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The Warden's Words

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Once again I have survived another Free Fishing Day in Clark Fork. This year we tried a different location and I must say it worked out well. In all we had 60 folks show up to enjoy themselves or watch the kids have a ball. We even had some wheelchair –bound folks come by and fish. The smiles on their faces was enough reward to keep me smiling into next month. Everybody caught fish and most went home with their limit. The landowner was most gracious in allowing us to use his pond and I want to thank him and his family. Knowing that we would not catch all the fish out of the pond he is allowing local kids, under age 16, to continue fishing. Make sure we don’t abuse the hospitality by observing the rules and cleaning up any trash we may find in the area. My thanks once again to the great crew who shows up each year to help make our little fishing event the great time that it has become.

Angling in general has begun to pick up as the water levels have dropped. While most of the creeks are still a little high, they are clear. If you plan to fish you will need some extra weight on the line to keep it down. Please read the regulations for the creek you are fishing before I show up. “I didn’t know” is not a good reason to violate the rules. Be sure of what fish you can keep before you put one on the stringer. Not being able to recognize a Bull Trout will be a costly mistake. Angling and litter seem to go together for some folks. Every year I whine about the trash found at most fishing holes. This time I am not whining, I am wishing to thank the folks who have been fishing our little gem of a lake in Clark Fork, Antelope, because it has been the cleanest I have seen it in years. It is nice not to find broken bottles and other trash in every nook and cranny. THANK YOU. Now, if only we can convince anglers in some of these other fishing areas not to foul their own nests.

The other evening, while on patrol, I was contacted by our local ISP trooper who had just heard, over the Boundary County radio, of a moose calf tangled in barbed wire on upper Gold Creek. The trooper relayed the message to me and I immediately turned around and headed north in a hurry. Usually when I get a call like this I will arrive to find dozens of people and vehicles in the immediate area. They all want to help, but feel a little helpless. The critter is usually struggling to get away and only ends up injuring itself all the more. The momma moose is usually hanging around- very agitated - and will attack to protect her baby. Occasionally someone at the site will remark that there is something wrong with the cow moose because she keeps attacking the people trying to help. Maybe we will need to shoot her to save the baby!!    

Trying to do what I need to do with an audience is not good for the situation. Wasn’t I pleasantly surprised when I rolled up and found only the momma moose hanging around and the landowner well back from the area and just observing. The moose calf, being all legs, had tried to follow momma over the fence and, of course, did not make it. From what I could observe the calf was fine, just hogtied. Of course momma was doing her level best to keep this hairy, two-legged thing from eating her baby. After cussing me out in moose and showing me what the bottom of her hooves looked like she went on the other side of my truck. This gave me the chance to cut the wire and free the calf. The calf jumped up, very wobbly, and mom came around the backside to sniff it and together they trotted off destined, no doubt, for other adventures. I talked with the landowner who immediately indicated he would be removing the unnecessary barbed wire. It was a pleasure to answer this call and my hat is off to this landowner for helping that calf in the best possible way.

My next article will not be out until after the Fourth so I wanted to be sure to wish everyone a safe holiday from your game wardens. Celebrate all you want, but keep in mind those not able to be home. Keep that flag high.

The other day I got another of those perks that come with my work—a nice, all-day hike back into country that is little traveled. The day was warm, but you could not tell because of the trees. Then, all of a sudden, I broke out into the open bottoms and that hot, moist smell hit me face on. You know the smell I am talking about. It is the smell of trees, vegetation and creeks all mixed together. No perfume could ever smell better. With that smell I knew summer was here to stay.

By the way, that day we saw a bobcat, deer, a 5pt. Bull elk and a very nice black bear. For me it was total enjoyment, but remember that no matter how you choose your enjoyment be sure to enjoy what we have, enjoy it with the family and leave it better than when you found it.

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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, fishing

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