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From Missouri Conservationist: Dec 2003

Trash Fighter

Great article by Kathy Love about Chad Pregracke and Living Lands and Rivers. I attended the floating classroom and got so much out of it.

Chad was a fireball of enthusiasm and a very interesting individual.His love for the cause is absolutely commendable. Kudos to the "muddy man!"

Holly Schalter, via Internet

Raging River

I enjoyed reading your series of articles on the Missouri River. The river is a great resource that we all need to know more about.

However, those articles also reminded me of the glaring lack of public river access in the Kansas City area. Western Missouri generally has fewer conservation areas than other parts of the state. I urge you to provide more Missouri River access points in the Kansas City metro area, as well as establish more conservation and fishing areas here.

Eric Rogers, Kansas City

Editor's note: It may sometimes seem as though there aren't enough conservation areas, but Kansas City is third among the state's eight regions in the amount of acreage owned or managed by the Conservation Department. It trails only the Ozark and Southeast regions. Accesses to the Missouri River convenient to Kansas City residents can be found at Cooley Lake, Fort Osage and LaBenite conservation areas. River Front Park access is scheduled to open before the end of 2003. A river access at Parkville also is being considered.

Missing Birds

I have lived in southwest Missouri for the past 20 years and grew up in the Montauk area. I recall listening to the lonely yet beautiful song of the whip-poor-will on many hot, steamy summer nights. Now I can't remember the last time I heard one.What's up with that?

Alvey Holland, Long Lane

Editor's note: Whip-poor-will numbers have been trending downward in Missouri for the past 30 years. Urbanization, forest fragmentation and an increase in free-roaming pets are often cited as reasons for the whip-poor-will's decline.

Buck Snores

John Wick's "The Real Secret To Deer Hunting" discusses the importance of positive thinking in deer hunting. But an even more important factor involves the application of "The Theory of Paradoxical Intentions," often referred to as "Detachment."

Anyone who has hunted (or fished) will tell you the more eager you are to shoot a deer or catch a fish the less likely it will happen.But once you back off, relax, and begin to enjoy the beauty of the environment surrounding you, presto! The buck appears out of nowhere, and the fish start hitting like mad.

When people fall asleep in their tree stand (never a good idea!) there's more than likely a buck or two right below them, providing, of course, the animals weren't spooked by loud snoring.

Marv Fremerman, Springfield

Moons Over Coons

I'd like to add a few tips to the "Grandpa, Coons and Sharp"article. Coon hunters generally know that coons do not move or roam much on moonlit nights, and that a heavy frost makes it nearly impossible for the dogs to smell the trail.

Also, most coon hunters wouldn't carry a loaded gun in the woods at night. It is much safer to load up at the tree and make the kill, taking care to unload before moving on.

Dale Martin, Tightwad

A Stinker

I read with interest your "No Solution" letter to the editor. My father-in-law, who is now deceased, said that as a kid growing up he earned spending money by selling fur.

He said he caught many a skunk by picking them up by the tail. If his timing was off, he caught a load. He said he was sent home from school several days because of the odor. That was all right with him, though, because he'd just have more time to have fun.

Gerry L. Tavener, Sedalia


Your ombudsman was right on target when he said that people on Missouri waterways for the most part follow the rules. However, an increasing number of "others" trespass, knowingly or unknowingly.

It is difficult to keep fences up along rivers due to seasonal flooding. Many folks I know are ready to break out the purple paint to mark their property, even if it degrades the aesthetics of the waterway.

Please continue the great canoeing articles in your magazine, but be sure to remind everyone that private land often borders streams and rivers.

Terrance Portman, via Internet

Springfield Eagle Days

Page 14 of the November Outside In has incorrect dates for the Eagle Days at Springfield Conservation Nature Center. They take place on January 17 & 18.

Nelda Hendrix, Springfield CNC

Clean Living

I have been a hunter since 1998 and a fisherman my entire life. Fishing and hunting have shaped my life for the better. You hear now of kids doing stupid things. I never got into drugs and that sort of things because I went fishing when I was feeling down. Now I also have hunting.

I just want to say thank you for your efforts and to encourage you to keep promoting hunting and fishing.

Matt Magoc, St. Louis

Steel Bullets

You show using a hammer and a hatchet to split a deer. Nothing could be more dangerous than to hit steel on steel. Pieces come off like bullets.

Fred Plough, Imperial

Editor's note: Pounding steel upon steel can send steel splinters flying. However, splitting a deer requires only slight tapping on the hatchet with a hammer. Using the hammer results in a neater cut, with less bone splintering, than swinging the hatchet.

Ask the Ombudsman

Q: I've heard people say you shouldn't eat rabbit meat, unless the animal was killed after a hard freeze. Rabbit season starts October 1. Is there any truth to this?

image of ombudsmanA: Rabbits and (other wildlife) are susceptible to parasites, many of which may be more noticeable during warmer weather. One of the most prominent "bugs" rabbits carry are warbles, the larval stage of the botfly. These are often visible in the animal's neck. While these parasites are unsightly, for the most part they don't present a problem for people.

Cold weather may help the hunter minimize exposure to tularemia, a disease people can contract from infected rabbits. This disease is transmitted to rabbits from ticks and fleas, and it's fatal to rabbits. By hunting late in the season the ticks and fleas will be less prevalent, and most of the sick rabbits will be gone. Rabbits that act oddly, or have white or yellow spots on their liver should be discarded. Burying the carcass would be preferable because canine tapeworm larva is fairly common within the body cavities of rabbits. It's always a good idea to cook game properly and use rubber gloves when dressing wildlife.

This Issue's Staff

Editor - Tom Cwynar
Managing Editor - Bryan Hendricks
Art Director - Ara Clark
Artist - Dave Besenger
Artist - Mark Raithel
Photographer - Jim Rathert
Photographer - Cliff White
Staff Writer - Jim Low
Staff Writer - Joan McKee
Circulation - Laura Scheuler