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From Missouri Conservationist: Nov 2002

Smelly Dog

Your article, "A Dog's Nose," states that dogs smell 1,000 times better than people.

Sometimes our dog smells 1,000 times worse.

Chuck & Doris Dalbom, Stella

Mixed Up

We enjoyed the article about hunting dogs. We learned a great deal about our German shorthair pinter, our Brittany and our English shorthair pointer. We now know why our Brittany/springer mix gets confused while hunting.

Jill Dourty, Columbia

A Hunting Tradition

This November marks over 70 years my father and his brothers have gone hunting on opening day of quail season.

This season will be different because only three brothers, my father, Jim, 86, his oldest brother, Aubrey, 89, and his youngest brother, John, 80, walk the fields. Two other brothers, Jack and James, are deceased.

Over the years, the breakfasts have become larger and the conversations longer, so that the sun has usually dried the dew before they reach the fields. The children and grandchildren take more of the brush and draws, while the brothers walk the fencerows.

Christmas is my favorite time, but the best day of the year for my dad and his brothers is opening day of quail season.

Jim McClain, Kansas City

Ringing Reminder

A few weeks before the gun season last fall, My friend, Steve, and I were helping each other put up our portable tree stands. After helping Steve securely attach the heavy platform, I carefully climbed down the screw-in steps. As I hopped off the bottom step, my wedding ring snagged on the jagged edge of the step I was holding. My body weight nearly tore off my finger.

I shouted to Steve that I was hurt, and he scrambled down the tree to help. Unbelievably, his ring got snagged on that same step when he hopped off, and he sustained an identical injury.

The folks at St. John's Hospital in Washington did a good job putting our fractured fingers back together, with about 16 stitches in each.

We have since heard similar stories and wanted to warn others to remove rings before climbing trees.

Jeff Gaines, Pacific

Planned Feeding

I searched the Internet for bird feeder plans, and yours was one of the few available. I downloaded them and built a feeder from scrap cedar and plexiglass. It was easy and turned out great! Thanks very much!

James Manning, Lake Charles, LA.

Heal All

Your article on springs gives credit to our beautiful state, but the area north of the Missouri River also possesses some wonderful springs. At one time, Excelsior Springs was known throughout the country for the miraculous healing powers of its numerous mineralized springs.

Even today, we still have the world's longest water bar that still bottles this wonderful liquid.

George L. Hiser, Excelsior Springs

Power Topping

I enjoyed the tree topping article in the September issue, but was disappointed that it didn't address the topping practice due to power lines. I've often thought topping wasn't the most attractive thing, but was always told it was done for safety reasons because of power lines running through the trees. What should be the response in this case?

Debra Miner, via Internet

Author's note: Author Justine Gartner says the utility company's primary concern is keeping your power on when a storm hits. For trees that mature at a height greater than the power lines, the absolute best choice is to remove the tree and plant something compatible. Most utility companies are eager to remove a tree directly under the power lines. They know that trees that are topped will vigorously resprout, requiring them to return frequently to keep new sprouts out of the lines. Some utility companies will replace each tree you allow them to remove with a new tree that is compatible with the lines.

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: I have never seen a badger, nor do I know anyone who has. Are there badgers in Missouri?

image of ombudsmanA: Yes, Missouri has badgers, but their lifestyle keeps them from view most of the time. Badgers are burrowing animals and are nocturnal (active at night). They spend most of the day underground. Their digging can create problems in pastures. The Conservation Department recently published "Damage Control: Badger" to help landowners who are experiencing difficulties with this furbearer.

Badgers aren't all bad. They feed mostly on mice, moles and ground squirrels. They prefer open areas and are generally found in northern and western Missouri.

While not overly abundant, badgers are taken by hunters and trappers during the furbearer season. Their pelts were once used for men's shaving brushes.

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
Designer - Les Fortenberry
Artist - Dave Besenger
Artist - Mark Raithel
Photographer - Jim Rathert
Photographer - Cliff White
Staff Writer - Jim Low
Staff Writer - Joan McKee
Circulation - Laura Scheuler