Reflections

Remember Safety First

I enjoyed the photo album of kids having fun outdoors in the February 2002 issue, but I think someone needs to talk about appropriate firearm safety in regards to the child following her father with a gun.

John Adrian, O'Fallon

I also remember my first experiences hunting and fishing, but the boy pictured with the turkey slung over his shoulder is a no-no for hunting safety. Some hunters will shoot at a turkey no matter where they see it, so the boy would be in grave danger carrying a turkey in this fashion.

Erwin Heck, Hermann

Neigh-saying

I was disappointed with the reply to the third-grade student who asked Professor Nutkins about wild horses in Missouri. There are wild horses here, and they have been in the news media often this year.

Your answer implies that they only cause erosion, eat endangered plants and are generally bad for the environment. These horses could not possibly cause more danger to streams than other wildlife, such as deer or elk. Many adults, as well as children, enjoy wild horses.

Juanita Diehl, Conway

Editor's note: To the delight of many people, feral horses have established themselves on federal lands, notably National Scenic Riverways land in Shannon County. Horses do not live on Conservation Department lands, and their populations are not managed by the Department. Under an agreement with the National Park Service, the Wild Horse League of Missouri, a citizens' group, watches over the herd. The group relies on gelding and adoption to keep the herd under an agreed-upon limit of animals.

Frosted

As an earth sciences educator for a number of years, I feel compelled to point out an error in "All About Ice."

It says "Frost is frozen dew."

Frost occurs as the air reaches dew point (100 percent relative humidity) and comes in contact with a cold surface, causing sublimation to occur. Sublimation, sometimes referred to as deposition, is the change of a gas to a solid, without ever being a liquid. Dew is the change of a gas to a liquid (condensation). Both involve a loss of latent heat, but are quite different phase changes.

Ed Shouse, Eureka

Pelican Formation

Regarding your article on pelicans: while sitting outside overlooking the Illinois River last October, I started seeing several flocks of large birds flying above the river, one flock after another. They all congregated in a mass high above a river island and began flying in a huge circle.

They gradually descended to about 200 feet of us, where we could see them plainly. They were migrating brown pelicans-hundreds of them!

After about a half hour, the circle formation drifted to the southeast and gradually disappeared. They never landed. All those birds flying in formation were a sight to behold!

Garvis Meyers, Festus

Wood Sound

Your February issue was the best since we've moved here, four years ago. I especially appreciated Dickson Stauffer's "The Sound of Wood on Water."

You have inspired me to begin construction of my own traditional wooden boat to take the place of the aluminum canoes I've been fishing from here on the Eleven Point River.

Randy James, Alton

Memorable Outing

Being a Missouri Stream Team member and all-around lover of our beautiful Ozark waterways, I thoroughly enjoyed your article on seining.

Better yet was that it brought back memories of a recent family camping trip on the Castor River. It was there that I met one of the young men in one of the pictures accompanying the article. It was near the beginning of frog season and we went frogging together, then we sat around a campfire, drinking nasty coffee and talking about the outdoors.

I consider myself fairly educated about the outdoors, but this young man seemed to have a complete knowledge of streams and all that lives in or around them.

Not that I have lost faith in the "younger" generation, but this youth really made me feel good in knowing that if we have enough like him we may still be able to protect our beautiful outdoor resources for those who follow us.

Greg "Rudi" Rudroff, Farmington

Hawk Route

My family plays a game counting hawks when we travel in the car. On Christmas Day we saw 68 hawks on the way to my grandpa's and grandma's house. Ten were sparrow hawks, and the rest were red-tailed hawks.

The route we took is 24 Highway east from Independence to 7 Highway South, to FF Highway East, to BB Highway South, and 50 Highway East, to 65 Highway South, to H Highway Eas,t to W Highway.

Hannah Cooper, Independence

February Finest

I would especially like to compliment your outstanding February issue of your always inspirational magazine. I particularly appreciated the fine editorial by George Seek-it was so informative! I also enjoyed "A Day to Remember."

Addie Lee Lister, Chesterfield

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: Is it OK to use a metal detector on conservation areas?

A: While regulations don't specifically address metal detectors, they do stipulate that digging and soil disturbance are activities which must be authorized to be legal, and removal of department property is prohibited. With that in mind, metal detectors shouldn't be used on MDC conservation areas. You'll find specifics in Chapter 11 of the Wildlife Code in rule 3CSR10-11.110.

The 2002 Missouri Wildlife Code should be available from permit vendors and MDC regional offices and nature centers this month. You may also access the Code electronically.

March 1 is the beginning of a new permit year. If you don't already have your 2002 permit now is the time to get it. For more details on permits see Chapter 5 of the Wildlife Code. And it bears repeating (see October, 2001 Missouri Conservationist) that all but the turkey and deer hunting permits may have the backing peeled off allowing the permit to be stuck together top to bottom and then folded for more convenient carrying.

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>.