Reflections

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FROGGIE DAY CARE CENTER

I thoroughly enjoyed "How Are the Frogs?" My parents' property is a favorite stomping ground for an assortment of frogs and toads.

My daughter, Tara, when she was single-digit age, had a "Froggie Day Care Center." She would collect the unfortunate ones that had fallen into the basement recessed window wells. After they had a short visit in her outdoor aquarium, which was equipped with water, rocks, dirt, grasses and food, she would release them to the surrounding fields or woods.

She'll turn 16 this spring and the day care no longer exists, but she maintains a deep-rooted, respectful attitude for all insect, amphibian and animal wildlife. And she still sets the froggies free.

Karen Wallace, Springfield

LEARNING ABOUT NATURE

I have always been sort of a nature boy, but your magazine has taught me well about respect for nature and wildlife. I am now a small part of the solution, creating proper habitat and feed, obeying hunting and fishing regulations, not using toxic chemicals. Thanks to you I can't pass by a piece of trash without picking it up.

Bryan Wurtzberger, Jefferson City

TADPOLE OFFER

We had over 1,000 tadpoles in our pool cover last spring. If you would like some tadpoles, we will probably have some again this spring. Sometimes ducks come to our pool cover to eat the tadpoles. I did a school project on tadpoles and frogs.

Kelsey O'Keefe, Florissant

BIG JUNCO SCOOP

Thank you for your article on snowbirds by Larry Rizzo. I was glad to have the article and junco identification information before they came, rather than after they were gone.

My homeschooled boys love to watch the frisky ground feeders feast on sunflower seed and leftover popcorn.

Connie Shalz, St. Joseph

HOW DEAR ARE DEER?

I am curious as to the costs to taxpayers to build the deer herd and what costs they create to repair the damages and personal injury caused by these animals when they enter the roadways.

No doubt they are beautiful animals, but we will just spend more money on ways to prevent them from entering the roadways.

Robert Kreider, Kansas City

Editor's note: Taxpayers have had to bear few costs for building Missouri's deer herd. Deer increase naturally, when given modest protection by seasons and limits. Only in the early stages of the deer program, some 50 years ago, were deer trapped, raised and transported. Management is also essentially cost-free. As deer numbers increase, the Conservation Department issues bonus permits and stages special hunts to allow hunters to take more of the population. The only tactics available to decrease car deer accidents are reducing deer numbers and increasing driver awareness.

CARDS ARE A FACT

I don't know if you've already done this, but I think fact cards on plants and animals would be a fun and informative way to get people to realize how special the plants and animals are.

Max Tubbesing, Holts Summit

Editor's note: The Conservation Department already has Conservation Wild Cards, which are similar to the "fact cards" you describe. The 10 cards in the set each have eight questions and answers about outdoor-related subjects, such as fishes, forests, safe hunting, wetlands and prairies. You can use the cards to test your or your friends' knowledge about conservation subjects.The set of cards can be obtained free by writing Conservation Wild Cards, Missouri Department of Conservation, P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City, 65102-0180.

STORY HITS HOME

Joel Vance's "Goodbye to McGuffin" hit very close to home. I can still see my first bird dog pup, CoCoa, on point for the first time in the fencerow in our south 40. It has been 15 years since I buried her under that tree where she first pointed and still I can recall it like it was yesterday.

With all dogs there are good days and better days, but you never have a bad day.

Ross Page, Braymer

CONSERVATION A GOOD DEAL

People complain about the Conservation Department raising the price of the licenses, but look at the deer and turkey population now, compared to 30 years ago. Float the rivers and look at the boat ramps that were not there 30 years ago. People go to Canada and pay $150 to $250 for a deer tag, when it only costs $11 here.

A few bad apples out there may be looking through a 1-inch pipe, but most people in Missouri are with the Conservation Commission and what they have accomplished.

Freddie R. Cox Jr., St. Clair

BALD EAGLE PANCAKE RECIPE

On a winter morning take:

  • One American bald eagle,
  • One 73-year-old birdwatching grandmother who has never before seen a bald eagle.
  • One 75-year-old grandfather who has never cooked before, but who graciously offered to make breakfast.

Watch the bald eagle perch and stretch his wings for one hour and 15 minutes, before spreading his wings and flying off to the west.

Lay the binoculars down, thank the pancake mixer and enjoy breakfast.

Joanne Dee Mason, Gravois Mills

SEIZE POACHER'S EQUIPMENT

Gov. Pete Wilson of California signed a bill that requires police to seize any vehicle owned and driven by anyone caught a second time without a valid driver's license.

The federal government seizes vehicles, guns and property from drug dealers.

Why not use this same method for poachers and their buyers. As you stated in your article, "Some people will poach," but if they know they will lose more than they will gain, they may think twice.

Harry G. McCaulley, Willow Springs

Editor's note: Conservation agents will seize guns, etc. as evidence for prosecution, but they do not have legislative authority to confiscate any materials used in the perpetration of a crime. Such authority is normally given only in drug-related offenses, although at least one Missouri municipality, Springfield, has obtained the right to confiscate the vehicle of someone whose license has been revoked because of a driving while intoxicated conviction.

AGENT'S NOTEBOOK

Gobble, Gobble! Gobble! echoes through the early morning stillness and causes the hunter's heart to skip a beat. Winter is a just a memory; spring has finally arrived. And the dream of winter, the biggest and best gobbler in the woods, is now in sight.

Unfortunately, turkey hunters sometimes become so excited and so focused on their goals, that they develop a condition known as tunnel vision.

Not only do they fail to see the beauty of the woods around them they also neglect caution and find themselves acting in unsportsmanlike ways.

Turkey tunnel vision causes otherwise highly ethical hunters to trespass on private property, hunt from motor vehicles and sneak in on other hunters' birds.

Sometimes the hunters' behavior is just obnoxious; in severe cases it can lead to broken laws and could cause injury to other hunters.

Such instances are the ones that opponents of hunting bring up in their attempts to abolish hunting. The actions of just a few narrowly focused hunters can fuel the fires of anti-hunters and further their agenda

A little perspective is called for. Turkey hunting is thrilling, but our first obligation - no matter how big the bird or the beard - is to responsible hunting.

Hunters have to police themselves. Respect, safety and the future of hunting demand it.

Larry Evans
Phelps County

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