Reflections

Thanks Again, Carl

I just read the November 2006 issue with the article about Carl Engelbrecht [Agent of Change]. As a Missouri resident, I have hunted and fished and enjoyed our wildlife benefits for many, many years. Carl is a hero.

Over the years, I have been stopped or approached many times by conservation agents. To a person, they have been polite and professional. I have always admired them. They work alone, and they must deal with people carrying loaded firearms. That takes courage and commitment. Agents have done so much for all Missourians. So, to all the “Carls,” thank you!

Rich Murray, St. Louis

A Bit of Home

We moved to southwest Missouri nine years ago. We have learned so much about this diverse state through the Conservationist. Thank you for providing this free educational magazine.

After we read our copy of the Conservationist, we include it in care packages to our son who is serving our country in Iraq. He enjoys the fishing and hunting articles. It’s a little piece of home.

Lee & Angela Cox, Rockaway Beach

Artist’s Fin-esse

I never write, but our office rolled with laughter at Chmielniak’s rendering of fish “carpal tunnel syndrome.” [November 2006 issue, pg. 32]

Linda Underwood

Western Overseas Corp., Springfield

Don’t Forget the Camera

The News and Almanac story in the October issue titled “Coast guard retiree still saving lives” was one terrific “fish story.” I’m glad it was accompanied by a photo.

The article reminded me of a time way back when I caught a fish with a water snake chomped down on the tail end of it. I landed them both, retrieved my hook, and put the two of them together back in the stream to carry on with nature’s business. Wish I’d had a camera.

Fred Boeneker, Glendale

Questionable Carry

As a former Hunter Safety Instructor, an Instructor instructor, and hunter, I was disappointed to see the photo on page 14 of the November issue. The gun carry by two of the young people is completely unacceptable. They have no control of their guns in case of a stumble or fall.

Please don’t print these kinds of photos in your fine magazine. Please have someone on staff take a Hunter Safety Course so they know what is acceptable and proper.

Randy Herberg, Wildwood

Editor’s note: Randy, thank you for your concern and diligence. We ran the picture by our hunter education experts and they said that, considering the circumstances, the kids are carrying the guns about as safely as they can—with the one caveat that the kid in the center should have his hand gripping the rear stock as the kid on the left does. Since the kids are essentially surrounded, with people on all sides of them, our hunter ed experts said that the safest place for the muzzle to be pointing is straight up, which rules out most of the accepted carries. So what they are doing, a sort of modified shoulder carry so that the muzzle points straight up, is probably the safest thing they can do under the circumstances.

Go Play Outside

This is in response to “No child left indoors,” in the October issue [Learning Outdoors; Vantage Point]. I instilled a love of the outdoors in my son and daughter. I have tried to instill in my grandson, Kyron, age 5, and now my granddaughter, Maya, age 16 months, a love for the wonderful Missouri outdoors, as well.

Kyron and Maya like leaves, rocks, acorns, trees, butterflies, some bugs, birds, squirrels and deer. We view all of these in our backyard and neighborhood. We recently saw and heard a flock of passing geese. Even Maya looked up when she heard the honking geese.

On October 4, the day before my daughter Jennifer’s birthday, we went on a nature walk. Kyron wanted to find a present for his mom. We picked up rocks, pretty fall leaves, wildflowers, bark and acorns. We filled a container to look like a shadow box. We then took it to Jennifer, who was thrilled with her birthday present.

Connie Gorig, Warrensburg

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: We just started burning wood. What’s a cord? What’s a rick? And what is the best kind of wood to burn?

A: A cord of firewood is 128 cubic feet. This is equivalent to a tightly stacked pile that measures 4 feet wide, by 4 feet high, by 8 feet long.

The University Extension advises against using terms such as rick, rank and face cord. These terms and the quantities associated with them vary between dealers and locations. By law, cordwood must be sold by the cord or fractional part of a cord. For more details on how to buy and sell cordwood, visit below, or call your local University Extension office (usually located in your county seat).

Hardwoods, such as oak, hickory, ash, etc., burn hotter than softwoods, such as cedar and pine. Here’s an excerpt from the February 1999 Missouri Conservationist:“Preferred firewood species, in order of decreasing energy content, are hickory, locust, oak, hard maple, ash, basswood, cottonwood, cedar, pine, silver maple, elm and sycamore. Of course, it’s best to use only properly seasoned wood in an efficient, well-maintained stove or fireplace.”

Another thing to keep in mind when purchasing and/or transporting firewood is the potential to spread exotic species that are harmful to Missouri’s forests. Always try to use wood from local sources and keep an eye out for pests. For more information, see the links listed below to learn about and identify problem species, such as the emerald ash borer, Asian longhorned beetle, gypsy moth and the sirex wood wasp. If you find a suspect insect, please contact us (see page 1 for a list of regional office phone numbers).

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)