Submissions reflect readers’ opinions and may be edited for length and clarity.
While at the doctor’s office, I opened the June issue of the Missouri Conservationist and read your article on the eastern collared lizard with great interest. I had just returned from hiking at Taum Sauk State Park and while en route to the Devil’s Toll Gate, I happened upon a female eastern collared lizard carrying eggs (large midsection). I would not have been able to hesitated long enough for a photo opportunity then ran away using mostly its rear legs. What a sight!
Rod Derleth, via email
Nice article on berry picking [Searching for Berry Treasure; June]. I believe safe berry-picking tips should include an inspection of the area for poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac, etc. I cannot recall a wild patch not having at least one of these plants.
H. Johnson, Apopka, Florida
Editors’ Note: With berry picking, as with any outdoor activity, you should always be aware of your surroundings. It also helps to be familiar with local plants and animals.
When I saw the photo of the giant ichneumon featured in June’s “What Is It,” I had to write about my first experience seeing one.
Last year I was cutting down a dead elm tree. As the chainsaw began to cut, a large piece of bark fell onto my long-sleeved shirt. I kept cutting, and something told me to look at my right sleeve. When I did, I was scared half to death to see a large, ferocious-looking insect looking back at me. With a yell and a quick shake of my arm, the insect flew off my sleeve, away from the tree, and I finished felling the tree.
When I returned to the house, I told my wife about my experience. We walked to where the tree had been to look at the stump, and when we got there, we saw four or five large, wasplooking insects on the tree stump.
They looked aggressive, so we only got close enough to take a photo. I followed up with the conservation office and they filled me in on the insect, but did not say that it was rare. Reading that they are a rare find in Missouri surprised me, but I have to say not as surprised as when it was on my sleeve.
Lou Dreon, via email
I agree it is cheap to make a foam spider [How to Bug a Bluegill; May], but foam tears easily. Do we really want all these small pieces of foam in our creeks and streams? I slice a hot dog, microwave it 35–40 seconds to make it tougher. I don’t use a bobber — just a loop in my line. When the fish pull that loop, I nail them. It’s great fun, especially in clear water around root wads.
Ernest Neeley, via email
Fisheries’ Note: Artificial baits and lures are a great convenience, and occasionally the only legal method allowed to anglers at some trout fishing locations. However, care should be taken to keep them in good repair and discard them properly.
On June 5, my father, James Wallis, died suddenly while doing what he truly loved in the Missouri outdoors — planting a food plot for deer and turkey. A life-long hunter and fisherman, he was proud to be called a conservationist and loved all of what the MDC stands for and does for the Missouri outdoors. When he was a child, there was no deer season in southwest Missouri and he lived long enough that deer were a common sight in southwest Missouri. I just want to say thank you for making his time on this earth a very pleasant one.
Jimmy and Christy Wallis, via email
Darlene E. Revell captured this photo of a newly emerged adult annual cicada at Perry County
Community Lake. Annual cicadas differ from periodic cicadas in that they emerge every year. This one had just shed its nymph stage exoskeleton, and it will turn its normal adult color as its body hardens. “On the day that I took this photo, I was walking around the lake with my husband and noticed something blue hanging from a bush, so I stopped to investigate, not expecting to find this beautiful fellow.” Revell said another favorite photo location of hers is Amidon Conservation Area.
Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld
Art Director - Cliff White
Associate Editor - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Heather Feeler
Staff Writer - Kristie Hilgedick
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Designer - Stephanie Thurber
Circulation - Laura Scheuler