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CONSERVATION FEDERATION

The Voice for Missouri Outdoors MAY 2018 - VOL 79 | NO. 3


Director’s Message

Conservationists at the State Capitol

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he collective force of the Conservation Federation has been on display at the Missouri State Capitol. Four weeks of Conservationists at the Capitol led up to an outstanding fourth annual Conservation Day at the Capitol. Hundreds of dedicated conservationists made the trip to Jefferson City to share a message; Missourians care deeply for wildlife and natural resources, and we will fight against any attempts to erode what nearly a century of work has built – the greatest conservation state in America. Each Wednesday, from February 21 through March 14, CFM convened a group of conservationists at the Missouri State Capitol to tour the building and meet with legislators. We discussed important topics and legislative initiatives concerning conservation and natural resources. We worked on understanding the process of passing legislation. Participants learned how to deliver testimony in public hearings. They walked all four f loors of the building and came away with a much better understanding of what takes place inside those hallowed halls. To attract individuals and organizations sharing specific interests, we hosted four themed days – Hunters, Trappers and Anglers; Parks and Recreation; Forestry; and Land, Water and Environment. Collectively, over the course of these four days, we introduced nearly 40 individual conservationists to the process of political advocacy work at the Capitol. Dana Ripper, director of the Missouri River Bird Observatory, said, “The legislative training session you held in Jefferson City that Ethan Duke and I attended was the extremely informative and most appreciated.” On Tuesday, March 27 over 400 Missourians gathered for CFM’s fourth annual Conservation Day at the Capitol. This event rallies dedicated conservationists together to show our support for wildlife natural resources. Thirty-one affiliate organizations set up booths on the 3rd f loor of the Capitol in the rotunda. The Morning Shag with Shags and Trevor from 96.7 broadcast live from the event. Legislators and attendees had their picture taken with a bald eagle from the World Bird Sanctuary.

(Top) Mike Kehoe, center, recieves a Conservation Achievement Award for his work in the Senate. (Photo: CFM) (Bottom) Tommie Pierson, second from the left, recieves a Conservation Achievement Award for his work in the House. (Photo: CFM)

Large crowds gathered as we presented our Legislator of the Year Awards to Senator Mike Kehoe and State Representative Tommie Pierson, Jr. We encouraged attendees to meet one-on-one with their legislators and tell them how much the outdoors and conservation means to them. I know many of them did, and represented CFM as whole, helping us live up to our motto of being “The Voice for Missouri Outdoors.” As a citizen, you are the most important piece of our democratic process. Your elected officials work for you. These men and women aren’t celebrities who just walk around in parades shaking hands and kissing babies. They have real jobs to do representing you and your concerns in our legislative process. But if they never hear from you, how are they supposed to know what you desire of them. Therefore, it is your responsibility to inform your elected officials what you expect of them.

Yours in Conservation, Brandon Butler Executive Director, CFM MAY - 2018

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CONTENTS

Conservation Federation May 2018 - V79 No. 3

Features

OFFICERS

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42

62

58

32

Bull Shoals Lake: One Stop Boat Shop

34

Conservation Awards Presented

42

Save the American Red Wolf

44

Five Quick Stes to Locating Bass

56

Mini-Crankbaits for Trout

58

Keep Close to the Willows

60

Get Ready for Adventures in Bear Country

62

Frogs and Mice in the Heavy Stuff

Departments 3 8 11

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Director’s Message President's Message Member News New Members Gear Guide Weston Recipe Affiliate Spotlight Agency News

CONSERVATION FEDERATION

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Highlights 17 22 41 47 54 55

Chambers Scholarship Moves to CFM New Stream Team Director Conservation Efforts in Farm Bill Spring Squirrel Hunting On Target for Trout CWD Reports

Gary Van De Velde

President

Mossie Schallon

1st Vice President

Richard Mendenhall

2nd Vice President

Ginny Wallace

Secretary

Randy Washburn

Treasurer

STAFF Brandon Butler

Executive Director & Editor

Micaela Haymaker

Director of Operations

Michelle Gabelsberger

Membership Development Coordinator

Jennifer Sampsell

Education & Outreach Coordinator

Tyler Schwartze

Events Manager

Joan VanderFeltz

Administrative Assistant

Emma Kessinger

Creative Director

ABOUT THE MAGAZINE

CFM Mission: To ensure conservation of Missouri’s wildlife and natural resources, and preservation of our state’s rich outdoor heritage through advocacy, education and partnerships. Conservation Federation is the publication of the Conservation Federation of Missouri (ISSN 1082-8591). Conservation Federation (USPS 012868) is published bi-monthly in January, March, May, July, September and November for subscribers and members. Of each member’s dues, $10 shall be for a year’s subscription to Conservation Federation. Periodical postage paid in Jefferson City, MO and additional mailing offices. Send address changes to: MHaymaker@confedmo.org | 573-634-2322

FRONT COVER Fishing is a great family activity. Credit: Brandon Butler


Business Alliance

Thank you to all of our Business Alliance members. Platinum

Gold Alps OutdoorZ Bushnell Custom Metal Products Diamond Pet Foods Doolittle Trailer Enbridge, Inc. FCS Financial

G3 Boats Kansas City Zoo Martin Metal MidwayUSA Pure Air Natives Redneck Blinds Riley Chevrolet

Roeslein Alternative Energy, LLC RTP Outdoors United Country Real Estate US Sun Solar Weston

Learfield Communication, Inc. Lilley’s Landing Resort & Marina Logboat Brewing Missouri Wildflowers Nursery Mitico

Moneta Group National Feather-Craft Co. Simmons SportDOG Brand Starline, Inc.

Gray Manufacturing Company, Inc. HMI Fireplace Shop Hodgdon Powder Company, Inc. Missouri Wine & Grape Board

NW Electric Power Cooperative, Inc. Sierra Bullets, LLC Walter Knoll Florist

General Printing Service Gredell Engineering Greenbrier Wetland Services Grundy Electric Cooperative, LLC Hulett Heating & Air Conditioning J&B Outdoors Kansas City Parks and Recreation Kleinschmidt’s Western Store Lewis County Rural Electric Cooperative Meramec Bison Farm, LLC Missouri Conservation Pioneers Missouri Native Seed Association MTAR

Nick's Family Restaurant Ozark Bait and Tackle Platte-Clay Electric Cooperative, Inc. REMAX Boone Realty Shade Tree Service, Inc. Shady Lane Cabins & Motel St. Joseph Harley Davidson Tabor Plastics Company Truman’s Bar & Grill United Electric Cooperative, Inc. White River Valley Electric Cooperative

Silver Advantage Metals Recycling Forrest Keeling Nursery G&W Meat & Bavarian Style Sausage Co. Holladay Distillery Jaguar Land Rover St. Louis

Bronze Association of Missouri Electric Coop. Black Widow Custom Bows, Inc. Burgers’ Smokehouse Drury Hotels

Iron Bass Pro Shops (Independence) Bee Rock Outdoor Adventures, LLC Blue Ridge Bank and Trust Blue Springs Park and Recreation Bob McCosh Chevrolet Buick GMC Brockmeier Financial Services Brown Printing Cap America Central Bank Central Electric Power Cooperative, Inc Dickerson Park Zoo Farmer’s Co-op Elevator Association Gascosage Electric Cooperative

Your business can benefit by supporting conservation. Contact Brandon Butler: 573-634-2322 or BButler@confedmo.org. MAY - 2018

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Business Spotlight

RTP Outdoors: Focusing on Customer Needs

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edexim North America, the parent company of RTP Outdoors, is a leader in the design and development of professional turf equipment produced specifically for aeration, seeding, and top dressing on golf courses and sports fields worldwide. With marketing operations in over 50 countries in the world, it has the largest range of equipment in its sectors, supported by a worldwide network of authorized dealers.

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The RTP Outdoors corporate office is in Valley Park, Mo, with its parent company and central engineering base in Zeist, Holland, with sister companies in England and Australia, supported by manufacturing in the USA, UK, Holland, Italy and Hungary. The company’s philosophy is to supply each market with products that meet the local needs of its customer.


Business Spotlight “These products are designed to withstand vigorous use in all conditions, and are backed by a distribution network that can handle technical, parts and service back-up that is the best in the industry,” said Paul Hollis, executive vice president of RTP Outdoors. “Investment in new product development and research into finding better tools for our customer base is a major objective of our company to ensure that we remain the world leader in meeting the needs of our customers.” “We lead the way with our product line by manufacturing trend-setting machines that are recognized for performance, quality, durability and customer satisfaction. Our entire range of products passes the toughest test of all – the test of time”, adds Hollis. The company was formed as a corporation in Pennsylvania in 1980. For 29 years they were based in the Scranton, PA area, but decided to move the USA distribution center and factory to St. Louis in 2009. “Since our beginning, we have experienced tremendous growth in the company, expanding into new markets, while staying true to our core philosophy,” Paul said. In 2015, RTP Outdoors was approached by Dr. Grant Woods, of Growing Deer TV fame, about developing a no till drill specifically for wildlife food plots. Over a period of several months the company and Dr. Woods, jointly tested seven different prototypes at the “Proving Grounds”, Dr. Woods’ farm well known for research related to deer hunting and habitat management. Although Dr. Woods was skeptical that a company known for fine turf equipment could develop and design a machine heavy enough for his standards, by the end of 2015, they were ready to bring the first Genesis, their new no till, to market. Originally we started with five and eight foot models, and we have now expanded to also offer three foot and ten foot widths in the lineup, explained Mr. Hollis. Paul went on to say, “Our intention has been to take the innovative design, craftsmanship, and heavy-duty construction that make our other products the standard of quality in the turf maintenance marketplace to be no different in the wildlife industry. We know what our customers need – machinery that performs well, saves time and offers value." (Left) RTP products produces top of the line equipment for all your food plot needs. (Photo: Courtesy of RTP Outdoors)

The RTP Team outside their offices. (Photo: Courtesy of RTP Outdoors)

In the coming year, RTP Outdoors plans to launch a new entry level food plot planter called the Ground-Breaker and a roller crimper called the Goliath. “The Goliath is a machine that we have developed with Grant Woods and will not only save money for land owners by reducing the use of fuel, time and chemicals, it will change the way land owners think about soil conservation”, claims Mr. Hollis. With Dr. Woods’ new “buffalo method” land managers will plant, grow, crimp and plant again. The cover crops that are crimped will be terminated and then lay down creating a mulch bed to prevent weeds from growing and as a result create a rich top soil as they decay. It’s a revolutionary process that has long been used in no till applications and is now expanding into new areas of farming, such as food plots, organic crops, reclamation projects and pasture management. In addition, Paul told us that RTP Outdoors is testing other new food plot products that they hope to introduce in the spring or summer of 2019. “Here at RTP, we supply the best machines money can buy, and by listening to the people who use them, we forge strong relationships with our customers, and make them part of the design process”. “While we have no crystal ball to foresee the future, further expansion of product range into new areas of agriculture is our current direction”. “Our investment in the agriculture/wildlife division, while significant, has been rewarding both financially and personally,” Paul concluded. RTP Outdoors has a 20,000 square foot store in Valley Park, Missouri and along with its own products it offers UTV’s, Hunting Blinds, Coolers, Food Plot Seed and other products sold with the land owner in mind. Check out all they have to offer at www.rtpoutdoors.com.

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President’s Message

Here I Go Again

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any changes have happened at the Conservation Federation of Missouri (CFM) over the last few years, including many firsts. Now I am humbled and very proud to representative another first, as the first person to have the honor of serving as president of CFM for a second term. It’s exciting to have a second go at leading this amazing organization. My first presidency was 16 years ago. Highlights were hiring Dave Murphy, growing the Conservation Leadership Corps, tripling Share the Harvest numbers, and premiering the CFM video “Your Voice”. Today we are expanding our foundation laid by the CFM Staff and Board. I am especially energized by our modern communication practices and a greatly expanded event schedule. The world has changed a lot in 16 years. No one had heard of Facebook back then. People weren’t walking around with their faces buried in smart phones. Land prices were a lot lower. We new have challenges to overcome, but we also have incredible opportunities. I am excited to help CFM capitalize on those. Perhaps the best part of being president of the Conservation Federation of Missouri, is the relationships one forms with fellow officers and board members. It is truly my honor to serve with Mossie Schallon as First Vice President, Richard Mendenhall as Second Vice-President, Randy Washburn as Treasurer, and Ginny Wallace as Secretary for the next two years. And I am very excited about the incredibly talented and diverse board of directors we have assembled. While many familiar faces remain, there are a lot of new, and younger folks now serving as leaders of CFM. We spent years trying to figure out how to attract younger Missourians to this organization, and it is thrilling to see it happening. My passion for conservation started with the land while growing up on an Illinois farm where I had the opportunity to learn from my father and uncles the importance of respect for Mother Nature’s gifts. I graduated from Northeast Missouri State University (now Truman), with degrees in Business and Agriculture. I served my country, and am a proud Vietnam Veteran.

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CFM President Gary Van De Velde helps deliver venison to the for the Share the Harvest. (Photo: Emma Kessinger)

I spent over 35 years as a District Conservationist for the USDA Soil Conservation Service (now Natural Resources). I guess you know your getting up there when both your school and government agency have new names. My career entailed working with landowners reviewing and solving natural resources issues involving soil, water, forestry, and wildlife. I loved the work, and plan to continue serving landowners as president of CFM. As your president, I hope to meet future conservation needs by continuing our efforts to grow and improve the Conservation Leadership Corp, better serving our current and future affiliated organizations, protecting the core values of Missouri conservation - the 1/8th of cent sales tax and the constitutional authority of the Conservation Commission, and in protecting the 1/10th of cent Parks, Soils and Water Sales Tax. We have a strong staff these days. It really feels like things are clicking at the office. But CFM is only as strong as its members are willing to be. I hope if you feel called to service, you will reach out to me. There are many ways to serve, especially in our committees. The writer, Henry Beston, reminds us, “Do no dishonor to the earth lest you dishonor the spirit of man”.

Yours in Conservation, Gary Van De Velde President, CFM


Member News

Why I Became a Life Member of CFM: Richard Mendenhall I truly love the outdoors. I love the forest, rivers, lakes, and all the wildlife that flourishes in abundance in our magnificent state of Missouri. I love our parks, our availability of public land, and especially the way our state has made so much available to all of us citizens. I love our farms and ranches and the livestock and the crops they raise. I am not just saying that, I mean it. I enjoy fishing the clear Missouri streams in the Ozarks and our beautiful lakes. I enjoy hunting game in the forest, wetlands, and uplands, and I enjoy just sitting and watching nature outdoors. It is all a part of our state and a part of me. I have always believed that if you really cared about something, then you must get active. When I heard that the Conservation Federation of Missouri was the single most responsible organization to bring back the great outdoor heritage that I loved in our state, I had to become a member. I learned factually that primary reason our outdoor heritage was decimated by the 1920’s was because it was run by state politicians.

When I learned that CFM was the primary leader to get that heritage away from being managed by politicians and restored in this state, I became a life member. We cannot take our great outdoor heritage for granted. CFM stands watch to endure everyone in Missouri and future generations will always be able to enjoy our great outdoors.

Become a CFM Life Member When you purchase a Life Membership with CFM, your money is added to an endowment supporting the administration of the organization in perpetuity. Each year, we draw earnings from the endowment, so your contribution will truly be supporting the CFM for the rest of your life and beyond. This is an important funding source for our Federation. We hope you will consider joining the over 260 dedicated conservationists who have already made a life commitment to the Conservation Federation of Missouri by becoming a Life Member today.

Contact CFM at (573) 634-2322 or email info@confedmo.org.

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Member News

WELCOME NEW CFM MEMBERS Elisa Baebler, Columbia

Brian Hill, High Ridge

Lloyd Bermond, Holt

Bryce McDaniel, Kansas City

Stephen Brigman, Clever

Rebecca Murphy, Washington

Jacob Buxton, Jefferson City

Linda Oppland, St. Louis

Josh Conlin, Warrenton

Courtney Orrell, Arnold

Michael Dallmeyer, Jefferson City

John Risberg, Leasburg

Ethan Duke, Marshall

Ben Runge, Maryville

Clyde Eppard, Neosho

Mark Sharp, Jefferson City

Nicole Farless, Linn Creek

Robert Stout, Versailles

Alex Foster, Jamestown

Zach Treat, St. Peters

Lacey Gamm, Kansas City Nicolas Heisler, Versailles

CFM would like to thank the 257 members that renewed since our last publication.

2018 Resolutions Resolutions are a key way for CFM members to help impact Missouri's natural resources. Each resolution is discussed with its related committee, and then brought before the General Assembly during CFM's Annual Convention. The resolutions voted upon at CFM's 82nd Annual Convention on March 9-11, 2018 may be viewed online at www.confedmo.org/2018-3/.

2018 - 5: Support of Robust Native Grassland and Grassland-wildlife Friendly Conservation Measures in the 2018 Farm Bill 2018 - 6: Support for Missouri's Four New State Parks and The Eastern Segment of the Rock Island Trail 2018 - 7: Strengthening the Missouri Department of Natural Resources Mission Statement

2018 Conservation Federation of Missouri Resolutions

2018 - 8: Restoration of Fisheries Professors at Missouri's Universities

2018 - 1: Raising Missouri's Wildlife Violation Fines

More background information about the new resolution timeline and process can be found on the CFM website.

2018 - 2: Affiliate Volunteerism for Youth Engagement in Nature 2018 - 3: Protect the Cooperative Research Units 2018 - 4: Raise Public Awareness of Damaging Effects of Balloon Releases

MAY - 2018

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Committed to Community & Conservation Owned by the members they serve, Missouri’s electric cooperatives do more than provide reliable and affordable electricity. They are active in their communities, concerned for the wellbeing of their neighbors and devoted to the rural way of life that makes the Show-Me State a special place to live, work and play. Missouri’s electric cooperatives are dedicated to protecting the land, air and water resources important to you and your quality of life. Learn more at www.amec.coop.


Member News

Gear Guide Bass Pro Shops Onboard Battery Charger - (Business Alliance) Extend marine battery life and maximize on-the-water performance with the Bass Pro Shops XPS IT2 5/5 Onboard Battery Charger. Ideal for all 12V flooded and AGM lead-acid batteries, this charger features 5-stage Digital Performance Charging with all-digital and software-based control technology. System Check OK and Battery Trouble indicators keep you on top of your boat battery's status. The exclusive Go Fish indicator tells you when it's time to go fishing. www.basspro.com

St. Croix Mojo Bass Rods A Mojo Bass rod is the mark of a certain attitude. Like an extremely throaty motorcycle. Or a spiked collar. You get the idea. Now featuring SCIII graphite and IPC® tooling technology, these bad boys are more balanced and sensitive than ever before, not to mention up to 15 percent lighter. Decked out in the latest formulation of our ever-popular Black Cherry Metallic finish, these rods send a message. And then some. www.stcroixrods.com

Westland Hurricane 2-Bow Bimini Top Protect yourself from sun and rain with an economical, Westland 2-Bow Bimini Top. These tops are perfect for smaller fishing boats. Adequate heights still allows you plenty of room to move about inside the boat. Frame is made of sturdy 7/8" anodized, heavy-wall aluminum tubing with highdensity, durable nylon fittings. Two top materials to choose from: Silver/Gray X-R Plus marine canvas or marine vinyl. Both are resistant to ultraviolet deterioration, mildew and rot. www.cabelas.com

Weston Pro Series Meat Grinder & Sausage Stuffer - (Business Alliance) Grind meat like a professional with the Weston #5 .5 HP Stainless Steel Pro-Series Electric Meat Grinder and Stuffer. The electric meat grinder and stuffer includes stomper, 2 grinding plates, stainless steel cutting knife, stuffing star, 3 stuffing funnels, funnel flange, 10mm snack stick funnel and the cyclone auger. Ideal for meat processing shops, small restaurants, or home cooks needing a heavy duty grinder for home use. The grinder is perfect for hunters and handles game meats like elk, deer, and moose with ease. www.westonsupply.com

Strike King Mini-King Spinnerbaits If you plan to fish Missouri’s incredible Ozark rivers and streams, this 1/8 oz. Strike King MiniKing Spinnerbait is one bait you need to carry in your box. While it’s also ideal for crappie and white bass, smallmouth slam it. Available in a wide variety of colors, each Mini-King Spinnerbait is outfitted with a 2.1 size Tennessee diamond blade for maximum flash and vibration. Mini-King Spinnerbaits also feature durable diamond dust heads and seductive silicone skirts. Silver blades. www.strikeking.com

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Member News

Venison Stir Fry with the Weston Jerky Slicer Stir • • • • • • • • • • Meat: • 1 lb venison Marinade: • 2 tablespoons honey • 1 tablespoon red wine • 1 tablespoon soy sauce • 1 teaspoon peanut oil • 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes • 1 clove fresh garlic, minced • 1/4 teaspoon ginger

• • • •

Fry: 1/8 cup sesame oil 1/8 cup peanut oil 2 teaspoons garlic powder 2 teaspoons onion powder 1/2 teaspoon ginger 1 yellow pepper 1 red pepper 1 small white onion 1 carrot handful of green beans, cleaned 1 cup cilantro, chopped 12 oz baby corn 8 oz water chestnuts sriracha noodles

Tools: • Weston 10 pc Game Processing Knife Set • Weston Jerky Slicer • Weston Vacuum Sealer, Bags • Weston Mandoline Slicer • Wok

How To 1. Use a Weston Knife Set to trim your venison of excess fat and silver skin. Feed the venison through your Weston Jerky Slicer to make perfect strips for your stir fry. 2. Place the strips into a Weston Vacuum Sealer bag with the marinade and seal. Refrigerate at least 8 and up to 48 hours. 3. Use the Weston Mandoline Slicer to slice your peppers, onions, and carrot. 4. Heat your wok over high heat. Once hot, pour in the oils, garlic, ginger, and onion powder. Once you begin to smell the garlic and ginger strongly, drop in the marinated venison strips. 5. Flip often, and as soon as the venison is no longer pink on the outside, drop in all of the veggies. Continue to cook for a couple minutes or until your veggies are lightly sauteed. Be sure to flip very often to cook everything evenly - your stir fry will cook very quickly. 6. Remove wok from heat and toss in sriracha noodles.

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Affiliate Spotlight

Friends of Rock Bridge Memorial State Park

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he Friends of Rock Bridge Memorial State Park (FoRB) held its first meeting in 1991 with a talk about urban growth. The park itself was born when the family and friends of a young girl killed in a car accident launched an effort to buy land where kids could play safely. The state matched their efforts, establishing Rock Bridge Memorial State Park in 1967. The park is woods, grasslands and glade, covering karst bedrock with losing streams, caves and a rock bridge for which it is named. Since 1967, the local population has doubled in size, so starting FoRB off with a talk about urban growth was farsighted, and protecting the park’s wilder qualities is now their first goal. They regularly address development around the park and recently started water testing for a baseline to keep track of impacts. A second goal is stewardship. They hold semiannual work-days to remove invasives, old fencing, and litter. And they raised funds to provide solar power to a shelter, and to restore a historic cabin. Their third goal is teaching future generations to care about the park.

Thanks to grants from the Missouri Parks Association and the Downtown Optimists, and a very experienced Master Naturalist, they have brought hundreds of children and youth out to the park for over a decade to learn about caves, bats, streams, camping, hiking and caving. This work is possible because of a dedicated, creative board, volunteers, part-time staff, and close collaboration with the park superintendent and naturalist. Children and Youth in our Urban Populations Outreach Program (UPOP) collected invertebrates and played a water cycle game, then wrapped up with a discussion of where water goes by building boats out of natural materials. Most boats required a number of trials to figure out buoyancy, balance and steering.

Affiliate Organizations Anglers of Missouri, Inc. Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives Audubon Society of Missouri Bass Slammer Tackle Big Game Hunters, Inc. Boone's Lick Chapter Missouri Master Naturalist Burroughs Audubon Society of Greater Kansas City Capital City Fly Fishers Chesterfield Citizens Committee for the Environment Conservation Foundation of Missouri Charitable Trust Deer Creek Sportsman's Club, Inc. Festus-Crystal City Conservation Club Forest and Woodland Association of Missouri Forest Releaf of Missouri Friends of Rock Bridge Memorial State Park Garden Club of St. Louis Gateway Chapter Trout Unlimited Greenbelt Land Trust of Mid-Missouri Greenway Network, Inc. Katy Land Trust L-A-D Foundation Lincoln University Wildlife Club Mid-Missouri Outdoor Dream Mid-Missouri Trout Unlimited Midwest Diving Council Mississippi Valley Duck Hunters Association Missouri Association of Meat Processors Missouri Atlatl Association Missouri BASS Federation Nation Missouri Bird Conservation Initiative Missouri Bow Hunters Association Missouri Caves & Karst Conservancy

Missouri Chapter of the American Fisheries Society Missouri Chapter of the Wildlife Society Missouri Chapter Soil & Water Conservation Society Missouri Coalition for the Environment Missouri Community Forestry Council Missouri Conservation Agents Association Missouri Conservation Pioneers Missouri Consulting Foresters Association Missouri Ducks Unlimited State Council Missouri Forest Products Association Missouri Grouse Chapter of QUWF Missouri Hunter Education Instructors Association Missouri Hunters for Fair Chase Missouri Hunting Heritage Federation, Inc. Missouri National Wild Turkey Federation Missouri Native Seed Association Missouri Outdoor Communicators Missouri Parks & Recreation Association Missouri Parks Association Missouri Prairie Foundation Missouri River Bird Observatory Missouri River Relief Missouri Smallmouth Alliance Missouri Society of American Foresters Missouri Sport Shooting Association Missouri State Campers Association Missouri State Chapter of the Quality Deer Management Association Missouri State University Bull Shoals Field Station Missouri Taxidermist Association Missouri Trappers Association Missouri Trout Fishermen’s Association

Missouri Whitetails Unlimited MU Wildlife and Fishing Science Graduate Student Organization Mule Deer Foundation North Side Division Conservation Federation Open Space Council of the Saint Louis Region Ozark Fly Fishers, Inc. Ozark Wilderness Waterways Club Ozarks Smallmouth Alliance Perry County Sportsman Club Pomme de Terre Chapter Muskies, Inc. Quail & Upland Wildlife Federation, Inc. Quail Forever & Pheasants Forever River Bluffs Audubon Society Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Roubidoux Fly Fishers Association South Side Division Southwest Missouri Fly Fishers Springfield Plateau Chapter Missouri Master Naturalist St. Louis Audubon Society Student Air Rifle Program Tipton Farmers & Sportsman's Club Tri-Lakes Fly Fishers Troutbusters of Missouri United Bow Hunters of Missouri Walnut Council & Other Fine Hardwoods Wecomo Sportsman's Club Wild Bird Rehabilitation Wild Elk Institute of Missouri Windsor Lake Rod & Gun Club

MAY - 2018

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Member News

Chambers Scholarship Moves to CFM

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FM is proud to announce it is assuming stewardship of the Chambers Family Memorial Scholarship. Originally named the James D. Chambers Memorial Scholarship Fund, this scholarship was established in 1994 following the untimely passing of Jim Chambers, the son of avid conservationist Glenn Chambers. Over the years, it has been managed by the Missouri Chapter of the Wildlife Society. Early in 2017, Glenn and Jeannie Chambers asked CFM members Dan Zekor and DeeCee Darrow to be the scholarship coordinators going forward after Glenn’s death. “After discussions with Glenn and Jeannie about fundraising and other possibilities, it was decided to move the scholarship to CFM as a restricted endowment,” said Dan Zekor. “The CFM Executive Committee voted to accept responsibility for the scholarship, so now we are working to grow the endowment. Glenn liked the idea of increasing the award from $500 to $1,000, and we’ve raised enough money for the 2018 award increase,” says Dan. “However, we have work to do to accomplish our long-term goals.” Historically, the scholarship has been awarded to a graduate or senior undergraduate student majoring in wildlife or natural resources conservation at a Missouri college or university, and is meant to recognize excellence in academics, leadership, and conservation. Since its inception, there have been 20 recipients. The very first in 1997, was CFM member Elsa Gallagher, who now works for Pheasants Forever, Inc. as the Conservation Leadership Program Manager.

Glenn Chambers photographing wildlife. (Photo: Courtesy of MDC)

"Receiving the first Chamber’s Memorial Scholarship was inspiring,” says Elsa. “I cried that day, and it meant a lot to me to be able to shake this man’s hand and receive this first award recognizing his wonderful son. Glenn’s memory continues to galvanize me to make more of a difference, while remembering that it’s not enough to simply use science and data,” says Elsa. “You must always find a way to connect with people on a personal level!” The most recent winner was Molly Garrett, a student at MU. “Meeting Molly at the award ceremony was inspiring,” said Dan. “She’s already showing signs of being a dedicated professional, and hopes to work in the field of conservation genetics. I know that Glenn would’ve approved of our selection, as she has the same kind of optimism for the future that Glenn always showed.”

Chambers Scholarship recipient for 2017, Molly Garrett. (Photo: Courtesy of CFM)

Please Help. If CFM can raise $10,000, the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation (MCHF) has pledged to raise a like amount as a complimentary endowment that would allow us to give two scholarships, an undergraduate and a graduate award. An idea that Glenn really liked but was constrained by limited funds. “Glenn was an active supporter of the Conservation Heritage Foundation,” said Ken Babcock, Foundation President. “This partnership between CFM and the Heritage Foundation is a great way to honor Glenn’s legacy.” Contact either Micaela mhaymaker@confedmo.org or Jen jsampsell@confedmo.org for more information on how to donate.

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Member News

The Future of Missouri's Outdoors

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id you notice a lot of young faces at the CFM convention this year? That was the future of Missouri’s outdoors you were seeing. 39 high school and college students from all over the state came together for the conference as part of the Conservation Leadership Corps (CLC), CFM’s program to engage the next generation of conservation leaders. Throughout the weekend students had the opportunity to learn more about CFM’s mission and platform, as well as interact with all the partnering agencies and affiliate organizations. The most impactful part in my opinion is the student involvement in the resolution process. Each fall students gather at Lake of the Ozarks State Park to brainstorm and begin working on resolutions. It’s an amazing feeling as a student to know that you are embarking on a project that could shape Missouri’s conservation and natural resources for years to come! After working all fall and winter, students attend the convention to see their resolutions through to the finish line. This year three student resolutions were presented, and two of them were approved by the general assembly Sunday morning. Students new to the program this year got to watch how the committee processes worked and talk with returning students to learn about their resolutions. Already, multiple students have been bursting with ideas for future resolutions, and can’t wait for the fall workshop! The weekend was full of highlights, such as our previous CLC president, Ashley Hollis winning the 2017 Youth Conservationist of the Year Award. As she said in her speech, “When you give young people the opportunity to take up their own projects and to take a challenge, they’ll rise to it. I’m so thrilled that the CLC program is able to give people the space to do that.” Ashley has been an amazing example of someone taking initiative to help grow the CLC program over the past 2 years, as well as stepping up to help grow the Missouri Collegiate Conservation Alliance (MCCA).

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Other CLC students were honored during the awards ceremony with the Student Conservation Achievement Award. This award is given to graduating students that have been part of the CLC program for at least 3 years and have completed conservation-related college curriculum. This year’s award recipients were Gabrella Elliott, Joshua Groves, and Ashley Hollis. Of the 39 students we had attend, 23 were new to the program. All of the students seemed to have a great time getting to know each other and participating in all of the convention activities. I was so impressed by the thought-provoking questions during a Q&A session with the directors of Missouri Department of Conservation, Department of Natural Resources, and the Department of Agriculture, by the students willingness to network with affiliates during the banquet, and the excitement to start working on resolutions for next convention! “Working with the CLC students is so inspiring. They grow so much as individuals while they are in the program. Their passion is contagious and we learn so much from each other,” said Jen Sampsell, Education and Outreach Coordinator. Don’t worry, folks: the future of Missouri’s outdoors is in good hands with these students!

Brooke Widmar CLC President


Member News

Conservation Federation of Missouri Adds Key Staff Michelle Gabelsberger - Membership Development Coordinator Michelle Gabelsberger has joined the Conservation Federation of Missouri (CFM) staff as the Membership Development Coordinator. Michelle is responsible for the development of membership and managing affiliate partnerships. Michelle is a volunteer at heart. She is actively involved with Boy Scouts of American, serves as Vice President on the Home and School Committee at her son’s school, and co chairs local events within her community to make it a better place to live, work and play. “I am thrilled to join the Conservation Federation of Missouri team. I have spent many years promoting and protecting conservation in our great state as a volunteer and now look forward to serving the members of CFM who strive to do the same,” Michelle said.

Michelle is Jefferson City native. She and her husband Richard have been married 17 years. They have one son, Emmit, and live in Taos, MO. They love to kayak, hike, camp, and relaxing with friends. They enjoy hunting for everything from mushrooms to deer. The whole family supports Emmit’s passion for beekeeping. Contact: 573-634-2322, mgabelsberger@confedmo.org

Joan VanderFeltz - Administrative Assistant Joan VanderFeltz is CFM’s new Administrative Assistant. She is responsible for maintaining the membership database, processing renewal notices, managing and processing all financial contributions, while performing various additional administrative duties as needed. She comes to us from Helias High School where she worked in the finance department for almost 10 years, maintaining student records and lunch accounts.

“I am very appreciative of the opportunity to work for the Conservation Federation of Missouri. The staff and members have been very welcoming,” Joan said. Joan and her husband, Dan, have been married for 28 years. They are both Jefferson City natives and graduates of Helias High School. They have a daughter, Laura, who is a freshman at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg. Joan is involved in her church and enjoys any type of sporting event, especially college football and the Kansas City Chiefs. Contact: 573-634-2322, jvanderfeltz@confedmo.org

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As the first Cabela’s in Missouri, we pulled out all the stops to bring a serious outdoor experience to the Show-Me-State. The Hazelwood Cabela’s store was built to not only surround customers with quality outdoor products, but to engage them with lifelike taxidermy, local fish swimming in the aquarium and an indoor archery test area.

5555 St. Louis Mills Blvd. Ste. #167 Hazelwood, MO 63042

(314) 225-0100

Located just off I-270, north of I-70 (Exit 22B, Hwy. 370), the impressive 130,000-sq.-ft. retail showroom is packed with outdoor equipment. Whether you’re visiting the St. Louis Arch, exploring the wilds of the Ozarks or just stocking up on gear, our experienced Outfitters are ready and waiting to help you get the most out of your next adventure.

STAY UP TO DATE ON ALL UPCOMING STORE EVENTS AT CABELAS.COM/HAZELWOOD


2018 EVENTS CFM Media Camp - February 4-7

4th Annual CFM Media Camp at Lilley’s Landing with over 20 outdoor communicators in attendance.

CFM Annual Convention - March 9-11

CFM Annual Convention at the Capitol Plaza Hotel in Jefferson City.

Conservation Day at the Capitol - March 27

Join CFM and over 30 affiliate organizations at the Capitol for a day of promoting and supporting CFM.

Pull for Conservation: Northwest - April 14

CFM teams up with NW Electric Power Cooperative to host the third annual sporting clays shoot in Hamilton.

Explore the Outdoors: Kansas City - May 31

Join CFM at Boulevard Brewery for a fun evening of excitement and entertainment.

Explore the Outdoors: Springfield - June 21

Tour the Wonders of Wildlife Museum and learn more about conservation in Missouri.

Explore the Outdoors: Columbia - July 12

Join CFM at the Bass Pro Shops store in Columbia store for fun and outdoor activities.

Pull for Conservation: Central - August 11

The 12th annual sporting clay shoot returns to River Hills Sporting Clays in Boonville.

Explore the Outdoors: St. Louis - September 6

Come see old friends and make new ones at Schlafly’s Brewery in St. Louis.

Affiliate Summit - September 13 & 14

Join us at the Lake of the Ozarks as we gather all our affiliates together.

Pull for Conservation: Southwest - Fall 2018 Exact date and location is yet to be determined.

Pint Nights; October - December Various pint nights throughout the fall.


Member News

Mary Culler New Director for Stream Teams United

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n February 2018, Stream Teams United (The Missouri Stream Team Watershed Coalition) hired Mary Culler as their new Executive Director. Mary was born and raised in the James River watershed of Springfield, Missouri. Mary has a family history in conservation and an inherited love for water. Her mother’s family moved from the Missouri River town of Washington to Springfield in 1945, when Mary’s grandfather was assigned to Greene County as a conservation agent with the Missouri Conservation Commission. Her grandfather later became a water patrol officer for the Missouri Boat Commission and patrolled Bull Shoals Reservoir near Forsyth. Mary became captivated by the aquatic creatures of the Ozarks at a young age – with frequent trips to see the aquariums at the Springfield Nature Center and Bass Pro Shops, and weekend trips to lakes and streams of southwest Missouri. Her family history is also closely tied to Southwest Missouri State University (SMSU): her father was a professor in the College of Business Administration for over 20 years, and her mother and brother are both graduates of SMSU. In 2000, she was invited to play soccer for the Lady Bears and became a four-year starting player for SMSU. Following graduation in 2004 with a degree in Biology, she moved north to Iowa State University, where she researched fish and macroinvertebrates in prairie streams of southwest Iowa. In 2006, she completed a M.S. in Environmental Science. She then began her career with the state of Missouri, working for the Missouri Department of Conservation’s Resource Science Division in Columbia, assisting with crayfish research projects. In 2008, she returned to Springfield and worked as a Fisheries Management Biologist for MDC, where she conducted stream and lake surveys, coordinated kids’ fishing and aquatic education events, and provided assistance to landowners.

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CONSERVATION FEDERATION

Mary Culler was hired as the new Executive Director for Stream Teams United. (Photo: Courtesy of Mary Culler)

In 2009, she became Mary Culler when she married a fellow fish enthusiast and award winning amateur fisherman (2005 Angler of the Year for the Little Dixie Bass Club in Columbia). In 2011, Mary and her husband, Courtney, relocated to northeast Missouri. Mary then worked for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources office in Macon for the next 7 years, where she coordinated watershed and community assistance efforts and provided compliance assistance to permitted facilities and the general public. Mary resides in Shelby County on a family farm that grows corn, soybeans, wheat, and hay. To conserve soil and water and improve habitat for wildlife, her family utilizes conservation practices – such as grass and tree buffers, native warm season grasses and pollinator habitat, cover crops, no-till, and timberstand improvement. Mary has been a Stream Team member for over 10 years. Her family enjoys visiting their adopted stream, the North Fork of the Salt River, which serves as the source of drinking water for over 70,000 people, including her family. Mary is excited to begin her new role with Stream Teams United and help support the mission and volunteers of the Missouri Stream Team community. For more information about Stream Teams United, visit www.mstwc.org.


Member News

Dr. Mickey Heitmeyer Inducted into Arkansas Waterfowler Hall of Fame Class of 2017

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FM Life Member, and Board of Directors member 2008-2018, Dr. Mickey Heitmeyer was one of three Contemporary Honorees inducted into the Arkansas Waterfowler Hall of Fame on November 30, 2017. The 2017 induction class was only the second in this award’s history and Mickey was the first professional waterfowl/wetland biologist to be included. The Arkansas Waterfowler Hall of Fame program was created to preserve the contributions of those individuals who have gone above and beyond through dedicated time, resources and other work to enhance the waterfowl industry in Arkansas (www.arkansaswaterfowlerhalloffame.com). Mickey stated upon learning of his induction…. “I was shocked to be nominated and inducted into the Hall that includes Edgar Queeney (past president of Monsanto, Inc. and author of the iconic “Prairie Wings” book), three former world champion duck callers and call manufacturers (Rick Dunn, Chick Major, Butch Richenback), Marion McCullom (founder and owner of Macks Prairie Wings), Rex Hancock (past spearhead of the famous Save the Cache River campaign), George Dunklin (past president of DU), and others.” Mickey, who makes his home in southeast Missouri is a waterfowl biologist, farmer, business owner/ entrepreneur — and perhaps most importantly, a duck hunter. He is also one of North America’s leading waterfowl and wetland biologists and is widely acknowledged as an expert in wintering waterfowl ecology and the management of bottomland hardwoods.

Mickey Heitmeyer hunts with his dog. (Photo: Courtesy of Mickey Heitmeyer)

He is the owner and CEO of Greenbrier Wetland Services, a small consulting firm dedicated to helping state and federal agencies and private landowners protect, restore and manage important ecosystems — especially waterfowl habitat. He also owns and farms 900 acres of prime duck habitat in Missouri; including Greenbrier Farms, Greenbrier Flats and the Cato Slough Hunting Club. CFM congratulates Mickey on this outstanding achievement for his important conservation work with our sister state of Arkansas.

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Member News

The Tramp and the Roughrider - Live on Stage

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n May 18 & 19, 2018, Theodore Roosevelt and John Muir will come to life on stage under a big top Chautauqua style tent as “The Tramp and the Roughrider.” These two monumental men will relive their most famous moments and conversations during a threeday camping trip in Yosemite. Real living, breathing people with attitudes and opinions add superlative elements of action, and voices to create an atmosphere of both entertainment and inspiration. The Tramp and the Roughrider is an event you cannot miss. Roosevelt is remembered as our nation’s greatest Lee Stetson portrays John Muir, and Joe Wiegand conservationist. Muir’s activism earned him the portrays Theodore Roosevelt. They are two of the title of the Father of our National Parks and patron best historic reenactors saint of the American in the country. Both “I don’t think it exists anywhere else environmental movement. characters are feisty and in the world. Only in America would “It is heartening to be with opinionated. Muir’s poetic and evangelistic a group of other people who you have somebody who devoted temperament, clashing are like minded and are as their life to a characterization of a with Roosevelt’s political concerned about conserving historical figure and then see the enthusiasms, spawns what makes Missouri both tension and humor. special, what makes most preeminent ones in natural Around the campfire these America special. To all resource stewardship in world history be together in one place is skillful storytellers sift through their histories and at the same place at the same time. inspiring and motivational” their hopes, discovering Carol Davit, Executive What’s not to like about that?“ how the other has been Director of Missouri Prairie -David Murphy shaped by their very Foundation. Join us, The unique experiences in the Legends of Conservation, wilderness they equally adore. "Knowing the history Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir, and leaders of the of conservation is extremely important, because conservation community celebrate a historical history tends to repeat itself. If we are going to perspective of American conservation. continue the stewardship of our natural resources, we must know the lessons that were laid before us," said Do not miss this second installment of the Legends of Brandon Butler. Conservation. The Tramp and the Roughrider is May 18 & 19, 2019, at Prairie Star Restoration Farm, in Theodore Roosevelt was a born into privilege and Osage County, Missouri. yet became writer, naturalist, historian, cowboy, military hero, leader of the modern conservation To purchase your tickets, see a complete schedule of movement, and 26th President of the United States. events and for directions to, please visit John Muir was a Scottish-American immigrant who www.legendsofconservation.com. became an inventor, naturalist, author, glaciologist, environmental philosopher, political spokesperson, and advocate for the preservation of the American wilderness.

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CONSERVATION FEDERATION


Missouri Ozarks Landowners Fire Ecology Workshop Series 3 locations/dates — Workshops supported by the Conservation Federation of Missouri David Risberg Memorial Grant. —

Do you, or landowners you work with, want to learn about: -

the historical role of fire in the Missouri Ozarks?

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why public land management agencies in southern Missouri use prescribed fire?

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how fire can help manage wildlife habitat?

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technical and cost sharing opportunities for fire management on private property?

JOIN US for any one of these free fire ecology workshops!

May 12, 2018

May 19, 2018

10 a.m.—2:30 p.m.

10 a.m.—2:30 p.m.

Twin Pines Conservation Education Center, Winona, MO. Field tour: Chilton Creek Research and Demonstration Area

Roaring River State Park, Cassville, MO. Field Tour: Roaring River State Park

June 2, 2018

10 a.m.—2:30 p.m. Mineral Area College, Farmington, MO. Field tour: St. Joe State Park

LUNCH PROVIDED! Special thanks to the Missouri Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation and the Conservation Federation of Missouri for their generous support !!

More information at: www.oakfirescience.com The Oak Woodlands & Forests Fire Consortium, The Nature Conservancy, National Wild Turkey Federation, Missouri Department of Conservation, Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Mark Twain National Forest, Joint Fire Science Program


The importance of your motor running well, especially in tournament fishing, is to get you there quicker. Spend more time fishing instead of more time traveling. That’s why Crappie Masters supports gasoline blended with 10 percent ethanol - a fuel made from corn grown in America. Mike Vallentine, Crappie Masters President

Get the truth about ethanol. www.mocorn.org 2014 Crappie Mag_Half Page.indd 1

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CONSERVATION FEDERATION

11/5/2014 1:00:44 PM


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Small farm, big memories. Recreational Land Loans It’s true, memories can be made anywhere. But those shared with family and friends on your own piece of rural land compare with little else. For more than 100 years, we have helped people finance their dream properties from a handful of acres to thousands. Our passion for rural Missouri drives us but our experience and knowledge of rural financing sets us apart from other lenders.

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Find an FCS Financial office near you:

1.800.407.8984 WWW.MYFCSFINANCIAL.COM

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Road trip. We didn’t choose the perfect playlist. Or program the GPS. But we did fuel the car that made you realize there are no wrong turns, only new adventures. When the energy you invest in life meets the energy we fuel it with, amazing journeys happen.

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CONSERVATION FEDERATION


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MAY - 2018

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Explore

Kansas City Zoo

Over 200 acres of adventure filled with more than 1,700 animals to explore. Travel all over the world with a trip to the Kansas City Zoo.

Visit Today!

OPEN DAILY | kansascityzoo.org | 816.595.1234 The Kansas City Zoo, a private, non-profit organization is operated in agreement with the Kansas City, MO Board of Parks and Recreation Commissioners, partially funded by the Zoological District in Jackson and Clay Counties in MO, and is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

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Federation Destinations

Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock: One Stop Shop for Summer Adventure

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ull Shoals Lake Boat Dock provides everything in fishing and boating on one of America’s premiere reservoirs. They offer a wide variety of boat and houseboat rentals, scuba equipment rentals and scuba instructions and training, guided fishing trips on Bull Shoals Lake and White River, an on-site convenience store, bait and tackle Shop, a motel with a great view of Bull Shoals Lake, boat stall rentals, new and pre-owned boat sales, and even camping & RV sites. Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock is the complete one-stop fishing and water recreation center for Bull Shoals Lake and the White River. Fishing Bull Shoals Lake and White River: Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock employees several full-time professional fishing guides. All have at least 10 years experience, and several have many more. All of the guides are excellent anglers and hosts who not only know how to fish both the lake and river, but how to conduct an enjoyable, safe outing. Guided trips on Bull Shoals Lake are great all year. On the lake, guides fish for bass, crappie, catfish, walleye, white bass, trout, or other species. The White River below Bull Shoals Dam needs no introduction in trout fishing circles. The legendary stretch of river from the dam down to Cotter is easily one of the most recognized trout destinations in the world, and the guides at Bull Shoals Boat Dock and Marina will ensure you have the trout trip of a lifetime. Boat Rentals: Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock rents many types and sizes of boats, but pontoon boats are some of the most popular.

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Their 30-foot Tri-toon is one of the best boats for a family. With seating room for 15 passengers, a roomy interior, porta-potty, CD Stereo, Swim Ladder, a sundeck to keep the sun at bay, and a slide to keep the children happy, you can’t go wrong with taking the family out on a new tri-toons. Ski boats, fishing boats and wave runners are also available. Their Celebrity ski-boat is perfect for Perfect for pulling skis or tubes. Equipped with a 205hp engine, a comfy interior, and a pair of skis with essentials (jacket, rope), you can ride Bull Shoals Lake in style. Houseboat Vacations: There's no better way to enjoy a lake vacation than from a houseboat. Combine the comforts of a large hotel room with being mobile on the water, and you'll enjoy the lake like you never have before. If you've never piloted a houseboat, don’t worry. The folks at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock will take you out for a half-hour lesson. They'll show you all you need to know on driving the boat, using all the features, and safety issues. You can fish, swim, scuba dive, sunbathe, and have cook-outs anywhere you desire along the 1,000 miles of Bull Shoals Lake shoreline. There are hundreds of coves you can privately experience. Enjoy hot and cold running water, flushing toilets, showers, refrigerators, ranges, microwaves, color TV and DVD players, air conditioning, wet bars, and comfortable furniture. There's room for as many as 14 people on their houseboats. Many people also rent a fishing or ski boat to tow along for extra fun. Houseboat packages are popular for fishing, scuba, families, or couples seeking a romantic get-away.


Federation Destinations

Make Plans to Visit These Incredible Outdoor Destinations Looking for your next family vacation, quiet fishing trip, thrilling hunting experience or outdoor adventure? We encourage you to consider one of the following destinations.

BRING YOUR KIDS TO WHERE THEY’LL

BRING THEIR KIDS

877- BR ANS O N

Interested in promoting your business or destination? Contact the CFM office at 573-634-2322 to learn more about our Federation Destinations. MAY - 2018

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Feature Story

CFM Conservation Achievement Awards Presented

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he Conservation Federation of Missouri (CFM) honored leading citizen conservationists and national resource professionals with the 2017 Conservation Achievement Awards at a ceremony held in Jefferson City on March 9, 2018. Congratulations to all the award winners. Conservationist of the Year: Mervin Wallace Mervin Wallace received the 2017 Conservationist of the Year. Mervin is the founder and owner of Missouri Wildflowers Nursery. He's more than a business owner; he is a passionate biologist, ecologist, conservationist, nurseryman, landscaper, educator, and advocate for native plants and ecosystems. He has committed decades of his personal and professional life to advancing knowledge and appreciation of native plants in Missouri. For over the past 35 years, Mervin has played a significant role in introducing native plants to homeowners across Missouri and neighboring states. Outstanding Lifetime Achievement: Doug Ladd Doug has professionally served conservation in Missouri for over three decades, first with the Missouri State Parks before spending 32 years with The Nature Conservancy. He cultivated the Conservancy from a volunteer operation focused on free, green space to a major player in science-based protection and restoration of irreplaceable ecosystems. During Doug's tenure, the Conservancy has conserved more than 110,000 acres of land in Missouri. Conservation Communicator of the Year: Wes Johnson Wes has been a reporter with the Springfield NewsLeader for more than ten years. As the News-Leader outdoor writer, his in-depth stories often highlight the numerous conservation opportunities and natural resource challenges across Missouri. As an avid outdoor writer, Wes helps tell the story of Missouri's world-class outdoor adventures and increase awareness of our low poaching fines.

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Mervin Wallace receives the award for Conservationist of the Year at the CFM Annual Convention. (Photo: CFM)

Conservation Educators of the Year: Jan and Bruce Sassmann Jan and Bruce are committed to conservation. They hold educational events for all types of groups on their farm throughout the year. They worked together to restore their 120 acre farm, Prairie Star Farm, in Osage County. Over the years they have been recognized by numerous conservation and agriculture organizations for their work educating and connecting people to the land. They are currently planning "The Tramp and the Roughrider" for May 2018. Conservation Organization of the Year: James River Basin James River Basin Partnership (JRBP) is a grassroots, not-for-profit, 501(c)3 organization working to improve and protect water quality of the springs, streams, rivers, and lakes in the James River watershed which consists of almost a million acres of land in portions of eight counties. JRBP celebrated their 20th anniversary in 2017, kicking the year off recognizing dedicated volunteers and change-makers each month.


Feature Story Hunter Education Instructor of the Year: Lee Vogel Lee is the co-founder of the Missouri Hunting Heritage Foundation (MHHF). MHHF is a service-oriented organization of volunteers who are passionate about Missouri's hunting history. MHHF introduces youth to an outdoor way of life featuring our hunting tradition, the shooting sports, and the and the enjoyment of being in Missouri's natural landscape. Professional Conservationist of the Year: Bruce Drecktrah After obtaining a degree in Fish and Wildlife Management and working for a few years in the private sector, Bruce began his career with the Missouri Department of Conservation as an Aquaculture Specialist at one of Missouri's four warm-water hatcheries. Today in his role as Fisheries Field Operations Chief, he leads a staff of approximately 75 employees involved in fish management and fish culture across southern Missouri. Soil Conservationist of the Year: John Behrer John Behrer retired in October of 2017 from Missouri Botanical Garden's Shaw Nature Reserve (SNR), where he was the 5th and longest-serving director since SNR was founded in 1925. John's leadership simultaneously fostered the ecological restoration of the Nature Reserve and the capacity for the Nature Reserve to serve as a thriving public destination that increases public appreciation and awareness of Missouri's natural communities and their conservation. Water Conservationist of the Year: Paul Calvert Paul Calvert currently serves as a Fisheries Field Operations Chief for the Missouri Department of Conservation. In this role, Paul has responsibility for Fisheries Division program implementation across central and north Missouri and in Kansas City. Paul is well-known for his expertise in entomology and often works with other professionals and the general public to assist in identification of insects and related invertebrates, especially spiders.

Youth Conservationist of the Year: Ashley Hollis Ashley Hollis is currently a student at the University of Missouri, double majoring in Political Science and Environmental Science. She is the vice president of Mizzou's political science honors society, Pi Sigma Alpha, and a trip leader for Environmental Mizzou Alternative Breaks, where she will lead 12 students to work with the National Estuary Program to restore coastline and native marsh habitat. Ashely volunteers weekly at the Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture and is involved in many other volunteer opportunities. Ashley was the CLC President for 2 years and has grown in her leadership, constantly going above and beyond in her roles. She is involved in CFM's Legislative Policy Committee, the Youth Conservation Action Committee and sat on the Board as the President of CLC. Corporate Conservationist of the Year: Missouri Electric Cooperatives Since 1936, Missouri Rural Electric Cooperatives have delivered electricity and service to rural Missouri. For many years, Associated Missouri Electric Cooperative has been a CFM Platinum business alliance member and more than 16 regional and county-based electric cooperatives have supported the business alliance at various levels. In addition to the business alliance support, Missouri's Rural Electric Cooperatives offers conservationists a valuable partner from the energy sector of Missouri's economy. Across Missouri, the Electric Cooperatives work to ensure the long-term sustainability of our landscape and have a long history of environmental commitment and collaboration with agencies to protect and preserve natural resources. If you know someone who has done something special to aid conservation in Missouri, we invite you to nominate them for a Conservation Achievement Award later this year. The nomination form can be found on our website. The deadline for nominations is December 31, 2018.

Wildlife Conservationist of the Year: Ted Slinkard Ted is one of the Founding Members and President of SEMO Trail of Tears Branch of Quality Deer Management Association. From the start in 2009 until 2017, he has been an outstanding and tolerant leader working with many different personalities. Ted has put his heart, soul and his pocket book into getting the conservation group started with nothing expected in return other than the hope that the branch will grow. MAY - 2018

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Agency News

MISSOURI DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION MDC Names New Deputy Director

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he Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) announces changes to its leadership team with the appointment of Mike Hubbard to the position of deputy director-resource management effective June 1. Hubbard will assume the role upon retirement of Deputy Director Tom Draper. As deputy director-resource management, Hubbard will supervise MDC’s Forestry, Fisheries, Wildlife, Protection, Private Land Services, and Resource Science Divisions. Hubbard holds a bachelor’s degree in forestry, fisheries, and wildlife from the University of Missouri and both a master’s degree and Ph.D. from Iowa State University. Hubbard started with MDC in 1999 and has served in various roles over the last 19 years. “With Mike’s strong background in fish, forest, and wildlife, including his diverse education and management experience, he will provide strong leadership and strategic thinking as we navigate 21st century challenges in conservation, including wildlife diseases, scientific research, urban and private-land conservation, and changing regulations,” said MDC Director Sara Parker Pauley.

The position of deputy directorbusiness, held by Jennifer Battson Warren, supervises MDC’s construction division, business administration, and information Mike is pictured with his two sons after a technology unit. The great day of turkey hunting near Warsaw position of deputy (pictured left to right Caleb Kinkead, Mike director-outreach and Hubbard, and Carter Kinkead). (Photo: policy, held by Aaron MDC) Jeffries, supervises MDC’s Outreach and Education Division and policy unit, and continues to serve as lead government liaison at the Missouri State Capitol. Hubbard resides in California, Mo., with his wife Kathie. His outdoor interests include camping, hunting, and fishing.

MDC Encourages Public Not To Plant Invasive Bradford Pear Trees

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he Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) encourages homeowners and landscapers to avoid planting Callery pear trees this spring. Better known as Bradford pears, the Callery pear tree is an invasive species known to multiply quickly and crowd out Missouri native plants. While it’s been a popular landscaping tree for decades, cultivated forms have spread aggressively throughout the state.

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Stopping the spread means selecting alternate trees for yards and forested property. “The best plan is to select a native species to Missouri, and there are several great options,” said Forestry Field Program Supervisor Russell Hinnah. “Serviceberry trees produce similar showy white blooms in the spring and have small red fruits that attract wildlife.” Eastern redbuds and Missouri’s state tree, the flowering dogwood, are also good alternatives. Learn more about native trees that are great for landscaping, backyard tree care, selecting the right tree for the right place, planting tips, watering and pruning info, and more at mdc.mo.gov/tree-health.


Agency News

Record Setting 3,132 Student Archers Competed at MoNASP State Tournament

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he tenth annual Missouri National Archery in the Schools Program (MoNASP) state tournament held March 23-24 in Branson drew 3,132 student archers in grades 4-12 from a record setting 140 schools across the state. Winning teams and individuals, along with other teams and individuals who had qualifying scores, will go on to compete in the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) tournament in Louisville, Ky., on May 10-12. MDC’s Education Outreach Coordinator Eric Edwards, who coordinates MoNASP, said this year’s tournament was the largest one ever. “To put the size of the state tournament in perspective if you laid every arrow end-to-end that was shot at the tournament, they would stretch 111 miles,” Edwards said. MoNASP is coordinated through the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and the Conservation Federation of Missouri in partnership with 670 participating schools and numerous supporting organizations throughout the state. More than 185,000 Missouri students in grades 4-12 participate in MoNASP. “The growth of the Missouri National Archery in the Schools Program has been tremendous over the past couple years and this surge has led students outdoors with their families to participate in this lifetime sport,” said Edwards. “Many local conservation groups and civic organizations are also volunteering to help support MoNASP in their communities. Students are connecting with family members, coaches, and teachers through archery. This connection and confidence gained through archery will spread into other parts of their lives.” Edwards noted this year’s MoNASP state archery tournament, hosted by MDC and the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation, drew more than 10,000 spectators.

Tenth annual Missouri National Archery in the Schools Program state tournament sends hundreds to nationals. (Photo: MDC)

“It seems like I say this every year, but I’m so impressed with the scores this year,” he said. “Each year the scores just get better and better. Missouri students have a very strong chance at making the podium at nationals in May.” The top overall archers this year include Norwood R-1 sophomore Savannah Sadler, who shot an impressive score of 295 out of 300. Top overall male archer was Helias High School’s sophomore Jacob Wankum, who shot an impressive score of 292 out of 300. George Guffey Elementary once again continued its dominance by winning the team division again this year. “Congratulations to George Guffey Elementary for winning their team division in elementary for the tenth straight year,” Edwards said. “We have had ten state tournaments and they’ve won every one of them, which is a tremendous achievement.” For complete MoNASP state bullseye tournament scores and the 3d state tournament results, visit the nasp website at www.nasptournaments.org. MoNASP is an affiliate of NASP and promotes education, self-esteem, and physical activity. Since NASP’S beginnings in 2002, more than 10 million students have participated in the program through 10,000 schools in 47 states and 10 countries. For more information, visit mdc.mo.gov/monasp.

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Agency News

11-Year Old Angler Catches State-Record And Possibly World-Record River Redhorse

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he Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) reports that 11-year old Maverick Yoakum of Dixon became the most recent record-breaking angler in Missouri when he hooked a river redhorse on Tavern Creek using a rod and reel. The new “pole and line” record river redhorse caught by Yoakum on March 4 weighed 10-pounds, 3-ounces. The new record breaks the previous state-record and world record pole-and-line river redhorse of 9-pound, 13-ounces caught at Tavern Creek in 2016. Yoakum was using worms when he caught the fish. MDC staff verified the record-weight fish using a certified scale in Brinktown. “I fought the fish for about two to three minutes before I got it to the bank,” said Yoakum. “I thought I caught a pretty big fish, but I didn’t know it was a state record until my dad told me to look it up online. I’m super excited to hold a state record!” River redhorse fish are part of the sucker family. They are a moderately chubby, coarse-scaled fish with a dorsal fin containing 12 or 13 rays. These fish can be found mostly throughout the Ozarks. Yoakum’s fish also beats the current world record, pending verification by the International Game Fish Association (IFGA). While the river redhorse does get much larger, IFGA only recognizes fish taken by pole and line. “Larger river redhorses are usually taken by gigging and do not qualify for the IGFA world record,” MDC Fisheries Programs Specialist Andrew Branson said. “Conservation makes Missouri a great place to fish and this new unique record clearly shows why. This fish could possibly be the largest river redhorse ever taken with a pole and line.” Yoakum added it’s hard to believe he may be a worldrecord holder.

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Congratulations 11-year old Maverick Yoakum on breaking the state record by catching a 10-pound, 3-ounce river redhorse on Tavern Creek near St. Elizabeth. He is pictured with his dad (Bennett Yoakum). (Photo: MDC)

“I just can’t believe it! I have never thought about holding a record, and now I may be a world-record holder. I can’t believe it!” he said. “I want to thank my dad for always taking me fishing, because if it wasn’t for him taking me fishing I wouldn’t have caught a fish like I did.” Missouri state-record fish are recognized in two categories: pole-and-line and alternative methods. Alternative methods include: throwlines, trotlines, limb lines, bank lines, jug lines, spearfishing, snagging, snaring, gigging, grabbing, archery, and atlatl. For more information on state-record fish, visit the MDC website at www.mdc.mo.gov.


Agency News

MISSOURI STATE PARKS Anglers Celebrate 2018 Trout Season Opening in Missouri State Parks

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ore than 4,600 anglers visited Missouri State Parks’ three trout parks, Roaring River State Park near Cassville, Bennett Spring State Park near Lebanon and Montauk State Park near Salem on opening day of trout season. The catch-and-keep trout season officially began at 6:30 a.m. on Thursday, March 1. “Opening of trout season is a longstanding annual tradition for many families and I was excited to join anglers at Bennett Spring State Park for this season’s first day,” said Ben Ellis, director of Missouri State Parks. “March 1 marks the beginning of the busy recreation season at the three state parks that provide trout fishing, and we look forward to welcoming anglers, campers and outdoor lovers in all of our state parks throughout the year.” Based on trout tag sales, 1,473 anglers visited Bennett Spring State Park, 1,573 anglers visited Montauk State Park and 1,620 anglers visited Roaring River State Park. This year’s combined total is an increase of nearly 300 compared to 2017. A breakdown of trout tag counts and photos from the day are available online at https:// mostateparks.com/TroutOpening2018. In the communities closest to the three state parks, business owners see a positive economic impact from trout fishing as anglers travel from across the state and beyond to enjoy the sport in Missouri. Although trout fishing is allowed only in the parks, the nearby communities benefit with busy hotels, motels, restaurants and retail stores.

Anglers await the whistle on opening day of trout season at Montauk. (Photo: Brandon Butler)

The catch-and-keep trout season continues through Oct. 1. Trout season in Missouri is a cooperative effort of Missouri State Parks, which manages state parks, and the Missouri Department of Conservation, which operates the hatcheries and stocks the streams with trout. For more information on state parks and historic sites, visit www.mostateparks.com. Missouri State Parks is a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

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Outdoor News

Voice Support for Robust Conservation Measures in 2018 Farm Bill

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t the Conservation Federation of Missouri’s Convention this past March, one of the many resolutions passed by CFM members was in support of strong native grassland and grasslandwildlife friendly measures in the forthcoming Farm Bill, which Congress must reauthorize by September 2018. All Missourians concerned with wildlife and natural resource conservation are encouraged to become familiar with the conservation programs in the Farm Bill, and to advocate for robust funding for them. The Farm Bill is a massive piece of legislation that is passed approximately every five years going back to 1933. The Farm Bill includes twelve titles that cover many aspects of farm policy, food and nutrition policy, and conservation. The Farm Bill is the largest source of federal funding for conservation on private lands. All Farm Bill conservation programs are entirely voluntary and provide funding—from tax dollars—for conservation practices that farmers and ranchers must carry out on their property. While these practices occur on private land, all Missourians benefit because of the resulting greater protection of native grasslands, and safeguards for soil health, water quality, and wildlife and pollinator habitat. Farm Bill conservation programs are very popular and often have long waitlists of farmers and ranchers wanting to participate; thus it is critical that the 2018 Farm Bill provide robust funding for these programs. The National Wildlife Federation, CFM, and the Missouri Prairie Foundation, a CFM affiliate, advocate for the following Farm Bill conservation provisions that will enhance native grasslands and native grassland wildlife: • expanding Sodsaver nationwide, so that private landowners who convert original prairie to cropland receive significantly lower crop insurance subsidies

• • •

directing the USDA to establish a native vegetation management standard to encourage greater use of natives in USDA programs increasing the nationwide Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) cap to 35 million acres reauthorizing the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program at no less than $500 million/ year and providing greater flexibility for landowners, especially for grasslands of special significance increasing Environmental Quality Incentive Program funding dedicated to wildlife practices, benefiting producers who implement practices beneficial to monarch, grassland bird, and pollinator habitat authorizing supplemental payments in the Conservation Stewardship Program for managed rotational grazing practices known to benefit native wildlife and pollinators

All CFM members are encouraged to contact their U.S. members of Congress and advocate for the above grassland measures along with robust funding for conservation in the 2018 Farm Bill. Carol Davit Executive Director, Missouri Prairie Foundation MAY - 2018

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Feature Story

Save the American Red Wolf T he American red wolf is the most endangered wolf in the world. Native only to the United States, they embody the spirit of our wilderness and strengthen both our ecosystem and wildlife resources.

The red wolf was once found throughout the Southeastern United States, including states like Missouri and Arkansas, but it has been nearly 70 years since wild red wolves last lived in Missouri. Areas such as Mark Twain National Forest and the Ozarks used to be their stomping grounds, however, predator control programs eliminated this American species from the landscape. The last pure red wolves were captured and brought into managed care in 1980, when the red wolf was officially declared extinct in the wild. Their re-introduction to North Carolina’s Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in 1987 was the first release of a large carnivore in history. Today, the only wild red wolves are in North Carolina, where they are once again under attack. A collective of negative campaigns against the red wolf led by a few individuals in the state has caused the local community to pressure U.S Fish & Wildlife (FWS) to shut down the red wolf recovery program. Leaving the question, will they be welcomed anywhere else?

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This same question was raised decades ago for gray wolves. In 1995, these wolves were reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park and since then the ecosystem and wildlife is healthier. Without wolves, the elk had no predators to keep them controlled and their population exploded, causing harm to the landscape. Gray wolves brought elk to a healthy, stable population and allowed grasses, wild-flowers, and trees to thrive once again. This resulted in the return of many native animals, including foxes, ground-nesting birds, rabbits, and fish. Since then, wolves are seen as close partners with the conservationists in our National Parks. Although red wolves are a very distinct species from gray wolves, they have brought life to North Carolina just like their relatives in Yellowstone. Regina Mossotti, the Director of Animal Care and Conservation at the Endangered Wolf Center in Missouri, has experience working on the management team for the Red Wolf Species Survival Plan. “Biologists on the ground have seen an increase in ground-nesting birds in North Carolina when the [red wolf ] population was at its highest,” said Regina. “The wolves help keep populations of raccoons and opossums in check. When no large carnivore was there to control them, the raccoons were eating the eggs out of these nests and not allowing these populations to flourish.”


Feature Story They also helped reduce an invasive species, the nutria, who dam riverways and slow water flow to local farmland. Now these positive effects are at risk of being lost if we don’t save the red wolf. A red wolf’s primary prey is deer. Uncontrolled deer populations are prone to parasites and illnesses, like chronic wasting disease. As predators, red wolves play a necessary regulatory role by focusing on the weak and sick individuals. “By taking that sick animal out they are leaving the healthy and strong deer to pass on their genetics and make the herd healthier,” stated Regina Mossotti. This allows higher quality deer to breed and leaves us with stronger game, something everyone can get behind. U.S FWS remains optimistic and active in the restoration of the red wolf species. “We [United States Fish & Wildlife] are committed to red wolf recovery,” stated Cindy Dohner, the Service’s Southeast Regional Director. This program will move forward as FWS looks for new locations within the red wolf’s historic range for them to call home. This search is an opportunity to re-imagine the future for this American icon. Missouri has always had a legendary history of conservation and restoration, from saving our whitetailed deer populations, and recently, reintroducing elk. These achievements are owed to the Missouri Department of Conservation, hunters, environmentalists, landowners and to the collaboration of conservation organizations. Missouri has shown conservation groups the power of passionate and thoughtful management. Missouri’s valuable conservation expertise and experience could help efforts to save the American red wolf. At the Endangered Wolf Center in Eureka, Missouri, red wolves roam in large enclosures, enjoying the experience of living in their natural habitat. This close look visitors get is nothing they would see in the wild. “The red wolf is painfully shy and wants nothing to do with people,” stated Regina. “The big bad wolf that you see on television is the exact opposite of what wolves are like in real life.” Red wolves play an essential role in our ecosystems and benefit humans by reducing invasive species, reducing disease in our favorite prey species, attracting ecotourism, and heightening the beauty of our natural wilderness. With enough support, hopefully the howl of this living legend will be heard for generations to come.

Nick Ciaramitaro

ENDANGERED WOLF CENTER In the 1960s and 70s, millions of children grew up glued to the television when Marlin Perkins invited them on a weekly journey across the world during “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom.” The beloved zoologist was the original celebrity wildlife expert, connecting kids to rare and wonderful animals in their native habitats. In 1971, Marlin and his wife, Carol turned their attention toward one endangered animal in particular – the wolf. They joined with a group of individuals to found the Endangered Wolf Center in an effort to address the serious plight of wolves at risk of extinction. Their visionary founders knew what scientists have recently confirmed: no ecosystem can thrive without the top predator in place.

VISION Their vision is a world where endangered wolves and other wild canids exist and thrive in their native habitats, recognized and valued for their vital roles as leading members of a healthy ecosystem.

MISSION To preserve and protect Mexican wolves, red wolves and other wild canid species, with purpose and passion, through carefully managed breeding, reintroduction and inspiring education programs.

GET Adopt a wolf or an endangered species, INVOLVED help sponsor our events or make a

donation. Plus, join their pack as a volunteer or as an individual, corporate or Conservation Society member.

The Endangered Wolf Center 6750 Tyson Valley Road, Eureka, MO 63025. 636-938-5900 www.endangeredwolfcenter.org Cover photo: Courtesy of The Endangered Wolf Center

*Editor's note: Nick Ciaramitaro is a student at the University of Missouri studying Natural Resources and is a volunteer at The Endangered Wolf Center. This article is his opinion. CFM does not have a position on restoring red wolves.

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Feature Story

Five Quick Steps To Locating Bass

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ith the lake he was facing severely flooded but falling quickly, tournament angler Harry Padgett was confident that the fish would be up a certain creek and relating to flooded wood or the briar patches common around the shorelines. With the water falling, he figured the fish might be on the outside edge of the flooded timber and pastures instead of buried into the middle of the thick stuff.

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We caught a bundle of stout largemouths in short order, making things seem almost too easy. For me, it was easy, because Padgett did most of the thinking. All I had to do was throw my spinnerbait around the stuff he said they would be using.


Feature Story In many rivers and lakes, the task of locating fish in thousands of acres of water is daunting. It often seems like the fish could be anywhere. Too often, anglers allow the big-picture view to overwhelm them and they simply start fishing, picking a bank at random and casting to everything that looks like it could hold a fish. Occasionally that works; usually, it does not.

Exactly how the temperature comes into play depends upon the season. During the summer, you’re often looking for those areas that are a couple of degrees cooler than the rest of the lake. During winter, the opposite is true. Through spring and fall, temperatures help you know how far along fish are likely to be either in spawning phases or in transitional moves.

Padgett takes a much more systematic approach that begins with looking at things from the bass’ perspective. Always taking into account the type of water he is fishing and what he has learned about fish in his own part of the country, he considers the five factors that he has found to have the greatest impact on a bass’ locations and behavior: season, water, temperature, water color, water level and weather.

The water temperature, which can change as a day progresses, also affects the activity level of the fish. When the water is somewhat cool late in the fall, for example, the fish often will become more active and may move shallower as the day progresses and the water warms.

Season Season provides answers to many big-picture questions that help you know where to begin searching for fish. Are stages of the spawn a factor? Should the fish be on midsummer structure? Are they apt to be following baitfish up creeks? Not all fish in a lake do the same things at the same time, but thinking about the season helps you narrow thoughts about where most fish should be.

Water Color

Too often, anglers allow the big-picture view to overwhelm them and they simply start fishing, picking a bank at random and casting to everything that looks like it could hold a fish.

Season, more so than other controlling factors, must be tied with geography. Fish finish spawning in Florida while Minnesota lakes remain frozen. Pay attention to when things happen on the bodies of water closest to you, and that will give you the first piece of the puzzle.

Water Temperature Narrowing the focus a little more, the water temperature reveals more about how the fish will behave and about where they will be. Anglers too often ignore the temperature readings shown on their electronics.

The water was heavily stained where Padgett and I fished. That’s the common condition at Wister, especially in the spring, and it influences the normal behavior of the fish. Generally speaking, dirtier water causes fish to stay shallow, hold tight to cover and rely heavily on their lateral lines for finding meals. In clear water, the fish are more apt to use offshore structure or cruise flats and to feed visually.

Also take note of how water clarity varies within a body of water. If a lake was badly muddied by a big rain but the backs of its creeks have begun to clear, there’s a good chance that feeding fish will be concentrated in the clear water. Understanding the influence of water color helps you pick potentially productive areas and to choose the best lures to use. It also impacts color selections. Padgett’s picks range from darker colors that are easy for fish to see for dirty water to translucent colors for very clear water.

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Feature Story Water Level Some waterways are subject to massive level fluctuations, while others only vary slightly. Most go up and down some, though, and the fish tend to move up and down with the water. High water generally pushes fish toward the banks, especially when new cover gets flooded. Low water draws fish out toward creek and river channels. In most rivers and many reservoirs, high water has the added effect of creating current, which helps position the fish because they either move into pockets that are fully protected from the flow or they hold in predictable positions behind trees, dock supports or other currentbreaking pieces of cover. As with other variables discussed, the trend is at least as important as the current conditions. In other words, as you look at the level and consider how the fish will react, also take into account whether the water is rising or falling (or neither) and how the trend will impact the fish’s positioning.

Weather The weather is a “constant variable,” according to Padgett, and the bass gave evidence to that as we fished together. The morning began bright, and while the sun continued shining the fish bit well. When thick clouds settled in a few hours into the trip, the bite slowed dramatically and the fish repositioned themselves. Rising and falling pressure, rain, clouds, sunshine, steady wind… many weather conditions dictate where the fish are likely to be, so watch for clues. Pay especially close attention to any condition that changes during the day and note how that change affects the fish.

Of course, Padgett doesn’t assume anything, but lets the fish provide the final answers each day. “I’m still trying and learning,” he said, “because, after all, the fish make the rules and can change their rules when and where they choose.”

Bringing it Together To cover all variables involved would require “a very large volume,” according to Padgett, and there’s no simple, specific formula that leads to the fish every time. That said, giving fair and intentional consideration to these factors and taking into account acquired knowledge about the waters you are fishing can be a major step toward putting fish in the boat.

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Lawrence Taylor (Cover) Kevin Van Dam hoists a large smallmouth bass into the boat (Photo: Lawrence Taylor) (Top) Professional anglers often fish crankbaits for bass. (Photo: Lawrence Taylor)


Outdoor News

The Spring Squirrel Hunting Tradition

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pring squirrel hunting is a stroll through a sensuous swirl of fat and fragrant flora. When it first started years ago, I had mixed feelings. Squirrel hunting is a fall tradition, one I’ve enjoyed since the 1950s. It has its own set of sights and smells, methods and moods. As so many say: I just wasn’t raised that way. It didn’t feel right. But I welcomed the bonus opportunity to shoulder a weapon and wander around in a hunting mode when all other legal outdoor pastimes involved rods and reels. Gradually, I began to combine camping and fishing with squirrel hunting. The opening of spring squirrels became a triple treat tradition of annual importance. I’ll admit that for the first couple of years, I was out of my element with this spring thing. Everything about it was different. Squirrels didn’t concentrate in ripening nut threes, or anywhere else that I could tell. They didn’t leave nut litter, or any feeding signs I could discern. But, because the large litters of spring were bounding about with youthful enthusiasm, sometimes they seemed to be everywhere, and because of the lush vegetation, I could simply walk within shotgun range of them. By the third year, I settled into this spring stroll method and found it extremely enjoyable. It is like having desert after a full course meal of turkey hunting. It’s sweet. I simply started walking and pausing along old logging roads and hiking trails, popping the cap as opportunities arose. Nearly all the squirrels you see are within shotgun range, and those you happen upon and spook are quite close. They take off through the trees like their tails are on fire. Downing them is like wing-shooting. There isn’t a lot of skill or experience involved; just a leisurely saunter through charming settings, punctuated by fast action. It is exactly the kind of hunting I wished I had had as a hyper-active kid. No sitting still. No waiting. No stealth. Hiking trails are especially good, because these narrow paths through dense foliage allow you easy, quiet passage. Maintained trails run all through the Ozarks, but the former head of the Ozark Trail Association once told me that within a 50-mile radius of Arcadia Valley there are over 500 miles of hiking trails. Certain small sections of these trails are not open to hunting, but it is perfectly legal on most of them.

The best part of spring squirrel hunting is just being in the vibrant rebirth of greenery. Honeysuckle and wild flowers decorate the emerald background and fill the air with perfume. Everything is so fresh and alive, and just being there makes me feel the same. My favorite time is just after a thunderstorm. I Spring squirrel hunting often requires quick have noticed over shots, similar to wing-shooting. (Photo: Ron the years that Kruger) the land loves lightening. All the flora seems energized by an infusion of electricity. The rain, of course, accounts for some of the perky posturing of plants washed clean, but when lightening accompanies rain, it seems all plants absorb power by osmosis. It sort of lights them up from the inside, and when the sun streaks through the rain scrubbed atmosphere with maximum contrast–oh man. This must be what the Garden of Eden looked like. I love my mountaintop vistas and the music of a gurgling spring, but a thick forest after a thunderstorm is hard to beat. It swallows me. I become a part of it. And everything in the world is copious. Everything is okay. It’s also a good time to hunt. Squirrels are like most people. When thunder rolls and lightening streaks, they seek shelter. But when it passes, they bound around as if they’ve been electrified too. The only thing that seem wrong to me about spring squirrel season these days, is it doesn’t last long enough. Ron Kruger

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Outdoor News

Stay on Target for Trout

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rout aren’t bluegills. Trout aren’t crappies. Trout aren’t bass. Trout are a creature onto themselves, living, and thriving, in trifling mountain streams and tiny, slow-flowing brush-infested creeks; inhospitable homes to most gamefish species. The principal difference between trout from other species is seen in the peculiar places in small streams they live. From the bank, their haunts look like no legitimate fish could even wriggle in the thick of the deadfalls and overgrowth. But it’s right within the thick of those entanglements they dwell. And it’s the minute openings – some only inches wide – where if a bait is perfectly placed, one can pull a fish of remarkable size. Overall, casts are more accurate with short rods, which makes ones with a tip closer to the hand textbook for the techniques needed to get a bait right where it needs to be. But ultralight line is required to keep trout offerings flowing flawlessly. And while a buggy-whip rod might work, hooksets and the ability to heave a trout from such thick cover is compromised tenfold.

Designed to provide superior performance for trout aficionados, the new one-piece has the optimal weight, sensitivity and balance, founded on a premium-quality blank fashioned with a blend of SCII graphite and highmodulus, high-strain SCVI graphite, which also gives the rod added power in the butt section to handle the biggest fish in the drink.

And it’s this need for a perfectly-placed cast and ability to pull a trout from such gnarly structure why the rodsmiths at St. Croix have added a new model to the trout-specific, Trout Series with a 4-foot 10-inch fastaction, ultra-light power spinning rod.

Next is the Sea Guide® stainless steel guides — which are 20- to 30-percent lighter and held securely with two coats of Flex Coat slow-cure finish — offering superior sensitivity and stand-off from the blank to keep line from sticking to the rod during those rainy days trout bite best in. Guide XMS split style reel seat with custom insert, surrounded by a premium-grade cork handle, also improves sensitivity and is comfort in the hand. Backed by a 5-year warranty and St. Croix’s Superstar Service, the new 4-foot 10-inch Trout Series rod is one phenomenal small-stream trout tool designed for catching fish in the tightest conditions anglers can face, and all for $100.

“The handle configuration; the guide platform; the combining of two different graphite technologies… There’s nothing out there specifically designed for targeting trout in tight corners like this new model in St. Croix’s Trout Series,” says Dan Johnston, National Accounts Manager for St. Croix Rods and trout-fishing connoisseur. “To put it simply: They’re the most wellthought-out trout-specific spinning rods on the market.” The right trout rod enhances fishing enjoyment. (Photo: Courtesy of St. Croix)

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So go ahead, place that bait on target with the most accurate rod a trout angler could ever cast. You’ll catch fish from places you never knew a fish could even waggle their way into.


Outdoor News

MDC reports 33 CWD positives out of nearly 24,500 samples tested

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he Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) reports 33 news cases of chronic wasting disease (CWD) have been found following the testing of 24,486 free-ranging Missouri deer through its 2017-2018 sampling and testing efforts. The new cases were from the following counties: Adair (3), Cedar (1), Franklin (4), Jefferson (1), Linn (7), Macon (3), Perry (1), Polk (3), St. Clair (4), and Ste. Genevieve (6). Of the 33 new cases, 16 were from hunter-harvested deer, one was from a road-killed deer, and 16 were from MDC’s post-season targeted culling efforts in the immediate areas around where previous cases have been found. This year’s findings bring the total number of free-ranging deer in Missouri confirmed to have CWD to 75. For more information, visit mdc.mo.gov/cwd under “CWD in Missouri.” “For a third year in a row, we found no CWD-positive deer in central Missouri, where a single case was confirmed in early 2015,” said MDC Wildlife Disease Coordinator Jasmine Batten. “Additionally, we found no cases of CWD on the Missouri-Arkansas border, despite the high level of CWD in northwest Arkansas.” Batten added that where CWD has been found in Missouri, the numbers of positives remain relatively low. “It is encouraging that cases of CWD are still pretty low overall, and MDC remains committed to monitoring the disease and taking actions to limit its spread,” she said. “We encourage hunters and landowners to continue participating in our CWD monitoring and management efforts.” Batten added that these efforts are vital in limiting the spread of the disease. “If we do nothing, areas affected by CWD will increase in size and many more deer will become infected by the disease,” she explained. “Over time, this would lead to significant long-term population declines.”MDC will again require mandatory sampling of deer harvested during the opening weekend of the fall firearms deer season, Nov. 10 and 11, in and around counties where

the disease has been recently found. MDC will again also offer voluntary CWD sampling during the entire fall and winter hunting season of deer harvested in and around counties where the disease has been recently found. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend hunters in areas known to have CWD test their deer before consuming the meat. After the close of deer season, MDC staff work with landowners on a voluntary basis to cull additional deer within an area of 1 to 5 miles of where recent cases of CWD have been found. Collecting additional samples helps MDC scientists better understand how many deer in the area may be infected and where they are in the area. Targeted culling also helps limit the spread of CWD by removing potentially infected deer from an area. “Targeted culling has proven to be very useful in finding cases of CWD and in reducing the spread of the disease by removing additional CWD-infected animals,” explained Batten. “We found about half of the new CWD cases this year through targeted culling. Without targeted culling, those 16 infected deer would have continued to spread the disease.” She added that targeted culling is the only tested method of slowing the growth of CWD in a local deer population. “The state of Illinois has been successful in stabilizing levels of CWD through the use of a sustained targeted culling program over many years,” Batten said. “In contrast, states such as Wisconsin that have not used targeted culling, or that have only implemented targeted culling for a short period of time, have seen levels of CWD climb steadily.” Of the more than 101,000 deer MDC has tested for CWD since 2001, about 4,500 have been harvested through targeted culling, including 1,485 from the past season. “This accounts for about 4% of all CWD samples collected so far, but has resulted in finding about 49% of CWD cases in Missouri,” Batten explained. For more information on CWD, visit mdc.mo.gov/cwd.

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Feature Story

Mini-Crankbaits For Trout T

he mere mention of a Rebel Crickhopper lit up Richie Hays’ face as the long-time trout guide remembered the first time anyone threw Crickhoppers from his boat. A guide at Gaston’s White River Resort in north-central Arkansas, Hays took those clients to a shallow shoal where current swept into deeper water, and they proceeded to catch trout after trout by casting across the shoal and reeling slowly so the Crickhoppers wobbled over the drop. Soon after our conversation, Hays steered his boat to a similar shoal so I could put a Crickhopper to work. It only took a handful of casts to get a feisty rainbow tugging on the line.

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CONSERVATION FEDERATION

Many fishermen use Rebel Crickhoppers for bluegills, pond bass or stream smallmouths, but the same little crankbait also performs exceptionally well for stream trout. Seemingly, the trout have a hard time resisting the wide wobble and the cricket/grasshopper profile. In truth, various diminutive crankbaits work wonderfully for trout, and they all tend to get overlooked by trout fishermen. A few other baits that stand out are Rebel Tracdown Minnows, Wee-Crawfish and Teeny WeeCrawfish.


Feature Story You’ll draw questioning stares from fellow fishermen when you show up streamside with a hard bait tied to your line. Even a small crankbait looks gaudy to a trout fisherman who normally uses flies, spinners or small natural baits such as corn or red worms. That’s OK. You’ll also draw the more important interest – that of the trout – and when you start catching fish, the doubters around you will suddenly become intrigued. Crankbaits prompt reaction strikes from fish that might study and eventually reject something smaller and slower moving. They also increase your odds of finding large trout that live in a stream, but do so without culling numbers. Additionally, crankbaits offer cast-and-crank simplicity, making them wonderful lure choices even for inexperienced anglers. Most importantly, casting and cranking and then having fish attack little crankbaits is an extremely fun way to catch trout. The Right Bait: Crickhoppers stay the shallowest of the crankbaits mentioned. The dive just a couple feet when retrieved at a medium, constant speed. As the season progresses and fish start finding more food on the surface, Crickhoppers work well waked on the surface with an extra-slow retrieve, twitched on top or even dead drifted. Rebel Tracdown Minnows sink slowly when they are not in motion. That means you can reel right away and keep the rod tip high to work one over very shallow areas, or you can wait several seconds before beginning each retrieve and work the bait with pauses and get it notably deeper. Cranked steadily, a Tracdown Minnow swims with a fairly tight wiggle. Twitched, it darts erratically. As the name suggests, a Tracdown Minnow is minnow-shaped, so it can suggest a minnow, sculpin or even a baby trout depending on the size and color pattern, where you throw it and how you present it. Rebel Wee-Crawfish dive when they are in motion. Often the best way to fish a Teeny Wee Crawfish is simply to cast it and crank it back. It will produce many fish while swimming freely in the current, but can be even more effective over shallow rocky bottoms that you can kick the lure off during presentations.

Experimentation: A friend and I commonly begin a day of stream trout fishing with one of us throwing a Tracdown Minnow and the other throwing a Teeny WeeCrawfish. Some days, the trout show about the same level of interest in both, so we stick with our guns. More often, though, one bait out-produces the other and we end up both fishing with either a minnow or a craw. Along with trying different lures, experiment with presentations and the types of water you cast to, and to pay careful attention to where you catch fish. Also, watch behind your lure from the moment it comes into view on every cast. Trout are notorious followers. If you are getting followers without strikes or even passing slaps from fish that won’t commit, that means you’re close. The fish are interested in the bait but something’s just a little off, so this is when you react and slightly change one aspect of your tactic, from a different retrieve speed or cadence to replacing your lure with one slightly larger or in a different color pattern. As you experiment, realize that a little thing can make a major difference. Be intentional about changes and watch results as you try different things, and chances are good that the crankbait pattern will become better-defined as the day progresses. Light or ultralight spinning tackle and 4- to 6-lb line works nicely for delivering small crankbaits to trout. A 5 ½-foot rod allows for accurate casting in small streams. A 6- or 6 ½-foot rod allows for longer casts and makes it a little easier to control the action of the lure. Small crankbaits fit nicely in a small stowable tackle box that you can put in a vest or shirt pocket, allowing you to travel light and to keep things simple. Just be sure to include a little pair of needle-nose pliers or hemostats to remove the tiny hooks.

Jeff Samsel (Cover) Crankbaits are an effective option for trout (Photo: Jeff Samsel) (Center) Grasshoppers are a favorite food of trout. (Photo: Pradco Fishing)

MAY - 2018

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Feature Story

Keep Close to the Willows O

nce common phrase born in the Missouri Ozarks, "Keep close to the willows," originates from the prudent practice of staying close to the willows while skinny dipping in a willow-lined creek to keep from being seen. This saying came to mean be cautious and modest. Willows give us many other reasons, however, to want to get closer to these native trees. When around willow stands in late spring and early summer listen for the Sweet, sweet, I'm so sweet call of the yellow warbler. A stunning bird with brilliant yellow color, the males sport gorgeous chestnut streaks on their chests. This jewel of willow habitat is a summer breeding resident in Missouri, especially in the northern half of the state. Look beyond the vibrant color and you will find a bird as interesting as it is beautiful.

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CONSERVATION FEDERATION

Yellow warblers return to the state in late April and early May from winter grounds in Mexico and Central and South America. Their melodic song echoes along the edges of streams and wetlands. Yellow warblers form monogamous pairs that can last from season to season. The female will begin building a nest in the vertical “Y” of a branch over four days until completion. Nesting on riparian edges put yellow warblers at risk of having their nest parasitized by cowbirds. However, unlike many bird species, yellow warblers can recognize cowbird eggs. They will build a new floor in the nest over the interloper’s egg and lay a new clutch of eggs to avoid incubating the cowbird egg. One documented, persistent cowbird tried six times to lay an egg in the same yellow warbler nest, thwarted each time by a new nest layer being constructed over each cowbird egg.


Feature Story Willows are also a host plant of the viceroy butterfly caterpillar—others being poplars and cottonwoods. A mimic of the monarch butterfly, the viceroy lives in Missouri year-round and overwinters as a larva in the dead leaves of willows. The female will lay her egg on the tip of a willow leaf—the hatchling caterpillar feeds on willow leaves. As adults, viceroys resemble unpalatable monarchs—which defends viceroys from being eaten by predators. Look closely to see the difference between the two butterflies: a viceroy has a line across its hind wing, which a monarch does not have. You can find willows growing in stands along the edges of wetland, rivers and in low-lying wet areas. Missouri hosts 10 species of native willows and most prefer wet riparian areas. Identified by their long, narrow leaves and branches that bend without breaking, willows branches are used by beavers in their dams and the roots of willows in water can shelter many aquatic species. Deer also browse willows, and more 200 species of sawflies and many species of midge mites depend on willows as host plants. A mid-20th century study showed wetland willow thickets provide stopover habitat for over 60 species of birds, the highest of any studied habitat. Willows are good soil stabilizers, and their growth on sandbars and islands were noted in Lewis and Clark's journal when they passed near Holt County around Tarkio creek in 1804. They have also been used to create fences and shelters, weave baskets, and provided the original base ingredient of aspirin. Each tree will produce either a male or female catkin that can appear fuzzy. Pollinated by both wind and insects, the fruit will develop on the female tree and contain many tiny seeds. Willow thickets can establish quickly both from the seed produced by existing plants and any branches dropped will easily root to form a new plant. These branches can also float downstream and begin a new stand of willows. From prevention of erosion to superior wildlife value, willows are a valuable part of Missouri’s ecosystems and give us good reason to visit willow stands in wetlands and along rivers and streams. For more information on willows and other native plants that stabilize soil and host wildlife visit www. grownative.org.

Mary Nemecek Conservation Chair of Burroughs Audubon

WILLOW

DESCRIPTION Their leaves have short stems and are usually narrow and long (lance-shaped or linear), with a rounded base and pointed tip, usually with teeth along the margin. The wood is often brittle, weak, and prone to breakage in ice and strong winds. Many willows are fast-growing, water-loving species. Twigs are famously slender, tough, and flexible, hence the phrase "bend like a willow." Many willows can be grown from cuttings by simply sticking a willow branch into the soil

HABITAT AND Willows occur in North America and CONSERVATION Eurasia. There are many species, varieties, and hybrids. Willows are cultivated worldwide. Most Missouri willows are associated with wet or low-lying areas: floodplains, fens, streamsides, riverbanks, gravel bars, swamps, ditches, and so on. Some, however, like the prairie willow, prefer drier, upland areas, hill prairies, or open woods.

ECOSYSTEM Willows play a huge role in bank stabilization and erosion prevention. As primary colonizers of seasonally flooded or otherwise highly disturbed, wet sites, they are tremendously important. Animals ranging from tiny insects to large deer eat the plants.

STATUS About 12 species of willows grow naturally in Missouri, including at least 2 that were introduced from outside our borders. There are additional willows that are exotic cultivated species, including weeping willow (S. babylonica), but these are not known to survive for long out of cultivation.

For more information visit www.mdc.mo.gov.

A Yellow Warbler sits in a tree. (Photo: Mary Nemecek)

MAY - 2018

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Feature Story

Get Ready for Adventures in

BEAR COUNTRY

A

cross the Ozarks, black bears are growing in number. This incredible conservation story is one we should all be proud of. Black bears are incredible creatures that belong on our landscape. But as their populations expand, we must recognize the necessity of taking precaution in bear country to ensure the safety of those venturing outdoors, while doing our part to ensure their welcomed restoration and survival of native Missouri species. The Missouri Department of Conservation is conducting extensive research on the restoration of our native black bears and they are eager to share the information collected with citizens. They have been working to upgrade the bear research section of the MDC website to include an interactive story map.

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CONSERVATION FEDERATION

“The story map will also show website users interesting black bear movements, such as, how far a bear can disperse, and maps of our collared bears,� said Laura Conlee, MDC furbearer biologist. The new enhanced story map will replace the old tracking map previously on the website. While the new technology still provides interactive research maps of bear movements in Missouri, it limits individual collared bear locations to protect against illegal poaching.

Black bears are growing in number across the Missouri Ozarks. Taking proper precautions in bear country is a must. (Photo: Courtesy of MDC)


Feature Story “MDC conservation agents expressed growing concern over the potential for making it easier for someone interested in illegal wildlife trafficking to find a bear by looking on a website,” Conlee said. “Also, as Missouri’s black bear population grows and approaches the possibility of a hunting season, it was an ideal time to make changes to the maps while at the same time improving the interactive experience for people to learn more about black bears.” If you are planning to camp in the Missouri Ozarks this year, you’re headed to bear country. Now, with an only an estimated 300 or so bears in the state, your chances of coming in contact with one are very slim. Yet, you still need to be prepared and take precautions. Being responsible in the wilderness isn’t something you should do, it’s something you have to do. Bears inhabit many of the most wild and scenic regions of Missouri. The fact bears are in these wilderness areas is part of the reason why we are so interested in visiting. We want to experience wildlife in wild places. What we don’t want is any kind of confrontation. Camping in bear country isn’t a problem if you follow a few simple steps. The Missouri Department of Conservation has an interactive map showing the locations of black bear sightings in the state. It’s a little hard to find on the MDC website, but worth checking out. First, scroll to the bottom of the MDC homepage. Click on the blue box that says, Conservation Areas: Places to Go. Again, scroll down and click on the link for Interactive MDC Maps. Click the slider to the right, and you should see the box, Missouri Black Bear Sightings. Click it and you’ll be able to see the sightings map. It’s pretty full. If you’re heading to bear country, just take a little precaution and be smart. Never feed a bear or approach one. The following list was put together by the Missouri Department of Conservation to help people prepare for camping and recreating in bear country.

1. Never Feed Bears

Not only does feeding bears and other wildlife encourage an unhealthy loss of wildness, it can help spread diseases by concentrating animals around an unnatural food source. Attempts to hand-feed wildlife are even more dangerous.

2. Keep A Clean Camp

Bears don’t discriminate between food and garbage. They find food scraps and wrappers as enticing as a full meal. Check the area around dog bowls for stray food after feeding.

3. Wash Utensils After Cooking

Bears’ keen sense of smell can detect food odors long after cooking is done.

4. Start Food Prep at Home

Peeling and slicing vegetables, cooking meat and doing other food preparation at home reduces the amount of garbage and smell produced in camp. It also allows more time for outdoor activities.

5. Store Food in Airtight Containers

Rubberized dry bags, jars with tight-sealing lids and sealable plastic bags help minimize tantalizing aromas. Store food in locked vehicles or car trunks at night.

6. Don't Cook or Eat in Tents

With people hidden from view, a bear can mistake a tent for a food source.

7. Keep Garbage Sealed Up

Double bag refuse and lock it in a car trunk or airtight container.

8. Treat Scented Items Like Food

Soap, cosmetics and other scented items don’t smell like food to you, but they do to a bear.

9. Never Approach Bears

Wild animals are unpredictable and can be dangerous when brought into unnatural contact with people. Don’t put yourself and them at risk by trying to create a Disney moment.

10. Keep Dogs Leashed

Bears normally flee when they encounter people, but if cornered by a dog they will defend themselves. See you down the trail… Brandon Butler

MAY - 2018

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Feature Story

Frogs and Mice in the Heavy Stuff

F

lipping a plastic frog or mouse across thick weeds or moss requires a mix of patience and anticipation. Openings between vegetation always appears dark, almost sinister and promising. The goal is to hop the frog or mouse into one of these pockets where you believe a big bass might be waiting to ambush an easy meal. Once this spot is reached, pause, twitch and pause to make the bass think an easy meal awaits.

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CONSERVATION FEDERATION

Last season I paused in one of these openings and was rewarded when a six-pound largemouth bass took my mouse on the way up and out of a friend’s pond while sunlight reflected off her sides with assorted pieces of moss and water droplets—the kind of scene that lasts in your mind forever. The old’ gal fought well and was happy to be released from whatever had just happened. No doubt her heart and mine continued to beat quite a while after that fight.


Feature Story Expect hits before reaching these openings. A bass may be watching the shallow of your lure cross over thin vegetation and strike at the right moment. Either way is the beginning of a good fight in heavy cover. Topwater fishing for big bass creates dramatic, heartstopping moments. Largemouth bass generally don’t gently hit a prey; they bombard it with unbelievable power and fury. A bass will sometimes completely leave the water like mine did while others seem to suck the bait in while barely disturbing the surface. Big bass sometimes slam into topwater offerings and spit the lure out in mid-air while anglers are left wondering what happened. Everything happens very quickly during a topwater strike and bass use lightning-quick reactions. This speed occasionally results in trouble by hooking themselves. Topwater lures are especially good for easy hooksets when all goes right. Spring and summer heat will soon take over when most anglers top-water fish at night. But hollow frogs and mice are productive throughout the day, even when temperatures are approaching three digits. The key is knowing where to look. During hot weather bass love shade in slightly deeper water where more oxygen exists. Areas with lily pads, slop or other cover such as fallen trees and docks generally are covered with some kind of aquatic vegetation. Bass hide under this messy green stuff and wait for an easy meal to drop in. Don’t ignore visible wood on the water. Logs, brush or other items are key places to walk a from or mouse. Bass accommodate by busting the bait. Plastic hollow mice or frog lures are ideal for this situation. Lures like my favorites, the Walking Frog, Moss Mouse or Lunker Frog, lies on top of vegetation and seldom picks up weeds like most lures. This is in part because the lure is lighter and the hooks are totally weedless. Several twitches of this “victim” create those vicious strikes we live for. There are two primary ways to fish this type of lure. First, hold your rod tip in the hook set position and slowly turning your reel handle in short bursts with long pauses. Or by working your rod tip in a downward motion while slowly turning your reel handle while making sure to pause when close to cover or in open pockets.

Fish cannot resist eating frogs or mice. The legs retract on excellent choices like the Lunker Frog during the stop and go technique. When the sun is out and the sky is clear and you know the fish are holding to cover, let the frog or mouse pause a little longer. They have absolutely no chance of knowing the frog is not real and will absolutely smash it. Anglers can play around with the cadence and speed of lures like the Walking Frog retrieves should be based on how the fish are reacting. Aggressive bass allow you to speed up the retrieve and cover more water. Slow strikes mean slowing down to stay in the strike zone longer. Cast past where you think bass will be holding. Let the hollow lure splash down causing surface disturbance, then start reeling with your rod tip down. Low light conditions like early in the morning or late evening are best. During overcast conditions fish will roam and finding actively feeding fish often requires covering water. The straight retrieve is great for covering water and locating active fish. Baitcasting reels with heavy rods and at least 20-pound test line or heavier is ideal for this type of fishing. Light tackle will net you strikes but few bass will be landed. Warm weather is an excellent time to catch big bass. Try the hollow frogs and mice for some hot action during the hottest months. You will dream about those addictive savage strikes and wake up praying for more! Kenneth L. Kieser (Left) Frog and mouse imitations are excellent summer bass baits. (Photo: Courtesy of Kenneth Kieser) (Top) Brad Wiegmann with a hefty summer largemouth. (Photo: Brad Wiegmann)

MAY - 2018

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If there are errors in your name or address, please notify us at: Conservation Federation 728 W. Main Jefferson City, MO 65101 or call 573-634-2322.

May 2018 vol 79 no 3  
May 2018 vol 79 no 3