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The Warden's Words

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I believe we can officially claim that the season has changed. Smoke from the chimneys and snow on the mountain tops are good indicators that Fall has arrived in all its splendor. Like everybody else, seeing snow seems to put a sense of urgency in all my activities, especially those around the yard. Winterizing the gardens, putting up the hoses, collecting all the garden tools, cleaning all the gutters and trying to remember those things you wanted to repair after problems last winter. Wardens must get this stuff done now because our busiest time of the year is about to start. The past two weeks were our last chance to get some time off before things become a little hectic.
While each hunting season differs in its intensity, our families know that we will be on the go until Christmas. Some years I would take off on a Friday, stop by the house for a shower and fresh uniform on Tuesday, check calls and be gone again. At times I felt it would be prudent to have Sheriff’s dispatch call my house and warn my wife that I might be home that night, late, and to not think I was a burglar.
 I have seen lots of activity along the sloughs and backwaters, as waterfowl hunters get ready for their duck season opening on October 12th. They have been working on their blinds and making plans to be in their spot well before daylight. Some of the hunters will be camped in their spot right after work on Friday. Come Saturday morning, well before daylight, they will be setting their decoys, checking their shotguns, trying to calm the dog and looking at their watches.  They will be hoping that someone will not open the season 30 minutes early and spoil the hunting for everybody else. We all have words for someone like that and "hunter" is not one of them. A word of caution for those waterfowl hunters in concentrated areas. Be absolutely sure of your shot and absolutely sure of any other hunters in your area. Let us not have another young man loose an eye because of a low flying duck.
 Elk season is set to begin on October 10th for bulls. For those of you with “B” tags, either-sex elk season will be from Oct. 15th through Oct. 19th and then you can hunt bulls again until November 3rd. For the “A” taggers you can hunt bulls from Oct. 25th until Oct. 31st. That is a lot of opportunity to hunt. Please do so as a hunter and a sportsman. 
 It is not unusual for many hunters to stake out their camp spots prior to the elk season. They will bring in their campers or tents, cut wood and generally get everything ready for a good camp. The only thing I notice that is out of the ordinary is some of these camps show up in September for the October season. I mean the beginning of September. Now I am sure that most of you are aware that the Forest Service has a 14-day camping limit, after which you must move at least five miles. Folks, they will enforce. Be smart.
 For those of you that do not hunt these fine, sunny afternoons are just the ticket for some fishing. All the area lakes were stocked in September with, I might add, some pretty nice Rainbows. I just had to take advantage of a recent sunny afternoon by going up to Antelope Lake. I had an urge for fresh fish for dinner and I know my mother will never turn a fresh fish down. My neighbor wanted some fish to try a pickling recipe she had brought down from Alaska. Well, it was a great afternoon. We both caught a limit, and these trout were fighters. She caught the largest fish and will probably remind us of that. My mother got a couple for dinner. The wife and I ate the other four. A fine day!
Well it is time for me to start packing my truck. I need to carry food and cooking gear along with a sleeping bag and a change of clothes. One should be prepared for all possibilities. The same is true for a hunter - be prepared. Carry a pack; dress correctly. Be sure of your target before you pull the trigger for you cannot call a bullet back. Have a successful hunt and be sure to take care of your meat. If you witness violations/poaching let your local warden know. Remember it is your wildlife the scrote is stealing.
Seriously folks I need to end this. I wanted to pass on that a hunter managed to come up with a candy bar instead of fresh huckleberry pie - we talked and he went home with a 6-point bull. Enough said!! Enjoy what we have, 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:

elk, fishing, hunting, waterfowl

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