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The Warden's Words

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Gearing up for hunting season

Don’t you just love this time of the year? It is like having the best of several seasons. The sun shines for us during the day and keeps the temperatures at the short sleeve shirt level. The moon and stars are clear and huge at night, but one may want to have a jacket on when out checking the sky for shooting stars. When I come in off of the hillside at night I can smell the wood smoke from the warming fires at home, and maybe hear the call of a challenging elk. In the mornings I can check my tomatoes for ripeness. Sometimes I just bring the salt shaker out to the vines with me and have breakfast. That got me hungry. Be back in a few minutes.

I suppose it is time to gear up for the “hunting season.” The lazy days of summer are just about over and the winter hibernation is still some weeks away. Whether you are the type of hunter that lives to hunt or hunts for the enjoyment, things need to be done to get ready for the “season.” 

The very first things you need to do are to take care of the “honey-do” list and get in your wood supply. If you make sure you are all caught up with the “honey-do” list you can avoid getting the evil eye every day you head out to hunt. Spouses are also pretty particular regarding their heat, so try to avoid an impending Ice Age at home. 

You should also be checking out all of your hunting gear. Repair and replace. You should have already checked your weapon and sighted it in. You have had numerous conversations with your hunting partners, all summer long, and have had a dozen successful hunts over the coffee cup. You have spent time scouting your favorite “honey holes” and are confident the critters will be there. You have purchased your license and tag (make sure it is not just the receipt) and studied the hunting regs to be sure somebody from that foreign country south of Lewiston hasn’t gone and changed things. Sounds like you are ready. I will insert a gentle reminder here about coffee, huckleberry pie and your local warden. Now, you are ready!!!

For those of you without ready access to fresh huckleberry pie I will relay some general observations from my patrols. The archers have been doing fair so far with activity for the “A” taggers picking up nicely. The bear harvest so far has been light, but that is not unexpected. I hope the harvest so far contains several bears with a fondness for donuts! Grouse hunters are having their usual luck this time of the year - slow or none at all. Those moose permittees more interested in eating than horns have been picking up some nice young bulls. The others have been getting sore eyeballs scanning for that 60-inch bull. All in all everything is as it should be. As you can see, a warden’s memory is severely hampered without infusions of PIE.

I need to put in some reminders for everybody heading into the field. Successful hunters need to check in their elk, moose and bear. Remember, the information we get from you is very important in our efforts to manage wildlife. False or no information means we need to guess. Local big game checkpoints are: in Sandpoint, Woods Meats on Hwy. 95 N. and Sandpoint Marina on Triangle Drive; in Hope-Holiday Shores Marina; in Clark Fork- Arrowhead Taxidermy and River Valley Farm & Feed; in Oldtown-POR Valley Sportsman; in Priest Lake-Tamarack True Value and in Sagle-Craven’s Taxidermy. It is the responsibility of a good hunter to take care of your kill. There is no reason to have meat sour if you are prepared. Bring it all out. That is especially true for the bear hunters. By law, the meat of a bear must be brought out. If you are one of those folks that just doesn’t like to eat bear meat, then salvage your meat and call me. We have lots of families that could use the meat. Remember also that you will need to leave evidence of sex naturally attached to the hide when transporting. And last, but not least, be sure of your target. Let’s not kill any Grizzlies or sows with cubs-okay? 

A word of caution for those of you that feel the only way you can hunt is from your ATV or M/C. They are a motorized vehicle and therefore it is illegal to hunt game from them. There are roads and trails they may be used on and other roads and trails where they cannot. The Forest Service has a travel plan that will indicate which are closed or open; be sure to stop and pick one up before you go hunting or riding. They attempt to put up their signs faster than the idiots pull them down, but the bottom line is that it is your responsibility to know. We will be citing into court any violations found.

Boy, I get gabby. I need to get this into the system before I miss the deadline, so I should finish up. For all you hunters, may you be safe, sane and own the bragging rights this year. For you non-hunters, the woods will be fairly quiet for several weeks yet so be sure to get out for a drive. For you couch potatoes, may your team win. Whatever you do, 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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outdoors, hunting

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