Missouri’s spring turkey hunting season is over. However, turkey watching season is still on. Gobblers and groups of gobblers are still strutting their spring stuff, often not far from hiking trails. Deer, songbirds and other watchable wildlife are also out and about for hikers to see.
Image: Wild turkeys, white-tailed deer, Columbine flowers and are among the wildlife visitors may see while walking trails
at Missouri Department of Conservation sites. Photos by Bill Graham, Missouri Department of Conservation
May is a beautiful month for a walk in the forest, woodlands or prairies at Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) areas throughout the state. The weather is often mild. Freshly emerged tree leaves are a lighter shade of green. Wildflowers like Columbine continue to bloom.
Each MDC site offers unique opportunities at each location, including indoor displays and classes, paved trails, gravel trails, or natural surface trails in the more remote parts of the area. You can find more about MDC areas near your home or across the state at https://nature.mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/places.
Wildlife watching comes with no guarantees that deer, turkeys or songbirds will be spotted on a hike. But wildlife at some heavily traveled sites is accustomed to hikers and education classes passing by on the trails. So they’re a bit less reclusive than those in rural areas. Being quiet on the walk increases your chances of spotting wildlife. Take binoculars; you might hear interesting songbirds singing in the trees and wonder what they are. Check out small rivulets and creeks as you cross them for frogs keeping cool or damselflies visiting a muddy bank.
Maps are generally available in displays at most parks or the visitors center at larger sites. Don’t forget insect repellent and drinking water.
Content for this post provided by the Missouri Department of Conservation [Website]