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Reflections

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CLOSING THE GAP

A big thank you to the folks at Missouri Conservationist. As the mother of a 12-year-old boy, it is sometimes quite difficult to find things to talk about with each other. Your articles are both interesting and informative. It has sparked many a conversation and kept open the lines of parent-child communication!

Karri Rubottom, Neosho

SHARP-DRESSED MALE

The great blue heron pictured in the August 2005 issue did not have a feather plume coming from the top of his head. I have noticed that this is also true of one frequenting the lakes of our subdivision. Why do some have this, while some do not?

Joann Lanigan, Warrenton

Editor’s Note: The head plume is a courtship feature of adult great blue herons. Immature birds lack both head and body plumes.

DISTANT FRIENDS

In your September 2005 “Reflections,” Mike and Rita McGuire of Bowling Green, Ky., wrote, “What a treat when we discovered the Missouri Conservationist was free just for living here.”

I send my copy each month to a friend who grew up, married and lived in Missouri for the first 40-plus years of his life. He still hunts and fishes here. Can he receive the magazine free of charge, having lived here? Or, am I reading something inaccurate?

John J. Riemer, Grover

Editor’s Note: Subscriptions to the Conservationist remain free to adult Missouri residents. Out-of-state subscriptions are $7 per year and foreign subscriptions are $10 per year. We regret that we cannot extend free subscriptions to former Missouri residents. Though the McGuires reminisced about receiving the magazine free while they were residents, they are now paying the out-of-state fee.

PERMITS ONLINE

Thank you for making it so easy to purchase all my permits online! My friend and I decided late this evening to get up very early to go squirrel hunting, but I did not have my small game permit and did not want to drive all the way into town. I remembered from my conservation magazine that we could purchase online. While there, I went ahead and purchased my deer and turkey permits too. This is great. Thank you!

Tim McIver, Farmington

Editor’s Note: To purchase fishing and hunting permits online, visit <www.wildlifelicense.com/mo/>. Anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 1967 (unless hunting on a youth deer and turkey hunting permit) must have completed an approved hunter education program in Missouri or another state to buy a firearms hunting permit. If you are in this age category, and if your hunter education certification can be verified through our computer files, you may buy a permit using this Web site.

ABOUT THOSE BIRDS!

I have a ruby-throated hummingbird that always comes around Mother’s Day to my front kitchen window. It keeps hovering there to let me know it’s time to put out the feeder.

I don’t know how long they live, but this has been going on for nine years. I guess it’s the same one.

Carol Jo Ann Dauernheim, Dittmer

Editor’s Note: Hummingbirds can live up to nine years, but it is more likely that you have had multiple visitors.

We have 11 hummingbird feeders at our dining room windows, plus more in front and in back of our house. We have counted between 50 and 60 hummers at one time. Do you know why the males migrate before the females? In the last week we’ve only seen two males and have at least 35 females left.

Patsy Rayl, Monroe City

Editor’s Note: Males do precede females and immatures on both north and south migrations. This may allow males to stake out territories and locate adequate food resources. Males generally leave in early August, while females and young stay until early September.

ANSWER MAN

What is an ombudsman?

Lee Lewis, Belle

Editor’s Note: Ombudsman is a Scandinavian term that describes someone who provides information and helps to resolve conflicts.

Ask the Ombudsman

Q: Last year I did some coon hunting and trapping for the first time in about 20 years. I had a difficult time finding someone to buy my fur. Where can I find information about fur buyers?

A: Conservation Department offices should be able to provide names, addresses and phone numbers of fur buyers/dealers. Several decades ago there were quite a few fur buyers. It wasn’t unusual to see them during the fall on Saturdays in a central location in the community buying fur from their trucks.

The fur industry has always been volatile; and changing markets, urban lifestyles and loss of the required skills have resulted in fewer participants and fewer fur buyers. Some buyers still travel a circuit and advertise their schedule in local papers, while others set up shop at one location and let trappers and hunters come to them.

Fur hunting and trapping are critical wildlife management tools, and there are still enthusiastic individuals involved in both the harvest of furs and the fur industry. Most states have associations of fur hunters and trappers who are dedicated to ensuring their skills are passed on to future generations. Many also help hunters, trappers and buyers get together with regular fur auctions.

The Missouri Trappers Association generally has several auctions each season. For details see their Web site. For details on international sales, go online. Information about furbearers can be found on the Department’s Hunting and Trapping page.

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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