I was only home a few hours from working on the west side of Cook Inlet when my phone started ringing and people started filling me in about trapping news or ice fishing. I even had a nice E-mail from a friend in Indiana who just put on an Alaska game & fish feed there from a variety pack of things I sent him from Alaska. Recently my parents who live in Wisconsin told me that the nicest gift I could send them for Christmas this year would be another variety box of Alaska fish.
So I guess many of you know where I will be spending most of my free time in the next week or so. Out on the ice trying to catch some more of those delicious Alaska fish that people from all over the world have become so fond of. Ice fishing has always been one of my all time favorite things to do and helping provide a few fish to some of our elderly has proven to be almost as much fun as catching them.
During my most recent trip across the inlet I saw four coyotes and a Pine Martin. The fur on these animals after all the cold weather looked fantastic and gave me the fever to get out and do some trapping or hunting. It is sad that work takes up so much of our time when there are so many other important things to do here in Alaska. The tracks I saw while driving back and forth from the rig were almost unbelievable. I’m also told that this is a real good year for rabbits too, which should mean an increase in the lynx population.
For those of you that normally do not include rabbit in your diet, let me remind you that rabbit is very healthy for you and very high in protein. The Swanson River area has always been a good place to chase a few rabbits around providing the snow isn’t too deep.
The Skilak Loop area has also been a good area for the archery hunters to bag a few rabbits in. Originally this area was supposed to have been open for small game gun hunting however the federal fish and Game people apparently felt that it is better not to harvest any game from this area. I’m quite sure we have not heard the end of this situation and when we do I’m also just as confident that it will be one that the majority of the people on the Kenai Peninsula will not agree with.
I am a firm believer in harvesting and using the many resources that we have here on earth. Whether it is trees, oil, wildlife, fish, or water, use it but use it wisely. How can Fish & Game tell us that they are managing areas like the Skilak Loop area when no animals are being harvested? If bear and wolves are eating 45 to 50% of our moose calves in these areas why are we not harvesting some of these predators? What good does it do to have moose die of old age instead of harvesting a few animals out of each area every year?
Lets look at nature or God’s way of taking over certain projects when we fail to do our jobs as managers of the world we live in. If we decide not to harvest our timber and let all of our forest grow into mature old forest what happens about every 60 years? The bark beetle comes along and kills almost all the mature trees off forcing us to start cutting them to prevent forest fires. I personally think the bark beetle was a wonderful wake-up call for all of us. We need to start managing our forest better and making use of our abundant timber.
Whenever animals become too populated in certain areas finding enough food becomes a problem and often times starvation is the result of that. Managing our animal numbers is something that should over rule the idea that certain areas should always be viewing areas and closed to hunting. I sometimes think the tourist have more to say about some of these things then the Alaskans who actually live here year round. I personally feel that the Skilak loop area is a waste of our resources here in Alaska. Here we have an area that is easily accessible for most everyone but closed to hunting except archery.
We have taken great steps to market our fishing industry here in Alaska and done a fantastic job in marketing our oil. Why should we not make better use of our hunting resources especially those closest to where we live? A few moose and a few bears out of the Skilak Loop area each year would fill a few freezers besides providing a little better chance of protecting our moose calves. To do nothing as sportsmen about things like this makes about as much sense to me as not producing our oil or marketing our fish here in Alaska. These areas are ours as residents of Alaska and in my opinion they should also be ours to use.
Can’t those of us who live here do a better job of managing things here than someone sitting in a federal office building thousands of miles away? I’ve asked many questions in this column this week, if you know the answers to these questions please feel free to share them with me as I promise to listen, unless it starts to interfere with my ice fishing or coyote hunting. If there is something else on your mind call me at home in the evenings, that way my wife Taby can clean my fish while I chat with you!
See you next week!
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