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Cover up!

What a beautiful cover! Your June issue arrived the same week that my own Missouri primrose started blooming. I am happy to see you encouraging people to plant native wildflowers around their homes. Wildflowers are easy to grow, multiply quickly and bring pleasure to the garden year after year.

Janet Foss, Lexington

I enjoy the Conservationist. Every month I look at the cover and if it is one that I especially like, I tear it off and frame it. I hang them or just lean them on my china cabinet to enjoy every day. My favorite has always been the photograph of the baskets on the June 1994 issue, but my new favorite is the Missouri primrose on the June 1997 issue. I grow this flower in my garden and love when it blooms.

Sue Kasparek, Florissant

Good Intro

"An Introduction to Fishing" in your May issue is so well done, Uncle Homer is filing it for use when I teach future fishing classes to kids and elders. Everything a beginner needs to know is there ... simply worded and aptly illustrated.

The other articles all tied in nicely. I've read countless state conservation issues over the years. This one deserves a special salute.

Homer Circle, Ocala, Fla.

I am a fisherman with 60 years experience and have read or subscribed to almost all fishing magazines at one time or another.

Your May issue is the best single issue of writing on fishing I have ever encountered. It should be a primer for every kid in Missouri. It covered all phases in everyday language everyone can understand.

Wm. G. Harding, Bonne Terre

Spray of flowers

I enjoyed your article on wildflowers, but why is it illegal to dig them up but OK for the Highway Department to spray weed killer on the sides of the road? I think wildflowers are better in a person's yard than dead on the side of the road.

Terrie Spiro, New Florence

Editor's note: The law against roadside digging was passed primarily to stop the roadside harvest of marketable plant roots and to stop people from digging up plants put in for roadside beautification to transplant to their yards, especially near larger cities. There is a need for spot-spraying of herbicides on roadsides to control noxious weeds, such as musk thistle, Canada thistle, teasel and Johnson grass. The solution to wholesale applications of herbicide to roadsides is for citizens to complain about the practice to county or state roadside managers.

Undue North

"Follow the Lines" was very informative and helpful to people using a compass in Missouri. However, it states that magnetic north is "near" Hudson Bay. It's actually near Bathurst Island, approximately 900 miles from Hudson Bay.

Al Southmayd, Florissant

In "Follow the Lines" the magnetic declination for Missouri is said to be 5.6 to 6 degrees. My map of St. Louis County shows it to be about 1.5 degrees.

Ed Winkelmeyer, Ballwin

Editor's note: The magnetic north pole fluctuates up to hundreds of kilometers. One current model places the pole at 78.5 N and 103.4 W degrees, which is near Ellef Ringnes Island, Canada. Declination changes over time as the earth's magnetic field drifts. In St. Louis County in the past 100 years, the declination has ranged from 0 degrees and 46 minutes to as much as 3 degrees and 29 minutes. The current declination for St. Louis is about 2 degrees, 19 minutes. The current declination for Kansas City is about 3 degrees 8 minutes.

Map Sources

Your article about the use of topo maps was interesting and informative, but two good sources of such maps weren't mentioned.

The St. Louis Orienteering Club ((314) 872-3165) and the Possum Trot Orienteering Club of Kansas City (913/884-7394) have produced very accurate and detailed maps of at least 50 public use areas in Missouri, including local and state parks and Conservation Department areas.

Al Smith, St. Louis

Ringing endorsement

My wife noticed a funny looking ring around the area under her arm where she had removed a tick a week or so earlier. The first thing I did was start going through the stack of Conservationists for the article I'd read about Lyme disease.

It turned out she had the disease but, because of your article, the doctor says we caught it early enough that she'll not have to go through any of the hardships we read about. We both pray you keep doing what you are doing, touching and changing lives.

Randy Eason, Freeman

Family matter

In the comments about the Rainbow Gathering in the Huzzah Conservation Area, it would have been nice to mention the common sense approach of the attendees with regard to intensive recycling, creative low impact camping systems and environmental cleanup. As a next door neighbor of the Huzzah area, I tip my hat to the Rainbow Family for a cooperative job well done.

Tony Nenninger, Bourbon

Wildflower bounty

We have just about all the flowers you pictured in your June edition on wildflowers on our acreage along Highway 60. When the state built the new highway through Van Buren, they mixed wildflower seed in as they mulched and seeded the right-of-way. To our surprise, this year we have a big beautiful bunch of Missouri primrose blooming.

Burlin & Pauline Brame, Van Buren

Great Trails

Enjoyed your "Take a Hike, St. Louis." However, you've left out many wonderful St. Louis trails. My favorite is Castlewood State Park, off Big Bend and Ries Road in west St. Louis County. Hike on top of the bluffs and down along the Meramec River.

Others are Queeny County Park trails, The Confluence Greenway along the river, Shaw Arboretum and Grant's Trail in south county. Some of these we have to share with bikers and skaters.

Thanks to Trailnet, the state, the county, the city and all who are responsible for all our great trails.

Norma Deen Juracsik, St. Louis

AGENT'S NOTEBOOK

Enforcing waterfowl regulations is an important part of my duties as an agent stationed near Mingo National Wildlife Refuge and Duck Creek Wildlife Area in southeast Missouri. And one of the common problems I face is skybusting, or shooting at ducks and geese that are beyond the effective range of shotguns.

As more and more hunters crowd together onto shrinking available hunting areas, they seem to think "I better shoot at the birds before someone else does."

I have watched hunters shoot at ducks and geese in the 100- to 200-yard range, and I've seen them fire two to four boxes of shells and not retrieve a single bird.

Skybusting keeps waterfowl out of range of neighboring hunters and detracts from their success and their opportunity to enjoy their day outdoors. Shooting at birds that are out of range also results in too many crippled birds that sail out of the flock but are unrecoverable.

Although skybusting is a serious problem, the solution is simple. If hunters would only use good judgement and limit their shots, they and their neighbors would have better hunting.

Limiting your shots to waterfowl that are within range would also significantly decrease the waste that goes along with excessive crippling. I think we all agree that our waterfowl resources are too important a treasure to squander by skybusting.

Mic Plunkett, Wayne County

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