As an Eagle Scout, I can testify that the outdoors - and all the Conservation Department does for it - influences scouts in a tremendous way.
On behalf of all Missouri scouts, thank you, Missouri Department of Conservation, for everything that you do.
Trey Thacher, Boonville
In your October issue, Tom Cwynar reveals an impressive accomplishment in Missouri's program of deer and deer habitat restoration. He states that only 2,500 was the estimated deer population of deer in Missouri during the 1930s.
In 1937, I was stationed in Van Buren as a forester on the old Clark National Forest. Although I spent almost all of my time working in the forest, months would pass when I did not see even a single deer.
Today, Missouri has upwards of 750,000 deer. This is truly a remarkable deer restoration program. Missourians have learned to work hand-in-hand with nature.
Eliot Zimmerman, Fort Meyers, Fla
Archery article misses
We enjoyed the article "50 years of Archery Deer Hunting," but there were some inaccuracies. You misspelled both Cletus and McClanahan. Also the 720-acre farm was owned by a family named Ledford in St. Louis. Cletus owned 80 adjoining acres.
He was caretaker of the larger tract for more than 60 years and reared his family there. My husband purchased the tract in 1973 and Cletus, a staunch conservationist, continued as caretaker until 1985, when he passed away.
Ruby Long, Farmington
We would like to see articles on where wildlife would be today without hunters and anglers and the Conservation Department working together to keep the herds healthy and where our streams would be without fishing regulations and pollution laws. If it weren't for hunters and anglers our beautiful Missouri fish and wildlife would become diseased from overpopulation and, eventually, become extinct.
Kevin and Tracy Shepard, Aurora
On a trip to northeast Missouri, I saw several deer lying dead on the side of the road. That's not conservation. Hunters harvesting these deer during the hunting season feed their families and prevent the waste of these animals.
Michael Tripp, Columbia
On page 5 of the November issue is one of the saddest pictures I have ever seen. The buck deer seems to be pleading for someone to remove the huge collar. He is so beautiful.
Jane McQuitty, Columbia
Editor's note: The collar may seem to interfere with the deer's majestic appearance, but the tracking study suggests the animal led a normal life and lived longer than most bucks.
Cut fish loose
In your November issue an item read: "Do not remove a deeply imbedded hook from a fish you intend to release. The hook will rust away (if left in the fish)."
I had heard this suggestion over many years, and the thought occurred: "Acid is in a fish's stomach, so how could it rust a hook in the fish's mouth?" So I made an experiment.
I asked Glen Lau to embed blue, bronze and cadmium hooks in a bass's mouth tissue and check results. Within a week to ten days, the flesh around each hook turned red, then brown, then black as the flesh atrophied, or died from lack of nourishment. Each hook was ejected and found on the aquarium bottom - no sign of rusting.
So, you're correct in advising anglers to cut hooks loose so fish can live on with minimal injury.
Homer Circle, Ocala, Fla.
Concerning your article about agencies and groups that use volunteers:
Mid-American Aquacenter is a not-for-profit children's aquarium committed to studying the watery ecosystems of the Mississippi and Amazon rivers and the oceans. We also use volunteers for our educational and volunteer programs. People with questions can call (314) 647-9594.
Leonard A. Sonnenschein, President, Mid-America Aquacenter; Brentwood
All over population
If it is our sincere intention to save the flora and fauna of this small planet, why not approach this goal realistically? Does any intelligent person really think we can save the life forms of this earth without first reversing human population growth?
Regardless of what your ecological cause may be, it can only be a delaying action until we face and conquer the problem of world population.
Dan Cover, Thayer
My younger brother James gave me a subscription to the Conservationist 17 or 18 years ago. It was $2 a year then and $5 a year now. What a bargain!
This magazine keeps me in contact with my heritage. When I grew up in the small town of Brookfield, hunting was not only a respected sport and a way of occasionally putting food on the table, it was truly a connection to nature for myself and my family.
California has been good to me in many ways, but when I read your magazine, it brings back memories.
Jack Bradley, Napa, Calif.
I read Conservation Agent Needham's account in the October Agent's Notebook and was deeply saddened. I cannot comprehend the father's selfish action.
Why deny your son the pleasure of hunting or fishing, when you can be equally rewarded by recording the event with camera or videocamera, as did Gary Martin with son Gabe (same issue, page 8)? Hunting and fishing experiences are far more satisfying when shared with family and close friends.
Tom Rocchio, St. Louis
The letter "Please Stop" in the November issue made me mad. If you enjoy nature, you have to admit that hunting and fishing are part of its conservation. If hunting is not allowed, wildlife becomes overpopulated, and there are disease and food shortages.
Tonya Chandler, Deepwater
Any Conservation Agent will tell you that without public support and cooperation effective law enforcement would be impossible. This is especially the case in reporting violations. Timely and accurate reports give us the tools to apprehend poachers and violators.
The following tips will help you become a better witness and will make the agent's task of apprehending violators much easier:
- Have the phone number of your local conservation agent or the Operation Game Thief number ((800) 392-1111) posted near your phone.
- If you have binoculars put them where you can find them quickly. They can help you gather information from a distance.
- Gather as much information as you safely can. Try to get license plate numbers, vehicle descriptions, number and descriptions of the people involved, their direction of travel, types of weapons used and the kind of wildlife involved.
- Report the violation as soon as you can.
- If the violation is in progress, stay on the phone or call back to update the dispatcher with more informP-d violation oD-s at night, avoid turning on lights in or around your house, which could tip off the violator that someone is watching.
- Avoid direct contact with the violators.