Reflections

Score a hint

The "ground floor dining" tip you provided in Habitat Hint really works. For nearly 38 years we've had a pallet table on a metal stand in our back yard that serves as a birdfeeder. The bird seed, vegetable scraps, apples and dog food we've put on the table over the years have attracted a constantly changing group for meals.

We've seen cardinals, sparrows, mourning doves, quail, blue buntings, robins, various types of woodpeckers and many birds we don't recognize. We've also welcomed squirrels, bluejays, crows, chipmunks, an occasional fox and some deer. That low dining table really works to attract wildlife.

L. Elizabeth Frey, Poplar Bluff

Clean comments

Thank you for the excellent article, "The Clean Water Crew." It should help dispel citizens' complacency that pollution of our waterways is a thing of the past, or will soon be. The article also reminds us that economic "progress" comes at a price, often representing short-term gains and long-term losses.

Please continue to provide us graphic examples of Missouri's environmental trouble spots, their sources and possible remedies.

Richard F. Myers, Protem

"The Clean Water Crew" discusses potential and actual water quality impacts caused by manure spills from livestock confinement operations. Properly designed and managed, livestock waste systems pose little threat to water quality.

The vast majority of livestock farmers and ranchers comply with state livestock waste management regulations, which have been strengthened three times since 1995. Moreover, many go above and beyond the regulatory requirements by installing extra safeguards and adopting customized nutrient management practices. Voluntary, locally led public and private water-quality initiatives, including the Conservation Department's assistance programs, can help farmers, ranchers and other landowners minimize water quality impacts.

Charles E. Kruse, President, Missouri Farm Bureau

Gender Bender

Your April editorial was interesting, but not exactly correct for all families.

Our family-one mother, one father, one sister and myself (a girl)-went fishing all the time. My mother never went in a boat, but she always caught the most fish from the bank or a dock. My sister and I were lucky; we were never restricted to gender related opportunities. Hopefully, I gave my four boys the same advantages. They can bake cakes and bait hooks.

Rosalie Suda, French Village

Rowtroll

I found your article on trolling to be of great interest, since trolling is the way we fish for trout in the White Mountains of Arizona. I was surprised to find that it is preferred to fly fishing, which is the method I learned back in Missouri.

I grew up in Moberly and learned to fish on what was locally called North Lake or Sugar Creek Lake or New Reservoir. It was full of largemouth bass. I used to row the boat for Jay Morrow and J.T. Dowdy, and they taught me to fish with either hand to avoid hooking them in the head. In the Depression there were few outboards, but my rowing seemed to do the job. We used mostly plugs and popping bugs.

Thomas E. Singleton, Tucson, Ariz.

Tree envy

You published a picture of a large sycamore in your March issue. Close to where I live in rural Cole County near Russellville, there is another sycamore that measures 21 feet, 6 inches.

James Thiemann, Russellville

Editor's note: The tree in the picture was a big one, but not the largest in the state. The state record sycamore tree is in Cape Girardeau County. It measures 24 feet, 3 inches in circumference 4.5 feet above the ground, stands 112 feet high and has an average crown spread of 200 feet. For a complete list of the state's largest trees and instructions on how to measure potential champion trees, write Champion Tree Program, Conservation Department, P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0180.

Customer service

I wrote you a letter with a couple of questions and a short time later I had answers, plus a few articles you looked up and sent. Last year I wrote you and the same thing happened. In this age of people hardly caring about the customer, I thank you for your concern.

Siv Young, Linn Creek

Postman Stings Twice

Your hint about blooming plants around rural mailbox posts poses one problem: bee and wasp stings.

Do you know how many postal delivery people are stung by bees or get one into their mail delivery vehicles? I know you can't have any such plant growth around a gas meter. The gas company makes you cut it down.

Beverly Banks, St. Joseph

Quail versus turkey?

The Missouri Quail Academy article was very good but missed one detail.

The super successful reintroduction of the wild turkey, which shares much of the same habitat and food and considers quail chicks a delicacy, has contributed much to the serious decline in Missouri quail.

Sharon Mehler, Odessa

Editor's note: Studies show no food competition between turkeys and quail, nor do turkeys normally eat quail chicks. Quail require specific habitats that are disappearing, while the more adaptable turkeys are thriving.

Ask the OMBUDSMAN

Q: I bought my Heritage Card several years ago and have moved since then. When I bought my fishing permit I noticed my address was wrong. How do I get the right address on my permit.

A: A current address is very important for a variety of reasons. Conservation Department managers often survey permit holders, and if you are applying for limited any-deer or bonus permits a good address is critical for notification. Each year dozens of permits are returned undeliverable due to out of date addresses. Missouri permit vendors have address update forms. You may also call the toll-free permit sales line at (800) 392-4115 and request an address update, or you may provide the information to your local Conservation Department regional office or the general headquarters in Jefferson City. For office locations and numbers please go to http://www.mdc.mo.gov/about/srvcentr.html.

Armadillos have been expanding their range to the north and east. The Conservation Department has had reports of armadillos north of the Missouri River and as far east as Jefferson County.

For more information please see http://www.mdc.mo.gov/conmag/1997/03/3.html, or Suzanne J. Wilson's "Armadillos" in the March, 1997 Missouri Conservationist.

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>.