Hank Shelley

Column: Strange encounters of conservation officers

Shuswap Outdoors/Hank Shelley

In the course of a fishery or conservation officer’s career, there are a great number of events that he or she has to deal with, which are amusing, odd or strange.

I have ventured down that path a few times, with hooty owls in trees at Mara, the caller wondering what the strange sound was, in the dark. Inspection revealed two barred owls hooting to each other from far apart.

There was a call to McGuire Lake on nine strange fish. Turned out the lady and I saw large beautiful red and white koi placed in the lake from someone’s aquarium no doubt.

Then there was an extensive search for the source of diesel or fumes along Palmer Creek flowing into the Salmon River near DeMille’s. This included a wrecking yard, a chicken farm and a funeral parlour, only to find the woman had left the property. The mother was there, chewing on cloves, claiming it rids one’s body of parasites and germs.

How about a loon on the barbecue? The COs (conservation officers) got a call from a report on a poacher line, saying someone shot a loon from a boat on Sunset Lake, near Topey landing (Burns Lake).When a CO arrived, the group of friends denied the deed but when the CO checked the barbecue, sure enough there was the loon roasting away.

Related: Okanagan conservation officer warns against feeding bears

An Alberta CO checked an elderly hunter, on the last day of whitetail deer season. The chap said he was hunting sharp tail grouse as well. A search of the truck, revealed a poor grouse on the floor bed. He was advised there was no season for sharp tails at the time. Checking his rules, the CO found the penalty for this was $1,500. Thinking it over, the CO knew the elderly chap had hunted for years, buying a licence, obeying the law, so after a chat, he gave the gent a warning ticket.

In Kindersley, Saskatchewan, COs received information a car was swerving, stopping, chasing a rabbit. In RCMP cells next day, the COs interviewed the guy. He thought it funny to chase a rabbit. Turns out, in Saskatchewan, chasing wildlife of any kind with a vehicle, quad or ATV is an offence, subject to $1,540 in fines. In the end it was decided a $500 donation to the food bank was appropriate. There’s not much meat on a poor bunny, but the money fed a few hungry families.

By the way, the Salmon Arm Fish & Game Club would appreciate donations of game or fish for their up-and-coming Big Game dinner in early February. Call Ron at 250-832-3431 if you can help out.

Fishing report: the Gardom Lake aerator. This is a constant issue with the Penticton fisheries branch. The biologist in Kamloops says it’s their concern, as it is not running again in November to put dissolved carbon dioxide for the winter. The lake is being enjoyed by many anglers at present with catches of delightful fighting trout. I’m waiting for answers from their biologist on the problem.

Salmon Arm Fish & Game members are willing to spend money to see it running, in co-operation with the fisheries branch. Anglers, voice your concern.

Get out hiking, fishing and hunting. Guess we can blame a bit of climate change for our prolonged fall. Tight lines and straight shootin’!



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