The Voice for Missouri Outdoors SEPTEMBER 2019 - VOL 80 | NO. 5
Missouri's Rich Outdoor Heritage
everal words in our mission that speak to me are “…preservation of our state’s rich outdoor heritage...” But what does our rich outdoor heritage mean? I think the answer to that depends on the person you ask. Missourians are very lucky having so many diverse opportunities to spend time outdoors to discover what that rich outdoor heritage truly means. The beauty of that uniqueness and the beauty of CFM coincide nicely together because we support so many different types of outdoor passions and recreational opportunities. For some, it may mean loading up the camper and heading out their favorite state park to enjoy a weekend of eating over a fire and cooking with their Dutch Oven. Some may enjoy a weekend float trip on a clear stream in the heart of the Ozarks. Others may enjoy a nice quiet walk early in the morning around their subdivision or neighboring park. I certainly enjoy the solitude of the bow stand in the early fall or being out on the trap line on a snowy winter day. Whatever your passion is that gets you outside, pursue it, and recognize and support what gives you those freedoms to roam about our great state. I recently was reviewing the very first editions of the Conservation Federation publication from the late 30’s. This is when our storied organization was in its infancy and finding the way. The challenges they faced then aren’t much different than we face today as we strive to educate, inform, advocate and protect the resource. Regular memberships back then started at $1 and went all the way up to a patron membership at a whopping $500. Similar membership structures exist today and are vital to our success. I hope you all strive to be active, contributing members to our organization, as we certainly need you as we face our challenges head-on.
Anti-conservationist, misinformation, and corrupt politics were battles faced then, now, and will continue in the future. That’s what CFM is here for. When we unite our voices and challenge those to do the right thing, the integrity of our heritage will continue to win out. If you are reading this, and you are not a member, I ask that you consider joining. If you are a member, thank you, and I hope you will consider stepping up and becoming a life member. It is money well spent to preserve the outdoor passions we all care so deeply about. One thing is certain, we cannot take for granted these rich outdoor traditions. We must, and will, continue to preserve and protect what those before us fought so hard for so that we could enjoy the luxuries of bountiful resources today. It is up to us to pass it on. Thanks to each of you for all that you do to support our mission. My door, and my ears are always open, so feel free to stop by or call me anytime.
Yours in Conservation, Tyler Schwartze CFM Executive Director
SEPTEMBER - 2019
Conservation Federation September 2019 - V80 No. 5
What is Happening to Missouri's Wild Turkey Population?
Quality Binoculars Enhance Outdoor Fun
The Definition of Hunting
Day Flights & Night Blooms
Get Outdoors with WOW!
Hangin' Outdoors with PawPaw
Departments 3 8 11 13 14 36
Director's Message President's Message New Members Gear Guide Affiliate Spotlight Agency News
1st Vice President
2nd Vice President
STAFF Tyler Schwartze
Director of Operations
Membership Development Coordinator
Events and Fund Development Manager
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.
Highlights 18 19 22 25 26 61 62
Gary Van De Velde
Youth Program Update CFM Event Schedule Columbia Event Recap New CFM Hire CFM Volunteers Waterfowl Changes Motus Flight Tracking
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: MGabelsberger@confedmo.org | 573-634-2322
FRONT COVER Drake Wood Duck, Greene County, Missouri. (Photo: Matt Miles) To see more of Matt’s photography visit mattmilesphotography.com.
Thank you to all of our Business Alliance members. Platinum
Gold Bushnell Custom Metal Products Diamond Pet Foods Doolittle Trailer Enbridge, Inc.
FCS Financial G3 Boats MidwayUSA Pure Air Natives Redneck Blinds
Roeslein Alternative Energy, LLC RTP Outdoors Weston
Missouri Wildflowers Nursery Mitico Moneta Group Simmons Sun Solar
Starline, Inc. St. James Winery Trailerman Trailers
Gray Manufacturing Company, Inc. HMI Fireplace Shop Hodgdon Powder Company, Inc. Missouri Wine & Grape Board NE Electric Power Co-ops NW Electric Power Cooperative, Inc.
Ozark Bait and Tackle POET Powder Horn Gun & Archery Sierra Bullets
Dickerson Park Zoo Farmer’s Co-op Elevator Association Gascosage Electric Cooperative GREDELL Engineering Resources, Inc. Grundy Electric Coop. Hulett Heating & Air Conditioning J&B Outdoors Kansas City Parks and Recreation Missouri Native Seed Association Nick's Family Restaurant
Platte-Clay Electric Cooperative, Inc. REMAX Boone Realty Say Insurance Shady Lanes Cabins and Motel Tabor Plastics Company Truman’s Bar & Grill United Electric Cooperative, Inc. White River Valley Electric Cooperative
Silver Forrest Keeling Nursery Holladay Distillery Learfield Communication, Inc. Lilley’s Landing Resort & Marina Logboat Brewing
Bronze Association of Missouri Electric Coop. Black Widow Custom Bows, Inc. Burgers’ Smokehouse Central Electric Power Cooperative Custom Screen Printing and Embroidery Drury Hotels
Iron Bass Pro Shops (Independence) Bee Rock Outdoor Adventures Blue Springs Park and Recreation Bob McCosh Chevrolet Buick GMC Boone Electric Co-op Brockmeier Financial Services Brown Printing Cap America Central Bank Community State Bank of Bowling Green
Your business can benefit by supporting conservation. For all sponsorship opportunities call (573) 634-2322. SEPTEMBER - 2019
St. James Winery Focuses on Sustainability During Harvest Season and Beyond
ike many in the agricultural community, harvest season marks an important time in the annual cycle of production for the St. James Winery. From August through early October, St. James Winery works tirelessly to harvest 155 acres in Phelps and Crawford counties, resulting in an average of 1,000 tons of grapes. As Missouri’s largest winery, St. James Winery believes it’s important to minimize the impact to the land during harvest season and beyond.
“We have taken big steps to leave a smaller footprint,” says Andrew Meggitt, Executive Winemaker at St. James Winery. “Since the beginning of my tenure in 2002, we have implemented a long list of environmentally friendly practices to reduce our stress on the environment both in the vineyards and at our production facility.”
Business Spotlight Starting in the vineyard, they fine-tune their irrigation system with soil moisture probes and constantly monitor the data to use less water throughout the growing season. They also use the most efficient harvesting equipment available. Buying an economy tractor has reduced the diesel consumption by 50% while the use of an over row sprayer, which sprays two rows at once, has further added to the reduction on diesel consumption. The Winery also attempts to minimize their waste by implementing composting practices. After the Wine Grapes are crushed and fermented, the byproducts are composted and spread in the vineyard. These practices have improved the organic matter and microbial activity in the vineyard by 100% in some places. St. James Winery became the first to receive the Agriculture Stewardship Assurance Program (ASAP) certification in the Missouri Department of Agriculture’s specialty crop category. ASAP was launched to recognize agricultural leaders implementing best practices for Missouri’s land, farms and families. “The certification validates what we are doing,” adds Meggitt. “It is very important to our farm crew to be recognized for how much care they take in sustainably growing grapes. Without their attention to detail, we wouldn’t have quality fruit. We all strive to leave the land better than when we found it; that’s the goal every day.” They also work hard to have sustainable facilities. The little things make a difference, so they recycle all materials, including aluminum, glass, cardboard and plastic. They also installed LED lighting across all their facilities in 2018 which reduced the electrical usage by 20-25%. The big things make a difference too, like the refrigeration system they installed to save energy while still meeting the needs of Missouri’s largest winery. They have also instituted low-energy and sustainable wine fermentation and storage processes. They use a state-of-the-art artificial intelligence software called VinWizard that monitors the fermentation process and manages the amount of energy needed.
In 2018, they updated their insulation to chilled Glycol lines which reduced the power consumption by 10-15%. They also use an ozone generator for sanitizing in place of chemicals. Once it’s used, it turns into water which prevents chemical residue. Last, but not least, they bottle their wine with screw tops instead of hard-to-recycle cork. Next door neighbors Public House Brewing Company also share in the affection of reducing environment impact and conservation. Together, all liquid wine and beer waste from St. James Winery and Public House Brewing Company during the production process is collected and used in compost in the vineyard. “Ever since starting the winery and growing grapes, my family has been conscientious of caring for the land,” says Peter Hofherr, Chairman and CEO of St. James Winery. “Agriculture sustains this region’s economic base and we take responsibility for our land by using efficient and sustainable practices. This helps the long-term quality and success of our business, our community and our future generations.” St. James Winery was founded to re-establish the tradition of winemaking in the Meramec Highlands that was originally settled by Italian immigrants in the late 1800s. Their partnership with the Friendship School Foundation helps them invest in and work to sustain the cultural heritage of their vineyards, their craft and their community. The Foundation name pays homage to the 19th century one room Italian schoolhouse that still stands next to their vineyards, and is featured in their Friendship School red and white wines. Founded by the Hofherr family in the Meramec Highlands region of Missouri in 1970, St. James Winery is celebrating 49 years as a family owned and operated winery. St. James Winery produces 500,000 gallons (225,000 cases) of wine per year and is sold in 31 states and Washington D.C. They are open daily, year round. Learn more about St. James Winery at stjameswinery.com.
SEPTEMBER - 2019
Taking Responsiblity for Your Future
ften, it’s easy to feel like someone else will take care of public problems. Who makes sure our drinking water is safe? Who makes sure trash isn’t dumped in the streets? Who makes sure our national parks remain natural and undisturbed for everyone’s enjoyment? The federal government fulfills some of this function, but there is a lot that is left up to state and local governments, and most importantly, YOU, the individual, to help steward the care of our natural resources! As a former conservationist for the USDA, natural resources responsibility was a part of my career. But reflecting on my upbringing, some important experiences taught me the need for personal responsibility. As a young boy on the farm, I always appreciated and respected the outdoors. I was introduced to hunting and fishing by my uncles, Roy and Jake. I was enthusiastic about my experiences with them, and before long, I was asking my dad when I could have a shotgun, an item that demands a great deal of personal responsibility from its owner. My dad didn’t think I was ready for the shotgun, so naturally, I set out to prove to him that I was capable enough to handle it. I would go hunting the old-fashioned way, the way I had been told my grandpa used to do it: use a 2x4 to get a rabbit. With my younger sister as my game scout, we showed dad that we could take responsibility for putting dinner on the table. We were successful and brought home a rabbit with our old-fashioned weapon. I still see the look of amazement, then amusement on my dad’s face. You can guess what that Christmas brought…my first shotgun.
While our attempts at demonstrating personal responsibility might have been a little misguided, the overall principle still stands. All of us have a responsibility to ourselves and those around us. We can all ask what we can do to make sure that our natural environment with all its resources remains intact for ourselves and future generations. By being a part of the Conservation Federation, you already are taking on a level of personal responsibility to help ensure the future of Missouri outdoors. Encourage those you know to go out and see for themselves opportunities to have a great time outside. In doing so, you may encourage a sense of that responsibility in them for the future we share. “The conservation of nature, the proper care for the human environment and a general concern for the long-term future of the whole of our planet are absolutely vital if future generations are to have a chance to enjoy their existence on this earth. - Prince Philip If it’s not your problem, then whose problem is it?
Yours in Conservation, Gary Van De Velde President, CFM
Shelter InsuranceÂŽ is a proud sponsor of Share the Harvest & the Conservation Federation.
Contact your local Shelter agent to insure your auto, home, life, and all your hunting & fishing gear. Find an agent near you at ShelterInsurance.com.
Why I Became a Life Member of CFM: Dan Zekor
mong the first people I met when I moved to Missouri in 1987 were Ed Stegner and Charlie Callison, two prominent figures in the history of CFM and Missouri conservation. Through them and others, I learned about the Federation and the role it played in advocating for fish and wildlife conservation, state parks, and preserving opportunities for future generations to enjoy nature and the out-of-doors in whatever form suits them. Much has been achieved in the past 75 years, but through a variety of natural and unnatural forces, our public trust resources are being diminished, as well as those opportunities for all Missourians to appreciate those resources. Missouri needs CFM and all the members and affiliate organizations that work tirelessly to protect and conserve wildlife, habitat, and public opportunities. My personal contributions to CFM are my way of thanking those came before me, and investing in the future of those that will be here when Iâ€™m gone.
Also, knowing my lifetime membership dollars are placed in an endowment fund to support CFM in the future sealed the deal â€“ this is not a one and done contribution! These are among the reasons I became a life member and why I hope others will consider the same.
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 email@example.com.
WELCOME NEW CFM MEMBERS David Peterson, Wildwood
Alice Geller, Ashland
Kurt Heisler, Versailles
Virginia Salle, Nixa
John Wenzlick, Jefferson City
Roger Still, Columbia
Russel Newton, Columbia
Powell Carman, Saint Louis
Cherise Still, Columbia
Scott Lenharth, Nevada
Julia Frank Hundman, Saint Louis
Darrell Hollingshead, Kansas City
Arthur Wende, Fenton
Michael Steenbergen, Jefferson City
Karen Colton-Millsap, Mount Vernon
Theodore Proske, Florissant
James Kelly, Kansas City
William Stork, Cedar Hill
Don Favier, Fenton
Norma Shoupe, Columbia
Scott Reynolds, Whitewater
Alan Schaefer, Sainte Genevieve
Diane Baer, Kirksville
Donna Pecherski, Chesterfield
Sally Hubbard, Keytesville
Paige Glenn, Lenexa, KS
CFM would like to thank the 220 members that renewed since our last publication.
CFM Conservation Federation Podcast Listen to CFMâ€™s Podcast Did you know CFM has a podcast? In each episode, CFM staff discuss conservation issues with special guests. Past episodes include interviews with Governor Jay Nixon, MDC Director Sara Parker Pauley, Glenn Chambers, Steven Rinella and many other passionate conservationists.
Have you heard our lastest episodes? Episode 22: Frank Oberle and Zach Coy Episode 21: Alex Rutledge on the Ozarks Episode 20: Share the Harvest 2018
Find the Conservation Federation podcast on the CFM website and on iTunes.
SEPTEMBER - 2019
Committed to Community & Conservation Owned by the members they serve, Missouriâ€™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. Missouriâ€™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.
Gear Guide Redneck Blinds Soft Side 360° Ghillie Deluxe 6x6 Blind – Business Alliance With its spacious 6-foot by 6-foot interior, there’s plenty of room for up to three adults or two adults and two children to hunt comfortably—whether that’s with a bow, gun or crossbow. The Soft Side 360° Ghillie Deluxe 6X6 Blind sports a heavy-duty double-stitched 600 denier flame-retardant Ghille cover, and the double-zipper design allows the windows to be opened to any configuration for maximum visibility while maintaining the highest level of concealment. The Ghille cover easily blends in with a variety of backgrounds without having to brush in. www.redneckblinds.com
Diamond Naturals – Business Alliance Made with the highest quality ingredients, Diamond Naturals provides complete, holistic nutrition for every pet. With dry and canned food options for both dogs and cats as well as a full line of dog treats, whatever your pet’s nutritional needs, Diamond Naturals has a formula to match. Real meat, vegetables and fruits provide optimized nutrition and an authentic taste pets love without the need for artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. www.diamondpet.com
Pure Air Natives Pollinator Favorites - Business Alliance Next spring, you can do something very simple to help the struggling pollinators species of Missouri - Plant Pure Air Natives. This strong CFM supporter provides native seed and plants for ecological restoration, habitat creation and preservation efforts in Missouri and adjoining states. Their pollinator mixes include wildflowers and legumes that create great habitat for Missouri species. Spread some seed, sit back and enjoy the butterflies while knowing you are doing your part to help pollinators. www.pureairnatives.com
CZ P-10 - Business Alliance Anyone who’s picked up a CZ 75 for the first time gets it — it just has to feel right in the hand. With the CZ grip angle, the P-10 avoids that ‘brick-in-the-hand’ feeling that has plagued many in the striker-fired genre, allowing it to point naturally. A mild palm swell, deep beavertail and three interchangeable backstraps make the P-10 fit a wide variety of hands as if it were built for them. With CZ reliability, engineered ergonomics and a bevy of features both familiar and new, the P-10 is the complete package. www.cz-usa.com
Bushnell Forge Binocular - Business Alliance Forge binoculars feature a split bridge design offering superior durability in the field. Bushnell exclusive EXO Barrier protective coating provides superior low light contrast and resolution and their highest quality glass delivers amazing color, resolution and contrast, even in low-light conditions. These o-ring sealed optics stay dry inside when immersed in three feet of water for up to 30 minutes. www.bushnell.com
SEPTEMBER - 2019
South Side Division
outh Side Division was founded in 1940 by a conservation-minded group of individuals who were concerned about the limited number of deer, turkey, quail and fish. They banded together in St. Louis and held their first meeting in January 1941 with nine in attendance. The attendance grew every month along with their enthusiasm. Realizing that actions speak louder than words, they bought and placed in rearing ponds more than 77,000 fish to stock ponds, rivers and parks. They sponsored a reforestation program by buying 97,000 trees and shrubs to distribute to 105 organizations across the state. In 1946, South Side Division was the first CFM affiliate to purchase a wildlife demonstration area – Tea Lakes Conservation Area. This 200-acre plot of farmland began changing from a poorly managed property to a wildlife-friendly area. A series of lakes (a 35-acre lake and six smaller ponds) were built to control the watershed and erosion. By April 1948 the lakes were full and now being stocked with the correct ratio of fish for the pond size. The area was opened to fishing in April of 1948 with a great turnout. Soon after, a boathouse, boat dock, BBQ pits, and roads were built for more usable access to the area. Campsites then began to be constructed – twenty in total with a cleared spot for a camper or tent, burn pits, picnic tables and covered shelter for goods. A few roads were in place around the area, but a larger number of walking trails covered the area for the members. In 1960, membership reached 1,500. The area was now ready for tree plantings to help with water control. A trip around the area today will allow you to see the fruits of their labor: short-leaf pine, red cedar, walnut, Chinese elm, mountain ash, and the dreaded multiflora rose. Geese and ducks were using the lakes and three deer were spotted that year. To draw more wildlife, food plots were planted, and nesting boxes and purple martin houses were placed across the area.
On the 25th anniversary in 1965 we were the largest affiliate of the CFM. One of our members won the Wildlife Conservationist of the Year Award in 1981 for his “bat house” design. The original house is installed in the area. In 2005, we were able to offer an assist after the Hurricane Katrina devastation when 307 pine trees were harvested for utility poles. Today we continue to be a family-friendly area for all ages to enjoy the outdoors. The area is available for members to camp, fish and hike 365 days a year. The hiking trails cover the entire 216 acres (16 additional acres were purchased in the 1970s). Tea Lakes is open to all Scouting groups and active military families at no charge. We welcome all who love the outdoors to join us as members. The area is located 6.5 miles from Hwy 50 in Rosebud, MO. Meetings are held in South St. Louis six times a year and once a year in the area. For more information, please visit www.tlakes.org or www. facebook.com/TeaLakes.
Affiliate Organizations Anglers of Missouri
Missouri Bow Hunters Association
Missouri Sport Shooting Association
Association of Missouri Electric
Missouri Caves & Karst Conservancy
Missouri State Campers Association
Missouri Chapter of the
Missouri State Chapter of the
Cooperatives Audubon Society of Missouri
American Fisheries Society
Quality Deer Management
Bass Slammer Tackle
Missouri Chapter of the Wildlife Society
Missouri Taxidermist Association
Big Game Hunters
Missouri Coalition for the Environment
Missouri Trappers Association
Burroughs Audubon Society of
Missouri Community Forestry Council
Missouri Trout Fishermen's Association
Missouri Conservation Agents Association
Missouri Whitetails Unlimited
Capital City Fly Fishers
Greater Kansas City
Missouri Conservation Pioneers
MU Wildlife & Fisheries Science
Chesterfield Citizens Committee
Missouri Consulting Foresters Association
for the Environment
Graduate Student Organization
Missouri Ducks Unlimited- State Council
Northside Conservation Federation
Columbia Audubon Society
Missouri Forest Products Association
Open Space Council of the St. Louis Region
Conservation Foundation of Missouri
Missouri Grouse Chapter of QUWF
Osage Paddle Sports
Missouri Hunter Education
Ozark Chinquapin Foundation
Charitable Trust Deer Creek Sportsman Club
Ozark Fly Fishers, Inc.
Festus-Crystal City Conservation Club
Missouri Hunting Heritage Federation
Ozark Trail Association
Forest and Woodland Association of
Missouri Master Naturalist -
Ozark Wilderness Waterways Club
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. Heartland Conservation Alliance James River Basin Partnership
Hi Lonesome Chapter Missouri Master NaturalistMiramiguoa Chapter Missouri Master NaturalistOsage Trails Chapter Missouri Master NaturalistBoone's Lick Chapter Missouri Master NaturalistSpringfield Plateau Chapter
Perry County Sportsman Club Pomme De Terre Chapter Muskies 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
Katy Land Trust
Missouri National Wild Turkey Federation
St. Louis Audubon Society
Missouri Native Seed Association
Stream Teams United
Land Learning Foundation
Missouri Outdoor Communicators
Student Air Rifle Program
Legends of Conservation
Missouri Park & Recreation Association
The Fallen Outdoors-Team MO
Little Blue River Watershed Coalition
Missouri Parks Association
Tipton Farmers & Sportsman's Club
Mid-Missouri Outdoor Dream
Missouri Prairie Foundation
Tri-Lakes Fly Fishers
Mid-Missouri Trout Unlimited
Missouri River Bird Observatory
Troutbusters of Missouri
Midwest Diving Council
Missouri River Relief
United Bow Hunters of Missouri
Mississippi Valley Duck
Missouri Rock Island Trail, Inc.
Walnut Council & Other Fine Hardwoods
Missouri Rural Water Association
Wild Bird Rehabilitation
Missouri Association of Meat Processors
Missouri Smallmouth Alliance
Wonders of Wildlife
Missouri Atlatl Association
Missouri Society of American Foresters
Young Outdoorsmen United
Missouri B.A.S.S. Nation
Missouri Soil & Water Conservation
Missouri Bird Conservation Initiative
SEPTEMBER - 2019
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Orscheln Outdoors™ 2-Person Ground Blind 107419147
Youth Programs Update
became involved with the Conservation Federation of Missouri (CFM) when I was a junior in high school and became highly active with the Conservation Leadership Corps (CLC). I was immediately hooked to the organization. I’ve done everything from a summer internship, chairing committees, Explore the Outdoors events, becoming a life member, and even a past board member. Being that involved, I still felt like something was missing from the organization to make me feel at home. At the 2019 Annual Convention, I was visiting with fellow CLC alum Kat Brookshire. We both had a similar feeling like something was missing. The more we talked, the more ideas started flowing through our heads. Together, we came up with an idea of forming a young professional’s group within CFM. We wanted it to be something more than a CLC alumni group. There are so many people in the beginning stages of their careers that are looking for people going through some of the same things they are. Sometimes we need to vent about the pains of being the youngest in our workplace. And sometimes it’s hard being the new kid on the block. Our goal was to come up with a way to keep CLC students involved with CFM after they graduate the program and recruit new members of the younger generation to the organization. As we talked with more people that weekend, more great ideas kept coming. We decided, "Why should we limit the group to people with just conservation careers, why not include anyone who has a passion for conservation?" After that weekend, a committee was formed and the discussion kept rolling. Currently, the committee is made up of CLC alumni and advisors. We have been working hard for the last several months to make this group the best it can be.
So, you are probably wondering, what makes you qualified to be part of the Young Professionals? Our mission is “CFM Young Professionals strives to grow CFM membership and provide networking opportunities for individuals ages 21-40 that attract, develop and retain young professionals interested in conservation and natural resources through advocacy, education and partnerships.” Do you know someone who fits that criteria? If so, send them our way! There is so much excitement about this group already! The momentum we have is strong. Events will be planned throughout the year to advocate and network among ourselves. Please help us spread the word and contact me if you have any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. Emily Wilbers
2019 EVENTS CFM Media Camp - February 3-6
5th Annual CFM Media Camp at Lilleyâ€™s Landing with over 20 outdoor communicators in attendance.
CFM Annual Convention - March 8-10
CFM Annual Convention at the Capitol Plaza Hotel in Jefferson City.
Conservation Day at the Capitol - April 3
Join CFM and over 30 affiliate organizations at the Capitol for a day of promoting and supporting CFM.
Pull for Conservation: Northwest - April 13
CFM teams up with NW Electric Power Cooperative to host the fourth annual sporting clays shoot in Hamilton.
Explore the Outdoors: Kansas City - May 2
Join CFM at Bass Pro Shops in Independence for a fun evening of excitement and entertainment.
Explore the Outdoors: Springfield - June 13
Tour the Wonders of Wildlife Museum and learn more about conservation in Missouri.
Explore the Outdoors: Columbia - July 11
Join CFM at the Bass Pro Shops store in Columbia store for fun and outdoor activities.
Pull for Conservation: Central - August 10
The 13th annual sporting clay shoot returns to River Hills Sporting Clays in Boonville.
Pull for Conservation: Southwest - September 7
Inaugural sporting clay shoot to be held at Ozark Shooters Sporting Complex in Branson.
Affiliate Summit - September 12 & 13
Join us in Jefferson City as gather all our affiliates together for great networking and information.
Explore the Outdoors: St. Louis - October 3
Come see old friends and make new ones at the Quail Ridge Park in St. Charles.
Explore the Outdoors: Kirksville - November 7
Be a part of the inaugural event at White Oaks Barn just before firearms deer season.
&YQMPS F UIF 0VUEPPST45-06*4 Register today for the St. Louis Regional Event Thursday, October 3, 2019 ďż˝ďż˝30 - 8ďż˝30 p.m. Quail Ridge Park 560 Interstate Drive - Wentzvilleďż˝ ďż˝ďż˝ Join the Conservation Federation of Missouri and enjoy a great evening of fun and entertainment at the scenic Quail Ridge Park in the heart of St. Charles County. The event includes a reception, live and silent auctions, dinner, and keynote presentation by Susan Trautman, the Executive Director of the Great Rivers Greenway.
www.confedmo.org/st-louis For questions or sponsorship opportunities, contact Elizabeth Peoples at email@example.com
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Explore the Outdoors: Columbia – A Sold Out Success
FM held its 3rd Explore the Outdoors event of the year at Bass Pro Shops’ location in Columbia. Attendees gathered the night of July 11th to enjoy activities both in and outdoors. Inside, guests bid on silent auction items, entered a raffle for a CZ Shotgun, and enjoyed complimentary beverages from St. James Winery and Public House Brewing. Outside, guests took part in fishing a wellstocked lake, shot air rifles, brushed up on their archery skills, and took fly fishing lessons. Guests were also escorted on leisurely pontoon rides on the lake. Before dinner, CFM President Gary Van De Velde welcomed everyone and then introduced Beth Mead, from the Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau. She discussed all the outdoor activities Columbia has to offer and entertained the crowd with stories of growing up in Missouri. Executive Director Tyler Schwartze then welcomed everyone and talked about the recent successes of the Federation. He then called the live auction with many trips and items ranging from a CZ pistol to a Cabela’s 60 Quart Cooler overflowing with goodies from Bass Pro Shops. Word of Mouth Catering provided a delicious picnic meal of Southern BBQ, cheesy potatoes, and what can only be described as the most perfect brownie ever baked. After dinner guests had one last chance to contribute their bids to the silent auction before it was officially closed, and everyone took home their winnings. The evening closed out by drawing the shotgun raffle ticket which was won by Kyna Iman.
Thank you to our table sponsors from this year’s event: Zimmer Radio Group, MITICO, AMEC, Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation and Bass Pro Shops. Also, thanks to the committee members: Zach Morris, Emily Sinnott, Nathan “Shags” Mcleod, Emily Wilbers, Hallie Thompson and Zach Pollock. We appreciate everyone supporting CFM’s efforts by attending this year’s Explore the Outdoors: Columbia, and we hope to see you again next year at Bass Pro Shops. Elizabeth Peoples
Conservation Federation of Missouri presents:
Pull for Conservation: Southwest Inaugural Sporting Clays Classic Saturday, September 7 - Branson, MO Ozark Shooters Sports Complex 759 US-65, Walnut Shade, MO Schedule of Events
Team Event Format
Doors Open: Registration: Safety Mtg:
8:30 a.m. 8:30 - 9 a.m. 9:15 a.m.
2 Persons Per Team (Partners) - 100 Targets Per Team
Shotgun Start: Lunch: Awards:
9:30 a.m. 12 p.m. After lunch
Registration $100 - Per Team of Two Shooters $200 - Station Sponsor (Includes Sign and Team of 2)
Prizes To be determined using Lewis Class System
Mail Registration to: CFM, 728 W. Main, Jefferson City, MO 65101, call 800-575-2322 or go online at https://www.confedmo.org/pull-forconservation-southwest/. Sponsor Name: Teammateâ€™s Name:
Email: Address: City:
Call Elizabeth at (573) 634-2322 for sponsorship opportunities
Monarch Butterflies Bring Collaborative Focus and a Call to Action
ack in 2009, Missouri’s Outdoor Summit held in Columbia engaged over 148 Outdoor leaders to identify issues, opportunities and goals to ensure a quality Missouri Outdoors. The Outdoor Action Committee (OAK) formed as a leadership team to implement actions resulting from the summit by improving communication about healthy outdoors being essential for life. This ensures plants, animals and natural communities remain diverse and sustainable. When the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was petitioned to list the monarch butterfly under the Endangered Species Act in 2014, OAK could think of no better messenger to communicate a call to action centered on these concepts than the monarch butterfly. As a catalyst for coordinated efforts improving our Missouri Outdoors, OAKs team of agencies, organizations and citizens collaborated to strengthen messages for the importance of native grasses and wildflowers that once prevailed as tallgrass prairie across nearly 2/3 of Missouri. For healthy outdoors being essential for life, OAK focuses on ecological goods and services. What keeps us healthy? Clean water, sustainable water, clean air, open spaces, healthy fish and wildlife. For sustainable and diverse plants, animals and communities OAK focuses on habitat. What maintains healthy sustainable habitats? All Missourians-- through action and engagement in native habitat conservation, restoration and enhancement. Who can help? Anyone who has a back yard or a back 40. Through OAK we merged the actions of sustainable habitats for monarchs with clean, sustainable water by promoting native grasses and native wildflowers to help a multitude of species in decline. We collaborated developing diversified native seed mixes (30+ species) to promote planting nectar sources and milkweeds.
We helped conceive grassland habitat resolutions through CFM’s Annual Conventions. We also worked together to diversify agency conservation practices offered to landowners to benefit monarch butterflies. With root systems stretching underground 3-15+ feet, natives provide ecological services, by keeping soil in place, improving soil health, sequestering water, reducing erosion and even providing forage for livestock in drought. The monarch butterfly has brought a passion of citizenry to improve conditions for the monarch butterfly in Missouri, namely through habitat improvement and there is still much to be done to conserve this iconic butterfly. What is also encouraging is that the habitat work needed for them also comes to the aid of many other declining species dependent on grassland systems like northern bobwhite, bobolinks, eastern wild turkey, greater prairie chicken and Henslow’s sparrow to name a few. The efforts of OAK revolve around many outdoor values important to Missourians; we continue to work linking the outdoors to mental, physical and spiritual health and sustaining fish, wildlife and their habitats. Kelly Srigley Werner
Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you. – Nathaniel Hawthorne
CFM Hires Elizabeth Peoples as Events and Fund Development Manager
he Conservation Federation of Missouri (CFM) staff continues to grow with the addition of Elizabeth Peoples as Events and Fund Development Manager. Peoples will be charged with further developing CFM’s highly successful Explore the Outdoors series of regional events, expanding the Pull for Conservation clay shoots, Annual Convention as well as growing relationships with various businesses, partners, and stakeholders to raise funds for CFM. "We are striving to expand the reach and strength of CFM across Missouri, and we recognize events are critical to accomplishing our goals. Each event helps us gain exposure, recruit new members and fundraise. Elizabeth brings excellent event management and fundraising experience to our team. With her strong work ethic and positive attitude at CFM as our Events and Fund Development Manager, I expect event growth and participation to continue upward," said Tyler Schwartze, CFM Executive Director. Elizabeth was a student of CFM’s Conservation Leadership Corps and continued her involvement in past years through volunteering at multiple events. She also gained diverse experience working with Missouri State Parks presenting outdoor skills courses and planning events. Recently, Elizabeth has been a Festival Specialist for the City of O’Fallon, MO where she planned largescale events, managed marketing of Tourism and Festivals, and raised sponsorship funds. Elizabeth holds a B.S in Parks, Recreation and Tourism with an emphasis in Natural Resource Recreation Management.
“I am beyond excited and privileged to have the opportunity to be part of the Conservation Federation of Missouri team. I have always approached outdoor education and advocacy with great fervor. Becoming a part of the CFM team is a fantastic opportunity to connect with fellow outdoorsmen and women while having the chance to bridge the gap with those yet to experience the natural wonders Missouri has to offer.” Elizabeth currently lives near Rock Bridge Memorial State Park. She enjoys hunting and fishing on her family’s land in Ray County along with hiking and camping in Missouri State Parks. To learn more about the Conservation Federation of Missouri, visit www.confedmo.org.
SEPTEMBER - 2019
CFM is in Good Hands, Thanks to All of You Who Serve!
special note of thanks and appreciation to all volunteers, committee members, leaders and conservation champions who support CFM and our mission: To ensure conservation of Missouri’s natural resources, and preservation of our state’s rich outdoor heritage through advocacy, education and partnerships. The definitions below are from the Introduction to By the People: A History of Americans as Volunteers by Susan J. Ellis and Katherine H. Campbell. I chose to share these definitions as I believe they align perfectly with CFM’s structure and purpose. Volunteer, verb - To choose to act in recognition of a need, with an attitude of social responsibility and without concern for monetary profit, going beyond one's basic obligations. But it is not enough to only consider the verb form. Add the noun form, too -- and from two perspectives: Volunteer, noun – from the perspective of the doer: Someone who gives time, effort and talent to a need or cause without profiting monetarily. Volunteer, noun – from the perspective of the recipient of service: Someone who contributes time, effort and talent to meet a need or further a mission, without going on the payroll. I anticipate that most of our Conservation Federation magazine readers are active members and/or friends of conservation who we have much in common. You serve on various committees, matching skill, interest and passion for the cause at hand. You are generous with your time and take your commitment to serve seriously. No doubt many of you have volunteer commitments outside of CFM, in your respective communities and places of work. CFM is fortunate to have the diversity, passion and expertise that you bring from the other causes that you pledge your time and effort.
CLC members and CFM volunteers pose at a CLC Fall Workshop. (Photo: Courtesy of CFM)
Beyond CFM’s Executive Committee of the Board of Directors, there are seventeen regular committees which include: Ways and Means, Major Funding, Budget and Finance, Strategic Planning, Membership, Marketing, Nominations, Resolutions, Constitution & Bylaws, Awards, OAKS, Convention, Scholarship, Share the Harvest, Sporting Clay Shoot, CLC Alumni, Legislative Policy as well as numerous Ad Hoc committees. You can imagine the resources and dedication required for these committees to function and be effective in their mission. Since I have been a member of this organization for 30 plus years, I have never heard any of our volunteers ask, “so what’s in it for me?” Instead, they often ask, “what more can I do!” With attitudes like these, it’s no wonder that Missouri is the envy of many states when it comes to the preservation of our rich outdoor heritage. I only ask that if you are not currently volunteering or you would like to do more, we would welcome you with open arms and assist you in matching your passion and interest (not to worry, skills can be acquired along the way)! Volunteers are the lifeline to the success of our organization and so we are in good hands thanks to all of you who serve! Thank you for your service! Mossie Schallon 1st Vice President of CFM
Fly Fishing Missouriâ€™s Hidden Gem: Meramec River
ou will have to roll cast here, Milo." I executed what I thought was a good roll cast. "No, harder-you need to get it out there," the voice commanded. After a couple more attempts, I surrendered the rod and asked for guidance.
My guide, Damon Spurgeon, of Cardiac Mountain Outfitters, showed me exactly how to make the long roll cast to present a Chubby Chernobyl to some rising Rainbow trout on the Meramec River. A veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Ramadi, Spurgeon makes it is easy to remember you are never too old for instruction. "I want you to catch the 20-incher rising there," said Spurgeon, who guides fly anglers on the Meramec and Eleven Point Rivers in South Central Missouri. I did, too. But after multiple casts, the fish were not committed, and we moved on. "People always look over these areas," Damon said. "You have to hit this moving water on the south side of the river. Fish are there." The water was only a few feet deep, but I ended up pulling quite a few fish out of the spots everyone else had skipped. Before we hit a change in the swing of the river, I tossed my fly up near some structure. It was a perfect cast. The indicator dipped below the surface and the fight was on. After a good battle, a 16-inch, stout 'bow was getting its picture taken. Water was low but we managed to land fifteen or so fish, including a couple feisty smallmouth. When the water is at normal level, big fish live in the stretch of the Meramec River just below Maramec Spring. Spurgeon landed a giant in April. No weight was recorded, but it was longer than the steelhead net he used to land it. "It was a 30-incher," he said with a smile. After showing me a picture, I was convinced. It is important to note this section of the Meramec River is part of the Missouri Department of Conservation's Red Ribbon Trout Area. It is a fairly well-kept secret, with Missouri's plethora of trout fishing options.
One of several browns to fall to a cerise worm. (Photo: Ryan Miloshewski)
Only artificial lures are allowed, and the daily limit of trout is two, which have to be 15-inches or better. It is NOT part of Maramec Spring Trout Park, so be aware of where you are when fishing the area. Scuds, midges, soft hackles, megaworms, and cerise worms all work in this great stretch of water. Much like anywhere, finding what the trout want to eat is key. Soon, they will be keying in on big hoppers. Make sure to book your trip with Damon soon so you don't miss out on the great action. We spent the day wading down the river, talking about where fish like to live, where big fish have been caught in the past, and fly-fishing skills and techniques. It was one of those days where catching fish was the least of our worries. In my mind, those are the most rewarding. Bill Cooper, member of the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame, created a nice video of the trip you can find on his website, Outside Again Outdoors TV. To book a trip with Damon, contact him at 573-263-9776, or visit his Facebook page Cardiac Mountain Outfitters, LLC. Ryan Miloshewski
SEPTEMBER - 2019
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SEPTEMBER - 2019
What Is Happening to Missouriâ€™s Wild Turkey Population?
ost are intimately aware of growing concerns about the turkey population trends in Missouri. Many, particularly within the NWTF ranks believe that we have come to a crossroads where, something must be done to address it.
Turkey harvest is a good indicator of turkey population trends and most are aware of these numbers. John Lewis thought that spring harvest in his day represented about 10% of the overall population. Although hunter harvest is additive (takes more than would naturally be taken by predators and disease) it is not suppressing population growth at the levels occurring in Missouri. Things have changed over time.
Feature Story However, whatever the proportion of the population the harvest represents (10% or more) there is no denying that the 36% decline between the high-water mark of 60,744 in 2004 and the 38,788 we harvested this past season represents a population in significant decline. Why is the Turkey Population Declining? Wild Turkey population dynamics is a complicated system, especially considering that the wild turkey is a landscape-level species that may occupy more than 4-square miles annually as part of their normal home range and it is not uncommon to document movements on transmitted birds of more than 10 miles. As with most matters related to wildlife, there is a multitude of factors that collectively have an impact on populations. People, habitat, weather, predators, competition, and diseases can all contribute to changes. Land Conversion: Overall landowner property acreage continues to get smaller each year. Additionally, the overall conversion of land into developed, non-wildlife friendly space is creeping upward. This combination of factors will yield more challenges for managing human impacts over a larger area. CRP Acreage Declines: Nationally, when we were setting turkey harvest records annually in the early 2000’s we had almost 40 million acres of CRP and 1.6 million of it was in Missouri. Starting in 2007, CRP acreage in Missouri declined from 1.6 million to 1.0 million by 2014. When you lose 600,000 acres of nesting and brood-rearing habitat, ground-nesting bird populations will decline. Changes in Available Wasted Grain: Harvesting equipment is much more efficient, waste grain does not exceed a bushel to the acre, and operator instructions are provided on how to manage for this or less. A waterfowl study measuring changes in average available waste grain between 1978 and 1998 indicated a 50% decline. The waste grain used to be visible on fields throughout the winter and this important high energy supplemental winter food was undoubtedly important to fueling the productivity of both deer and turkey populations throughout the Midwest.
Predator Population Increases: Between 1977 and 2017, which includes the period before the fur market crash in the 1980s, scent station visitation rates (a furbearer population monitoring index), by raccoon and opossum, have each increased over 200%. Between 1994 and 2017, furbearer observation rates made by archery hunters (another index to monitor furbearer populations) raccoon and opossum observation rates increased by over 60%. Predator populations influence turkey production and we have more predators on the landscape today than in the past. Spring Rainfall: Wet springs negatively impact production regardless of habitat quality, especially when combined with high predator populations and habitat configuration. Historical spring rainfall records from 1895-2015 indicate an average of 12 inches. When comparing the spikes and troughs between our brood survey records and these rainfall records, in nearly every case where we had a spike in production, we had a corresponding trough in spring rainfall. Diseases: There are several turkey diseases such as avian pox and blackhead disease that are well known. Other disease vectors are being looked at more closely, such as West Nile Virus and Lymphoproliferative Disease, to understand potential impacts on populations. There is No Easy Fix: Everyone is concerned about declining turkey populations and many are insistent that NWTF leads the charge to do something about it. Many think that the problem can be solved with simple regulatory modifications. “All we have to do is “x” and everything will go back to the way it was.” The problem is that the decline is the result of a combination of factors and there is nothing simple that can be done to change the trajectory. The following 7 suggestions are the more common being offered as necessary changes as well as the logic behind why these are not workable solutions. Predator control in the form of contests or outright bounties: Predator Control does not work and paying for, or even supporting, contests that make this claim is not in our best interest. They will not have any measurable impact on predator populations at a landscape scale. They will make us an easy target for groups that are totally opposed to any form or hunting for any reason.
SEPTEMBER - 2019
Feature Story Sport hunting or trapping predators as an additional and enjoyable outdoor recreational activity that responsibly and respectfully uses these native wildlife populations is something we can support. For a bounty to be effective it must be high enough to achieve the desired effect. Historical trapping harvest data going back to 1991, which was well after the fur market crash. It shows that two peaks existed as a response to increased fur demand, one in 1997 when we harvested around 220,000 animals and one in 2013 when we harvested 160,000. Last year we harvested around 35,000). Both of those increases happened when we had a $15/pelt or higher average. Therefore, to even approach meaningful harvest through a bounty, the bounty would have to be $15 or greater and stay there. At 1997 harvest levels the bill for that bounty would be 3.3 million unbudgeted dollars. The only way to meaningfully influence fur harvest is to restore the fur market. Eliminate the fall season(s): At first glance, this seems to make sense. Why allow the harvest of even one hen when our turkey population is declining like it is? Although hen wild turkeys live a little longer than other ground-nesting birds, they are still relatively shortlived animals with high mortality rates and most of this mortality is not human-induced (annual mortality of hens is about 40%). The study that we just concluded put hen fall harvest rates at less than 1%. The science says this change would not fix our problem of low turkey numbers. This is Missouri, we should always support what the science says. Restrict the spring harvest to males only: Bearded hens harvested in the spring only compromise 1% of the harvest and are considered statistically insignificant. Harvest restrictions are established to maintain spring turkey hunting quality, which is defined by the Missouri turkey hunter as the reasonable opportunity to hear and hunt a gobbling adult male turkey. The science tells us that our current season structure does not affect population growth or the quality of spring turkey hunting. Go back to one bird in the spring: Missouri already has one of the most restrictive spring seasons in the country and these regulations help maintain some gobblers in the population that may have otherwise been harvested under a different structure.
However, there is a limit to how many you can realistically carry through a season or over to the next season. Although most of the mortality on gobblers is harvest related, hunted or not, gobblers donâ€™t typically live very long. Also, only about 5% of hunters harvest both of their birds. Shorten the season: Most of the harvest (about 85%) happens the first 2 weeks of the season so to significantly reduce gobbler harvest would require limiting the season to a week. Restricting gobbler harvest may bank a few gobblers but the same arguments apply here that applied to restricting the harvest to one bird: 1) you can only bank so many gobblers, 2) restricting gobbler harvest does not impact the overall turkey population. Have county or region-specific regulations: Our current framework of regulations was designed by a string of the most reputable and respected wild turkey biologists in the country based upon the best available science. The regulatory framework they built has made Missouri one of the best destinations for eastern turkey hunting in the country by providing high-quality turkey hunting without being needlessly complicated and restrictive. Close the season even in the spring until they bounce back: Current spring harvest levels do not impact turkey population growth so this restriction would not affect the overall population. This needless restriction of hunting opportunity should not be considered for the same reasons previously outlined. What is NWTF doing to Address the Issue? As a Biologist, avid turkey hunter, and NWTF sponsor member, one thing that bothers me is when I hear folks expressing that NWTF is not doing enough or, in some cases, not doing anything to solve the problem. The following is a list of things that we are doing and that is making a difference. National and State Policy: Our Chief Executive Officer, Becky Humphries, is a nationally respected career resource professional as are other members of our management team that work with Cornerstone Government Affairs in Washington DC. on big-ticket items like the Farm Bill. The 2018 Farm Bill cap is 25 million acres. The NWTF and partners had significant influence to maintain wildlife-friendly practices within the Farm Bill.
Additionally, NWTF majorly influenced forestry-related activity through increased funding for these practices. We also influenced congress to stop the practice of “fire borrowing” within the USFS where program budgets throughout the national forest system were robbed to pay for fire suppression efforts out west. Lastly, the NWTF secured a $5.3 million-dollar Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) agreement to support 24 forester positions in 23 states to help deliver forest management and conserve/enhance a minimum of 350,000 acres. Super Fund Dollars at Work: Your super fund dollars have been used to support 5 separate cost-share programs that have helped improve thousands of acres of private land in the southwest, central, southeast, northeast, and northcentral Missouri. The work that we are helping make happen on those properties are creating source populations and demonstration sites that are expanding demand for similar work elsewhere.
Overall Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. Goal for MO: We are on track to exceed our goal of conserving 400,000 acres of habitat between 2013 and 2023. Most of this goal is concentrated on nesting and brood-rearing habitat improvement work. This does not quite make up for the 600,000 acres of CRP we lost but we are making a difference. • Support the programs and policies we have in place that are helping improve things (state and federal cost-share programs, push back on anti-agency project proposal resistance). • Respond to damaging legislation proposals when made aware of the problem. • Resist the temptation to “group think,” take the easy way out, and lobby for changes that will not make a difference just to appear to “do something” • Get more folks to support our cause; more members mean a louder voice on the big issues and more money to impact more acres that will make the difference we seek. John Burk NWTF Biologist
SEPTEMBER - 2019
MISSOURI DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION Initial Plans Announced for Missouri Elk Hunting
he Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) shared its initial plan for a limited elkhunting season with the Missouri Conservation Commission at the Commission’s public meeting June 28. The Commission gave its initial approval of the proposed plan, and MDC is asking for public comments. According to MDC Elk and Deer Biologist Aaron Hildreth, who presented the elk-hunting plan at the meeting, MDC will begin offering a limited season for hunting elk once the herd of about 175 animals reaches a minimum of 200 with an annual herd growth rate of at least 10 percent and a herd ratio of at least four cow elk for every bull elk. According to MDC research, the herd will likely reach 200 animals by 2020. With that in mind, MDC has designated a nine-day archery season for elk running Oct. 17-25, 2020, and a nine-day firearms season for elk running Dec. 12-20, 2020. Hildreth noted that the number of permits for a possible 2020 hunt has yet to be determined. “If the elk population is below desired numbers in early 2020, the Conservation Commission may choose to not open the online application process or issue any permits for a fall 2020 hunt,” he explained. “We will then focus on 2021.” MDC hopes to eventually reach a target population of 500 animals and will use hunting to manage herd size and location. Hunting Framework Under MDC’s framework, elk hunting would be limited to Missouri residents at least 11 years of age who have their hunter-education certification or are exempt from hunter education by age (born before Jan. 1, 1967). Hunting permits would be assigned through a random lottery of all applicants.
This image of a bull elk was taken at Peck Ranch Conservation Area in the Missouri Ozarks. MDC is proposing the framework for a limited elk hunting season and is asking for public comments at short.mdc.mo.gov/ Z49. (Photo: MDC)
MDC will require a $10 application fee to be eligible for the limited hunt with a $50 permit fee for those selected through the lottery. MDC will limit the random lottery to one application per-person, peryear with a 10-year “sit-out” period for those drawn for a permit before they may apply again. The hunting zone will be limited to Carter, Reynolds, and Shannon counties, but will exclude the special refuge portion of Peck Ranch Conservation Area where elk were initially reintroduced. MDC will reserve at least one permit from the annual random lottery for resident landowners with at least 20 acres within a specified boundary within Carter, Reynolds, and Shannon counties. The special landowner permits will be nontransferable and may only be filled on the landowner’s property. The Commission will consider input received during this public comment period and make a final decision to move forward, modify, or withdraw the proposed framework during its Oct. 11 meeting. Learn more about MDC elk research at short.mdc. mo.gov/ZYo. Learn more about elk restoration in Missouri at short.mdc.mo.gov/ZYJ.
Poaching Fines in Missouri Increase
he Conservation Federation of Missouri, the Missouri Department of Conservation, the Missouri legislature and the governor have taken actions to increase penalties for those caught poaching Missouri game animals and other native wildlife species. Missouri Governor Michael Parson signed HB260 into law July 11. Called the Poaching Bill, it significantly raises fines for those convicted of illegally taking Missouri game species and other native wildlife. HB260 was sponsored by Representative Jered Taylor (Republic) and Senator Mike Bernskoetter (Jefferson City). New fine amounts include $10,000-$15,000 for each elk or black bear killed illegally, $1,000-$5,000 for each whitetailed buck, $500-$1,000 for each wild turkey, and $500-$1,000 for each paddlefish. The fines are considered restitution payments for poaching game animals and are ordered by a judge. Monies from the fines go to the state’s school moneys fund. The restitution payments are in addition to other fines and penalties for violating the Wildlife Code of Missouri. The new fines went into effect on Aug. 28. “A lot of effort and hard work by many people went into getting this historic legislation passed. CFM was glad to support this legislation and our members voices certainly helped this one across the finish line.” said CFM Executive Director, Tyler Schwartze. Supporters of the bill said that previous fines for poaching were too low in Missouri. The bill also gained support in part from five Missouri elk that were illegally killed by poachers over the past few years. None of the cases has yet been solved. Earlier this year, MDC and the Missouri Conservation Commission increased the penalty points they give to individuals convicted of violating the Wildlife Code of Missouri for illegal activities, including poaching.
Governor Parson signed the poaching bill on July 11th significantly raising the fines in Missouri. (Photo: State of Missouri)
According to MDC records, 547 wild turkeys, 58 paddlefish, and 4,731 deer were illegally taken, or poached, in 2017 and 2018. MDC is also investigating the poaching of five elk over the past several years. Black bear poaching incidents are a growing concern as well. “In addition to doing what we can by increasing penalty points for Wildlife Code violations, conservation agents are also working with county prosecutors and judges to help reduce incidents of poaching and other violations by increasing penalties such fines and jail time,” said MDC Protection Division Chief Randy Doman. Doman explained how penalties are determined. “The state legislature has the authority to establish penalty classifications related to poaching and other wildlife violations,” Doman said. “MDC and the Missouri Conservation Commission set the regulations of the Wildlife Code of Missouri and conservation agents issue tickets for violations, such as for poaching. Agents then submit those tickets to the appropriate county courts. County prosecutors then determine how to proceed with the violations. If the person is convicted of the violations by the county court, the judge then determines fines, jail time, and/or other penalties. Monies from fines are kept in the county and do not go to MDC.” Anyone with information on poaching cases are urged to call Operation Game Thief at 1-800-3921111. All callers will remain anonymous. SEPTEMBER - 2019
MISSOURI STATE PARKS Long-term Planning with Missouri State Parks
o remain one of the best state park systems in the nation, Missouri State Parks staff continues to pump energy and creative ideas into a number of areas and challenges. Our goal is to preserve and interpret some of the state’s most outstanding natural landscapes and cultural resources while providing great outdoor recreational opportunities to Missourians and our guests. Over the past two years, we’ve renewed our focus on maintenance and repair of facilities and on long-term planning. The depth and breadth of diverse topics the staff are currently tackling is impressive and humbling. Here are some of the projects, initiatives and challenges we are working on this summer. Strategic Planning Missouri State Parks is in the process of developing a new strategic plan for 2020 through 2024. The plan will guide our future efforts to protect and interpret Missouri’s significant natural and cultural resources, enhance visitor experiences and address an aging infrastructure. The goals were based on stakeholder and staff meetings at all levels. We are currently creating the initiatives and action plans with the help of MSP staff and survey results. The anticipated release date is early 2020. Cultural Resources Initiative We’re making progress in archaeological collections cataloging and in our related policy and procedures. Newly developed database customizations will facilitate data entry while artifacts are being repacked to archival standards.
MSP is currently reviewing cultural resource management plan abstracts. Regarding historic building assessments, we’ve field-tested software and are working to identify regional team members to assist with data collection. Staff from MSP’s Cultural Resource Management group and SHPO are providing training to our staff on Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. Natural Resources Initiative As the natural resources initiative begins its second year, we leave the spring and summer invasive weed control seasons and move forward into the fall exotic weed control and upcoming prescribed burn season. The organized campaign against invasive species in our parks has been successful, and, while most parks met objectives, there are some that have exceeded expectations.
Agency News For the first time, the park system has objectivedriven Natural Resources Plans for every facility. Natural resource management is now integrate into our seasonal park operations. Prescribed burn accomplishments continue to set park system achievement records. As staff move through the current fiscal year, the natural resources initiative will continue to emphasize accomplishing annual invasive species projects and meeting prescribed burn standards. Update on the Rock Island Corridor This past session, the legislature passed Senate Bill 196, which established the Rock Island State Park Endowment Fund. The bill establishes a separate bank account in our budget to accept funds that can be used by Missouri State Parks to secure, develop, operate and maintain the 144-mile corridor of the former Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad from Windsor to Beaufort. One factor in our decision whether to accept the corridor is if private individuals and organizations can raise sufficient money for Missouri State Parks to develop and operate the trail. Also, the new fund will help ensure money currently dedicated for the state park system canâ€™t be used on the Rock Island Trail. Conceptual Development Begins for Bryant Creek and Ozark Mountain We are excited about moving forward with the design and eventual development of Bryant Creek and Ozark Mountain state parks. The Conceptual Development Plan process is underway for Bryant Creek and has been introduced for Ozark Mountain. Conceptual development plans guide the development of state parks and state historic sites. The plan outlines site goals, development objectives, development research needs and project phasing while taking into consideration the significant natural and cultural resources of the park or site. Public meetings to identify issues related to development are included.
Arrow Rock Tavern Fire A potentially catastrophic fire to one of Missouriâ€™s most historic buildings was mitigated by Mike Dickey, site administrator at Arrow Rock Historic Site and Saline County Rural Fire Protection District chief. Firefighters were able to contain fire damage at the J. Huston Tavern kitchen, a 1950s addition to the 1834 structure, and there was no major damage to the historic part of the building. To keep the tavern operating, an outdoor summer kitchen was created nearby so the Friends of Arrow Rock were able to provide food to patrons. The goal is to once again serve patrons inside the tavern by the end of July. The totally rebuilt kitchen should be completed in 2020. Ben Ellis MSP Director
(Left) The future site of Bryant Creek State Park includes its namesake, Bryant Creek. (Photo: MoDNR Photo by Ben Nickelson) (Right) Representatives from the Friends of Arrow Rock and park staff from Arrow Rock State Historic Site participate in a ribbon cutting for the J. Huston Tavern Summer Kitchen with Missouri State Park Director Ben Ellis. The summer kitchen will allow the tavern to stay open, maintaining its status as the longest continually operating restaurant west of the Mississippi River. (Photo: MoDNR Photo by Andrew Richmond)
SEPTEMBER - 2019
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SEPTEMBER - 2019
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SEPTEMBER - 2019
Quality Binoculars Enhance Outdoor Fun Part 2: Optics & Mechanics
n the first installment of this series, we went through the basic types and characteristics of binoculars. This time, we will delve deeper into these subjects.
But if bigger lenses gather more light, can't you make the objective lenses big enough to produce an image brighter than what you see with your naked eye?
Brightness is the characteristic of binoculars that provides the most fertile ground for misconceptions and advertising malarkey. To put overblown claims in perspective, take the cardboard tubes from two rolls of toilet tissue and tape them side by side. You are now holding the brightest optical instrument on Earth. Look through them and you will see all the light that went in the front end coming out the back end. No binocular on the market can equal that performance.
Nope. A 50mm objective lens gathers 100 times more light than the 5mm lens in your eye. But binoculars don't deliver all that light to your eye. Where does the extra light go? Most of it goes to magnification.
To produce a magnified image, binoculars must spread out the light they gather. It's just like the beam of light from a movie projector. The beam is much brighter at the lens, where it is small, than on the screen, where it is magnified.
Feature Story Some light is lost to optical imperfections in the glass of the lenses and mirrors in the binocular. No optical system transmits 100 percent of light that enters it. Very good binoculars manage only about 90-percent efficiency. Some binoculars are brighter than others, and the differences are apparent when you check them sideby-side. Another important characteristic of any binocular is its "exit pupil." The exit pupil is the column of light leaving the ocular lens, measured at the point where the light enters the eye. To see the exit pupils, hold a binocular at arm's length, pointing the objective lenses at a bright object. The small, round spots visible in the rear or ocular lenses are the exit pupils. In general a big exit pupil is better than a smaller one. Any binocular that produces an exit pupil at least as big as the pupil of the user's eye will give the full benefit of the objective lens' light-gathering ability, as long as the user's eye is positioned precisely behind the center of the ocular lens. However, larger exit pupils allow the user's eye to stray slightly from the center of optical alignment without losing part of the image. If you plan to use your binocular in low light, it's best to choose a binocular with an exit pupil of at least 5mm. To calculate the size of the exit pupil for a binocular, divide the objective lens's diameter by the power of the binocular. For example, a 10X50 binocular has an exit pupil of 5 mm. The most common focusing system is the center focusing, with a wheel or lever at the center that focuses both eye pieces at the same time. Usually one eye piece, (almost always the right) can be adjusted to compensate for differences in acuity between the user's eyes.
Binoculars made for people who wear eyeglasses usually don't have this adjustment on one ocular. They assume that both eyes are corrected to 20-20 vision. Some binoculars have individual focusing for each eye. Others are permanently focused at a preset distance that allows the user to see a fairly sharp image from that distance to infinity. Permanently focused binoculars are made for people who don't want to bother with focusing binoculars and who are willing to put up with thirdrate sharpness. Such binoculars are useless inside their minimum focal distance. They are unsuitable for birders, who need to see fine details on birds at close distance. Center-focus binoculars with a separate focus adjustment on one ocular are the best compromise. You have to take time to focus both sides each time you use them, but after that, all you have to do is adjust the center-focus wheel for changes in distance of your subject. Eye relief is another characteristic of every binocular. It measures the distance from the ocular lens to the user's eye. People who wear eyeglasses need binoculars with greater eye relief than those with perfect vision. As mentioned earlier, some binoculars are made especially with eyeglass wearers' needs in mind. No one binocular is a perfect fit for everyone. Some people's eyes are placed very close together, while others' are widely spaced. Almost every binocular allows users to move the two sides closer together or farther apart. But the ocular lenses of some binoculars won't move close enough together or far enough apart for all people to see clearly through both ocular lenses. When choosing a binocular, make sure the ocular adjustment is adequate for your eye spacing. Similarly, some binoculars are too heavy for everyone to use comfortably. Big binoculars have advantages, but can your hands comfortably reach the focusing controls? Before you put down your money, make sure the weight and dimensions are workable for you. The final installment of this series will explain how to â€œfield testâ€? binoculars before buying. Jim Low
SEPTEMBER - 2019
The Definition of Hunting
here are numerous reasons to encourage our youth to hunt while sharing a sport that pulls many of us out of warm beds on cold mornings to pursue various mammals or fowl. I hunt because it provides one-on-one time with nature. I am less concerned with the kill and more intent on viewing the outdoors. I only hunt what we plan to eat unless coyotes or some other inedible critter is causing trouble on our farm. Yet, there are more reasons for introducing youth to hunting. Hunting teaches responsibility that starts with being aware where their bullet, buckshot or arrow will fly. Where are their hunting buddies? What is beyond their shooting sight plane? Exactly when should I pull the trigger? Marksmanship is another skill that must be learned before hunting. Shooting a beautiful animal or bird should always be about the one-shot kill. Wounding an animal and letting it run or fly away to suffer and eventually die is unacceptable. All hunters are responsible for a clean harvest best accomplished by hundreds of hours target practicing. Firearms safety is necessary. Most people hunt with friends or relatives, so a hunting accident generally involves someone the shooter loves. My brother and I were trained to use firearms at a young age. We have never had a close call in 50 years of hunting. We both know the other will never shoot in an unsafe direction. The correct mindset of hunting should be taught to every hunter, young or old. Hunting is not a competition sport and it never matters who shoots the most pheasant, quail or waterfowl. Hunters that go out for numbers of dead game to brag about are best left to hunt alone. Quickshot artists in hunting tend to make bad mistakes that often result in a human death.
Outdoor News I once watched a “quick-shot artist” throw his shotgun up to shoot a rising pheasant. Another hunter tackled a third hunter that would have probably lost a fair portion of his head had he remained standing. Events like this can be very scary. A man almost died for the sake of shooting a pheasant. That is not uncommon when someone believes that killing the most game is more important than firearm safety. Needless to say, I never walked in any field with the quick-shot artist again, nor did anyone that was on that trip. Want to teach your son or daughter about nature? Teach them how to bow hunt. Bowhunters see more wildlife each year than anyone. Many cherish their quiet time and only fill their archery tag when the animal is exceptional. An early season kill would stop their time in the woods when temperatures are pleasant and wildlife plentiful. Most hunts start before daylight. Sunrises are spectacular on cloudless mornings when you watch the woods come alive. Spiderwebs, common in woodlots, illuminate in sunlight when covered by frost or moisture. Leaves are turning different shades of red or yellow and squirrels are running amuck in search of nuts or other treasures to be stored for later. The woods smell sweet and clean in the fall, just another enjoyable part of hunting. I have been blessed to hunt waterfowl all over the country and for many different species. I seldom remember the kills, but will never forget the sights and sounds: dogs making perfect retrieves, even in rough ocean water, snow squalls showering on the Atlantic Ocean while we waited in a small hunting boat for eider ducks, watching a huge cottonmouth snake slither in our decoys on a Mississippi Delta hunt with an alligator lurking nearby or laying in a ditch with eleven other hunters on a tundra swan hunt in North Carolina. There are many other great memories. Hunting is part of our heritage. Our current generation of children is starting to lose this time in the beautiful outdoors and that has to be changed. Everyone should have instruction on how to handle a firearm correctly and our youth should be well versed on woodlore. Computers, videos, and pictures certainly cannot provide this experience.
THE MISSOURI HUNTING HERITAGE FOUNDATION The Missouri Hunting Heritage Foundation teaches children how to use firearms safely while elaborating on Conservation and positive aspects of hunting. The Missouri Hunting Heritage Federation (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 enjoyment of being in Missouri’s natural landscape. Their members organize activities and work to support hunter education initiatives without regard for individual benefit or compensation. We take pride in Missouri’s hunting tradition regardless of method and strive to preserve this heritage for future generations. Through education and hands-on training, youth learn how to safely handle firearms, gain an understanding of wildlife conservation and are introduced to the many enjoyable aspects of our hunting heritage. PURPOSE The Missouri Hunting Heritage Federation (MHHF) exists to introduce youth and their families to the hunting experience. MISSION The Missouri Hunting Heritage Federation (MHHF) introduces youth to an outdoor way of life that features hunting and the shooting sports through free, weekend clinics. In this way we pass along Missouri’s hunting heritage in the best and safest way possible. This program is free more information can be found at: http://www.mhhf.us/.
I believe we all should enjoy the good, clean outdoor experience and thankfully many agree. Kenneth L. Kieser SEPTEMBER - 2019
Day Flights & Night Blooms
here is often a predictable order in nature; plants bloom in the day and moths come out at night. However, if you are talking about Missouri Evening Primrose (Oenothera macrocarpa) and White-lined sphinx moths, the rules do not necessarily apply. Missouri Evening primrose is a sprawling plant with big, buttery yellow flowers that open in the late afternoon and bloom all night. Each flower only lasts a day, but many may bloom at once creating a stunning display. Loving dry, full sun locations, it is most often found on glades and along rocky, sunny slopes. The epithet for this flower, macrocarpa, means largefruited referring it to the very large, four-winged seed pods that appear in mid to late summer. It is also sometimes is commonly called â€˜Big fruit evening primrose.â€™ This species will bloom from spring into summer and then put its energy into making the peculiar seed pods.
While many bees and other small pollinators enjoy the nectar of Missouri Evening primrose, it just may be the sphinx moth that has the closest relationship with this plant as it relies on sphinx moths for pollination. Many large moths do not feed as adults, but sphinx moths do feed on nectar as adults and are large enough to pollinate the large flowers. The white-lined sphinx moth, in turn, uses the plant as a host for its caterpillars. There are over 50 species of sphinx moths in Missouri, but only a few fly by day. One of those is the white-lined sphinx moth. Most common at dusk or perhaps seen at a porch light turned on at night, they will also fly during the day. The ability of this moth to hover, with a wingspan that can exceed 3 inches, and it's daytime flight and feeding behavior results in it often being confused for a small hummingbird.
Feature Story The pattern of a tan line, often appearing white, stretching the entire length of the forewing with six intersecting, thinner lines running vertically is unique to this species. Like other sphinx moths, it has a substantial, fuzzy body that requires very quick wingbeats to stay aloft. Females will lay eggs on host plants (plants the caterpillars will eat) including Missouri Evening Primrose. The caterpillars are green to yellowish to black with black or tan lines running the length of their bodies. They will also have red, orange or pink dots along their sides. The most recognizable feature is a prominent yellow or orange horn at the backend, which is the origin for the common name of the hornworm, as this caterpillar is sometimes called. The caterpillars will burrow underground to pupate and then emerge in 2-3 weeks as adult moths. When fall comes they will overwinter underground and emerge as adult moths in the spring. Each female is capable of laying hundreds of eggs, and there are often reports of population explosions resulting in their northward expansion during the summer. One report from New Mexico in 2008 reported, “They crawled from the north to the south, so thick a person could not walk without stepping on one. Hundreds climbed up the blade of the tractor and the wall of the barn.” What a sight that must have been! If you have a sunny, dry spot, Missouri Evening Primrose might be just the plant for you. They also work in inhospitable areas such as parking lot islands. Just don’t be surprised if your sightings of White-lined Sphinx moths increase too! For more information on Missouri Primrose and other native plants that host moths, visit www.grownative. org. Grow Native! It is a native plant education and marketing program of the Missouri Prairie Foundation, an affiliate member of CFM.
Mary Nemecek President of Burroughs Audubon
WHITE-LINED SPHINX MOTHS
DESCRIPTION Adult sphinx moths have protruding heads, large eyes, a large “furry” thorax, and a conical abdomen that extends well beyond the hindwings when the moth flies. This species, the white-lined sphinx, has the top of the long forewing dark olive brown with a narrow tan band running from the base of the wing to the tip and with light tan streaks along the veins.
HABITAT Seen in woodlands, fields, gardens, and suburbs. The adults often fly during daylight hours as well as in the night and are often found at lights. Because this moth can hover and visits flowers, many people mistake it for a hummingbird.
FOOD Larvae feed on a great variety of herbaceous plants, of which purslane (Portulaca oleracea) is probably the favorite in Missouri. The adults visit a great variety of flowers, including honeysuckle, columbine, moonvine, lilac, jimsonweed, larkspur, and petunia.
LIFE CYCLE Adults fly from early April into November. Larvae burrow underground in order to metamorphose into adults.
ECOSYSTEM The caterpillars are herbivores that graze on vegetation. The adults serve a role in pollination. All stages provide food for predators. More information at www.mdc.mo.gov.
White-lined sphinx moth caterpillars feed on Missouri Evening Primrose and then burrow underground to pupate. (Photo: Mary Nemecek
SEPTEMBER - 2019
Weasel Surprise L
et’s talk about Missouri’s stinkiest creatures, skunks. The most common situation where we see them — aside from flattened on the road — is in campgrounds. It’s dusk; we’re tucking the kids into cartoon-print sleeping bags or washing the supper dishes. We see movement at the fringe of the lantern light. At first glance, it looks like a cat. But this is one cat you don’t want to rub against your legs. It’s a member of the weasel family with a wicked surprise under his tail. Missouri has two kinds of skunks. The scientific name of the spotted skunk is Spilogale putoris. That is Latin for “spotted weasel.” The Latin name for the striped skunk is Mephitis mephitis, which is Latin for, “Bad smell, bad smell.” For what it’s worth, experts say the smell of the spotted skunk is the worse of the two.
Spotted skunks grow up to 22 inches long, compared to 30 inches for their striped kin. The spotted skunk typically is black with a white spot on its forehead and four narrow stripes and irregular white spots on its back and flanks. In contrast, the striped skunk has a thin white stripe between its eyes, and the crown of its head is white. In most striped skunks, this white cap divides into two broad white stripes that run down either side of the back. The amount of white can vary widely in both striped and spotted skunks. Skunk pelts are used in the fur trade, and the less white the higher the price. Skunks inhabit open fields, prairies, croplands, forest edges and open woodlands. They don’t care for the deep forest. They den in rocky crevices, woodchuck and armadillo burrows, under brush piles, and in hollow trees and logs.
Feature Story In years past, they often set up housekeeping under haystacks. In very cold weather, skunks may share prime den sites with each other or even occupy separate rooms in a burrow that also houses woodchucks or armadillos. They mate as early as February. Females bear four to seven young in late spring. Around six weeks of age, young skunks begin accompanying their mothers on foraging trips, and by eight weeks they are weaned. Some females mate again in the summer and produce second litters. Skunks have a sort of childlike innocence about them. No wonder. Everyone they meet is so respectful, even solicitous. A typical encounter with humans goes something like this: CAMPER: “Oh WOW! Oops! Sorry, I didn’t see you there. What brings you to… (Skunk continues nosing around the picnic table.) CAMPER: Oh, you want to eat our supper leftovers? Well, uh, I was saving those for a midnight snack. (Skunk turns back on the camper, tail raised in his usual, jaunty manner) CAMPER: Oh, no, please, be my guest. I’ll just be in the camper over there, not threatening anyone.” Life does have some hazards for skunks. Great horned owls don’t have a well-developed sense of smell, and don’t seem to mind entrees doused with “Eu de Polecat.” Coyotes, foxes and bobcats will even kill and eat skunks when facing starvation. Dogs seldom get that hungry. Skunks themselves are omnivorous. Dietary staples include mice, rats, rabbits, chipmunks, moles, lizards, snakes, insects, carrion, wild fruits, nuts, grasses, leaves, buds and waste grain. Spotted skunks climb trees readily, enabling them to prey on birds’ eggs in the spring and summer. They are fond of bees and honey and take no notice of being stung on the face and in the mouth, even inside their throats. A skunk’s home range may cover 160 acres, but they meander over only a small part of that area each day in search of food.
The obnoxious scent for which skunks are notorious is produced in two glands. These glands contain about a tablespoon of thick, oily liquid — enough for half a dozen defensive squirts. It takes a week or so to renew this supply, so it is theoretically possible to luck into a polecat that’s out of ammo. Not likely, though. Skunks do everything they can to avoid musking animals that annoy them. For most critters, the sight of a skunk’s tail going up is enough warning. If that doesn’t work, they may perform a handstand or pound the ground with their front feet. When a skunk turns its body in a U shape and points its bottom at you, it’s time to clear out. Each gland is sheathed in muscle and equipped with a nipple that can be aimed and discharged independently at targets in front, behind or to either side. They are most accurate inside 10 feet but can get close enough to make quite an impression on victims up to 20 feet away. The active ingredient in skunk musk is a sulfur compound that can cause nausea, vomiting, even temporary blindness. Anyone who has been in close to a skunk that sprayed knows that the odor has dimensions undreamed of by those who have only smelled it from a passing car. It empties the recipient’s mind of every thought except “Escape!” There is a safe way to handle skunks, though. The trick is to grasp the skunk quickly and firmly behind the head with one hand and at the base of the tail with the other hand. Immediately turn the skunk belly up and prevent it from humping up its back, and it shouldn’t be able to release musk. I confess I haven’t tried this myself. So, just to be safe, keep the business end pointed away from your face. If you do get musked, there are several remedies that will allow you to get into the house the same day. Bathing in tomato juice is better than nothing but not a full solution. A mixture of oils of citronella and bergamot is very effective, but finding these is difficult, and you might get kicked out of the health-food store trying. The easiest solution and one of the most readily available is to build a smoky fire with damp leaves or green cedar boughs and smoke yourself thoroughly. For all their stinky lack of charm, skunks are a useful part of Missouri’s natural mosaic. They help control insects and rodents. Besides, think how much less interesting the campground would be without them.
SEPTEMBER - 2019
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SEPTEMBER - 2019
Get Outdoors with WOW! 56
ant to learn how to kayak, fly-fish or tie flies? How about rappelling down a bluff or making a nature wreath? These classes and many more are on offer at this fall's 22nd annual WOW School at Roaring River State Park, Oct. 11-13. WOW National Outdoor Recreation and Conservation Schools are weekend programs designed to introduce people to outdoor activities. Knowledgeable WOW instructors teach participants the basic skills necessary to enjoy the outdoors safely and responsibly. WOW schools offer hands-on learning experiences that attract a wide range of ages, interests and abilities. The schools provide a great opportunity for an affordable family outing with an educational component. "At Roaring River, we usually offer 60 or more classes to choose from," said Misty Mitchell, Director of Conservation Programs for Wonders of Wildlife. "Many of the classes are the same or similar to past years. Some new classes this year include drone flying and fish taxidermy. Last year we introduced a course on the life of a common soldier during the Civil War, with National Park Service interpreters from Wilson's Creek National Battlefield. It was very popular and we'll be repeating it this year." Amid the other choices are woodburning, Dutch oven cooking, wine bottle crafting and foraging. There will be sessions on crossbows, blowguns and atlatls, as well as high ropes and rock climbing. Hiking, caving, canoeing, primitive skills, archery, outdoor survival skills, nature crafts, outdoor photography and stargazing are among the options. In short, there is something for everyone at WOW School. "The diversity and broad spectrum of classes which this program shares are almost unprecedented," said Tyler Schwartze, Executive Director of CFM. "The number of agencies, departments, non-profit groups and businesses that come together to administer this fun event makes it one of the most unique outdoor education programs in the country. "Many participants have been coming year after year, so it's like a huge family reunion where everyone gathers to share their love of the great outdoors," continues Schwartze, who often serves as auctioneer for the annual auction on Saturday night.
"I am glad to have several of my family members planning to attend this year. It's a great way to pass on the skills, hobbies and recreational opportunities to the next generation." Four WOW schools are held annually in Missouri, in Springfield, Kansas City, St. Louis and Roaring River State Park, with Roaring River being the largest and most extensive. The Springfield program was in April; Kansas City is Sept. 20-21; St. Louis, Oct. 5-6; and Roaring River Oct. 11-13. Mitchell said there might still be time to squeeze into the KC program, the St. Louis program registration will close by mid-September, and Roaring River will close by late September. So, if you are interested in attending any of these programs, don't delay, she said. Visit wondersofwildlife.org/for-parents/wow-school/ for registration information. For questions, call the Wonders of Wildlife education department direct line at 417-2251162 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org. In case you're wondering what WOW stands for, Mitchell explained that originally it was "Wonders of the Outdoor World." In 2002 it changed to "Wonders of Wildlife," when the program administration transferred from Bass Pro Shops to Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium. However, she noted, there are so many partners in the WOW Schools that it was not fair to identify the program by only one partner, so now it is simply WOW, with the subtitle National Outdoor Recreation and Conservation Schools. Among the partners are Conservation Federation of Missouri, Missouri Department of Conservation, Missouri State Parks, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Corps of Engineers, National Park Service, Missouri State University, Bass Pro Shops and Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium. Barbara Gibbs Ostmann A hike on Devil's Kitchen Trail was part of the Physical Education Through Nature hike at WOW in Roaring River State Park. (Photo: Barbara Gibbs Ostmann)
SEPTEMBER - 2019
Hangin’ Outdoors with Pawpaw
randchildren are amazing creatures. They come along at the perfect time in life after we have raised our children and they have left the nest. Grandchildren fill that massive void in homes and hearts when life has slowed down a bit. As aging adults, we fill our lives with all sorts of busywork. Grandparents and retirees look for opportunities to contribute and remain an important part of our great American society. As good as all the volunteer work we do as grandparents and retirees nothing is more rewarding, valuable and fun than spending time with our grandchildren. They are the grandest of the grand and worthy of our time and attention.
We baby boomers grew up in the time immediately following WWII, when our parents were busy expanding a great nation. They were duly dubbed “The Greatest Generation.” Disposable incomes grew at a rapid rate and family vacations became more prominent. A growing population created a vast need for expanded food sources and American farmers obliged. The population remained largely rural after WWII, and farmers worked long hard hours to accommodate the world’s growing food requirements. As a result, farm families didn’t keep up with the vacationing trend like their city counterparts.
Feature Story Farms after WWII remained smaller plots of land worked by families. The family farm provided the backbone of the nation as prosperity blossomed and production soared. Farm families, ours included, spent long days in the fields, often up to 15 hours, or more. There was not much free time for hard-working farm families. Tidbits of time most often were utilized to relax and recuperate for the next week of hard labor. However, kids spent most of their playtime outdoors. Baseball and fishing established themselves as our favorite free-time pursuits. My Cooper grandparents worked in timber and cotton most of their lives, both extremely physically demanding endeavors. Grandpa Cooper hunted and fished some, but I can’t remember ever tagging along with him. Most of my contact with him consisted of sitting in a tiny living room, during cold winter evenings, as he told stories of the old days by the pot-bellied coal stove. I scarcely knew my grandfather Hale. Born in the Arizona Territory, we never had much contact. He passed on when I was 2 or 3 years old. Both of my grandmothers were a joy to be around. I sat long hours with grandmother Cooper churning butter. The conversation generally centered around the plight of the farmer and how rough life had been carving a row crop farm out of the cypress swamps of southeast Missouri. Grandpa Cooper and my father cleared 120 acres of huge cypress trees with cross-cut saws, axes and mule teams to pull stumps.
Dad spent a lot of time fishing after the crops were laid by, and when his other seasonal jobs at the park and cotton gin ended. As we fished together in his later years, he often advised me to teach my children and grandchildren to fish and enjoy the outdoors. He held a private concern about the future of the sports, yet he knew the value they held for body and soul. My dad passed at 50 years of age. He would indeed be proud of my children and grandchildren, most of whom have a solid appreciation of the outdoors. Some hunt, some fish, while others hike and backpack. Two of my three children live in the country with plenty of room for their children to roam and experience the outdoors daily. I spent a great deal of time in the outdoors with my children as they grew up. I believe it made better people and citizens of them. Now in my retirement years, I spend a good deal of time with my grandchildren in the outdoors. Most of them love to fish. Some of them hunt. Some float, camp, canoe, kayak, hike, and hunt bullfrogs. Ronnie, my 8-year-old grandson, is spending the summer with me. What a privilege to spend so much time with a grandchild. The changes in children’s lives I have witnessed in my life is incredible. Child labor laws and the loss of the family farm from our landscapes have freed up the time of children to be children. Although play patterns have changed dramatically, grandchildren are amazing.
My father loved to hunt and fish and passed those traditions on to me. He worked part-time in a local state park as well. Little did he know that he was setting the foundation for my life pursuits.
Youngsters are far brighter than we were at their age. The information age keeps them inundated with a constant blast of the latest and greatest. The use of electronics is a problem in their young lives, but they are so eager to learn. They are, however, still as eager as ever to go into and learn about the outdoors. They simply need to be given the opportunity.
Dad expressed his conservation convictions often and demanded that my brother and I follow the rules. He had witnessed the rapid decline of fish and wildlife resources and wanted to do his part to improve the situation.
When Ronnie fails to show up at day school, they often inquire if he is on another “PawPaw adventure.” He does love hangin’ in the outdoors with PawPaw! We have a fishing trip planned for tomorrow.
My dad visited several times while I worked as superintendent of Maramec Spring Park. He particularly enjoyed the cold, clear water of the spring branch. He had spent most of his years in the stained, muddy waters associated with the Mississippi River Delta of southeast Missouri.
Bill Cooper Memories of special outdoor moments with grandchildren will last a lifetime and insure the future of their involvement. (Photo: Courtesy of Bill Cooper)
SEPTEMBER - 2019
Sacred Whisperer of Wind Songs in the Valley
don’t remember the first time I heard the melodic sounds of a Native American flute, but the music still lingers in my soul. It is to most who hear it, an almost spiritual experience. Legend has it that a woodpecker pecked holes in a cedar limb and gifted a young brave the first flute, but it wouldn’t play. He had to first humble himself before it would sing. Since the heart of the cedar had been removed from the flute, it was his duty as a flute player to replace it with his own heart when he played. I love to read about the time when America’s Mountain Men traveled through the mountains and valleys of the west hunting and trapping animals for their fur. It was a tough life, but I sometimes wish I had lived back then. They often heard the haunting sounds of the flutes and called the mystical music “wind songs”. The Native American flute is the only melodic wind instrument belonging to the people of this continent and the only instrument indigenous exclusively to America. The oldest Native American flute is the Beltrami Native American flute. It was collected by the Italian explorer Giacomo Constantino Beltrami on a journey through present-day Minnesota in 1823. Made mostly of cedar or river cane, they were used by many tribes for many different reasons. Some tribes used the flute for ceremonial purposes, in others young braves would use it to try and win the hand of their hopeful bride to be. Mostly though, the flute was used to empty one’s self of all the things which could not be expressed in words. North American flute music is a natural stress relief. In this crazy world we live in today maybe we all need to learn to play a Native American flute or at least listen to their music to escape the craziness. I consider flutes as not just a musical instrument but also a work of art. Besides cedar and cane flutes they also make flutes of ash, maple, mahogany, blood wood, ebony, Alaskan yellow cedar and other woods from all over the world. Each has its distinct sound and beauty when crafted by the hand of a master. The flute is one of the easiest wind instruments to play. Minor tuning makes it easy because more notes go together than most contemporary instruments. A beginning flute player does not need to know conventional music when learning to play these instruments.
The Haunting, Mystical Sounds of the Native American Flute. (Photo: Courtesy of Larry Whiteley)
It is a tool for self-expression. This simplicity allows non-trained individuals to be able to pick up the flute and make pleasing sounds within a matter of minutes. Master flute makers will tell you they have never sold a flute because a flute sells itself. You don’t have to play songs on a flute that everyone knows. Simply play what is in your heart. Look to a sunset or sunrise, the valleys and mountains, the streams and lakes, the wildlife and wildflowers. The world of nature contains countless songs. Look here for inspiration and play what you feel. Native American flutes and lessons may be available in your area. You can also go online and order a flute, an instruction book, listen to flute music or order accessories. These special instruments, treated with care, will bring a lifetime of musical pleasure. I think of the Native Americans and how this was their land before the white man stole it from them. I think of how they took care of their land and tried to protect it from the white man’s onslaught. I think of how they honored the game when they took their lives to feed their families. I think of how they didn’t waste any part of the animal and only took what they needed. They were the first conservationist. They were not savages – we were! They only fought to protect what was theirs. My flute in hand, I play from my heart. It is an escape from this crazy world for just a little while out in nature away from it all. As I play, I also think of the Mountain Men listening to the haunting, mystical sounds of “wind songs” in the distance, sweeping through the valley.
Waterfowl Changes for the Fall
aterfowlers who hunt Missouri’s 15 managed wetlands will see new procedures this fall under a new plan from the Department of Conservation. First and foremost, after a nine-year test, the QuickDraw system, used at the Otter Slough, Grand Pass, and Eagle Bluffs conservation areas, has been eliminated. With QuickDraw, hunters had to apply online twice weekly for a chance to hunt the following week, but the success rate for the drawings was dismally low, typically less than 2 percent. QuickDraw was very divisive,” said Andy Raedeke, MDC’s top waterfowl biologist. “Some liked it, but many more didn’t.” Replacing the QuickDraw system will be a weekly online drawing for 25 percent of all available daily hunting positions, and it will be used at all managed wetlands. Previously, QuickDraw positions took 75 percent of available spots on the areas where it was used, a procedure Raedeke said was very unpopular. The results of the weekly drawings, he said, will be available at least a week ahead of hunting dates, so hunters will have plenty of time to plan. Plus, they will be assigned a pill number during the drawing, something more than 70 percent of surveyed hunters said they preferred. The traditional pre-season reservation drawing, used for many years now, will continue, with those drawn taking another 25 percent of each day’s available spots. With 25 percent of positions allocated to preseason reservation holders and another 25 percent going to weekly drawing selectees, that will leave 50 percent of daily hunting spots available for those in the poor line. To help speed up the morning draw process, Raedeke said, the “every member draws” procedure used at some managed wetlands also has been eliminated, replaced by the more efficient “one member draws” at all locations. The change is expected to improve efficiency at the more popular and crowded wetlands, like the Otter Slough Conservation area, where, in years past, those who had to select their hunting spots last typically could not make it into the field before daylight because of the slow draw process.
Aaron Aden watches a flight of ducks swinging over his pool while hunting a Southeast Missouri managed wetland. (Photo: Paul Davis)
Another change coming to MDC’s managed wetlands this fall will be new green cards used during the check-in procedure. The new cards will have bar codes, which will be scanned at the window during the morning draw process, along with each hunter’s license. Making this change allows all pertinent information to be entered into a computer system immediately, significantly reducing staff workload, and only harvest totals would need to be added later. Eventually, Raedeke noted, MDC hopes to have a system in place where hunters can check out of hunting areas on their phones, eliminating the need to return green cards before they leave. “Ultimately, our wetland managers would like for there to be an app on your phone where you can enter your daily harvest,” Raedeke said. Currently, however, internet connectivity is a major hold-up in many areas. Finally, another change planned is the installation of a large-screen monitor in each drawing-room. The idea is to display which hunting spots have been taken and which remain available, and it’s hoped the system will eliminate crowding around the draw windows. The new procedures, Raedeke said, will be looked at closely, and changes will be made as necessary. “The idea is to take a deep dive every five years, check hunter preferences and tweak things as needed instead of just throwing out things and seeing if they work,” he said.
Paul Davis SEPTEMBER - 2019
Motus receivers track migratory birds for targeted habitat management
otus Wildlife Tracking System technology is a powerful new research tool used to detect migratory birds that migrate through, breed in, or overwinter in Missouri. Motus tracking projects help pinpoint areas and pathways that Missouri’s migratory birds use during migration, and help researchers target high-use areas where conservation dollars and management can be of greatest benefit. The tracking system uses automated radio telemetry receivers as part of a collaborative system of stations that all transmit the same frequency to detect Motus-tagged animals over broad spatial scales. Lightweight, digitally coded Motus nanotags that weight between 0.2-2.6 grams are placed on birds that are then detected by the receivers if the bird passes within a 15-kilometer radius of the receiver. Currently, there are 807 Motus receivers in the world tracking the migratory routes of many birds. Missouri plays an important part in the migratory pathway for birds coming from Central and South America, with high-quality habitat in the Ozark Highlands being used by many birds as stopover sites, as well as breeding grounds. Unfortunately, Missouri is still largely a “black-hole” for the collaborative research needed to gain more information on migratory patterns. To gain more knowledge regarding migratory routes taken in Missouri, a series of latitudinal “digital fences” are needed. These lines, one in southern Missouri and one in northern Missouri, will capture electronic signatures from Motus-tagged species as they traverse the state. Only 20 Motus receivers exist in the entire Mississippi Flyway. The Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation (MCHF), along with the partnership of generous donors, has donated more than $10,000 to help Sarah Kendrick, state ornithologist with the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), build a line of Motus receivers in southern Missouri, with the goal of focusing on the northern line soon.
In October 2018, a Motus receiver was attached to a tower at MDC’s Headquarters in Jefferson City. While not in the proposed strategic, latitudinal “digital fence” of Motus receivers across the state, this receiver is close to Kendrick and her staff so they can learn the technology before installing the receivers along the southern line. They recently saw two detections on it! Two of Swainson’s Thrushes were detected on May 7 and 22. They were tagged at Grand Chenier Recreation Area in the Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge on the Louisiana coast during migration (late April and early May, respectively). They were likely tagged in the Refuge after hopping the Gulf of Mexico and making landfall. One thrush flew from Louisiana to Jefferson City in 10 days, then to Quebec over the next month. The second thrush flew the same distance from Louisiana to Jefferson City in 18 days, then, surprisingly, flew the same route and was detected on the same receiver in Quebec as the earlier thrush. The Motus Wildlife Tracking System has been successfully used by researchers to answer questions such as identifying important stopover sites, departure and arrival times, migratory routes, and post-fledging dispersals. Very soon, Missouri will help answer these important questions, too. Tricia Burkhardt Swainson’s Thrush. (Photo: National Audubon Society)
Life is too Short to Shoot Ugly Arrows
rcheologists have widely varying dates on when the bow and arrow came into existence with some putting their birth a whopping 65,000 years ago. And while the exact date of their invention may be hard to pinpoint, I would bet that the tradition of decorating one’s arrows started about 10 minutes after the first paleolithic Howard Hill got a dozen shafts straight enough to put points on them. For close to twenty years I have been making my wood arrows. It’s a ritual I look forward to before every archery season. It’s not like I need them. I have boxes and boxes of arrows from hunts of yesteryear. But I make them anyway because I find the process enjoyable, relaxing, and a nice creative outlet. Besides, what else am I going to do during summer when the archery season is closed? Tend to a garden and do yard work? I don’t think so! Planning my new set of arrows usually starts about mid-April when I’m leaning against a tree during late morning waiting for a gobbler to come strolling by. I need to pick out the wood type to use, choose the finished arrow’s weight, determine the feather colors that I will fletch with, and what broadhead I want to put on them. I am partial to heavy arrows so I almost always choose a hardwood. They also hold up better when shooting into the rocky ground around my Shannon County farm. Ash used to be my go-to choice but my supplier retired so I tend to use mahogany or hard rock maple these days. I always choose bright colors for my feather fletching and white for my nock color. I want to be able to see the arrow in flight and, more importantly, find it when it’s on the ground. My dad always wants me to make his arrows with black nocks, and brown or dark green feathers. I guess he reasons that if your arrow is almost impossible to locate in the leaves then you’ll concentrate harder on hitting what you are aiming at. Once I get my shafts cut to length and the nock and point taper put on them, I start the fun stuff – decorating them! Most folks who do this just put some cresting near the fletching. Not me. I’m using the whole shaft.
Learning to make your own arrows can give you an advantage in the woods each fall. (Photo: Darren Haverstick)
I start by burning designs onto the shaft using a butane torch and a set of brass templates with shapes cut out of them made by Jerry Shriver from Greenwood, MO. After that, I color patterns on them using a wide variety of permanent markers, metallic markers, and paint pens. This year my wife, Leah, asked if she could help with that process and she took to it like a duck to water. After all the artsy work is finished, it’s time for me to seal the shafts against the elements. I have used a plethora of sealants over the years and have settled on oil-based polyurethane. I spray two or three coats on first because it dries fast and the artwork is less likely to run. Then I sand them with 0000 steel wool and start dunking them in a dip tube filled with polyurethane. I let the excess run off on a drop cloth after I hang the shafts to dry. I will repeat this dunking and sanding until I have gotten six or seven coats dried onto the shafts. Nocks, feathers, and points are glued on after that and then it’s time to shoot them! A dozen arrows will take me two or three weeks to make. It’s time-consuming and expensive but I think of it as a labor of love. When I put meat in the freezer with my longbow using an arrow that I made, well, there’s just something special about that. And I figure that if I’m going to make them then I might as well make them so that they can’t be mistaken for anyone else’s arrows. Darren Haverstick SEPTEMBER - 2019
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