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Ducks and swap meet

Posted January 22, 2015 at 11:36 am


I may be getting too old to go duck hunting. I walked a half-mile across a big field last week, then waded down the half-frozen creek to a little hole where ducks had been loafing. Where there wasn’t any ice, the rocks were so slick I could hardly keep my balance. Where there was ice, it was so slick I could hardly keep my balance either.

As I set out eight decoys, an over-hanging limb knocked my cap off and it started floating down the creek. I went after it and my knee boots were too short for the water. When one boot is too short for the water, the result is cold water accumulating in the very bottom of it. So I am sitting up against a big tree with overhanging limbs hiding me, trying to get

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    MDC to match $1.3 million in federal dollars to help Missouri landowners with key habitat conservation

    The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) recently announced that it will receive $1.3 million in federal grant monies from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help private landowners in Missouri improve grasslands, glades and woodlands on their properties for both wildlife habitat and agriculture production. As the Conservation Commission approves annual expenditure plans, MDC plans to match the federal grant monies over the next five years through its existing Private Lands Services program.

    The $1.3 million in federal dollars was provided through the USDA’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). The purpose

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    Conservation Corner

    Rabbits on the run

    Cottontails inhabit every county in Missouri. They can be pursued without years of experience or a daunting investment in equipment. They are challenging, but not so elusive that they discourage first-time hunters. Perhaps best of all, cottontail meat is lean and savory. Reminiscing about the hunt is best done over a steaming plate of pan-fried rabbit.

    Following are some tips for aspiring rabbit hunters.

    Guns – The only indispensable piece of rabbit hunting equipment is a shotgun.

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    Missouri deer season ends with harvest of 260,552

    Missouri’s 2014-2015 deer-hunting closed Jan. 15 with the conclusion of the state’s archery season. The Missouri Department of Conservation reported that the total deer harvest for the current season was 260,552, which is 7,978 more than the 252,574 deer checked during the previous year.

    Hunters checked 51,755 deer during the current archery season with top counties being Jefferson with 1,080, St. Louis with 1,063, and Franklin with 1,032. The harvest for the previous year’s deer archery season was 1,248

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    You could be a Master Gardener if…

    You could be a Master Gardener if:

    *You want to learn more about plants and gardening.

    *You are eager to participate in practical and intensive training sessions. Classes are a minimum of 30 hours, usually 10 three-hour classes. Cost is about $175.

    *You can volunteer at least 30 hours the first year and 20 hours each year afterwards to educational horticulture programs through your local University of Missouri Extension Center.

    *You enjoy sharing your knowledge with others.

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    An estimated 500,000 migrating snow geese visited Big Lake State Park in northwest Missouri this winter. Snow geese breed in the Arctic in summer and migrate south as far as Texas and Mexico in winter. Tom Uhlenbrock/Missouri State Parks

    Some agents to be commended

    My old friend, fellow outdoorsman and naturalist, Dennis Whiteside, gave me a bit of good news after deer season. He goes over to camp and hunt with his brothers at an MDC wildlife area known as Mud Puppy Conservation Area near Doniphan.

    Dennis remembers when part of it was his family’s farm many years ago. He says that it needs much attention, growing up to be nothing but an impenetrable thicket. But, of course, the MDC has little money left to actually enhance conditions for wildlife

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    Conservation Corner

    The goose from the top of the world

    In the past goose hunters called them snows and blues. For years scientists insisted that they were separate species They look different enough – some pure white with wings tipped in black, others white-headed with blue-gray bodies.

    They called the white ones snow geese, “the goose from beyond the north wind – a good name for a bird that nests on the arctic tundra, up at the top of the world.”

    But the blue goose was a

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    Alternative methods portion of deer season totals 11,025

    The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) reports that hunters harvested 11,025 deer during the Alternative Methods portion of the 2014 deer hunting season which ran Dec. 20-30. Of that total, 2,837 were antlered bucks, 1,499 button bucks and 6,689 does.

    Top harvest counties were Oregon with 269, Franklin with 248, and Howell with 244. The total harvest for last year’s Alternative Methods portion was 11,967.

    Cedar County hunters checked 78 deer during the Alternative Methods season. Of those 18 were antlered bucks, 13 button bucks and 47

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    An Afternoon Owl

    I have always been able to imitate a wide assortment of wild creatures, something I learned from my grandfather, who could just about duplicate the call of any bird or animal. I have called up a good number of wild turkeys by mouth. I never have really needed a turkey call. It is easy to call up bobwhite roosters from my porch in the summer time, pretty easy to get squirrels to bark at me by imitating the distress call of a young squirrel. Sometimes I can call in a buck deer in the

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