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The Warden's Words

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I was just dreaming of being able to spend my afternoon checking hunters and camps when it dawned on me that I needed to finish all my paperwork. Like most folks I would much rather be doing what I feel is the important part of my job and not wasting my time on paperwork. However, there is always somebody higher up the food chain with the ability to take large chunks out of my posterior. Therefore, here I sit. 

I should admit that this is probably one of the few times I am really glad to be sitting down. For the next several weeks your F&G Department personnel are going through a wide range of training and physical assessments. For your wardens, these assessments are mandatory and they must pass in order to continue their jobs. Now, I have heard all the arguments, and participated in a number of them, regarding physical fitness. But as the aging process kicks in to high gear it becomes harder to motivate old knees and tired muscles. I notice, and I am sure others do as well, that it takes longer to recover from the aches and pains of running. I guess this time it worked out for the better. Since I was moving so slow I didn’t have time to run out the door before remembering to check my schedule and realize that I needed to do an article. Maybe that is my punishment.

I spent last weekend out in Units 1-4 +4A checking for hunters and camps. The scenery was beautiful and I had plenty of time to admire it, as there were very few hunters out. Some hunters felt it was much to hot to drop an animal. I am not sure I can agree with that assessment. Hunters need to have a different mind-set when chasing elk in September. One needs to anticipate warm temperatures, yellowjackets and flies. The hunter should not anticipate dropping a 6-point bull and loading it into his pickup and being home for lunch or supper. A hunter should anticipate spending the rest of the day, after his kill, cleaning and cooling. Maybe the hunter will need to find some shade and move his animal, in chunks if need be. You can pack out your animal over the next day or several days. There is no need to try and pack out your animal that same day. Enough said. 

Moose permittees have been out checking around and several animals have been taken already. Grouse hunters have found a few birds and bear hunters stayed home to watch the football games. Huckleberries are still plentiful and the sugar should be set. What a glorious time to be out enjoying the countryside.

I wanted to pass this along to those few poachers that think it would be neat to poach a moose. Last winter a calf moose was shot. After the investigation several folks were charged and recently they went before the judge for sentencing. These individuals ended up losing their hunting/fishing/trapping privileges for ten years and are on their way to the state pen for one to four years with no stopping at Cottonwood. Along with the fines and civil penalties they will be on supervised probation when they are released from the pen. CAN IT BE WORTH IT?….. Thanks to this judge the answer is NO!!!!!

I seem to be rambling. Hey folks let’s be sure to pay attention to the paperwork or preparations before we go hunting. Do your scouting ahead of the hunt. Sight in your weapon before the hunt. Get your child signed up for the Hunter Safety class. Be sure your ATV or Motorcycle is legal before you use it this fall. Check over the regulations before you hunt. Find your local warden and ply him with coffee and fresh huckleberry pie. These are a few of the necessary things to do before the hunting season takes over you and your family’s life.

I know I have mentioned before about the Salvage folks working in Bonner County. For those of you that did not see the display at the Wildlife building during the Fair I want to give you some facts. The two Salvage groups combined to salvage 99 deer, 35 moose, 11 elk and one bear. This translated into approximately 16,000 pounds or 8 tons of meat that was then returned to the community. This meat was used to help approximately 360 individuals and 117 families (438 people). In addition, almost 200 additional folks received some through the food bank. Pretty amazing!!! Each year in the fall we have a re-organizational meeting so that folks can be added or deleted from the active help list. Several folks have indicated that they would be interested in helping, in some fashion, with this worthwhile project. Well, I am trying to set up a meeting time and place which, because of my schedule, will need to take place during the last week of September. So keep that week in mind and I will try to set up a place. Feel free to give me a call later on to find out the exact info.

That’s enough!! I need to get out of this dungeon and onto a hillside somewhere. Please be sure to enjoy what we have, enjoy it with the family and leave it better than when you found it.

JJ SCOTT 

Editor's note: If JJ is not your local warden, feel free to send your huckleberry pies to him anyway. We're sure he'll pass them on for you.

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Author info

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

Tagged as:

moose, hunting, Bonner County Fair, poaching, salvage

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