Reflections

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Bugs On Call

I got a good laugh out of the letter on the doodlebug. I grew up on a farm years ago. When we saw a mound of dirt with a hole in it we knew it was a doodlebug. We would place our head close to the hole and call, "Doodlebug." Sometimes the bug would come up to the opening to see what was going on. It was a contest to see who could call it out.

Edna Lowry, Wheatland

If you put your face about one foot away from their trap and keep saying "Doodlebug," about 30 times, they will come out of their trap, and you can catch them. We used to make a game out of seeing who could get the most doodlebugs.

Erwin A. Nickels, High Ridge

"Litteracy"

I would like to thank Missouri Conservation Department Director Jerry M. Conley for his editorial on the trashing of our lakes and streams. The article was very good, but the wrong people are reading it. Those who don't care won't read this kind of article; even if they do, it doesn't sink in. I live along Highway YY, and the litter in the ditches is terrible. The only answer is to hit those who get caught littering heavily in the pocket book.

Charles Crum, Lebanon

Agrarian Pride

In "Rebirth of an Urban Prairie," the word "plow" is used negatively, in the same context as "pavement." I agree that cropland has taken some native areas from the landscape, but has it not returned its fair share to the environment?

My brother and I farm land inside the Kansas City limits. We figure we lose about 10 percent or more of our annual crop production to wildlife. This is part of farming, and we are proud to contribute so significantly to wildlife.

I think it is extremely unfortunate that the people who make their living from the land and who feed not only people in this country and in others, but also wildlife, do not get the respect they deserve. Farmers are the original environmentalists. Their livelihoods and the livelihoods of generations that follow them depend on their properly caring for the land.

Hunters often choose to hunt on farms, anglers fish in farm ponds and people go to the country to enjoy the scenery. Farmers must be doing something right.

David W. Seba, Cleveland, Mo.

Fish Worms

Like the author of "Goggle-eye Bonanza," my husband and I like to fish for goggle-eye. They can definitely put up a fight!

The last few years, however, when we caught fish in small creeks and streams and have filleted them, we saw yellow worms, definitely alive and moving. We have also found the worms in smallmouth bass and bluegill. We don't want to eat them so we have quit fishing these waters. We fish in lakes, and the fish don't have this problem.

Carole Bleckler, Sainte Genevieve

Editor's note: The "worms" you are encountering are probably yellow grubs (Clinostumum spp.). These are common in Missouri's ponds, streams and reservoirs. Yellow grubs-technically, flukes-require snails, fish and fish-eating birds to complete their life cycles. They may have become more numerous in the waters you fish because of an increase in vegetation that harbors snails or an increase in fish-eating birds, such as great blue herons. Yellow grubs are harmless to humans. Flick them out of the meat when cleaning. If you miss one or two, they will cook with the fish and not be noticeable. More information about fish parasites is contained in an article scheduled to appear in our June issue.

Sprawl Prevention

Perhaps real estate developers whose plans would encroach on farm land should be required to file an agricultural-loss statement with the state.

The statement should include the value of farm products produced on that land during the 10 years prior to development. Both the nutritional and economic values of the farm land would be considered when licensing development.

Requiring these statements would call attention to the impoverishment that urban sprawl creates.

Jerry O'Keefe, Kansas City

Beep-Beep

I enjoyed the article about roadrunners. I am credited with the sighting of the first roadrunner in Missouri. That was in 1956, when I was a freshman biology student doing "salvage archaeology" in the White River Valley before Table Rock Dam was completed and covered up all the Native American remains.

All my colleagues called me "Beep Beep Zoom" when I told them I had spotted a roadrunner. I shut them up when I collected one in the flesh (or feather) in July 1962 in Barry County.

My summary of these and other early roadrunner sightings was published in "The Bluebird," by the Missouri Audubon Society. I am now a retired archaeology professor.

Larry Brown, Tallahassee, Fla.

The letters printed here reflect readers' opinions about the Conservationist and its contents. Space limitations prevent us from printing all letters, but we welcome signed comments from our readers. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.

Ask the Ombudsman

Q: Why are the small game hunting and migratory bird permits on two different pieces of paper like deer tags? Where should I paste my federal duck stamp?

A: The latest permit distribution contract allows the Conservation Department to return to the old style deer/turkey permit, favored by hunters. The permit contains a tear-off, stick-on transportation tag. The remainder of the deer and turkey permit is to be turned in when the animal is checked. The "new" permits are easier to read and more durable than those of recent years.

For practicality and consistency, all permits (since July 1, 2001) are printed on paper with self-adhesive backing. Deer and turkey permit holders must leave the permit intact. However, holders of other permits, such as small game hunting permits and angling permits, may remove the backing from their permits and fold the sticky portions together top to bottom, making sure all printed portions of the permit are readable. The permit may be folded again for more convenient carrying.

The federal waterfowl stamp may be stuck to the permit as long as it doesn't cover the ID info. The law says the stamp must be signed and on the hunter's person, but it doesn't have to be stuck to the permit.

Firearms deer season opens Nov. 10. Deer hunters can avoid the possibility of long lines and delays by buying their permits early. For more information, see the "2001 Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting Information" pamphlet or log on to www.mdc.mo.gov/hunt/deer/deertuk/.

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. 3848, or e-mail him at <Ken.Drenon@mdc.mo.gov>.

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