Ask the Ombudsman
Q: When I was turkey hunting on a conservation area, someone drove a tractor into the nearby field and began planting. Can’t the agricultural work on public hunting areas be scheduled to avoid the spring turkey season?
A: Many of the crops that are grown on conservation areas are put in and harvested by local farmers who contract with the Department for specific plantings. They typically farm their own properties as well and must arrange all of their spring work around soil conditions and appropriate planting dates. Given that the conservation area work is usually a small part of a larger farming operation, we do not wish to constrain them during a three-week period in the spring when conditions may be suitable for planting, but we will ask them to avoid morning activities when possible. Overall, hunters benefit from having crops and food plots planted on the areas, although a few hunts may be disturbed by the work.
Q: What precautions should I take to avoid spreading zebra mussels when moving my boat to another lake?
A: There are several precautions that should be taken. These include: inspect the boat to remove any mussels or aquatic plants; drain any water from motor, livewells, bilge and transom wells; put any leftover bait in a trash container or in a plastic bag and dispose of it in your household trash; and rinse and dry the boat (do-it-yourself carwashes work well). Allow the boat, motor and trailer to dry thoroughly in the sun for at least five days before launching it in a different lake or stream. Here’s a link to more detailed instructions: www.mdc.mo.gov/node/4681.
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.
Responsibility is key for outdoor users.
As the father of two teenagers, I can tell you the word “responsibility” is used frequently in our household. One of the things my wife, Kelley, and I try to stress to our kids is that as they get older, life will place more responsibility on them to know what they should or should not do. Ultimately, we all eventually decide how we act based on our system of beliefs, and a system of laws.
In the spring and summer months, the level of fishing activity on our public waters increases greatly. Many times in my more than 20 years as a conservation agent, I have contacted people fishing who ask this question: “Hey, you wouldn’t happen to have a ruler with you, would you?” This question usually tells me the person I’m contacting has at least one fish in possession which has not been measured to ensure the fish is of legal length. It also tells me the person is aware there may be a length limit established for that particular body of water and species of fish, but they probably don’t know what the length limit actually is, or they haven’t brought some sort of measuring device with them.
Length limits on fish are set after taking many factors into consideration. Different bodies of water may require different length limits on particular fish species in order to help ensure a stable, healthy and prosperous fish population. A key responsibility for the outdoor user is to know what length limits apply to the body of water and particular species of fish they seek.
The Missouri Department of Conservation tries to ensure people have easy access to regulation information. Printed regulations are available at permit vendors statewide. On our website, you can find fishing regulations at www.mdc.mo.gov/node/3104 and hunting and trapping regulations at www.mdc.mo.gov/node/2454. A phone call to your local conservation agent can also get your regulation questions answered before you go afield. Don’t let a lack of information keep you from responsibly enjoying Missouri’s great outdoors.
Scott Bumgardaner is the conservation agent for Madison County. If you would like to contact the agent for your county, phone your regional Conservation office listed on Page 3.
To view fishing and hunting seasons, visit www.missouriconservation.org/seasons/
For complete information about seasons, limits, methods and restrictions, consult the Wildlife Code and the current summaries of “Missouri Hunting and Trapping Regulations” and “Missouri Fishing Regulations,” the “Fall Deer and Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information,” the “Waterfowl Hunting Digest” and the “Migratory Bird Hunting Digest.” This information is on our Web site at www.MissouriConservation.org/regs/ and at permit vendors.
The Conservation Department’s computerized point-of-sale system allows you to purchase or replace your permits through local vendors or by phone. The toll-free number is 800/392-4115. Allow 10 days for delivery of telephone purchases. To purchase permits online go to www.missouriconservation.org/8707.