MoNews

Spring turkey hunting forecast
Missouri turkey hunters can expect a good spring season overall according to the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC). The spring turkey hunting season starts with a youth-only weekend April 8-9. The regular spring season runs April 17 through May 7.

“Since 2011, we’ve seen an increasing trend in the spring turkey harvest,” said Jason Isabelle, MDC turkey biologist. “A great deal of what makes for a good spring turkey season depends on the hatch two years prior.”

He said although the 2015 hatch was not as high as in 2014, the 2015 hatch, along with carryover from previous years, should result in a strong 2017 harvest.

“I think hunters will notice a reduction in the number of jakes they’re used to seeing,” he said. “However, because most prefer to harvest adult gobblers, the effects of last year’s hatch won’t be fully realized until the 2018 spring season.”

Isabelle expects this year’s spring harvest to be at or slightly below last year’s mark, but added there are still plenty of gobblers on the landscape to provide good hunting.

Due to a poor hatch in 2015, this year’s turkey harvest in the Northeast and West Prairie regions is expected to be down.     “Both regions had very low poult-to-hen ratios during the summer brood survey a couple of years ago, so I’d expect fewer 2-year-old gobblers this year in these regions.”

He expects spring harvests in the Ozarks, Lindley Breaks, Union Breaks, Mississippi Lowlands and Northwest regions to be similar to last year’s totals.

But Isabelle also warns hunters to be safety conscious.

“Each year, most turkey-hunting incidents typically involve hunters who fail to identify their targets. Unless you are certain what you are looking at is a wild turkey, remember that any movement you see or any sounds you hear could be another hunter.”

He said that the incidents usually involve members of the same hunting party.

“If you’re hunting with someone else and you split up, be certain you know where your partner is at all times.”

Hunters can share photos of their harvests through MDC’s Hunting Bragging Board by using #mdcbragboard when posting pictures to their social media accounts. Learn more at mdc.mo.gov/huntingbragboard. Find detailed information on harvest limits, allowed hunting methods, hunter education requirements, permits, MDC hunting areas, tagging and checking procedures, regulations and more, in MDC’s 2017 Spring Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet available from MDC offices and nature centers where permits are sold, and online at on.mo.gov.

MDC offering Permit Card for hunters, anglers and trappers
On April 1, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) began offering Missouri hunters, anglers and trappers a new Permit Card as an additional way of carrying and showing proof of most related permits.

The new plastic cards are another option to MDC’s paper and electronic permits. As new permits are purchased and old ones expire, the updated information is automatically accessible through the one-time-purchase cards. Conservation agents can scan users’ cards to verify active permits.

Permit Card buyers can select from four nature-inspired background images: bass, buck, mallard duck or bluebird. Permit Cards are available for a one-time fee of $2 online at mdc.mo.gov/buypermits, from permit vendors around the state or through the MDC MO Hunting and MO Fishing free mobile apps.

Because of special requirements and other possible steps, the Permit Cards may not be used as deer and turkey hunting permits, trout tags at trout parks, as proof of a Federal Duck Stamp nor do they replace commercial permits or lifetime permits. These do replace the department’s existing Heritage Card, as the new Heritage Cards will no longer be issued. Existing Heritage Cards will still be valid for hunter-education verification, purchasing permits and discounts, but will not be legal as a permit. MDC Hunter Education graduates will receive Permit Cards instead of the discontinued Heritage Card at no additional cost.

MDC, CFM thank hunters for Sharing the Harvest

The MDC and the Conservation Federation of Missouri (CFM) thank the 4,280 Missouri deer hunters who donated 198,277 pounds of venison to the state’s Share the Harvest program last season. The donated deer meat will help feed hungry Missourians around the state.

The MDC and CFM work with deer hunters who donate their extra venison to participating meat processors throughout the state who grind the deer meat into 1-pound packages. The packaged venison goes to food banks and food pantries for distribution to Missourians in need of food assistance.

“Hunters started Share the Harvest because they saw a need in their communities,” said Sara Pauley, MDC director. “Hunters remain the driving force behind this popular program that helps feed our fellow Missourians who are in need. We sincerely thank the thousands of deer hunters who support Share the Harvest, along with the many participating meat processors and sponsors.”

Share the Harvest coordinates the efforts of thousands of hunters, more than 100 participating meat processors, numerous local supporting organizations and a dozen statewide sponsors.

What fishing means to Missouri
The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) and Southwick Associates released the 2017 update of Economic Contributions of Recreational Fishing along with a new series of one-page infographics depicting recreational fishing’s economic impact on all 435 districts and the 50 states.

According to the ASA, over 1.5 million anglers in Missouri spent $684.8 million last year, creating an economic output of $1.1 billion, supporting 10,841 jobs.

America’s 46 million anglers generate more than $48 billion in retail sales with a $115 billion impact on the nation’s economy, creating employment for more than 800,000 people. Recreational fishing is the foundation of an industry that involves not just the manufacturing, sale or provision of tackle and other fishing gear, but also includes services such as boat builders, hotels, restaurants and much more.

“A top priority for members of Congress is the ability to identify jobs and economic opportunity in their districts,” said Mike Leonard, ASA conservation director. “By identifying recreational fishing’s economic impact at the congressional district level, we can clearly show members that recreational fishing in their district or state is a tremendous economic driver and job creator.”

Missouri Pesticide Collection Program
The MoDNR has continued its bold program of keeping pesticides from the state’s lands and waterways. Their Pesticide Collection Program provides free-collection events for farmers and households throughout the state to dispose of unwanted waste pesticides.

In 2017, the department will provide Missouri residents with a convenient, free opportunity to dispose of pesticides, herbicides, rodenticides and fungicides.

An approved hazardous waste contractor transports the waste off-site to a permitted hazardous waste incineration facility for disposal. All non-pesticide waste brought to these events will be rejected and sent back with the participant.

If you have other non-pesticide household hazardous waste (oil-based paints, brake cleaner, etc.) to dispose of please contact your local Solid Waste Management District for possible disposal options.

The department’s Environmental Services Program and Hazardous Waste Program staff oversees collection services. For more information or questions on the pesticide collection program, contact C.J. Plassmeyer at 573-751-0616.

Students work to create Green Ribbon Schools
Nine Missouri schools have shown that they are making strides toward creating a green school environment for students and staff. Green Ribbon Schools must demonstrate reduced environmental impact, healthy conditions for students and staff and include environmental education in the curriculum.

Five schools have been nominated for national recognition: Keysor Elementary, Kirkwood Schools, Richmond Heights Middle School, McKelvey Elementary, Parkway North High School and Ray Miller Elementary.

Three schools received an honorable mention: Border Star Montessori, J.A. Rogers Elementary and Longfellow Elementary.

Johnny Morris receives RMEF Elk Country Lifetime Achievement Award
Recognizing an unmatched commitment toward the conservation of elk and elk country, Bass Pro Shops founder and noted conservationist Johnny Morris was the first-ever recipient of the Elk Country Lifetime Achievement Award during the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) National Convention held in Nashville, Tenn.

While establishing Bass Pro Shops as one of the leading outdoor retailers in North America, Morris has maintained a passion for protecting habitat and connecting people to nature. Key partnerships with conservation leaders like RMEF and the proper management of natural resources ensures the future of the outdoors industry and outdoors sports loved by so many.

“The long-term positive impact on generations of sportsmen and women, thanks to Johnny Morris, is beyond measure,” said David Allen, CEO of RMEF. “We are so pleased to honor our longtime partner and friend with our inaugural Elk Country Lifetime Achievement Award.”

Since 2000, Morris and Bass Pro Shops has helped RMEF reach new heights including recently eclipsing more than 7 million acres of land protected or conserved. He also contributed more than $1.5 million to RMEF’s core mission to ensure the future of elk and other wildlife of their habitats and hunting’s heritage.