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ERRING THINGS OUT

We omitted the word "except" in a sentence describing hand fishing regulations in our February issue. The sentence on page 27 should have read:"Catfish may not be taken from any man-made object, except from bona fide construction, such as bridges, docks, boat ramps and rock rip rap. In our March issue, we misidentified"Ozark Wildflowers" by Don Kurz as a Conservation Department publication. It was published by Falcon Press.

BIRD COVER

On the cover of the March 2005 mag is a little bird. What is it? We have one that lives on our back porch year-round. My mom talks to it every evening as it comes to roost. We live in South St. Louis County.

Dianna, Via Internet

Editor's Reply: That's a yellow-rumped warbler.

A GRIN FOR VIRGIL

I came upon the notice of Virgil Ward's death in your magazine. Growing up in Union, I always enjoyed Mr. Ward's show, and always thought he would be a decent man to meet. I'm surprised that he'd been on TV that many years.

I'm now 49 years old, and had a good grin remembering him. Thanks for publishing the announcement.

David M. Wente, Steelville, Ill.

DON'T FLUSH

I just got done reading your article on poison ivy and gasped when the author suggests using cool running water to clean your hands if you've been exposed.

From someone that has tried that, let your readers know that is a mistake. All the water does is spread the oil around to other parts of your body, which spreads the "evil". Use dishwashing liquid or something that cuts through the oil immediately. I would rather do nothing, or wipe my hands off on a towel (then bury it) than use water.

Jack Russell, Ballwin

Editor's note: Most authorities suggest washing infected areas with soap and water within 15 minutes of contact to remove poison ivy resin.

HIDDEN EROSION

I enjoyed reading the article "Creating a Better Place for Wildlife," but I question the practice of pushing brush and logs into ravines. Instead of preventing it, this practice encourages soil erosion!

The brush and logs impede the smooth flow of the water in the ravine. As the water flows around objects, it cuts into the soil. In time, the erosive forces create a deeper and wider ravine. This increased erosion is often hidden by the brush and logs in the ravine.

To keep soil on your land, don't push brush or treetops into ravines.

People with water flow questions or problems can contact their County Soil and Water Conservation District for assistance. These offices work hand in hand with the Conservation Department.

Jackie Moore, District Manager, Soil & Water Conservation District, St. Louis County

FAST FOOD CHAIN

I'm worried that our fast food chain not only negatively effects our kids, it also impacts wildlife. An open trash dumpster provides an easy way for a tired momma bird to feed her babies food that is not good for them. Please remind your readers to keep their dumpsters closed.

SAVING FRUIT TREES

Before your readers chop down their fruit trees, I would like to tell you what we did to get rid of a mockingbird.

We only had one, but it made a terrible mess on the deck outside our kitchen door. There is a large holly bush beside the deck and the bird drove other birds away and made his home there. Not only did it like the berries but it also liked our shiny brass doorknobs.

To attract the bird, we put a small piece of bright yellow cloth in a livetrap. Within 15 minutes the bird was caught. We then took it out into the country and set it free.

Bill & Marie Prater, Springfield

MANTIS RECOLLECTED

Reading the praying mantis article reminded of the one I encountered close to 20 years ago, soon after moving to the Branson area. I went out to hop in our cute little MG and saw what I thought was a large stick poking out from the wheel well.

On closer inspection, I nearly had a coronary to find a bug unlike anything I had ever seen before. I do not exaggerate when I tell you that the mantis would not fit in a shoe box, and its body was the circumference of my thumb. No, I did not collect it. I went back in the house meekly and waited for it to leave.

Linda Meehan, Mendota Heights, Minn.

Ask the Ombudsman

Q: I'm teaching my 7-year-old to shoot and we've learned that he's left-eye-dominant, but right handed. I'm trying to teach him to shoot left-handed, but he finds it awkward. Are there other alternatives?

 

A: I think you have the right idea starting your child early and training him to shoot left handed. This strategy may require a great deal of patience for you both, but in the end I think he'll shoot better. Other alternatives would be to shoot with only the weak eye open, or use a patch to cover the dominant eye.

You can determine your dominant eye by pointing at a small object with both eyes open then close your left eye. If you're still pointing at the object you're right eye is dominant. If, you're no longer pointing at the object you're probably left eye dominant. Studies tell us that around one third of shooters have weak-side eye dominance. Some learn to compensate and are able to shoot with their strong hand while using the opposite eye.

Eye dominance is covered in Missouri's hunter education training. Hunter education certification is required of all hunters born on or after January 1, 1967, to buy any Missouri permit with which a firearm may be used. Now is a good time to be thinking about enrolling in a hunter education course in preparation for this fall's hunting seasons. Most courses are taught by volunteer instructors who try to make training available prior to the November deer hunting season. Hunters who wait until just before season may not find courses. For a weekly updated schedule of hunter education courses go online or contact your nearest 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) 522-4115, ext. 3848, or e-mail him at <Ken.drenon@mdc.mo.gov>.

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