The Missouri Department of Conservation is warning outdoorsman about the potential dangers from encounters with non-native species including mountain lions, snakes, zombies and bears. Ummmmm… huh? Zombies?

In a special “Flesh Afield” blog, the MDC advised hunters to beware of the state’s newest invasive species threat–ZOMBIES!

“While zombie management is largely left to the police, military and health agencies, conservation plays a role in protecting Missouri’s fish, forest and wildlife resources–and Missourians–from this invasive species,” cautioned the MDC. “Hunters, campers and others in the outdoors and on conservation areas should know there is always the chance they may encounter a zombie while out in the field. Good preparation helps you know what to do if you encounter this newest invasive species in Missouri.

“The zombie invasion is like the feral hog problem in parts of Missouri, and its management is similar. We do not encourage organized zombie hunts since that may encourage the intentional release of zombie swarms. It can also disrupt wildlife and hunting opportunities for the more than 500,000 living Missourians who enjoy hunting.”

Just how do you recognize a zombie in your deer woods?

“Some indications that you have a zombie in view:

•It has a gray-green dull skin tone.

•It is wearing inappropriate clothing for the season or terrain (no coat or shoes, for instance).

•It has open wounds, other injuries and/or missing or damaged limbs but no sign of bleeding.

•It does not respond to verbal stimulus or exhibit any interest in its immediate surroundings.

•It is trying to eat you.”

Tree stand hunters are especially vulnerable to zombies.

“A tree stand is a readily defensible position, but keep in mind that free-standing tree stands can be toppled by a small pack of zombies,” the blog continued. “Follow manufacturers’ instructions when setting up your stand. There are unconfirmed reports that some zombies may be capable of climbing tree stands.

“Always practice proper tree-stand safety and wear a safety harness. Falling from a tree stand can injure you or make you dead. Falling from a tree stand into the gaping maw of a zombie can make you undead.”

You can read the entire tongue-in-cheek Halloween blog here.