Hunters stalking ducks and geese in northwest Missouri’s Holt County will have their spots at the Nodaway Valley Conservation Area selected through an online system to reduce spread of COVID-19.
The 3,900-acre conservation area was placed on COVID Red Level by the Department of Conservation after consulting with health officials in the county of 4,400 people. The county has seen an increase in new infections, rising faster than the state as a whole, since November started.
During October, the county recorded 44 new infections, 65th out of 117 local health jurisdictions for per-capita cases. Since the month started, Holt County has added 22 additional cases, 15th statewide in per capita infections.
The Red Level designation means only Missouri residents will be allowed to hunt at Nodaway Valley because non-residents are not allowed to make online reservations for any waterfowl hunting spot. In addition, it means no staff-hunter contact and no public use of any area facilities.
The hunting season for ducks and coots opens Saturday in northern and central parts of the state, with goose season starting Nov. 11. The wildlife agency has set four color-coded levels – green, yellow, orange and red – to determine the level of in-person contact hunters will have with each other and staff in each conservation area.
Hunters should register for positions at any area where the number of hunting spots is limited. No spots will be left open for people who don’t use the system, such as out of state residents, except in conservation areas designated with a Green Level.
In those areas, half of the spots will be awarded through the online system and half will go to people who arrive on the day they would like to hunt and hope they can draw a hunting blind.
At Yellow Level areas, unclaimed spots will be awarded to hunters who wait in what the department calls the “poor line.” No unclaimed spots will be awarded at areas with an orange or red designation.
A full list of conservation area level designations, with more details about what hunters must do to obtain a spot, is available online.