The Greenwater Report for January 21, 2002

Greenwater Provincial Park - Monday, January 21, 2002 - by: Jerry Crawford


January 20th, 2002: It started snowing last Sunday and by Monday morning we had about three inches of fluffy white stuff. There was a bit more on Monday and Tuesday, enough that I scraped the driveways. The Naicam Ski Club will be breathing easier they are hosting the annual Greenwater Ski Loppet on the 26th, and I'll bet they were starting to worry.




We were in Saskatoon Friday and Saturday, and when we got home last night there was another inch or more, and it has been snowing lightly most of today, so it's gradually building up to a decent depth of snow.




Last weekend the Knuts of the Round Table challenged the Park Staff to a game of shinny. Shinny is sort of like hockey, played on ice, with sticks, but without skates and with a tennis ball instead of a puck. It was played on the Marina and since there is no fence, a good part of their time was spent chasing the ball. It looked a bit too strenuous for me, so I watched and took a few photos. I'm told it could become a regular event. On Monday, all the players were walking very briskly and erectly, not wanting to let on that the game was too much for them. When they thought nobody was watching, though, the limps and groans showed up.



The fresh snow was all that was needed for Frank to take his brand new Bombardier groomer tractor out to groom the ski trails. It looks quite a bit lighter than the one they had for the past several years, but Frank says it handles the steep hills easily. It sure is a good-looking machine!




Last night, a radio talk show was discussing a coyote derby that was planned for the Fort Qu'Appelle area; four people make a team and pay $50 to enter the derby. Then they go out and kill as many coyotes as they can. There are prizes for the most coyotes, the biggest, and the smallest. Most of the callers seemed in favour of the idea, a few opposed, and a few lukewarm, wanting to see the coyote population decreased but not liking the idea of making it a sport. A spokesman from SERM was interviewed, and he said there was nothing illegal about it, as long as the coyotes weren't poisoned, or chased down with snowmobiles.


In the late 40s, the coyote population was greater than people liked. At that time, chicken, ducks, geese, and turkeys ran free around the yard, scrounging spilled grain, grasshoppers, and horse droppings. They were easy prey for daring coyotes. I remember a coyote drive being organized in Kelliher. Fifteen or twenty men, some with guns, surrounded a quarter and worked in toward the center, flushing up coyotes as they went. The resulting kill was thrown in the back of a truck and parked by the beer parlor for all to admire. As I recall, that organized effort only resulted in two or three carcasses, which didn't seem much for the energy expended.


Last year, there was an article in almost every paper about the exploding gopher population, and the troubles they caused. I would think coyotes would be one of the best controllers of gophers and other field rodents. They may also serve a useful purpose by culling sick and injured deer from what appears to be an over-population. On the other side of the coin, they are reported to kill the odd cattlebeast and can be rough on household pets. Doreen tells me one of our neighbors has a small poodle-type dog. They heard it yipping from the back yard one day and looked out to see it playing with a coyote. It seemed to be having a lot of fun, but the coyote was gradually leading it away from the yard. They went out and drove the coyote away, so the dog was saved.




Wouldn't it be easier and cleaner to offer a good price for the hides? That seems to be an important factor in the control of wild animal populations and would ensure that at least part of the animal is put to good use. (Beautiful fur!)
  Doreen & Jerry Crawford
Box 100, Chelan, SK S0E 0N0 (306) 278-3423