Nevada – Flooding in August caused habitat loss on most of the wetlands at the Four Rivers Conservation Area. Waterfowl hunters are advised to scout ahead of planned hunts to check conditions, said Chris Daniel, a wildlife management biologist for the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC).
Four Rivers includes stream frontage on the Osage, Little Osage, Marais des Cygnes and Marmaton rivers, just upstream from Truman Lake in Vernon and Bates counties. Flooding overtopped levees in August. Usually vegetation in the wetland units recovers from spring and summer flooding, Daniel said. But this year the floodwater didn’t drain off until late August, which left a short growing season. Flooding also damaged some levees which will limit hunting opportunity in Unit 4 due to ongoing repair work.
The waterfowl hunting outlook remains fair for the area, Daniel said. Late plantings of cover crops were done which yielded fair growth, along with a modest recovery of moist-soil vegetation. A levee did protect Unit 3 from deep flooding. Some pools will hold water and offer walk-in hunting opportunities for both open areas in Units 3 and 4.
But hunters should be aware that vegetation and water depth will be less in some areas. The lack of vegetation will make hunter concealment more challenging. Lower water levels could limit access for larger boats, and may slightly reduce the number of positions available in the managed hunt pools in Units 1 and 2.
Wetlands at the Schell-Osage Conservation Area along the Osage River also suffered habitat loss from flooding, Daniel said. But some of the moist-soil vegetation recovered. Hunting blinds in the pools and trees in A-pool will lesson concealment challenges for hunters.
Information about conditions at Four Rivers, Schell-Osage and all waterfowl hunting areas managed by the Conservation Department is available at mdc.mo.gov/node/9627. The 24-hour information hotline for Four Rivers is (417) 395-4495 and (417) 432-1074 for Schell-Osage. For a map of Four Rivers and a description of the area’s outdoor opportunities, go to http://on.mo.gov/1hIB4mD.
Details about duck and goose hunting seasons are available at www.mdc.mo.gov/node/5646/.
Waterfowl season dates include:
North Zone: Youth season – Oct. 19-20
Regular season – Oct. 26- Dec. 24
Middle Zone: Youth season – Oct. 26-27
Regular season – Nov. 2-Dec. 31
South Zone: Youth season – Nov. 23-24
Regular season – Nov. 28-Jan. 26
Photos courtesy MDC.