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From Missouri Conservationist: Oct 2013

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

Small Game, Big Time

Squirrel Hunting: Getting Started by Mark Goodman was right on, especially the first two paragraphs. Many folks, young and old, miss wonderful times in the woods by not hunting squirrels for all the reasons Mr. Goodman listed (harvest aside). After living in Union for several years as a youth, and having family in the Jackson area, I consider Missouri my second home state. At the age of 57 I still have a passion for squirrel hunting.

Dave Wente, Steeleville, Ill.

I read your article on squirrel hunting and the recipes the author included. I have a way to cook old squirrels that makes them as tender as young squirrels. First, you pan fry them as you would with young squirrel, but then put them in a well-greased Crockpot on low for four to six hours. Mine will hold nine squirrels.

Karl Richards, Rolla

Family Traditions

My two sisters and I do our best to carry on our parents’ most enjoyable traditions. Our father retired from the Missouri Department of Conservation after 30 years of service and has great passion for the outdoors. Together, our parents have shared their vast interest in wildlife and forestry with our family for almost 50 years.

All of us, children, grandchildren, and now great-grandchildren have been introduced to the wide variety of opportunities that nature has to offer. One of the most important values stressed to each of us is to have a true appreciation for the outdoors. Not to abuse or take anything for granted, and to make an effort to leave things better than the way they were found.

Many of us have participated in my parents’ extensive tree-planting projects each spring. We were all shown at a young age the enjoyment that can come from a well-developed forest, whether it be by hunting, watching wildlife, or just walking through the woods and absorbing the wide variety of sounds and smells, and the natural beauty it offers.

One of our family’s favorite traditions is our annual coon hunt. This takes place the Friday after Thanksgiving and is attended by approximately 30 people. The night is full of laughter as both the young and old help each other cross fences and creeks and search for lost gloves and boots, while telling stories of hunts past. We all return hours later to a huge pot of turkey noodle soup and ham and beans that grandma has prepared for us. It is a wonderful opportunity to experience the woods at night, and it is always an evening of adventure! Last year, at our 25th anniversary hunt, we introduced the fourth generation to this treasured family activity. At 7 months old, her smile in the dark woods was a promise that this family tradition will live on.

Bonnie Welker, Perryville

From Facebook

We hung a bat house in our backyard this year after watching local bats flying around at dusk. We hung the house on a tree near the woods, about 8 feet off the ground, close to their evening patrol path, but no interest yet. How do we convince them to move in?

Becca Dotson

Conservation Department: It may take some time for bats to discover and use your bat house. Do not hang a bat house in a tree or shady area. Make sure it receives 6 to 8 hours of sunlight each day. Mount the box at least 12 feet above the ground. Also, hanging the bat house near a pond or stream may increase your chances of attracting bats to use it.

Does southwest Missouri have any tortoises? A neighbor saw a turtle on his dirt road and it didn’t look like any of the box turtles I have seen.

Debbie Mayes Nims

Conservation Department: Missouri has 17 species of turtles with no tortoises listed. Here is a link to turtles in our online field guide: mdc.mo.gov/node/7005.

This Issue's Staff

Editor In Chief - Ara Clark
Managing Editor - Nichole LeClair Terrill
Art Director - Cliff White
Staff Writer - Jim Low
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Designer - Stephanie Thurber
Artist - Mark Raithel
Circulation - Laura Scheuler