Reflections

Redirection

Your directions to Knob Noster State Park on page 11 in your August issue said to take Highway 132. That road is now Highway 23.

Tim Payne, Knob Noster

Trading chiggers

Regarding the letters about chiggers, I have a suggestion: How about using them in our wildlife exchange program? We could trade chiggers to Texas for scorpions or to Florida for alligators. Maybe we could load them up in helicopters and drop them on unsuspecting Illinois.

Bob L. Bader, Labadie

Age check

Can you please tell me the original date of publication for your exceptionally fine magazine? I was born in St. Louis almost 77 years ago and, while I have not lived in Missouri since I graduated from Missouri School of Mines in Rolla in 1949, I have been a loyal fan of your publication for many years.

I originally subscribed in the late 1930s or early 1940s, which might make me one of your earliest subscribers who still survives. I'm not sure about the exact date of my first subscription because this old memory keeps getting worse and worse. Do you have records going back far enough to show my original subscription date?

William F. Bennett, Granada Hills, Calif.

Editor’s note: The first Missouri Conservationist was published in July 1938. The volume number on the cover of a magazine usually indicates the number of years it has been published. Our circulation files do not show the number of years subscribers have been receiving the magazine.

Misquoted

In the June issue, I was misquoted in the article about plant poaching. While it is true that robber flies use the heads of coneflowers for oviposition, there is no evidence to suggest that they use the heads for courtship rituals. My comments apply to a certain rare species of soft-winged flower beetle that occurs on some Missouri chert glades. Also, robber flies are predatory and do not feed on pollen.

Douglas LeDoux, Columbia

Smashing song

My daughters and I love Charlotte’s Web and singing "Itsy Bitsy Spider," but I smash any and every spider I see until it can’t be seen anymore. I guess I have arachnophobia. Sorry, Joel Vance.

Tina Lukefahr, Perryville

Crowing over crawfish

Your crayfishing article was interesting. I grew up in eastern Perry County, and during the summer two of my brothers and I visited the small stream that flowed into Apple Creek. One time we caught 174. We called them "crawfish." We cleaned them, then fried them in butter. They were delicious.

Nora H. Brandes, Perryville

Compass bearing

I loved the article about silphium. However, you list the compass plant, Silphium lacinatum, as not being in Douglas County. We live in eastern Douglas County (south of Mountain Grove) and the compass plant grows along our driveway.

Janet Chapin, Mountain Grove

Shell game

Our springer spaniel came home with her first box turtle at the end of May. From then on, she has tracked them. Her nose popping, her head down, she disappears into the woods and comes back with a turtle. She is up to 20 now!

She carries them lightly and doesn’t hurt them, and she totally ignores squirrels, rabbits, turkey and deer. Is this unusual?

Joan Billings, Greenfield

Editor’s note: Elizabeth Schwartz, a Conservation Department biologist, employed the skills of her Labrador retriever to help her track the movements of box turtles for a research project in the 1970s. Apparently turtles leave a good scent trail.

The letters printed here reflect readers' opinions about the Conservationist and its contents. Space limitations prevent us from printing all letters, but we welcome signed comments from our readers. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.

Ask the Ombudsman

Q. Last year I missed the deadline for the any-deer/bonus deer permits. When is the deadline and why is it necessary?

A: This year there is no deadline for any-deer or bonus permits in open quota units. We rescinded the permit purchase deadline in response to hunters’ requests for more flexibility in matters dealing with deer regulations. In the past, any-deer and bonus permits had to be bought a week before opening day of deer season. This was due to concerns about enforcement difficulties and the inconvenience to permit vendors and hunters caused by massive last-minute purchases.

This year, any-deer and bonus permits will be available throughout the firearms deer seasons. However, we strongly encourage hunters to buy early to avoid crowds and long lines.

Find more information about deer hunting opportunities and regulations in the "2000 Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting Information" pamphlet, available at permit vendors, or visit us online at http://www.mdc.mo.gov/hunt/deer/deertuk/.

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. 3848 or e-mail him at Ken.Drenon@mdc.mo.gov.