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The Warden's Words

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Winter memories

I had to leave a little sticky note on my forehead to remind myself I needed to sit down a little earlier than usual to put this column out. With the holidays and the year coming to a close, the Journal needed to get this year's last issue out early in case a reader wanted to take it somewhere exotic and take a photo of themselves reading it. Actually, it probably has worked out for the best because with all the rain, as of late, activity for me has really slowed down. I suppose this gives me time to catch up with all the paperwork. Unfortunately it also provides time to work on the “honey do” list. (The wife is behind me saying, “come on rain!”)

This winter sure is bringing back memories for me. The first year we moved to the valley, I recall my great disappointment that it was almost Christmas and still no snow. Finally it began to snow a day before Christmas and my mood picked right up. Finally, I am in North Idaho!! Then the rain started and did not stop for a week. Roads were washing out, rivers and creeks were running wall-to-wall, bridges and train tracks were in jeopardy and suddenly this talk of global warming took on new meaning. Thankfully, that winter turned out not to be the norm for the area. It does go to show that most everything is cyclic.

Hunting seasons are winding down and only those archers with webbing between their toes are out and about on the hillsides. With the amount of elk I saw during the deer season the archers should have a good success rate. Only the most dedicated water fowlers seem to be out these days, and the cougar hunters are chomping at the bit, waiting for the first tracking snow to fall. Grouse season is still on so this could be a good time to take those first time hunters out and teach them the finer points of bird hunting.     Speaking of Grouse reminds me of the two I have hanging around my yard. They obviously feel safe here because they spend a lot of time strutting when I come out of the house. For some strange reason they must think I am a vegetarian.

I just had to take a run up Johnson Creek to stand in some snow this past Sunday. It was raining in the valley but as my truck climbed the hillside it slowly emerged into the snow. The snow wasn’t all that deep, but it was wet. I drove along slow so that I could watch the sides for tracks and see what had been happening since my last visit. Every so often I would get out of the truck and walk along an animal trail just to add my presence to theirs. I made it to the Johnson Saddle and just sat there for a while watching the snow fall. This was something I just needed to do. My next trip to the Saddle will be on the snowmobile.

The holidays with all their trimmings are upon us. More folks seem to be smiling as they take care of their business. Calendars fill up with arrival and departure dates for friends and family. This year I thought the wife and I would actually have our first “empty nest” Christmas. Neither of us was quite sure how we would handle that, but our oldest son, Greg, has decided at the last minute to spare us that dilemma. He is planning to come up for a few days before his coaching duties make him head back. He also needs to play in the snow, so once I finish this column I will be heading outside to burn some incense and do my patented “snow dance.”

It is my wish that everybody have somebody to share this holiday season with and that those with more are able to share. For those wives, girlfriends, parents, husbands and boyfriends (don’t want to get on anybody’s list) still trying to figure out a gift for their hunter/angler, think 2003 license. Get him/her a gift certificate good for a license.

I guess I need to finish this before the “calm center of tranquility” becomes a typhoon. So on behalf of all your Wardens, and their families, I would wish you and yours the best of the season. It is our hope that the New Year will be safe for all you hold dear, and may all your plans come true. When we next chat it will be the year 2003 - hard to imagine isn’t it? With everything going on, please be safe. Be sure to enjoy what we have, enjoy it with the family and leave it better than when you found it.

With Best Wishes,

JJ SCOTT


PS: A special thank you to the anonymous 70-year-old hunter who called to thank me for a job well done. You could have no idea just how much I will treasure that one call. 

 

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

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