Miscellany

Ask the Ombudsman

Q: What causes the black, bitter-tasting spots on pecan nutmeats?

A: More than likely, the spots are due to stink bugs. There are a number of different varieties of stink bug, and they are hearty and prolific. It appears they are more numerous when conditions are cool and dry. Weedy conditions are attractive to stink bugs, as some plants (Jimson weed and certain grasses) serve as hosts during a portion of their life cycle. Stink bugs will feed on crops through the summer and move into nut orchards toward the end of the growing season.

One stink bug control strategy that nut growers have been known to use is to plant small patches of soybeans near their orchard. The stink bugs are lured to those sites where they can be treated with nominal amounts of pesticide before they have the opportunity to infest the nut crop.

Some Web sites that might be of interest are listed below.

Other tree pests that present major concerns are exotic species such as the Asian longhorned beetle, emerald ash borer and the gypsy moth. To learn more about these and other potential tree destroyers, explore the links listed below.

Ombudsman Ken Drenon will respond to your questions, suggestions or complaints concerning Conservation Department programs. Write him at P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0180, call him at (573) 522-4115, ext. 3848, or e-mail him at <Ken.Drenon@mdc.mo.gov>.

Agent Notes

MDC makes it easy for you to know the hunting and fishing regulations.

Just as drivers must know the rules of the road, hunters and anglers need to be aware of the regulations governing their activities. The Missouri Wildlife Code covers all hunting, fishing and trapping regulations in our state. It also includes special regulations for conservation areas. The Wildlife Code book—a pocket-size, 200-plus page softcover volume—is published annually and is available from any permit vendor or Conservation Department office. It reproduces portions of the Wildlife Code that recreational and commercial users of outdoor resources would find most relevant to their activities. The full text of the Wildlife Code is available from the Conservation Department’s main headquarters or the Secretary of State’s office. View the complete Wildlife Code online.

The Department also publishes annual summaries of both hunting and trapping regulations and fishing regulations.

The summaries, which are free and widely available, are written in a user-friendly language. Deer and turkey season regulations and migratory bird regulations are published separately because those seasons are not approved until later in the year.

The Wildlife Code varies little from year to year, but changes do occur. An easy way to keep abreast of regulation changes is to check the front pages of the summary pamphlets. All changes for the current year are highlighted there.

Tim McDaniel is the conservation agent for Lincoln County, which is in the St. Louis region. If you would like to contact the agent for your county, phone your regional Conservation office.

Time Capsule

September 1958

Farm Foresters—County Agents of the Woods was written by Edwin H. Glaser about farm forestry. This group started in 1940 with the help of the U.S. Forest Service. Their mission was “to serve the private woodland owner.” There were then 14 professional foresters established in districts. They worked with private farmers educating them on timber management. The majority of the farmers knew little about forest management and learned to get the most out of their timber. They learned how to pick out the ripe trees for cutting, how to contract on timber sale, work with mill operators for timber supplies, and identify insects that could be controlled. —Contributed by the Circulation staff

Behind the Code

Baiting deer or turkeys violates the principle of fair chase.

Hunters can use bait to attract some animals, such as fish and furbearers, but not others. The Wildlife Code prohibits using bait to attract deer and turkeys to prevent hunters from having too much of an advantage over their quarry, or over other hunters.

This concept of “fair chase” is rigorously enforced. Hunters are prohibited from using bait, such as grain or other feed placed or scattered so as to attract deer or turkeys. They also may not hunt areas that are baited or have contained bait, unless the bait was removed at least 10 days before. Hunters are in violation even if they don’t know an area is or was baited. Those who place bait and cause others to be in violation of the baiting regulation can also be prosecuted.

Scents and minerals, including salt, are allowed. However, a mineral block may not contain grain or food additives. The rules allow hunters to hunt near food plots grown for the benefit of wildlife, as long as normal agricultural practices are followed. A departure from these practices, such as brush hogging or knocking the grain out or putting it on the ground, turns a food plot into a baited site for deer and turkey.

Federal rules prevent hunters from using bait to attract waterfowl and govern the use of bait for other migratory birds.

People who feed or bait deer and turkey for wildlife viewing should be aware that drawing animals into unusual concentrations raises the likelihood of diseases spreading through the population.