Tag Archives: SKAGIT COUNTY

WDFW Sets 3-day, Jan. 6, 10, 13 Skagit Co. Brant Hunt

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) today announced a restricted three-day hunting season for brant geese in Skagit County, but has revived hunts in two other counties where brant counts have been increasing.

AN IMAGE FROM A PAST ARTICLE IN NORTHWEST SPORTSMAN SHOWS BRANT HUNTERS HUNKERED BEFORE DEKES ON THE BAY. (MAYNARD AXELSON)

This year’s brant season in Skagit County will occur on Jan. 6, 10, and 13, based on criteria set when the season was adopted by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission in April.

Kyle Spragens, WDFW waterfowl section manager, said the restrictions were scheduled after aerial bird counts conducted in Skagit County indicated numbers fell short of the 6,000 birds required for a full eight-day hunting season for high arctic brant.

Spragens said surveys conducted over Padilla, Samish, and Fidalgo bays tallied 3,044 birds, then 4,793 birds, triggering this year’s three-day season.

“The number of hunting days is directly related to how many brant are counted during those surveys,” he said. “These low counts require us to prioritize conservation responsibilities for this distinctive, coastal species, while providing harvest opportunity when appropriate.”

Spragens said annual counts in Skagit brant numbers can vary widely, noting that this is the second restricted brant season in the past three years.

Meanwhile, stable populations of brant that do not return to western high arctic breeding regions have allowed for new hunting opportunities in other parts of the state. For the first time in decades, brant hunting will open in Clallam and Whatcom counties.

This year’s brant season in Clallam and Whatcom counties will occur on Jan. 6, 10, and 13. Counts in those two counties have increased in recent years and have remained above the 1,000 brant threshold for the past three years, the state criteria required to consider seasons in each area.

Also, the traditional 10-day brant season in Pacific County will open Jan. 6, 7, 9, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18, 20 and 21.

WDFW reminds hunters to familiarize themselves with local regulations and boundaries. Specifically, hunters in Clallam County are advised to consult the closed zones of Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge (https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Dungeness/visit/rules_and_regulations.html) and hunters in Whatcom County are advised to review boundaries relevant to Bellingham and Lummi Bays (https://www.lummi-nsn.gov/Website.php?PageID=39).

Information on brant seasons is available in WDFW’s Migratory Waterfowl and Upland Game Seasons hunting pamphlet at http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/regulations/. Brant hunters are reminded they must possess a valid migratory bird authorization and brant harvest report card.

Apparent Wolf Captured, Collared In Eastern Skagit County

What could be the first wolf captured in Western Washington is now being monitored by wildlife managers.

The 100-pound animal was collared Thursday, June 8, in eastern Skagit County near Marblemount and released.

USFWS CONFIRMS A POSSIBLE WOLF WAS CAPTURED AND COLLARED NOT FAR UP THE SKAGIT VALLEY FROM HERE. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

The news was broken by the Skagit Valley Herald.

“We did capture what appears to be a 2- to 3-year-old male gray wolf,” confirms U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Ann Froschauer late this afternoon.

She says blood and saliva were taken from the animal and sent to the agency’s forensic lab for testing, confirmation that it’s a full-blooded wolf and to determine where it might have come from.

WILDLIFE BIOLOGISTS WORK ON THE SEDATED CANID CAPTURED JUNE 8. (USFWS)

While at least four collared wolves have briefly wandered into Western Washington in recent years (one of which didn’t make it back out after being hit on I-90), this would be the first to have been captured, outfitted with telemetry and released west of the Cascades.

Froschauer says its movements are being monitored via GPS collar to “see if it sticks around or wanders off.”

USFWS and WDFW were drawn to the location in mid-May after a resident reported three chickens killed by a wolf and had solid photos to back it up.

Initially there were suggestions that a pack might be in the area, based on howling, but that’s less certain now.

“We did hang some cameras out. We did not see any other animals. As of right now there’s at least one that appears to be a wolf,” Froschauer says.

Grand scheme, a single wolf doesn’t do much for state recovery goals, but it has the potential to bring issues from the 509 much closer to Western Washington.

USFWS has management authority over wolves in the western two-thirds of the state, where the species remains federally listed.

WDFW had no comment.

WDFW also has had no comment about two dead calves found in the Kettle Range two days ago and which were investigated yesterday.

And WDFW probably doesn’t want to comment on the latest from Washington State University, where a professor plans to sue over alleged free speech violations involving wolves.

USFWS, WDFW Looking For Signs Of Possible Wolf Pack In Skagit Co.

Federal and state biologists are looking into the possibility that there may be wolves in eastern Skagit County.

Spokeswoman Ann Froschauer says it’s too early for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to confirm that reported tracks, howls and photos mean wolves have indeed arrived on the west side of the North Cascades or how many there might be, but in recent weeks her agency and WDFW biologists have been following up on good leads.

FEDERAL AND STATE BIOLOGISTS HAVE BEEN FOLLOWING UP ON EASTERN SKAGIT COUNTY RESIDENTS’ REPORTS OF POSSIBLE WOLVES. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Froschauer says that in mid-May, a resident reported a suspected depredation of their chickens by a wolf and had pictures to back it up.

The resident told investigators that they had heard howling and seen tracks for a couple months beforehand too, according to Froschauer.

“Follow-up conversations with other area residents included reports of additional sightings, tracks, and howling in the area,” she adds.

Froschauer says the howling is “suggestive of multiple wolves.”

“Biologists attempted to capture one or more animals over the next week and a half without success. We have deployed trail cameras, and will continue to investigate reports of wolf activity in the area,” Froschauer says.

Capturing one would help determine if the animal was a purebred wolf, hybrid or something else.

And if proven to be a wolf, it could mean the first pack in Western Washington outside of the British Columbia-denning pack that haunted the Hozomeen area of Washington’s upper Ross Lake in recent years.

Froschauer says USFWS and WDFW get multiple unconfirmed reports of Westside wolves annually, and says at least four individuals are known to have traveled from their packs west across the Cascade Crest at one point or another.

“Wolves have continued to naturally recolonize the state via dispersal from resident Washington packs and neighboring states and provinces,” she says.

Wolves west of Highways 97, 17 and 395 are federally listed under the Endangered Species Act and managed by USFWS. Those east of that line are managed by WDFW and state listed.