Reflections

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Walking Under Water

Many times I have seen the nine-banded armadillo in southwest Missouri, but your article gave me new respect for the "little armored one." Now that I know what they are all about, I can't wait to see another one.

I especially enjoyed the description of how the armadillo crosses water. Trying to envision one strolling across the bottom of a pond or paddling across the top had me in stitches.

Sharon L. Farmer, Springfield

2-minute Permit

Although your new hunting and fishing permit system may have "bugs" that need to be worked out, I think it's great. I went to a local Wal-Mart at 9:45 p.m. on a Sunday with Heritage Card in hand and walked away with a permit in about two minutes.

The next week I spent over 10 minutes in a Kansas store waiting for a clerk to fill out all the paperwork to get my permit there. If there had been several people waiting for their permits, it would have taken forever.

Bill Miller, Kearney

Problem Pond

I enjoy your articles on small lakes and ponds. We are having our small pond torn out and rebuilt, because it was poorly constructed and is leaking badly.

I would recommend (hindsight) that anyone thinking of having a small pond constructed seek the Conservation Department's advice, get several bids and choose a contractor with a reputation for quality work.

Larry Greene, Imperial

MissingTurkey

I was very disappointed that the April issue did not contain one single article or have any pictures concerning wild turkey hunting. The thousands of hunters in Missouri who buy tags and licenses, like myself, must surely feel overlooked. Hunting and fishing articles need to be increased.

Lindy Reed, Arnold

Editor's note: Hunting and fishing is important to many Missourians, and we apologize that April's special "Conservation and Communities" issue kept us from covering turkey hunting. Our May issue, however, was completely devoted to fishing, and we will have a special hunting issue coming out in October. Thank you for your patience.

Between Communities

Your April issue showed that Missouri is blessed with an abundance of beautiful, historic communities, each proud of its special sense of place and distinctive community character.

Unfortunately, to get to these special places one must travel some of the most visually polluted highways in America. Our roads have more than 28,000 billboards, nearly three times as many per mile as our eight neighboring states.

The communities are wonderful; the spaces separating communities have become tacky, gaudy, visual nightmares.

Karl Kruse, Director, Scenic Missouri

Blue Birds

On a very cold day in January, I observed five or six bluebirds enter my "Conservation plan" bluebird house. They stayed the night, apparently to share their warmth, but after that the birds would peek in the house but wouldn't stay. I checked and found the house very untidy. After I cleaned it, a pair of bluebirds returned to nest in early March.

Bob Maddox, Jefferson City

Finch Feeding

Should we keep on feeding our finches through the summer? I have a feeder in my backyard, but it is not too busy right now.

John Napper, Kansas City

Editor's note: Research has shown that feeding birds in summer does little good for the bird populations but causes little harm. Because the birds have numerous food sources at this time, you would primarily be feeding them for your benefit, so that you can see birds in their bright summer plumages or host beautiful migrant and summering birds, such as rose-breasted grosbeaks and indigo buntings. Keep feeders and the ground below clean to prevent molds, diseases, pests or other contaminants from harming birds.

The Color Purple

Thanks for the article on purple paint. Very informative. My family had a great time applying the paint. I hope you will run the article again come fall hunting season.

Norene Place, Ray County

bees go bragh

As a keen beekeeper and an occasional contributor to a Northern Ireland beekeeping magazine, I was delighted to read the article on the Honey War.

We reprinted the article, with permission from the Conservation Department, and it has been read all over Northern Ireland and in many parts of England, Scotland and Wales. It has also been on the Internet, so the circulation has been as wide as your own magazine's.

We thoroughly enjoy receiving the Conservationist. A neighbor who teaches junior high school frequently borrows copies to show her classes how different some things are, and yet how similar are the needs for conservation and consideration for wildlife, no matter where you are in the world.

Christine & Herman Harpur, Whitehead, Northern Ireland

Missed kids

Thanks for an excellent magazine; I'm glad I live in Missouri.

I was happy to see the section for kids in the December issue, but I missed seeing it in later issues and was afraid you'd discontinued it.

Marjorie Mckenzie, West Plains

Editor's Note: "Outside In" is added to the Conservationist four times a year - March, June, September and December. We send classroom sets of this special publication to over 900 Missouri schools.

etceteras

Editor's note: Ron Coleman and Terry Whaley, who were quoted in "Saving the Green," in the April issue, assumed new positions after the article was written. Coleman is now director of Chesterfield Parks Department, and Whaley is now executive director of Ozark Greenways in Springfield.

In "Conservation Comes to the City," the organization called Gateway to Gardening is now named Gateway Greening Inc. Kathy Bosin of St. Louis provided the photographs accompanying that article.

AGENT'S NOTEBOOK

As I make my rounds checking anglers around Phelps County, especially at the trout parks, people often ask if it is OK for someone to help their kids fish, even if that person doesn't have a license or has already caught his or her limit.

About all an adult without a license or who has already filled his or her limit can do to help a youngster is to bait the hook, cast the line, net the fish and remove it from the hook.

Everything in between must be left to the youngster, including setting the hook and reeling in the fish. If the adult does any of these, we view the catch as belonging to the adult and, no matter what stringer it goes on, the fish counts toward the adult's daily limit.

The quick answer is that you can help your children fish; you can bait their hooks, even cast the line out for them, but hanging on to the fishing pole for any length of time requires a fishing permit. Any fish hooked while you are holding the fishing pole counts as your catch, regardless of who reels in the fish.

We certainly encourage adults to take kids fishing; it is a great way to spend a day as a family. But we don't want to see adults using children to bend the rules.

A few extra fish aren't worth the bad lessons you'll teach your children. Better to follow the letter and spirit of the law and instill in your children by example a good sporting ethic.

Stephen J. Zap

Phelps County

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