Whetstone Creek Conservation Area

Driving Directions

From the I-70 Williamsburg Exit 161, take Route D north to the stop sign. Turn west and continue on Route D to County Road 1003. Go north 2 miles on County Road 1003 to the entrance.


This area is more than half forest and woodland with grassland, savanna, cropland, old fields, prairie, and small ephemeral wetlands.

Facilities/features: boat ramp, primitive camping, picnic areas, 16 fishable lakes and ponds (65 acres), unstaffed shooting range, and Whetstone Creek Natural Area (127 acres).

Whetstone is a designated Quail Emphasis Area which is focused on managing habitat for early successional species such as Northern Bobwhite Quail.

During firearms managed deer hunts, all other hunting is prohibited.

About This Area

The Missouri Department of Conservation purchased the 5,147 acre property from Mr. Molasky in 1976 for $2,500,000. Approximately 64 percent of the purchase price was supplied from the Pittman-Robertson Act funds administered by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Prior to settlement, the land area of what is today Whetstone Creek CA, had a tallgrass prairie, savanna, woodland, and forest landscape. The woodland and forest slopes on the rolling hills adjacent to the creek gave way to more open savanna and prairie habitats on the flat plains above the creek.

Portions of the property have had many owners since the mid-1800's (there were 27 different families owning portions of the land in 1876). It was mostly owned by a few landowners who had relatively large properties by the later 1800's. The area was managed as a cattle ranch through most of the 1900's up until the time when the Department purchased the property. A high fence was constructed on a portion of the area in the 1960's and Bison were raised in the enclosure.

The area is today managed primarily for small game species such as quail and rabbits. Management is primarily accomplished through permittee farming, prescribed fire, woodland management, and early successional habitat. It is a popular area for small game hunting and field trial events.

All deer hunting on the area is managed through the state's managed hunting program and must be applied for in order to participate. Turkey hunting and fishing activities are also popular on the area.

The Whetstone Creek Natural Area is designated for the portion of the stream corridor that passes through the area. The Natural Area is designated for the high quality stream and the state threatened Black Nosed Shiner that lives in the creek.

General Information




Owned by MDC

(Activity Explanations)
(Population Definition)
Bird Watching  Get the Audubon Society of Missouri Conservation Area Bird List.  
Camping - Individual Campsites  Big Lake Camping Area has picnic tables, fire rings, and a disabled accessible privy nearby. Primitive camping is also available adjacent to the shooting range parking lot.  
Canoeing  Whetstone Creek is a relatively small creek so canoeing is more suited for the lakes and ponds on the area  
Dog Training with Special Use Permit   
Field Trials with Special Use Permit  Contact Area Manager for field trial information.  
Fishing - Bass Fair population. regulations differ between streams and impoundments (12-15 inch slot limit for largemouth bass in impoundments), 12 inch minimum length in streams  
Fishing - Catfish Fair population.  
Fishing - Crappie Fair population.  
Fishing - Other Fair population. Whetstone Creek (5 miles) offers some fishing opportunities for bass, bluegill, green sunfish and other stream species. 
Fishing - Sunfish Fair population.  
Hiking  No designated trails, but numerous area access trails. 
Hunting-Deer Good population. All deer hunting is through Managed hunts only - during managed hunts using firearms access is limited to public roadways and parking lots. Hunters who are chosen for the managed hunt and are successful, could be as far as 1.5 miles from a parking lot. Special hunting provisions provided for the mobility impaired. Contact area manager or regional office for further information.  
Hunting-Dove Good population. Good first week of season, fair after that.  
Hunting-Quail Good population. Shortened season 11/1-12/15.  
Hunting-Rabbit Good population.  
Hunting-Squirrel Good population.  
Hunting-Turkey Good population. Generally high hunter pressure during the spring season. Turkey regulations are subject to annual changes. Please refer to the Spring Turkey or Fall Deer and Turkey Booklet for current regulations.  
Other  Shooting range has 25, 50, and 100 yard shooting stations. This is an unstaffed range.  
Trapping with Special Use Permit  Special Use Permit Only 

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Conservation Department Facilities
Facility Item Name Count Comments
Boat Ramp - Lake - Other   On Big Lake. 
Camping Area - Individual Campsites Shooting Range camping area  Fire rings provided.  
Camping Area - Individual Campsites Big Lake Camping Area  Fire rings, picnic tables, and a disabled accessible privy are provided.  
OtheraccessibleShooting Range  Shooting range for shotgun, rifle and pistiol. ADA Accessible. no clay bird thrower for shotgun range. Paper targets only on rifle/pistol range. Targets are not provided at the range.  
Parking Lot  12   
Parking Lotaccessible  Gravel parking lots with concrete pads.  
Picnic Table    

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Feature Item Name Count Size Comments
Designated Natural Area Whetstone Creek Natural Area 127.00 acres For more information, visit natural areas.  
Fishing Lake or Pond Twin Lake #1 1.50 acres  
Fishing Lake or Pond Twin Lake #2 2.40 acres  
Fishing Lake or Pond Turtle Rock Lake 1.40 acres  
Fishing Lake or Pond Big Lake 24.80 acres  
Fishing Lake or Pond South Lake 2.20 acres  
Fishing Lake or Pond Horseshoe Lake 5.90 acres  
Fishing Lake or Pond North Lake 6.40 acres  
Fishing Lake or Pond Buffalo Lake 2.00 acres  
Fishing Lake or Pond Windy Lake 15.00 acres  
Fishing Lake or Pond  11.00 acres  
Fishless Pond  40 8.00 acres  
Stream - Intermittent Appling Branch 2.00 miles  
Stream - Intermittent Whetstone Creek 5.00 miles  

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Land Cover Types
Land Type Acres Comments
Lakes/Ponds 73.00 Big Lake-24.8 acres; Windy Lake-15 acres; North Lake-6.4; South Lake-2.2 acres; Horseshoe Lake-5.9 acres; Turtle Rock Lake-1.4 acres; Buffalo Lake 2.0 acres; Ponds #1-7 (11 acres); Twin Lakes #1 & 2 (3.9 acres). 
Grassland (non-prairie) 1227.00  
Crop Land 672.00  
Old Field 400.00  
Forest and Woodland 2775.00 Forest = 1,152 acres, Woodland = 1,623 acres.  
Total Area Acres:5207.86 

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Designated Trails
Trail Name Trail Type Length
No Designated Trails

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Shooting Range General Information

91*4122.52 W

38*5701.44 N




1/2 hour before sunrise to 1/2 hour after sunset, unless posted otherwise.

Click Shooting Ranges for more information.

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