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Reflections

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Moonstruck

I enjoyed Jeremy Jackson's "Lunar Lore." It was a delightful collection of facts and stories about the moon.

I might add a couple more facts: The moon always shows the same side to the earth. The only way we have been able to see the other side is from satellites orbiting the moon, which first occurred in the 1960s.

Also, there is a phenomenon known as "earth shine." A few days before or after a new moon, you can see the moon as a small crescent, but if you look hard, you can also see a faint outline of the complete moon. This is the sun's light reflecting off the earth and then again off the moon.

I might also add that lunar phases 3 and 7 in your diagrams would be seen as half moons from the earth.

Donald Weber, Springfield

Contentment

November's "Reflections" vented two very different views. One claims there are too many bug articles in the Conservationist, and the other claims there are too many deer articles. I want to go on record as perfectly content with the magazine as it is. It informs readers of conservation efforts, the need to continue with these efforts and how to enjoy the outdoors. While these points are not equally expressed in each issue, I believe they are in each volume.

Nature brings people together, giving them a chance to form lasting bonds. If we don't conserve natural resources, what will be left to bring and hold us together?

Jonathan Harman, California

Deer divided

You provided two useful formulas in your short article, "Venison Conversion Made Easy." By combining the two mathematical equations, a new useful equation is obtained.

If live weight is 1.3 times the field dressed weight and edible meat is .65 percent of the field dressed weight, then it follows that just about 1/2 of the live weight is edible meat.

Gerald R. French, Perryville

Frozen fowl

I liked the back cover photo of the mourning dove in the harsh winter scene.

During a bad winter in the mid-1970s, I was hunting rabbits in the Augusta Bottom, along the north bank of the Missouri River, and observed at least a dozen dead doves scattered randomly about the frozen snow. They obviously had frozen to death as they roosted.

On another hunt, I found five quail frozen to death in a small blackberry patch at the end of a harvested cornfield. They apparently had come out to feed and not survived the wind chill.

Wallace E. Sehrt, Washington

Squirrel brains

I've been told that squirrel heads are unsafe to consume. Is that accurate or a falsehood? I have several frozen from my son and friends, but I'm afraid to fix them.

Donna Schuler, Farmington

Editor's note: Scientists at the University of Kentucky are investigating whether there is a link between eating squirrel brains and Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, a progressive and usually fatal disease of the brain and spinal cord. Their study was prompted by a report that 11 people with the disease treated by a neurologist in western Kentucky in four years all had eaten squirrel brains. Six of those people died. The prevalence of the disease in the area and the eating patterns of the victims gave rise to the suspicion that squirrel brains might harbor a transmissible infectious agent. No similar connection has been noted in Missouri, and no official warnings have gone out, according to state health and agriculture officials.

Half-century hunting

My dad is 84 years old and again went turkey hunting and deer hunting this year, as he has for 50 years. A safe, legal hunter, he had only one trauma: he was "sound shot" a few years ago by an eager turkey hunter. No apparent ill effects.

Karen Brinegar, Hutchinson, Kan.

Bombed

Your article on swallows was great. We had a nesting pair in our breezeway for a couple years, and I loved watching them and their young. It always amazed me they knew the difference between me and my husband. He was always bombed when he went near.

Marjorie Smith, Windsor

Blue Lumber

Concerning "How Much Is a Tree Worth," people should know that loggers will not knowingly cut timber that they suspect may contain metal of any kind. Trees from fence rows, along road sides and around home sites are commonly rejected. Larger sawmills have magnetic sensors that detect metal in logs that would render the logs worthless.

Stained wood in a log's cross-section (loggers call it "blue wood") makes a log worthless for veneer and furniture grade lumber. So think twice before you put up a new fence, build the kids a tree house or even allow hunters to use screw-in tree steps to climb trees. That $1,000 veneer log can be quickly and unnecessarily ruined.

Earl Jones, Cedar Hill

Caught Knapping

In "The Flint Knapper," you said Tim Murphy went to an archaeology conclave in Campsville, Ill. The correct spelling is Kampsville. I know the place and enjoy stopping there.

N.J. Zier, Blue Springs

Ask the Ombudsman

Q: I'm concerned about the ever increasing coyote population in Missouri. We've heard numerous reports of coyotes killing young livestock and even family pets. We would like to know why a bounty can't be put back on the coyote to increase the interest of hunting them and ridding us of some of these pesky predators.

A: In the past, demand for their fur kept coyotes in hunters' sights, which kept their numbers down. Current fashion now favors other furbearer species, so there isn't much incentive for hunters and trappers to pursue coyotes.

Bounty programs have never proven to be effective methods of controlling problem animals. Unscrupulous people took advantage of the process by submitting multiple claims for the same animal, as well as importing animals from outside the area to collect bounty money.

The Conservation Department's approach to controlling coyotes (and other nuisance wildlife) is to remove individual offending animals. Wildlife damage control biologists work with landowners, training them in trapping skills and providing equipment at cost to eliminate problem wildlife. To enlist the services of a wildlife damage control biologist, contact your conservation agent or Conservation Department regional office.

Ombudsman Ken Drenon will respond to your questions, suggestions or complaints concerning Conservation Department programs. Write him at P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0180, call him at (573) 751-4115, ext. 848 or e mail him at <Ken.Drenon@mdc.mo.gov>.

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