Reflections

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Increasing Awareness

The person who wrote the letter titled "Archers Aware" claimed that archers need a hunting permit to shoot coyote, bobcat or fox with a bow-not an archery tag!

In the Wildlife Code, however, it says the archery permit allows the holder "to pursue, take, possess and transport deer and wild turkey during the fall deer and turkey season and small game during the prescribed seasons."

Which is right? Also, must these animals be checked in?

Scott P. Rodgers, High Ridge

Editor's note: The author of the letter cites old information that is now incorrect. We recently added small game and furbearers during the prescribed seasons to the resident archer's permit. To answer your other question, deer and turkey must be brought to a check station. No other animals allowed under an archer's permit need be checked, except that bobcats must be registered not later than Feb. 4 with an agent of the Conservation Department in the county where taken or any county open to the taking of bobcat.

No MO Trash

When I saw Director Conley's "No MO Trash" column in the September issue, I was so happy I almost cried. It grieved me when I retired back to my birth state of Missouri to see how littered the roadsides are. We have so much beauty here that it is criminal to trash it.

In our Hickory County community, we retirees have already initiated an active campaign to de-litter our part of the countryside. Your leadership and awareness assistance will encourage us in our efforts and, hopefully, inspire other communities to work for some solutions to the litter problem.

Keep us posted on how we can work with you to help clean up Missouri and preserve its natural beauty.

Lucille Frey, Urbana

Sweet Smell of Success

I read your magazine from cover to cover and thoroughly enjoy it. In your deer hunting article you say bucks make their scrapes primarily at night, but I have watched many a buck make them in the daytime.

I probably hunt differently than anyone else you know. I am 82 years old and have been hunting deer some 40-odd years. Twenty five years ago, I changed my approach after trying all other ways with more or less success. Now, on opening morning, I shower and shave and then thoroughly saturate myself with the sweetest, loudest-smelling aftershave lotion that I have before heading out into the woods. Sometimes, I even soak some aftershave into the sponge rubber soles of my hunting boots.

Deer, being the most curious of animals. can't resist the strange aroma and will come up very close They will even trail a person through the woods with their head down, almost like a hound.

I have always filled my tags, and as many bonuses as I am lucky enough to draw. The only drawback is that the turkeys like the strange aroma, and if they find me first, they make so much noise that the deer stay out of range.

Dr. Howard M. Jones, Marionville

Overlooking

Thank you for writing such a wonderful article in the August issue about my dad, Fred Simmons. He was a very modest man in every way, and he would have been astounded to see that full-page picture of himself!

Your description of him was accurate; it was as if you knew him personally.

As the article indicated, he was a wonderful husband and father who loved fishing above all else. He was so pleased when the grandchildren set up the honorarium in his name with the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation. You can be sure when the Discovery Center is complete and helping youngsters learn how to hunt, fish and preserve nature, Dad's spirit will be right there with them

Thelma Wever, Fair Oaks

Hammer Time

I don't think firearms with hammers on them, including single-shots, lever-actions, revolvers and even muzzleloaders, are safe for youngsters. You can drop them, catch the hammer on brush, clothes or gun case, slip trying to cock or uncock or knock the hammer in many other ways. All could discharge with possibly fatal results. I believe bolt-actions, pumps and in-line black powder rifles are much safer for youngsters to learn to hunt with.

Ferris William Heller, Jr., Arcadia

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: I've put in for waterfowl reservations for the past three years and never been selected, yet I have friends who get chosen for two and even three reservations. Am I just unlucky?

A: The system is set up in a completely random fashion so that when a hunter's name comes up, the first choice is viewed and approved or rejected. If it's rejected the system goes on to the second choice and so on down the line until all options are covered. A hunter selected for either first or second choice is taken out of the selection process until all applicants have been processed. A second and or third drawing is held for leftover opportunities.

Here are some facts from the recent drawing that may be helpful: 9,180 hunters applied for waterfowl reservations; 6,672 were successful; 680 hunters got two reservations and 43 got three. The odds of being selected and getting multiple reservations increase when hunters apply for areas that receive lighter hunting pressure or where more hunting opportunities exist.

Remember, half (sometimes more than half because some reservation holders don't show up) of the available hunting opportunities are open to a daily walk-in drawing for those without reservations.

For more on the Waterfowl Reservation System please see <www.mdc.mo.gov/hunt/wtrfowl/>.

The Conservation Department also gets requests from unsuccessful hunters to scrap the random draw system for Managed Deer Hunts and go to a preference system in which unsuccessful hunters receive points which are applied to subsequent drawings, assuring they will eventually be selected. Most states that use a preference system do so for the purpose of delegating limited permits for a regular season. Missouri's managed hunts are additional opportunities beyond the regular season. Due to expense and to the negative experiences of other agencies involved in such systems, The Department has elected to stay with the random system. We believe the current system is fair because no one is excluded from applying, and all applicants have an equal chance of being selected. Managed hunt applicants may be interested in consulting <www.mdc.mo.gov/hunt/deer/draw.htm> when figuring odds for next year's hunts.

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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