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Trapping regulations change

Missourians who hunt or trap furbearers should know about several regulation changes effective this year. They include:

  • Bobcat seasons will be open statewide.
  • Furbearer hunting and trapping seasons will run from Nov.15 through Feb.15 for striped skunk, raccoon, opossum, badger, red fox, gray fox, coyote, bobcat, muskrat, mink and river otter. Exceptions are otter and muskrat trapping, which remain open through Feb.20 in Otter Trapping Zone E, and beaver trapping, which runs through March 31.
  • Otter Management Zone E has been enlarged to include the James River Basin in southwestern Missouri.
  • Pelts may be possessed and sold by the taker from November 15 through March 1.
  • Furbearers may be taken by trapping through the use of cable restraints Dec.15 through Feb.15 by holders of a Cable Restraint Permit ($25).Before purchasing the permit, trappers must complete an approved cable restraint training course.For information about course availability, contact the nearest Conservation Department regional service center after May 15.
  • Colony traps with openings no greater than 6 inches high and 6 inches wide set underwater will be legal for taking muskrats.
  • Killing-type (Conibear-type) traps set underwater and colony traps set underwater must be attended and wildlife removed at least once every 48 hours.
  • Foot-enclosing-type traps as well as cage-type traps now may be set within 150 feet of any resident or occupied building in towns of 10, 000 or more inhabitants.
  • Traps may be used in conjunction with electronic calls. Electronic calls may be used to pursue and take crows and furbearers during daylight and at night, but without the aid of an artificial light or nightvision equipment.

CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION SUPPORTS WILDLIFE

Sen. Kit Bond received special recognition from the Teaming with Wildlife Coalition in March for his staunch support of the federal State Wildlife Grant (SWG) program.

Besides backing the program from the start, Bond recently went on record in favor of a $100 million appropriation for the program in Fiscal Year 2005.Missouri receives a share of each year's SWG funding. The program helps states ensure that troubled wildlife species don't become endangered. Other members of Missouri's congressional delegation who support funding at the $100 million level include Sen.Jim Talent and representatives William Lacy Clay, Karen McCarthy, Kenny Hulshof, Ike Skelton and Dick Gephardt.

TIMBERDOODLERS UNITE

A group of dedicated woodcock hunters formed a conservation organization focusing exclusively on woodcock, also known as "timberdoodles" or "bogsuckers." The number of these migratory birds has dwindled in recent years for unknown reasons.

Woodcock Limited's goal is to work with local, private, state and federal organizations to stabilize and increase woodcock populations through research and habitat and harvest management.

One of the group's goals is to achieve a voluntary limit on woodcock harvests, an idea borrowed from waterfowl conservation groups. Besides being a game species, woodcocks are beloved by birdwatchers for their spectacular aerial mating display, which occurs in late winter and early spring. Information about Woodcock Limited is available from <fjezioro@msn.com> or online.

Take-a-kid fishing charity tournament is May 8

The 12th Annual Take A Kid Fishing Tournament will be held May 8 at Table Rock Lake's Port of Kimberling Marina. Proceeds will benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

The winning adult/youth team will receive $1, 000.The Lost Creek Bass Club will award additional cash prizes for every 20 boats in the tournament. A drawing for a Harley-Davidson Buell Blaster will follow the weigh-in.The entry fee is $50 per boat. Tournament headquarters is the Kimberling Inn in Kimberling City. For entry forms or other tournament information, call (417) 887-1640. For special tournament rates on lodging, call (800) 883-5551.

Wetlands named for former commissioners

Former Conservation commissioners Ronald J. Stites of Plattsburg, and Randy Herzog of St. Joseph were honored recently with the dedication of wetland units at Nodaway Valley Conservation Area in northwest Missouri.The commissioners are shown here with their wives, Mary Herzog and Emily Fowler.

GYPSY MOTH TRAPPING RESUMES

Starting this month, forestry officials with the Missouri Department of Conservation will hang triangular orange cardboard traps on trees throughout the state.They are trying to catch gypsy moths, the winged pests that have devastated forests in the eastern and north-central United States.

The gypsy moth is slowly extending its range west and south, with populations increasing in Wisconsin, northeastern Illinois and northern Indiana. Gypsy moths can colonize new areas by laying eggs on motor homes or other vehicles and equipment used by interstate travelers.To prevent a leapfrog infestation from getting out of hand in Missouri, agriculture and forestry officials set out traps baited with female moth pheromones.The discovery of gypsy moths in an area warns of a developing infestation.

Foresters will monitor the traps through August.If you see a trap, please leave it in place. These traps are our first line of defense against these destructive pests.

If you have questions or concerns about gypsy moth traps, call (573) 751-5505 or (573) 882-9909, ext. 3303, or e-mail <michael.brown@mda.mo.gov> or <foresthealth@mdc.mo.gov>.

Catch Lewis & Clark fever this month

The celebration of the Lewis and Clark expedition's passage through Missouri starts this month and continues into July, with events large and small from St. Louis to the Iowa border. Lewis and Clark events are scheduled for:

  • May 14-23 in St. Charles (Call 636-946-7776 for more information.)
  • May 22-26 in Washington, Mo. ((636) 239-2715, ext. 102)
  • May 22 in Hermann ((800) 932-8687)
  • May 26 and 27 in New Haven ((573) 237-3830)
  • May 28-30 at the Missouri National Guard Ike Skelton Training Site, Jefferson City ((800) 726-8852)
  • June 1-3 in Jefferson City ((573) 634-6482)
  • June 4-6 at Franklin Island Conservation Area ((800) 726-8852)
  • June 5 at Cooper's Landing, Easley ((573) 657-2544)
  • June 4-14 in Boonville ((660) 882-2721 or (660) 882-7977)
  • June 1-30 at Arrow Rock State Park, featuring an exhibit focusing on wildlife and the Corps of Discovery. (660-837-3330.)
  • June 9-12 in Glasgow ((660) 338-2576)
  • June 12-13 in Brunswick ((660) 548-9771)
  • June 16 in Waverly ((660) 493-2314)
  • June 23 at Fort Osage in Sibley (816-650-5737, <>)
  • June 26-27 in Weston ((888) 635-7457)
  • July 3-4 in Kansas City ((800) 858-1749)
  • July 4 at Lewis & Clark State Park, Rushville ((816) 579-5564)
  • July 5-11 in St. Joseph ((800) 604-4600)

An excellent source of information about Lewis and Clark bicentennial events in Missouri is <www.lewisandclark.net.>

Accessibility information is just a click away

Would you like to find a wheelchair-accessible fishing dock or boat ramp on a lake or stream near home? How about a waterfowl hunting blind that is manageable for a physically challenged youth, or a fully accessible nature center?

Locating such facilities is as simple as going online. There you can search for different facility types in a comprehensive database of hundreds of conservation areas by region or county. Access to accessibility has never been easier.

One example of a highly accessible spot is Lake Jacomo south of Blue Springs in Jackson County.This 970-acre area has camping, fishing, hiking trails, picnicking, parking, an education center and an archery range accessible to wheelchair users. For more information, call (816) 655-6254 or (816) 795-8200.

On your mark! Set! Drift!

If you spend time on the Missouri River downstream from the Chariton County community of Brunswick, watch for yellow dugout canoes. Look sharply, though; the boats are only 14 inches long.

The boats, carved from untreated landscape timbers, are contestants in an innovative education project sponsored by the River Valley Development Committee.To motivate the students to learn more about the river's recreational and economic value, the nonprofit group gave a bright yellow dugout to each of 124 school classes in 30 communities, from Brunswick down to Augusta in St. Charles County. In all, more than 2, 600 students are involved. Each class decorated its boat and placed a message in a 35-mm film canister in a special compartment in the stern.

The boats were launched en masse April 24 at Brunswick. Carried along by the river's 3- to 4-mph current, the boats could make the 184-mile journey to Augusta in as little as two days.The group's volunteers were waiting at Augusta to spot the winner of the "race."

If you see a dugout bobbing toward the Gulf of Mexico, pick it up and use the note in the film canister to contact its student owners to let them know how far their boat traveled.

MAY: the month for shady places

May is the month of frilly forest blossoms. If you have a shady place on your property, you can mimic a forest garden with a Grow Native! Shady Haven design.

The Shady Haven design includes small trees and shrubs, such as Eastern redbud and Indian cherry, that provide food and cover for wildlife. These plants are suitable for partial or high shade areas that allow some light to filter through. Bright, delicate species such as sweet William, Solomon's seal and woodland spiderwort create a serene atmosphere for you and a natural habitat for birds, butterflies and small wildlife.Add a bench for relaxing in your cool refuge.

Plants on the Shady Haven design include:

  • Wild sweet William
  • Woodland spiderwort
  • Wild ginger
  • Celandine poppy
  • Solomon's seal
  • Wafer ash
  • Wild hydrangea
  • Eastern redbud
  • Indian cherry

For more information about the Shady Haven design and landscaping with Missouri's native plants, visit the Grow Native! web site or write for a home landscaping guide from Grow Native! P.O.Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102.

Columbia Bottom open house set

Missourians can visit the new education and visitor center at Columbia Bottom Conservation Area during an open house from 2 to 7 p.m.May 27.Other features of interest include outdoor exploration stations, a fishing pier, hiking trails, boardwalk, river access, wetland areas and an elevated viewing platform overlooking the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers.The area is at 801 Strodtman Road north of I-270 in northern St. Louis County. For more information, call (636) 441-4554.

AGENT NOTEBOOK

Almost every weekend during the summer I find myself visiting with various people on Ozark streams.Warm weather draws a lot of Missourians to our waterways.Some go there to enjoy a leisurely float.Others like to fish, camp or boat. Most of the time, everyone gets along just fine. Occasionally, however, conflicts arise between people who only want to enjoy the river in their own way.

Most of the time, the conflict is caused by someone who doesn't respect the rights of others. I hear complaints of canoeists floating too close to anglers, of jet boat operators blowing by canoeists, and of people who feel the outdoors is the perfect place to express themselves in loud, offensive language.

Applying the Golden Rule would eliminate many of the conflicts among river users. Missouri is offering us warm summer weather with beautiful places to enjoy it.Why ruin our day or someone else's day with rude behavior? If everyone respected everyone else's right to outdoor recreation, we could all enjoy the wonderful resources Missouri has to offer.

Conservation agents are often asked to intervene when someone's behavior crosses the line. If the action is unintentional and not the result of meanness or ill will, we'll try to deal with it with a friendly reminder. However, if a violation of state statutes or regulations occurs, conservation agents will issue a citation or make an arrest. Either is guaranteed to spoil a beautiful day for the perpetrator. -- Dennis Twyman

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