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From Missouri Conservationist: Dec 1996

Archers identified

"50th Anniversary of Archery Deer Hunting" brought back many memories of my father, Hugh Collins of Sedalia, who died in 1963, an ardent, happy archer and bowhunter to the end.

In the top picture on pages 6-7 in the October issue, the man on the left is Hugh Collins, in the middle in front of the tent is my brother, John A. Collins, and Paul Jeffries, a retired conservation agent from Moberly is on the right.

Mary Frances Collins Wilkison, Sikeston

Aging tree

We had a 200-year-old tree fall and miss our house by 4 inches. Thanks to your article about tree rings, we could tell how old it is.

Rick & Kristin Heard, Maryville

Food for thought

I would like to respond to the person who wrote to the editor and said people should quit fishing, hunting and trapping.

If hunters are not allowed to hunt wildlife, animals will start dying of starvation and disease, due to overpopulation. We will see more animals killed by cars, and wildlife would eat more crops.

I believe animal rights activists mean well, but hunters are not bad people. I would like to ask everyone how our forefathers fed their families, and how would we feed our families today, if there were no grocery aisles filled with beef, chicken and pork?

Christina Findling, Kirksville


Ms. Outdoor manners should print real comments from real people. I've had bullets whiz past me during deer hunting season in rural southern Illinois, and I can tell you that during the hunting season ­ especially the deer hunting season ­ no one in their right mind ventures into the woods or even outdoors.

If hunters see more and more property closed to them, it is because the rest of us are fearful for our lives.

Hunters should make sure they know what they are aiming at before pulling the trigger. This is not a matter of manners, but of life and death.

Shirley Phillips, Stilwell, Kan.


The deer on page 5 of the November issue would not be more vulnerable to a deer hunter if he were wearing Christmas tree lights. The collar should be the color of the animal.

Mel Burget, St. Louis

Rerate rapids

I generally enjoyed the article, "Kids and Whitewater," in the October issue, but people shouldn't consider the St. Francis River as a "barely sufficient warm-up for real rapids."

The "Saint" has serious rapids and can be very difficult at high and low water levels in some spots.

Kayaking is a safe sport for those with experience, but the public should be made aware of the dangers of kayaking, as well as its enjoyments.

David Reker, High Ridge

Ties to the past

I enjoyed the article, "Sleepers Through Time." My father helped my grandfather make ties. They lived in Camden County and took the ties to the Niangua or Osage River and made them into rafts, which they floated down the river. They received 10 cents a tie. At that time you could buy land for $1 an acre.

Martha Maynard, St. Joseph

Not long after the stock market crash of 1929, a number of branch railroad lines failed. After the rails were taken up, people would take the ties for heating and cooking in their homes. It was a big help for many people who were in a tight financial situation.

Wilbur C. Black, Kansas City

My daddy occasionally hacked ties. Our nearest tie yard was at Bessville in Bollinger County, and the local buyer was R.N. "Totts" Hansen. He could identify several hackers' work by the appearance of the ties they produced.

One tie hauler would unload rejected ties at the bottom of Bessville Hill and hide them in the brush or weeds. On the next load he'd haul the ties with the reject marks sawn off back to the yard, hoping Totts would be less discriminating.

As Totts looked over one load, he remarked, "This tie has been on this lot three times, and I may as well buy it before it gets too short."

Murray Dunn, Patton

Many of the fiddle tunes played by octogenarian fiddler Nile Wilson on "Tie Hacker Hoe-Down," a recording released last year by the Missouri State Old Time Fiddlers Association, are those learned and played by his grandfather for entertainment in tie-hacker camps along the forks of the Salt River in northeast Missouri. The recording may be the only document of social life among these laborers.

Charlie Walden, Columbia

Prime time fishing

I took my wife fishing and the fish came slow at first, then they came fast and we caught a bunch. I later checked the charts and found we had fished into a major feeding period.

You should publish a fishing chart so that anglers could take advantage of "prime time."

Frank Casteel, Springfield

Editor's note: Apparently the fishing timetable charts published in some sporting magazines worked for you, but they aren't always accurate.

Many fish, such as trout, are constantly on the lookout for food and will take advantage of any meal that comes along. Because the charts are unpredictable, we hesitate to publish them. Besides, we think people should go fishing whenever they can, not just when the moon is in a certain phase.

"Guide to guides" corrected

The guide in the picture on page 18 of the July issue is actually Jim (Little Hoss) Jennings of Galena. The man in the front of the boat is, of course, Jim Owen of Branson. I guided float trips for Jim Owen for four years ­ 1947 through 1950 ­ and worked with and knew Little Hoss quite well.

Ted Sare, Willard

Hooray for Castor

Thanks for the article on the Castor River Shut-ins. It enticed me to visit there twice.The author recreated well the vistas and the sounds I could expect. May there be many other similar articles.

Carolyn Bell, Florissant


My wife and I celebrated the birth of our son in 1976 in many ways, including planting a bald cypress tree seedling in our yard.

In 1981, while my wife was still in the hospital after having given birth to our daughter, my son and I celebrated by planting a seedling silver maple tree in our front yard.

Two decades have passed since that first little seedling was planted. The house has since been sold, but I cannot pass that way without looking at those trees in the yard. They happily remind me of how our children have grown and how the nurturing of both children and seedlings pays rich dividends.

The Conservation Department offers more than 50 types of seedling trees and shrubs that can help people enrich their environment and their lives. The seedlings are suitable for forestry, wildlife cover and food, farmstead and field windbreaks, erosion control and other environmental practices.

You can buy bundles of 25 seedlings for just a few dollars, plus a small handling charge for each order. Heritage Card holders are entitled to a 5 percent discount on seedling orders.

Contact your conservation agent or Conservation Department office or university extension office after Dec. 1 and ask for "Application for Planting Stock 1996-97." Many of your fellow Missourians already know how valuable this offer is, so you need to act early.

Sam Gunter, Knox County

This Issue's Staff

Editor - Tom Cwynar
Managing Editor - Bryan Hendricks
Art Director - Ara Clark
Designer - Les Fortenberry
Designer - Patrick Kipp
Artist - Dave Besenger
Artist - Mark Raithel
Photographer - Jim Rathert
Photographer - Cliff White
Staff Writer - Jim Low
Staff Writer - Joan McKee
Composition - Libby Block
Circulation - Laura Scheuler