Our meeting this past Saturday was blessed with beautiful weather and went quite well. The following are some of the more important points.
We covered quite a few issues beginning with the vote on the deer hunting rules that we implemented last year as a result of the work of the deer committee. We will be sending an email ballot out for those who were not there and/or who we did not have proxies so that everyone may have a vote in this, and we will be sending out the results. Tom Mclemore agreed to organize another committee should one be necessary for further refinements to our deer hunting policy.
Regarding our caretaker David Cooksey, the board met with him on Friday for an evaluation of his performance this year. We felt positive about how far he has come in understanding what is required of him and for what we hope will be a productive year ahead. He asked for some degree of hunting privileges and we brought this up to the membership present during the meeting on Saturday who, after some discussion, decided to let him have [on a trial basis] the right to harvest two does and hunt small game, no bucks and no turkeys. This seemed reasonable to the membership present. Obviously, it is conditional that this privilege not impede or hinder the performance of his job or negatively affect the members’ enjoyment of the island.
There is the possibility of a significant expense this year as our electric line is once again in danger of collapsing in to the river. When I spoke with the engineer, he suggested to me that if the pole on the Big island side looks like it may go it would be best for us to go ahead and attempt to move it if possible before it goes into the river. The pole was a big part of the cost of our connection and if it goes in the river [he says] it can’t be reused. When the water allows for it, I will go with him and get his opinion on what we should do, it is possible we may have to act quickly.
With the difficulty of getting timber cut on the island, and the frustratingly long and complex process of getting government money for our proposed wildlife openings, the members expressed an interest in getting quotes for creating the openings at our own expense. I and other members are in the process of putting together some hard figures on what it would cost to create 5 openings of approximately 10 acres each. These would be located according to input from our wildlife biologist. Basically, there are three options for their creation: barging over a timber cutting machine to cut the undesirable trees in the openings, doing the cutting with chainsaws, or injecting the standing trees. Once we have a few estimates, you will receive an email asking for your vote on whether to proceed and if so, by what method.
Vaiden Clark has been monitoring the progress of the lawsuit against the Corp of Engineers and reports that though things are moving very slowly, the rulings are promising for our interests. I spoke with Taft Tucker, one of our contacts with the Corps and he says to expect some work on the wing dams in Victoria bend this summer but no work in the old channel of the White on the west side of the island. No surprise there, but we remain hopeful. Trent Lamastus brought some large prints from the work that Delta State did for us in tracing the changing boundaries of the island through aerial mapping. They are in the main camp house- the river gives, and the river takes away.
Ike Brunetti was elected for a regular term to the board. He had been on the board to fill the remainder of Buford Tubb’s term.
Let’s hope for a restrained spring rise and an uninterrupted turkey season.