Daniel Boone Conservation Area is the largest in Warren County, Missouri at about 3500 acres. It isn't much to brag about if you compare it to the enormous tracts of public land down in the Ozarks, but by the standards of this part of the state it is a big one. It is mostly forested with just a few smaller water bodies and a few intermittent streams running through it. It is in the Missouri River Hills, giving it an almost mountainous feel.
There are two other smaller conservation areas in Warren County - Reifschneider and Little Lost Creek. Daniel Boone is the furthest west, almost to the very western edge of the county.
Most of Daniel Boone has been logged in the relatively recent past. It is being managed pretty intensively to try to enhance wildlife habitat and restore something close to the natural mix of woodlands.
I was out there today, and met some recent graduates of the University of Missouri-Columbia Forestry program who were doing some contract work cutting smaller trees - it appeared to me really trying to thin the cedars and quite a few sugar maples. I figured they were concentrating on making the forest amenable to better tree growth - in fact their focus was on enhancing the area for ruffed grouse.
Ruffed grouse at one time in Warren County were plentiful. Their numbers have declined significantly the past few years. They need more cover to thrive, so the management focus where these young people were working, was to leave the brush they had cut in place.
This conservation area already supports a very healthy deer population. It is loaded with habitat
suited to perfection for a healthy deer herd, and MDC manages it in a fashion to make certain that they are not over-harvested during the Fall firearms season. Regular regs apply during the bow season. Wherever you look you see sign - tracks, trails, rubs, and scrapes. I will caution you that due to its proximity to STL, it gets pretty busy during the firearms season and the regs are restrictive.
Just like any public land, one of the main keys to success deer hunting at Daniel Boone, is being willing to put in the work to get where you are unlikely to encounter crowds. Even when I bowhunt the area, I put some serious real estate between my truck and where I put my climber in a tree.
Daniel Boone has some pretty awesome trails for hiking. It is a great place to head out to on a warm Spring day, as I had the pleasure to do today. Take your time and look around as you hike. If you don't go too fast, you see some interesting features. At the bottom I have posted a picturee of a standing dead tree I called the "Dinosaur Tree" as well as a very interesting picture of the inside of a log.
Okay, dogs are supposed to be leashed if not used for hunting. I might have slipped a little on this one as you can see in the final picture. Daniel Boone is a great place to get man's best friend out for a romp.
These areas are sure a blessing to have in our state. I hope we do not take them for granted. I truly appreciate the public's willingness to support our natural resources, and the way MDC has professionally managed areas like Daniel Boone. I sincerely hope our legislature will come to the realization that the money required to manage these lands and the wildlife in our state is worth the money spent.
So if you get a chance to pay a visit to Daniel Boone you now have a bit of an idea of what to expect. For a map and directions, visit our Hunting Conservation Atlas and go down to Warren County. You will see Daniel Boone listed with a link and info on species that can be hunted in the area.