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The Warden's Words

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In between articles I am always in constant search for items to write about. Especially those little things that many of us do without much thought. It seems like I can find constant sources for material, but for some reason when I get near this computer my mind, like the screen, remains blank. It has come to my attention that there is a medical term for this-AAADD. That translates into Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder. Apparently there is no cure for this except to keep your mind active and write everything down. I believe I will go outside and check my tomato plants and maybe the cobwebs will clear out. 

A few minutes in the sun and watering my plants reminded me of a few items I wanted to talk about. The first thing is a safety item. This time of the year quite a few folks like to plink, target practice and begin to sight in new weapons. We, in this area, are blessed with lots of public ground to do this in. Over the years a few spots have developed into quasi-ranges. But most folks prefer to set up where they are fishing or camping and try out every weapon in their arsenal. Folks will look around and because they see no other vehicles or camps feel that it is a safe place to shoot. Well, that is just no so. 

Recently I was walking into Antelope Lake to check for anglers. I heard someone firing a .22 at the parking area. I immediately went into stealth mode and proceeded toward the sound of shooting. When I arrived, I watched as an adult male began shooting across the lake and into the water. He had some young kids with him and may have wanted to teach them how to shoot. I “de-cloaked” and approached. I admit I was angry at what I was seeing. I asked what he was shooting at and if he thought it was a safe way to be doing it. The man figured that because there were no other vehicles in the parking area there was nobody around. I reminded him that I was there and he did not know I was around. I reminded him that many folks hike to the lake and horse traffic is on the increase. If he wished to shoot and teach the kids safety then he needed to be in a less public area with an adequate backdrop. He figured that shooting at the lake’s surface provided a backdrop!!! 

Several times I have checked camp spots along Lightning Creek and found shell casings from all different caliber weapons. Folks shooting from camp really don’t know if someone is walking the creek or on the hillside picking berries. Let’s be smart and safe.

I don’t know about the rest of you but I have begun to gorge on the Huckleberries and Thimbleberrys. Lots of folks are starting their annual trek to their favorite spots and spending a delightful day gathering the easily recognizable purple fingers of distinction. Many times I will stop at a nice patch and have to use my hat as a bucket. It sure makes for some interesting hats! 

A gentle reminder that our Forest Service roads are not one-way roads going your direction. Cars, navigating the alien terrain of our mountain roads, do not have the right of way and should not expect the mountain tank coming at them to climb the hillside so theei car can continue to drive down the middle of the road. Use the pullouts, let faster vehicles go by and relax.

Fishing has been rather slow everywhere. Our water flows looks normal and the crawdads are moving around. I have been setting a few traps with my neighbor and we have had a few good feeds, so far. Seeing lots of little ones and returning them to get bigger. Checking a few other traps and am glad to see them tagged. Did see a good fast method for tagging your traps. A group from Sandpoint had used duct tape and written their info in indelible ink. Good, smart, easy method to comply.

Folks, I hope you had the opportunity to drop by the Bonner County Fair last week. As usual everybody had a good time and you get to visit with people and friends you haven’t seen in quite awhile. Of course I may be prejudiced, but the highlight of the Fair had to be the Wildlife building. The kids and many adults love the hands-on exhibits and of course they have a chance to meet some good-looking Game Wardens.

By now everybody has probably heard of or read the stories regarding the not-so-bright person feeding bears while holding donuts in his mouth. I wonder if he has been teaching that particular trick to the 8-year-old neighbor. Well, for you bear hunters I cannot think of an easier place to be able to find a bear to harvest. Probably just need to sit on a game trail with a donut in your pocket somewhere near this guy’s house. Be sure to ask permission to be on private land.

Hunter Safety classes will be on every boy's mind pretty soon. Get them signed up early. Archers should have been out scouting and honing their skills. Archers should be on the lookout for those illegal hunters using salt blocks to bait game into range. If you find one, let your local warden know. Hunters and archers-remember Grouse season does not open until Sept. 1st

The summer is fast drawing to a close and school will be starting soon, so if you have not been out enjoying what we have---DO SO. Make sure you enjoy it with the family and leave it better than when you found it. JJ SCOTT

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Author info

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

Tagged as:

bears, huckleberries, fishing, shooting, Bonner County Fair

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