...In my opinion your article, "Pen-Raised Quail" (SI, Sept. 6) by Hart Stilwell, is a great disservice to the quail hunters of the country....
Missouri Quail Hunters, Inc. has pen-raised and distributed quail to its members for several years, and are satisfied with the results. This year they reared about 7,500.
Why not have Mr. Stilwell contact one of the club's officers and learn why the Missouri Conservation Commission's feeble attempt to restock quail died aborning.
GEORGE TILLES JR.
In your article, "Pen-Raised Quail" by Hart Stilwell, you only published part of the story. The Missouri Quail Hunters furnished the chicks and the Missouri Conservation Commission furnished the wild birds. The birds that the Commission used were planted on two tracts of land that the Missouri Commission picked out. Foster parents did adopt chicks about 90% of the time. This is a definite fact. Whether or not it is economically as sound as stocking good, strong, more mature birds is open to question. Our experiment was not continued long and thorough enough to find out.
Most of these chicks had their toes clipped when they were one day old. This weakened them and caused considerable loss among the chicks. This was done to identify these birds when they were taken. It undoubtedly was a great mistake. Three hundred of these chicks were released just prior to a cloudburst. This caused a lot of chicks to perish, just as wild chicks would under similar conditions. Others were taken by predators, as too many chicks were liberated at one time on the same area.
Spot hunting checks were made to see how many birds could be recovered during November. Birds had moved off the areas and were not counted, neither were the many birds taken by poachers. This work was only in the nature of an experiment and was not considered to be anything but that. The costs to the Commission were negligible. It was run very loosely both on our part and the part of the Commission....
We have had a state habitat program for the past six years. This has cost millions of dollars. During this time, our possession limit, on quail has dropped from 15 quail to six. Our season has been cut from 52 days of quail hunting to 36 days in 1953. Our licenses from small game hunting have also shown a decline, both in number of hunters and revenue. The price of our hunting license is the only thing that is increasing in our state. So much for the results of our habitat program.
Our neighboring state of Illinois does have a game farm and a habitat program. The state releases both pheasant and quail. They have, in the same period of time, maintained their season on quail, 10 birds daily and 20 possession limit. Their revenue from licenses has gone up, and last year set a new record. None of our neighboring states has shown as rapid a decline in the past five years as Missouri in the possession and daily bag limits on quail. Many of them, however, do restock.
We know that neither wild quail nor pen-raised quail will exist where there is no food or cover...so we plant food patches on our area at Wright City. We also have a controlled shooting area.
We will donate 100 pen-reared quail to any State Commission that will turn them loose with a like number of wild birds. We are confident that our pen-reared quail will compare favorably with wild birds under the same conditions, as they are able to fly and take care of themselves as well as wild birds.
The only way anyone can speak with authority of pen-reared quail is to work with them and experiment with them. Many of Herbert L. Stoddart's ideas have long been discarded. Game management has come a long way since 1927.
W. W. MARSHALL
Pres., Missouri Quail Hunters
...I want to particularly commend you for the article "Pen-Raised Quail" in the issue of September 6. The calling of the public's attention to the fallacy of indiscriminate stocking of game and fish is a tremendous public service, and I am glad to see you speaking out against it.
The average hunter and fisherman has not been even slightly educated concerning the most recent findings of the wildlife biologists; he is not even well informed about the information gleaned a decade ago concerning fish and game. As a result he still demands that fish and game be released in his area. The politicians heed the demands of the voters; and often the wildlife administrators find it expedient to follow along, even though they know better.
I hope your new magazine will be a great help in educating the citizens to the realization that wildlife conservation can best be carried on by improvement of the habitats. And that it also stems back to the basic fertility of the soil.
Pres. Massachusetts Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs, Inc.
THE RIGHT DOPE
Dr. Hollis L. Albright of Newton, Massachusetts, father of the American Figure Skating Champion, Miss Tenley Albright, believes what he reads in SI.
Dr. Albright learned from the first issue of SI's Fisherman's Calendar that waters in the north woods of Maine were holding some big trout. Dr. Albright and his son, Nile, 15, set out to prove it for themselves. Dry flies cast in the famed "Barrel Hole" Pool at Fourth Musquacook proved to the Albrights that SI's calendar had the right dope. They hooked and released more than 20 brookies weighing in excess of two pounds each.
And young Nile had an added experience, too. He shot a bear with his .22 rifle.
•Mr. Zern is sorry he hadn't predicted the bear. Excuse it, please.—ED.
I feel that I must rise in answer to the statements made in your 5th issue concerning spearfishing and spearfishermen, in the column entitled "Freedom Underseas."
1. If it is so disturbing to anglers to rise early and go to their favorite waters only to find it occupied by skin divers, think of the poor diver who finds himself hooked on a nine-barbed plug, which was cast into those chilly waters after he made his dive.
2. What does Philip Wylie have against "gorgeous blondes," either above or below the water?
3. It is not true that fish will not bite on regular lines while there are skin divers under water in the area. Many times, off Fire Island near wrecks and off the New Jersey jetties, from Asbury Park to Point Pleasant, I have caught fish (blacks, kingfish and stripers) while anglers were catching them right around me. I have often gone under to scare a few big blackfish up from under some rocks for the jetty fisherman, while I watched the fight from close range underwater. I wouldn't be surprised to find that the observant spearfisherman knows more about what bait a fish will take, and how he will hit it than the angler.
4. Most spearfishermen in the area that I know think it unsporting to use a lung for the actual spearing because it gives the skin diver too much of an advantage against any fish under about 50 pounds. That applies even to a strong sting ray of that weight.
5. Mr. Wylie's only valid point is that skin divers do not spend as much money at a resort fishing area as a marlin or tuna fisherman with a forty-foot boat, but since when should inexpensive vacationing be "regulated" away from good fishing areas?
6. If Mr. Wylie wants to know what a mako shark will do when he sees a skin diver, I suggest that he go to Montauk Point, where many skin divers have seen ten-footers (estimated from a distance) in the water with them and report a singular disinterest by the shark. In Florida, many divers have caught mako and even tiger sharks and now have a weight record competition like anglers. They also spear barracuda, sting rays and moray eels and I know of no mishaps...
ALBERT S. PARSONNET
I thought you might be interested in a "Lunker" that I caught on August 9, so I am attaching a picture.
In the picture, Lloyd Demmen is on the left and of the other two the one in the center is the halibut. Our other companion (someone has to take the picture) was G. H. (Ed) Edwards. All of us are residents of Portland, and members of the Portland Spin Fishing Club.
Bigger halibut have been caught but I believe that this will be a new record for light tackle. The equipment that I was using is as follows: a Sila-Flex Salt Water Spinning Rod, a Mitchell Salt Water Spinning Reel and 300 yards (I used darn near all of it too) of 10-pound-test Garcia Playtl Line. We were mooching for salmon or striped bass using fresh herring for bait.
We were fishing in about 50 feet of water on the Coos Bay Bar in Oregon. The water was getting pretty rough for our 14' Isham Boat and we were talking about going in when the fish struck. It was 90 minutes before we even knew what had us on the other end of my line. Don't ever let anyone tell you that a halibut just lays on the bottom. His first run took off over 150 yards of line and before he was finally subdued he had made at least a dozen runs of from 50 to 150 yards each. I thought the reel would blow up—I thought the rod would splinter—I felt certain that the line would break at least 100 times. The picture proves that none of those things befell me. I was a very fortunate individual.
By the time that we had our prize in the boat the waves were running from 12 to 14 feet high and all other boats had gone in to safer waters. We could only go where our adversary wanted to take us. Once we had him in the boat it was a fairly easy matter to persuade him to go in with us. However, there was a question as to whether we should throw him back or just get out and let him have the boat.
C. A. COMSTOCK
I do not often write a magazine concerning its columnists, but John Bentley's article in SI, Sept. 6 is one of the most completely nauseating pieces of slop I've seen.
I race an MG—I suppose I am an example of the "Joe Blow" J.B. refers to in his column. My finances are considerably below his but I still am firm in my belief that the S.C.C.A. owes its glorious history to its firm stand on "Amateurism."
J.B. claims money problems are going to drive the sport out of existence. Does he overlook the fact that over 180 entrants were at Lockbourne and that close to 200 will be at Watkins Glen?
I will be at Lockbourne and Watkins Glen. Each time I race my MG it hurts—dollarwise; but because of a burning desire to race I'll continue. Those who quit because of money problems the S.C.C.A. can do without and it can do without J.B. also if he can't find the money.
Long live "Amateurism" and death to J.B.'s "socialized sports-car racing."
If J.B. hasn't got the money why doesn't he go out and try working for a living?
RONALD H. McCONNELL
AN EXCHANGE OF VIEWS
...I join Mr. J. Bentley in his efforts to encourage future champions in giving them plenty of opportunity in a way of a member's insurance for damages during racing or training. Most, expensive for a driver is the reconditioning of the car after the race in preparing for the next one. A technical commission from S.C.C.A. could easily establish the cost of repairs or only a revision of the car. The money could come from the source Mr. Bentley suggests and by all means a certain percentage from the gate.
As a former driver (amateur) and still a big racing fan I would propose an exchange of views from other sportsmen on this subject....
J. M. SZFER
MANIACS AND SISSIES
...I heartily and totally disagree with Mr. Bentley. All of us in racing know that money at the finish line makes for an entirely different set of conditions. And as such, takes auto racing completely out of the sports category. It makes maniacs out of some drivers, sissies out of others...and fools out of 99% of the rest. It has also produced a few excellent track drivers but only a few. Hundreds drive in Europe and you can count on two hands the top men over there in money driving. Eighty percent of them die on the track...How does John expect $50 or $100 and free tires to pay for the racing if it costs $6,000 a year to race?...
Riviera Beach, Fla.
It will only lead to professionalism—the average MG and Jaguar owner can race in the production class and have a lot of fun—at low cost.
I can wholeheartedly agree with you on the stand you took in SI and congratulate you on your brave approach to the problem. More power to you—don't give up!
THE CHEATING SEX
I enjoyed your historical article on croquet in the August 30 issue and hope you will have more of this type in future issues.
As a supplemental note to this article, even the genteel sport of croquet provided opportunities for cheating, and by the fair sex at that. One gentleman complained with some disgust that a young lady acquaintance of his would cover her croquet ball with her skirt and then move the ball with her foot six or eight inches for a better shot.
BRUCE L. BENNETT
Long a sporting fan, but just now a letter-writing one, I would like to take this chance to allow you your own "Pat on the Back" column. SI is far and above any other magazine in its field both in scope and in content. If I was a little apprehensive at first, it was perhaps because we were all looking over the newborn baby—still even red and not as pretty as she promised to be.
This last issue, number five, has made a believer of me. The tense drama of the sport, the game, appeared as never before in the picture taken right after Henry Thompson's home run. This picture deserves the right to be titled "Baseball." The pictures and story on Himalayan climbing were astounding, to quote Hollywood terminology; they made me want to pack up the old duffel bag and set off. Congratulations, gentlemen, on a job well done.
W. BEN JACKSON
I have been overseas four months, and this week, a few minutes before leaving for Edinburgh, Scotland, I received a copy of your third weekly issue of SI. I remarked to myself, that girl on the cover looks like my wife. Not wanting to carry it with me, and much more anxious to read the letter I had received from my wife, it was put in a drawer. It wasn't until the following day I discovered it was her!...She had said that a magazine was being sent as a surprise and since I have always been a sport fan, I thought that was the reason. You can imagine my surprise—and also embarrassment for not recognizing her immediately.
In my defense, I can say that I don't think many husbands ever expect to find their wives a "Cover Girl."...
J. R. NELSON
c/o Fleet Post Office
Was I seeing things no one else saw? I have asked many people and have looked more or less carefully for mention of it in sports pages but so far I seem to be the only one who saw an assistant give, what was to my professionally trained mind, oxygen to Bobo Olson between rounds during his recent fight.
It was plainly evident, at least to me, when the television camera was trained on Olson's corner between rounds that this individual would get up from his ringside seat and wander over to a position between Olson and his second. In his left hand he carried a cylinder, from which a flexible tube or tubing went to his right hand. He would then raise his right arm between Olson and his second, and, I thought, blow oxygen in Olson's direction, over his face, and a couple of good, deep breaths would help, no fooling.
I wonder about the legality of such procedure and have never heard mention of it before or now. Would you care to comment?
CRESTON SUTCH, D.D.S.
•It's, legal, but unusual. Two other habitual sniffers: Jake LaMotta and Joey Maxim.—ED.
TWO ALBRIGHTS AND A BEAR
COMSTOCK'S 62½-POUND HALIBUT
OLSON WITH RESPIRATOR