I just read the April Conservationist. In my childhood, reading was not my strong suit, and my confidence was nonexistent. All that started to change when I was introduced to the Missouri Department of Conservation.
The first time I met someone from the MDC was on a grade school special school district fishing trip. I caught the biggest fish that day. Later in my life, I went on my first bow hunt and shot my first deer, which took place on MDC land. Soon after, a family friend took me on my first turkey hunt (also on MDC land) that changed my life. And then, a few years later, I shot my first longbeard on a managed hunt at Busch Wildlife. The odds were against me to harvest a longbeard, but I changed my thinking and never gave up. With that thought process, I became a very successful turkey hunter and greater success in my life followed.
Since then, I have given back to several youth hunters and first-time turkey hunters. But, after 14-plus years of hunting turkey on Conservation land, I still feel as if I owe a greater thanks. After reading 50 Years of Missouri Turkey, I knew who I wanted to thank: I want to thank everyone who got up every early morning over the past 50 years to ensure one of the greatest conservation stories in Missouri and the U.S. I’m glad there were enough people out there that could see that turkey needed a hand because when you conserve wildlife, you conserve people. I’m proof.
Scott Diebold, via Internet
Mr. Dailey’s article stated that Missouri’s spring turkey hunting season opened in 1960 with a three-day hunt. My dad, Delbert Watts, was part of the first season and harvested a turkey. He has hunted turkey for the past 50 years and has never missed a season.
Dad’s 76 years young now and not quite as quick as he used to be, but he is full of good stories for anyone that will sit and listen.
Tim Watts, Butler
Many people know how delicious fried wild turkey breast is. However, many outdoorsmen don’t know how delicious the remainder of the turkey can be. Our family cuts off turkey breast to fry, then we cut up the rest of the turkey like you would a whole chicken. I slow-cook or pressurecook it; thighs, legs, wings, back, neck and breast bone. When the meat is tender, I shred it. Add five bullion cubes into the hot broth, put the meat in the broth, and then freeze 2/3 of this for later. To the remaining 1/3, add: 1 large, family-sized can of cream of mushroom soup, 1 tsp. pepper, and 1 tsp. garlic powder. Simmer five minutes and serve over egg noodles or rice.
Gaye Valle, De Soto
I just wanted to say thank you to Noppadol Paothong and David Stonner. I am a local Joplin photographer and think we have a beautiful state. I have been inspired many times by the quality of photos I find in the Missouri Conservationist. They are not just good photos showing an accurate description of Missouri landscapes and wildlife, but they are very artistic as well. Thank you so much for what you do.
Aaron Wilcox, Joplin
The March issue of the Conservationist is really incredible. You certainly have two very fine photographers. David Stonner really impressed with his trout photos accompanying the article Gone Fishing [Page 16]. I appreciated his lens and camera settings being included. He and Noppadol Paothong always impress, but Mr. Stonner’s photos this month really displayed incredible skill.
The article Gainful Gobbling [Page 24] was a hoot and, once again, so were the photos.
Mike Geske, Matthews