Since moving from St. Louis to Kodiak, Alaska, in 1976, I've subscribed to the Conservationist in order to follow the progress of Design for Conservation. I was particularly interested in the conservation education service and the urban fisheries project. Consequently, it was with a great deal of pleasure that I read the March special issue detailing accomplishments in these areas over the 25 years since Design's inception.
Would that the rest of the Lower 48 could share the far-sighted view of the handful of Missourians who had the vision years ago to foster this wonderful program.
John Erkmann, Anchorage, Alaska
The Department has done a fine job in many areas. However, your "Design for Conservation" is providing unsupervised access to fragile ecological areas where people are free to tramp fragile creek banks and litter at will.
Many private land owners, with and without the Department's help, are striving to establish wildlife habitat and to improve the health of their streams. I don't see where providing additional access areas will help them accomplish these goals. Public access areas depersonalize people. If one must ask permission of a land owner to access his stream, he takes on a responsibility not required when he drives up to a public access.
Jay Tyra, Sunset Hills
Editor's note: Missouri's public lands allow more people to connect with the outdoors.We believe the availability of public lands has increased, rather than decreased Missourians' dedication to conservation. We cite as evidence the growth and success of volunteer conservation programs such as Stream Teams, Adopt-an-Access and Forest Keepers.
I'll bet you've heard from others that the picture on page 22 of your April issue is of a female redstart, not of a prothonotary warbler.
Are all the amazing creatures on page 11 in Missouri?
Janet Bickel,Washington D.C.
Editor's note: All the species can be found in Missouri. The varied thrush, however, is a rare winter visitor.
I work 24-hour shifts, and I discovered that this year I had to work on opening day of turkey hunting. But thanks to your article, "Good Advice? Ignore It!" by Joel Vance, I harvested my first turkey.
I started hunting on Tuesday at 10 a.m. and was out of the woods by 11. He was all of 23 pounds. Thank you again for making Missouri the best state in the country for turkey hunters, and thank you, Mr. Vance, for the best advice not to ignore!
Larry J. Ostertag, St. James
In your April issue you say that deer hunting pumps about $375 million a year into the state's economy. That amount probably doesn't factor in the costs of deer-auto collisions, tree damage to homeowners and tree nurseries, damage to gardens, flowers and landscape shrubs.
Robert Piest, Columbia
Editor's note: Deer can cause financial damage, which would lower the $375 million economic benefit we cited. However, the figure does not include the value of the happiness, pride and satisfaction felt by millions of Missouri residents each time they glimpse a wild deer.
I remember more than 70 years ago, when my father and mother and I drove on a path through a heavily wooded area down a steep hill into a flat valley. There stood a large red building at the base of a huge hill. To the right of the building, a large pool of water was rising up from the base of the hill. This was Alley Spring.
We camped there for two days and took a lot of pictures.
Two years ago, I returned there, driving on a fine road, and found the same red building and the tremendous rushing of water from the base of the hill. The only thing different was that the small tree by the gazebo had grown to enormous size. May the old mill pond never run dry!
Eugene L. Smith, Sun City, Arizona
What's the deal with the kid wearing a Kansas Jayhawks T-shirt on page 32 of the April issue? This is still the Missouri Conservationist isn't it? Shame on you for promoting an "introduced species."
Travis Pryor, Longmont, Colo.
Editor's Note: We can be proud that people from other states come to Missouri to enjoy our outdoor opportunities.
Although I'm a native Missourian and have lived here 50-plus years, I've never observed "The Amazing Ichnuemon"! The article was fascinating and the photography was superb.
The Conservationist is one of my favorites. and I display the Missouri bluebird on my conservation license plate with pride.
Vickie Kalthoff, Chesterfield
I work in a busy cancer clinic in Rancho Mirage, California. When I am finished with my conservation magazines, I place them in the infusion center for the patients to read. Over the years I've heard many comments from people who once lived in Missouri or somewhere close by. They still enjoy your magazine.
I would like to thank you all for providing such a wonderful distraction to people who are receiving chemotherapy and are facing such difficult times.
Joseph W. Hutcheson, Indio, Calif.
The letters printed here reflect readers' opinions about the Conservationist and its contents. Space limitations prevent us from printing all letters, but we welcome signed comments from our readers. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.
Q: We live in a suburban community, and my neighbor has put out a salt lick to attract deer. Is this legal?
A: It is not illegal, according to the Wildlife Code of Missouri, but the Conservation Department recommends against attempting to attract wildlife for viewing, with the exception of backyard bird feeding-and even that can have some undesirable consequences. Concentrating wildlife in small areas increases the chance for disease and property damage, such as deer/auto collisions or damage to landscaping plantings.
Chapter 7, 3CSR10-7.410(M) of the Wildlife Code addresses baiting for the purpose of hunting, but that doesn't apply in this situation. However, your community may have restrictions against the activity you describe.
Urban wildlife creates unique challenges for communities and wildlife managers, requiring cooperation from all parties to find the best solution.
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) 751-4115, ext. 3848, or e-mail him at <Ken.Drenon@mdc.mo.gov>.
Editor - Tom Cwynar
Managing Editor - Bryan Hendricks
Art Editor - Dickson Stauffer
Artist - Dave Besenger
Artist - Mark Raithel
Photographer - Jim Rathert
Photographer - Cliff White
Staff Writer - Jim Low
Staff Writer - Joan McKee
Circulation - Bertha Bainer