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From Missouri Conservationist: May 2014

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

Patterning Questions

Thank you for the article about getting ready for turkey season [March; Turkey Tryouts]. It can be an exciting time — almost as exciting as the month before Christmas in my opinion. However, I do differ with your suggestion under “Test Your Ammunition” on Page 21, in particular your point of aim. You say to aim at the wattles on the turkey head target. The best place to aim your shotgun on a turkey is at the neck at a point between the head and body. Try it, you may kill more birds.

Michael Davisson, via Internet

Author’s Note: To make efficient use of a shotgun pattern when turkey hunting we recommend to aim at the base of the neck (where the head meets feathers) on a turkey. My reference to aiming at the wattles could have used more clarification. On a turkey, the wattles typically refers to the lower, most fleshy portion of a turkey’s head. Aiming at the base of the neck allows for some room for error. If you aim too low on the neck you risk putting pellets into the breast. If you aim too high (at the top of the turkey’s head for example) you run the risk of your pattern being too high. Of course, this all depends on the pattern of your shotgun, and in particular, the balance of the shotgun’s pattern. In most field (hunting) shotguns, a balance of 50/50 is recommended. This means that if you were to aim at the horizontal line on a piece of paper, 50 percent of the pattern would be above the line and 50 percent would be below the line. Patterning sessions on paper will reveal if you need to adjust your aiming point, particularly if you are not reaching the minimum pellet counts required to lethally harvest a turkey. Thank you for taking the time to send in your comment. Good luck turkey hunting this spring! —Jake Hindman, Outreach and Education district supervisor

Rave Range Reviews

Yesterday, I took my kids to the August A. Busch Memorial CA Shooting Range to introduce them to the shooting sports. They absolutely loved it. I’m a former law enforcement officer and would like to acknowledge your shooting range staff.

I’ve never been more comfortable on a range. Your shooting range cadre are professional and confident. They supervise and run the operation very efficiently.

Besides my stateside law enforcement experience, I’ve spent seven years overseas working as an adviser for the Department of State. I’ve been on a lot of ranges. Your guys are really good. Please pass on to the range cadre at August A. Busch a big thank you from my family and I for making my kids’ first experience on a range an educational one, as well as safe and enjoyable.

Bryan Stanley, St. Louis

Teal-rific Photo

Danny Brown’s photos and descriptions of how he got those photos are absolutely wonderful. They draw me to that section immediately, and when I decide it’s time to recycle the magazine, I usually save the photos. The green-winged teal [March; Page 30] is so incredibly beautiful, I just had to write and thank you.

Cathy Tallen, via Internet

Dogwood Splendor

I read your article on the spectacle of Missouri dogwoods that will be appearing soon this spring [April; Page 6]. I have been on some of the routes that you mentioned and must agree that if you can synchronize your trip with the peak of the dogwood blooms, it is truly a breathtaking experience. I must admit though, I have never taken Highway 63 from Kingdom City to Thayer. Apparently, it’s not well marked. Other than that, great job.

Larry Jones, Fulton

Reader Photo

Springtime Swallowtail

Janet Strief, of Lebanon, captured this image of a giant swallowtail butterfly alighting on a pair of yellow coneflowers. “I love photography as a way to relax,” said Strief. “I prefer nature with a lot of color, but I’ve discovered I like taking black and white abstract photos as well.” Strief said her goal is to eventually visit each park and conservation area in the state.

This Issue's Staff

Editor In Chief - vacant
Managing Editor - Nichole LeClair Terrill
Art Director - Cliff White
Staff Writer/Editor - Brett Dufur
Staff Writer - Jim Low
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Designer - Stephanie Thurber
Circulation - Laura Scheuler