Posted: Tuesday, April 03, 2001

There I was at work on the platforms of Cook Inlet and dreaming about the many activities I had planned for days off. Ice fishing, bear hunting, looking for moose drop antlers, calling in predators and maybe even do some camping out on the ice. All week the weather was pretty mild and the newspaper talked about bear sightings already in the Cooper Landing area. Another friend of mine Alan Grant saw fresh tracks in the Funny River area. Each bit of information only made me all the more excited about getting home and being out enjoying the Alaska Wilderness.

So what happens on my first day home? It snows about six inches and delays my plans for a while. Snow does more damage to the bear hunting by recovering the ground and slowing the growth of grass which is an important springtime bear food. It is on these grassy hills or mountainsides that most of our spring bear are spotted. The little clear spots are some of the first spots to grow grass that our bears need to feed on. Other then that I don't feel the snow has much effect on our furry inhabitants of the Kenai Peninsula. If they can find food they don't worry too much about snow.

Funny how a little 6-inch snowfall can make everyone a little grumpy each spring. You never hear anyone say, "Boy that sure was a nice spring snowfall." Despite being one of the mildest winters on record here in Alaska 6 inches of snow sure brought out the worst in everybody today. People forgot how to drive and were sliding all over the road while others were simply grumpy about the weather.

Despite the effect the weather has on us think about what effect it has on our wild life. Imagine the hibernating bear who has semi-slept all winter wondering if maybe he or she should get up and go out doors. About the time they do, it snows or cold weather sets back in. Do they go back into hibernation or do they stay awake once they wake up? Imagine telling your cubs it is time to crawl out of the den and start looking for something to eat and then two days later telling them it is time to den up again.

Imagine the male red squirrel trying to convince ma red squirrel on those extra warm days that spring is here. Mr. Macho squirrel insists that perhaps they should start to raise a family (Must be a male trait) despite it only being the middle of December! Mrs. Squirrel insists that is not necessary to jump right into raising a family too early. She demands a few extra days to think about this situation. (Must be a female trait) Then in the next day or so we have a blizzard and Mr. Squirrel wonders why his mate thinks he is an idiot.

Perhaps our birds don't fare any better during these weird weather patterns we have had this year. Many times our waterfowl find the Kenai River froze when they return here in the spring. This year to you may have heard the following conversation if you could understand waterfowl language. "The river is open we need to get down there and work on making sure those eggs are going to be fertile. It must have taken us longer to fly up here this year, I think we are late." We fly 4000 miles and all you think about is never mind typical spring time female answer!

"Hey buddy, try the box of candy and a little wine maneuver!" Sure hope no one heard me talking to that duck.

Springtime is great, the whole world seems to come alive and yes this snow too will melt and be gone as will the next several other little snowfalls we all know we are still going to get. The grass will once again be green and then there will be all that yard work and the kids will be home from school and there will be fishing to do and guests, and very little quiet time.

Are you guys thinking what I am thinking A little snowfall isn't all bad even if it is in the spring

See you next week!

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