Government Shutdown Affects Duck Hunting Season

5 years 2 hours 57 minutes ago Wednesday, October 16 2013 Oct 16, 2013 Wednesday, October 16, 2013 4:38:00 PM CDT October 16, 2013 in News
By: Ashley Arp, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - Missouri hunters can expect an abundance of ducks this season, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC). What they can't expect, and in some cases, can't even confirm, is whether there will be an open and available public area on which to hunt.

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) released a report in July showing this year's ducks population 33 percent higher than the long-term average. This is six percent lower than last year, but still near record numbers.

The department released the report before the federal government shut down Oct. 1. With the shutdown came furloughed employees at all eight national wildlife refuges in Missouri.

State employees with MDC work to maintain 15 conservation areas, including Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area.

Victor Bogosian, wildlife area manager at Eagle Bluffs, said a well-managed habitat can determine how long birds stick around.

If national wildlife refuges are closed and employees are furloughed, it is likely that the land is not being maintained.

Bogosian said farmers work the fields in late March and early April to plant crops like soybeans and corn. He said one reason people manage wetlands is to offer a high-energy food source for birds as they migrate.

Ducks landing on or near land owned by the federal government have less of a chance to be greeted by a well-managed habitat than ducks landing on state managed land "due to a lapse in government funding," according to Bogosian.

David Graber has been hunting since he can remember and plans to hunt as often as he can in the 60-day waterfowl season this year.

He leases land to hunt near Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge, one of eight national wildlife refuge areas, each of which is currently closed.

"What I'm hopeful for is that the managers at Swan Lake will have done the wetland management they need to so the table is set for the ducks. If they're not managing the water, then the habitat conditions may not be optimal. I haven't heard one way or the other," said Graber.

Bogosian said any land owned and run by the MDC is not affected by the government shutdown. Any national wildlife refuge, on the other hand, like Swan Lake, Squaw Creek, Mingo, or "anything managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is affected by the federal shutdown," said Bogosian.

Federally-owned land is not open to hunting, fishing, camping or touring, according to Bogosian.

"The gates should be closed. There aren't going to be any federal employees there to assist visitors or hunters, so until the government reopens, or if it continues through the duck season, those places are going to be impacted."

Bogosian recommended hunters who typically hunt federal, but not state owned land, call the MDC to see if their hunting plans are affected by the lack of government funding.

KOMU 8 News tried calling the USFWS to confirm closed refuges and heard a recording that said, "Due to a lapse of appropriation, our office is currently closed until further notice."

Callers will hear the same message from each national wildlife refuge. Gates are locked and signs are up, with the same message.

KOMU 8 News tried to learn more on whether or not workers could manage the land to maintain it for the upcoming hunting season in case the government reopens, but heard the same message.

Comments on multiple government Facebook pages about the refuges went unanswered.

With the inability to answer phone calls and Facebook posts, hunters like Graber are left just hoping the federal government is somehow maintaining the land.

Theodore Grothe is a former employee of the USFWS and has a degree in wildlife and fishery.

"As a whole, I think it's disappointing to hunters, affecting bird migration, the hunting industry, and keeps a lot of people from hunting," Grothe said.

Grothe said the federal government usually funds a hunter education course at the MDC that everyone born after 1976 is required to take before obtaining a hunting license.

His sister was born in 1986 and can't take the course. "She can't be my hunting buddy," said Grothe.

"I don't know the details of it... I actually honestly don't like looking into it because it just makes me mad," said Grothe.

Waterfowl hunting season in the middle zone of Missouri opens Nov. 2.

More News

Grid
List
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Authorities have charged a suburban St. Louis man with stabbing a woman 17 times after catching... More >>
16 hours ago Tuesday, October 16 2018 Oct 16, 2018 Tuesday, October 16, 2018 8:06:00 AM CDT October 16, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The state Capitol building is set to receive interior upgrades after the Missouri Capitol Commission met with... More >>
17 hours ago Tuesday, October 16 2018 Oct 16, 2018 Tuesday, October 16, 2018 7:38:00 AM CDT October 16, 2018 in Top Stories
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Authorities say a suspect in two deadly St. Louis shootings has been linked to a third.... More >>
17 hours ago Tuesday, October 16 2018 Oct 16, 2018 Tuesday, October 16, 2018 7:14:33 AM CDT October 16, 2018 in News
PANAMA CITY, Fla. (AP) — Joanne Garone Behnke has replayed every possible scenario in her mind a hundred times. ... More >>
1 day ago Monday, October 15 2018 Oct 15, 2018 Monday, October 15, 2018 8:44:00 PM CDT October 15, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA- Columbia Public School's out-of-school suspension rates for black students is double the rate of out-of-school suspensions given to white... More >>
1 day ago Monday, October 15 2018 Oct 15, 2018 Monday, October 15, 2018 8:06:00 PM CDT October 15, 2018 in News
(AP) - Two companies facing multiple lawsuits over a summer tourist boat accident in Missouri that killed 17 people have... More >>
1 day ago Monday, October 15 2018 Oct 15, 2018 Monday, October 15, 2018 7:24:00 PM CDT October 15, 2018 in News
(CNN) - A federal judge has dismissed adult film star Stormy Daniels' defamation lawsuit against President Donald Trump. Daniels... More >>
1 day ago Monday, October 15 2018 Oct 15, 2018 Monday, October 15, 2018 6:57:00 PM CDT October 15, 2018 in News
MEXICO - A Mexico teenager faces 27 counts of child sexual abuse. Probable cause documents allege 17-year-old Chandler Douse... More >>
1 day ago Monday, October 15 2018 Oct 15, 2018 Monday, October 15, 2018 6:39:00 PM CDT October 15, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia City Council is looking into a way to decrease oil and grease storage on city streets... More >>
1 day ago Monday, October 15 2018 Oct 15, 2018 Monday, October 15, 2018 6:35:00 PM CDT October 15, 2018 in News
FULTON - Two Columbia residents were taken into custody at a traffic stop Monday charged with the possession and distribution... More >>
1 day ago Monday, October 15 2018 Oct 15, 2018 Monday, October 15, 2018 5:27:00 PM CDT October 15, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia City Council is talking about building two roundabouts on Nifong Boulevard in an attempt to reduce... More >>
1 day ago Monday, October 15 2018 Oct 15, 2018 Monday, October 15, 2018 3:35:00 PM CDT October 15, 2018 in News
(CNN) - Former Senate Intelligence Committee staff member James Wolfe pleaded guilty Monday to one count of lying to the... More >>
1 day ago Monday, October 15 2018 Oct 15, 2018 Monday, October 15, 2018 3:31:00 PM CDT October 15, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – A walkway outside of the Royal Inn off I-70 showed signs of structural damage Monday afternoon and guests... More >>
1 day ago Monday, October 15 2018 Oct 15, 2018 Monday, October 15, 2018 2:58:00 PM CDT October 15, 2018 in News
(CNN) - It's been five days since Hurricane Michael decimated Mexico Beach, and dozens of residents are still nowhere to... More >>
1 day ago Monday, October 15 2018 Oct 15, 2018 Monday, October 15, 2018 2:30:00 PM CDT October 15, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Latest on fundraising in the Missouri U.S. Senate race (all times local): 3... More >>
1 day ago Monday, October 15 2018 Oct 15, 2018 Monday, October 15, 2018 1:52:00 PM CDT October 15, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Gov. Mike Parson kicked off what he calls "Infrastructure Week" Monday morning at the Missouri Department of Conservation... More >>
1 day ago Monday, October 15 2018 Oct 15, 2018 Monday, October 15, 2018 1:26:00 PM CDT October 15, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY- A federal judge says Missouri has violated the rights of people serving life in prison without parole for... More >>
1 day ago Monday, October 15 2018 Oct 15, 2018 Monday, October 15, 2018 11:35:48 AM CDT October 15, 2018 in News
MONITEAU COUNTY- A man was arrested and accused of trying to run over his girlfriend and son with a truck... More >>
1 day ago Monday, October 15 2018 Oct 15, 2018 Monday, October 15, 2018 11:28:00 AM CDT October 15, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 49°
1am 44°
2am 43°
3am 42°
4am 40°