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The Warden's Words

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Deer season not up to expectations

I hope everybody had a great and safe Thanksgiving this year. I know the weather sure cooperated for those of you that had to travel.

For most families in the valley the Thanksgiving weekend usually starts the traditional deer hunt. Due to the weather this year I think quite a few freezers will not be quite as full. I mentioned before that my son Jason was able to return to Clark Fork for some turkey and some deer hunting this year. Well, we took a few days together to muzzleload hunt in the Magee area. Hunting was tough in there and we never even busted a cap, but it did not matter. For a few days and nights both of us were transported back to his high school years and just enjoyed hiking the hillsides during the day and playing cribbage at night. I think he just needed to walk some hills and smell the forest to get his world back into perspective.

Speaking of perspective, my boy finally managed to win one of these hunting camp marathon cribbage tournaments, but only by a few games. Could this be the beginning of the changing of the guard? None of us really think we are less than we were some years ago. I know I don’t work 20-hour days anymore or 80-hour weeks and I don’t attribute that to age. I tell myself I have just become smarter. I pretty much had myself convinced of that until the other day. I had to stop by a residence to issue a citation. After carefully trying to explain the citation and getting the subject’s ID, I opened my citation book and reached for my eyes. They weren’t in their usual spot nor were they in my shirt pocket. I asked the subject to stand by while I went out to my truck to get my spare set of readers. They were gone, also. I had to go back into the house, shuffling my feet, as advise him that I would have to return to Clark Fork and get my glasses before we could continue. That is when it really hit home that maybe the guard is not changing because I have become smarter.

I don’t have to tell anyone that the deer season was not up to our usual expectations. The lack of snow and the scarcity of animals, in some areas, have made this season different. But those circumstances should not alter how hunters behave. It does not give the legitimate sportsman excuse for spotlighting or other poaching activity to “feed the family.” I understand that the times are a little tougher, the economy is slow and jobs are hard to come by. But please, don’t poach to compensate. We have meat available to help those folks that need it. Families should not have to worry about feeding the kids. Our Salvage Groups are up and running full bore. They have been restocking the freezers of many churches in Sandpoint and are now filling the extra freezers. If you need some help to keep meat on the table or know some family that does, please call me at 266-1501. Contact your local church or minister as they may already be part of the program. If they are not part of the program, find out why! The bottom line is that it is not necessary to poach - you have no reason to.

Officer Larry Miller got called to pick up a deer that had been tossed out at Shepard Lake last week. It seems that someone shot a deer, hung it, skinned it, cut off the backstraps and one hindquarter and then threw away the rest. If any of this sounds familiar give me a call as I would love to visit the (deleted). Officers have been busy with spotlight problems and have nabbed some poachers. A lot of these cases result from alert landowners and sportsmen. Keep those calls coming!!!!

 Well one can babble only so long. I read in the paper that we are supposed to have a higher than normal amount of snow during the next six weeks. On the off chance that they may be right, let's get ready. Right now I am going outside to gently caress my snowmobile while telling it that snow is on the way. A man and his toys!

It is time for Christmas trees and Christmas parties. For some it is still hunting season. Whatever you may decide to do be sure to enjoy what we have, enjoy it with the family and leave it better than when you found it. JJ Scott

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JJ Scott JJ Scott was a Fish & Game warden for the state of Idaho, now retired

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