Trees are leafing out, morel mushrooms are emerging and fish are active as nature’s dynamic spring patterns are unfolding. The Missouri Department of Conservation encourages people to enjoy the outdoors, but MDC also encourages anglers, hikers and hunters to observe COVID-19 physical distancing health precautions. Also, while fishing and turkey hunting seasons are open, the normal regulation and permit requirements apply.

MDC and partners provide angling opportunities in urban as well as rural areas. But anglers need to have proper fishing permits, said Conservation Agent Rachel Webster, who patrols Jackson County. 

MDC earlier temporarily waived permit requirements for sport fishing and daily trout tags, but the waiver ended on April 15, and normal fishing regulations now apply. Permits can be purchased online. To buy a fishing permit or to check on requirements, visit https://huntfish.mdc.mo.gov/fishing/permits.

MDC conservation areas offer trails or roads to hike upon. But visitors are reminded health officials recommend physical distancing when outdoors as a coronavirus precaution. Also, hikers and morel hunters should be aware Missouri’s three-week spring turkey hunting season is open through May 10. Turkey hunting ends daily at 1 p.m., so hikers are advised to visit conservation areas open to hunting in the afternoons.

Extending courtesy to fellow visitors at public conservation areas is a good idea at all times. MDC’s public lands are a shared resource. To find MDC conservation area with fishing or hiking opportunities near your home, visit https://nature.mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/places.

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