Posted: Tuesday, December 27, 2005

One of the things I have leaned about hunting and fishing in Alaska is if you have the time and opportunities to do something don’t wait get doing it! Earlier this winter we had good ice on Kenai Lake and several of my fishing buddies caught some nice fish up there. Now due to warm weather, rain and wind the ice is gone. Unless we get another good cold spell the ice fishing on both Kenai Lake and Skilak might be done till next winter. It seems like there are a whole lot more years we can’t fish on our big lakes then we can.

For most of the winter we had little if any snow, which made those white snowshoe rabbits, really stick out on the bare ground. Just as I was making plans to go chase them around we get a foot of snow dumped on us. The same could be true for those Ptarmigan once it snowed; they are now much harder to spot. But no matter what kind of weather we have had I have never shot a snowshoe rabbit or a ptarmigan from my couch!

If your looking to go ice fishing you can be assured that any of our smaller lakes still have plenty of ice. Unless you see open water I would not hesitate to go on any of them. There still is a whole lot of winter left so who knows what the weather will all do before spring actually gets here. This is also the time to start planning that Winter King fishing too.

In many of my previous stories I have discussed the dangers of animals in Alaska mainly wild ones like moose and bears. Do you realize that moose actually kill more people then bears do but one animal kills more people in Alaska then both moose and bear combined? That animal is also known as man’s best friend, a dog. I do believe Alaska probably has more dogs per population then any other state. It seems everyone has a dog or two or three or more. Dogs are a lot like kids if they are left to run unsupervised and free to run wherever they chose they often times will get in trouble no matter who they belong to.

I can’t begin to tell you how many times I would have liked to have followed a dog home and spanked the owner. Dogs have killed over 100 birds and rabbits on my property in the past 6 years. Some of these purebred rabbits were very expensive while others were just pets. I have always said if you want to upset your neighbor just send your dog over to see him every day. Then get mad at him when he complains because YOU were not a responsible pet owner. Your dog might be the most wonderful dog in the world however that does not mean your neighbor wants him there everyday.

I have had many dogs in my life and one thing I have learned about dogs, it cost as much to feed a bad dog as it does a good one. In all reality you will get about one dog in ten that will really stand out, or be one you never forget. If you have had a much higher rate then that then consider yourself very lucky or perhaps you really don’t expect much from your dog anyway. Maybe your just happy if he spends most of his time just laying around not getting in any trouble.

On Christmas Eve of this year my wife Taby who works at Twin City Veterinary Clinic got a call from Steve Honrud who’s dog was badly chewed up my a pair of pit bulls south of Soldotna that were allowed to run loose. The staff at Twin Cities worked diligently for over 4 hours cleaning up and stitching the terrible wounds inflicted on this animal. I even drove my daughter Kimberly there to help shave and clean up wounds so that Doctor Taby could concentrate entirely on putting in staples and stitches instead of having to clean wounds. The dog was given fluids immediately to keep it from going into shock and also to help deal with the massive blood lose.

The dog survived the surgery but died early the next morning. An examination indicated that the dog had been previously attacked due to the old wounds and scars found on his back. I took pictures of the wounds that were on this animal as they are beyond describing. Doctor Taby said this is perhaps the worst part of her job working so hard at saving a family pet only to have to tell the owners that he didn’t make it.....

For one family they had there Christmas ruined by losing their family pet and another will have theirs ruined once they get the bill for the surgery. Many questions come to mind when I think about this tragic event, what if that had been a child? Could the owners have stopped these Pit bulls in time if they had a child down? Why would anyone want to have a pit bull in the first place? Why would you take the risk of having something that could kill and cause you to end up in prison?

To that responsible party I highly recommend you take actions to protect yourself in the future and also make arrangements pay for the damages you allowed to happen by being a irresponsible pet owner.

I have taken action to protect my children and their pets on my property from not only bears and other wild animals but also from irresponsible pet owners who allow their animals to run loose and kill family pets it is called a 338 Winchester magnum. See you next Week!

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