The scary part of your deer poacher survey is that 67 percent of poachers are employed, 75 percent graduated from high school, 80 percent do not have criminal records and 60 percent were stone cold sober when they took deer illegally. In other words, poachers are the people next door you see in church, the grocery store and at our jobs. Why aren't they getting the message that poaching is wrong?
Rita Kayser, Festus
While thumbing through the Wise Fishermen's Encyclopedia, dated 1954, I read, "The state of Missouri has no natural lakes, the only bodies of water present being reservoir lakes. These comprise a scant few in number, are mostly silted in, and offer little fishing of note. The bulk of all fishing in the state is on its streams and is done while floating down them in john boats."
Things have certainly changed since that statement was written.
Carl Cunningham, Monett
I take issue with the belief expressed in "Streams of Consciousness" that Ozark streams had no gravel prior to settlement.
Ozark streams cut through many hundreds of feet of chert bearing rock during their history. It would be impossible for an Ozark stream not to contain chert gravel before this area was settled. Clear cutting would increase the amount of chert and other sediment that finds its way to the stream bed, but the percentage derived this way is unknown.
Northern Missouri streams cut through sandstone and shale that do not contain chert and have beds of sand or silt. Ozark streams cut through chert-bearing dolostone and sandstone, and their beds are filled with gravel.
Laurence M. Nuelle, Rolla
I love your magazine, but in recent years have only been able to read it when our postman wrongly delivers our neighbor's copy to our mailbox. I then read it thoroughly and put it back in the box with a note, "delivered wrong." Please put me back on your subscription list.
Eldon Harmon, Willard
Editor's note: To avoid waste, we ask readers about every 18 months to affirm that they want to continue receiving the magazine. Next month's issue (September) will have a wraparound cover that includes a card readers must return to us to avoid being dropped from our mailing list.
Page 7 of your May issue took me back about 50 years, since I am the (young) man standing by the projector. I was part of the Forestry Division and ran what was then called the "Showboat," which dates back to 1938. I had a panel truck with a library of forestry and wildlife films, two Victor 60-16mm projectors and a 120-volt generator. Many of the schools did not have electricity.
James R. Gladden, Steelville
Editor's note: Mr. Gladden was featured in a Conservationist article titled "Showboat Skipper," which appeared in August 1949.
"Population Debate" by Jim Auckley was excellent and timely. The population explosion is the world's No. 1 problem and is becoming our nation's problem. Little is written and nothing is being done about the crisis.
Charles A. Kindred, Prairie Village, Kan.
Jim Auckley and the Conservationist have done a great service by raising the issues of overpopulation, sustainable use of natural resources and the preservation of this nation's farmland and wildlife habitat.
Earth's resources are finite-a fact that Americans have been slow to understand because of the wealth of natural resources we have always had. But even we can exceed the carrying capacity of our resources.
Richard and Esther Myers, Protem
The sunflower windmills found in discount department stores for about $2 each can send any mole or gopher packing. Two of these light-bladed, plastic windmills in a 100-foot-by-100-foot yard have worked 100 percent for me for 15 years.
Thomas McRady, Gladstone
I am retired and enjoying life fishing on the Lake of the Ozarks. I can testify that catch-and-release is working. At least 75 percent of the largemouth bass I catch have been caught before.
Unfortunately, I see a lot of broken bones around the mouths of fish. I suspect they are caused by anglers holding the fish with a thumb on the lower lip and not supporting the fish's body with the other hand.
If we exercise more caution while removing hooks and handling fish before release, our grandchildren can enjoy fishing as much as we do.
David G. LaChance, Roach
"Natural Antiques" by Karen Kramer argued that the beauty of Missouri's natural areas can never be completely restored once it is destroyed.
The late author Leonard Hall, in his book, Stars Upstream, also warns of the dangers threatening our natural areas and the need to protect them: ". . . wilderness is a resource which can shrink but never grow."
W. Dudley McCarter, St. Louis
People from all walks of life and of all ages love to fish. To perpetuate and improve this sport, the Conservation Department regulates fishing, including setting length limits for various species.
Length limits protect certain age classes of fish. Sometimes they prevent the harvest of young, fast growing individuals, or they maintain in the population fish that are in their most reproductive years. Occasionally length limits are set to allow fish to grow larger, improving the chances of anglers catching "trophies."
Length limits sometimes vary from lake to lake or river to river because of angling pressure, fertility of the water and the goals of fish management.
You won't run afoul of fish length limit regulations if you consult the Wildlife Code or the Summary of Fishing Regulations before fishing a body of water. Both stipulate fish length limits for various fish on waters of the state.
Also note that it is illegal to possess a fish, regardless of where taken, less than the specified length limit on waters to which length limits apply. In addition, the law requires that the head, tail and skin must remain attached to fish for which length limits apply while those fish are possessed on the waters to which length limits apply, or until they have been checked by an agent of the Conservation Department. This means, of course, that you can't fillet those fish until the end of the fishing day or trip.
THOMAS M. STROTHER III
Editor - Tom Cwynar
Assistant Editor - Charlotte Overby
Managing Editor - Jim Auckley
Art Editor - Dickson Stauffer
Designer - Tracy Ritter
Artist - Dave Besenger
Artist - Mark Raithel
Photographer - Jim Rathert
Photographer - Cliff White
Staff Writer - Jim Low
Staff Writer - Joan McKee
Composition - Libby Bode Block
Circulation - Bertha Bainer