Outdoors digest 3/15/02

Friday, March 15, 2002

Conservation Department director to retire July 1

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Conservation Department director Jerry Conley said he will retire from the state wildlife agency in July. His retirement will end a 36-year career with state conservation agencies, 25 years of those as director. He said he will return to Idaho with his wife, Janet.

"I think I'm leaving the agency in excellent shape, as far as both programs and financial management," Conley said. "They key has been to hire good people and let them do their jobs."

Steve Bradford of Cape Girardeau, a member of the state's Conservation Commission, said Conley's absence will leave a void in the agency.

"His commitment to protecting Missouri's natural resources and the integrity and personal value system he brought to the job has impressed me," Bradford said. "His loss will create a void for some time."

The department has begun a search for Conley's replacement.

Spring auto tours begin at Mingo Wildlife Refuge

PUXICO, Mo. -- The spring schedule for auto tours begins in April at the Mingo National Wildlife Refuge. The tour is open seven days a week during daylight hours and goes through bluffs, swamps and across overlooks. Daily permits are $3 per car.

The visitor center also has opened for the spring schedule. Hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays, and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends through the end of June. Admission is free.

For more information, call (573) 222-3589 or visit www.fws.gov/r3pao/ ming_nwr.

Rend Lake offers sporting clays shoot March 24

WHITTINGTON, Ill. -- The Rend Lake Shooting Complex will hold a sporting clays shoot March 24. The 100-bird shoot will include several classes, including three Lewis classes (A, B, C), women, 16-17 year-olds, under-15 and veterans. Registration is from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Targets may be registered with ISTA or NSCA. Entry fee is $40.

For information, call the complex at (618) 629-2368.

Regional councils give landowners a voice

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- The Missouri Department of Conservation wants land owners to help develop programs to assist their neighbors interested in providing habitat for wildlife.

The MDC Private Land Services Division is working to create regional landowner councils to help the agency address private land management issues. The councils, consisting of land owners from across the state, are designed to foster communication between the MDC and land owners that leads to increased participation to enhance the state's natural resources.

The initial plan is for each regional council to meet at least twice a year. The meetings will serve as forums for council members to voice comments and concerns from their respective areas. The meetings also will provide opportunities to discuss land management issues with department resource experts.

With nearly 93 percent of the state's land in private ownership, cooperation of state residents is imperative to the success of the department's efforts to improve and expand wildlife habitat.

Improved resources management and hunting opportunities and restoration of imperiled species are among the benefits the MDC hopes to gain from the establishment of regional councils. Cleaner watering sources for livestock and higher quality timber stands that provide additional income are among the benefits improved land management practices can provide private land owners.

Learn better duck-calling by listening to the pros

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Good duck calling can mean the difference between a full limit of ducks and a long morning with nothing to show for it. But what are the most important calls to know?

Ducks Unlimited's Web site now features expert advice from champion duck callers. After reading information about each call, site users can click an icon to hear champion caller Greg Brinkley of Marion, Ark., demonstrate.

The site is www.ducks.org.

Arbor Day trees will memorialize Sept. 11

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- The MDC will try to give added meaning to this year's Arbor Day celebrations by helping school children honor the memory of those killed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The MDC will provide each school in the state with a Shumard Oak seedling to plant as a memorial. The Shumard Oak was chosen because it was selected as the national tree last year.

The Conservation Department, as it has done for the past 22 years, also will provide seedlings for the state's fourth-grade students.

Seedlings come from George O. White State Forest Nursery near Licking, Mo. To learn more or to order seedlings, contact the nursery at 14027 Shafer Road, Licking, Mo., 65542, or call (573) 674-3229.

-- From staff reports

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