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From Missouri Conservationist: Oct 2008

Quirky canoe

My 15-year-old daughter, Stephanie, noticed some errors in the photo [When Wetlands Aren’t Wet; August]: 1) Since he is ‘canoeing’ by himself, and has no ballast (gear) in the canoe, he should be sitting in the front seat, facing the stern of the canoe—to be closer to the canoe’s center of gravity, otherwise the bow would be very unstable and sticking up in the air. 2) He doesn’t know how to hold a paddle. For paddling, his right hand should be over the end of the paddle, holding the grip. Even though he is not paddling and is relaxed, he wouldn’t be holding the paddle in that manner, but his right hand would be gripping the paddle with his palm resting on the upper surface of the paddle’s shaft, not gripping it from the bottom, as shown.

Nice article though, despite the errors.

Bob and Stephanie Dye, via Internet

Editors’ note: We appreciate the scrutiny you gave to our photo. Foremost, we were trying to create a visual pun of sorts to catch our readers’ attention. It appears that we caught your attention, but perhaps for the wrong reasons.

 The person in the photo is actually an accomplished paddler. In fact, he made the paddle he is holding. In our experience, even accomplished paddlers will hold their paddles in different manners, but all seem to get the job done. And, as you mentioned, he is essentially in a relaxed position, which can result in any manner of hold.

Your points about his position in the canoe and the absence of ballast are valid, but we were focused on creating an eye-catching photo. His position in the canoe has more to do with visually balancing the photo than anything else. Thanks for your compliment and comments. We will consider these observations in the future.

When NOT to scope

I found Jim Low’s article [To Scope or Not to Scope; August] very good and worth reading, especially to the novice. I have had the privilege of deer hunting for most of my adult life and, more recently, elk hunting in Colorado. We need more firearm instructional pieces (selection, care, safety, accessories and firearm-related hunting experiences) in your excellent magazine. As a long-time firearms safety and self defense (LTC) instructor, I must comment on proper scope hunting as applies to firearm safety.

Mr. Low points out, accurately, that the hunter is advantaged being able to better see if the target is “qualified” to take, as would be the case in many Missouri counties for buck deer, and definitely for any bull elk, at least in Colorado. This, of course, applies to when the hunter is “on target.” However, I must point out a basic safety rule in the use of rifle mounted scopes: It is never safe, under any circumstance, to use the rifle scope to scan the fields and woods to see what’s out there. A responsible and safe hunter will use binoculars, or a free-standing spotting scope to do this. Never the rifle scope.

I have left the field and changed hunting partners on at least one occasion because someone in the party scoffed his refusal to buy and use binoculars. I saw, through my glass, him looking straight at me through his scope, and I was staring into the barrel of a loaded 30–06. Binoculars and/or spotting scope are basic tools these days for all big game hunters. Good ones are available at reasonable prices.

Jim Johnston, Kirkwood

Editors’ note: The author agrees with Mr. Johnston and regrets that his comment appeared to advocate “glassing” with a scope. Though not mentioned, he had already identified his target, as well as a safe shooting lane.

Submissions reflect readers’ opinions and may be edited for length and clarity.

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