Youve been warned, and without preamble, I am starting with the weather.
Im not a winter hater, but I prefer my winters chilly and snowy, not Arctic and icy.
I was maintaining my sanity by ice fishing and hiking, but an ice storm? Ol Man Winter, youre trying my patience.
But by the time you read this, the weather will change to something else. Raining frogs? Who knows?
Are semi-frequent, powdery snowstorms too much to ask during winter?
Lets hope we see a few more before winter ends.
Which leads me not-so-eloquently into the not-so- great assault rifle debate: Im not ignoring the barbaric, senseless killing of children. Its one of the most horrible, gut-wrenching things Ive ever seen. Figure out a way to stop it, and Im on board.
But as the owner of a Rock River Arms LAR-15 semi-automatic in .223 caliber with several high-capacity magazines, Im getting tired of the rubbish I am hearing.
No legitimate purpose.
Just made for killing people.
Its no good for home defense.
Who needs a 30-round magazine?
When did target shooting become illegitimate? Ive fired hundreds of rounds through mine, possibly thousands, and not once have I aimed at a human, nor do I ever intend to do so.
But having said that, would you consider breaking into my house to find out if my semi-automatic .223 rifle with a high-capacity magazine is suitable for home defense?
I didnt think so.
Which leads me into women in combat. This is a bit outside the norm of Idaho Outdoors, but hear me out. First, anyone who has paid attention knows women have been serving in combat since day one of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.
Soon they will be allowed to officially fulfill those duties if they are qualified.
I think the question of readiness and effectiveness will soon be proven moot.
And heres where Idaho outdoors comes in. If youve spent much time out there, youve probably seen women in the most rugged corners of Idaho.
Our mountains, rivers and deserts show no gender preferences, and women have scaled the highest mountains, ran the most challenging rivers, ridden across deserts and hauled elk out of the deepest canyons.
Thats not to say theres a direct comparison between recreation and combat, but in both cases, women have shown they can handle the toughest situations.
Moving on to the Idaho Legislature.
Every legislative session, we in the outdoors community hold our breathes for the first knuckle-head proposal.
Right out of the gates this year is talk about the state taking over management of federal lands.
To who ever is proposing this, its not going to happen. Deep down, you know it, so stop wasting your time and do something constructive.
Same goes to the rest of you legislators with a hare-brained idea that will do nothing but pit people against each other and not accomplish anything.
Idaho faces some critical issues that dont pertain to the outdoors, so fix those. We who love the outdoors are fine the way things are, at least for now.
No annoying column would complete without wolves, so here we go.
Idaho Fish and Game Commission has allocated money to pay for professional hunters or trappers to kill wolves.
Earlier this month, the commission moved $50,000 from coyote control to wolf control (bigger dogs, bigger targets) within elk zones that are not meeting F&Gs population goals.
Heres the short version of how this all pans out.
Hunters who dont like wolves will want fewer of them, and most would prefer none at all.
People who like wolves will say hunters are being selfish, and wolves are just doing what nature intended, despite the fact that nature didnt put them back in Idaho in the first place, we did.
Neither side is ever going to be happy. But lest I end this on a negative note, it seems both sides are gradually moving toward grudging acceptance. In the wolf debate, I will grudgingly accept that as progress.
If youre still reading and not annoyed, I guess I missed my mark.
If so, feel free to email and berate me for not seeing things your way. Im a big boy, I can take it.
But Im now stepping off the soap box and returning to more pleasant matters. Giggling will commence.
Roger Phillips: 377-6215, Twitter: @rogeroutdoors
Statesman outdoor writers Pete Zimowsky and Roger Phillips alternate columns. Look for Zimo next week.