Hunters who hope to pursue ducks or geese on wetland areas managed by the Missouri Department of Conservation should mark Sept. 1 on their calendars.
That is when applications open for the lottery to assign hunting reservations at 15 conservation areas.
Applications can be made by calling 800-829-2956 or by visiting www.missouriconservation.org Sept. 1 through 18.
Hunters will need the nine-digit identification number found at the top of their hunting or fishing permit, or next to the bar code on their Conservation Heritage Card.
Drawing results will be available at the same phone number and Web site Oct. 2.
Columbia Bottom Conservation Area (CA) in St. Louis County will be included in the reservation drawing for the first time this year.
The area opened to hunting last year, but work on wetlands there was not finished in time to permit inclusion in the reservation system.
Fountain Grove CA will offer reservations again this year. However, hunting opportunities will be limited due to ongoing pool renovation.
The Every Member Draws procedure will be in effect for hunters without reservations at the same seven areas as last year.
The Conservation Department tested the system at Eagle Bluffs and Otter Slough CAs during the 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 hunting seasons and found that it increases the number of people who get to hunt.
Most participating hunters said they favored the procedure. This year Every Member Draws will be in effect at Bob Brown, Columbia Bottom, Eagle Bluffs, Grand Pass, Marais Temps Clair, Otter Slough and Ten-Mile Pond CAs.
Past applications to hunt at Little River CA have not justified taking reservations for this area, so it will be left out of the process again this year.
Hunting there will be available on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays only on a first-come, first-served basis in designated areas as posted at the check-in parking lot.
Hunters will check themselves in and out.
For the second year in a row reservation applications are limited to Missouri residents.
Non-residents can still participate in managed waterfowl hunting on state-owned areas, either by hunting with a resident reservation holder or by taking part in daily morning drawings for unreserved hunting spots.
The change was made to give residents more opportunity to hunt on state areas.
Non-residents received nearly 8 percent of reservations statewide in recent years. However, at Ten-Mile Pond and Four Rivers CAs, nonresidents accounted for as much as 20 percent of the hunting trips.