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State Fair offerings

Visitors to the Conservation Department exhibit at the 2006 Missouri State Fair (August 10–20) will find a wealth of information about creating wildlife habitat and bringing conservation home. The Conservation Department’s area at the south end of the fairgrounds continues to have the ever-popular aquariums with native fish, turtles and amphibians, plus displays of live snakes. Youngsters can spend time in the hands-on Discovery room. The room also is a hit with adults who attend naturalist programs there in air-conditioned comfort. The Operation Game Thief trailer returns with displays of trophies and items confiscated from poachers and information about how to stop poaching close to home. If fishing is your thing, check out one of the Mobile Aquarium programs offered at 1, 4 and 6 p.m. daily.

Trail Summit set for Nov. 2–4

The 2006 Missouri Trail Summit will be Nov. 2 through 4 at the Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center in Kansas City. This is the third year for the forum to learn about and promote trail planning, construction, management and use. Join representatives from federal, state, local agencies and organizations and volunteers and trail advocacy groups. Attendees can choose from sessions and workshops dealing with trail surfaces, maintenance, river crossings, volunteer partnerships, trail grants and much more. Visit  or contact Teresa Kight, Teresa.Kight@mdc.mo.gov, (573) 522-4115, ext. 3636, for more information.

Web site connects birding partners worldwide

Birdwatching enthusiasts who have a yen for travel but don’t want to waste precious time looking for the best birding spots have a new friend—potentially thousands of friends— online. The idea is simple, enabling people to swap guide services in their home area for return favors in other locales. The site lets users “select a continent to find a local birder to go birding with.” Success varies. Some users find good contacts the first time. Others report difficulties in making connections. Approximately 60 percent of Birdingpal participants are from North America. The remainder live in 126 countries.

Zebra mussels

The discovery of zebra mussels in Lake of the Ozarks in June makes it more important than ever for Missouri anglers and boaters to exercise caution so as not to spread the invasive pest. Boaters should:

  • Drain the bilge water and live wells of boats before leaving one body of water to go to another.
  • Inspect their boats and trailers and remove any zebra mussels they find.
  • Dry boats and trailers for one week before entering another waterway, or
  • Wash boats and trailers with 104 degree water, a 10 percent chlorine and water solution, or a hot saltwater solution, and then rinse with clean water if the rinse water will not run into lakes or streams.
  • Anglers should empty and dry out bait buckets between uses in different lakes or streams and never transfer bait or fish from one water body to another. Dumping bait is not just irresponsible, it is illegal in Missouri.

Zebra mussels pose a serious ecological and economic threat to Missouri. All citizens need to take an active role in preventing further spread. For more information on zebra mussels, see below. To report possible zebra mussel sightings, call the nearest Conservation Department office (see page 1 for a list of regional office phone numbers) or contact Brian Canaday, (573) 522-4115 ext. 3371, Brian.Canaday@mdc.mo.gov, P.O. Box 180. Jefferson City, MO 65102-0180.

DU honors Missouri

Ducks Unlimited (DU), the world’s largest and most successful citizen waterfowl conservation group, recently honored the Missouri Conservation Commission for its long-term support for habitat restoration to benefit ducks, geese and other wetland wildlife. Present at the ceremony were, from left, Conservation Commission vice Chairman Steve Bradford, DU State Council Chairman George Thomlinson, Commission Chairman Lowell Mohler, DU State Chairman Jim Talbert, Commission Secretary Cynthia Metcalfe, Commissioner Chip McGeehan, DU Southern regional Office Director Ken Babcock and DU Director of Public Policy ross Melinchuk.

2006 record fish

A bullhead catfish caught south of Kansas City over the Memorial Day weekend might not look impressive to anglers who specialize in the larger members of the catfish tribe, but among bullheads this one is a behemoth. It raises Missouri’s state-record mark significantly and far outweighs the current national and international records.

John Irvin of Drexel landed the 6-pound, 6-ounce yellow bullhead using minnows and 6-pound-test line. The previous Missouri pole-line-and-lure record, set at a Blue Springs farm pond in 1986, weighed just 5 pounds, 13 ounces.

The International Game Fish Association (IGFA) in Diana Beach, Fla., counts a 4-pound, 4-ounce fish caught in Arizona as its all-tackle record, and the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame in Hayward, Wisc., recognizes a 4-pound, 15-ounce fish from Georgia as the high-water mark for yellow bullheads.

For more information about Missouri fishing records and how to apply for a record, visit online and click on “Fishing.” Next, click on “Fish and Fishing,” and then click on “Fishing records—pole and line.”

Arbor Day poster contest winner

Trevor Klump, a fifth-grade student at Valle Catholic School in Ste. Genevieve, is the winner of Missouri’s 2006 Arbor Day National Poster Contest. Klump’s poster was selected from more than 1,900 entries from 58 schools. He was honored during a tree planting ceremony on the school grounds on April 6 and received a $50 savings bond. His teacher, Linda Kertz, received a Trees Are Terrific Curriculum Kit and other prizes. State Arbor Day Poster Contest winners go on to the national competition. The national winner receives a $1,000 savings bond and a trip to National Arbor Day Headquarters in Nebraska City, Neb. visit www.arborday.org for more information about the contest and the foundation.

2006 Endangered Species Walk/Run

Mark your calendars for the Endangered Species Walk/Run October 7 in Jefferson City. Join hundreds of other walkers and runners from throughout Missouri to participate in this event that will raise funds to help restore habitat, conduct research, and support education projects for endangered animals and plants in Missouri. This seventh annual event is co-hosted by the Department of Conservation, Department of Natural Resources, and Jefferson City Parks, Recreation and Forestry. The race route is mostly on the scenic Katy Trail.

This year’s theme is protecting glade species and habitat. Some of the rare species typically found on Missouri’s glades include collared lizards, road runners, scorpions…and even tarantulas! The Missouri bladderpod and the miniscule geocarpon—glade plants—are both federally listed as threatened.

New this year is a Button Contest and Children’s Team registration. Children age 18 and under can submit artwork featuring a glade species. All artwork will be made into 2” diameter pin-buttons, and race participants will vote on their favorite. Also, teams of children can enter at a reduced rate ($10/team) and team photos will be taken the day of the race.

The $20 registration fee includes a long-sleeved colored T-shirt with original artwork. For more information, or to register or order a T-shirt, visit online or contact Donna Linnenbrink, P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City, 65102-0180, (573) 522-4115, ext. 3237.

Four tips for better brush piles

All brush piles are not created equal. Keep the following tips in mind when making brush piles for quail, rabbits and other ground-nesting wildlife.

  1. Get rid of grass first. Brush piles are most beneficial when the ground beneath them is open, not choked with grass sod. Kill grass with herbicide before starting brush piles.
  2. Don’t pile brush. In spite of their name, brush “piles” are most beneficial to rabbits and quail when they are low to the ground not piled high. Use the “chop-and-drop” technique, leaving trees where they fall.
  3. Leave the heavy stuff. resist the temptation to cut the limbs off main trunks and use them for posts or firewood. These heavy pieces of brush keep pile structure open and prevent rapid deterioration.
  4. Do a little every year. Brush piles have limited life spans. If you create 50 this year and burn yourself out, you will have no brush piles several years later. Creating a few brush piles each year provides the variety of habitat that quail and rabbits need and ensures a continuous supply of escape cover.

Final Lewis & Clark bicentennial events

September marks the end of the Lewis and Clark bicentennial, culminating in the final national event to be held Sept. 20 through 24 on the St. Louis riverfront. Details of this and other bicentennial events in Missouri are available at online or by contacting the Missouri Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commission, P.O. Box 176, 100 Jefferson St. Lohman Building, Suite 200, Jefferson City 65102, (573) 522-9019

Deer seasons set

Mark your calendars for deer season. This year’s dates are:

Firearms Deer

  • Urban Portion: Oct. 6–9
  • Youth Portion: Oct. 28–29
  • November Portion: Nov. 11–21
  • Muzzleloader Portion: Nov. 24–Dec. 3
  • Antlerless Portion: Dec. 9–17

Archery Deer and Turkey

  • Deer: Sept. 15–Nov. 10 and Nov. 22–Jan. 15

For permit availability, antler restrictions and counties open during the urban hunt, consult the 2006 Fall Deer and Turkey Hunting regulations and Information booklet, available from hunting permit vendors statewide.

Missouri’s bird flu risk from wild birds very low

The risk of avian influenza, commonly called bird flu, reaching Missouri via wild birds is extremely small this year. For the highly pathogenic H5N1 virus to get to Missouri through wild channels, ducks or other migratory birds would have to come in contact with birds from Asia. Very few birds that migrate through Missouri spend the summer in areas that Asian birds also visit.

State and federal authorities are focusing avian flu monitoring efforts on Alaska and the Pacific Flyway, where birds at highest risk are found. However, wildlife officials are working to ensure that the virus is detected early if an infected bird does reach the Show-Me State.

The Conservation Department is involved in national wild-bird monitoring. It took samples from 300 hunter-killed ducks at conservation areas last fall. This year’s monitoring will be part of the national effort. The Department will continue its normal practice of investigating reports of large numbers of dead or sick birds.

International travel by infected people and smuggling of birds are more likely ways for H5N1 to enter the United States. Details of the national bird flu monitoring effort are available online For answers to commonly asked questions about bird flu, visit online.

Field trip grants available

In its continuing support of education, the Conservation Department again is offering grants to help schools maintain curriculum quality. The grants enable schools to take students in grades K through 12 to conservation areas and other sites where they can see real-world examples of biology lessons and other conservation-related topics. Last year, the Conservation Field Trip Grant Program awarded almost $91,000 in field-trip grants to 271 schools.

Any Missouri school—public, private, parochial or home—may apply. Approved schools receive reimbursement for actual transportation expenses up to the amount awarded after submitting receipts for reimbursement, along with narratives describing trip accomplishments and benefits.

The 2006-2007 grant guidelines and applications will be sent to schools this month. Application information also is available from Conservation Department education staff, regional offices or online. Click on keywords “Education” and then “Conservation Field Trip Grant.” Applications will be accepted from Sept. 1 through March 1. Grants will be awarded on a first-requested, first-awarded basis to eligible applications.

New book helps identify prairie plant seedlings

The Nature Shop has a new book for people who want to identify prairie plants before they grow tall. The Central Region Seedling ID Guide for Native Prairie Plants (Item No. 01-0290) is spiral bound and has color photos and basic information about 40 commonly seeded native prairie grasses and wildflowers. It is especially helpful for prairie establishment or restoration projects. The price is $6 plus shipping and handling and sales tax, where applicable.

Also new at The Nature Shop are New Leaf Image note cards (Item No. 01-0315). At 10 cards and envelopes for $4.50 plus shipping, handling and sales tax, this is quite a bargain.

Wild Edibles of Missouri (item No. 01-0071), which has been out of print, now is back in stock for $12 plus shipping, handling and sales tax. This is the last printing, so order now.

To order these or other items, visit online or call toll-free (877) 521-8632.

Commission changes duck zone boundaries and sets early migratory bird seasons

At its June meeting, the Conservation Commission made one change to duck hunting zone boundaries and set early migratory bird seasons.

The three-zone structure for Missouri’s duck season remains unchanged except that I-70 now is the North/Middle zone boundary from the junction of Highway 47 west to the Kansas border. This shifts Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area into the Middle Zone. Further details are available online.

Also at the June meeting, the Commission set early migratory bird hunting seasons:

  • Sora and virginia rails: Sept. 1–Nov. 9.
  • Common snipe: Sept. 1–Dec. 16.
  • American woodcock: Oct. 15–Nov. 28.
  • Mourning dove, Eurasian collared doves and white-winged doves: Sept. 1–Nov. 9.
  • Teal: Sept. 9–24.

Duck into Web site for waterfowl reservations

Waterfowl hunters can apply for reservations at Missouri’s 14 managed wetland areas 24 hours a day, seven days a week from Sept. 1 through Sept. 18 by calling (800) 829-2956 or via the internet. You can apply for anyone in your immediate household. However, the reservation holder must be present at the draw for the reservation to be valid. Results of the drawing will be available at the same phone number and Web site beginning Oct. 2. To make reservations or check results you will need your nine-digit conservation ID number, which is found on the top of your hunting permit or on the back of your Heritage Card next to the bar code.

Agent Notebook

In my job duties, I often work with volunteers who help provide quality outdoor experiences for people with disabilities. I’m always impressed with the dedication, patience and creativity shown by the volunteers, as well as the participants.

All Missourians should have the opportunity to learn about and use Missouri’s fish, forest and wildlife resources. Sometimes it just takes a little initiative by the right people to make it happen.

Organized events like the National Wild Turkey Federation Wheelin’ Sportsmen’s Day at the Range program, many managed deer and turkey hunts, and the Outdoor Skills Camp for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children are just a few examples where volunteers can help. With a little searching you can find a variety of other opportunities to help people with disabilities enjoy the outdoors.

Including a disabled person in your next fishing trip, nature hike or hunting adventure can make a lifetime memory for everyone involved. I guarantee you that a child with a visual impairment feels as big a thrill as any other child when he or she gets to tag along on a deer hunt.

Hunting, fishing and other outdoor traditions are meant to be shared by everyone. I encourage you to do what you can to help all Missourians learn about and use our fish, forest and wildlife resources, regardless of their abilities. —Randy Doman, Dade County

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