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Wildlife – Nature and Conservation in Pike County, MO


Wildlife, water make for fun weekends

There are several nature hot spots in Pike County that draw a multitude of visitors each year.

Ted Shanks Wildlife Area

Ted Shanks Wildlife Area

Ted Shanks Wildlife Area

Ted Shanks Conservation Area is located at 3643 Pike 145, Ashburn, in northern Pike County at the confluence of the Salt and  Mississippi rivers.

Sac and Fox Indians from the north and the Osages from the south used it as a hunting and battle ground originally.

When running reconnaissance in the upper Mississippi River region, Zebulon Pike charted the mouth of the Salt River in 1805.

In the early 1970s, the land was acquired using Pittman-Robertson funds.

The conservation area consists of 6,705 acres and contains a variety of  habitats including marshes, bottomland hardwood timber, emergent wetlands, oxbow lakes and sloughs, oils fields, agricultural row crops and upland woods.

Ted Shanks Conservation Area borders almost nine miles of the Mississippi River and five miles of the Salt River. In addition, it has more than two miles of  river bluffs.

The conservation area offers many outdoor activities for visitors.

There are two boat ramps that allow access to the 70-acre Horseshoe Lake and the lower wetlands. This is perfect for anglers and canoeists. There also are more than 500 acres of water, including the Salt and Mississippi rivers, that are suitable for fishing.

There are more than 35 miles of levees and a 1/3-mile  disabled-accessible trail for those who enjoy hiking.

There are more than a dozen primitive campsites, and picnic tables are available in the summer months at the Dupont Reservation Conservation Area nearby.

Hunting for dove, wild turkey, deer, quail, rabbit, squirrel and waterfowl is allowed, and there are blinds for waterfowl located on the site for the convenience of the hunter.

The main conservation headquarters contains exhibits, slide programs and displays on outdoor topics, in addition to an observation room that overlooks a marsh. A self-guided auto tour that covers more than 11 miles around the area gives visitors an up-close look at the wetlands, management  techniques, and wildlife that make the conservation area its home. A brochure of the auto tour also is available at the headquarters building and group tours can be requested.

Visiting hours are from 4 a.m.-10 p.m. There is no charge to visit Ted  Shanks Conservation Area.

To get to the conservation area, take Highway 79 to  approximately 16 miles north of Louisiana or approximately 18 miles south of Hannibal to Route TT. Take Route TT east through Ashburn to arrive at the conservation area.

Call 573-248-2530 for more information.

Lock and Dam No. 24

Lock and Dam No. 24

Lock and Dam 24

Located in Clarksville, the lock and dam helps attract bald eagles during the coldest winter months. It also provides an excellent fishing area. Visitors may watch as barges and boats travel through the facility. Group tours are available by calling the Riverlands Office at 573-242-3724.

Ranacker Wildlife Area

Deer, turkey, squirrels, quail and other wildlife make their home amid the narrow valleys and rocky overhangs in the Ranacker Wildlife Area. Picnicking, primitive camping and hiking on designated trails are permitted, as are hunting and fishing. An unstaffed shooting range is available for target practice. It is located off Highway 61 in upper, central Pike County.

Edward Anderson Wildlife Area

Primitive camping, fishing and hiking are available at Edward Anderson Wildlife Area which lies between Highway 79 and the Mississippi River at the far north corner of Pike County. Steep slopes and narrow valleys are home to ruffled grouse and other wildlife.


Over 200 bird species visit the area each year.

Dupont Reservation Conservation Area

Hiking, primitive camping and picnicking are favorite activities in this area. Boat access is available. The area is open from 4 a.m. until 10 p.m. It is located north of Louisiana in upper Pike County along Highway 79.

Clarence Cannon National Wildlife Refuge

Over 200 bird species visit the Clarence Cannon National Wildlife Refuge located one mile east of Annada in southern Pike County. The area serves migratory waterfowl as art of the ”Mississippi Flyway” every year. Group tours are available by calling the refuge manager at 573-847-2333. It is open to the public during the daylight hours.