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Outdoors items in the news

Staff Writer
The Examiner

MDC offers virtual exploration

of aquatic life in Burr Oak pond

Outdoor exploration can take many forms, including a visit to the Burr Oak Woods Nature Center educational pond in Blue Springs via the internet. The Missouri Department of Conservation will offer a pond life virtual program 2-2:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 14. MDC is providing outdoor education programs via the internet as an adaption to COVID-19 healthy safety precautions.

Missouri is home to thousands of ponds that support abundant natural life. These ponds also provide great recreation opportunities for fishing, catching frogs in season and birding.

MDC staff will give online visitors a virtual tour of the pond at Burr Oak Woods. Naturalists will explain what lives in a pond and what role they play in the ecosystem. They will also discuss fun things to do, such as fishing or observing interesting aquatic life. Staff will also discuss how to tell if a pond is healthy, such as good water quality, a variety in depths, and abundant natural life.

To join the pond tour, pre-register with an active email address at https://short.mdc.mo.gov/Z8c. Registration must be made by July 9. On July 10, an email will be sent to participants with a link to join the program on July 14.

For more information about all MDC educational programs, visit http://mdc.mo.gov.

Applications accepted

for women-only deer

hunt at Burr Oak Woods

Women are invited to apply for a female-only managed deer hunt that will be held Oct. 24-25 at the Burr Oak Woods Conservation Area in Blue Springs.

Applications for this hunt will be accepted July 1-31. This hunt is open to women 18 and older who have never harvested a white-tailed deer.

Hunters will be only allowed to use shotguns and shells with slugs designed for short-range deer hunting. A shotgun can be provided for a hunter upon request. Each hunter will have a mentor assisting them during the hunt. Hunters may harvest two deer, but only one can be an antlered deer.

Hunters must attend a full-day mandatory orientation session beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 17, at MDC’s Lake City Shooting Range and Outdoor Education Center off Truman Road. Hunters will review firearm safety and ethical hunting practices. They will also have an opportunity to shoot at the range.

Afterward, they will meet at Burr Oak Woods and attend a Deer Hunting 101 class, and they will have an opportunity to scout the zone that they will hunt in. The day will conclude with the skills portion of Hunter’s Education Certification, if the hunter has not yet completed this requirement. MDC will ask participants to follow recommended safety precautions against the COVID-19 virus during training and the hunt.

To apply for the women-only managed hunt at Burr Oak Woods, or any of MDC’s managed hunts statewide, visit https://short.mdc.mo.gov/ZkC.

MDC updates definition of

handguns used for deer hunting

The Missouri Conservation Commission approved an updated definition of a pistol/handgun from the Missouri Department of Conservationfor the Wildlife Code of Missouri at its May 28 meeting in Jefferson City.

The change provides a formal definition of handguns used for hunting during the alternative-methods portion of the fall deer-hunting season.

Originally called the “muzzleloader portion” of the fall firearms deer season, the portion was renamed “alternative methods” in 2012 and MDC added several hunting methods to provide greater opportunities for hunters. Under the Wildlife Code, methods allowed to take deer during the alternative-methods portion include muzzleloaders and archery methods, crossbows, atlatl, handguns, and air powered firearms .40 caliber or larger.

Long guns, such as rifles and shotguns that fire modern ammunition, are not allowed methods during the alternative methods portion, but are allowed during the other portions of the firearms deer-hunting season.

“With gun manufacturers creating new versions of and adaptions to firearms such as AR-style handguns and shortened versions of AR-15-style rifles, we needed to establish a clear definition of what a handgun is for hunting during the alternative-methods portion of the deer-hunting season,” said MDC Protection Chief Randy Doman. “We’ve had situations where hunters were confused about what defined a handgun and asked for clarification.”

Doman added that the proposed change does not prohibit the use of an AR-15 pistol.

“The updated regulation clarifies what a handgun is for deer hunting during the alternative-methods portion,” Doman explained. “We want hunters to be able to confidently identify what handgun configurations, with or without the addition of braces or other accessories, are legal to use during this portion of the deer hunting season. The essential distinguishing characteristic of a handgun is its ability to be operated with one hand, although a second hand can be used as a brace. Any firearm with a total length of over 26 inches is considered a rifle.”

The Commission considered and adjusted the definition based on public input received during a formal comment period in April.

The updated MDC definition of a handgun is, “Any firearm originally designed, made, and intended to fire a projectile (bullet) from one or more barrels when held in one hand, and having a short stock designed to be gripped by one hand at an angle to and extending below the line of the bore(s), with a barrel less than 16 inches in length, measured from the face of the bolt or standing breech (excluding any muzzle device not permanently attached to the barrel), and an overall length less than 26 inches as measured between the muzzle of the barrel and the rearmost portion of the firearm (excluding any pistol brace, muzzle device, or other firearm accessory not permanently attached to the firearm). The use of a pistol brace is specifically authorized, and a second hand may be used for support when firing.”

Doman added that the updated definition of “handgun” does not impact the right to own or possess firearms and is not intended to prohibit the use of AR-platform handguns that meet the barrel and overall length requirements. It also does not prohibit the use of pistol braces. The definition is intended to clearly define a legal hunting method during the alternative-methods portion of the firearms deer hunting season.

MDC offers virtual

fishing clinic on July 18

The Missouri Department of Conservation will offer a virtual fishing clinic via the internet at 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 18. Instructors from MDC’s Kansas City and Northwest regions will cover topics such tackle, casting, fish identification, regulations, and ethics.

This clinic is an excellent opportunity for people to learn the basic fishing skills and gear needed to get started and catch fish. Experienced anglers also may find a tip or two that helps them catch more fish or a new species.

Besides instruction, this virtual session will offer question and answer interaction for participants.

Participants are asked to pre-register for the virtual clinic by July 16 by visiting https://short.mdc.mo.gov/Z8p. They must register with a valid email address. A link will be sent via email for them to join the clinic online on July 18.

– Missouri Department of Conservation