Reflections

Rights reaction

Congratulations on your editorial, "Our Bill of Rights." I have read the Conservationist for over 50 years and it was time someone made a statement on behalf of the so-called "consumptive users" of wildlife.

We have been paying most of the bills for our sport for many years. Everyone who enjoys the outdoors has a right to do his or her thing, as long as it is legal.

Jack McLaughlin, Mountain View

Hunters and anglers need a better justification than "we have a right to act instinctively, following our natural urge to hunt and fish." By the same justifications, some men would beat their wives, and some hunters would poach out of season. Reveling in the outdoors won't do it, because you can do that without hunting. You can photograph or listen or just be there.

Lee Badger, Milan

You have no idea how much joy you brought to this old-timer with your "Our Bill of Rights." True conservationists have worked since 1936 to bring about our abundance of whitetails, turkeys and otters. Activists have arrived on the scene after all the work was done and then have the audacity to want to rule what all the rest of us have done.

Let us continue to tell them that we will no longer listen to their line of chatter.

Paul B. Johnson, St. Louis

King Walleye

I recently moved to Missouri from Minnesota, where the walleye is king, as far as I'm concerned. In your January issue, you noted the walleye projects the Conservation Department is working on. Can you tell me if there are any fishing organizations in Missouri affiliated with walleye fishing?

T.S. Johnston, Springfield

Editor's note: The Missouri Walleye Anglers Association, which is affiliated with the Conservation Federation of Missouri, claims to be the only walleye fishing club in the state. This new group will host its 1st Annual Open Walleye Tournament June 6-7 on Stockton Lake. Membership costs $20 annually, which includes the price of subscriptions to two publications. For more information, write the association at 2120 South Ingram Mill Rd., Suite #314, Springfield, 65804, or call (417) 887-4253.

An Otter View

I found the article about animal-rights groups targeting the Missouri otter trapping season upsetting. I would hope that people would research all of the available facts to determine if they have a legitimate cause.

My hat is off to the Conservation Department. I think they do a fine job regulating the balance of wildlife. They employ educated people who are able to determine the carrying capacity of an area, taking into account other natural forces, such as disease and predation, that can increase or decrease animal populations.

The people employed by the Conservation Department and not some special interest group are the ones who should regulate the otter trapping season. They use tried and true methods, and they monitor the methods constantly to make sure they are doing the best job they can.

Michael R. Higgins, Osceola

Secret is out

I'd like to tape the editor's mouth shut about the article on the making of a wing-bone call for turkey hunting. I have been making the calls for my friends and family. Now my secret is out. The call is second to none. It has a tone of its own and works great, if you can manipulate it properly. That is another secret I hold.

Mike Chambers, Warrensburg

Praising houndsmen

Thanks so much for your article about O.L. Beckham. It's wonderful to read about honest houndsmen. If you own a hound, everyone assumes that it runs deer. Not true. Myself and many others work hard to break our dogs from running deer.

Chris Espowe, Union

Uncommon dirt

I much enjoyed "Common as Dirt," the article about Missouri chert. Being a flintknapper and a geologist, I have found that cherts from both Ordovician and Mississippian strata in the south half of the state are suitable for making everything from fluted points to bird points. Some present-day tanners told me they preferred chert tools over steel tools for scraping hides, so our plentiful chert resource is still being used in the ancient tradition.

Pat Mulvany, Rolla

Convicted Misspellers

Help! My name was misspelled in the February Conservationist, and now my neighbors don't know it was me who donated the land to the Conservation Department for the Sloan Conservation Area in Dade County. My name is Eloise, not "Elois," and my husband's name was Dr. O.E. Sloan.

Eloise Sloan, Greenfield

AGENT'S NOTEBOOK

Lots of people go hunting and fishing to get away from the crowds of people they encounter every day at work or while shopping.

Lately, though, it seems the best hunting and fishing areas are flooded with other people who are seeking similar refuge. This infringement on our solitude doesn't have to add further stress to our lives. It's possible to enjoy being outside among large groups of people, as long as we all mutually respect one another's rights.

For example, don't fish right next to another boat. Move down the shoreline a bit and try a different area. On crowded waters, operate your boat at idle speeds when you are near other boats or anglers.

Stream anglers can walk to the next hole, if someone already has claimed a good fishing location, and it shows respect to walk away from the bank, so that your vibrations don't rattle the fish.

When hunting, don't try to work a turkey that another hunter is trying to call in. Deer hunters should keep a reasonable distance from other blaze orange splotches.

Keeping the woods enjoyable for others is just a matter of treating other people the way you would like to be treated. You wouldn't want someone casting to the fish you are working or skybusting the ducks that are coming in to your decoys. Show others the same respect you would like for yourself.

By its nature, the outdoors is relaxing and stress free. We can keep it that way by allowing others the space to enjoy it.

MIKE LANCASTER

SOUTHEAST REGION