OUTDOORS: Ninth 2021 fish state record is American eel

Missouri's dove hunting season is underway

BILL WEHRLE, C-T Outdoors Sports Editor

By BILL WEHRLE, C-T outdoors sports editor

Missouri’s ninth 2021 state-record fish is an American eel, taken on rod and reel by Carlin Allison of Doniphan from the Current River on July 26.

American eels are extremely rare in Missouri. The last record eel was caught in 1993 on the Meramec River and weighed 4 pounds, 8 ounces.

This new record eel was half again heavier, weighing in at 6 pounds, 15 ounces. Allison caught it while fishing for catfish using skipjack for bait.

This is the first weekend of the 2021 dove season and, from what I hear, hunting action has been a little slow.

The Missouri Department of Conservation had weather-related problems in planting their dove management fields on area conservation areas this year and doves are less congregated than they usually are at this time of the year. Sunflower fields were slow getting planted and produced fewer seeds, thus less food to attract doves. Additionally, local and area farmers aren’t cutting as much corn as they used to, so silage fields are few and far between.

Concentrations of doves are hard to find!

The soon-to-open early teal season (Sept. 11-26) might give hunters some birds a little easier to locate than doves.

I’ve heard that teal are now migrating into this area, so hunters may want to switch their scouting efforts from doves to teal this week before teal season opens.

Fountain Grove Conservation Area usually attracts a lot of the teal coming through this area and could offer some good teal hunting.

 Don’t forget that you’ll need a Migratory Bird Hunting Permit to hunt both doves and teal, in addition to your small-game hunting license. You’ll also need a federal duck stamp to teal hunt.

Teal hunting requires the use of non-toxic shotshells. Daily teal hunting opens at sunrise, not one-half hour before as dove season and the regular duck season do.

You can switch from little birds (doves and teal) to much-bigger birds in less than a month when Missouri’s early Canada goose season opens on Oct. 2 and runs through Oct. 10, with a daily limit of three (3) geese.

Early Canadas are resident birds that live in this area year around and can grow much larger than the migratory geese that come through here later on. These resident geese are true giants, with some weighing in excess of 15 pounds.

If you’re a bowhunter, you might as well get your archery deer hunting permit while you’re picking up your permits to hunt doves and teal, because the archery deer and turkey season also opens soon on Sept. 15.

After waiting impatiently all summer for hunting seasons to begin, the season’s beginning is now less than two weeks away. If you’ve been dilatory in target practicing with your bow, better get out and fling some arrows down range in the next week or so.

This is the favorite time of year for avid hunters, when seasons are opening one after the other  and Missouri’s great outdoors is changing from summer lethargy to fall and winter’s hectic activity. For active hunters and outdoors persons, it’s the best time of the year.

Good hunting and be safe!

(Bill Wehrle’s “Outdoors” column now appears in the C-T every Saturday and LCL every Monday)