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From Missouri Conservationist: Jun 1996

Photo makes impact

I am a hunter education instructor, and the photo on page 17 of your March issue hit me like a frozen hedge apple. The young lady is apparently turkey hunting and she has on black gloves!

Page 70 and page 109 of your Hunter Education Student Manual say a turkey hunter should not wear red, white, blue or black. I feel the photo may send the wrong message to anyone who sees it and has completed a hunter education class.

Roy Evans, Kearney

Anti-Squirrel stratagem

Squirrels and bluejays clean out the bird feeders almost before I can sit for a cup of coffee, but a lady in a bird store suggested using safflower seed instead of sunflower seed. After we put it out, many birds came, but a jay took one look and flew away. The squirrels came but would not eat. The only place I have found safflower seed is in bird feed stores in big cities. Safflower costs more, but it saves money in the long run.

Emmanuel Baummann, Chesterfield

Feeding the Garden

Bird droppings are an excellent fertilizer, and sunflower seed hulls add organic matter and tilth to the soil.

Ergo, in the fall, place your feeders above your to-be spring and summer flower beds or gardens. Your soil is organically fertilized for free. At planting time, move your feeders.

Rick Cochran, West Plains

Traps best, safest tool

I just read somewhere about Europe trying to force the United States to ban leg hold traps. My father used steel traps, and the fur he caught paid our taxes each year and provided our family with Christmas gifts.

Once I had a big old black cat that roamed free. He got his paw caught in a steel trap and was returned to me with just a missing toe. I'm glad he got caught in a steel trap and not a snare or a noose that kills instantly. I still use steel traps to catch rats in my root cellar and opossums and raccoons that get into my buildings and catch my poultry.

Mrs. S.L. Klein, Boonville

Gender correction

One of the biology teachers I work with at Jackson High School read my spring squirrel hunting piece in the April Conservationist and said that the flowers of mulberry trees are unisexual, not the trees themselves.

Sorry for the factual error. In all mulberry species, male and female flowers can be on the same or separate trees. I thought all mulberry trees were unisexual.

Mark Goodwin, Jackson

Unfair to Fish

I feel that you are giving those who fish an unfair advantage over the fish when you print where the fish can be found at certain times of the year. Finding the fish without help should be a big part of the sport.

Roy Shilharvey, St. Louis

Red light halts crawlers

For those who read about the entrepenurial young man in "Crawler Catcher," here's a tip. To keep the flashlight from scaring crawlers back into their holes, try placing a sheet of red cellophane plastic (see-through gift wrap or sheet acetate) over the light. The worms aren't spooked by the red light.

Gary Manzella, Ballwin

Box Turtle vs. Disc Mower

When we were still using a sicklebar mower, I seldom saw a dead turtle when the hay was raked. When we cut our hay with a disc mower, I started seeing many turtles with the top broken out of their shells. The crows and coyotes fed well on them.

We decided to forfeit the extra inches of hay to give the turtles a chance. Maybe you could encourage other farmers to go back to sickle mowing for the sake of box turtles.

Stanley Stillings, Jefferson City

Deadbeat turtle

Your box turtle article reminded me of a turtle, Toby, that would come to the back screen door and wait for handouts. We set out a low pan of water so he could get a drink or swim.

One beastly hot day he looked dead. He was twice as thin as normal and black as coal. I was going to bury him, but turned the hose on him, instead. Darned if he didn't come around. He visted us for a year or two more.

Virginia Carpenter, Herculaneum

Subscriber suggests

I have a few suggestions to make your fine magazine finer. Could you print a small map of Missouri at the beginning of articles to help me get a fix on where the nice places you are talking about are located?

Also, use a print size on the masthead on page 3 that older people could read without a magnifying glass.

Nancy Hardin, Raytown

Tattler reviewed

I was disappointed in seeing the "Outdoor Tattler" in the April Conservationist. We do not like our air polluted, nor do we like our water polluted, and we don't like our magazines polluted, either. So please remove the trash.

Sharon Oberholtzer, Baring

I feel you must know how appalled I was to find the "Outdoor Tattler" in the Conservationist. Now I find that I have to again monitor a publication closely so as not to let my children confuse fiction with fact.

Laura Wade, Lee's Summit

A couple of the pieces were quite clever but overall the "Outdoor Tattler" was insipid and boring, and worst of all it carries an aura of trashy-comic.

John Killoran, Hazelwood

My compliments to the creative genius behind April's "Outdoor Tattler." Thoroughly entertaining.

Len Schulte, Ballwin

What a hoot! Your magazine is always great and "Outdoor Tattler" even greater. Do it again!

John Butler, Rogers, Ark.

What a great job you did with the "Outdoor Tattler." Since my dislocation to New England, I've tried to pass along the art of spinning tall tales. Most of these Yankees just don't get it. Thanks for the grins. Now you'll have to include it as a regular feature.

Don Watson, Tolland, Conn.

Editor's note: 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.

Agent's Notebook

Have you ever had one of those days where your fishing partner caught fish all day long and you couldn't catch anything? You fished the same spots with the same bait, but your partner had all the luck, leaving you none at all. At the end of the day his stringer held a nice limit of fish and yours was completely empty. And you invited him to go fishing!

He's not such a bad egg, though, and wants to give you half of the fish he caught. How does he go about sharing the bounty legally?

In Missouri, wildlife, which includes fish, may be given to another person, but only by the taker and only after the completion of the day's fishing or hunting trip.

Any wildlife that is given to another person must be included in the daily limit of the taker for the day taken. All wildlife received as a gift must be included in the possession limit of the recipient. In addition, all wildlife that is given to another person must be labeled with the full name, address and permit number of the taker, as well as the date taken.

It's nice to have a fishing partner who will share some of his fish with you when all the luck seems to be on his side. It's a quality that more outdoor users should possess. But remember that there are specific regulations that apply to giving away wildlife.

Thomas M. Strother III

East Central Region

This Issue's Staff

Editor - Kathy Love
Assistant Editor - Tom Cwynar
Managing Editor - Jim Auckley
Art Director - Dickson Stauffer
Artist - Dave Besenger
Artist - Mark Raithel
Composition - Kevin Binkley
Photographer - Jim Rathert
Photographer - Paul Childress
Staff Writer - Joan McKee
Staff Writer - Charlotte Overby
Composition - Libby Bode Block
Circulation - Bertha Bainer