Ask The Ombudsman
Q: What are the regulations regarding how long deer and wild turkey meat can be stored in a freezer before using?
A: Turkeys may not be possessed or stored any later than February 15 of the year following the close of the season when taken. There is no similar requirement for storing venison beyond a certain date. As recently as 1998, there was such a requirement for venison to be used by August 31 of the following year, but a regulations change eliminated it. With more liberal harvest limits for antlerless deer, we felt that it was impractical for many hunters to use all their venison prior to the next year’s deer season. Stored deer and turkeys taken in Missouri should be labeled with the taker’s full name and address, the date taken and the Telecheck confirmation number.
Q: I had some robins on my property recently. Don’t robins go south for the winter?
A: Robins are more common in southern Missouri during the winter but they can also be found, in somewhat lower numbers, in northern Missouri, depending on the weather. During the fall, robins form winter flocks and move into wooded areas, where they feed on fruits, berries and invertebrates in the leaf litter. Massive flocks (sometimes more than a million birds) usually return to the same roosting sites each night. These locations are often dense stands of cedars or other evergreens, which provide some thermal insulation as well as predator protection. When spring returns, the flocks break up into breeding pairs and robins become common throughout the state.
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.
Nuisance wildlife and trapping in Missouri
Trapping has been a tradition for hundreds of years in Missouri. While fur prices have dropped, the need for trapping has not. An overabundance of furbearers creates problems resulting in a different style of trapping. The Conservation Department strives to work with you to maintain healthy furbearer populations
Nuisance wildlife trapping may be an issue at your home. Conservation agents receive nuisance complaints on a regular basis and lend support and equipment as needed.
I recently received a call from a woman in Van Buren who had an “aggressive” opossum chasing her from her shed to her porch. This woman lived in town, so I brought a 10-inch live trap and placed it just inside the door to her shed. I wasn’t sure where the opossum was hiding, but this was the last place she saw it. Using a can of cat food, I set the trap. I had hopes of catching the critter that evening, but figured I would catch a stray cat first. Much to my surprise, the next morning the opossum was in my trap, and the woman’s troubles were over.
Whether the nuisance animal is a skunk, opossum, raccoon, etc., there is a solution. It isn’t always as easy as it was with the opossum, but creativity and patience will pay off. A few tricks will help get you started:
- Cat food is great bait to start with.
- Traps need to be big enough, just not too big!
- Set your trap close. The closer to the critter’s hideout the better.
- Don’t get frustrated! You’ll catch it!
Property owners retain the right to protect their property. Local Conservation Offices and Conservation Agents are there to help.
Remember to stay safe and always enjoy Missouri’s great outdoors.
David R. Baldridge is the conservation agent for Carter County. If you would like to contact the agent for your county, phone your regional Conservation office listed on Page 3.