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UNSTICKING TICKS

To remove a tick, put a container of water over it. It will release because it is drowning. I learned this from my mom and dad years ago.

Curt James, Lexington

NOT SO FAST

I find it humorous that a reader suggested we protect wildlife from fast food. As long as squirrels and deer and birds and fish don’t take up the habit of watching TV, playing video games or using the Internet, they are quite safe from any detrimental effects from our modern society. Outside of hunting and fishing, that is.

D.C. Mueth, St. Clair

CCC BOY

 I read your article on the Youth Conservation Corps with great interest.

Over 70 years ago, I was one of those CCC boys. Today, as I drive through the Black Hills of South Dakota and see the huge ponderosa pines marching up the hillsides, my heart swells with pride, knowing I thinned the jack pines to leave the best trees to grow.

I found one discrepancy in the article. We got $30 a month, not $30 a week. We were left with $5 a month after $25 went home to our parents. Even so, the $30 a month was more than the $21 per month we got from the military at the outbreak of WWII.

Arnold Benson, Jasper

WELL-READ

I want to let you know how impressed I have been by how widely and thoroughly read the Conservationist is. Since April, when you published my article “Spring Rains,” I have received acknowledgment from so many people I did not previously know but who recalled the article.

Examples include a mother and daughter celebrating Mother’s Day at Big Spring Picnic Area in the valley I wrote about; the owner of a healthfood store who noticed the name on my credit card; the counter clerk at the post office who remembered my photograph; two women restoring a glade who wanted to come and see what we are doing here.

In addition, people who did know me—guests at our retreat center, the women’s nature book club I belong to, neighbors at the voluntary fire department, friends who love to steward the land they own—also mentioned the article.

Although this was a nice boost for me, even more gratifying was to know that so many people enjoy reading about Missouri wildlife and are as proud to live here as I am.

Sara Firman-Pitt, Ozarks

CONSERNOMICS

Your “Consernomics” article didn’t mention a very important renewable resource. Trapping and hunting of furbearers for their pelts and meat adds millions to the state’s economy. The business of trapping animals that are causing damage also is growing each year, especially in urban areas.

Freddie Cox, St. Clair

I read your magazine habitually to learn what I can about wildlife, however, I was disappointed in your “Consernomics” story. As I see it, wildlife is priceless.

Jamie Senghetser, Imperial

BIRD ID

I am wondering what the name of the bird is that is pictured in the upper left photo on page 30 of the June issue. I have seen them on my farm for several years but have been unable to identify them.

Marvin Mercer, Grant City

Editor’s note: That’s a bobolink.

GREEN ANGLERS

Jim Rathert’s article on green herons was informative and, of course, included superb wildlife photos.

Every summer, residents around the mini-lake in Kirkwood’s city park include a couple of blue and green herons. They win the prize for the most patient of anglers, with the possible exception of Mr. Brown.

F. Richard Boeneker, St. Louis

TANGLED

If you look closely at the cover photo of the green heron, it appears that he may be caught up in fishing line.

A recent issue covered the hazards of discarded fishing line. Just a reminder to all fishermen and women, please do not discard your broken or tangled fishing line on the bank or in the water. Place it in your pocket instead.

J. Roger Darting, Kansas City

Editor’s note: The photographer said it wasn’t fishing line but a string of filamentous algae. However, your point is well-taken.

Ask the Ombudsman

Q: I recently dug a drainage ditch and found a strange, small critter in the water that is about six inches long and about the diameter of a pine needle. It swims like a snake, stays submerged and does not appear to have a head. Can you tell me what it is?

A: What you’re describing sounds like a horsehair worm, also called a hairsnake or Gordian worm. This unique invertebrate is a parasite, but not of humans, livestock or pets. The adult hairworms mate and lay eggs in the water. The eggs hatch into tiny larvae that form a cyst in plants. A plant-eating insect (such as cricket, grasshopper or beetle) ingests the cyst, which later frees the larvae to mature into an adult.

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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