Three months ago Louis A. Wehle delivered an unseemly blast at his career personnel and subsequently resigned as New York Conservation Commissioner on the stated grounds of ill health (OUTDOOR WEEK, June 18 & 25). Many conservationists hoped the imbroglio would discourage political appointments to specialized positions. Last week Governor Averell Harriman announced his choice as the new commissioner. He is Sharon J. Mauhs (pronounced maws), 55, a farmer, attorney and prominent New York Democrat from Cobleskill in Schoharie County. Although Mr. Mauhs is not a trained wildlife biologist, he is well regarded by most New York sportsmen.
BULL MARKET FOR BULLHEADS
Val Brooks operates the Brooks Country Club golf course at Okoboji, a pleasant watering place in northwest Iowa. For years club members sloshing through a swamp which bisected the fourth fairway had complained to him about soggy chip shots and soles. Last spring Brooks finally drained the area and built in its place a neat lake measuring some 200 feet long, five feet deep and 35 feet wide.
After inspecting his handiwork, Brooks decided that it needed but one improvement—fish. He and his caretaker Amos Houge agreed that 100 carp, each weighing about five pounds, would keep the pond free of weeds and algae. He therefore placed an order with a local fishery and left town.
A couple of days later a truck pulled on to the course.
"Where do you want the bullheads?" the driver asked Houge.
The puzzled caretaker checked the waybill. Sure enough, it said catfish. Houge figured his boss had changed his mind without informing him and told the driver to dump the fish in the new pond. They were catfish all right—3,500 pounds worth, or 25,000 fish, and before long 25,000 more arrived.
When Brooks returned the next day he didn't know anything about catfish either, except for the multitudes which roiled before his eyes. But Brooks had patience. Every day he toted armloads of bread down the fairway to the pond. He fed the ravenous fish ground rolled oats and corn. He wearily made the rounds of nearby resort kitchens, scrounging scraps for his 50,000 hungry little mouths.
But it was just too much fish for one man. They began to die.
"I called the fishery and they came back and got some of the fish," Brooks sadly related. Then he thought of holding a fishing contest until he discovered that he would have to take out insurance to protect the contestants.