Ask the Ombudsman
Q: I saw what appeared to be puffs of smoke coming from my cedar trees. When I investigated, there was no fire there. Can you explain my observation?
A: Cedar trees, including our common Eastern red cedar, are conifers and produce male cones and female cones on separate trees. The cones on male cedars are small, rusty-brown, scaly structures that produce cedar pollen. When the male cones are mature, usually late February through March in Missouri, they release their dust-like pollen into the air. The pollen is so abundant that small “clouds” of it are released when a gust of wind shakes the branches of a male cedar tree. After the pollen is shed, the tiny male cones will fall from the trees. The pollinated female cones, on female trees, will continue to grow and develop into this year’s crop of cedar “berries.” I’m sure that your “smoke” was clouds of cedar pollen being released into the air.
Q: I just turned 65 years old. Am I now exempt from needing hunting and fishing permits?
A: Missouri residents 65 years of age or older are exempt from needing a small-game hunting permit or a fishing permit. You must carry proof of age and residence with you while hunting or fishing, such as a Missouri driver’s license. Depending on the type of hunting and fishing that you do, there may be other permits that you still must purchase, such as deer and turkey tags, migratory bird permit, trout permit, and daily trout tag at trout parks.
Ombudsman Tim Smith will respond to your questions, suggestions or complaints concerning Department of Conservation programs. Write him at PO Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0180, call him at (573) 522-4115, ext. 3848, or e-mail him at Ombudsman@mdc.mo.gov.