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The Educated Hunter

I wanted to share with you the pleasure my grandson and I get from being together scouting, hunting and fishing in the wonderful Missouri outdoors. Jessy Pritchett, my grandson, and I have been hunting together since he was 6 years old. last youth season he was 12 and harvested his first deer. I don’t know who was thrilled the most, but it will be shared by us for the rest of our lives.

Jessy signed up to take his hunter safety class the first opportunity he had and was so proud of himself when he passed that he could hardly wait for it to come in the mail. When it did, you would have thought it was his birthday.

Bill Linnartz, Centerview

I really like the Missouri Conservationist. I enjoy the whole magazine, but I really like the articles about animals and hunting. I’m a Star Scout and I’m trying to get one of my merit badges. I was wondering if you could publish information on where 15-year-olds can go for hunting safety.

Jason Estep, Kansas City

Editor’s note: Hunter education is offered regularly throughout the state, and anyone age 11 and older can be certified. You’ll learn about firearm safety, hunting ethics and etiquette, why we have seasons and limits, and how to choose the right firearms for the game you hunt. To find a class in your area, go online or contact your regional office (see page 1 for phone numbers).

Conservation 24/7

Thank you so much for the information on your web site. I have always been a big fan of your Department and my kids have learned about you from your exhibit at the Missouri State Fair (we love your animals there!).

Tonight my kids found our yellow lab running around with a turtle in her mouth. From your site, I have guessed it is a box turtle. As your article “Kids & Turtles” says, “Can we keep it?” was the first thing I heard. Luckily, I can show them that our Department of Conservation says that we should not keep it over 2 weeks.

Kimi Nelson, Kearney

Picture-Perfect Spot

I am curious as to where the picture was taken on page 27 of the Sept. 2006 issue?

Bill Hamilton, Rocky Comfort

Editor’s note: The photo was taken at Stout’s Creek near Highway 72 in Iron County.

A Familiar Face

I was just skimming and saw the article by Mr. Vance and the Meet Our Contributors piece inside the back cover. It reminds me how much I looked forward to Mr. Vance’s articles in years past. Always entertaining and thoughtful writing.

Charles D. Rollins, Arlington, TN

Editor’s note: Joel Vance is the author of Grandma and the Buck Deer; Bobs, Brush and Brittanies; Tails I Lose; Down Home Missouri; and Autumn Shadows. They are available from Cedar Glade Press, Box 1664, Jefferson City, MO 65102. Call (573) 782-3875 for more information.

Liking the Long View

I just read two articles in the Sept. issue of the Conservationist that I have a comment on. (1) “The Next Generation of Conservation at Work”: I read every inch of it and appreciated it very much. with plans like these, we as a state will stay the envy of the rest of the country for many years to come. I had the pleasure of hunting with two conservation agents from Virginia last January. When they found out we were from Missouri, all they talked about for the next three hours is how the 1/8 cent conservation tax got started and how they are using it to improve Missouri conservation. (2) “Waterfowl Hunting Changes” [News & Almanac, Jim low]: I, as a 30-plus-year duck hunter, applaud whoever it was that made this decision. The opportunities for hunting ducks at the waterfowl areas are very limited, and we should limit it to residents of Missouri.

Anthony J. Ewen, St. Louis

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: I'm not a Missouri resident, but in past years I ’ve been able to apply for waterfowl reservations on wetland conservation areas. This year I ’m not allowed to apply. Why?

A: The application period for waterfowl reservations is in September. Starting this year, the Department of Conservation has limited applications to residents only. Nonresidents may still accompany a resident reservation holder as a member of a hunting party, and they can draw for available blinds in the daily draw for non-reservation holders.

In the past, when resident hunters complained about losing out to nonresidents, statistics indicated that a very small number of nonresidents were participating in the program. That’s changed fairly dramatically. Records show that at some Department wetland areas, nonresidents made up more than 20 percent of the hunters.

Unfortunately, the issue of resident versus nonresident is a contentious matter. I don’t think a solution that suits everyone will ever be found, but for now the Department feels that limiting waterfowl hunting applications to residents, while still allowing nonresidents to continue to hunt (as described above), is best.

Permit fees are another sore point with local and out-of-state hunters. Residents feel that nonresidents get a bargain, and nonresidents say the fees are too high. The Annual Hunting & Fishing Permit Distribution & Sales Summary provides permit price comparisons for Missouri and its neighboring states. Bear in mind, permits from different states rarely provide similar privileges—a kink that prevents reciprocal permits. Nonresident permit fees will increase in 2007.

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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