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Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
3:36 PM Tue, Sept. 25th

Friday Catchall: Turkey time, fire warnings abound

A group of cow elk get refreshed at a water tank on the Kaibab National Forest this month. (Tim Wiederaenders/Courier)

A group of cow elk get refreshed at a water tank on the Kaibab National Forest this month. (Tim Wiederaenders/Courier)

The Friday Catchall:

Yes, I am back – from a vacation up north! Thank you to the many readers who said they missed seeing my Catchall column the past two weeks.

• TURKEY – I spent eight days spring turkey hunting with my wife, Tracy, on the Kaibab National Forest. It was magical.

Never before have I seen so much wildlife, so active. The elk came into our watering holes (dirt tanks) every day; we counted at least a dozen daily, not including those we spied crossing the path of our truck, running here and there. Most were getting a drink of water, but two young bulls spent a long time drinking and playing in the water.

We also saw coyotes, deer, feral horses, cattle and new calves, many birds and, of course, turkeys.

I brought home a turkey that weighed out at about 8 pounds. Tracy was the master at calling the birds in; see the video posted here (if the video's sound is muted, click on the speaker icon while playing).

Organic turkey for Thanksgiving this year!

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Feral horses off the Navajo reservation find water on the Kaibab National Forest. (Tim Wiederaenders/Courier)

• FIRE – It was sad seeing the remnants of forest fires on the Kaibab and, in hindsight, it is confusing why forest managers say the Kaibab and Coconino forests are in much worse shape than that of the Prescott National Forest.

We drove into the Prescott area to see our brown mountainsides, having come from green grasses and what seemed like the health and vigor of the lands up north.

While two-thirds of the tanks on the Kaibab were dry, it truly appears – anecdotally – that Prescott is as dry as the neighboring forests.

This is why The Daily Courier emphasized this week the need to close the Prescott National Forest. It feels like a tragedy waiting to happen.

• DAM WORK – The fixes to the Watson Lake dam are nearly complete this week. Did you get to see the barges floating cement trucks across the lake to the dam? Check it out in today’s paper or online.

The good news is no cement trucks were lost in the lake (a fear of mine) and the lake will be back to normal for the Memorial Day weekend.

• GRADS – Congratulations to all of the graduates – high schools, colleges and universities! The world is waiting for you, our future leaders. Pick up your copy of the high school graduation special section, inserted in today’s Courier or at our office in Prescott Valley.

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Elk were front and center for the week. (Tim Wiederaenders/Courier)

• QUOTE – Hunting is more than going after game, it is rooted in the sights and sounds of nature, as this anonymous quote suggests: “The hunter that travels out into the woods is lost to the world, yet finds himself.”

• PICK OF THE WEEK – (Proving there’s always something good to do in the Prescott area that’s cheap or free): The Phippen Museum’s annual western art show and sale on the courthouse plaza this weekend – through Monday. In all they have 95 artists coming, and not-to-miss portions are the 2 p.m. Quick Draw competitions Saturday and Sunday. Enjoy!

Tim Wiederaenders is the senior news editor for The Daily Courier and Prescott Newspapers, Inc. Follow him on Twitter @TWieds_editor. Reach him at 928-445-3333, ext. 2032, or twieds@prescottaz.com.