The Wayne Helton Memorial Wildlife Area


Intensive grassland restoration management is occurring on this conservation area. This work will improve habitat for many species of wildlife including, quail, rabbits, grassland songbirds, and pollinators like monarch butterflies and native bees. Management efforts will center around large-scale removal of invasive trees, controlling invasive plants with herbicide, and seeding native prairie plants. Portions of the area may be posted as closed for public safety during these efforts. Call the St. Joseph Regional Office at 816/271-3100 with questions.

Driving Directions

From Bethany, take Highway 136 east 9 miles, then Route CC south (right) 3 miles to the area.


This area contains old fields, forest, cropland, prairie, and two small wetlands. The area features two designated camping areas (primitive) and the 30-acre Helton Prairie Natural Area, which features unique wildflower displays from mid-May until early July.

About This Area

The Conservation Department established this wildlife area in 1969 with the purchase of 440 acres from Nina Pauline Helton, widow of the late J. Wayne Helton, who served as the conservation agent for Caldwell and Daviess counties from 1941 until 1965. The purchase of several additional tracts since 1969 has increased the area to its current size.

The northwest corner of the area includes the Helton Prairie Natural Area, one of the best examples of native prairie in north Missouri. Nearly 200 native prairie plants have been identified on the 30-acre natural area.

Because of its size and diversity, Wayne Helton Memorial Wildlife Area is managed for a wide range of game and non-game wildlife species. Management activities on the area include farming, prescribed burning, native vegetation establishment, discing, and food plots. Helton Prairie Natural Area lies on the northwest corner of the area.

Very few unplowed prairies exist in northern Missouri. Wildflower displays are especially noteable from mid-May until early July.

General Information




Owned by MDC

(Activity Explanations)
(Population Definition)
Bird Watching  Get the Audubon Society of Missouri Conservation Area Bird List.  
Camping - Primitive Area  Two designated camping areas.  No amenities provided.  
Field Trials with Special Use Permit   
Fishing - Bass Good population.  
Fishing - Catfish Fair population.  
Fishing - Sunfish Fair population.  
Hunting-Deer Good population. See regulations.  
Hunting-Dove Good population. Click on link to dove management map (available in August).  
Hunting-Pheasant Fair population.  
Hunting-Quail Fair population.  
Hunting-Rabbit Good population.  
Hunting-Squirrel Good population.  
Hunting-Turkey Good population. Annual Fall Deer and Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet and annual Spring Turkey Hunting Information booklet.  
Trapping with Special Use Permit  Special use permit required. 

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Conservation Department Facilities
Facility Item Name Count Comments
Camping Area - Individual Campsites    
Parking Lot    

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Feature Item Name Count Size Comments
Designated Natural Area Helton Prairie Natural Area 30.00 acres Helton Prairie Natural Area lies in the northwest corner of the area. Few unplowed prairies exist in northern Missouri. Wildflower displays are especially notable from mid-May to late June. Nearly 200 prairie plant species have been recorded on the area. For more information, visit natural areas.  
Fishing Lake or Pond  12 16.00 acres  
Stream - Intermittent  2.00 miles Cat Creek bisects the area.  

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Land Cover Types
Land Type Acres Comments
Forest and Woodland 895.00  
Wetland 10.00  
Lakes/Ponds 5.00  
Crop Land 260.00  
Native Prairie 225.00 Warm season grass planting and native prairie. 
Old Field 1165.00  
Total Area Acres:2560.00 

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Designated Trails
Trail Name Trail Type Length
No Designated Trails

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Shooting Range General Information

This area has no shooting ranges.

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