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Ask the Ombudsman

Ombudsman

Q: While fishing at a local pond I noticed ripples moving through the water as if a fish were swimming close to the top. I did not see any fish and the ripples would move fairly quickly and always at a steady pace. They don’t always seem to move in the same direction as the wind. What do you think could be causing these?

A: I have seen the same thing many times and wondered about it, especially when the fish were not biting. In my experience it is often a distinct “V” in the water that moves some distance rather quickly before disappearing. I had my own theory, but I checked with two fisheries biologists and an engineer here to gather their viewpoints. Our consensus is that the movement of something in the water is causing the ripple or “V” in the water. It could be small prey fish escaping quickly from a predator fish or it could be larger predator fish just beneath the surface. There may even be some insects, such as aquatic diving beetles, whose movements would produce a noticeable ripple. None of us felt that the wind was the culprit.

Q: Why does the spring turkey season always begin on a Monday rather than a Saturday?

A: The reason behind the Monday opener is to improve the quality of the hunt. It prevents overcrowding of popular areas on the first weekend. Because only one bird can be harvested during the first week, successful weekday hunters will be out of the woods by the first open weekend. By spreading out the hunting pressure, safety is improved and interference from other hunters is minimized.

Ombudsman Tim Smith will respond to your questions, suggestions or complaints concerning Department of Conservation programs. Write him at PO Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0180, call him at (573) 522-4115, ext. 3848, or e-mail him at Ombudsman@mdc.mo.gov.

Time Capsule

February 1979

Missouri Turtles … An Exercise In Contrast was written by Tom R. Johnson about 22 different species of Missouri turtles. Missouri has the smallest and the largest fresh water turtles in the world. The alligator snapping turtle holds the world record for largest, weighing 219 pounds, and the stinkpot is the smallest species, weighing 3 to 4 ounces. Alligator snappers are found in eastern and southern Missouri along the Mississippi River. They are listed on the Missouri Rare and Endangered Species list. The stinkpot can be found in shallow water in rivers, swamps and sloughs. They are common in Missouri, except in northwestern and northern sections of the state.—Contributed by the Circulation staff

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