Reflections

TREE PRESENT

My sycamore did not look as attractive as the one on your January back cover. I found it to be nastier than walnut trees. Laundry on the line beneath it actually picked up an unpleasant odor.

We never did see ball-like fruit. Those might have saved it because the finches and wood ducks would have benefited. Instead the tree was sawed down, my Christmas present to myself.

I did some research and found that in the "Old West," they made buttons of the smaller limbs. I also learned the hard and durable wood of sycamore makes good lawn furniture.

Sally Kruse, Clinton

MILL WORK

Your ombudsman's response to the person with the large walnut tree was correct, except that changes in saw mills have made urban timber much more useable.

Thin-kerf band mills use a large band saw to cut logs. Blades for these mills cost only about $20. The only problem that occurs when they encounter metal in the log is that they get dull. The mills themselves cost as little as $7,000. They can be extended to cut any log from about 4 feet up.

These new saw mills have changed the picture on the use of old trees in your yard.

Robert C. Sheldon, Carthage

I agree with your reply to the person with the large walnut tree in her yard. The tree would have to be very big, very good quality and very easy to take down to interest a logger.

In a "backyard" setting the bigger trees are the hardest and most expensive to take down because of power wires, fences, pools, garages, etc. The logger would have to contract an arborist with proper insurance just to get the tree down. That cost alone usually negates the interest of a logger.

Also, trees are rarely as big and as nice as tree owner profess them to be. Based upon the information I receive from homeowners, I do refer some to a couple of our local sawmills.

Rob Emmett, via Internet

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

I couldn't take it anymore. I had to write a note and tell you how lucky we are to view Jim Rathert's bird and wildlife photography.

Every piece of work I've seen of his is superb. The latest, the red shouldered hawk on the back cover of the February issue just amazed me. Many of us out here appreciate Jim's professionalism, dedication and skill, and the fact that he shares all of this with us.

Mark Rost, Shawnee, Kansas

AGING

In an article about the Conservation Federation of Missouri on your website, you state that the organization is 60 years old next year. I am 70 years old next year and I was born in 1936, the same year as CFM. What do I need to do to be 60 again like CFM?

Lee Trapp, St. Charles

Editor's Note: Our website archives articles that have appeared in past issues of the Conservationist. The article you read was included in the October 1995 issue.

WILD LIFE

Thank you for the February Outside In section. It will keep my grandchildren amused for hours. Plus, I learned to make a worm farm. Second childhood is almost as good as the first, if grandchildren are involved.

L.Duncan, Rolla

SNOOPY SNAKE

Your picture of a water snake and snail brought back the memory of a similar type of occurence.

I was the first resident conservation agent of Randolph County. I was patroling Moberly City Lake when I saw a snake swimming in the water in such a fashion that I knew something was wrong. I gathered in the snake to find a large snail on its head. I separated snake and snail after the local newspaper took a picture of it. This was about 1960.

Gary W. Wagner, Farmington

SHOPPING TIP

When shopping for Christmas I try to have a different theme each year. This last Christmas I decided to go with"Missouri" as my theme since most of our relatives and friends live out of state. I wanted to impress upon them the great attributes of our state.

We have subscribed to the Missouri Conservationist magazine for many years, and I purchased many gifts through your magazine that you offer. The CD, "Fiddles and Forests" is truly worth the small price that it cost. After listening to it, I ordered three more for gifts. We also purchased "Voices of the Hills" tape and enjoy it very much. I also purchased many educational books and tapes for our young grandchildren. They all enjoy them very much.

Thank you for such great products and such a fine magazine.

Willie Collins, Clinton

Ask the Ombudsman

Q: Why has the daily limit for trout gone from five to four?

A: Missouri's trout plan, which was approved in 2003, recommended reducing the statewide daily limit from five to four to help distribute the harvest among more anglers, thereby allowing more anglers to enjoy fishing success. Before making this decision, fisheries personnel surveyed focus groups and angler groups. Most respondents felt that a limit reduction wasn't a problem as long as the quality of angling remains good.

The trout plan calls for several other key strategies to help improve the quality of trout fishing in Missouri. One of the most important is renovating and expanding our aging trout hatcheries over the next five years. Almost all of Missouri's trout come from hatcheries. The Conservation Department produces approximately 1.7 million trout each year for stocking. Hatchery renovation will secure our current production capability, and hatchery expansion will allow for an increase in the size and number of trout available for stocking in Missouri waters.

The first phase of design work has been completed and renovations have begun. The combination of reduced daily limits, new management strategies, and trout hatchery renovations set the stage for the Conservation Department to continue to provide high quality trout fishing experiences for Missouri anglers.

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>.