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From Missouri Conservationist: Jun 2003

Fencing Deer

An English garden book that I have shows a picture of a "park pale" deer fence of cleft oak. The pales are set at three alternating heights, ranging from 3 feet to 6 feet. The fence was designed to enclose deer, as they will not jump a fence with jagged outline. The design can be traced to the Romans.

Dollie Fritsche, Hazelwood

Editor's note: Park pale fences were usually one-way fences accompanied by a ditch. The design allowed deer to enter the park, but made it difficult for them to leave. In England, ancient pale ditches still mark the sites of these ancient parks.

Turkey Talk

I want to thank those in our Conservation Department who were responsible for the changes that brought about the youth hunting seasons and the rules that apply to them.

Opening day of the Youth Spring Turkey season was a day that my 10-year old nephew and I will never forget. I'm almost 50 now and have hunted all my life, but without a doubt being with and seeing this youngster take his first gobbler was the greatest hunt I have ever been on.

Our Conservation Department does an excellent job of managing our wildlife and forest and we, in turn, are the benefactors of some wonderful memories. When my nephew is an old man, he will tell his children about their daddy's first turkey.

Mike Hill, Seneca

Connect the Dots

I'm a Missouri resident and have been receiving your magazine for over 10 years. I remember when it was not a four-color product.

Just by chance I looked at the spot structure the other day and found the screening system used for the printing is stochastic screening. I have been in the prepress and printing industry since 1978 and just felt the need to compliment you on how the magazine has come along over the last 10 years. It's a beautiful product that, in my book, has great articles and represents great quality in all aspects of the production.

John Bouvatte, St. Louis

Editor's note: Stochastic printing provides better picture quality than standard printing. Stochastic refers to a non-standardized, or random, arrangement of dots to display the color portions of the magazine. Use a magnifier to compare the dot patterns of several magazines. It's fairly easy to tell the difference between standard printing and stochastic printing.

Deer Gardening Tips

We really enjoyed your April issue. Suzanne Wilson's article on deer gardening was especially interesting. We received many good tips on plantings for flower beds, trees to plant, etc. We built a new log home two years ago and are still landscaping. We have numerous deer, turkeys, fox, and quail around our 50-acre property so we would like to incorporate native plantings.

Carol L. Redd, Taylor

Skunk Solution

The person who saw the skunk with a paper cup over its head could have prevented the animal's awful death by starving if he knew the old hillbilly way of catching skunks.

He could have grabbed the skunk by the tail and jerked him up in the air, off the ground. When the skunk's feet are in the air, not touching, he will not stink you. He could have taken the paper cup off and then released the skunk by reaching around a tree or large rock and dropping it.

Exie Margan, Nixa

Sacajawea follow-up

I do not know where Sacajawea joined Louis and Clark, but the son of Sacajawea was baptized in the old cathedral down at the riverfront in St. Louis. The event is recorded and on file.

Lillian Dejenghart

Outdoor Support

My husband's grandfather, Carl D. Shoemaker, who was the principal author of the Pittman-Robertson Act signed into law in 1937, would have been very pleased by the article appearing in your March issue. The continued support of this program by licensed hunters and target shooters is why the state of Missouri and other states have an abundance of wildlife.

Juanita Shoemaker, Natalia, Texas

Domestic Danger

Thank you for the article on the dangers of domestic pets to wildlife.

When we first bought our property, we were overjoyed at the variety of wildlife. There were squirrels, chipmunks, turkey, quail, rabbits, deer and even collared lizards. We made brushpiles for shelter, dug a pond, put up birdhouses, grew food plots, but all in vain. Our neighbors' cats and dogs which are allowed to run free have totally eradicated all but a few wild birds and deer. I've even caught cats waiting beneath the bird houses for fledglings.

If you have pets, please control them, and don't feed or encourage wild cats.

Kathy Staab, Kaiser

Ask the Ombudsman

Q: We're puzzled by these mud tubes in our yard. What causes them?

image of ombudsmanA: Burrowing crayfish make the mud chimneys. Although we usually think of crayfish as stream and lake critters, there are some that live in what we might consider dry places. The prairie crayfish, for example, can dig burrows six feet deep, if they need to go that far to reach the water table.

Here's an excerpt from Dr. William Pflieger's, An Introduction to the Crayfish of Missouri: "The prairie crayfish occurs widely in grasslands and former grasslands of the Prairie Region. It lives in burrows that are often a long distance from any surface water. These may be six feet or more in depth. Most public prairies in Missouri support large populations, but this crayfish is seldom seen by visitors because of its secretive habits."

For more information about the prairie crayfish and other Missouri crayfish, visit the MDC website.

Dr. Pflieger also wrote, Crayfishes of Missouri, which may be purchased from Conservation Department nature centers and regional offices or ordered online at

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 - Laura Scheuler