A hunter education class is going to be held at the Mexico VFW Hall on Friday, March 16, and Saturday, March 17. On the 16th, the class will start at 6 p.m. and last until 9 p.m. On the 17th, the class will go from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. To register for the class, please go to http://www.missouriconservation.org, click on the map for Central Region, then click on the right hand side for hunter education and follow the directions listed for searching for a class and signing up. Students age 15 or younger need to bring a birth certificate or other proof of age to the course. If you are unable to sign up online for the class, just show up on Friday at 6 p.m. and we will register you at the time of the class.
With the start of March and the nice weather that the start of spring has seen, many will be thinking about casting a line out in search of a fish. Before you do please remember to purchase you 2012 fishing permit. If you happen to be going coyote hunting this weekend, don’t forget your small game license. Both needed to be renewed for the 2012 permit seasons on March 1st.
March 1st is also the annual change in the rules and codes for the season. This year has seen very few changes in the code. Most notable changes were the ban of porous sole waders in trout parks and certain trout streams in order to stop didymo. Didymo, also known as rock snot, can quickly take over cold water limestone rich streams like our Ozark water ways. It also easily travels in the pores of felt, and other types of porous waders. In an effort to proactively keep they alga out of the streams the ban was put in place. If you go trout fishing at a park there are several remedies. Please check our website at http://www.missouriconservation.org and look for felt-soled wader ban.
Another change which most trappers already know about which has already went into effect is the rescinding of the Resident Fur Handler’s Permit. Fur can now be kept, transported, and sold year round with a valid permit. This will allow more time for trappers and hunters to get their fur to market for a better price in foreign markets, such as Canada, and will allow them to wait for better prices if fur prices are low.
Hunters with developmental disabilities who have taken a hunter-education course but failed to pass the certification tests now may purchase firearms permits. However, they must carry a physician’s statement as proof of their disability and hunt in the immediate presence of a properly licensed hunter age 18 or older who is hunter-education certified or was born before Jan. 1, 1967.
Members of the U.S. military currently assigned as patients to Warrior Transition Brigades, Warrior Transition Units or military medical centers now may take wildlife (except deer, turkey and migratory birds) and fish (except trout) without a permit. They may also purchase resident turkey and deer permits regardless of where they live.
In the past, hunters could not use crossbows or firearms to hunt frogs on conservation areas but could use these methods to take frogs on non-Department lands. Beginning with the 2012 frog season, which starts at sunset on June 30, bullfrogs and green frogs may be taken on conservation areas using crossbows, pellet guns and .22 caliber or smaller rimfire rifles or pistols.
To provide hunters more options during the muzzleloader portion of the firearms deer season, additional hunting methods will be allowed. These include archery methods, crossbows, atlatls, handguns firing expanding-type centerfire ammunition, and air-powered guns, .40 caliber or larger, that are charged only from an external high-compression power source. Yes, it says handguns will be allowed during the season. This is any gun considered to be a handgun by the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
According to new Wildlife Code regulation changes, bullfrogs and green frogs may be taken on conservation areas using crossbows, pellet guns and .22 caliber or smaller rimfire rifles or pistols, beginning at sunset on June 30.
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.