Reflections

Famous Praise

In all the scores of years I have read state conservation journals... your February edition on endangered species is the most informative to outdoorfolk of all ages. I have this issue in a special file for future reference.

Fellow Missourians should be very pleased with the productive ways you are using tax monies to keep our precious outdoors safer for all flora and fauna. Kudos to everyone involved!

"Uncle Homer" Circle, Sports Afield

I really enjoyed your issue about endangered species. I feel that now I have a heightened awareness of the fragility of nature and the wonderful job that the Conservation Department is doing for Missourians. I no longer hunt and seldom fish (catch-and-release only), but I do love the outdoors and deeply appreciate all your efforts to save our heritage.

John Larkin, Columbia

An unkind cut

In your tips on pruning trees, you said, "always cut off limbs above the raised bark that marks the 'branch collar.'" However, the illustration showed the cut (cut #3) below the branch collar, which was misleading and took away from the benefit of your otherwise helpful advice.

Brian E. Hall, Birch Tree

Beavery note

Joel Vance stated in his January article, "most wild game cookbooks don't list beaver recipes." The Maine Way, a collection of Maine fish and game recipes published in 1978, has five recipes and nothing about the tail being eaten, as your article suggested.

Michael Loan, Oregon, Ill.

Saving trees

You write in the February issue of wood being a renewable source of fuel. How long does it take for the woods you mention, such as hickory and oak, to grow large enough for use as firewood? How many years does it take to grow a cord of high quality firewood? I'm surprised you discuss this in an issue devoted primarily to endangered species, which I presume includes trees.

Joseph Engels, Gravois Mills

Editor's note: We have a bountiful supply of wood in Missouri, and the acreage covered by timber is actually increasing. Trees do not grow overnight, but we have forests in all stages of growth. We manage most forests for our use, rather than to preserve them. Firewood usually comes from lower quality trees or trees that have died. Taking these does no harm to the forest and may improve the growth of the remaining timber.

Out of Missouri

I found the article "Out of Africa and into Missouri" very interesting and it also brought back a memory of my past. Around or about the year 1963, I was exploring a wooded creek in Independence. I found a dead lizard resembling an iguana that appeared to be about 3 feet long. Was there ever any evidence that lizards of this nature resided in the Show-Me State?

My loving mother in Columbia sends me a subscription to your magazine. My family is looking forward to moving back to Missouri, and the Missouri Conservationist is the best way I know of to stay in touch with the wonderful natural resources of my home state.

Alan D. Crowl, Manteca, Calif.

Editor's note: Recorded history provides no evidence of a native lizard of that size existing in Missouri .

Devolution

I enjoyed the piece on cavefish in the February issue. I would offer one caution to your writers: Speculating about cavefish "devolving" is just that. There is no fossil record to support that statement. The Cambrian explosion of all animal phylla intact has not been explained by science. Until it is, we should leave it out of an otherwise wonderful issue of the Conservationist.

Bruce Dawson, Liberty

MIsspelling

I enjoy your magazine, and I'm glad our school gets it, but I noticed on your map on pages 8 and 9 of the February issue that you have spelled Randolph wrong. You spelled it "Dandolph." My friend Andrew has lived in that area before and was really disappointed. I live in neighboring Shelby County and noticed immediately that you had it spelled wrong.

Daniel Chinn, Clarence

Big fish story

I enjoyed the article about bighead carp. I fish mainly in an old river channel between Caruthersville and Hayti. This last summer, while idling in the chute, I noticed fish started jumping out of the water in front of and behind my boat. I had four of these strange looking fish land in the boat. One of them even hit me in the shoulder. This happened many times over the summer. I was not positively sure of the species until I read your article.

William S. Taylor, Caruthersville

Generating heat

As one who has relied on wood for space heat for some 30 years, I beg to differ with some of the fuel values listed in the February issue.

Elm and cedar rank well above maple and cottonwood and are comparable to hard maple.

Basswood (Tilia) and cottonwood (Populus) burn like paper and are on a par with sycamore.

Charles M. Schlanker, De Soto

Ombudsman

Q: By the time I get to turkey hunt on the weekend, turkeys are call shy. Why not open turkey season on Saturday so people who work during the week won't have to wait?

A: We open the turkey season on Monday to spread out the pressure on the birds. You mention birds being call shy. With a weekend opener you can imagine what the remainder of the season would be like. The Monday opener also keeps the woods from being so crowded with hunters that safety is compromised. Now, with a three week spring season, pressure is spread even thinner and hopefully we will see even fewer accidents.

Q: The regulations say you can take one turkey per day after the opening week. I know that isn't what is meant, but . . . ?

A: After similar questions from other turkey hunters, the wording of the turkey regulation has been amended to read as follows:

Season Limit: Two male turkeys or turkeys with visible beard, provided that only one may be taken during the first seven days of the season and only one may be taken per day. (In other words, you may only take one turkey during the first week, but if you do not take one during the first week, then you may take two during the second or third week, but you may not take them both on the same day.)

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 <Ken.Drenon@mdc.mo.gov>