Outdoors digest 5/31/02

Friday, May 31, 2002

Mingo Wildlife Refuge sets free fishing day

To celebrate National Fishing Week, Mingo National Wildlife Refuge near Puxico, Mo., will sponsor a free fishing day Saturday, June 8, at Gritman Lake.

The area will open at 7:45 a.m. and children age 12 and under will be allowed to fish from 8 to 9 a.m. Adults will be allowed to fish after 9 a.m. until the refuge closes an hour after sunset.

T-shirt painting will be available for children age 12 and under until noon. T-shirts will be provided by the refuge.

Gritman Lake is near the Mingo Job Corps Center, 1.5 miles west of Puxico on Highway T. The lake will be stocked with about 1,500 pounds of catfish before the event. Participants should bring their own fishing gear. Two poles per person will be permitted after 9 a.m. with a daily limit of six catfish per person.

Entry to the lake is free for the event, but Mingo Refuge admission is $3.

For info: 222-3589.

Outdoor TV program resumes with new station

"The Outdoorsman with Buck McNeely," billed as the largest syndicated adventure series in the nation with 218 stations, will move to KFVS-TV starting June 8. The series previously aired on KBSI-TV.

The program will air at 1:35 a.m. Saturday and 1 a.m. Sunday and may air at additional times throughout the weekend.

The program -- which began as a college project in 1985 -- now features weekly outdoors events and celebrity guests with McNeely, a Cape Girardeau native.

For info, visit www.outdoorsmanint.com.

Illinois hunters set spring turkey harvest record

Hunters in Illinois set a spring wild turkey hunting harvest record in the season that concluded this month. Hunters bagged a preliminary total of 14,314 birds, compared to 12,915 last year.

Hunters in south zone counties and special hunt areas harvested 5,293 turkeys, up 10.2 percent over last season. The harvest in the north zone was up 11.2 percent to 9,021.

Top five counties in the spring harvest were JoDaviess (771), Pike (587), Adams (543), Calhoun (446) and Pope (422). Among local counties were Alexander (104), Pulaski (59) and Union (228).

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources issued more than 43,700 paid permits and 18,000 landowner permits for the spring turkey season.

Manatee adoption offered by nonprofit club

Stumped on what to get Dad for Father's Day? The not-for-profit Save the Manatee Club is offering manatee adoption as one solution.

The Florida-based group will send an adoption certificate, photo and a life history of a manatee for a $20 adoption fee. The SMC has 30 manatees available to adopt; all 30 are adult manatees that have a history of returning to the Blue Spring State Park near Orange City, Fla., each year. Another program is at Homosassa, Fla.

Average adult manatees grow to 10 feet and weight as much as 1,200 pounds.

The U.S. manatee population is estimated at about 3,000. The SMC, founded by U.S. Senator Bob Graham and singer Jimmy Buffet, offers more info at www.savethemanatee.org.

Online ramp locator includes 25,000 sites

Boaters have quick access to more than 25,000 launch ramps across the United States through a new online service.

The online locator at www.boatus.com includes information categorized by county. Information is available at the "looking for a boat ramp?" link on the site's home page.

Firearm locks available through MDC program

The keys to helping prevent deaths and injuries from firearms accidents, literally, are coming to a city near you. Firearms locks, keys to secure the locks and safety brochures are included in free firearms safety kits being distributed by the Conservation Federation of Missouri (CFM), Missouri Department of Conservation agents, hunter education instructors and the state's law enforcement agencies.

Sixty thousand safety kits will be given away in Missouri. For details, contact the Cape Girardeau Conservation Department office at 290-5730.

-- From staff, wire reports

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