Hite Prairie CA

About this Area

For more information call
(573) 897-3797
Total Acres
103.0

The once vast prairies that covered as much as 15,000,000 acres of Missouri had diminished to just a few hundred thousand acres by the mid-1970’s.  The prairies inherited by the early settlers of Missouri made ideal places for growing crops and grazing livestock.  After approximately 150 years of settlement the still functioning parcels of prairie that remained were usually isolated and relatively small.  Conservation organizations such as the Missouri Department of Conservation, the Missouri Prairie Foundation, Missouri Department of Natural Resources and The Nature Conservancy began to recognize the value in purchasing and managing these remaining prairie pieces for future generations to enjoy.

The Missouri Department of Conservation purchased the Hite Prairie Conservation Area from the Hite family in 1980.  The Hite family managed about 80 acres of the 103 total as a hay pasture.  As with the majority of the prairies purchased in the 1960’s – 1990’s, it was the dedication of those acres to continual hay production that effectively preserved them.  Prairies can deal with annual haying and largely maintain their diverse suite of plant and animal species (high quality prairies can have over 300 different species of plants present).  Prairies can’t deal well with conversion to agriculture or the introduction of exotic species in conjunction with continual grazing, as either practice can cause a rapid loss of native species from the site.

Hite Prairie exists today as one of the easternmost fragments of the formerly quite vast Osage Plains prairies that covered the majority of the landscape to the west.  The prairie is managed primarily with prescribed fires and some additional efforts to control woody growth and exotic species. Although Greater Prairie Chickens have been gone from the site since the mid-1990’s the area still supports over 150 native plant species and prairie animals such as the Regal Fritillary butterfly, Henslow’s Sparrows and Northern Crawfish Frogs.

Things to do when you visit: 
  • Hunting
    • Dove,
    • Quail,
    • Rabbit,
    • Deer
  • Bird Watching
  • Entry PointEntry Point
  • Parking LotParking Lot
  • BoundaryBoundary

Hours of Operation

Area Hours
Sunday 4:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Monday 4:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Tuesday 4:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Wednesday 4:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Thursday 4:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Friday 4:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Saturday 4:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Directions
From Versailles (Highway 5/52 junction), take Highway 52 west 0.25 mile, then Fairgrounds Road south 0.50 mile.
Area Regulations
Seasonal Hunting and Fishing Information