Reflections

SAD AT HOME

We lived in Missouri from 1984 to 2004 and regretfully have moved “back home.” We totally fell in love with Missouri and have left our children there so we’ll have ample reason to visit often.

What a treat when we discovered the Missouri Conservationist was free just for living there. We’ve been gone since July and are starving for some good reading and wonderful pictures, so please hurry along our paid subscription.

We have moved to a state where it seems the conservation cabinet is almost nonexistent. They don’t have the funds to put their organization out there for the public to be aware of and consequently they won’t make gains.

Mike & Rita McGuire, Bowling Green, Ken.

FISH TALE

Your article on redear sunfish talked about the dogged run of a pound-and a-half fish. I believe that’s a fish story. I have caught large redears in Arkansas, but none were one and a half pounds. When it comes to telling fish stories, the first liar doesn’t stand a chance.

Charles Hayden, Stover

Editor’s note: The current state record redear sunfish weighed 2 pounds, 7 ounces. It was caught by Glenda Gollaher of Overland. (See reader’s photo, below.) The minimum size for a Missouri Master Angler Award for redear sunfish is 1 pound or 10 inches. The Department issued 15 Master Angler awards for redear sunfish in 2004. The largest of these weighed 1 pound, 13 ounces.

RECORD REDEAR

Tom Simpkin of Overland sent in this photo of the state record redear sunfish caught by Glenda Gollaher. He said Glenda has passed away, but she would have been happy to know she still holds the record. “Glenda was very proud of that fish,” he said.

CONNUBIAL BLISS

I enjoyed “Hunting and Fishing Partners—and Married!” My husband and I have been fishing and hunting partners (bow and gun) since 1980.

Terrie A. Wellman, Warrensburg

My husband and I are blessed to have Trent and Deb Lorraine, who were featured in your “Hunting and Fishing Partners” article as neighbors. We don’t hunt, but they hunt on our property. Sometimes their three young girls join them.

It’s a good arrangement. They not only tell us their hunting stories, but they also serve as our eyes and ears to tell us what is happening on our property.

One year, Deb set the record for the largest deer taken by a women in Andrew County. She had her proud husband and girls at her side to share that honor.

Bruce and Rocky Clouse, Amazonia

RINGING ENDORSEMENT

I just wanted to let you and Sherry Fisher know how much I enjoyed her article on flood plains. It makes the issues of damming and leveeing as clear as a bell.

Clay Shannon, Oconomowoc, Wis.

BIGGER IS BETTER

While in Van Buren, my wife and I went fishing on the Current River, and I caught a smallmouth bass that measured 18 inches and weighed approximately 4 pounds.

When I returned home that evening, I opened your August issue and came across the “Night-Float Smallmouth” article. It said that smallmouth ranging between 8 and 11 inches were typical in most Ozark streams, and bigger smallmouth are rare. After reading this, I am thrilled to share my “rare” experience on an Ozark stream.

Tony Welker, via Internet

TAIL SECTION

My knowledge of possums is very limited, but when I saw my first one in our fencerow in Purdin, it was hanging by its tail from a small tree. If he couldn’t do that, as your article said, nobody ever told him.

Bruce Moffitt, Brookfield

Editor’s reply: A young possum may hang by its prehensile tail, but an adult is too heavy to hang that way. Adults, however, may use their tail to hang temporarily while descending through branches.

CATFISH CONUNDRUM

I recently saw a photo of a catfish caught in Thailand that weighed 646 pounds. I was thinking that the current world record was a catfish caught in West Alton that weighed 124 pounds. I guess that’s been shattered now.

Jim Snyder, Bowling Green

Editor’s note: The catfish recently netted in Thailand was a Mekong giant catfish, a species we don’t have here. The 124-pound fish caught near West Alton was a world-record blue catfish.

STING SOLUTION

Thanks for the tips on poison ivy. I have one for you: For bee, wasp or hornet stings, wet a stick match and rub it over the sting.

I got to experience the “cure” when a wasp got into the pickup cab with me. I wet two matches with saliva and applied them to the sting. It quit hurting immediately.

Lighters won’t work. Ha! Ha!

Blanche Ross, Springfield

Ask the Ombudsman

Q: After a recent outdoor event we noticed we had a number of bites but we never noticed any bugs where we were. Did we get into no-see-ums or are these chiggers?

A: During the late summer the Conservation Department receives occasional reports of people receiving bites from unseen critters that apparently are not chiggers. Numerous welts develop after outdoor activities, often after raking oak leaves, especially pin oak leaves. No pain is felt at the time of the bite.

The culprit in most cases appears to be a predatory mite known appropriately as an “itch mite.” These mites are feeding on midge larvae that inhabit oak leaf galls. The mites feed primarily on various insects, but will bite humans. Cool summers may increase survival of both gall insects and itch mites. Mites will become inactive or less of a problem after a hard frost. Entomologists originally thought this mite was the straw itch mite (Pyemotes tritici), well known for its biting of humans, but a later report indicates that at least some of these mites are a new exotic species from central europe (Pyemotes herfsi).

Recommendations for avoiding bites include using DEET repellents, as well as changing clothing and taking a hot soapy shower after outdoors activities, especially if you were around oak leaves.

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>.