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MDC opens Cover prairie

Thursday, September 12, 2002

The Dan and Maureen Cover Conservation Prairie Area will be open to an unusual quail hunt this season. In an effort to take care of quail populations and provide a quality hunting opportunity, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is offering a special hunt on the area.

Permits for the hunt will be issued by lottery. Successful applicants for the special hunt will be given a one-day permit to hunt on the area during their assigned week. The successful applicant is allowed to take three additional people. The party will be allowed to take four quail.

The hunting party will pick one day during their assigned week to go hunting as a group.

Dan and Maureen Cover Conservation Area was donated to MDC by Mr. and Mrs. Cover in 2001. The area, located near Koshkonong, had historically been cleared and used to raise hogs. The Covers purchased the land and began to create wildlife habitats; planting warm season grasses, removing exotic plants and using controlled burning to encourage native plants. Today, the area is home to a mix of wildlife populations including bobwhite quail.

Mr. Cover, an avid falconer, donated the property to MDC because he felt that MDC would continue his efforts to manage the landscape for wildlife.

The area is basically an island, meaning that it is surrounded by areas that are less hospitable for wildlife. Wildlife pushed off this island would not fair well because their habitat isn't available close by. It isn't likely that additional wildlife would be able to move into the area for the same reason.

On an island, wildlife can't move to new areas and when there are too many animals they use up the resources and the wildlife numbers crash. If there are survivors, the cycle begins again. Wildlife populations are kept in balance as predators or hunters remove a few animals. This keeps the wildlife numbers low enough that they don't exceed their resources.

The MDC is offering this special hunt for just that reason; to balance quail numbers on the island. Biologists have determined how many quail exist on the area and how many can be removed. Based on their recommendations and harvest records kept by Mr. Cover, MDC staff have developed this unique hunting opportunity.

Individuals interested in applying for this special hunt need to contact the MDC Ozark Regional Office at 417-256-7161 or mail their information to the MDC with attention to the Cover Conservation Area Hunt at 551 Joe Jones Blvd., West Plains, MO 65775.

All applications must include the applicant's name, permanent mailing address, phone number and the names of no more than three additional people who will be in the hunting party.

Permits will be issued by lottery and all applications must be received by Sept. 30.

Successful applicants will be notified by mail Oct. 15.

Quail season runs from Nov. 1 to Jan. 15. Hunters will need to have a resident small game hunting permit or a nonresident small game hunting permit for this hunt.

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