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From Missouri Conservationist: Jun 1998

Mole control

In your April issue, you discuss ways to rid a yard of moles, but you failed to mention dogs. We had a cocker spaniel, named Buffy, that tracked down and killed every mole in our yard. We nicknamed her the "Mole Mutt." She died last year and now our yard is full of moles again.

Larry and Dana Farmer, Campbell

I have an additional "mole buster" method for rural areas: my wife and I got rid of our moles by setting off ladyfinger firecrackers in their runs.

Bill Waite, Lee's Summit

Whenever I see a mole working, I make a slit in the mole run, shake some cayenne pepper (ground) in the slit and push back the soil. The moles leave for good. Moles breathe through their skin; cayenne pepper is too hot for them.

Ruth Davis, Paris

I am writing in defense of the lovely mole. Dad never attempted to eliminate them because they cultivated the soil, and I plan to let them do their job.

Last fall for the first time in 29 years, I planted spring bulbs in the moles runs, the only places in my Callaway County concrete soft enough to dig. This spring I have lovely flowers. I hope the moles won't eat them.

Judy Cone, Holts Summit

Religious issues

Even though I have been fascinated and delighted with the freshness and quality of your publication for years, I can no longer in good conscience accept the relentless indoctrination your magazine supports concerning evolution. It is very troubling to me that a concept in theory only is so widely embraced and presented as accepted truth. I pray you will consider how your influence may teach untruth.

Connie Black, Ellington

I am writing to thank each of you personally for the work you do in conserving our precious natural resources. As well as serving the public, I believe you are also serving God. Taking care of our environment is a responsibility given to man by God. I pray you will all have abundant success as you protect our natural resources and continue God's work.

Tadd M. Henry, Springfield

Toxic tea

"Hitching a Ride" reminded me of my mother who gathered cockleburs for her grandmother to brew up a cup of cocklebur tea.

Mother didn't know if cocklebur tea was a medicinal aid or if grandmother was too poor to buy the real thing.

If they are a tonic, I'll send my great grandchildren cocklebur hunting and have a cocklebur tea party for my friends. Can you tell me if it helps my what-all-I-have?

Dorothy McPheeters, Old Monroe

Editor's note: Cocklebur tea may not be very good for you or your friends.

The seeds, at least in the seedling state of the plant, are poisonous to livestock.

The poison in the plant-hydroquinone-can cause dermatitis in people. Cockleburs also are prime contributors to hay fever problems. It may be that your grandmother called some other less toxic plant cocklebur.

Consultant named

My husband, Virgil Davis, and I were pleasantly surprised when we opened our May Conservationist to find photographs of him on the first pages of the "Conservation and Country Schools" article. But to our surprise there was no identification of Virgil, who was the first education consultant in the Ozark district and continued to serve in that capacity from 1953 to 1984.

There are many people in the Ozark region who will remember Virgil and his work in furthering conservation through the schools and community organizations. Incidentally, the old school house is located a short distance from Houston and is still standing.

Mrs. Virgil L. Davis, Houston

Deer Scream

Your item about wildlife adoptions reminds me of when I was just a teenager on our farm just north of Poplar Bluff.

While working in the field one day, my sister and I were surprised to find a tiny fawn caught in a tangle of fence wire. Being animal lovers, we managed to free it from the fence, but not from us, and took the worn-out baby deer to the house. Mother and Dad were adamant: "Return it to the wild." When we took the poor, frightened creature back to the field, we heard what sounded like a woman's scream. Dad told me it was the mama calling her baby. The last we saw of them, they were racing through the woods together.

Having been a city dweller until then, I knew nothing about the world of deer. I thought they were totally silent. I also mistakenly believed that mama would abandon her baby after it was touched by human scent. Was I ever wrong!

Sally Gourley, Poplar Bluff


Many people whose licenses I check express surprise that they'd never before had their licenses looked at by a conservation agent, despite years of hunting and fishing. The reason has to do with the way agents sometimes work.

Catching chronic wildlife code violators requires more than checking everyone's permit. When I patrolled common areas of abuse, such as dam tailwaters, special management areas or trout parks, I spent hours or even days quietly watching people come and go, not contacting anyone, unless I spotted a serious rule violation.

I noted cases of good sportsmanship, but if I had greeted and commended all the honest people I saw my mission of catching poachers would have been compromised.

Such long-term, covert surveillance may not immediately affect the crowd, but when I apprehended someone for abusing wildlife resources, the word spread rapidly and people discovered that I was working the area, after all.

I used this method often. Occasionally, when someone said, "I've never been checked before," I reminded them of other times they've fished and how they were doing. This usually instilled a new understanding of how agents work.

A violator will not spot a good agent by looking over his shoulder, and a person who abides by all the rules never has to worry who is watching, because he or she is doing the right thing-every time.

Terry Roberson

St. Louis District Supervisor

This Issue's Staff

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