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Take a Hike?

I am a taxpayer and, because you can, you have taxed me again. I consider these continual price hikes of permits as thievery. This ranks right up there with user fees for national parks. I will no longer bird, rabbit or squirrel hunt here and I will no longer seek extra deer licenses.

John H. Johnston, Raymore

Editor's note: Most prices go up each year, but the Conservation Department has not had a general adjustment in the cost of permits for nine years. The cost of small game permits, by the way, did not increase, and prices for first and second bonus permits, respectively, are the same as and less than those before the adjustments.

I use Conservation Department lands on a regular basis, especially during the waterfowl season. I cannot thank you enough for all of the lands, nature centers, publications and programs you offer to the people of Missouri.

Each Conservation Department employee I have met has been very helpful with any questions or concerns. You mentioned license price hikes in the August issue. This is one resident that will not complain about the increase. Like you indicated, I am rich.

Kevin L. Jenkins, Valley Park

Shrewishness

I enjoyed "Miniature but Mighty" in the Outside In section of the August issue, but I was surprised that you didn't mention the fact that the shrew is poisonous. I heard about that on television and then at a 4-H program put on by the Conservation Department.

L. Faherty, Dixon

Editor's note: Most shrews are not poisonous but one species in Missouri, the short-tailed shrew, delivers a toxin with its bite that slows down the metabolism of its prey, making it easier to subdue and kill.

Doffing a Derby

Hats off to Pat Smith and the Conservation Department for recognizing equines, trails and the beautiful Three Creeks Conservation Area in the August issue.

I have ridden in this area several times and continue to return because of the natural sights, including caves, creeks, fall foliage, bluffs, views, wooded areas and wildlife.

 Schellie Blochberger, Missouri Equine Council

Deer surfeit

As a farmer in northwest Missouri, I have first-hand experience with many of the problems caused by deer overpopulation. Damage to our corn, soybean and alfalfa crops is common. I have literally driven the deer before me while operating a combine in a corn field. The Conservation Department has lengthened the deer season, but only a drastic increase in deer harvest can solve the deer overpopulation problem.

Gary J. Steiner, Amity

Editor's note: In addition to lengthening the deer season, the Conservation Department has encouraged a higher harvest by adding a special January season and making available to hunters two bonus permits that can be used to take deer in areas, including northwest Missouri, where deer numbers are high.

Luna influence

To say we enjoyed Charlotte Overby's "They Might be Giants" is an understatement.

After 21 years on our place we were privileged to have a Polyphemus moth attach itself to a screen and stay all day. At dusk, I settled down to watch him stretch and flutter his beautiful, brown velvet wings. Thank you for a timely piece.

Luther & Harriett Rumbaugh, Fulton

Your story on luna moths reminded me of finding a luna moth that seemed unable to fly. I brought her inside on my screened-in porch where she laid eggs-lots of eggs.

In a few days they hatched into tiny worms with black hair. I fed them fresh leaves from plants near where I found the mother, and they ate them up. I then put them outside on the plants, where I hoped they would survive.

The mother moth died after laying the eggs, and my daughter put her in a green arrangement she entered at the state fair. She got a blue ribbon. I'm 87 years old and cherish my experiences with nature.

Coraellen O'Neal, Clinton

Old glory

A correction to the cutline below the reader's photo in the July issue:

There is no American Flag, since there is no country called America. Our country is the United States (of America) and our flag is the United States' flag.

Other news media and politicians call it-often and incorrectly-America, but we don't have to mimic them. Let's be correct.

Herb Watchinski, Columbia

AGENT'S NOTEBOOK

Conservation agents are charged with enforcing the littering laws on Missouri's streams, lakes and public lands. Unfortunately, we have to deal with this crime all too often.

During my career, I have made arrests on littering cases ranging from pickup truck loads of building materials to 200 dirty diapers to single beer cans.

As you might imagine, some people don't like to get a ticket for one beer can. I like to point out to them, however, that we have millions of visitors to Missouri's outdoors each year and if each one of them left a can, then . . .

I'm often asked why we don't supply trash cans everywhere so that people can properly dispose of their trash.

Invariably, one of two things happens to our trash cans. They fill up with household trash and overflow, or the can ends up in a lake or stream.

Diapers, cans and truck loads of building trash are obvious, but there are other forms of litter just as bothersome and troublesome.

These include spent brass and shotgun hulls on shooting ranges and dove fields, worm containers and the remains of cleaned fish at accesses and streamsides, as well as fishing line, which can strangle birds and animals.

We don't think it's asking too much of people to remove their trash. Judging from the size of fines being issued for littering, most prosecutors and judges in Missouri don't think so either.

NICK LAPOSHA

COLE COUNTY

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