Reflections

KEEPING TRACK OF HUNTERS

Unable to get up, I laid in a ditch for three hours last fall, when the nails holding my tree stand snapped and I fell 16 feet to the ground on my head and shoulder. I couldn't even move my arm to get my whistle or emergency blanket from my pocket.

One thing I didn't worry about was when I would be found. My wife knew exactly where I was and when I was expected home. She appeared - more beautiful than ever in the moonlight - an hour and a half after the expected time.

Few people want to be tracked at every minute, but it's a good practice to let someone know where you hunt and when to expect you back. Three hours is a long time to spend in a cold ditch, but all night would have been a lot longer.

John R. Davis, Memphis

TIPPY CANOE

The picture on page 23 of your Big Rivers issue should be a poster about what not to do on a canoe trip.

Please, Father Marquette, sit down, before everyone is in the river. Canoeist #3 won't make much headway with that narrow paddle and we can't blame canoeist #4 for hanging on for dear life.

Those four explorers would be lucky to cross the Mississippi, let alone travel its length, in a canoe that appears to be about 12 feet long by 2 feet wide.

Forrest McCurdy, Princeton, Wisc.

MUSSEL BUILDING

I enjoyed your coverage of the zebra mussel invasion - scary!

Why not use laser beams, which can destroy almost anything, to stop the spread of these destroyers?

Patricia H. Meisch, Florissant

Zebra mussels may have already invaded Benton County. I have found at least two dozen shells - very small - in my neighbor's driveway. This load of gravel came from Turkey Creek in Benton County.

Thomas O. Darr, Edwards

The zebra mussel problem sounds serious. I suggest trying copper - copper surfaces, copper screens, etc. Copper-bearing paints are used to protect againt borers and barnacles on the East Coast and seem to work. Hopefully, mussels will not attach to copper-treated surfaces

Hugh A. Kneedler, Cedar Hill

Creative solutions like these might one day stop the spread of zebra mussels. Lasers, however, direct energy to specific locations and are unlikely to control zebra mussels, which are dispersed throughout aquatic environments.

The shells found in the gravel of small streams could be zebra mussels but Conservation Department mussel experts said they more likely belong to a species of Corbicula, an Asiatic clam.

Anti-fouling paints containing copper are widely used in saltwater environments to control barnacles. Tests show the paints reduce zebra mussel attachment, as well. However, copper is toxic and can harm non-targeted aquatic organisms.

RACING FANS

Want to thank you for the Almanac item in the July issue covering the solar car race. My son and I went to the Longview campus to view the cars and to talk to the students and found the project very interesting.

Ed Reineke, Kansas City

INCREASE FLOODPLAIN

Although legally blind, I am able with difficulty to read some of the Conservationist. The Big Rivers Issue is great. We must quit building levees higher and higher. The Big Mo needs more floodplain land.

My father built a home on a farm west of Gumbo in 1920-21. He built it high to avoid flooding and the first floor was 3-4 feet above the water during the 1935 flood, which was the biggest since 1903 and considered bigger than the 1951 flood.

In 1993 this same house had two or more feet of water over the first floor, and this June I was met 1.5 miles from home by boat.

Elmer Fick, Trenton

Missouri residents who are visually impaired can receive monthly editions of the Conservationist on audio tape by contacting the Wolfner Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, 600 W. Main St., Jefferson City, 65102, or call toll-free 1-800-392-2614.

AGENTS NOTEBOOK

Last November, I had the pleasure of taking my 12-year-old son on his first deer hunt. We attended Hunter Education classes together, and for several weeks before the season scouted the area we would hunt. We once had a trophy buck walk within 25 yards of us, but we never had an opportunity for a shot.

Our first hunt together resulted in my son taking a nice little buck. What a truly great experience! The memory of it will last both our lifetimes.

Making my rounds as a Conservation Agent, I encounter lots of parents and children enjoying the state's natural resources together. Unfortunately, some of these experiences turn out to be negative ones for the children.

Often parents introduce their kids to illegal hunting and fishing. Some parents disregard "No Trespassing" signs. Others instruct their children to lie about who shot the deer so they don't have to use their tag, or they'll claim their child caught trout that they actually caught.

They apparently never consider the message they are presenting to those young minds. How can they expect their children to grow up to obey laws and tell the truth?

We, as parents and role models, can show our children by example the proper way to use our natural resources. At the same time as we provide them with positive experiences and memories, we can be teaching them to become responsible adults.

Gary VanMatre

St. Charles County

"Giant" Auction Helps Operation Game Thief

The sale of a limited edition series of art prints of Missouri's world record non-typical whitetail buck will help stop those who would illegally take fish and wildlife.

"Missouri Giant" depicts the giant deer as Minnesota artist Ron Vangilder envisions it looked when it stalked St. Louis County, where it was found dead in 1981.

Vangilder provided 100 special edition copies of "Missouri Giant" to the Conservation Department. Ninety-six high quality prints will be sold by sealed bid to raise funds for Missouri's Operation Game Thief.

The program provides a toll-free number (1-800-392-1111) for people to report game law violators. The Conservation Federation raises OGT reward money for tips leading to arrests.

Bid deadline is 2 p.m. Nov. 1. Minimum bid is $125 and prints will be awarded sequentially - lowest number to the highest bid - until the prints are gone.

Bidders should send their name, address, phone number, bid amount and check or credit card number and expiration date (Mastercard or Visa only), payable to Operation Game Thief, to Missouri Giant, P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City, 65102-0180. For more information call Wildlife Division at (314) 751-4115.