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Nympher's Delight

"A Winter Fishing Lesson," by Jim Auckley, has to be the finest article on fishing the Missouri trout parks that has ever been published. It is refreshing to know that someone who loves and understands trout fishing would take the time to help their fellow flyfishers with such an informative lesson. Once we have mastered short line nymphing and float fishing, we shall be ready for more advanced techniques.

Norman Ringler, Quincy, Ill.

Correction

Our article, "1999 Wildlife Code Changes," which appeared in the January Conservationist, incorrectly states that an amendment allows the turkey hunting permit to serve as a transportation tag, which does not need to be notched after harvest.

For the 1999 spring turkey season, immediately after harvest hunters must notch their permit to invalidate it, then tag the bird with a transportation tag, either homemade or the one supplied when the permit was purchased.

Head Hunting

Thanks for the article on Tim Murphy the flintknapper. I have been dabbling in the art of flintknapping for a couple of years, using discarded chips and broken pieces of flint that I have found in plowed fields.

I started to hunt arrowheads back in 1957, almost always in plowed fields along Missouri rivers. I can remember when you could pick up a gallon bucket of them in a single day in certain areas.

David R. Mason, Fair Grove

I am a flintknapper who uses the very techniques Tim Murphy denounces. These techniques were used in ancient times in Egypt, Turkey and Denmark to achieve exceptionally beautiful flaking patterns on the finished tools.

In flintknapping, if a piece looks like it was made with skill, it was. There are no tools that hide a lack of skill, but they can be used to achieve a certain beauty not possible with basic techniques. Also, modern equipment can be used to conserve valuable stone, which is important because many varieties favored by flintknappers are becoming scarce.

Scott Van Arsdale, Otsego, NY

Fear of flying?

The definition of a "fly" in the state of Missouri seems to bring about much debate at local fly shops, club outings and streamsides. Rubber legging material and leather are the two most commonly debated materials. Is it true that if these materials are included in a pattern, then it no longer constitutes a "fly" by Missouri Conservation Department definition?

I hope you can provide some clarification. I am as tired of hearing this debate as I am about the debate in Washington.

Dean Rapp, Grover

Editor's note: Conservation Department regulations are a permissive set of rules. That means that they tell you exactly what is allowed. Anything not specified is not legal. Our Wildlife Code defines a fly as "A lure constructed on a single-point hook, of feathers, tinsel, chenille, yarn, fur, hair, silk, rayon or nylon thread or floss, with or without a spinner." This definition has been in use for many years and until it changes to include such fly making materials as rubber legs or leather, you could be ticketed for using a fly constructed with these materials on flies only waters.

Bottoms up

Congratulations on the article on buying the Missouri River bottomland for conservation purposes. The levees were a bad decision that many farm owners (even five miles from the river) had to pay for over many years.

The people who bought land on the river bottom should expect the Missouri River to do what all rivers do. The Conservation Department has given the river bottom people a way out. It is still the taxpayer who has to pay for the solution, but we could see an end to the problem of the flooding of personal property

Agnes J. Evans, Mokane

Required reading

Thanks for printing Mike Fuhr's "Creeks in Revolt." It should be mandatory reading for all city councils, planning and zoning commissions, developers, contractors and new home buyers. If we do not stop scraping the land to plant houses and factories, I fear all of us are going to end up on the short end of global warming.

Al Newman, O'Fallon

Tags filled

I would like to thank the Conservation Department, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, all the volunteers and anyone else that helped to make the deer hunt for the disabled at Smithville Lake possible.

When I checked in my second deer on Sunday afternoon of the special hunt, 52 disabled hunters had filled 50 of their 156 tags, and I'm sure more were on the way. Thanks again, from all of us to all of you.

Scott Stark, Odessa

Gypsy fetching

As an avid model ship builder, I was fascinated by Jim Loveless's article on building a wood strip canoe. Jim did a beautiful job on Gypsy, and thank you for running his article.

Richard Harshaw, Kansas City

Ask the Ombudsman

Q: What's the deal with tree stands on Conservation Department land? Are hunters staking their claim by leaving stands up year around?

A: Leaving a tree stand up all year to stake a claim for a spot to hunt on Conservation Department land is illegal. The Wildlife Code of Missouri says only portable tree stands may be used and only between Sept. 15 and Jan. 31. The stands must be identified with the full name and address of the owner and be removed by Feb 1. The regulation also prohibits the use of nails or any material that would damage the tree.

Courtesy and ethics are key ingredients to enjoyable hunting on public land. No hunter is entitled to claim a certain area of a conservation area. One reason baiting isn't legal is because of the potential for conflict over territory. Tree stands bring the same problems, unless they follow the previously mentioned regulation.

Conservation Department authorities are interested in learning about violations. If you know of an illegal tree stand or have information about people taking more than their limit or using illegal methods, please contact your local conservation office or conservation agent immediately.

Ombudsman Ken Drenon will respond to your questions, suggestions or complaints concerning Conservation Department programs. Write him at P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0180, call him at (573) 751-4115, ext. 848 or e-mail him at <drenok@mail.conservation.state.mo.us>.

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