Miscellany

Ask the Ombudsman

Q: The last mess of catfish we had tasted like mud. Is this because of something they ate?

A: Off-taste, or off-flavor, is usually caused by water conditions, rather than by what the fish eats. There can be a variety of causes, but the most common occurs when chemicals resulting from blue-green algae are transferred through the gills and digestive tract resulting in bad-tasting fish. Typically these conditions are found in ponds as opposed to streams. The potential for off-flavor is greater during warmer months because blue-green algae thrive in water temperatures of 60 degrees and higher. Remedies include water treatment with chemicals and purging fish with fresh water. Unfortunately, these solutions aren’t practical for anglers.

Q: Years ago while fishing with my dad, he caught a large flathead catfish which he called a “kashaan.” Is this just another common name?

A: I think you may be referring to “goujon,” or something similar. You’ll find reference to this and other common names of game fish in Chapter 20 of the Wildlife Code. Flatheads are alternately known as goujon, yellow cats and river cats. In some areas, they’re called appaloosa cats due to their mottled coloring. One thing about common names, there are plenty of them and the Wildlife Code won’t cover them all. Learn more by exploring the links listed below.

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.

Agent Notes

Protecting wildlife, promoting sportsmanship and providing opportunities

Why was this rule changed, or why was that rule added? These are questions I have been asked many times while working as a conservation agent. What factors go into conservation regulations? There are several.

One factor that is considered is whether or not the rule is scientifically sound. Will this law benefit the fish, forest and wildlife of Missouri? Will it help sustain a healthy population of the species it covers? Another important consideration deals with the idea of fair chase. There are laws in the Wildlife Code that might not seem to protect the actual populations of wildlife; however, these laws are in place to make sure sportsmen practice fair and ethical hunting, fishing and trapping.

Other laws are in place to help promote safe hunting and give all sportsmen equal opportunity. With all wildlife regulations one of the most important factors is the public. Is this rule fair to them? Can it be enforced and complied with? Are the majority of the people in favor of the rule, and will they be able to understand and follow it?

There are many factors to consider before adding or removing a regulation. The Conservation Department likes hearing your comments regarding any wildlife regulation. Write to us at Regulations Committee, MDC, P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0180.

Jason Vaughn is the conservation agent for Moniteau County, which is in the Central region. If you would like to contact the agent for your county, phone your regional Conservation office.

Time Capsule

October 1967

Colors From Trees by Virginia S. Eifert explains how dyes were derived from trees in pioneer America. Obvious uses for the abundance of trees included food and fuel, material for building houses, furniture, and vehicles, but also, “Hidden in certain trees lay secrets of dyes which had to be discovered one at a time.” One of the most useful dye trees was the sumac. The shoots, bark, roots, leaves and the fuzzy red fruits all had their uses in making dyes. It is best known, however, for making a healthy-looking yellow-tan color. Black walnut hulls produced brown and black dyes, black oak gave buff, gold or orange color. White oak gave a dove gray, and the willow gave a rosy tan color. Blues, reds or bright greens were not found in the dyes of trees.—Contributed by the Circulation staff

Behind the Code

Setting nonresident deer permit fees.

by Tom Cwynar

A Nonresident Firearms Any-Deer Hunting permit costs $175 in Missouri.

This seems a bargain compared to prices in neighboring Kansas, Iowa and Illinois, where nonresidents have to pay about $300 to hunt deer, and they might have to go through a lottery to get a license. Some states charge less than Missouri for nonresident permits. Our prices are just below the national average.

Some of the Missourians who hunt deer in states with high-priced licenses have suggested that we charge nonresidents equivalent fees. Doing so would set up a complicated price structure that would have hunters paying different prices for the same privileges.

Currently our Nonresident Any-Deer permits cost more than 10 times what residents have to pay for their Any-Deer permits. For 1958 deer hunting permits, the multiple was four—$5 versus $20.

The philosophy behind Missouri’s nonresident permit prices is to be competitive among neighboring states without keeping hunters away. Many nonresident hunters grew up in Missouri or have family here. They are Missourians at heart.

We allow nonresidents to purchase an Antlerless-Only permit for $7, the same price residents pay, but they must first buy the $175 Any-Deer Permit. Their harvest of does helps us manage the deer population.

Based on 2006 permit sales, about one in 40 Firearms Any-Deer permits sold go to nonresidents.