I was especially pleased to see the two wonderful stories in the September issue about married couples hunting together. My husband and I have been hunting partners for the better part of 47 years.
I am now a 68-year-old grandmother and getting a bit selective about when I go deer hunting. If it is bitter cold or freezing rain, I may opt to "wait until tomorrow." Still, if I choose not to join the hunt, I get excited for my husband, son and grandson.
Norma Rambaud, Wentzville
Years ago, while delivering mail south of Poplar Bluff, I witnessed a kettle of hawks in a funnel configuration-probably at least 50 in number. No one would believe me; they said they were probably buzzards.
Thanks for the picture that proved me right.
H.R. Francis, Poplar Bluff
I opened my August Conservationist and shouted, "That's the bird!" It was one I couldn't identify when birding along the KATY Trail by August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area. It looked like a meadowlark that had been dipped in yellow paint. Thanks for the picture of the Canada warbler.
Madonna Lowell, Crestwood
It really makes me mad to have a landowner complain about deer damage and in the same breath say, "I don't allow hunting."
Let me assure you that there are more good guys than there are bad guys, so please don't lump us all into the same group and ban all hunters from your land.
Those of us who are not fortunate enough to own hunting land are totally dependent on those that do. Give us a chance. You never know but you might make some new friends as you keep the deer population under control.
John Rinkenbaugh, Camdenton
Black powder lament
The reason Missouri has so few muzzleloader hunters is simple. If you buy a muzzleloader hunting permit, you cannot hunt with a rifle. I have hunted in other states that allow hunters to hunt with a rifle tag during firearms season and a muzzleloader during black powder season. If Missouri did this, local sporting goods stores would get a flood of requests to carry blackpowder gear.
Michael Kuelans, Ozark
Editor's note: The Conservation Department is eliminating the muzzleloading permit in March 1999. Holders of firearms deer permits will have the option of hunting with muzzleloaders or modern weapons during the firearms deer season and can use unfilled permits to hunt with muzzleloaders during the muzzleloading season.
I was so pleased to see the article on the white squirrels of Marionville. My dear friend, Dorothy Dusenberry (now deceased) of Billings, told us about these squirrels years ago. We finally took the motorhome and made the trip to Marionville to see them in person. They are a real Missouri treasure!
Sheila (Dunn) Garrigus, Independence
I feel compelled to write after reading "Missouri's Big Cat Mystery," in the Outside In section of the August issue.
I, too, questioned big cat sightings until I saw one myself in the middle of the day in May 1996.
It was a big cat, light brown in color with a huge, long tail. It was walking along our gravel road, and when it saw me, it bounded across a freshly disced field and into a thicket of trees. Its haunches looked huge and powerful.
I am a born-and-raised Missouri resident who loves the outdoors. I was taught to be honest and respectful by conscientious parents. I certainly have nothing to gain by falsely reporting this big cat sighting. I know the mystery cats are here and that they are awesome and unpredictable.
Judy Gastel, Lamar
Editor's note: We received dozens of credible reports of big cat sightings following the publication of an article about them. The Conservation Department is keeping an open mind to the possibility of mountain lions living in Missouri and will continue to look for hard evidence of their presence.
The only place that I hunt and fish is in the Missouri Conservationist. I salute you for the editorial, "Our Natural Net Worth," in the August issue. It tells me a great deal about what we Americans should all stand for.
Carl C. Stifel, St. Louis
After reading the "Success Story" sidebar to the "Purple Loosestrife on the Loose" article, my interest was piqued with regard to what herbicide they used and was considered safe to use around ponds and wetlands.
Jeffrey T. Lakin, Ballwin
Editor's Note: Tim Smith, author of the article, says for loosestrife control the Conservation Department relies on Rodeo, which has been licensed for use around water.