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ID: Fish and Game Gets an Earful on Wolves


Mother Nature has been teasin’ us with some warm, bluebird days, but the clear skies at night and the frosty windshields in the morning bring us back to reality… it’s still early March! Remember Saturday night/Sunday morning, spring forward with your clocks one hour as it is that time of year to move to Daylight Savings Time. It will be nice for students, teachers, parents to send the kids out the door in sunshine, and after school they’ll actually have sunlight for what is hopefully spring outdoor activities.

This coming weekend, there are plenty of activities to welcome spring as the Kootenai County Fairgrounds will be the site of the annual Home and Garden three-day show. Others will be movin’ on to the annual Motorcycle Show at the Spokane Interstate Fairgrounds. A sad note: the Helmet Hut in Cd’A was ‘torched’ last weekend according to arson investigators and the store and contents were a complete loss. They had just received a large order of merchandise for the spring show.

The Idaho Fish and Game was the host at the Vet’s Building in Kellogg for a meeting sponsored by the Sportsman Association. There were more than 170 in attendance, standing room only as the wildlife biologists gave the sporting public news on the big game in our area, as well as proposed changes to the 2012 regulations. The demise of the elk herd in the St. Joe and early facts and figures on the big game herds on the North Fork and surrounding hills has led Fish and Game to drastically alter the upcoming season. Looks to be shorter seasons for all hunters — archery, rifle, and muzzleloader. And, Fish and Game is recommending no general cow season. Cow and elk seasons will be special draw hunts, and many will include the traditional hunting grounds of Silver Valley hunters.

The region member of the State Fish and Game committee was present, and Tony gave an overview that every person in the room listened intently. Bottom line, the reintroduced wolves that must be managed under terms of the feds comes into play. Another factor is that logging on our national forests, which comprises a majority of lands in Shoshone County, as well as adjoining counties, has come to a virtual stand still for years. The ol’ logging sites, clear cuts aren’t there to provide big game the ‘edge effect’ that they so need. Hunters are more mobile, more technical… One local hunter asked Jim, the wildlife biologist, what effect would it have to leave the length of seasons as is. His response was that the length of season should have little impact… something to think about in hunters’ responses.

The Fish and Game is walkin’ a tightrope with the feds on the wolf issue … Sell tags but still hang federal quotas for the wolves so that they can hopefully be delisted from the Endangered Species Act. Anyway, a couple of snowmobilers makin’ the run out of Wallace via Placer Creek en route over Moon Pass to Avery came across a carcass that they deemed to have been a wolf.

Snowmobiling last Sunday had to be one of the best days of the year, and, with some assistance from Mother Nature, ‘catters are hopin’ for another ride. The groomer committee met this past week, had a few mechanized issues, but they hope to run through the month of March. The trailheads on the North Fork are in great shape, the new trailhead above the Fish Hatchery in Mullan has been busy. The St. Joe groomers have been busy on this site, local ‘catters mentioned the trails from Wallace to Avery were in good shape.

I went out last Sunday to the area jus’ across Highway 3 from the ol’ Blue Lagoon, and there were literally hundreds if not thousands of migrating water fowl … ducks, geese, tundra swans. I had two of the grandpups in tow as Makai and A.J. accompanied me. The waterfowl put on quite a show as they squawk, fly, swim … and they gave the weeds a whippin’ with their sticks. On the way home there were a number of whitetails in the fields, and I had to come to an abrupt stop by the ol’ Third Generation in Cataldo as a young cow moose went across Riverview Drive in a hurry … and he had right-of-way.

One of our local residents didn’t fare too well as he collided with an elk on the ol’ side jus’ below Country Lane … bumper, hood were pushed back into the radiator and the hood rippled near the window. No one hurt, and they have a different pickup, and a better insight on how much damage an elk can cause, and how luck they were to walk away.

The Mullan Pavilion will host the annual high school boys and girls all-star basketball game tonight. Coach Lambert of Kellogg and a number of Silver Valley senior athletes will get one more chance in the game, slam downs, and free throw contests. Coach Lambert was also picked to coach in the State All Star Basketball game to be held in Cd’A I believe.

There was an article a couple of weeks ago about a young person that was headed to regional competition after winning the Idaho State Elks Free Throw contest in their age group. I remember years ago Kyle Wombult was the national champion one year and competed at the national level at least on one other occasion. I remember the Windedahl gal who won as a fifth grade, and I believe Amy Lemon also went on … think maybe Alicia Bash may have as well as Amanda Seeling. Our youth basketball programs have been very good … believe a team from Wallace will be competitive in an AAU tournament this weekend.

Plenty to do, plenty of sights to see. Jim Taylor dropped by some excellent photos of bald eagles and let me choose one … Jeanne and Conrad already have framed the pic as well as a couple of other outdoor pics … thank you.

See you on the North Fork.

P.S. — Catch-and-release fishin’ on the Cd’A River system is pickin’ up … Several anglers daily below the confluence at Enaville daily, and a number of drift boats. There was a fly fisherman water deep in the South Fork near Elizabeth Park. There have been numerous fisherman on the North Fork between Enaville and Prichard.