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From Missouri Conservationist: Feb 2014

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

Great Resolutions

In the January 2013 issue, there was an article, Conservation Resolutions, in which your director resolved to “make time for at least one new outdoor adventure each month.” I’m happy to share that I took his idea and ran with it. Here are the “adventures” I completed.

  • January: Rabbit and squirrel hunting at Busch CA
  • February: Hike at Babler State Park
  • March: Hiking and scouting for turkey at Pacific Palisades, Young, and Labarque Creek CA’s
  • April: Turkey hunting at Pacific Palisades
  • May: Fly fishing at Taneycomo
  • June: Hike at Castlewood State Park
  • July: Hiked the Lewis and Clark Trail at Weldon Spring CA
  • August: Hike at Cuivre River State Park
  • September: Dove hunting at Busch CA
  • October: Dove hunting at Weldon Spring CA
  • November: Deer hunting (rifle season) in Phelps County
  • December: Deer hunting (alt methods) at Upper Mississippi-West Alton CA

I’m proud to say many of these trips were my first times in a park, or my first time hunting a new animal, or hunting a new area. I harvested my first rabbit, caught my first trout with my dad and brother (a soon-to-be annual trip), and saw a good friend of mine harvest his first deer.

Great idea for a resolution and a great way to get more people enjoying the outdoors. I encourage anyone to try the same this year.

Tim Stiebel, St. Louis

We Have Lots to Share

Each year, my appreciation for our Conservation Department grows. It is simply the best-run, best-managed governmental agency in Missouri. This morning, I decided that I would go deer hunting with my dad. In about four minutes, and for one extra dollar, I was able to purchase and print a permit online. Other states can take weeks or months.

The public shooting range in our area is operated by the Department. It is cleaner and nicer than the private club to which I used to belong. They even provide free targets! Seriously, just in case one forgets to bring targets, there are quality, 1-inch, grid-style targets kept on-site, free for public use. It’s above and beyond expectations for a public facility.

Further, a Department biologist has met with my dad (a landowner) regarding habitat management and restoration on his property. This guy is as professional as it gets, knowledgeable, and has the perfect personality for working with the public. He is currently writing a restoration and management plan for my dad to implement.

Finally, The Northeast/Kirksville Regional Office is just down the road from our house, and it’s full of stuff for kids to do. I take my three small children there on rainy days, and there is a whole room full of indoor excitement to be had. Taxidermied animals,

demonstrations, and displays. My kids love it. I’ve also taken the kids on a few of their guided activities, one of which involved hunting for and identifying animal tracks. Again, pure kiddie adventure.

I could go on, but suffice to say, I actually enjoy buying licenses and permits because I can see where the money is going. Professional staff, nice facilities, and a “public first” mindset.

Jesse Barton, Kirksville

Magazine History

I recently subscribed to your magazine, both print and email, and I am enjoying reading the current issue online. I remember your magazine from when I was a child, and I am curious about how long your publication has been in existence. I am 69 years old, so I think your magazine has been around a long time!

Phyllis Pryor, Chula

Ombudsman’s Note: The first Conservationist was published on July 1, 1938. The formation of the Conservation Department was approved by voters in 1936, and the Conservation Commission first met in 1937, so the magazine is almost as old as the Department. —Tim Smith

Reader Photo: Busy Beaver

Jason Elkins, of Warrensburg, Mo., took this picture of the work of a truly busy beaver. Elkins took the photo on a private farm on the banks of Big Creek in Henry County. Elkins estimated the circumference of the sycamore tree to be at least 13 feet. “I am one of a group of 10 grade school friends that have hunted, camped, and hiked on this farm since we were very young,” says Elkins. “This land has long been known for great waterfowl hunting, and it has always been known for growing big deer and turkey. Now, we can include big beavers to the area’s lore.” The actual beaver has not yet been witnessed in person, says Elkins, “but the story is starting to grow of the ‘giant ghost beaver.’”

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