Category Archives: Headlines

Wolf Meetings Wrap Up In Wenatchee

In what has become headcount journalism (guilty as charged), wolf foes appear to have taken the evening in Wenatchee at the 12th and final meeting on WDFW’s draft wolf management plan.

“Speakers who opposed the plan outnumbered those who said they favored it two-to-one,” reports Rachel Schlief in the Wenatchee World today.

The now-familiar thoughts included worries about “the loss and displacement of deer and elk, the economic impact on livestock owners and how the state will ensure funding the plan.”

Schlief also reports on a geography professor from Ellensburg who pointed out that possible wolf range in more densely populated Washington is far lower than in Montana and Idaho, but also quoted a Conservation Northwest staffer, who’s also a hunter, who said the ecosystem balance wolves might help restore was more important than getting “an elk every year” to him.

It’s impossible to say for sure from the news coverage, but looking at headlines, it would appear that those opposed to wolf recovery in Washington outnumbered those who supported during the public comment meetings.

Here are some of the headlines coming out of those forums:

WENATCHEE:  Wolf foes outnumber friends at Fish and Wildlife hearing in Wenatchee

OMAK:  Wolf opponents circle at Okanogan hearing

SEQUIM: Wolf management plan draws big crowd; Few fear the big, bad wolf

SEATTLE: More Wolves, Not Less, Seattle Says

ABERDEEN: Hunters tell state wolves not welcome here

COLVILLE: Wolf plan is unpopular with local residents

YAKIMA: Community voices wolf concerns at WDFW forum

While the meetings have wrapped up, comment is still being taken three ways through Jan. 8:

FAX: (360) 902-2946

Mail: WDFW SEPA Desk, 600 Capitol Way N. Olympia, WA 98501-1091.

Online: http://wdfw.wa.gov/wildlife/management/gray_wolf/mgmt_plan.html

(EDITOR’S NOTE, MARCH 18, 2010: THE HEADLINE FOR THE YAKIMA MEETING WAS INCORRECT IN THE ORIGINAL VERSION OF THIS STORY — HUNTERS TELL STATE WOLVES NOT WELCOME HERE — DUE TO AN EDITING ERROR. OUR APOLOGIES.)

What’s Fishin’ In Oregon

Here are highlights from ODFW’s weekly Recreation Report:

SOUTHWEST ZONE

  • Clamming has been excellent in Coos Bay. There will be some good negative tides near the end of the week.
  • With rain expected this week, anglers on the Elk River can expect some really good fishing for chinook this weekend through early next week.
  • Several area lakes recently received a supplemental stocking of larger and trophy-sized trout. These include Hyatt Lake, Lake Selmac, Expo Pond, Reinhart Pond, Applegate Reservoir, Agate Lake, Garrison Lake, Butterfield Lake, and Upper and Lower Empire Lakes. Trout fishing in these waterbodies should remain good well into the fall.

NORTHWEST ZONE

  • SILTCOOS LAKE: The coho fishery in the lake is under way. Anglers are catching some coho which have recently entered the lake. Trolling or casting spinners or other lures can be effective. Best times are early or late in the day and after rain events. The month of November typically produces the best catch rates. Anglers may retain one wild (non-adipose fin clip) adult coho and 1 jack coho per day. There is a seasonal limit of five wild (non-adipose fin clip) adult coho per year.
  • TAHKENITCH LAKE: The lake coho fishery is slow to fair. Anglers are catching some coho which have recently entered the lake. Trolling or casting spinners or other lures can be effective. Best times are early or late in the day and after rain events. The month of November typically produces the best catch rates. Anglers may retain one wild (non-adipose fin clip) adult coho and 1 jack coho per day. There is a seasonal limit of five wild (non-adipose fin clip) adult coho per year.

SOUTHEAST ZONE

  • Trout fishing has been improving with declining temperatures and there should be good fishing on several area lakes and reservoirs including Fourmile Lake, Grande Ronde Lake, Lake of the Woods and Thief Valley Reservoir.
  • Rainbow and brown trout fishing on the lower Owyhee River remains fair to good, but be on the lookout for (and avoid) brown trout redds in the gravel.
  • Fishing is closed in all streams unless designated otherwise.

WILLAMETTE ZONE

  • Large brood trout will be released this week at three Junction City Pond near Eugene and Walter Wirth and Walling ponds near Salem. The fish are 4- and 5-year-old rainbow trout from ODFW’s Roaring River hatchery and range in size from 8 to 18 pounds.
  • The coho run is winding down on the Sandy River, Eagle Creek and the upper Willamette, although some fish should still be available for the persistent angler.
  • The sturgeon bite on the lower Willamette River is improving.

NORTHEAST ZONE

  • Trout fishing on Magone and Olive lakes has been good.
  • Steelhead fishing is good on the lower Grande Ronde, Imnaha, and Snake rivers.

CENTRAL ZONE

  • Several area lakes closed to fishing after Saturday, Oct. 31. Be sure check the regulations or reports below before heading out.
  • For fly fishers, the Crooked, Metolius and Fall rivers offer good year-round trout fishing opportunities.

SNAKE RIVER ZONE

  • BROWNLEE RESERVOIR: Perch fishing has been good from shore at Hewitt Park.  Crappie fishing is good also and the fish are heavy.  Pink and white jigs are working well. Catfish angling has slowed but some fish are still being taken. Bass angling is fair.The water level is 30 feet below full and Hewitt Park ramp is accessible. Call Idaho Power Company’s recording at 1-800-422-3143 to get information on access at recreational sites or visit their Web site under the “Rivers and Recreation” heading.
  • HELLS CANYON RESERVOIR: Approximately 500 steelhead have been put in the reservoir as of Nov. 9 and approximately 1,100 more are expected to go in by the third week of November. These surplus steelhead are considered trout in the reservoir. No tag is needed but only one can be kept per day if over 20 inches.

SNAKE RIVER below HELLS CANYON RESERVOIR: Fishing for adipose fin-clipped steelhead has opened and the fishing is very good. The bag limit for steelhead increased to five adipose fin-clipped steelhead per day, with no more than three 32 inches in total length or greater. There are a lot of fishermen in the area, so please use good fishing ethics.

Razor Clam Digs On This Weekend

(WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH & WILDLIFE EMERGENCY RULE CHANGE NOTICE, PRESS RELEASE)

Action: Opens razor clam season

Effective dates: 12:01 p.m. Nov. 14 through Nov. 17, 2009

Species affected: Razor clams

Locations:

  • Long Beach, which extends from the Columbia River to Leadbetter Point.
  • Twin Harbors Beach, which extends from the mouth of Willapa Bay north to the south jetty at the mouth of Grays Harbor.
  • Copalis Beach, which extends from the Grays Harbor north jetty to the Copalis River, and includes the Copalis, Ocean Shores, Oyhut, Ocean City and Copalis areas.
  • Mocrocks Beach, which extends from the Copalis River to the southern boundary of the Quinault Reservation near the Moclips River, including Iron Springs, Roosevelt Beach, Pacific Beach and Moclips.
  • Kalaloch Beach, which extends from the South Beach Campground to Brown’s Point (just south of Beach Trail 3) in the Olympic National Park.

Times:

  • Saturday, Nov. 14 (4:34 p.m. -0.3 ft.) Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks
  • Sunday, Nov. 15 (5:21 p.m. -0.7 ft.) Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks
  • Monday, Nov. 16 (6:05 p.m. -0.9 ft.) Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks, Kalaloch
  • Tuesday, Nov. 17 (6:47 p.m. -0.8 ft.) Twin Harbors

Reasons for action: Harvestable surplus of razor clams are available.

Clam diggers got the go-ahead to proceed with an evening razor-clam dig starting Saturday, Nov. 14. Tentative dates have also been announced for upcoming digs in December and January.

Twin Harbors will open for digging Nov. 14-17, while Long Beach, Copalis and Mocrocks are scheduled to open Nov. 14-16. Kalaloch Beach will be open for digging on Monday, Nov. 16 only. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) gave final approval after a series of marine toxin tests confirmed the clams were safe to eat.

Digs at all beaches will be held on evening tides, with digging restricted to the hours between noon and midnight. The National Park Service approved the one-day dig at Kalaloch Beach, located within Olympic National Park, to coincide with those at the other beaches.

Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager, advises clam diggers to check weather and surf forecasts before heading out.

“With the rough weather we had during the last opener, digging dropped off significantly as people played it safe,” Ayres said. “On the plus side, there’s likely enough clams remaining in the quota to offer more digs later.”

Olympic National Park Superintendent Karen Gustin also reinforced taking night dig safety precautions, especially at Kalaloch.

“Kalaloch is considerably more remote than the other clamming beaches, and visitors should be prepared for primitive conditions,” she said. “With no streetlights or lighted buildings in the area, flashlights or lanterns are a necessity.”

Harvesters are allowed to take no more than 15 razor clams and must keep the first 15 they dig, regardless of size or condition. Each digger’s clams must be kept in a separate container.

A license is required for anyone age 15 or older. Any 2009 annual shellfish/seaweed license or combination fishing license is still valid. Another option is a razor-clam only license available in annual or three-day only versions. Descriptions of the various options are available on the WDFW website at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov .

Troopers Crack Down On Poachers

(OREGON STATE POLICE PRESS RELEASE)

Oregon State Police (OSP) Fish & Wildlife troopers in southern Oregon are encouraging people to report poaching activity, especially now that most rifle deer hunting seasons are ending and many large bucks are illegally killed in the following days.

“Our troopers are actively pursuing their game of choice, and our quarry is the poacher,” said Sergeant Kirk Meyer from the OSP Fish & Wildlife Division at the Central Point office.

Last week, OSP Fish & Wildlife Division troopers received information of a large 4X4 buck that was shot at a local area golf course. An investigation revealed that the large buck had been seen in the area for weeks until it was unlawfully killed by a man who did not have a deer tag. The month long deer hunting season was winding down with just a few days to go when the large buck was shot.

State Police troopers seized the carcass from a 39-year old Rogue River man who illegally tagged it with his tag. The 67-year old Medford man who shot it wanted the head for a taxidermy mount.  He tagged it with the tag he purchased after killing it.

CentralPt.deer.1

THE POACHED GOLF COURSE BUCK. (OREGON STATE POLICE)

“Our investigation found that this person took advantage of a new rule allowing someone to purchase a tag after the season opened.  Despite signing a statement swearing he had not yet hunted for the game for which the tag was purchased, he had already killed the deer,” said Meyer.

Misdemeanor charges for TAKING DEER WITHOUT A DEER TAG, FALSE APPLICATION FOR A DEER TAG and LOANING A DEER TAG are pending against both men.

In a second incident, troopers received information this week of some men on ATVs on a mountainside near Central Point in an area where deer poaching has previously been reported. A trooper was in the area looking for the men when he saw them coming down the mountain on ATVs and one of them was hauling a dead buck. The deer hunting season had ended last Friday, except for youth hunters with a tag who were allowed to hunt through the weekend.

With the help of responding troopers, the three men were found inside a shed at a Central Point home. The freshly killed buck was hanging in the shed and they were skinning it. There were two other bucks also found hanging in the shed, and a third was found already butchered inside a freezer in the home.  The four bucks and two rifles were seized.

CentralPt.deer.2

DEER SEIZED BY OSP. (OREGON STATE POLICE)

Cited to appear in Jackson County Circuit Court related to the second incident were:

* ROBERT LUND, age 37, from Central Point, for Exceeding the Bag Limit – Deer and Unlawful Possession of Deer
* TIMOTHY GEYER, age 31, from Central Point, for Taking Deer Closed Season
* ROBERT OCH, age 43, from Central Point, for Aiding in a Wildlife Crime – Taking Deer Closed Season

As most rifle deer hunting seasons have ended, Sergeant Meyer stressed the importance to check the 2009 Oregon big game regulations for information about late hunting seasons still to come for muzzle loaders and bow hunters.  Anyone with information about possible poaching activity in their area is asked to call the statewide TIP (Turn in Poacher) Hotline at 1-800-452-7888.

SW WA Fishing Report

SALMON/STEELHEAD

Cowlitz River – Including fish released, bank and boat anglers averaged slightly better than a fish per every 2 rods.  Catch was a mixture of fall Chinook, coho, steelhead, and sea-run cutthroats.  Most of the Chinook were caught near the barrier dam while coho, steelhead and sea-run cutthroats were caught from there downstream.  Most of the Chinook were dark and released.  About half the coho were also released with the majority wild fish.

Through November 4, over 64,000 hatchery and just under 5,000 wild adult coho along with 18 hatchery winter run steelhead had returned to the salmon hatchery.  In addition, nearly 1,100 hatchery sea run cutthroats had returned to the trout and salmon hatcheries.

Flows at Mayfield Dam were expected to increase to nearly 6,000 cfs today and then drop to about 5,000 cfs for the next week or more.  On the lower river, the water was reported to be turbid.

Kalama River – Anglers continue to catch a mix of coho and steelhead.  Last week the majority of the catch observed were steelhead.  Overall bank anglers averaged a fish per every 2 rods when including fish released.

By November 4 the first hatchery winter run steelhead of the season returned to Kalama Falls Hatchery.

Lewis River – Bank anglers near the salmon hatchery averaged nearly a fish per every 2 rods when including fish released.  The majority of the catch were adult coho of which 2/3 of the fish caught were kept.

Washougal River – Effort has been light.  The first two hatchery winter run steelhead of the season had returned to Skamania Hatchery through November 4.

Klickitat River – Bank and boat anglers on the lower river averaged nearly 1.5 coho each.  Some of the fish have a little color and were released.  Some fall Chinook were also caught with the majority dark fish that were released.

Flows at Pitt were just over 800 cfs this morning which is close to the long term mean for this date.  Flows are expected to decrease slowly over the next several days.

Lower Columbia below Bonneville Dam – Light effort and catch.

Bonneville Pool – Boat anglers at the mouth of the Klickitat averaged just under a coho per rod.  A few Chinook and steelhead were also caught.

STURGEON

Lower Columbia below Bonneville Dam – Bank anglers just below Bonneville Dam averaged a keeper per every 14 rods.  Boat anglers in the gorge also caught some legals as did a few in the Longview area.

Through October, an estimated 4,300 (38%) of the 11,268 fish from this year’s guideline for above Wauna had been taken.

Report courtesy Joe Hymer, PSFMC

 

They’re Watching You

It’s not just armchair adventurers who frequent Northwest fishing and hunting bulletin boards these days.

Rich Landers of the Spokane Spokesman Review does a piece on how fish and wildlife enforcement officers in the Northwest are cruising online sites and finding cause for investigation, in some cases. He writes:

Monitoring the Internet also has given wildlife agents insight on people who boast online about their fishing and hunting exploits.

“By surfing certain types of Internet pages, like the ‘big buck’ sites, we are finding issues that at least prompt a cursory investigation,” (WDFW Capt. Mike) Whorton said.

“However, a lot of time, they turn out to simply be liars’ pages.”

Wait a minute, not everyone’s telling the truth online?!?

Up To 35 Percent Cut Possible In Sturgeon Fishery

Following last night’s meeting in Vancouver on Columbia River sturgeon fishing, the Columbia Basin Bulletin is reporting that managers are talking about cutting quotas up to 35 percent on the river below Bonneville Dam.

They’re considering the sharp cut because fewer young sturgeon have been reaching keeper size in recent years.

Oregon and Washington fishery officials are considering three alternatives, CBB reports:

The first would reduce the 40,000 guideline in proportion to the recent decline in the population estimates for legal fish, about 12 to 24 percent.

The second would reduce the allowable harvest in proportion to the estimated decline in legal and sub-legal abundance, from 16 to 35 percent.

The most conservative option would drop the allowable catch even further as a buffer because of the uncertainty surrounding the status of the broodstock population.

Managers are unsure of why populations are declining, but if there’s good news, it’s that broodstock — or oversize — sturgeon numbers appears to be stabilizing, if not rising some, CBB reports.

Peachy Keen Hunt On Peaches Ridge

A certain well-known Northwest salmon and steelhead angler just phoned in with a peachy keen hunting report from Peaches Ridge.

Buzz Ramsey says that his group of 10 hunters, including six with any-bull tags, have so far bagged five in the Naches and Taneum units hard against the Cascade Crest in Kittitas and Yakima counties.

“We could have gotten more spikes too — one guy saw four spikes — but there are some committed big-bull hunters in the group,” he says.

Ramsey was one of the lucky hunters. He bagged a spike, though could have taken any bull he’d seen.

He reports that their camp got two spikes and a 5×5 on the Oct. 26 any-bull hunt opener, and then two more spikes on the general season opener last Saturday.

Both seasons continue through Sunday.

Meanwhile, Ramsey says he’s on the road for Northeast Washington to get himself a whitetail buck. The late rifle hunt opens tomorrow in seven Stevens, Pend Oreille and Spokane county game units.

And if he’s successful, that should pretty much fill up the freezer at Casa Ramsey. He and son Wade have already put two Oregon muleys in it, and one afternoon last week, while Buzz was butchering his spike at home, Wade got his Washington side buck.

Who needs Chinook, coho and steelies anyway!

Release Details Hunter Death In Wheeler Co.

(WHEELER COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE PRESS RELEASE VIA OREGON STATE POLICE)

EDITOR’S NOTE: For more on the life and times of Howard Means, described as a passionate hunter and fisherman since childhood, please see his obituary in The Oregonian.)

Wheeler County District Attorney Daniel Ousley announced today that a Wheeler County Grand Jury convened on Thursday, November 5th, to review investigative facts into the death of 61-year old Howard Franklin Means from Portland.  The Grand Jury carefully reviewed witness accounts in addition to Wheeler County Sheriff’s Office video taped interviews, photographs, and collected physical evidence items.  The Grand Jury then handed down no indictments, concluding the actions of those involved in the death of Mr. Means were justified as self defense and in defense of another person.

The investigation was led by the Wheeler County Sheriff’s Office with the subsequent assistance of various Oregon State Police enforcement divisions, Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office, and Oregon State Police Forensic Services Division.  Evidence collected and information developed during the investigation that was presented to the Grand Jury came from three involved adults; two independent witnesses camped at the scene of the altercation; the Oregon State Police Crime Laboratory; the Oregon State Medical Examiner; and, the Wheeler County Sheriff’s Office whose two deputies involved in the investigation are certified and licensed as Deputy Medical Examiners by the State of Oregon.

The investigation developed evidence and testimony that determined the following factual sequence of events during the late afternoon of October 7, 2009 in the “Priest Hole” camping area along the John Day River in Wheeler County:

Howard Franklin Means was camping in the area and had killed a mule deer buck prior to the incident, which was field dressed, covered by fabric and hanging in a tree approximately 220 feet from his tent in a neighboring camping area.

A separate hunting party comprised of three adults and an 11-year old juvenile male from the Scappoose and Hillsboro areas were on a family hunting trip and camping in the same general area.  These individuals were identified as Gary Havlik, age 63; Russell Havlik, age 33; Daron Havlik, age 30, and a related 11-year old juvenile male.  On the evening of October 7th, the Havlik family was looking for a wounded deer shot by another party and was observed to be wounded in the area of the Priest Hole camp area.  They entered an area where a third party of hunters began to set up camp in the vicinity of Mr. Means’ camp.   These two hunters were not involved in the impending altercation and served as independent witnesses during the investigation and subsequent Grand Jury presentation.

Witness testimony developed during the investigation and presented before the Grand Jury indicates Gary Havlik approached the independent witnesses, engaging them in a conversation and inquired if they had observed the wounded deer his family was seeking.  At this moment Mr. Means appeared and accused Gary Havlik of attempting to steal his hanging buck deer, subsequently producing a 9mm semi-automatic handgun he pulled from the back of his belt.  Mr. Means, at very close range, pointed the handgun directly at Gary Havlik who denied attempting to take Mr. Means’ deer and never made claim for the animal.  Gary Havlik subsequently laid his hunting rifle on the ground and pleaded to Mr. Means not to point his handgun into his stomach and chest area.

Gary Havlik’s sons, Daron and Russell, approached their father and Mr. Means from a brushy area after hearing their father’s pleas.  They also requested Mr. Means to remove the handgun from their father’s stomach and to put his handgun down.  There was never a claim by any member of the Havlik hunting party to Mr. Means’ harvested deer, although he continued to assert that their intention was the theft of his deer.

Witness accounts described Mr. Means as upset, angry and apparently very intoxicated as he continued to refuse their pleas and pointed his handgun into Gary Havlik’s stomach and chest area.

Fearing for his father’s life, Daron Havlik attempted to shoot the handgun out of Mr. Means’ hand with one round from a .357 handgun.  This shot caused injury to Mr. Means’ hand and firearm.  Despite the injury, Mr. Means’ retained hold of his handgun and subsequently fired one round at Daron Havlik that passed through his shirt sleeve without seriously injuring him.

Daron Havlik subsequently again returned fire from his handgun striking Mr. Means.  Russell Havlik, who was next to his juvenile son, also fired at least one round from a .30-06 bolt action hunting rifle at Mr. Means in defense of his family.

As determined by the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office, Mr. Means died at the scene from the gunshot wounds.  Additional evidence indicated Mr. Means’ blood alcohol content (BAC) level at the time of his death was reported to be .24 percent.

 

 

Poached Blacktail Among Top 130 In B&C Book

The green score on that buck poached on private land near Sandy, Ore., earlier this week?

A whopping 153 5/8, making it among the top 50 blacktails in the Boone & Crockett Club’s record book for the Beaver State, according to Bill Monroe’s article in The Oregonian.

But according to the club’s Justin Spring, that score also puts it among the top 130 of all blacktails taken in Oregon, Washington, California and lower British Columbia.

It scores even higher as a nontypical, 157 1/8 due to points growing out of its bases, Monroe writes.

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(OREGON STATE POLICE)

The buck was shot last Saturday by Lamont Coleman, according to the Oregon State Police. The 45-year-old Sandy resident is due in a Clackamas County court to face two Class A misdemeanors, trespassing with a firearm and hunting on the enclosed land of another.

His  rifle was been seized and the meat is being butchered and donated to the Portland Rescue Mission.

As for the antlers, Monroe reports that they may go into OSP’s “Trailer of Shame, ” a traveling display of big game mounts illegally taken by poachers … paid for by fines levied on poachers.”

It also includes elk, antelope, bighorn sheep and mule deer.

But when it comes time to credit who that big blacktail rack belongs to in the B&C book, it will be written up as property of Oregon, Spring told Monroe.

The rack will also be remeasured after a 60-day drying out period.

“It will shrink a bit, but if taken to an official Boone & Crockett measurer, the shrinkage is minimal,” Spring told me.

He says it was indeed taken to a longtime official measurer.