Hunters upset with gates at Dunklin Co. conservation area - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Hunters upset with gates at Dunklin Co. conservation area

(Source: Jason Bishop/KFVS) (Source: Jason Bishop/KFVS)
(Source: Jasmine Dell/KFVS) (Source: Jasmine Dell/KFVS)
DUNKLIN COUNTY, MO (KFVS) -

As hunting season approaches some are upset about gates that cut off an access point to a popular hunting spot.

The gates limit access to an important hunting spot for deer, waterfowl, and even birdwatchers and that's made some hunters worry for the future. 

"This is it back here, we lose this, we lose everything," hunter Glenn Pritchett said.

Pritchett said he's hunted around the Hornersville Swamp Conservation Area his entire life, but now he worries the recent gates will keep him and generations to come out. 

"I got a little grandson, and I was hoping after I retired me and him could spend a lot of time back here," He said. "But if things don't change, I don't think it's going to happen."

Wildlife Regional Supervisor Matt Bowyer, with the Missouri Department of Conservation, said these gates mean hunters have to walk an extra mile to get into this popular hunting spot. 

"A small child or somebody like that won't be able is not going to be able to walk and enjoy it at all," hunter Chad Barron said. "So, you're not going to be able to take your children a whole lot and that's my biggest thing. I have two boys and that's what we do...it's just a shame really." 

The gate was put in place by the Elk Chute Drainage District after frustrations over illegal activities, dumped trash and people driving and parking on the levees which drove up the cost of upkeep and maintenance.

Bowyer said MDC is willing to help and is proposing the following:

  • Construct two sites for parking lots to reduce the amount of traffic on the levee, a parking lot with a boat ramp on the Southeast corner of the area and a parking lot near the old railroad bend near the Northeast corner
  • Re-rock the county roads used to access the area
  • Implement a maintenance contract to pick up litter along the levee road
  • Assisting in levee maintenance and upkeep

"We have lots of areas ourselves that we have the same kind of things that are going on, and we have many ways to address those and have been successful with," he said.

The Missouri Department of Conservation said they are trying to find a happy medium.

"Obviously use on the area is going to pick up in the coming months, as hunting seasons pick up the area is a good deer hunting spot, a good waterfowl hunting spot, as those seasons come in we're gonna see a lot more use on the area," Bowyer said. "And we've told the district that as well, that this is really going to pick up in the coming months, and we need to come to some sort of compromise with them."

Bowyer said the Missouri Department of Conservation hopes to meet with Elk Chute Drainage District members in the next week or two, drainage district officials said they're willing to talk.

On Tuesday, September 20 at 10 a.m. Elk Chute Drainage District will have its monthly meeting at the Palace Theater in Kennett, Mo.

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