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Scout it Out: Turkey Hunting

Area Name: Edward Anderson Conservation Area

Location: Located 11 miles south of Hannibal on the Little Dixie National Scenic Byway, Highway 79 and approximately 20 miles north of Louisiana, Mo. Use the Dupont CA boat ramp to reach Edward Anderson CA by boat.

For more info: General information on the spring turkey season is also available online.

Turkey hunting at Edward Anderson Conservation Area is not for those who want a leisurely walk through the woods, but hardy hunters who want a good shot at bringing home a gobbler will love the area.

Located about 11 miles south of Hannibal, the 1,046-acre Edward Anderson CA is chock-full of turkeys. Its natural features include steep river hills with breathtaking views of the Mississippi River and rich bottomland forests. The ridges that overlook the river are good places to hunt. Be prepared for a rugged hike to get there, as walk-in and river access are the only ways to reach the interior of the CA. Patience and flexibility are key to a successful turkey hunt at Edward Anderson. You will hear turkeys call from virtually every direction, but calling them into range might be difficult, so you must be willing to move closer to where the birds are located.

In addition to great hunting, Edward Anderson CA is great for birdwatching, testing your skills at tree identification and hiking. In October it’s ideal for viewing fall color.

Weekly Fishing Reports

Sign up to receive e-mails about fishing conditions.

Find out how the fish are biting in Missouri waters by signing up for the Department of Conservation statewide weekly fishing report. The report covers more than 60 areas. It includes information about water conditions, most active fish species, angler success and the most effective baits, lures and strategies. It is distributed by e-mail every Thursday, April through September. To subscribe, simply submit your e-mail address at www.MissouriConservation.org/4183.

Share the Experience

Mentor a novice turkey hunter this spring.

Many hunters say some of their best outdoor memories are of times when they took a friend or family member hunting for the first time. The new Apprentice Hunter Authorization will give experienced turkey hunters greater opportunities to mentor novices this month. It allows novice hunters ages 16 and older, who are not hunter education certified, to buy firearms hunting permits. Authorization holders must hunt in the immediate presence of a licensed hunter age 21 or older, who is hunter ed certified. The exemption from the hunter ed training requirement is valid for two consecutive years, but an Authorization must be purchased each year. More details about the authorizations are available online.

Feathered Fascination

Egg Size and Color

If you examined the eggs laid by 10 different birds you likely would find 10 different types of eggs. Bird eggs come in a large variety of colors and sizes. The variations are important to the survival of bird species.

From pure white to almost black, bird eggs come in a wide array of colors. Color often helps protect eggs from predators. Birds that lay eggs on the ground often have speckled eggs that blend in with the habitat. Birds that lay eggs that are blue or green often nest in trees and shrubs where dappled sunlight makes it difficult for predators to spot their eggs. The eggs of cavity nesting birds often are white. Ornithologists theorize that the brightness of the eggs helps the parents easily locate their nests.

The size of an egg is based in part on the size of the bird laying the egg. Egg size also depends on how developed the baby bird will be once it comes out. If the species of bird tends to be more developed at hatching, the eggs tend to be larger because they contain more yolk to grow the bird embryo to a larger size.

Attention Bird Lovers

Get a special glimpse of American white pelicans.

Missouri nature viewers can enjoy a special treat this month. American white pelicans will migrate through the state. The birds use our rivers, lakes and ponds to rest and eat. Fountain Grove Conservation Area and Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge, near the town of Sumner in north central Missouri, are good places to view the massive birds.

Averaging 10-to-17 pounds, with an 8-to-9 1/2 foot wingspan, American white pelicans are an impressive sight. The bird’s large pinkish or yellow-orange bill basically serves as a fishnet. The bill holds the soft throat or gular tissue that stretches to become a pouch when the bird is fishing. Equally impressive is the amount of food they consume: about 3 pounds per day. Several pelicans might fish cooperatively, moving into a circle to concentrate fish. They gather food by scooping up large quantities of water and small fish. The water trapped in the pouch slowly drains, leaving the fish for the bird to eat.

The spring migration period is a great time to beef up your birding list. View the Department of Conservation Web site for tips on birding tools and good birding locations.

Spring Sing

Listen for northern spring peeper calls.

On warm nights this month, treat yourself to a natural concert under the stars. Visit small fishless ponds to hear northern spring peepers call. Their high-pitched, peeping call is a true announcement of spring.

The northern spring peeper is a small treefrog. It is pinkish, gray or light tan with a dark X-mark on the back and averages from 3/4-to-1 1/4 inch in head-body length. The woodland species lives near ponds, streams and swamps where there is thick undergrowth. Spring peepers are active from late winter to late fall.

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