Reflections

New Look

The new design is wonderful. It incorporates a fresher look while remaining true to the Conservationist's style, and it's easier to read. Great job!

I also was pleased to see your responsible handling of the issue of our country's protein (especially meat) consumption in "Enjoying the Harvest." Thank you for putting the ideas of meat as a side dish, eating more fruits and vegetables and exercise before your readers. You've done us all a great service.

Suzy Latare, Kansas City

Forest Growth

I own a farm in Camden County and consulted with your forestry division about managing my timber.

A Camden County work team cruised my timber and marked all the trees for logging. The timber was then put out for bids. With their help, I was able to get top dollar from a logger outside our area. I would have never been able to do so without their help.

Ruth A. Wolfe, Climax Springs

Misuse and abuse

Carol Davit's well written article, "Natural Missouri . . . From the Road," included the observations of Mr. Henry Marie Brackenridge, but it is not necessary to travel 200 years into the past to observe our state's natural vegetation.

Even when WWII started, the land was in fairly good condition regarding the living streams and woodlands, but they were beginning to show signs of neglect and misuse of one kind or another. Upon my return from the war, the landscape had changed drastically. Much of the old timber had been cut for war material, and things were in a sad condition. I visit places such as Peck Ranch Conservation Area so that I may in some small way experience nature as it once was.

Monte R. Ariola, West Plains

Symbolcide

An item in your September Almanac makes me wonder.

A man kills a bald eagle and is sentenced to a year in prison and a year on supervised release afterwards. Yet we have people who kill innocent people, torture them, cut them into pieces, bury them dead or alive and never spend a day in prison.

Olga Mae Brundhorst, De Soto

Editor's note: This case was newsworthy in that the circumstances surrounding the killing of the bald eagle, our national symbol, prompted the federal judge to levy the maximum penalty.

Unsightly crime

Hooray for Agent Nick Laposha's comments about littering and trash. Single cans or pieces of litter soon add up. The worm cans and debris from cleaning fish left around the water's edge have always seemed gross and unsightly to me.

Those people who expect trash cans to be provided for them probably wouldn't use them anyway. Sadly, some people don't seem to notice trash.

Sue Harmon, Fredericktown

Measured response

Thanks so much for such a lovely story of a boy growing up in "The Measuring Stick" by Mitch Jayne. What suspense! His trading up to a used rifle and "killing" a tree stump are wonderful lessons for a boy of 10.

Yasuo Ishida, M.D., St. Louis

Positive flow

"Ribbons of Life" by Dennis Figg was beautifully written and meaningful to me, as we have a home along Missouri's Black River and have seen and heard much of the river life he mentions. I am a third-grade teacher who regularly uses your magazine, materials and films to teach children to love and appreciate the world around them.

Jennifer Thoelke, Manchester

Bargain Hunting

I moved here from Texas a year and a half ago and I must say that the Missouri Conservation Commission really has their act together. The audacity of those who gripe about the minimal price increases is appalling. They would quit whining about price hikes if they had to pay $400 for a hunting lease-and that's on the lower side. I'm proud to live in Missouri.

Tex Rabenau, St. James

Let's see: it will cost me $37 for my small game, fishing, spring turkey and deer hunting permits. I may also have to buy a trout stamp and a fall turkey tag, bringing it to about $50.

What I get for my money is to hunt bushytails for about six months, take two gobblers in the spring, sit on the bank of the Meramec River and drown worms whenever I want and wash my lures in any of thousands of acres of water in Missouri. Sometimes I may shoot a deer and have venison all winter. All of this is on thousands of acres of public land within 20 miles of my home.

$50! I spend more than that on gas driving into the city to work in one week. It costs more than that for one tire for my truck. I won't stop hunting and fishing because of the license fee. You provide me with the best value for the buck. I think I'm robbing you guys blind!

James G. Wright, Sullivan

Ask the Ombudsman

Q: The January Extension of the deer season doesn't appeal to me. Conditions are too harsh and uncomfortable to enjoy the hunt. If the Conservation Department wants to harvest more deer, why not have a three-week season that opens a week earlier in November?

A: The January Extension has been effective in reducing deer numbers while providing additional opportunities to hunters-both those who were unsuccessful in November and those who prefer a more solitary hunt.

An increase in the length of the November deer season would have several disadvantages. One result would be conflicts among user groups vying for the same space. Upland game hunters would not want to give up a week of their seasons to accommodate an extra week of deer hunting. And if their seasons remained open during the extra week of deer season, they might not like sharing the field with large numbers of deer hunters.

An extra week of deer season in November, attended by large numbers of hunters, would make it difficult to provide adequate law enforcement.

Furthermore, even deer hunters might not like a longer season because some feel they have to hunt every day. Deer camp can get pretty tiresome going into the third week.

The object of any hunting season is to responsibly manage the resource while providing the greatest opportunity for as many hunters as possible. The present arrangement for deer season seems to be working well at this time. And who knows but we may be blessed with mild weather during the January Extension.

The Ombudsman is interested in your ideas. If you have a question, suggestion or complaint about Conservation Department programs, contact Conservation Ombudsman Ken Drenon at P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0180. Phone (573) 751-4115, ext. 848. E-mail Ken.Drenon @mdc.mo.gov.