Howard Delo

Here we are! It’s Christmas and there are only a handful of days left in this 2020 year. New Years Day is a week away and then we see the beginning of a brand new year. The year 2020 has not been kind to most and tragic for some. There have been some good things happening, depending on your point of view, but generally speaking, 2020 is a very forgettable period!

Looking back over the year, the Northern District of Cook Inlet scored some gains at the Spring, 2020 Upper Cook Inlet Board of Fisheries meeting. The BOF made some game changing decisions in how the commercial drift fisheries fleet was to be managed, both in time when they could fish and location in the inlet where fishing would be allowed. The intent of these changes was to put more salmon in their Northern District natal streams rather than in commercial nets.

The runs of kings, reds, and silvers were weak in 2020, but most knowledgeable watchers would admit the commercial fishing restrictions did allow more fish north. On the other side of the coin, the drifters had a tough year between the pandemic and regulatory restrictions on top of the poor returns.

The drifters were counting on getting a better opportunity to fish if the federal government reinserted their management strategies into Cook Inlet salmon management. That’s why they filed their 2013 lawsuit over the management of CI salmon. When the court found in their favor, I’m sure their expectations soared. When the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council voted, almost unanimously (there was one abstention), to close all commercial salmon fishing in the federal waters of CI, I suspect there were some very unhappy commercial fishermen listening to the NPFMC meeting.

Depending on how the state opts to manage the state waters for commercial drift fishing, we could see either a nice boost in returning salmon numbers or the returns being intercepted at an even greater rate than under the “old” management regime. Time will tell how that change will work out.

Complying with pandemic restrictions kept a lot of adults home from work and kids out of school. One way to relieve the “cabin fever” resulting from this turn of events saw a lot of folks spending time outside, enjoying hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, and other healthful outdoor activities. This is a good thing. I didn’t get out as much as I would have liked because I was trying to find some method of dealing with my damaged ankle, to allow more walking. I’m still looking, but I’m closer to what will probably be my “final” fix.

On a personal note, I acquired an unfired, scoped Sharps 1874 rifle in 45-70 caliber from a fairly well-known Hollywood actor this past spring. There’s a story that goes with this acquisition, but I’ll tell that at another time. I worked on getting the scope adjusted and the rifle sighted in during the Alaska Territorial blackpowder match this past summer. I still have a way to go in load development, but I shot well enough to win a pin for placing in one of the blackpowder cartridge matches held at the Territorials.

I had suffered some damage to my firearms from the November 2018 earthquake. Some of that damage didn’t become obvious until much later. As a result, I sent one rifle off to a gunsmith in Texas to repair/rebuild the action and rebarrel the firearm to a different blackpowder cartridge caliber. I haven’t talked with the guy since I sent the rifle off, so I’m not sure where he’s at with the repairs and rebarreling. I told him I wasn’t in a hurry and would like the rifle back around March or so, if possible, to do load development for the rebarreled rifle.

The final item I’ll mention is the 2020 election situation. It appears things are starting to settle down as President-Elect Joe Biden prepares to take office under questionable circumstances. If this occurs, the law-abiding citizens will be facing significant government intrusions into our right to keep and bear arms. Biden has threatened to outlaw certain types of firearms and tax others to the point ownership will be difficult for most. If the two US Senate seats in Georgia go to the Democrats, it could be the beginning of the end.

I have read commentaries of multiple states thinking of secession from the United States. Other commentators said the possibility of an open civil war is possible. Let’s pray things work out better.

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