_Game Warden Dog

Serves: 5



When I hired on as a conservation officer for Idaho Department of Fish & Game (IDFG) in September of 1978, Snoose turned six months old. I'd come by her four months earlier when I ran into a friend at IDFG Headquarters where we both had meetings. Russell had hired on as an officer a couple of years earlier and I still worked as a Wildlife Technician. At a break in the meetings I caught Russ up on what I'd been doing and told him about the awesome log home I had rented near Wayan in SE Idaho. He told me he had the perfect pup to live with me in such a great place. He still had two female pups from a litter of nine who needed homes. Being a canine sexist at the time, I told him 'No Thanks!' No females for me. I'd always had males. Apparently, Russ didn't have any better luck peddling those two pups during the day 'cause when I arrived at the restaurant that evening he bought me a beer, one of many that night, and started his sales pitch again.

After rolling out of bed the next morning I needed three things really bad. First, and most important, a couple of aspirin, followed by a cup of coffee and, last, a hot shower…in that order. Not being the first guy to wake up with the events of the previous evening being a little fuzzy, I 'thought' I remembered writing Russ a check for $75.00 late the night before. (It was brought to my attention later that I actually wrote the check about closing time.) When I got out of the shower I looked in my checkbook. Sure enough, the self carbon copy of the last check said 'Pay to the Order Of' Russ Kozacek. My consolation being at the time that although Russ did succeed in selling me a dog, I hadn't bought dinner or a beer all night! Anyway…Snoose moved to the big log house in Wayan with me. She spent the summer leaning how to fetch, stay out from underfoot a saddlehorse, and how to load in a pickup truck.

The transformation from civilian to game warden doesn't happen overnight. How successful a game warden is depends on both tangible and intangible criteria. One of the tangible criteria being, of course, the apprehension of violators who go home with pieces of paper labeled 'Defendant's Copy' in their wallets! Six weeks into my career and hunting seasons in full swing, the only citations my name appeared on listed me as 'Assisting Officer.' With elk season a week old my ego and confidence hit rock bottom. Sure, I had encountered some folks with problems, but their stories always seemed truthful to me. So I'd give them a weak verbal warning and go off in search of a 'big game case.' At the time I naively believed everyone always told the truth to the game warden!

On Sunday of the second weekend of elk season, Snoose and I left the house in the gray light of dawn, headed for Jacknife and Tincup Creeks. I started making the rounds of trailheads and campgrounds thinking that if things didn't change, I would find myself back driving a truck. About noon I checked a camp of moose hunters breaking camp after getting a bull packed out. I then headed for McCoy Creek. I hoped that I could find a violation in my neighboring officer's area! By mid-afternoon, and several camps later, my luck hadn't changed. Discouraged doesn't even come close to how I felt. I stopped at a creek thinking Snoose might enjoy a swim, as the day was getting warm. My heart dropped when I got out of the truck! No Snoose! I started backtracking, asking folks I'd just checked if they remembered seeing my dog in the back of the truck. No luck!

I headed back to Tincup Creek, not believing I could have missed her for such a long time. Finally I ended back up in the camp where I'd checked the moose hunters. There she lay contentedly chewing on a leg bone that they'd discarded. Apparently she hadn't missed me at all. After chastising her I loaded her back up and decided to check a couple of camps where no one had been present in the camp on my earlier swing through.

As I pulled into the first one, a fellow came riding in leading a couple of packhorses. He told me he'd killed an elk, and that it was boned out in meat sacks on the pack stock. I felt pretty good writing him a citation for an unattached tag while he unloaded the packhorses. But something still sort of gnawed at my subconscious. Why I felt compelled to go through the meat sacks I'll never know! Unless one has the space to lay out the individual pieces of boned meat to determine their anatomical location you can't make sense of what your looking at. This guy and his buddies had made it easy. When I located a heart in the third sack of meat it didn't raise any alarm. In the fourth sack, though, I found another elk heart, which did set off all sorts of warning bells. Then it was obvious! These guys had killed two elk and tried to disguise the fact by boning the meat and mixing it up. I didn't hesitate to give Snoose the credit for leading me to that breakthrough big game case.

I spent two thirds of my career with Snoose! Over the years she assisted me on several cases and on occasion made cases outright for me. Snoose didn't spend much time at home those first ten years. Most of the time she rode in the back of the truck, but fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters, drift boats, and rafts suited her just fine. Except for being in a duck blind, she was happiest trailing along ahead of my saddle horse as I pulled a pack string somewhere in the back country! The day finally arrived when it got too difficult for her to jump up into a pickup truck.

Snoose spent seven years in retirement before she passed on just a couple days short of her fourteenth birthday. I still consider that $75.00 the best money I ever spent. A couple of years ago I returned the favor to Russ when I sold him a female pup out of my Chesapeake, Sis! Russ just wrote a check and saved me the expense of buying him dinner and beer for an evening!

Spiced with More Tall Tales - Dedications

This _Game Warden Dog recipe is from the Cee Dub's Dutch Oven and Other Camp Cookin' Cookbook. Download this Cookbook today.

More Recipes from the Cee Dub's Dutch Oven and Other Camp Cookin' Cookbook:
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_About the Author
_As Close To Heaven As One Can Get
_Barbeque Texas Style
_Bread And Horse Wrecks
_Brother-In-Law Duck
_Camp Creations
_Camp Crock Pot
_Camp Kitchens
_Camp Robbers
_Campfire Cash
_Chicken ala S*#T
_Chili, The Controversy And The Recipes
_Common Sense And Cards
_Cookin' With Kraut
_Cooking From Cans - Menu For Day 16
_Culinary Bombs
_Don't Critize The Cook...
_Dry Camps
_Fanny Pack Snacks
_Game Meat
_Game Warden Dog
_Game Warden Scramble
_Garlic & Her Poor Cousin "Onion"
_Getting Bread In Camp
_Good Cooks / Bad Cooks!
_Good Humored Cook
_Hank's Spaghetti Sauce
_Hank, Jack And Me
_How To Cook A Coot
_Hungry Ridge Chicken
_Jerky And Smoked Fish
_Las Piedras
_Making Do
_Middle Fork Spareribs
_Modern Day Pilgrims
_No Name Creek Baked Beans
_Pitch In And Pitch Out
_Potatoes aka Taters, Spuds
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_Roast Coot
_Rubs For Meat, Not Backs
_Shoestring Bull
_Something Soft For Dinner
_Sugar And Spice And Other Things Nice
_The Adventures of 'Two-Story Tom'
_Things I Don't Care To Eat
_Twas The Week Before Elk Season
_Two Reluctant Cooks
_Veggies For Camp
_Warden Stew
_Where Do You Buy Scratch

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