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story.lead_photo.caption Children learn how to set a trap during a trapping clinic at Robert E. Talbot Conservation Area near Mt. Vernon. Photo by Submitted by Missouri Department of Conservation

The Missouri Department of Conservation will be hosting two different programs this October in Callaway County.

The first one will be in cooperation with partners from the Missouri Trappers Association. The two organizations will be offering a fur trapping clinic for beginners. It will take place October 9 and 10 at Whetstone Creek Conservation Area in Callaway County near Williamsburg.

Participants will learn basic trapping techniques including water sets, dry land sets, trapping equipment care and maintenance, skinning, fleshing, and proper fur handling. The Missouri Department of Conservation staff and volunteers will provide expertise and participants will set their own traps under the guidance of experienced trappers.

"This trapping clinic is an excellent opportunity for new trappers to learn the trade from experienced trappers," said Missouri Department of Conservation's Conservation Agent Stephen Kistner.

It will begin at 1 p.m. on Oct. 9 and will end around noon on Oct. 10. Dinner will be served on Saturday evening and breakfast on Sunday morning. Participants are responsible for making their own overnight arrangements and should plan to bring their own snacks and drinks for the remainder of the training.

They will be offering this beginner trapping clinic at no cost to attendees but participants must preregister online at, or by calling Missouri Department of Conservation Officer Tom Westhoff at 573-289-0242.

For more information about this clinic, contact Agent Kistner at (573) 239-8129 or [email protected]

The second is for new youth deer hunters. It will offer a free mentored deer hunt in Callaway County from October 30 and 31.

In this clinic, participants will learn about deer biology and habitat, hunting safety, use of camouflage, ammunition and firearm selection, how to improve hunting and shooting skills, as well as regulations, and methods.

On Saturday morning, prior to hunting, participants will have a chance to spend time on the range together to work on safe firearm handling, equipment familiarization, identification and sighting-in their rifles.

Each youth participant must be accompanied by a parent or adult guardian who will hunt with an experienced hunting mentor provided by Missouri Department of Conservation. They will provide firearms and ammunition but participants are welcome to bring their own cased and unloaded firearms.

"This is a great opportunity for new youth hunters to learn and experience deer hunting in a safe and enjoyable atmosphere," said Missouri Department of Conservation's Conservation Educator Rhys McCracken. "Missouri is a great place to hunt, and participating youth will have a great chance at harvesting their first white-tail deer. Deer hunting is a lifelong activity and something you can share with friends and family, as well as putting great food on the table."

In the hunt, age is limited to youths 11 through 15 years old, who have never Telechecked a deer.

Those who have not completed their hunter education certification are still eligible for this hunt, but they must be in the immediate presence of a properly licensed adult mentor who is hunter education certified. First-time hunters chosen for the hunt must purchase a Youth Firearms Any-Deer Permit for $8.50. To purchase or learn more about permits, visit

Space is limited, so to attend participants must apply no later than October 15. To apply or for more information about this clinic contact McCracken by email at [email protected] and request an application form.

Scheduled plans are subject to change according to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. To help ensure public health and safety, participants are being asked to observe current, local guidelines regarding physical distancing and masking. Missouri Department of Conservation encourages participants to bring and wear face coverings when appropriate.

For more information about this youth deer clinic and mentored hunt, contact McCracken at (573) 815-7901, ext. 2866.

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