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The Warden's Words

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Over the hump to summer and good times waiting to be had

Where to start. With two straight days of sun it is like we are finally over the hump and summer has arrived. My mother seems to think that we had summer on June 6th and Fall started on June 7th. For the old-timers I noticed that the snow is almost gone from Schweitzer and it is almost safe to plant the garden. One sure thing about most North Idaho folks, weather does not stop a good time from happening. For an example, Idaho’s free fishing day.
    The morning was cold and rainy and we were not sure just how many folks would show up at the Clark Fork Hatchery. Matter of fact, one could have dived into the raceways and been just as dry as those fishing from the grass, but we just felt that the anglers and the fish were starting off even. We did have 42 folks show up to have some fun, and fun they had. Everybody caught fish. We also had a special person show up just as he did last year. He loves to fish and comes by to catch enough for a dinner for the wife and him. Last year I did not get much of a chance to talk with him and only a little bit this year, but I was lucky enough to run into him while he was checking out the driftyard.
    His name is Kenneth Roos and according to him he has been around Bonner County since before dirt (though he doesn’t look or act that old). It seems that he built the freezer unit at the Clark Fork Hatchery in 1947 and was a horse packer on the first expedition to Canada by the F&G to collect Kamloop trout eggs. I had an enjoyable time with him as he reminisced. I want to thank the F&G Hatchery crew, Ernie Bratley and Ruth Guier for their help at this year’s fun time.
    It is the time of year for most every species to renew itself. Many folks love to drive around and look for wildlife and their young. Please continue to enjoy this activity, but try to not disturb what you find. Finding a fawn or a calf elk lying quietly in the tall grass is not an invitation for someone to try and play Mother Nature. The animal has been deliberately left in that spot and it will be that spot that mom comes back to when she is ready. Picking up wildlife and taking it home so that all your friends can take turns oohing and aahing while snapping pictures is illegal. Keeping it at home or outside in a pen until you become tired of the novelty is illegal. Folks, you need to disregard the Walt Disney movies about how much fun it is to have a wild animal as a pet and remember it is not in the animal’s best interest. If you believe that the critter has been abandoned, leave it alone and check again the next day. If the critter is still in the same spot than call your local Warden. Together you will check it out and make a determination as to what should be done. Remember folks, it takes very special talents to be able to take care of these baby critters and get them released back to the wild as wild animals. Most of us do not have that type of expertise, patience or ability. Please do not pick up the babies and then call your warden.
    For you folks living in the Priest River area you hopefully realize that your long- time Warden Don Carr has retired and has taken on a new challenge. Ten-year veteran Rob Soumas has filled his warden position. Rob has been working out of the Coeur d'Alene office as the reserve coordinator, but he just could not any longer deny his true calling. Rob is slated to officially start on the 1st of July and is using the interim time to find housing for his wife Dawn and their three kids. Your other Panhandle wardens have been handling the bear calls and enforcement duties in his district. We have the answer phone set up in Priest River with Rob’s voice on it, but the calls are being answered by some much better- looking officers.
    Not much to report on the fishing front. Most water is still high, but clear. You can now drive over Trestle Creek to reach Lightning Creek and you can make it into Jordan Camp. Lake Pend Oreille anglers have to clean their terminal gear constantly and dodge deadheads. A few anglers have been landing some 20 lb. plus Macks. I was out checking anglers on Father's Day and was surprised to learn that a few folks still do not read my articles. I know the anglers were not reading my articles because they were surprised to find me working on Father's Day. I patiently explained to them that I always celebrate Mother's Day because people had called me a mother something-or-other for so long I thought I had missed my calling.
    A few reminders. Read the regs before you go fishing; buy your license before you go fishing; make sure your visitors buy their license before going fishing; grandkids under 14 can fish on your license; register your ORV’s before taking them for a ride; if you are not sure what a fish is –put it back; take your trash out with you and get a wood permit before cutting your firewood.
    The sun is out and so should I be. Dealing with bear problems and orphans can be interesting and frustrating. Speaking of bears I plan on saying a few things about Grizzly Bears in my next article. Until then 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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