Thursday, January 5, 2017

Hunting season 2017, let the adventures begin

By Roger Phillips, Public Information Specialist

Welcome to 2017, I hope you had a great hunting season last year, and it’s understandable if you think the season is winding down. Many people think hunting seasons start in late summer, run through fall and end during winter, but there are many hunting opportunities in Idaho throughout the year. 

Since we just started the new year, you can consider this the beginning of a new hunting season, too. Get your 2017 hunting license, if you haven’t already, and keep going into the field to pursue game and have the wonderful experiences that go along with it. 

There’s a lot of options in January, and beyond. Some upland bird seasons last through January. Duck and Canada goose seasons close at different times during January depending on which part of the state you’re in, and other waterfowl hunting opportunities run later.

White-fronted goose season goes until Feb. 19 in Area 2, which includes Southwest Idaho and portions of the Magic Valley (see the migratory game bird rules for details). 

Light goose seasons (blue, snow and Ross’s) extend into March depending on the area, so again, please check the rules booklet so you can see the exact boundaries. 

Light geese are overpopulated in some areas, and biologists are concerned that their high abundance can damage Arctic habitat, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

That means there are special rules in place to reduce these high populations, including the use of electronic calls and allowing unplugged shotguns. There are restrictions on where those rules apply, so again, check the rules booklet. 

Snow geese and white-fronts are interesting and exciting birds to hunt. If you’ve ever listened to a flock of snow geese overhead, or seen a swirling mass of white-fronted geese (aka speckle bellies) landing in a field, you know what I am talking about.

It’s a sight to see, hear and experience. If you haven’t, you owe it to yourself to check them out, even if you’re not hunting them.

One reason for the late seasons for these birds is they are often migrating back from the south, and following the receding snow line north, which makes southern Idaho a natural, but brief, stop over. 

When you’re done hunting waterfowl, you will barely have time to stow your decoys and clean your shotgun before spring turkey season opens on April 15. It’s a great time to be in the woods as they are coming alive with the sound of gobbling toms. 

Some hunters compare the excitement of calling a tom turkey to calling a bull elk, but with a much easier pack out if you’re successful at bringing a gobbler within shotgun range and closing the deal. 

Turkey hunting is also a great way to introduce novices to hunting because they often see and hear the birds up close, and there’s usually not the long, arduous hiking that’s involved with big game hunting. 

If you’re not a bird hunter, but still want to keep hunting, some hunters extend their season by taking on the challenge of predator hunting. Mountain lion and wolf hunting are open and continue through March in most parts of the state and beyond March in some areas.

You can find details in the big game rules booklet. Mountain lions are typically hunted with hounds, which is not an option for the average hunter, but there are outfitters available to guide you on one of these exciting hunts.

Predator hunting is also done by calling in the animals, and they all have a reputation for being wary and wily, so expect to put in some effort doing it, but you will have a trophy if you succeed.

The pelts are prime during winter, so you can have one turned into a rug, or a full-body mount. 

The end of mountain lion and most wolf seasons at the end of March dovetails with the start of spring black bear hunting in April, so you can continue pursuing big game. 

Like mountain lions, black bears are often hunted with hounds in units where it’s allowed, but hunters are also successful at baiting them, or by spotting and stalking them similar to deer and elk hunting. Spring bear hunting runs through June in many units. 

That brings us to July, and if you’re still itching to keep hunting, there are some limited opportunities for wolf hunting, but for most hunters, it’s time to start thinking about deer, elk and other seasons that start in August, September and October. 

So don’t feel like your 2017 hunting seasons should be limited to few months. If you’re willing to use your creativity and try some different quarry, and you can keep hunting nearly year round in Idaho.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Slipping and sliding in a winter wonderland

By Andrea Dell

"When I was your age, I waded through 20 feet of snow for 10 miles just to reach the bus stop!"

I exaggerate (a bit), but you're probably grinning after reading that first sentence, either because you've heard this from your parents or grandparents, or you've said something similar to your children or grandchildren.

Clearwater County's winters over the last several years have been comparatively mild. Maybe a few inches of snow here and there, and a couple weeks of near-zero degree weather. 

We'd hear stories of the east coast getting hammered with two or three feet of snow and raging wind gusts, and think, "Thank God it's not like that here."

Then came winter 2016.

No, it's still not as bad as the east coast.

But, it's had more snowfall than I can remember in several years. Even people dreaming of a white Christmas are saying, "Okay, I'm over it!"

The National Weather Service says this particular weather system comes along every four years or so. Seems like it's been longer than that since we've seen this much snow here in the valley.

Next week, yet another rare weather system is supposed to descend with a round of bitterly cold temperatures, where the HIGHS will "struggle to reach zero degrees." That's Fahrenheit, not Celsius.

The lows, meanwhile, could drop down to -15 or so a couple days next week, in some areas.

As of this writing, the actual forecast for Orofino says highs in the mid-teens and lows around zero degrees, give or take a couple of degrees.

Orofino often doesn't get hit quite as hard as other places by these extreme weather conditions. Surrounding areas often do.

Meanwhile, we can expect more snow until that cold snap arrives to welcome us to the new year.

Take a look at the photo with this post. It's the rear entrance to Orofino City Park. There's even more snow piled up there than is pictured, and this image was taken less than a week ago.

The roads aren't going to improve for the foreseeable future. Neither are the sidewalks, many of which are slick with ice or three inches of gooey slush.

The town is quiet, and business is slow, as people wisely stay off some very scary roads. Those who don't often find themselves stuck, or in a fender bender. If they're lucky, they get by with a white-knuckle, fish-tailing round trip.

Wherever you are as you're reading this, I hope your new year is the best one yet. And if you're huddling in the throes of a real winter, as we are here in Clearwater County, stay warm and safe. We at the Clearwater Tribune will see you next year.

Orofino City Park's rear entrance is pictured in late December, 2016. Photo by Charlie Pottenger.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Idaho spring steelhead season opens New Year’s Day

By Mike Demick, Conversation Information Supervisor

For some anglers, the best thing about New Year's is the start of the spring steelhead season, which opens Jan. 1 on parts of the Clearwater, Salmon, Little Salmon, Snake and Boise rivers.

But before wetting a line, anglers will need a 2017 Idaho fishing license and steelhead permit.

River sections to open include:

Salmon River from its mouth to the posted boundary 100 yards downstream of the Sawtooth Fish Hatchery weir, near the town of Stanley.

Little Salmon River from its mouth to the U.S. Highway 95 Bridge near Smokey Boulder Road.

Snake River from the Washington state line at the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater rivers upstream to Oxbow Dam.

Clearwater River mainstem and Middle Fork Clearwater River from its mouth to Clear Creek.

North Fork Clearwater River from its mouth to Dworshak Dam.

South Fork Clearwater River from its mouth to the confluence of American and Red Rivers.

Boise River from its mouth to the Barber Dam.

The steelhead limit is three per day, nine in possession and 20 for the season. Once limits are reached, the angler must stop fishing, even catch and release. Steelhead anglers may use only barbless hooks, and may keep only hatchery steelhead marked with a clipped adipose fin. All other steelhead must be released unharmed immediately.

Steelhead are in the Boise River and the Snake River above Hells Canyon Dam only when stocked by Idaho Fish and Game. 

During November, over 300 steelhead were stocked in the Boise River. A steelhead permit is required to fish for and keep steelhead (rainbow trout longer than 20 inches with a clipped adipose fin). Barbless hooks are not required on the Boise River. 

Consult Idaho’s 2016-2018 Fishing Seasons and Rules brochure for exceptions and special restrictions. For additional information on steelhead fishing including the latest catch rates, dam counts, and useful instructional videos, go to /steelhead.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Winter weather closes some Dworshak recreation facilities

Dworshak Dam and Reservoir recreation staff have enacted winter-season closures for Viewpoint restrooms, Dam View Campground, Canyon Creek Campground and Merrys Bay Day-Use Area.

Dent Acres campground will remain open until Dec. 15 at noon, weather permitting, to accommodate hunters. If winter conditions create unsafe access, staff will close the campground earlier. Notices will be posted in the campground and with local media outlets. Off-season camping at Dent Acres costs $14 per night. 

Big Eddy, Bruce’s Eddy and the fishing wall area below the dam will remain open for use during the winter season. Seasonally closed facilities are slated to reopen in the spring of 2017, as weather conditions allow.

As always, safety is the Corps’ greatest concern – boaters should wear lifejackets and avoid drinking alcohol while boating. The road leading to the recreation areas, especially the boat ramps, can be icy and potentially hazardous during the winter, so please drive safely.

For more information regarding U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Dworshak facilities access and current conditions, call 208-476-1255 during business hours. The Dworshak Dam Visitor Center is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Galbreath receives new home to replace one lost in fire

Submitted by Shelley Ponozzo

The WUNCCIL (Wildfire Long Term Recovery for Unmet Needs Group for Clearwater, Idaho, and Lewis Counties) group held a dedication for a new home recently completed in the Upper Fords Creek area above Orofino. This area was one of the harder hit during the 2015 Municipal Fire in Clearwater County.

Dave Hasz, Chairman for the WUNCCIL Group opened the Dedication by thanking the Clearwater County Commissioner’s for waiving the County building fees and other assistance they provided in helping to make this new home a reality. Hasz presented the new home owner, Scott Galbreath with a Certificate of Occupancy from Clearwater County for his new home. 

Denise Bacon, Galbreath’s Case Manager for the WUNCCIL Group introduced Scott Galbreath and explained what he had to overcome with regards to the fires. Galbreath, a veteran, would have preferred being on his property to help fight the fires last August, but due to medical reasons and surgery, he was in the hospital. 

A family member and friends rushed to his property, but his home was already burning and a complete loss. They continued to hose down other out buildings to save what they could. John Eshleman, Region IV Board Chairman for the Mennonite Disaster Service presented Scott with a handmade quilt as a house warming gift. In addition, the Kamiah Quilters Guild gave two handmade quilts to Scott, for him and his daughter, to stay warm on cold nights.

Dave Hasz thanked Wade Gayler, Red Cross Senior Disaster Program Manager for the Idaho/Montana Region for all of his assistance this last year and for the funding of approximately $158,900 from the American Red Cross to assist those affected by the fires and help build two homes in Idaho County and one home in Clearwater County. 

Gayler stated “the contributions to the Red Cross came from Orofino, Kamiah, Lewiston, around the region and across the nation, to help this area rebuild and make this day possible. He is honored to represent the Red Cross at this day of celebration and to help dedicate this new home.”

The WUNCCIL Group wanted to thank and somehow show their appreciation to John Eshleman, Region IV Board Chairman and the Mennonite Disaster Service, for coming into our communities to provide their talent and expertise in rebuilding homes lost during last summer’s fires.

Hasz presented a plaque to Eshleman and the Mennonite Disaster Service. Words can fail us in trying to thank and describe how much the Mennonite Disaster Service provided to the Clearwater, Idaho and Lewis County area. Eshleman named the different project managers and their teams that came into this area to volunteer their time, thanking them. Harold Miller was the MDS Project Director for the home being dedicated that day.

Michele WhiteEagle performed the pastoral duties by closing the Dedication in prayer.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Veterans Day activities aplenty for the VFW

By Doug Boyer

With a full week of Veterans Day activities just past, the veterans and the auxiliary at the VFW were kept quite busy.

Due to the fact that there was no school on Friday (Veterans Day, Nov. 11), area schools held their assemblies throughout the week.

So we started off the week on Monday, Nov. 7, with a wonderful assembly put on at Orofino Jr./Sr. High School, where we judged the art class Veterans Day posters. This was followed by a presentation of the “POW/MIA” table and the Armed Forces medley, and presentation of white carnations to the veterans in attendance.

This was followed up on Thursday at noon, when the VFW presented a new flag to the students and faculty at Peck Elementary, followed by a flag raising with the Pledge of Allegiance and then an assembly hosted by the school and followed up with some great food. 

Also on Thursday, we had the honor of attending a music-filled tribute to veterans at Orofino Elementary.

On Veterans Day, we started the day at 7 a.m. with the help of 48 veterans and community members, and posted over 160 U.S. flags at the Orofino and Weseman cemeteries.

We also held Buddy Poppy sales throughout the community, and had a great chili and stew lunch and bake sale hosted by the VFW Auxiliary.

At 3 p.m., we had the honor of presenting Certificates of Appreciation to veteran residents at Clearwater Health and Rehab. Our day concluded with a Quilt of Valor ceremony, where 15 deserving veterans were each presented with a beautiful handmade quilt by the Quilts of Valor Federation in conjunction with the Central Idaho Quilt Guild.

What a wonderful week, and we thank everyone in the community for showing us their appreciation.

A busy holiday season is fast approaching

The U.S. Marine Corps will be kicking off their annual Toys for Tots program for the 2016 season on Friday, Nov., 25 and the VFW is one of the collection centers in our area.

Please help the USMC help the less fortunate by dropping off your new, unwrapped toys at the VFW in Orofino. 

The VFW will be holding its Christmas party this year in conjunction with Orofino American Legion Post 53, Auxiliary members and their families at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 17, at the VFW hall. Turkey and ham will be supplied by the VFW, so just bring your favorite side dish to share.

There will be door prizes, Christmas music, and plenty of holiday cheer. 

Speaking of Christmas, it is not too late to reserve our smoke-free VFW hall for your holiday party or get-together. Dates are filling up fast, so call the VFW today at 476-4117 for an inexpensive holiday party rental.

An engraved brick makes for that perfect Christmas present

We still have plenty of room for more bricks in our “Brickyard of Memories,” and it is not too late to get you or a loved one’s memories engraved.

Please keep in mind there is absolutely no military affiliation required in order to purchase a brick. You can celebrate your children, grandchildren, friends or yourself with anniversaries, birthdays, graduations, births, deaths, years in Orofino—the sky is the limit!

They make a great birthday, Christmas or anniversary present, too! There are currently over 140 bricks in place, with room for hundreds more. 

The 4” x 8” bricks are $40 each with your engraved message, and the 8” x 8” bricks are only $70. These bricks, along with some older bricks from the old junior high school, are placed between the two sidewalks leading up to the VFW building.

For further information or to purchase your brick, please call the VFW at 476-4117 or stop by and pick up an order form. Thank you to everyone who has already purchased a brick or bench! 

The VFW holds their monthly membership meeting on the first Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m. The Auxiliary meets at 6 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month.

The VFW and Auxiliary are updating their records and are requesting that all members let the VFW or Auxiliary know of any email, address, or phone number changes. 

Want to join the VFW? We would love to have you! Too busy? Don’t worry, we won’t put any pressure on you to do something. Just contact any VFW member, bring your DD 214 down to the VFW at 330 Michigan Ave., or call 476-4117 for more information.

Not eligible for the VFW? The Auxiliary to the Veterans of Foreign Wars is now accepting both men and ladies as members to the Auxiliary. Just be a blood relative of a combat veteran and you too can be a member! Give us a call for more info.

A big thank you to everyone in our community who helps support our veterans and Harold Kinne VFW Post 3296.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Dr. Hanna Konarzewska, Cardiac Electrophysiologist, implants first S-ICD (subcutaneous implantable cardiac defibrillator) in Lewiston

Dr. Hanna Konarzewska is a Board Certified Cardiac Electropysiologist specializing in diagnosis and treatment of cardiac arrhythmias and palpitations. She implants and manages devices such as defibrillators, pacemakers, and loop recorders to aid in diagnosis and management of these arrhythmias.

St. Joseph Regional Medical Center proudly recognizes Dr. Konarzewska and her team at the St. Joseph Heart and Vascular Center, providing award-winning healthcare.

An ICD device monitors a patient’s heart 24/7, sending an electrical shock to the heart if it detects a life-threatening heart rhythm in order to restore the heart to its normal rhythm, preventing sudden cardiac arrest.

This device is different from a regular implantable cardiac defibrillator. The ICD lead, which senses the electrical activity in the heart, is tunneled under the skin to rest next to the heart on the breast bone, and a small pocket on your side houses the device. 

There is no need to access the vessels of the heart to place the leads as with a regular implanted defibrillator – leaving the heart and the blood vessels untouched and intact.

For patients, this means less lead related complications such as lead fracture, lead migration, or arrhythmia, as well as, less opportunity for infection in high-risk patients as the heart remains untouched. 

A physician would help determine which device is right for each patient. For more information, visit