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WILTZ: I feel like a kid with a new toy

In my column two weeks ago, I suggested that the growth stimulation drugs used in the livestock industry and the herbicides and insecticides applied in crop production might be causing a negative effect on the water we drink, the air we breathe a...

In my column two weeks ago, I suggested that the growth stimulation drugs used in the livestock industry and the herbicides and insecticides applied in crop production might be causing a negative effect on the water we drink, the air we breathe and the food we eat. Cancer was my primary concern. I found some of the reader response I received to be quite interesting.

Parkston's Burt Reiser made some thought-provoking observations, and I asked him for permission to use some of them. He used the terms cause, effect and indicators, and used Pony Creek, a drainage we drive over every time we go down Highway 37 as we pass through Parkston, as an example.

Burt has mowed a three-block stretch of Pony Creek for the past 40 years. Back then, thousands upon thousands of frogs inhabited the creek area. Frog numbers declined steadily, and Burt hasn't seen a Pony Creek frog for the past five years. If I had to make a guess, I would take a hard look at the insecticides that have washed through the creek in the past 40 years.

Another writer, a woman, enlightened me about the cosmetic industry, its slick advertising and the carcinogens in its products. I appreciated her information, but because I believe that a 60-year-old person should look like a 60-year-old, I have no sympathy for the painted people who actually believe that they have made themselves look younger.

I also received some harsh criticism. An area farmer told me it took him a couple of days to settle down before he could respond to my column. He said that as a farmer, it was frustrating to hear such nonsense. He went on to praise the effects of Rumensin and Bovetec -- products I know nothing about. It was certainly not my intent to criticize farmers.

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A few years ago, I told you about taking Betsy out on the Francis Case Reservoir for some fishing. We were in our Lowe 1436 john boat, and the craft capsized at the loading dock when Betsy attempted to climb aboard. Other than the embarrassment, Betsy might have been injured. From that point on, I was apprehensive about using that boat.

I had another reason for my anxiety about the boat. The peripheral neuropathy or numbness in my legs causes a major balance problem for me, and I was not comfortable about using the boat. I needed a different boat, but I was hesitant about spending the money.

I've always liked the phrase, "You've never seen a hearse pulling a U-Haul." This current winter I followed my own advice and made the leap. I hooked up the trailer and john boat and hauled it to Cabela's. I now have another john boat as I like the olive drab color for duck hunting, but this time it's an Alumacraft 1648 powered by a 20 HP Mercury with electric start and power trim.

My expectations for the new boat know no bounds. Three can comfortably fish from it and I can easily haul it to Oahe, Devils Lake, Minnesota musky waters or the Canadian wilderness. I expect that 20 hp four-stroke engine to run all day on a tank of gas. I deeply regret that my hesitancy cost me two great years with this new boat. Nothing I can do will buy back those missed fishing trips.

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Have you ever wondered what to believe? A short blip in my latest issue of American Hunter has me scratching my head.

Most of us are aware of the efforts by some environmental agencies to prohibit the use of lead ammunition in hunting. They claim that carrion-eating animals and birds, including raptors, ingest small quantities of lead left in gut piles. This lead supposedly dissolves in their digestive tracts and poisons them.

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While this sounds plausible, I don't concern myself with it personally as I use Barnes Triple-X bullets in all of my big game hunting. These Barnes bullets contain no lead as they are made of copper. While I use them primarily because they are so effective, I'm comfortable with the assurance that I'm not poisoning any birds or animals.

In the March 2013 issue of American Hunter magazine, the article "Get the Truth About Lead Ammunition" is found on page 26. The article says that the metallic lead used in ammunition is relatively insoluble in the digestive tracts of birds and scavengers. We are then told to go to the website huntforthetruth.org. to find more information. I had no luck with the website.

I don't know what to believe. A part of me says that American Hunter is a reputable publication, and that it wouldn't print falsehoods. On the flip side, it would seem to me that if environmentalist groups were threatening their livelihood, the big ammunition companies like Federal would let us know that their leaded ammunition was non-toxic.

I'm guessing that the ammunition and bullet companies have solved their toxic lead problems with a new alloy product. I will find out. See you next week.

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