Visual display of the Aldo Leopold papers : 9/25/10-3 : County, State and Foreign Files

Tale of the Month: Here's one    we 
received from Warden Virgil Johnson 
of Custer that takes the sky-blue rib. 
bon. It's so unusual and interesting 
that we can't resist printing it here 
in the Warden's own words: 
  "It seems as though Mr. Beaver got 
hungry Monday night, August 18th, 
so he went to the local grocery store, 
which in this case happened to be a 
grove of quaking asp. There he pro- 
ceeded to gnaw down a 'quake., This 
'quake' did not fall all the way down. 
It lodged   against the  wires on a 
high-voltage  power   line  that ran 
along the edge of the beaver dam. 
Undaunted, the beaver cut down a 
much smaller tree and had his sup. 
per (or maybe it was breakfast). 
  In the meantime the aspen that had 
lodged against the power line caused 
the wires to be grounded. After some 
time the wires melted. One wire fell 
in the beaver dam and the other along 
the bank. This was the starting   of 
the end for Mr. Beaver. The line that 
fell on the bank burned a path about 
12 feet long and a foot wide. For- 
tunately the grass was too green to 
burn and a fire was prevented. But 
the beaver and all other inhabitants 
of the dam were not so fortunate- 
they really got the 'hot seat., Three 
muskrats, two beaver, and about fif- 
teen trout were 'shocked to death' as 
a result of the hunger of one innocent 
  (Ed. Note: Would you say the bea- 
ver had 'amps in his pants,' Virgil?) 
  Paddy Baker, who     works in the 
Highway Department, has another 
beaver story for us. He tells about an 
acquaintance of his who nearly lost 
his Chesapeake Bay   dog   to one of 
those furry wood-choppers. The dog 
was swimming in a beaver dam when 
suddenly an angry (or hungry) bea- 
ver appeared from nowhere and pro- 
ceeded to chew, gouge, and drown the 
pooch in one devastating attack. The 
dog's master was finally able to hold 
off the beaver with a barrage of rocks 
while the exhausted  dog   struggled 
ashore. We'll bet that mutt will never 
again retrieve anything from a beaver 
dam or, for that matter, from any wa- 
ter that even looks like it might have 
a beaver in it! 
  All this talk about beaver reminds 
me of the time last spring when I was 
standing out in the middle of a fairly 
shallow beaver dam, whipping      its 
upper reaches with a trout fly. Sud- 
denly, five feet behind me, there was 
a tremendous ker-splash! A guyser 
of water shot up from the thumping 
tail of a beaver and completely soak- 
ed me. I made a bee-line for the bank, 
but underwent two more splashings 
before I reached the shore. Dripping 
and drooping, I continued to fish up- 
stream, carefully avoiding the vicin- 
ity of the beaver dam and house. As 
I disappeared around a bend in the 
stream I could still see the big beaver 
aitting on the face of the dam, liter- 
ally daring  me   to come   back for 
another encounter. 
  The logical conclusion to this inci- 
dent would of course be that the mo- 
ther beaver had a house full of little 
kittens and so she used the 'immer- 
sion' method as the most practical and 
efficient means of driving off the 'in. 
  Hats off to Representative Karl 
Mundt for the excellent talk he so 
ably presented at the 6th Anniversary 
meeting of the Flandreau Chapter of 
the Izaak Walton League. Delivered 
extemporaneously and straight from 
the shoulder, Karl's speech contained 
a tone of conservational thought not 
often displayed in these days of "all- 
out' destruction, waste, and war. It 
is impossible to reprint here the full 
text of the speech. However, we can- 
not resist outlining some of the prin- 
ciple definitions and   observations 
which were offered to those present 
at the Anniversary meeting. 
  First of all the motto of the speech 
could be defined as "Conservation for 
Future   Generations."  Mr. Mundt 
spoke briefly on the tragedy of 1917- 
18 when (in a grand, patriotic, and 
selfish effort to produce) natural re- 
sources and wild life were ravaged by 
the draining of lakes and sloughs in 
an attempts to create more farm land 
-raise more food. The results    all 
of us know. It has taken a score of 
years to even partially restore our 
bird populations  and   water levels. 
Karl warned that once again deprada- 
tions on Conservation policies are be- 
ing conceived and the possibility is 
strong that pressure will be brought 
to bear for the duplication of the 1917- 
18 ravages against Nature- He cau- 
tioned all those interested in Conser- 
vation to consider the situation care- 
fully and approach each 'emergency' 
with a level head. It was pointed out 
that if we fail to do this we will pay 
more heavily than we ever have be- 
fore and our descendents will surely 
feel the  weight of   any   hasty or 
thoughtless decisions made now on 
our part. 
  Mr. Mundt defined Democracy as 
the "design or pattern of Nature"- 
thus Conservation of Nature in our 
country protects our present and fu- 
ture government and is THE 'First 
Line' of defense. 
  We   congratulate   Representative 
Mundt on his sound   reasoning  and 
foresight as pertains to the national 
and international aspects of Conserva- 
tion. We also wish to thank him for 
bringing to us a sound, authentic, and 
first hand interpretation of the pro- 
blems that now confront Conserva- 
tionists during this era of interna- 
tional chaos. 
  Al Roesler, of Deadwood, tells one 
about a tourist and   the new   deer 
signs. The signs were recently erect- 
ted along the highways in the Black 
Hills in order to warn motorists of 
the presence of deer along the high- 
ways and thus prevent deer-car acci- 
dents. (See "Deer vs. Car" article in 
this issue.) 
  The signs say "Caution! Deer on 
Highway."   Mr. Roesler observed  a 
tourist who really took the signs li- 
terally. This tourist saw one of the 
signs, stopped the car, grabbed his 
camera, rushed back to the sign, and 
carefully looked around-his camera 
cocked and ready to take a picture of 
(he hoped) a deer! 
  Too bad deer can't read. We're cer- 
tain the  tourist was   disappointed 
when he failed to see a herd of White- 
tails or 'Mulies' clustered about the 
sign waiting patiently to have their 
pictures taken!