Reflections

Heavy Medal

My family appreciates all the efforts and hard work that the Conservation Department has put forth to build and preserve our wildlife and ecology throughout the state of Missouri. In my opinion, your department deserves a Purple Heart-not just for saving a life, but for saving several species.

Donna Lester, Macon

Healing old hurts

I so enjoyed Joel Vance's "At Least I Saw a Lot of Stuff" in your March issue. It took me back to Iron County, where in the '70s my husband was an avid turkey hunter.

He was killed in a car accident the day before turkey hunting season opened in 1974, and it was years before I could even stand to hear anyone discuss turkey hunting.

I read this with joy in my heart and a smile on my face. So you see, your articles even help heal old hurts.

Donna J. Moss, Slater

Under Attack

Your article in the March issue concerning the nighthawk attack refreshed my memory of a summer night when I heard a shriek from my mother in the back yard. Mom was terrified of birds, due to a guinea hen attack when she was six or so. When a bird dove at her head that night, I thought we might have to bury her on the spot. My dad, who had seen the attack, said it was a "bull bat," which was a rural name for what is actually a nightjar, which includes nighthawks.

It took quite a while before Mom would even venture into the back yard. Even when she did, she would always scan the sky from the back porch before taking a step.

Joe B. Whisler, Kansas City

I'm a walker and have seen and heard those birds often on summer evenings. I was surprised you didn't say more about their cry, which is distinctive. One source says it often makes nasal "peent" calls when flying. Calling it a "squeak" didn't fully describe it. The ones I saw were tree-top high, and I never experienced the "thump in the night." Thank goodness.

Dorothy Lawson, Edina

Editor's note: Nighthawks don't attack people, but during courtship displays males dive steeply toward the ground, stopping with a loud "whoosh" that can startle someone nearby.

Recycling magazines

At a family gathering, my cousin from southern Illinois said he really liked my Conservationist magazine.When I asked him how he knew I subscribed, the story unfolded.

I save them for my father-in-law (age 84), who passes them to his baby brother (age 80), who passes them to his oldest son, who passes them to his younger brother, who then shares them with the cousin. They are all avid sportsmen.

The Conservationist obviously recycles well-in more than one way.

Jim Mooney, St. Louis

Hunter power

I want to praise "Moments of Choice" in the November issue. I salute the sportsmen and sportswomen who care enough to behave in an ethical manner. They show respect for wildlife, landowners, other hunters and themselves. More power to them.

Carol Johnson, Holden

Resubscription Blues

Will you please tell me why I continually have to send in a subscription to the Conservationist. I have subscribed several times and get four or five issues, and then it stops.

I have been a Missouri resident since 1935 and have purchased my fishing and some hunting licenses. Please put me on your permanent mailing list for a subscription.

Duane Davis, Florissant

Editor's note: To keep our mailing list current and to prevent waste, we ask subscribers to return a postcard indicating that their address is correct and that they wish to continue to be on our mailing list. Although our purges may seem more frequent, we have conducted one about every 18 months. The next one will ask subscribers to return a verification card included with their September issue.

Favorable comparison

You make it a hassle to hunt deer and turkey. It's hard enough to learn how to hunt, but you make us hunters keep track of some extra items, like tags, ink pen and watch.

I also think the tags you sell are expensive. I could buy some other things that have a little more value than a green slip of paper.

Derek O'Brien, Hannibal

Editor's note: We require deer and turkey hunters to carry their licenses and mark the date and time they are successful to help us monitor and manage the harvest. The following chart reveals that Missouri hunting and fishing is a bargain compared to bordering states.

Combination hunt/fish permit

Arkansas $35.50

Iowa $23

Kansas $38.50

Kentucky $20

Missouri $15

Nebraska $21.75

Oklahoma $21

AGENT'S NOTEBOOK

Someone on the street asked me, "Are you a game warden?" I told him that was basically my job, but that my actual title was conservation agent.

That started me wondering. I took a look at my previous day's activity log and came up with several other titles that people might have applied to me during the course of a day.

I had started out the morning as a science teacher, doing water quality monitoring on the river with a local volunteer Stream Team. After shedding my rubber wading boots, I moved onto the job of computer technician, when I sorted out a permit problem for a hunter who had purchased a license through the computer generated point-of-sale system.

I became a pest exterminator when I helped an elderly woman who was unable to get out her back door because a colony of hornets had built its nest nearby. Later, I was an outdoor educator, when I set up a Conservation Department exhibit for a hunting and fishing expo and when I later taught a hunter safety certification course.

I finished up the day as a wildlife enforcement officer, patrolling the back roads looking for illegal spotlighting.

That was just one day, and I knew the next would bring a host of other job titles, including public relations specialist, social worker and landowner consultant. Who knows? I might even become a game warden and check fishing licenses.

KEITH WOLLARD

WRIGHT COUNTY