Lake Media has teamed up with local conservation agents Derek Warnke and Tyler Brown to give our readers the answers to any questions they may have. The questions and their answers will be published once a month in the Lake Sun and on

Q: Are armadillos carriers of leprosy?
Brown: Armadillos, like most other wildlife, are susceptible to sickness and disease. One disease that armadillos have been found with is leprosy. Leprosy occurs rarely in armadillos, but there is a slight chance that an armadillo could be a vector for the disease. It is thought that most cases where leprosy was transferred from armadillo to human involved the eating of undercooked armadillo meat. As a good safety precaution it is a good idea to wear gloves if you need to handle an armadillo from your property after it has been dispatched for wildlife nuisance reasons.

Q: My two young grandkids live in Kansas.  When they come to visit, they love to fish and I love to take them, but being two and four years old, I sometimes have my hands full.  Their daddy has no interest in fishing and does not have a Kansas or Missouri fishing license.  How much can he help me with the kids?  

Brown: This is an issue that occurs quite frequently at the Lake due to the high number of non-resident visitors. It is important to get the young anglers involved and we encourage that, but there are some guidelines to keep in mind. If the child’s father wants to be there and help that is acceptable. He can cast the line and even help set the hook if need be, and then help remove any fish that are caught and re-bait the line. The issue normally comes when a parent is helping a child fish, but the child isn’t actually fishing and is clearly not interested in fishing. It is important that if the child goes swimming or goes to the house that the parent then cease the fishing activity. It is also important to keep in mind the age of the child and his/her fishing capabilities. The older and more experienced they get, the less help they need from their parents. And yes, the father can go out on the boat with you, he just cannot actively fish with his own pole and line if he does not first purchase a permit.

Q: With reports of fawns being left in public areas, i.e. at hotels, apartment complexes, what should people do?

Brown: Every year in the late spring and early summer we receive numerous calls about orphaned deer. It is extremely important to not disturb the fawns and to never move or touch the animal. This may cause the mother to be scared out of the area or to possibly refuse to care for the fawn. Most often the mother deer will leave a fawn in a safe, quiet place to rest while she is out feeding and resting herself. Most people call and believe that the fawn has been orphaned because they don’t see its mother. This is typically not the case. In fact, the mother is probably nearby watching everything that goes on. Almost always the mother will come back for the fawns at a time that she feels is safe for both of them to move to the next spot, usually after dark. There are instances in which the mother won’t or can’t return due to injury, sickness, or death. When that is the case then we can attempt to rehabilitate that fawns and then release them to the wild. Some folks think that even though the fawn has been there for several hours that the mother isn’t coming back. That is simply not the case. My advice is to wait until the morning after you discover the fawn, giving the mother a night to come back, and then calling to report it. Fawns should never be rescued and attempted to be raised at your home. They require lots of time and attention and we have rehabilitators who have the skills and experience necessary to help them. Also, it is against the law to possess and raise wildlife without a permit. If you find an abandoned fawn and have waited the suggested amount of time then you can contact our Missouri Department of Conservation Camdenton Office at 573-317-0448 and inform them of the situation.

Q: The Department of Natural Resources announced a few weeks back that the Grand Glaize Beach in Osage Beach is closed due to high levels of E. coli bacteria. When high levels of bacteria are found, how does that affect the wildlife, and is there any precautions people should take, especially when it comes to fishing?

Warnke: When high levels of bacteria are present in the water, extra precautions need to be taken when consuming fish that have been harvested from those water sources.  Depending on how you consume your fish, whether it is fried, baked, grilled, etc. anglers should be certain fish are cooked toughly.  Another thing to keep in mind is ensure your hands remain clean while fishing.  Most of us take snacks or sandwiches on the boat to enjoy throughout the day, if you have been handling fish out of waters containing high bacteria levels, make sure to use soap and water or a hand sanitizer before eating to lower the chances of being contaminated.  I checked a couple of gentlemen bank fishing at the Grand Glaze Beach while it was closed, they were cat fishing, and also were grilling hamburgers.  I reminded them about the high levels of E. coli and they told me they had brought a bar of soap and a couple bottles of water to wash their hands before eating.  Just use a common sense approach when it comes to high levels of bacteria.   

Do you have a question? If so, please submit it to or send a message on the Lake News Online Facebook page. You can also tweet at @LakeSunSports with your questions, or call the office at 573-317-8141 during business hours.