Missouri duck and goose hunters will have a new opportunity this fall and winter. And it’s a big one.
The Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge in north-central Missouri has been open to only limited hunting in the past. But as part of a new national plan to make national wildlife refuges more accessible, Swan Lake now will have 19 units available for waterfowl hunting.
Eleven of those units will have blinds, and eight of them are walk-in. Spots will be awarded through an on-line draw.
There will four separate draws conducted during the season:
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▪ Draw 1: Hunting dates available: Oct. 31, Nov. 1, Nov. 4, Nov. 11 and Nov. 13. Application period will be from Saturday through Oct. 21.
▪ Draw 2: Hunting dates available: Nov. 14, Nov. 15, Nov. 18, Nov. 20, Nov. 21, Nov. 22, Nov. 25, Nov. 26 and Nov. 27. Application period will be Saturday through Oct. 31.
▪ Draw 3: Hunting dates available: Nov. 28, Nov. 29, Dec. 2, Dec. 9 and Dec. 11. Application period will be Saturday through Nov. 14.
▪ Draw 4: Hunting dates available: Dec. 12, Dec. 13, Dec. 16, Dec. 18, Dec. 19, Dec. 23, Dec. 25, Dec. 26 and Dec. 27. Application period will be from Saturday through Nov. 27.
Hunters may apply in parties of up to four. Applicants will be able to chose a preference of up to four hunting units and four hunting dates for each draw.
To participate in the drawing and receive more information about the special hunts, go to the website www.swanlakepermits.com.
Missouri turkey season opens
After a rainy, cool spring, wildlife biologists expected a drop in turkey production in Missouri.
There was — but not nearly as large of a decline as anticipated.
Statewide, the estimated number of poults produced this spring was down from what it was last year, but still similar to the five-year average, according to a survey by the Missouri Department of Conservation.
That bodes well for fall hunters who opened the Missouri firearms season Thursday. During the autumn season, hunters often seek brood flocks, then rush in and scatter the birds, hoping to call one of the young turkeys back in.
The eastern Ozarks had the best production, according to the survey. Northwest Missouri wasn’t far behind.
The firearms season will continue through Oct. 31.
Fall color event scheduled
Are you a leaf peeper? You know, someone who loves taking in fall color.
If so, here’s an event for you. The Missouri Department of Conservation will host its 29th annual fall driving tour through the Poosey Conservation Area in northern Missouri on Oct. 18.
During the tour, the public will be able to drive through the center of the conservation area on roads not normally open to the public. Gates will open at noon and the last vehicles will be allowed to begin at 4 p.m. The tour will begin at Pike’s Lake, which is northwest of Chillicothe.
Staff members with the Department of Conservation will be stationed at different stops to explain the fall color and habitat management.
Public comment on Reed Area
The Missouri Department of Conservation is seeking public comment on a long-range management plan for the James A. Reed Memorial Wildlife Area near Lee’s Summit.
The state agency is in the process of updating management plans for almost 1,000 conservation areas, and public feedback plays a part in evaluating those plans, officials say.
Public comment can be made now by the Internet at mdc.mo.gov/areaplans. Public comment sheets also are available at the front counter in the Kansas City regional office at 12405 SE Ranson Rd., Lee’s Summit.
The comment period will remain open through Oct. 31.
To reach outdoors editor Brent Frazee, call 816-234-4319 or send email to email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter@fishboybrent.