What Is It?
Our photographers have been busy exploring the intricacies of the Missouri outdoors. See if you can guess this month’s natural wonder.
Ask the Ombudsman
Q: I noticed references to bowfin in the fishing regulations booklet but that species is not pictured. What is a bowfin?
A: Bowfin (Amia calva), also called dogfish, grindle, grinnel, cypress trout, and mud fish, are most abundant in Missouri in the southeastern lowlands. They can also be found in the Mississippi River and rarely in the Missouri River. The species is not closely related to any other fish, it being the only species in its family. The common name bowfin refers to the long dorsal fin that moves in a wavelike motion. Bowfin can inhabit waters that are low in oxygen, such as stagnant pools and shallow water areas that are drying up. Opinions vary about bowfin as table fare. It is recommended to eat them freshly caught and to keep the meat iced down to prevent it from becoming mushy prior to cooking.
Q: Now that I am 65 years old, am I still required to buy hunting and fishing permits?
A: It depends on what type of hunting and fishing you do. Missouri residents who are 65 years old or older may fish and small-game hunt without permits. You should carry with you a form of identification that includes your birth date (such as a driver’s license). Permits not covered by the age exemption include: Fishing: Trout Permit, daily fishing tags at trout parks and the White River Border Lakes Permit (for fishing in the Arkansas portions of some lakes in southern Missouri).
Hunting: Migratory Bird Hunting Permit, federal duck stamp, deer and turkey tags, Conservation Order Permit.
Q: The songbirds that visited my birdfeeders over the summer seem to have vanished. What happened to them?
A. In the fall, many of our summer birds leave for the tropics to spend the winter. Birds that move into our area from regions to our north don’t always arrive at the same time, so there is often a fall lull in bird activity. Another factor in late summer and fall is that there can be an abundance of fleshy fruits and seeds in our fields and forests, allowing birds to find preferred foods away from our feeders. Our resident birds also shift their ranges with the change in the seasons — the cardinals that you see in your backyard during the summer are often not the same cardinals that you have during the winter. It takes a little while for everyone to get sorted out. By the first cold weather of late October, the bird numbers should be increasing again at your feeders.
Q: Is it legal to remove the meat from a harvested turkey or butcher a deer while in the field, rather than carrying or dragging out the whole carcass?
A. Hunters will often field dress (gut) a harvested animal after notching their tag. To do further processing in the field, you must first Telecheck the animal. Depending on your location, you may or may not be able to reach the Telecheck line from the field with a cell phone. If you are able to Telecheck the animal and you record the Telecheck confirmation number on the permit, you may then do further processing in the field. While not required, it is a good idea to retain the appropriate part of the animal to document that it met the legal requirement for harvest (turkey beard from spring turkey, deer antler for buck harvest).
Ombudsman Tim Smith will respond to your questions, suggestions, or complaints concerning the Conservation Department.
Address: PO Box 180, Jefferson City, 65102-0180
Phone: 573-522-4115, ext. 3848
Hunter Education Certification
One question I receive regularly is, “Can I go hunting if I haven’t gone through hunter education?” If you plan to hunt during a Missouri firearms season or you are acting as an adult mentor, you must first complete an approved hunter education certification program and provide proof of completion unless:
- You are 15 years or younger and will be hunting with a properly permitted adult mentor 18 years of age or older.
- You were born before Jan. 1, 1967.
- You are 16 or older and have purchased an Apprentice Hunter Authorization and will be hunting with a properly permitted adult mentor 18 years of age or older.
- You are the landowner or lessee hunting on land you own or upon which you reside.
- If you can prove you completed an approved hunter education course in another state, you are not required to take Missouri’s hunter education course. Conservation makes Missouri a great place to hunt, and the Department of Conservation promotes safe, knowledgeable, and responsible hunting through its hunter education course. Hunter education has reduced hunting accidents and deaths by more than 70 percent since it became mandatory in 1987. Take hunter education early to avoid the fall rush. The course is now more flexible, convenient, and interactive for students. To learn more about hunter education certification or to find a course near you, call your regional office (see Page 3) or visit mdc.mo.gov/node/3095.
Roger E. Wolken is the Northwest Protection Regional Supervisor. If you would like to contact the agent for your county, phone your regional conservation office.
What Is It?
Above is a freshwater jellyfish in its second phase of life (called the ”medusa” form). The medusa form is most abundant in late summer. They can be found statewide in calm or standing waters and float just below the surface. This creature is translucent, sometimes faintly tinted tan, gray, white, green, or blue. When fully grown, it is about ½ to 1 inch in diameter. Up to 400 tentacles lines the edge of the umbrella-like body. When a tiny prey touches a tentacle, stinging cells help subdue the prey. A few people have reported itching or redness when they come into contact with freshwater jellyfish, but most people don’t feel them at all. —photo by Jim Rathert