One change that was driven home to me this past year was how serious the melting of the polar ice is. This phenomenon is happening at the fastest rate since the beginning of record keeping. This is putting more water in the oceans and,in turn,puts more moisture in the air. The whole thing adds up to more storms that are more severe in the destructive force they deliver and puts all coastal areas in peril as ocean levels increase.The real scary part is that we are going to have a hard time to reverse this process.It'll probably get worse before it gets better.
The ice fishing season is still a few weeks away and if the weather follows the same pattern as last year,it could be a late start because of poor ice. Although the season started out slowly last season because of the mild winter we had,the bite set in good and after we had lots of ice the fishing was quite consistant. Grand Lake and lower Salmon River had good catches of most of the species such as smelt,burbot,pickerel and perch.The whitefish bite was back on after a noticeable lack of caught fish the year before. We fish either fresh cut bait or live bait depending on the species. We use light weight 2-3 man shacks on the lake and portables on Salmon River where there is less wind. If the weather is moderate,a bucket and all your gear is all you need because you will be busy working your lines and catching fish. Our water that we fish during the winter is considered tidal water so a fishing licence isn't required and that makes things a whole lot simpler for visiting fishermen. The following photo shows Ken Hargrove with a trophy sized burbot taken from Grand Lake.
If you are involved in any sport or line of work that uses guns, you need to make sure to do what you can to prevent hearing loss. You can lose some or all of your ability to hear by shooting firearms without wearing any type of ear protection. Many sportsmen and emergency workers who use guns report losing some hearing with only one or two uses of their guns, so using any means necessary to protect your ears is very important.
Any time that a hunter discharges any firearm, starting at a .22 caliber, the noise is at least 140 decibels. The human ear can be damaged by hearing one single noise at that level. Most larger caliber weapons are much louder than that and can cause even more damage. Wearing a pair of earplugs with a pair of muffs over them is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to protect your ears from becoming damaged.
Hunting and being around just one or two guns is one thing, but going somewhere like a gun range is even worse. There are sometimes up to thirty people at a time shooting in a single gun range, so protecting your ears is not just an option, it is a necessity. Many people need to wear filtration devices or hearing aids after shooting a gun without protecting their ears due to hearing loss. Many hunters don't want to cover their ears and lose all outside noises, but many have also discovered the electronic earmuffs that have been designed to keep noises louder than 120 decibels out but allow regular noises to be heard while wearing them.
It is possible to avoid even more damage to your ears by going to outdoor shooting ranges rather than indoor ones, by hunting in the woods where you have an open space for discharge noise to disperse, and by trying to use a smaller caliber rifle or pistol to shoot rather than the larger weapons that can cause permanent deafness in certain cases. No matter where you are when you are shooting, especially when hunting, you should make a conscious decision to protect your ears during the use of any firearm. You will definitely want to be able to hear for the rest of your life, and this is a great way to make sure that it happens.