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Pruning Maneuver

I read "Steel Bullets" in your December Reflections. Several years ago a hunting buddy of mine introduced me to a folding pruning saw. Now I consider it as important as my knife. I not only use it to cut both the a deer's breast and pelvic bones, but it is handy to clear small limbs out of my shooting path. It's also lighter than a hatchet and hammer.

Johnney Neely, Cosby

No-Sniff Lift

Regarding your "Skunk Solution" letter, I picked up many skunks when I was hunting and trapping in the 1930s and never got sprayed.

They will spray you if you let their front feet touch anything. All you need to do is walk alongside them and grab their tail and lift them off the ground instantly.

Skunk hides were worth 25 to 50 cents for a good black hide. That was a lot of money at the time.

Harlen Stump, Lockwood

Dam Wrong

I read with great interest "A Mandate to Save the Meramec."Circa 1828,my great great- grandparents homesteaded on the Meramec River in the Short Bend Community. They farmed and raised their family on that land and now rest among family and friends on the land they loved.

I long for the day when I will be able to walk among the resting places of my ancestors and make my own float trip down the Meramec. Until then, I will drool over the beautiful photos in the Conservationist.

James A. Taff, Flagstaff, Arizona

The article about the Meramec River, the man and his children back in 1974 brought tears to my eyes.To think that we might have lost all that beauty.

I voted against the dam. I was young at the time and was torn between the promises of more places to party versus a "useless" river. Somewhere in my heart, however, the decision was made not to let this go.

I cannot express today how happy I am that a lot of others must have done the same. What I am trying to say is, thank you to JJ and her brother, Jeff, for helping with this wonderful cause.

Joyce M. Beers, Sullivan

Small Payment

I have been an avid reader of the Conservationist for many years and have never thanked the staff of the magazine. Every month there are articles that expand my knowledge of the Missouri outdoors.

I feel that I should have to pay for such a great publication. I have lived in a number of states but have never seen a conservation magazine to top yours. Thanks again.

Robert Gavaghan,High Ridge

Warm and Fuzzy

Being an avid coon hunter, I thought the article Grandpa, Coons and Sharp was one of the best I've ever read.

Mr. Blackburn captured the joy of humans and dogs enjoying each other's company while hunting at night. I liked the warm and fuzzy feeling the article produced, as well as the pictures he painted with his words.

John Wick, Montgomery City

Sky Watch

Thanks to Cynthia Andre and Jim Rathert for the article "Missouri's Vultures" and the accompanying photos. Very well done, indeed.

I grew up in north central Texas and spent much of my youth looking up in the sky at birds, planes, stars, etc.We had plenty of turkey buzzards. With their ability to swoop and soar with hardly any wing flapping, they often made me wish I could fly.

Near where I live in St. Joseph, a microwave tower on a bluff high above the Missouri River is attracting vultures. When the weather is decent a flock of 70 to 80 birds start collecting before sunset and roost on the tower through the night.When the weather turns nasty, they drop down into the surrounding trees for cover.

I live close enough to see the birds collecting in the fall about the time of the first hard frost for their migration south.Then look forward to seeing them return the next spring.

Dan Moore, St. Joseph

Birder's Book

Considering all Mr. Pete Winter, "The World's Best Birdwatcher,"has done for conservation in Missouri, you might have included ordering information for his new book.

Art Sporleder, Blue Springs

Editor's note: eminent birdwatcher Pete Winter is donating all the proceeds from the sale of his new book, "Dawn Chorus: The Adventures of a Birdwatcher" to the Winter Brothers Charitable Foundation to finance park land benefaction and conservation projects in Missouri. The book, which chronicles Winter's fascinating birdwatching expeditions, can be ordered by calling, toll-free, (800) 722-5424. People in the St. Louis area can call (314) 843-1400.

Sharing Works

I want to express my thanks to the Missouri Department of Conservation for providing venison to hungry Kansas City families through your Share the Harvest program.

Our Mission is the recipient of venison, thanks to the work of Pastor Fred Hertwig and the congregation of Trinity Lutheran Church in Alma. Just recently, in fact, Pastor Hertwig brought us almost 1,500 pounds of ground venison in 1-pound packages that had been processed at Alma Meats.

Our food pantry has provided a week's supply of nutritious food to more than 200 poor, inner-city families each month for many years. One of our biggest challenges is obtaining enough food (especially meat). Your program has solved this problem. Now, every family can have a more nutritious diet. In fact, venison has become a very popular item among our recipients.

Tom Eckard, Lutheran Mission of the Good Shepherd, Kansas City

Ask the Ombudsman

Q: How far must you be from a road to shoot?

image of ombudsmanA: There's no set distance. Here's an excerpt from Section 571.030 of the Missouri Revised Statutes: "A person commits the crime of unlawful use of weapons if he or she knowingly... Discharges or shoots a firearm at a mark, at any object, or at random, on, along or across a public highway."

This matter is also addressed in 3CSR10-7.405(3) of the Wildlife Code: No person shall take or attempt to take any wildlife from or across a public roadway with a firearm, longbow or crossbow.

As a rule, you should be off both the roadway and the right-of-way. In many cases, this is the area the state or county maintains. General wording provides the best tool for law enforcement and the courts. Responsible hunters will use good judgment in these situation and practice ethical behavior.

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) 522-4115, ext. 3848, or e-mail him at <Ken.drenon@mdc.mo.gov>.

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