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The Warden's Words

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Winter R&R

March 27, 2002

The last few days have sure made me wonder if Mother Nature is in need of some R&R. Just when I think that, just maybe, spring is starting to linger around I am brought back to reality, very quickly. Don’t get me wrong, I truly enjoy our winter weather. With a warm home and good vehicles I can pretty much survive anything. I purely love to head into the hills on the snowmobile and our recent weather is going to allow me to continue for some time yet. Last weekend I tried to snowmobile into Lakeview from Clark Fork, but I ran out of snow along the bottom roads. On the High Drive there was a foot of new powder on a 5’ base and still snowing. The critters I did see were in good shape and this last snow should not bother them. 

    Driving along Denton Slough is always a pleasure this time of the year. The variety of waterfowl is numerous and makes for an enjoyable afternoon of bird watching. I love seeing the Tundra swans that stop by for a rest on our lake. The other afternoon I counted over 200. This transition period of the weather is hard for those of you that like to be outside. One can never figure out just what to wear or how much of it to wear. Should I go fishing or walk a hillside hoping to find some sheds? There is one activity you can do with the kids or just by yourself. That is to "read the snow."  By that I mean to take a hike, even if it is just around your house, and check out the footprints and the story they leave. The fresh snow becomes the pages and the footprints, along with your imagination, becomes the writing. One can see where the rabbit’s den is, where a squirrel stopped to dig up a long buried bit of food, where a grouse stopped to pick at a frozen snowberry. It gives a dad the opportunity to play Daniel Boone for his kids and amaze them with his knowledge. 

    This week The Bonner County Sportsmen started a Hunter Safety class in Sandpoint. I had the opportunity to teach the first hour and anticipated the usual full class of about 40 students. I was really surprised to see only about 17 students. When I asked, I was told that about 40 students had signed up for the class, but the rest had failed to show up. I assume that the 23 students that failed to show for the class will be the ones moaning and groaning this fall because they want to hunt but there are not enough classes to accommodate everyone. I would like to remind everyone that the instructors for these classes are volunteers. They are instructors because they believe that Hunter Safety is very important especially for the younger would-be hunters. My point is, if you sign up for the class, take it. Don’t disrespect their efforts.

    I have a confession to make. For the first time ever the wife and I took a vacation during the winter. We saved our money and actually went south for several weeks. We enjoyed ourselves and came back with a small tan. As much as I enjoy my wintertime I have to admit lounging around in 80-degree weather certainly has its advantages. I do have cause for concern though as the wife informed me that she did not feel the metamorphosis to becoming a snowbird would be all that difficult. Well my tan is starting to peel away and I must return to my work so I will do a couple of reminders. Please be sure to purchase your 2002-fishing license before you see me at your favorite fishing spot. For the Clark Fork valley folks you can now stop at The River Valley Farm & Garden store at the east end of Clark Fork to purchase your  hunting & fishing license needs. They are now Idaho F&G license vendors. While there be sure to pick up the new fishing regulations. Do not assume that there have not been any changes from the previous year. Check it out before you go fishing!!!

    I feel like I am still trying to get back into my pre-vacation groove. Anyway, enjoy what we have, enjoy it with the family and leave it better than when you found it. 



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Author info

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

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