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The Warden's Words

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Elk season a well-oiled machine

I have been sitting in front of this screen for more than 20 minutes without a coherent thought. I guess I will soon forget why I turned on the computer. There is that Age-Activated Attention Deficit Disorder again my age group seems to have cornered the market on. I know I want to talk about the hunting season, but it has been so quiet this year I just don’t know what to write.

    The elk season has been rolling along like a well-oiled machine. I am not contacting serious numbers of hunters in my district and there are plenty of campsites available. I am not receiving ten calls a day referencing poaching activity, but all the local meat lockers are full. Patrols are not seeing many elk hanging in camps, but everybody I talk with has chased elk or at least pushed them out. This old workhorse is starting to remember the good old days when I would have a dozen cases to work on every week.

    I suppose I should stop whining and enjoy the fact that maybe the poachers have changed their ways. But not all poachers have changed. Last Monday some scrote hunting the Trout Creek area apparently took exception to a cow moose being in the same drainage with him. So the solution was to shoot the cow in the neck and drive away. No attempt was made to take any of the meat and no calls were made. The person who would do something like this deserves to be caught and the punishment should make them bleed from both ears. That Monday was a holiday for a lot of folks so if you were in the Trout Creek drainage and observed something weird just above the Hunter Ranch, late morning or early afternoon, give me a call. By the way, the meat did get saved through the great efforts of the Salvage folks.

    Anyway, talking with a lot of the camps on both sides of the river indicates hunters have been chasing footsteps and seeing elk in the distance, but because of the dry conditions they are not able to sneak up close. Couple that with the decrease in hunter numbers and you have the makings of a totally new hunting experience. I cannot attest to this fact for all the other areas, like the Joe, but a hunter should be able to find some quality time in the woods. Remember, the experience is what you make of it.

    One always hears some nice stories during patrols. Like the 83-year-old man that hunted down in the St. Joe by himself for a while with no luck. Came home and went up to Bonners Ferry to hunt for the day and killed a nice spike. Or the local, retired teacher who was able to kill a nice bull out behind his new house. How about the young lady that went out behind her house, on her first hunt alone, and bagged a nice cow elk? Wasn’t dad surprised? These stories, and many others heard during the season, bring smiles to my face and just tickle me no end.

    Opening of duck season went very smoothly. Hunters spread out and almost everyone had some good shooting. The nice thing was someone did not open the season 30 minutes before everyone else. One thing I did observe that gave me pause was the occasional overloaded boat chugging up to the boat launch area. With all the equipment, dogs and people, the boat only sat two inches above the water. The hunters had their chest waders on and their life vests were buried under one of the bags of decoys. Come on people, let's get smarter - that is a tragedy waiting to happen.

    Two reminders I want to put out. First, when you harvest your elk, bear or moose, you do need to check it in. Remember the check-in is for management purposes and not to find out where your honey hole is. Local check-in spots are River Valley Feed & Farm and Arrowhead Taxidermy in Clark Fork. In Hope it is Holiday Shores Marina. In Sandpoint it is Sandpoint Marine, on Triangle Drive, Woods Meats and Cravens Taxidermy. Second, if you suspect you have witnessed a violation or poaching please call your local Warden or the CAP hotline (1-800-632-5999). We need you to make our work effective. Remember you need not become directly involved. If you cannot find your local warden's telephone number, call mine and I will get the info to him.

    Well, me and the three other folks that put this incoherent mess together need to get out into the woods and down on the delta. I guess I will try to put us all into the one uniform and get busy. So 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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