By |
From Missouri Conservationist: Sep 2008

Dear DeeCee

In the July issue I was struck by the “Note to Our Readers” by DeeCee Darrow. Something made me want to read it over the second time, and during the second read I quickly found what it was. It was several phrases: “… a great time scouting and retrieving … fondest memories … a wonderful adventure … shaped my interest … exciting projects … loved the outdoors … learn the lessons of life … fishes regularly … teaching them … I learned …a helping hand … discover the wonders of nature … not complete until we teach another … passion for all the things we call fish, forest, and wildlife conservation … memories to last a long time ….”

Even though my occupation has nothing to do with wildlife conservation as DeeCee’s does, I still saw myself so very clearly through the many phrases she used that dealt with the wonderful natural world around us. Each and every one of them fit a particular time, moment or special memory that I treasure. Thank you, DeeCee. Your words brought back a flood of pleasure for me.

Greg “Rudi” Rudroff, Farmington

I just read DeeCee Darrow’s editorial about her fond outdoor memories with her grandparents. I, too, was introduced to those same wonderful experiences by my grandpa (Claude Cloninger of California, Mo.), who passed some years ago.

We no longer have family farms, but we take every opportunity to mentor our grandchildren and teach them to love the outdoors. They are all “city kids,” and their lives are filled with Little League, dance recitals and soccer; but somehow we manage to get them some precious time at our Truman Lake house to fish, plink with a .22 or simply hike through Corps land. Hopefully, as they grow older, those memories will bring as much joy to them as they have to us.

V. Dean Barry, Independence

Tough Love for Stinky

The July issue brought back pleasant memories of a summer spent in the company of a skunk [Skunk Sense]. Probably not many would make that statement. However, several years ago I moved two horses into a boarding stable for the summer and found a surprising companion.

The stalls were in a barn that had been vacant for some time. A couple of days after unloading my feed and tack into a storage area, I noticed a little face peering up at me from under the pallets that formed the floor—a skunk! I stopped what I was doing and spoke to it for a while. I know it may sound strange, but I offered a deal … I would provide cat food and it was not to spray either me or my tack (most importantly, my tack). I DO know you aren’t supposed to feed, but I couldn’t help it. We spent the summer quite harmoniously and before the end it was even sitting on top of the pallets watching me, scooting under if I came too close. I always hoped the barn remained vacant until my little friend moved to a different home. Others might not have been so appreciative of the company.

LeAnne Newby, Olean

Editor’s note: You’re probably right—especially with his new begging habit! Please don't feed because an assertive, fearless skunk might be mistaken for rabid.

Fly Fishing

Your July reader photo [Page 3] brought back a very funny incident I had with an owl. In the mid-1980s, a buddy and myself were fishing out of my boat in Minnesota. I was throwing a lifelike plastic topwater frog toward shore, when all of a sudden a large owl flew out of the trees and grabbed the lure out of the water. Realizing I would have a big problem if the hooks got caught in his feet, my buddy and I started to scream at the top of our lungs until he dropped the lure just short of his perch in the tree. I still have that lure and show it every time I tell this story. Most people don’t believe me.

Steve Werner, St. Louis

This Issue's Staff

Editor In Chief - Ara Clark
Managing Editor - Nichole LeClair
Art Director - Cliff White
Writer/Editor - Tom Cwynar
Staff Writer - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Jim Low
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Designer - Stephanie Ruby
Artist - Dave Besenger
Artist - Mark Raithel
Circulation - Laura Scheuler