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From the annals of outdoor crimes

A Van Buren man was sentenced to 21 months in prison on federal charges stemming from the illegal killing of hundreds of animals in Missouri, Montana and Wyoming. John Partney, 46, also was ordered to pay $5,500 in restitution and lost his hunting privileges for life.

His son, Andrew Partney, 22, of Cape Girardeau was sentenced to six months community confinement on each of three counts and has to pay $5,500 in restitution.

The two men were charged last year in state and federal courts, following an investigation that included lengthy undercover work by the Conservation Department.

In September, John and Andrew Partney were fined $12,500 and $7,500, respectively, for violating state hunting regulations and forfeited numerous guns and trophies.

Wetlands for Kids returns to Busch

The Fourth Annual Wetlands for Kids takes place March 15 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area near St. Louis.

The free event, co-sponsored by the Conservation Department and Ducks Unlimited, allows kids to experience wetlands and the species that live in them.

The event includes hands-on activities; displays; live reptiles, amphibians and water bugs; retriever dogs; wetland art and a children's activity book.

For more information, call the August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area at (314) 441-4554.

18 new fishing records set in 1996

The Conservation Department recognized 18 new state records in the "Pole, Line and Lure" and "Other" categories during 1996.

Dennis Shafer of Stover became the year's first record setter, when he coaxed a 53-pound bigmouth buffalo from Lake of the Ozarks.

Robert Redmon of Independence captured a 54-pound black buffalo from Wappapello Lake, and Greg Rippee of Willard took a longnose gar that weighed just over 32 pounds from Bull Shoals.

Dexter resident Bill Willmert caught a 5-pound, 10.08-ounce spotted gar at Mingo National Wildlife Refuge, and Mike Jackson of Bourbon caught a 12 ounce skipjack herring from the Osage River.

Setting records in the "Other" category were David Ward of Advance, who caught a 4-pound, 4-ounce largemouth bass on a limbline. Ward also secured records with a 1-pound, 0.12-ounce spotted bass and a 4-pound, 2.8-ounce American eel from the Castor River.

Douglas Stilts of Wappapello used a limbline to catch a 6.5-ounce redear sunfish and captured a second record with a 15.04-ounce white crappie taken on a trotline. St. Louisan Ron Thornburgh caught a 4.48-ounce rock bass from the St. Francis River to set a record in the "Other" category.

Robert Barnhill of California used archery gear to take a 12-poundcommon carp from Lake of the Ozarks, then Dave Morelock of Springfield arrowed a 19-pound, 8-ounce common carp from Lake Taneycomo, only to have his new record broken one day later when Mark Scott of Golden brought in a 20-pound carp. The following month, Blue Springs resident Leroy Montgomery took over the common carp record in the "Other" category with a 29-pound, 14-ounce specimen taken from Lake Taneycomo.

Also making records in the "Other" category were Jerry Brown of High Ridge with a 15-pound, 3.2-ounce drum from Lake Wappapello; Palmyra resident Travis Moore with a 5-pound, 13-ounce walleye from the South Fabius River and David Smith of Cape Girardeau with a 3-pound, 7-ounce spotted gar.

Fish For Sight tournament set

The Concord Village Lions Club will hold its 7th Annual Fish for Sight Amateur Buddy Bass Tournament May 3 at Truman Lake's Sterett Creek Marina.

Entry fee is $100 per boat. First prize is a fully rigged bass boat and trailer. Second and third prizes are $2,000 and $1,500, respectively. Other prizes will be awarded.

Proceeds support Lions sight projects throughout the state. For more information, call Tom Renaud at (314) 487-5732.

Exhibit showcases endangered species

"Witness: 100 North American Endangered Species" will be on exhibit at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis March 14 to June 10.

The exhibit features images by Susan Middleton and David Liittschwager that show the beauty and individuality of plant and animal species whose survival is being threatened by habitat destruction.

The exhibit is jointly sponsored by the Conservation Department and the Monsanto Fund.

The exhibit is free with regular Garden admission. Call (314) 577-5125 for more information.

Waterfowl a nuisance?

In spring, waterfowl are looking for places to land, live and reproduce. In some parks, golf courses and private areas, concentrations of waterfowl, especially Canada geese, are not welcome, because they foul walks, docks and lawns, dig up plants and grass and can be aggressive when nesting.

Waterfowl are federally protected, so destroying them or their nests without a permit is illegal. Troublesome birds must be controlled by discouraging them, physically excluding them or scaring them away.

The first step in control is to avoid feeding waterfowl. Free flying ducks and geese do not need handouts, although they will linger to take advantage of them.

Frightening waterfowl with fireworks, electronic devices, cannons, decoys or dogs early in the year may encourage waterfowl to nest somewhere else. This helps in the long term, because waterfowl tend to nest where they were born.

Stringing monofilament line or a cord from 6 inches to a foot above the ground will keep geese from certain areas. The cord is best set right at the point where the water and shore meet. Leaving a tall, dense vegetative barrier at the shoreline also restricts waterfowl movement. Planting trees and hedges near ponds also discourages waterfowl.

Work with your local conservation agent for especially exasperating problems or call the USDA's Animal Damage Control at (573) 446-1862.

TO OUR DEER HUNTING CUSTOMERS

You undoubtedly know that on Feb. 1, when 1997 deer permits went on sale, lines were long and so was the wait. A point-of-sale license system designed to handle 2 million transactions per year handled 300,000 in 48 hours. While it is easy to blame the computer system, the fault was ours for designing an unfair method of distributing permits.

The fact that we intended to provide better service based on problems we encountered in 1996 doesn't matter. We messed up and I would like to apologize on behalf of the Conservation Department for our failure.

We will make substantial changes before the next season and will follow your advice on how to make distribution more fair.

We are sorry for any inconvenience and frustration you suffered, and we promise to rid the system of glitches so that you can obtain a permit when you expect to. Thank you for your patience and input. We pledge to serve you better in the future.

Jerry Conley

Director

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