To the editor:
When the Missouri Department of Conservation begins planning regulations for the 2005-2006 duck season at Otter Slough, I ask it to revert to the drawing system it had in 2003-2004.
During this past 60-day season, every member of a poor-line hunting party at Otter had the right to draw a number, and parties of four had a greater chance of getting out than a lone hunter like me and other folks who hunt the slough.
One hunting acquaintance of mine from Martin, Tenn., who also hunts Otter Slough, pays for his hunting licenses just as we Missouri residents do. He too was unhappy with the system, as having four people in his hunting party one day -- folks he buddied up with -- lessened his hunting experience, he said.
Two of the MDC's own employees who duck hunt both told me they were happy people spoke out against the 2004-2005 drawing system.
I spoke to no fewer than 20 individual duck hunters this past season, even to hunters in the southeast zone, and none expressed favor toward the 2004-2005 drawing system.
Of the 39 days I kept records, the slough averaged only 1.84 birds per hunter (including geese) of a six-duck limit.
I ask the MDC to carefully review all comments dropped into the comment box at Otter Slough when it discusses the drawing procedure for the 2005-2006 hunting season.
STEVEN BENDER, Cape Girardeau