Rudolf Bennitt Conservation Area contains 3,575 acres at the junction of Boone, Howard, and Randolph counties. It is named for Dr. Rudolf Bennitt, a zoology professor who was instrumental in getting the Conservation Department formed in the 1930's. Bennitt also served as technical advisor to the first Commission.
The original tract was purchased from 10 sellers in the mid-1960's, the largest former landowner being the Catholic Church of Moberly.
The mostly gentle, rolling terrain is 75 percent forested. Fields of native warm-season grasses and row crops are scattered among the forests.
This area was treated like most of Missouri's land before it was bought by the Department. The timber was grazed, logged, and burnt by occasional fires sweeping through the area. Through forest management, the Department is trying to improve tree growth, quality, and diversity. Better forests provide wildlife habitat for animals such as deer, turkey, dove, and quail, and help maintain watershed quality.
Rudolf Bennitt Lake (48 acres) was built in 1999 by the Department of Conservation in cooperation with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA) as part of the Moniteau Creek Watershed Conservation Plan. The lake provides a good fishery for bass, catfish, bluegill, crappie, and redear sunfish. Lake facilities include a disabled-accessible boat ramp, a fishing dock, and restroom.
Watering ponds have been built and crop fields are planted under contract with local farmers to provide food for wildlife. Occasional tree harvests encourage shrub growth for animal forage and cover.
Hikers, bikers, and equestrians may enjoy the Moniteau Trail. During modern firearms deer season and spring turkey season, the trails are closed to ALL other uses except hunting.