Schell-Osage Conservation Area


Planning is underway for the upcoming Schell-Osage Golden Anniversary Wetlands Initiative (GAWI), which will include renovating the wetland pools and Schell Lake. This work will affect hunting and fishing opportunity once construction begins, but no impacts are expected in 2017. Over this next year, staff will provide more updates about construction timing to help area users plan accordingly. You may also contact area staff at the Schell-Osage office at (417) 432-3414.

Driving Directions

From El Dorado Springs, take Highway 54 west 6 miles, then Route AA north 12 miles, then Route RA east 1.50 miles (last 0.50 mile is gravel), then 2950 Road south 0.25 mile to the area.


This area provides waterfowl hunting opportunity for up to 43 parties of hunters in the wetland units, including 25 blinds (two are disabled-accessible) and 18 designated wade-and-shoot positions (two of which are field opportunities).

The area also contains fishable lakes and ponds totaling over 900 acres, in addition to opportunity on the Osage River Arm of Truman Reservoir. There is also a boat ramp and primitive campground on each lake.

About This Area

Schell-Osage Conservation Area and the Osage River, which forms the area's north boundary, derive their names from the Osage Indians that once inhabited the area.

Initially purchased in 1957, development of the wetland units and water supply lakes was completed in 1962 and opened to waterfowl hunting in 1964.

The Harry S. Truman Dam and Reservoir was completed in 1979, which affected flood frequency and duration of the Osage River and floodplain, including portions of Schell-Osage.

The area features a unique combination of habitats including wetlands, upland and bottomland forest, cropland, old fields, and lakes and ponds. Also, Little Headwaters, Little Gem, Little Stony Point, Little Savanna, and Little Sandy prairies combine to make up over 40 acres of remnant native prairie, which have been augmented with over 340 acres of restored grasslands.

The 1,425 acres of managed wetlands provides habitat for a wide variety of waterfowl, shore birds, wading birds, and other wetland dependent species, which makes this area popular for both waterfowl hunters and birders.

General Information

Kansas City

Vernon,Saint Clair


Owned by MDC

  • The information "hotline" (417) 432-1074 provides contact information for Conservation Agents and hunting information.
  • Non-toxic shot required for all shotgun hunting on entire area.
  • Use or possession of lead shot prohibited.

(Activity Explanations)
(Population Definition)
Bird Watching  This area has good birding opportunities seasonally, for species of waterfowl, marsh and shorebirds, wading birds and songbirds. Eagle nests are active in this area. Designated an Important Bird Area by Audubon Missouri. Get the Audubon Society of Missouri Conservation Area Bird List. St. Clair County. Vernon County.  
Camping - Individual Campsites  Only privies are provided.  
Fishing - Bass Fair population.  
Fishing - Catfish Good population.  
Fishing - Crappie Fair population.  
Fishing - Other Fair population. Paddlefish snagging in Osage River/Truman Reservoir  
Hiking  Two and a half miles mowed hiking trail. 
Hunting-Deer Good population. Deer regulations are subject to annual changes. Please refer to the Fall Deer and Turkey Booklet for current regulations.  
Hunting-Dove Fair population. Several fields managed for doves but hunting success highly variable. 
Hunting-Quail Fair population.  
Hunting-Rabbit Fair population.  
Hunting-Squirrel Good population.  
Hunting-Turkey Good population. Turkey regulations are subject to annual changes. Please refer to the Spring Turkey or Fall Deer and Turkey Booklet for current regulations.  
Hunting-Waterfowl – Morning Draw Good population. Managed hunt regulated by daily drawing during duck season and typically during the early teal season.  Waterfowl hunters are required to self-register at the area headquarters when the daily drawing is not in affect.  

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Conservation Department Facilities
Facility Item Name Count Comments
Boat Ramp - Lake - Other Atkinson Lake  Gravel Boat Ramp. 
Boat Ramp - Lake - Other   Marsh Access Ramps. 
Boat Ramp - Lake - Other Schell Lake  Gravel Boat Ramp. 
Camping Area - Individual Campsites   South campground is closed October 15 thru Jan. 31.  
Hunting Blind - Waterfowlaccessible 25  Waterfowl blinds allocated through daily drawing.  
Parking Lotaccessible 28  Two Gravel Parking Lots with concrete pads and disabled accessible privies.  
Privy/Restroomaccessible  Disabled accessible privy available at each campground. 
Staffed Officeaccessible  Staffed only during waterfowl season. 

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Feature Item Name Count Size Comments
Fishing Lake or Pond Atkinson Lake 461.00 acres  
Fishing Lake or Pond Schell Lake 355.00 acres  
Fishing Lake or Pond West Strader Pond 1.00 acres  
Fishing Lake or Pond South Strader Pond 1.00 acres  
Fishing Lake or Pond North Hutton Pond 3.00 acres  
Fishing Lake or Pond West Hutton Pond 3.20 acres  
Fishing Lake or Pond Jones Pond 0.50 acres  
Fishing Lake or Pond East Hutton Pond 4.00 acres  
Fishing Lake or Pond Goose Pen Pond 1.40 acres  
Fishing Lake or Pond East Strader Pond 1.00 acres  
Fishing Lake or Pond Jim's Pond 1.20 acres  
Fishing Lake or Pond Turkey Pond 1.10 acres  
Fishing Lake or Pond Bush Pond 0.50 acres  
Stream - Permanent Osage River/Truman Lake 12.00 miles Access for bank fishing along public roads. 

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Land Cover Types
Land Type Acres Comments
Crop Land 1000.00  
Wetland 1425.00 Includes "managed" wetland acres. 
Lakes/Ponds 961.00  
Forest and Woodland 2606.00  
Native Prairie 42.00 Native prairie remnants 
Old Field 1300.00  
Grassland (non-prairie) 1159.00 Includes 340 acres of reconstructed prairie 
Other 142.00 This includes roads, infrastructures, and parking lots 
Total Area Acres:8634.69 

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Designated Trails
Trail Name Trail Type Length
Hiking trail (Easy) Hiking (Non-Interpretive) 2.50 

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Shooting Range General Information

This area has no shooting ranges.

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