are less than ideal.
“Wetlands should have plenty of water going into fall, but extensive and repeated flooding over the summer will mean food and cover could be patchy,” explained MDC Resource Scientist Andy Raedeke. “Moist-soil seed production will be excellent in wetlands that benefitted from a wet spring and early summer but did not have late-summer flooding. Those that did experience late flooding will likely have poor moist-soil seed production and limited vegetation for cover. Due to flooding, food provided by crops, such as corn, will likely be well below average.”
Raedeke added that weather conditions play a significant role in affecting duck movements and distribution. “Long-term weather forecasts are calling for milder than normal fall and winter weather in the upper Midwest,” he said.
Habitat conditions and weather combine to influence waterfowl migrations.
“The primary uncertainty is how ducks will respond if we have a hunting season with mild weather, plenty of water, and below average food and cover,” said Raedeke. “In the absence of significant cold fronts, ducks may disperse throughout the Mississippi Flyway resulting in lower peak numbers in Missouri. Once ducks arrive in Missouri, habitat conditions will influence how long they stay. Species that depend entirely on wetland sources of food may depart sooner than normal. For species that also field feed, such as mallards, the combination of ample water for roosting and harvested grain fields for feeding may help offset effects of below average wetland conditions.”
He added that hunters will need to be flexible in when and where they hunt. “If it is a mild fall, it will be especially important to time hunts with cold fronts and migration events. Hunters should also be willing to try new locations for potentially better habitat conditions,” Raedeke said.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Additional details about waterfowl hunting regulations, including zone descriptions, will be published in the MDC 2015-2016 Waterfowl Hunting Digest, available starting in late September from permit vendors, MDC offices and nature center, and online at mdc.mo.gov.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

MDC offers invasive plant clinic at Springfield Nature Center

Invasive plants like this non-native bush honeysuckle can cause problems for native wildlife species and for humans. A Sept. 18 Missouri Department of Conservation workshop at the Springfield Conservation Nature Center will provide information about how to deal with exotic plant problems
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Introducing non-native plants into a wildlife habitat can be compared to throwing a rock into a machine: This may cause the machine to operate at a reduced efficiency or it may shut it down completely.
People can learn more about problems non-native plants can cause - and how to solve those problems - at the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Invasive Plant Species Workshop. This event will be 9-11:45 a.m. Sept. 18 at MDC’s Springfield Conservation Nature Center. An optional work project portion will be offered from 12:30-3 p.m. at the Nature Center.
The workshop will feature sessions on Callery pearwintercreeperexotic honeysuckles andhydrilla. These non-native plants provide good examples of some of the problems exotic species can cause. When exotic plant species invade an area and crowd out native plants, habitats often change for the worse. Insects that were attracted to native flowers go elsewhere. Native birds might not be able to find as many food sources. Nesting and brood-rearing might not be present any more or are available at a reduced presence because the vegetation the animals need isn’t there anymore. These changes can have significant impacts on insect, songbird and other wildlife populations which, in turn, can have economic and aesthetic impacts for humans, too.
To register for this free workshop, e-mail the Springfield Conservation Nature Center atSprfdNatureCenter@mdc.mo.gov or call 417-888-4237. When you register or call, indicate if you are staying for lunch and the afternoon work projects. (A free lunch will be provided from 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for those who participate in afternoon work projects.)
The Springfield Conservation Nature Center is located at 4601 South Nature Center Way in Springfield. This workshop is an example of how the Missouri Department of Conservation works with you and for you to sustain healthy forests, fish and wildlife.

MDC gets $1.1 million in USDA funds for new program for landowners

Seal of the United States Department of Agricu...

New MDC Missouri Outdoor Recreation Access Program will expand outdoor recreation activities.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is receiving one of 15 grants announced Monday, Aug. 17, by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack in which USDA is partnering with state agencies to improve wildlife habitat and enhance public access for recreational opportunities on private farmland, ranchland and forest land.
Through the Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentives Program (VPA-HIP), MDC will receive $1.1 million from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). VPA-HIP funds will be matched with MDC and partner contributions bringing the total, three-year program investment to $2.1 million.
MDC Private Land Services Division Chief Bill White said the grant will help MDC create a new public access program, called the Missouri Outdoor Recreation Access Program (MRAP). MRAP will expand outdoor recreation activities in the state, such as hunting and wildlife viewing. MRAP will focus on ensuring quality habitat is available on all enrolled parcels of land. Funds will be provided to landowners who provide public access for hunting or wildlife viewing. Applications will be prioritized based on percentage of parcel consisting of wildlife habitat, contract length, outdoor activity selections and proximity to metropolitan areas. MDC’s goal with MRAP is to enroll 10,000 acres statewide during the program’s first three years.
“The Department has a nationally recognized partnership with NRCS that continues to bring additional Farm Bill dollars to Missouri landowners to improve our fish, forest and wildlife resources,” White said. “With the VPA grant, this money will benefit Missouri hunters and anglers too.”
NRCS State Conservationist J.R. Flores added, “The conservation partnerships in Missouri are second to none. NRCS even shares office space with a number of MDC biologists, who work side-by-side with our natural resources professionals. Connecting outdoor recreation to private lands conservation is good for wildlife, people, and rural economies.”
In evaluating proposals for funding, NRCS looked for projects that would: increase private land acreage available for public use; offer a public access program that gains widespread acceptance among landowners; make special efforts to reach historically underserved or socially disadvantaged landowners; ensure appropriate wildlife habitat is located on enrolled land; strengthen existing wildlife habitat improvement efforts; follow NRCS conservation practice standards; and inform the public about the locations of existing and new lands where public access is available.
In addition to Missouri, NRCS awarded grants for projects in Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Nationally, NRCS is providing $20 million to projects in the 15 states.
Interested landowners will have the opportunity to enroll in MRAP in the summer of 2016. For more information on available grant monies from MDC, landowners can contact Chris McLeland, MRAP Program Manager, at Chris.Mcleland@mdc.mo.gov.