Monofilament fishing line is one of modern angling’s finest tools, but it’s also a hazard to wildlife if old line isn’t recycled or disposed of properly. For example, a barred owl was rescued on March 25 in Platte County after it became entangled in fishing line.

Daniel and Debbie Haus of Kansas City are Missouri Master Naturalists and volunteers at the Lakeside Nature Center in Swope Park, which does wildlife rehabilitation. They answered a call for help and rescued the barred owl. They found the owl with fishing line wrapped around its wing, hanging helplessly from a tree limb at a private fishing lake. They cut the line and took the owl to Lakeside Nature Center. They are hopeful the owl escaped serious injury and can soon be released back to the wild.

Not all wildlife is as lucky, though. Birds, mammals and reptiles that frequent lakes and streams can become entangled in fishing line and suffer severe injuries or death. Anglers are urged to dispose of used fishing line carefully, and any littering is a disservice to people and wildlife. Some fishing spots have bins to collect old fishing line so it can be recycled.

For more information on fishing line recycling programs in Missouri, visit For more information on Missouri’s outdoors, visit

ENTANGLED – This barred owl’s wing became entangled in discarded fishing line that was also tangled on a tree limb over a private fishing lake. Luckily, the owl was rescued and is expected to be released back to the wild. But anglers should be aware that it is important to recycle or carefully dispose of used fishing line, don’t leave it on the bank or in the water. Littering is harmful to people and wildlife.