By Norman Steelman
A hunter education classroom and skills course was held at the Missouri National Guard Armory on October 26. The hunter education course has changed in the last year. Previously, the course was set up as having two options to pass the class; either take the classroom course for 10 plus hours or take the online class, then try to find a skill class held somewhere in the state. Now everything ends with a skills session and they are being held in many areas. There are three ways to get into a skills session. You can obtain a book from a Missouri Department of Conservation office and fill out the review questions in the back. Second, you can go to http://missouriconservation.com and go to the tab with hunter education and take an online course, at the end of the course, print off that you have completed the online course. Third you can attend a classroom course.
If you attend a classroom course, please remember to sign up for a skills session to complete the process of becoming hunter education certified. Students aged 11 and older may register for the class. To register, go to http://missouriconservation.com and look for find a hunter education class. There are current openings in the class, but it will fill up quickly. The class limit is 45 students. One class of 45 has already been filled and another is currently filling up now. North zone duck season opened on October 26.
Bag limits for the season is no more than six ducks total, but no more than four mallards, two females; three scaup; three wood ducks; two hooded mergansers; two pintails; two redheads; 1 black duck; two canvasbacks; and one mottled duck. The possession limit has changed this year as it has changed for all federal migratory birds to three times the daily limit. The daily limit for coots is still 15. Shooting hours are from one half hour prior to sunrise to sunset.
Permits needed to hunt waterfowl for hunters over the age of 15 are a small game permit, a migratory bird permit, and a federal duck stamp. If the hunter is under the age of 16, no permit is needed to hunt waterfowl. Other exemptions may apply to the small game permit such as age or landownership. Age and landownership do not have exemptions for the migratory bird permit or federal duck stamp.
The early youth portion of the firearms deer season will be held on November 2 and 3. This precedes the regular firearm season which will be on November 16 through November 26. The youth portion is open to hunters ages six to fifteen. Hunters may use any firearm deer permit during the youth portion, however; only one deer may be taken during the early youth season. The youth, unless hunter education certified, must hunt in the immediate presence of an adult hunter, 18 years of age or older, who has a valid firearms hunting permit for the appropriate season, and is hunter education certified or exempt due to age. The youth hunt is a portion of the firearms season and only one antlered deer may be taken during the firearms portion of the deer season. The antler point restriction does not apply during youth portions of the firearms season, but youth are required in antler point restricted counties to abide by the restriction during all other seasons. Remember bow hunters that weekend is a firearm hunting weekend and all hunters need to be wearing hunter orange clothing. Hunt defensively; the life you save could be your own.
The annual trout stocking in Kiwanis Lake at Plunket Park will be on November 1st. Around 1,200 trout ranging in size up to what many would consider lunkers will be stocked into the lake from a Missouri Department of Conservation hatchery truck. A cooperative agreement between the City of Mexico and the Missouri Department of Conservation jointly fund to put the fish into the lake. From November 1 through January 31, the area is catch and release only for trout and only artificial baits may be used on the lake. Crimping down barbs on hooks helps the trout survive being caught during this time. A fishing permit is needed to fish the lake during catch and release.
If you have any wildlife related questions or information, please call me, Norman Steelman Audrain County Conservation Agent at 573-473-8000. You may also call the Operation Game Thief Hotline at 1-800-392-1111 if you have information regarding a violation of the Missouri Wildlife Code. You may remain anonymous, and you may ask to be considered for a reward if you wish.