Reflections

The issue of fishing

Well done on your May special fishing issue. It provided a capsule view of the different types of fishing available in Missouri and will be an excellent guide for someone who wants to become involved in fishing as a sport.

Clyde J. Miener, Kirkwood

I really enjoyed your articles on fishing in your May issue. They emphasized the idea of bonding with children or young adults, which helps forge good values in children.

Jerry O'Neill, Aurora

Your most recent issue was fantastic.

James Wood, via Internet

I agree wholeheartedly with the commentary on the inside cover of your fishing issue. My kids love fishing, and I treasure the times I was able to spend with my dad fishing, as well as the times I spend fishing with my kids. My hope is that my children will continue to enjoy fishing throughout their lives.

Gary Miers, Imperial

I am 72 years old and always wanted to know how to really fish. When I asked friends to take me, they said, "You can row the boat, Joe." Now I've got the Conservationist to teach me. I can't wait to get to Truman Lake and start my lesson.

Joe Hartmeier, Independence

Your special fishing issue will stimulate males and females of all ages to take to the water.

Emmett Drescher, St. Louis

Bones and All

I grew up eating deep-fat fried (in lard) scored suckers rolled in corn meal that were caught by my father and older brother and fried by my mother at our home on the South Jacks Fork River.

After reading Ken Drenon's article, "Sweet But Bony," I understand the expression my dad always said: "We ate them, bones and all."

Oh, for a big plateful right now.

Marie Richards, Burke, Virg.

Tatarian Invasion

Tatarian honeysuckle seems to be every place in north St. Louis County that isn't regularly mowed, and the forest understory is becoming a honeysuckle thicket.

The ground beneath each bush is bare and neither deer nor rabbits seem to browse the plant. Is there something being done about this plant?

Dr. Tony Weiss, D.V.M. Florissant

Editor's note: Shrub honeysuckle is displacing the shrub layer and ground cover in the woodlands around St. Louis, although Amur honeysuckle, Lonicera maackii, and not Tatarian honeysuckle is the abundant species. The bush honeysuckles are two of at least 31 exotic plant species in Missouri that are causing concern because of their aggressive spreading. The Conservation Department is formulating an exotic plants policy, and we will publicize and distribute it as soon as it is finalized.

Fishing Semantics

In one place in the May issue, you say you need a Missouri Fishing Permit if you are between 16 and 64. However, on another page it states everyone over the age of 15 and under the age of 65 must have a permit to fish in Missouri.

What is the age? Is it between 16 years and one minute to 64 years and one minute? Or is it 15 years and one minute to 65 years and one minute? Both are wrong.

J. David Schrimpf, Jefferson City

Editor's note: A person reaches the age of 16 on their 16th birthday and the age of 65 on their 65th birthday. As of 12:01 a.m. on those birthdays, respectively, they began to need and no longer need a Missouri Fishing Permit. People are over 15 when they can no longer say they are 15, in other words, when they have reached their 16th birthday. Someone is under the age of 65 up to his or her 65th birthday. We expressed the rule differently on each of the pages, as you point out, but in both cases the language describes this period correctly.

Unamused

I'm afraid I do not see the cartoon on page 49 of your May issue as funny, nor do I believe it is in any way keeping with conservation.

I do not understand why a military veteran or a postal service employee should be downgraded in a state publication. As a combat veteran, I take exception to this cartoon.

Bill R. Adams, Maryville

Well Awareness

We have several well drillers in our area of Perry and Cape Girardeau counties drilling well shafts into our water table and leaving them open for months and years at a time, covering the holes with concrete blocks.

This practice is hazardous because it allows our ground water supply to be polluted with surface water, pesticides, animal and human fecal matter and animal carcasses, and a well could collapse when a person steps on it.

The public has no idea how to seal these unused or abandoned wells to protect the environment, and the government cannot do anything if they are not reported.

Joseph Ainsworth, Cape Girardeau

Editor's note: Missouri's estimated 150,000 to 300,000 abandoned wells provide a straight conduit for contaminants to enter our ground water. Information on plugging abandoned wells is available from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources ((800) 361-4827,) the University of Missouri Extension Service ((573) 882-0085,) local Natural Resources Conservation Service offices and Farm Service Agency offices.

Naval reader

Thanks for sending me the Conservationist. I used to get it when I lived in Missouri, but I joined the Navy 14 years ago and moved to Virginia. My mother saved every issue for me to read when I came home. The last time there were 28 copies for me to read - I had a blast. My two sons love the outdoors as much as I do, and it sure is nice that they can grow up reading and looking at the pictures.

Pat Jennings, Virginia Beach, Virg.

More than ink

I am 85 years old and have received and enjoyed the Conservationist for many years. I live in a small town among many friends, but among the friends is the Conservationist. Thank you is a small phrase for all you've done, but it's my word to you and means more than a little bit of ink can say.

Caroline J. Hord, Henrietta

AGENT'S NOTEBOOK

As an agent in a county containing portions of three of Missouri's large lakes, I hear numerous complaints of breaches of outdoor ethics. How can one person offend another doing something as peaceful as fishing?

The most common complaint concerns boating behavior. Speeding close to someone fishing from a motionless boat or running through a concentration of anglers at a speed that causes a large wake are both dangerous and violations of Missouri boating laws. Pulling skiers near anglers or operating "jet skis" too close to fishing boats are also illegal. If you don't know the regulations, obtain a copy of Missouri's Watercraft Law from any Missouri Water Patrol officer or from your local license bureau office.

Other complaints come from people who have observed outright violations of the state's fishing regulations. It is easy to understand how a law-abiding person's day can be spoiled by witnessing someone else breaking laws that protect fish and game.

Most of us know that the law forbids taking more than the daily limit, taking several limits in one day, helping another person take their limit, culling fish, keeping undersized fish or taking fish by illegal methods. If you break the law, you are subject to penalties.

But do you also know that each breach of fishing regulations costs you the respect of your fellow anglers? Will you pay that price for a few extra fish?

Bill Gray

Taney County