VOLUME 88-----------OCTOBER 2009
SHOOTIN', HUNTIN', AND RELOADIN'
WITH THE OL' MISSOURI HILLBILLY
October 13, 2009
I'll start this month with some old news, then move on to some new plans for our Hunter Education activities under the sponsorship of the Northwest Sportsman's Club.
The first piece of old news is the opening of a new facility at the Region One Headquarters of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife in Spokane Valley. This nearly two million dollar, 5,300 square foot building now houses laboratory facilities for fish and wildlife research, including a state of the art stainless steel necropsy table that can handle up to moose sized critters. The balance of the building contains secure lockers and storage space for the law enforcement division, providing evidence integrity to further enhance prosecution of wildlife infractions.
I attended the dedication ceremony along with an estimated crowd of 75 to 100. The attendees included a number of local politicians as well as WDFW staffers and the general public. The main speaker was Phil Anderson, interim director of the Department. (Mr. Anderson has since been appointed Director, so the interim designation is no longer applicable)
The building was named for, and dedicated to, long time member of the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission, Fred Shiosaki. Mr. Shiosake, a Spokane resident, was instrumental in promoting the new facility and worked closely with Region One Director John Andrews and the Legislature in getting support and funding for the project. (The funding and construction occurred ahead of the recent economic downturn and reduction in state revenues)
The dedication ceremonies would have likely escaped our attention but for a picture on the front page of the Spokesman Review newspaper. That day's edition had a picture of neighbor Marc Divens at work in the new lab. Marc is a biologist with the Department, lives just down the hill from us, and his son Adam successfully completed one of our Hunter Education classes a couple of years ago. A picture of Adam and his first deer was in the December 2007 edition of my Newsletter.
I also mentioned last month that C & H Asphalt Sealing had redone our driveway because the previous year's seal coat had not adhered to the surface. This provided us a unique look at signs of the diverse and abundant wildlife and not so wildlife, that frequent our little domain. The pristine surface of the new sealant was a perfect tablet for fresh, dusty footprints of some of our local fauna. Tracks observed included, raccoon, moose, deer, turkey, and domestic cat. What a privilege to be able to live in the midst of the kind of habitat that keeps all these creatures thriving around us.
Now to some newer news. Last fall I noticed a slight sag in the beam supporting the east end of our deck on the north side of the house. Closer inspection revealed that some of the underlying framework was deteriorating. With the assistance of a hydraulic jack, a temporary support post was added to the structure as an interim safety measure. As I write this, the old deck has been demolished and hauled away, and the new framework is almost completed.
The new decking will be a non-wood product called 'Azek.' For a number of years the 'go-to' decking material has been a composite containing wood particle derivatives and other plastics. The most common brand name is 'Trex.' Even though Trex is maintenance free as compared to real wood, it is known to experience some fading of the colors and will both scratch and show stains.
Azek is made from a plastic material that is homogenous all the way through and is supposed to be fade, stain and scratch resistant. We shall see if that all proves true, but we are confident that our water sealing and painting days are over for the north deck!
Yesterday was supposed to be the day for another visit to Dr. Belknap for some final adjustments to my new upper denture, as well as some planned outdoor work to catch up on our very early touch of winter temperatures. (We've had morning temps in the upper teens the last week or so; much earlier than usual) Those plans were changed with a phone call from friend and moose hunting partner, Greg Koehn.
Greg drew an antlerless moose tag for GMU 113 in Northeast Washington. This is a tag like the one I drew last year and was unsuccessful in filling. These tags are only available, by lottery drawing, to eligible Hunter Education Instructors. Greg hunted with Ann and I many days and scouted many more during the two month season last year.
I accompanied Greg on opening day, October 1st, but no moose returned to town with us that day. Other commitments had not let us hook up for more moose hunting in the intervening days, but Greg was afield for part of the muzzle loader elk season, and a little more moose hunting. Greg's latest foray on Monday morning brought success! That is, if you call 'success' having a dead cow moose in a canyon 120 yards below the road, down a 40º slope covered with brush, trees and stumps!
My plans were quickly modified to 'moose recovery' so I canceled the dental appointment, threw cables and snatch block in the red Ford truck and headed north. Greg called a couple of other friends and fellow hunter education instructors to aid in the effort, and the crew ultimately gathered on Road 1092 just below Mosquito Point in the Colville National Forest.
I met up with Doug, Zack, and Jerry on the way up Bead Lake Ridge Road, and we arrived to find that Greg had finished the field dressing and was ready for our help. Turned out to be a piece of cake!
I had about 500 feet of 5/16 inch cable hanging in the shop from our days of a wood burning furnace that ate about 10 cords of wood each winter. We dragged many a log out of otherwise inaccessible places with that cable. Jerry soon had worked his way downslope, pulling the cable end which was then looped around the neck of the gutted moose.
Using Greg's truck hitch as the anchor point for the snatch block, I slowly pulled the cable down the road, resulting in the other end, moose attached, arriving on the edge of the road where we could easily skin, quarter, and load Greg's Ford for the trip to the meat processor. I was back home by 5:30 PM!
Here are some pictures of our adventure.
L to R: Our trucks set up to begin the pull; 120 yards straight down from the camera is where the moose was lying; Greg Koehn with moose and his Remington .300 Win Mag; Jerry and Greg kneeling, Doug and Zack standing
I'll save the rest of the moose story for the November newsletter. Be sure to tune in. You may find it quite incredible!
At the beginning of this page I mentioned that we had new plans for our Hunter Education activities. Now that Rick has his certification, we decided to branch out on our own, to offer another class venue in Spokane Valley.
With the help of Greater Spokane Elks Lodge #228 donating a classroom, Northwest Sportsman's Club providing volunteers and a budget for equipment and supplies, and Hauser Lake Gun Club furnishing a shooting and field course venue, we are well on our way. As we've moved along this pathway, Rick and I both have family memberships in the Northwest Sportsman's Club and I'm also now a member of the Hauser Lake Gun Club.
We plan to hold 5 or 6 classes in 2010, beginning in March or April. We are now in the process of building the schedule and finalizing preparations. As we get further along, our H. E. information will be reported in the Hunter Education section of our website. We'll also link to the Northwest Sportsman's Club site, so you can follow the rest of the Club's activities.
This month's hillbilly wisdom is a quote from singer/composer, Pete Seeger:
"Education is when you read the fine print. Experience is what you get if you don't."
Well, It's time to shut down here, So . . . .
'Til next time, Keep 'em shootin' straight, shoot 'em often, and above all, BE SAFE!!!!!