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From Missouri Conservationist: Jun 2002

More Firsts

After reading your “First Fish” article in the June issue, I sent in my granddaughter’s picture. She just received her award this week. I’m not sure who was more delighted: her or me.

Her little sister is now determined to catch a fish also—more good memories to come!

Karin Capron, Mission, Kansas

Litter Or Not?

Your comments in “Vantage Point” touched an area near and dear to my heart. I could never drop trash on the ground without my conscience bothering me. I raised my children with the same ethics. Unfortunately many people were not taught such ethics.

We live in a rural community, and it is too common to view litter along our beautiful wildflower arrayed roads. Although I realize that some people will litter no matter what facilities are provided for the disposal of trash, I also realize that there is little effort put into providing containers and or dumpsters to deposit this trash.

While traveling in other states, I have noticed dumpsters placed in very remote pull-off areas. These dumpsters seem to be well used by the public.

Unless facilities are provided, people have to find other ways of getting rid of their trash.

Al Denyer, Poyner

Editor’s note: More trash cans likely would have little effect on the litter problem. Instead of throwing a wrapper or can out of a car window or throwing it on the ground, people could hold onto it until they can dispose of it at home or in a receptacle provided by gas station or fast food outlet. Littering is a decision some people make. You’re letting them off the hook if you excuse such behavior because there doesn’t happen to be a trash can nearby.

Good Student

I was a beginning teacher in 1951 and full of ideas on how to make the world a better place. One of my recommendations to my sixth-grade class was to subscribe to the Missouri Conservationist. I believe in conservation, especially Missouri style.

Recently I met a member of this class. He thanked me for introducing him to the magazine, which he still receives and reads.

Thanks for holding his interest.

Clifford Woehrle, St. Louis

Fish Story

My grandfather used to tell of a man who caught a fish so big from the Mississippi River that the local scales couldn’t weigh it. Even the truck scale at the granary wasn’t big enough. So grandfather took the huge fish’s picture. As the story goes, the picture alone weighed 38 pounds.

Jim Holley, Elsberry

Something Fishy

The puzzle on page 15 of your Outside In section of the May magazine left out two fish in the list—herring and perch.

Tom Wirt, Springfield

Image Problem

I read with compassion and amusement about the turkey that broke a window and burst into a man’s bedroom. It reminded me of a male peacock at a folk festival I attended. He caused considerable damage to a car by attacking his reflection in the shiny hubcaps and polished finish. Talk about hard-headed!

Although he left blood behind, he was back the next day to do battle with any vehicle that had been through a car wash.

Alex Usher, Webster Groves

Cover Quality

Your May cover photo of goggle-eye taken by Cliff White is one of the most Ozarkian photographs I’ve seen. Color, the illusion of motion—everything is clear-water, chert-rock-bottom perfect! I wish I had taken the picture. I wish I had caught the string of goggle-eye.

Leland Payton, Springfield

Panfish Supreme

Your May feature on rock bass was absolutely marvelous! It brought back nostalgic memories of many years ago, when my father took his boys fishing on the Big Piney River.

Although he worked in downtown St. Louis, he loved to fish in the Ozarks, and his favorite fish were rock bass.

Edward Thias, Sunset Hills

Eyes Fish

I liked your article on the fish aquarium. I remember going to Powder Valley nature center to walk the trails and seeing the supersize fish aquarium on wheels. They even had a fellow fishing in it. Getting to hang out with fish in the parking lot was a rare treat. I never guessed that the ones that got away had other day jobs.

Fred Boeneker, Glendale

Photo Angles

It appears to me that the male bobwhite quail pictured in the article “Creating Quality Quail Habitat” and the male bobwhite on the back cover of the May issue are mounted birds. Both birds hold the same odd stance, and small details of each bird are identical in both pictures.

Does this say something about the plight of the bobwhite quail in Missouri that your experienced photographers could not find a live specimen to photograph?

Scott Williams, Russellville

I wonder if the pink katydid on page 11 of the April issue is the one I caught in September and gave to the farm management specialist in Putnam County. I had seen hundreds of katydids, but never a pink one.

Charlotte Martin, Worthington

Editor’s note: The two pictures were of the same bird, but the bird was alive—not mounted. The photos were taken during a Conservation Department research project in which quail were being called back to a trap after being released. The pink katydid in the picture was discovered three years ago during a Mead’s milkweed walking survey at Paint Brush Prairie Conservation Area in Pettis County.

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.

Ask the Ombudsman

Q: We don’t hear whip-poor-wills the way we used to. Are their numbers declining?

A: Whippoorwill numbers may have declined in specific areas, but their overall population appears to be stable. Whippoorwills prefer late succession forest habitat during their stay in Missouri. If the forest where you have heard birds in the past has been cleared or has matured to the “old-age” stage, the birds may seek out more suitable habitat.

Declines in the population of many non-migratory bird species often can be attributed to local land use changes. In the case of migratory birds, changes that take place thousands of miles away might affect their numbers. Another factor that could reduce populations of whippoorwills could be a localized decline in the numbers of large moths, a favored food source. Researchers keep track of songbird numbers by listening for bird calls in the morning on designated routes. Whippoorwills call throughout the night and very early morning, making their population difficult to monitor.

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 <>.

This Issue's Staff

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