Landowner Assistance

On the Ground: In Focus Areas, Neighbors Work Together for Quail

“If you enjoy seeing wildlife, you have to put a little back,” says Knox County farmer Kevin Strange. Two cost-share programs—MDC’s Landowner Assistance and the USDA Conservation Reserve Program’s Practice 33—make it easy for him and his neighbors to “put a little back” for quail. “You don’t raise much on those marginal areas anyway,” he said. “Plus you’re making the land better, you’re saving soil—and you’re getting paid to do it.” Kevin’s farm is in the Knox County Quail Focus Area, one of 34 private land areas in Missouri that have exceptional potential to support quail. Here, MDC staff and conservation partners encourage neighboring landowners to manage on a landscape scale. “While every restoration effort counts,” says Wildlife Ecologist Aaron Jeffries, “collaborative projects on Quail Focus Areas will create sizeable, stable bird populations.” To see if your land is in a Quail Focus Area, contact your regional office.

Control Muskrats

Online video shows you how to set traps.

Although they are important wetland ecosystem community members, muskrats and beavers can damage private ponds and lakes. Both muskrats and beavers burrow into dams and banks, and beavers cut trees and plug outlet tubes. When burrowers become nuisances, trapping is an effective way to control them. Our online video shows you how to use humane body-grip traps to solve muskrat problems in 24 hours. Using larger traps, the methods work with beavers, too. 

Stop Mowing Idle Areas

July-August grassland birds rely on your “natural” areas.

If mowing is one of your favorite summer pastimes, consider this: Studies have shown that quail populations double in areas where “recreational” mowing stops. We recommend you learn to love the natural look in your idle areas, which provide cover for quail and other ground-nesting wildlife, such as songbirds and rabbits. Where quail are concerned, a mower should only be used to maintain fire lines and walking trails, and to control weed growth in new shrub or grass plantings. If you allow your roadsides and crop borders to go natural, you’ll increase quail chick survival. In the fall, you’ll enjoy more quail calls and better hunting.