Outdoors digest 5/16/03

Friday, May 16, 2003

The best things in life are free (at least two days a year)

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Free fishing days have been scheduled for June 7 and 8 that will allow Missourians to fish without a permit.

The Missouri Department of Conservation designates two days each June as free fishing days to encourage anglers to fish in the state's thousands of lakes, streams and rivers.

"If you think about going fishing sometimes but don't want to bother with permits, this is the perfect opportunity," said the MDC's Norm Stucky. "The whole family, from toddlers to great-grandparents, can fish free all weekend. It's hard to imagine a better way to spend time with family. With a little luck you'll even end up with something to eat."

Normal regulations, such as limits on the size and number of fish you can keep, remain in effect during Free Fishing Days. Regulations are outlined in the MDC's Summary of Missouri Fishing Regulations. The free booklets are available at bait shops and other stores where fishing equipment is sold. Free Fishing Days don't set aside trespass laws, and some private fishing areas still require permits.

Public fishing areas are available in every county in Missouri. More information is at www.mdc.state.mo.us/fish/prospects. For information about handicap-accessible fishing spots, visit www.mdc.state.mo.us/accessibility.

Youth catch-and-release day Saturday in Cape Girardeau

Children ages 1 to 15 will be allowed to fish free from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday at Capaha Park pond as part of Catch and Release Day.

The annual event, sponsored by the Cape Girardeau Parks and Recreation Department, is designed to encourage youths to become active and educated in fishing techniques and requirements.

Registration is free and is available at the pond. Fishing poles and equipment is not provided.

For information, contact the Parks and Recreation Department at 335-5421.

Test show up negative for chronic wasting disease

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Laboratory tests of more than 6,000 deer in Missouri found no cases of chronic wasting disease, the Missouri Department of Conservation says.

Chronic wasting disease is a neurological ailment in a family of diseases that includes scrapies in sheep and mad cow disease cattle. Deer that contract chronic wasting disease die within two years.

The MDC took tissue samples from 5,972 deer killed by hunters during the November portion of the 2002 firearms deer season.

Also tested were about 400 deer taken by hunters in managed deer hunts and a smaller number of apparently sick deer that were reported to the MDC as part of its targeted surveillance program.

The MDC said the recent tests were just the first round of a three-year monitoring program. The department plans to test about 12,000 deer over the next two years.

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