Reflections

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Guide to Guide

I can identify the guide in the photograph accompanying "The Boat Builder from White River" article in the July Conservationist. He is Andy Coiner, the great grandfather of my wife. Now deceased, he lived in Forsyth with his wife, Bertha, and guided on the White River.

Mark A. Hall, Rogersville

Revolting Bandits

I enjoyed your article, "Electric Scarecrow." We planned to construct an energized fence around our sweet corn on July 4. Of course, the raccoons raided it the night before.

My father and I now hold the record for the quickest electrical fence construction (in the rain). The masked bandits have not returned.

Rick Rush Jr., Bates City

Land use and abuse

Your article, "The Future of Public Lands," voices a concern I find appalling. Why are people more concerned about who owns the land than how it is used?

The primary misuse of private land is owners trying to mine every dollar out of the land without any concern for the generations that follow. The Great Plains survived millions of years as a grazing land for wild cattle and could have been used for domestic cattle without much harm. Instead it has been used for crops and loses two tons of topsoil for each ton of grain produced.

When people complain about the government owning all the "good land," maybe they should consider why it is good, and why the land they own is so poor.

Randall Covington, Winterville

Seed Source

A 7.5-pound bag of safflower seed, which was suggested by the letter with the title "Anti-Squirrel Stratagem," can be purchased in most discount stores for under $5. Cardinals and house finches love them.

H.A. Gatermann, St. Louis

Heritage Card Helpful

I recently used my Missouri Heritage Card to purchase a hunting and fishing license in just a couple of minutes, instead of the 30 to 40 minutes it would normally take. I think the card is a great idea.

Pam Wysong, Summersville

Whither Mussel fork?

I enjoyed the article on river mussels, but nowhere could I find an exact location of where the hamlet of Mussel Fork was located. The author mentioned Chariton County, but where in the county?

I'm interested in photographing the area. I loved the old church you showed in the article.

Shirlee Keitel, Overland

Editor's note: Mussel Fork is northeast of Keytesville, near the junction of Route DD and Route O in east-central Chariton County. What remains of the town are a sign, the church shown in the article, some homes and a shack that is a remnant of the Ladies' Magic Club.

Albinism and Eyesight

Albino animals don't see very well due to the fact that their systems lack melanin, the substance that causes normal pigmentation. This is why their coats are white and their eyes are red. Their eyes don't pick up light nearly as well as normal animals' eyes. It's likely that's why Ms. Jones was able to get so close to that white doe.

When we raised quarter-horses, one of our mares threw an albino colt, who was always running into things. It helped him greatly when I began smearing a mixture of fine charcoal dust and Vaseline under his eyes, just as human athletes do.

Sam Ellsworth, Malden

We had an albino deer appear in our pasture every evening, always accompanied by a sibling. During hunting season we found it bedded down in the woods, and we were able to approach it within arm's length. Seems it had sense deficiencies and was not aware of our presence. The sibling would run but circle back, as if protecting its helpless sister. Unfortunately, someone killed the deaf and blind creature during that season.

Thomas M. Tebbetts, Hermann

Anti-ants

The author of the article about making a feeder for hummingbirds omits instruction for successfully dealing with my feeder problem: ants!

I have tried a variety of ant traps, evasions, etc. None work. Those little ant suckers find and invade the feeders quickly. What works

George Gleason, Springfield

Editor's note: Coating the wire that supports the hummingbird feeder with axle grease or Vaseline will usually discourage ants from your feeders.

Right or wrong?

Hats off to Kathy Etling for her article, "Of Rights and Wrongs." The common good of the environment is what is important. If all the human energy and money could be directed toward this goal, instead of arguing over who is right or wrong, it is hard to say how much we could accomplish together.

Arlon Held, Hillsboro

Thanks for the story, "Of Rights and Wrongs." Would that the majority of the public availed themselves of meaningful dialogue sans heated emotional ranting and raving in the same fashion as Hack and Sueellen accomplished.

Cliff Keeler, Camdenton

Let's get real ­ not to mention play fairly. There are many wise and seasoned animal rights proponents who could have provided dear Hack with a hearty challenge to his perspective. Hardly an equitable rebuttal.

Thus, partly because of this long-term propaganda, the public at large continues to view animal rights proponents as "crazies" and "extremists," the labels of the opposition.

Sharon Holacher, St. Louis

Family Ties

When I saw the article "Missouri's Wilderness Family," I couldn't read fast enough. Hannah Cole was my husband's great, great, great grandmother. I've gathered copies to send to relatives both in and out of state.

Our genealogy book says that when the Indians stole the horses, 10 men chased them across the "Great Prairie" between Martinsburg and Mexico. They camped about a mile north of Mexico, and Indians sneaked in and killed most of them, including Wm. Temple Cole, Hannah's husband.

Marian Stevenson, Wellsville

AGENT'S NOTEBOOK

Conservation agents meet and visit with a variety of people, many of whom can teach them valuable tips about hunting, fishing and outdoors safety.

The best idea I ever heard came from the owner of a local convenience store. He told me that, as a young boy growing up in Nebraska, he frequently accompanied his father on pheasant hunting trips.

Because he was too young to carry a real firearm, his father gave him a stick to carry as a gun. His father taped one end of the stick and called it the muzzle. He instructed his son never to point the muzzle at anyone and to always keep the muzzle end pointed in a safe direction.

During their hunting trips, whenever his father noticed the muzzle pointing where it shouldn't, he corrected his son and showed him the right way to handle the "gun."

The store owner told me he quickly learned the proper way to handle a firearm and that safe muzzle control became a habit that has stuck with him all his life.

What a great idea! Even though too young to hunt themselves, the youngsters get to go into the field with their parents and, while they are enjoying themselves, they learn safe hunting practices.

I doubt that any youngster who is taught at an early age to handle a firearm responsibly will ever grow into an adult who carelessly causes an accident while hunting.

Rob Farr

Benton County

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