Reflections

PECKED

One thing not mentioned in your article on woodpeckers is that they can be very destructive. We are retired and were gone from our home (a cedar home) for 9-10 weeks. When we returned the woodpeckers had put 62 holes in the cedar siding 3-4 inches wide and all the way to the insulation! These birds cost us over $10,000 for new siding, as insurance would not cover the damage.

Norm Walters, via Internet

ADD BLEACH

I just discovered that one of five house finches visiting my feeder have mycoplasmal conjunctivitis. The suggested response is sterilizing my feeder with bleach. This is a common problem in the Midwest. This disease can be transmitted to other birds, including turkeys. Wouldn't it be a good idea to inform, via the Conservationist, the necessity of sterilizing feeders on a weekly basis?

Larry Wegmann, Festus

Editor's note: We've talked about finch conjunctivitis in the past, but it never hurts to remind people about it. Feeders can attract diseased birds that have trouble finding wild food. To keep diseases from spreading, occasionally wash feeders in a bleach solution and rinse. If a disease seems epidemic in your area, it's best to stop feeding birds to keep from spreading it even more.

SCENIC BUT POWERFUL

I liked your story, "Enjoy the Scenic Missouri." What a trip! I wish I could have been on it!

Having been raised in Morrison Bottom in the early 1930s, I know all about what "Old Mo" can do. I've been in every major flood since 1933, including the big ones in 1935, 1941, 1943, 1944, 1946, 1947, 1951, 1986, 1993 and 1995.

Our family moved to higher farming ground in Chamois Bottoms in 1950, and the next year we had the biggest food to that date. The 1993 flood was the grandad of all floods since the early 1800s. It flooded for 70 days.

It's good to enjoy the scenic Missouri River, but you also have to respect its powers.

Marvin Lieneke, Chamois

HEADSHOT

Your article on scattergunning for squirrels made me chuckle.

I was born and raised in Boone County in the 1920s and 1930s. Although squirrel was one of our main menu items, we never hunted them with a shotgun and never shot one in the head.

You see, the best part of a squirrel is the head, mainly the brains, but the tongue and snout are also good. Try it and you will like it.

Paul D. Ellis, Raytown

LIST CLEANING

We have about five or six other magazine subscriptions, but the Missouri Conservationist magazine is the best read subscription in our household.

Would just like to add the comment that I think you're doing a great service by periodically asking for updates of subscriptions. That's very cost conscientious and effcient. Kudos!

Jeralyn Nabe, Ellington

Editor's note: To avoid waste and keep our subscriber list current, we periodically send out a portion of our magazines with a wrap-around, card stock cover that asks the reader to renew his or her free subscription.

LACKS WALL SPACE

I couldn't resist framing the beautiful hummingbird picture that was on the back cover of your August issue. If I had more wall space, I could fill it with the colorful and authentic photos taken by Jim Rathert.

Also, the Outside In section is always interesting. I read it and then mail it to my great-grandchildren in Tennessee. Our Conservationist doesn't do anything but get better!

Pat Hoven, Pacific

GRATEFUL

I was reading in your September issue about all the people who have donated land to conservation, and I would just like to say "Thank you!" to all the people that have been able to do this.

I think it this a wonderful thing they have done for everyone who enjoys the wonderful outdoors. I don't know of any other way than by writing this letter to let them know how thankful people like me are.

Robert Bourbon , Bonne Terre

Ask the Ombudsman

Q: How is a deer hunter supposed to tell if a buck has an antler point 1 inch long if the deer is running, or in brush or a long ways off?

A: New this year, a pilot program in 29 counties will require deer hunters (except during the youth portion) to determine that an antlered deer has at least four points (a point must be at least 1 inch in length) on at least one side of its antlers to be a legal buck. As long as one side of the rack has four points, it doesn't matter how many points are on the other side. Antlerless deer in these counties may be taken as provided by the regulations.

Safety should be every hunter's first priority. Responsible hunters already carefully examine their game and the area surrounding the game. Everyone who's had a hunter ed course knows the importance of identifying the target and what lies beyond. Taking the deer's antlers into consideration is part of this process.

The short answer to your question is the responsible hunter will not take the shot if he or she can't determine the deer is legal. It's no different than the spring turkey hunter who has to determine if a bird has a visible beard, or the waterfowler who must distinguish a wood duck from a teal in September, or the pheasant hunter who is required to take a rooster and not a hen.

Information provided by other states which have gone the route of antler restriction regulations in order to bring a better balance between does and bucks indicates that the majority of hunters will abide by the regulation. These states have indicated the majority of hunters have accepted this type of regulation and feel it's working to balance the deer herd.

For more information on the pilot program and fall deer and turkey hunting go online or pick up the "2004 Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information" booklet wherever permits are sold or at most Conservation Department offices.