Reflections

Trash Solution

While taking trips, our family car was outfitted with trash bags in both the front and back seats. It's easier to flip trash in a sack than to throw it out the window.

I jogged for several years and always frowned at the trash along my route. When arthritis changed my jogging to walking, I decided to clean as I walked. The first day I filled three sacks going to Summit Park and back.

The following Saturday a woman approached me and said she and her Cub Scouts had seen me picking up trash and would like to take over the park cleanup. As the weeks passed, I noticed less trash at the curbs and, finally, none at all. Never underestimate the power of a good example.

Nettie Robinson, Kansas City

Trapping Values

In a sidebar to "Predators and Prey and People," you talk about the politics of trapping. The disagreement about leghold traps between animal rights activists and trappers arises from a difference in values. Animal rights activists promote the well-being of the individual animal and point to the suffering of animals caught in these traps. The game managers promote the well-being of the species in a specific area.

Philip D. Roos, Jefferson City

Antler Hue

Can you tell me why some bucks have darker antlers than other bucks? Some deer I have killed have had a lot darker antlers than others that I've taken from the same farm.

James Fuhrmeister, Licking

Editor's note: Biologists believe that antler color is influenced by the type of tree the deer rubs its antlers on. A deer's antlers will be darker if it primarily rubs them on conifers, such as cedars. Antlers will be lighter if the deer rubs them on hardwoods, such as oaks.

No Chemicals

I found "Planting Prairie" very interesting. I continue to hope others will educate themselves and choose not to waste gasoline, pollute the air, destroy wildlife habitat, endanger their children and pets and cause terrific imbalances in nature in their strife for a big, green, weed-free lawn. The suggestions in the article are excellent ,and I hope many will discover the joy and benefits of growing a meadow and naturalizing their lawns.

One particular statement in the article concerns me, however. In explaining how to rid the proposed site of grass, the author recommends spraying a broad-spectrum herbicide. The damage that herbicides and chemicals are causing to our soil and water supplies, not to mention the known carcinogenic effects to human beings, is well-known.

It is every citizen's responsibility to protect and preserve our natural resources in this increasingly industrialized world. Please help keep our beautiful state healthy, and stop promoting environmentally unsafe practices.

Cindi Aurentz, via internet

Editor's note: In some places, applying herbicide is crucial to the success of a prairie planting. If you don't completely remove existing vegetation, prairie plants will never be able to establish themselves, and the ground is likely to become or remain a weed patch. Many broad-spectrum herbicides (such as Roundup) are safe when you follow instructions. They are considered inert when they contact the soil and do not persist in the environment.

Tupelo Tip

A. J. Hendershott wrote a good article on the Tupelo tree, but he left out a very important part. The base of the tree where it swells out is the best of woodcarving woods. It is in great demand as most loggers tend to leave it in the swamp or send it to the chippers at the mill for pulp. I am a wood dealer catering to the woodcarving folks and have a hard time finding a source for that wood.

John Davis, Westminster, S.C.

Finding Antlers

I really enjoyed reading Mitch Jayne's "Purposes." There is no greater satisfaction after spending hours in the woods than stumbling upon a shed antler on the ground-a real treasure!

Mez Noll, Springfield

Deer Watch

I realize the importance of deer hunting in Missouri, but I would like to know the options to avoid hitting a deer on the roads.

I understand the "being watchful" part, but it just seems as if they are suddenly there.

Gloria Shy, Kansas City

Editor's note: There is no guaranteed way to avoid hitting a deer. Sometimes they might even run into the side of your vehicle. However, it pays to slow down during the times when deer are most active, in the early morning and evening hours, primarily during the spring and fall. Use high beams at night at times when they won't disturb oncoming drivers. Especially slow down when you see a deer. It could suddenly dart in front of you or others that you don't see may be nearby. Brake, don't swerve, to avoid deer. You're less likely to be injured hitting a deer than hitting another vehicle or running your car off the road.

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: Why is the limit on suckers different for gigging methods? Pole and line fishermen can have 50, but giggers can only take 20.

A: A number of years back, the limit for "other" fish was 25 pounds plus one fish. While not actually an unenforceable regulation it was impractical. In order to better manage Missouri's non-game fish it was determined that a daily limit of 50 fish of all species in this category would provide both opportunity for anglers and protection for fish. (Consult the Definitions Chapter of the Wildlife Code for information on "game" and "other" fish.) Suckers are a popular Ozark fish which get a lot of fishing pressure. Anglers bait tiny hooks with worms, mussels or corn and rarely take more than 20 fish, but even if they take a daily limit of 50 they are few in number and the potential for hurting sucker numbers is minimal. Gigging and snagging are traditional sucker fishing methods which provide countless hours of recreation and lots of good fish for the table, however; due to the efficiency of these methods, a more conservative limit and specific seasons are needed to ensure this popular resource is available for future generations. For more information on fishing methods and limits see Chapter 6 of the Wildlife Code. You'll find an electronic version of the Wildlife Code on MDC's web site.

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>.