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Reflections

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A Dissarviss

I enjoyed "Outstanding but Overlooked Trees for Landscape Planting," but it brought to mind a pet peeve. "Serviceberry" is meaningless as a name, or is at least a genteel corruption of an older and more scholarly form.

In "A Natural History of Trees," author Donald Culross Peattie says, "It is from the fruits that Sarvisberry takes its name, for the word is a transformation of the sorbus given by the Romans to a related kind of fruit."

I doubt I will win this battle. My computer spell-check rejected both sarvissberry and sarvisstree as misspellings. It accepted serviceberry.

Mark Sullivan, Jefferson City

Flower Fighting

I read with interest that Josh Shroyer "has 10 years experience fighting wildflowers, including some famous ones in Montana, Oregon and Washington."

I suppose the tiger lily could pose a real threat, not to speak of the wild rose and the dreaded snake root. I am comforted to know that someone is on top of the problem.

Armon Yanders, Columbia

What kind of weapons does Josh use to fight wildflowers? Is that how the black-eyed Susan got its name? And are the black medic and heal-all his allies?

Jim Adams, via Internet

My 13-year-old son, Coyt, places the flower fighter up there with the likes of Bat Masterson and Wild Bill Hickock. He started telling us tales of Josh commanding the flowers to drop their pistils and put their stamens in the air!

David Westfall, Columbia

I haven't found a wildflower that can beat me yet, although Canada thistle and Queen Anne's lace have fought me to a draw.

Monte Schaufler, Shawnee, Kans.

Editor's note: An amazing number of readers caught our error. Perhaps we need to make our type smaller.

Permit Price War

If drawn for a turkey hunting permit in Iowa, I would have had to pay $198 for a permit. Just a couple years ago it cost $60 plus a habitat stamp. No more hunting trips to Iowa for me.

I strongly support the Conservation Department charging non-residents who wish to hunt here the same amount their state would charge Missouri residents to hunt.

Robert Foreman, Kansas City

Editor's note: This year, Missouri increased its non-resident spring turkey hunting permit price to $145.

Bottoms Up

I enjoyed "Outstanding but Overlooked Trees for Landscape Planting." Thanks to squirrels, we've had pin oak sprout in our yard, but despite having bur oak in the neighborhood, none have come up.

I was wondering if a bur oak can be started from the acorn. If it is possible, which end of the acorn is planted "down," the cap end or the bottom? Our squirrels may be doing it wrong.

Don & Barbara Davis, Hermitage

Editor's note: All bur oaks start from acorns. The acorn's position doesn't matter. Acorns are geotrophic. In layman's terms that means they know which way is up and down. Bur oak acorns germinate in the fall. Acorns found in spring probably are not viable.

Sayings

Though a cat lover, I found a bit of humor in Director Jerry Conley's quoting, "so high you can't swing a dead cat around in a circle without hitting a turkey or a deer!"

I wonder if he's heard the one about being "as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs" or, "as low as a snake's belly in a wagon rut?"

I get a kick out of using the old sayings. I once complimented a meal with, "They sure got a good scald on this one." My grown nephew said, "Now what does that mean?"

G'ma Witte, Rhineland

Crow Fails I.Q. Test

After reading about the blackbirds softening dog food in a bird bath, I thought I would report that the crows that frequent our bird bath put bread and spaghetti into the water to soak, and they come back later to eat it.

One day I saw a bone from a T-bone steak into the water. The next morning a crow was pecking on the bone, but it hadn't softened. I guess crows are not that smart.

David Brown, Springfield

For Farmers Only

I was delighted to learn recently that a person doesn't have to live on a farm to get the Conservationist. I always thought that was why Mom and Dad received them.

Dad's love of wildlife moved him to set aside areas of woodland and steeper hills and valleys for deer and turkey.

The farm has become a beautiful place, but soon the best parts will be covered with water to supply water for a five-county area.

Steve Stutler, Kirksville

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 have to put in for vacation early. Why can't I learn turkey and deer season dates earlier?

image of ombudsmanA: The Conservation Department tries to provide opening day information as early as possible to help hunters plan their outings, but before it can officially set a season, the Commission must wait for harvest information from the previous season to be collected and analyzed.

The summary of Missouri Hunting & Trapping Regulations (available at permit vendors each December) lists opening days for turkey and deer seasons. Information and permits for spring turkey season become available on March 1, and for deer season on July 1. The Wildlife Code specifies that, "Opening date for the firearms deer hunting season has been established as the Saturday nearest November 15 except that, when such opening date would extend the season through Thanksgiving Day, the season will open one week earlier. Opening date of the muzzleloading season... has been established as the first Saturday in December."

According to the Wildlife Code archery season runs from Oct. 1 through Jan. 15, except for closing during the November portion of the firearms season.

The spring turkey season begins on the Monday closest to April 21. Fall turkey season begins on the second Monday in October and will be 14 days long.

In 2002, the archery deer/turkey season opens on Oct. 1, the fall firearms turkey season opens Oct. 14, firearms deer season opens Nov. 16 and muzzleloading deer season opens Dec. 7.

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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