by: David Coulson 9/30/2007
The other day after work, I headed out to fish, as frequently is my habit. This evening I chose to fish Frank SWA near Windsor, not the ponds as is my norm, rather the Poudre for “rough” fish. You know, those species most fishers, especially fly fishers, tend to view with disdain; suckers, carp, maybe a chub or two, and who knows what other surprise these rarely fished waters might produce.
The Poudre River at Frank is a nice stream, with some long, slow fairly deep runs, separated by moderate riffles and lined with lots of vegetation. It’s an interesting piece of water that I plan to spend more time fishing. Based on the wakes I saw, there are some large fish, likely carp. Tonight’s surprise was that I never caught a single “rough” fish. All I could manage were several very fat, small largemouths. At sunset I made my way to the front pond to make a few last casts to rising bluegills.
It was then I was joined by two rambunctious dogs, off leash obviously. I like dogs, quite a lot actually, but generally not while I’m trying to fish. And I care for them even less when the uncontrolled “friends of man” are in my space demanding my attention and followed by an obnoxious owner yelling at them to come. Of course the dogs ignore the owner’s plea, as my fishing is far more interesting. Needless to say, I didn’t appreciate the intrusion into my otherwise quiet and relaxing evening.
I mentioned to the dog owner that I didn’t appreciate the dogs, especially as he was breaking the wildlife area rules by having them off lease and was fortunate that a DOW officer wasn’t around. That probably was a mistake, as I was treated to a tirade about how he lives in the area, he’d do as he pleased, and he’s been running his dogs free for years. To which he added that he’ll start following the rules at Frank SWA when they start enforcing the immigration laws. Not sure how DOW is involved with immigration, but that was his logic and justification for letting his dogs run wild. Further discussion (ok, that’s mild) led to the discovery that he doesn’t hunt or fish, and never has.
Maybe I could’ve/should’ve kept my mouth shut, for after a bit the gentleman and his unruly mutts would have wandered off to disturb someone/something else. But I have a hard time keeping quiet when I see people violating the rules. When the lands/or access to them is paid for by hunters and fishers or when their actions negatively impact me and my favorite activity, fishing, there is little chance that I’ll keep quiet. I’m not sure speaking out did any good. However, I know there are not enough resources for DOW officers to check wildlife areas more than occasionally. So if we don’t speak out, it’s a sure thing little will change.
Blog content © David Coulson
TightLine, CO 9/30/2007 11:16:51 AM
A similar situation took place with us a couple of weeks ago at the end of archery season. A couple and their 4 dogs, not on leashes, terrorizing the trails and wilderness areas. We have spoken up before and get the same responses, mostly from those not involved in hunting or fishing. It always gets turned around and turns out that we're the bad guys for hunting or fishing and killing the wildlife. How do you explain the necessities of game harvest to someone who doesn't practice it? It's a war that will never be resolved and you're always left kicking yourself and saying, "I should have kept my mouth shut." Who knows, next time that guy sees another person, he'll leash his dogs until he passes. You did the right thing.
brookieflyfisher, CO 9/30/2007 11:39:26 AM
I have spoken out to fellow fishermen that are breaking the rules. I have talked to many who have been using live bait in a flies and lures only area. I always get the "I didn't know that" or "I had no Idea" response. If more people just knew the rules, then our fisheries would be a lot better off. It's always good to speak up and let people know of the rules so they won't do the same thing again.
Fishergal, CO 10/2/2007 12:37:46 PM
This has happened to my husband and I more than once...these same dog owners more often than not are not picking up after their dogs either/usually no doggie litter bags in view. I actually was bitten once by a dog not on a leash on a trailhead, I was simply hiking. I love dogs, however people; not the dogs are the ones in need of a little training.
ripley, CO 10/3/2007 3:05:27 PM
I had a woman start throwing a stick in the water and having her dog fetch it, at watson lake right next to where myself and several other people were fishing. When confronted she could not understand how we were upset, even though it was obvious we were fishing and there is a leash rule sign right at the front of the lake.
Another time at wellington I had a dog try to get into my bait and hooks that were sitting right beside me. I'm quite sure the owner would have been really mad if the dog returned with a mouthful of hooks, even though this kind of situation is exactly why there are leash rules.
Unlike most of you I do not like dogs, so I really hate it when I am forced to interact with very poorly trained annoying ones, by people who refuse to follow the rules.
David Coulson (Flyrodn), CO 10/3/2007 10:51:27 PM
I started to say I was glad to see others have had similar experiences. But I'm not glad, it rather regretful that there are so many such incidents.
Koldkut, CO 10/5/2007 5:38:37 AM
Did you maybe ask to see his Habitat Stamp? I have the same problem with a group of people I call the Dog Walkers of Pueblo West when I'm hunting or fishing the west end of pueblo reservoir. No one enforces those habitat stamps on anyone other than the outdoorsman who gets stuck twice by having to purchase more than one if they hunt and fish.....
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