Tag Archives: Washington

Rifle Deer Opener On Par In Northeast WA, Down In Okanogan

UPDATED 10:25 A.M., OCT. 18, 2017 WITH INFORMATION ON KLICKITAT WILDLIFE AREA OPENER RESULTS (NEAR BOTTOM OF STORY)

Deer harvest was down sharply on one side of northern Eastern Washington, but opening weekend of rifle deer season saw roughly the same success percentage as last year in the other corner.

That’s based on check station data collected by WDFW wildlife biologists.

At Deer Park north of Spokane, Dana Base reported 174 hunters coming through with 38 whitetails and mule deer, up from 101 with 24 in 2016 — 22 percent and 24 percent success rates, respectively.

THIS TALL-TINED FIVE-POINT WAS AMONG THE 14 ADULT WHITETAIL BUCKS CHECKED AT DEER PARK. (WDFW)

As usual, nearly all of the deer were whitetails, including 22 bucks and 14 antlerless animals, but two muley bucks were also checked, including one dandy.

NORTHEAST WASHINGTONN DOESN’T PRODUCE A LOT OF MULE DEER, BUT SOME OF THE BUCKS ARE BIG. WDFW CHECKED THIS ONE AT DEER PARK OVER OPENING WEEKEND. (WDFW)

Base reports that 14 of the flagtail bucks were adults and eight were yearlings.

By comparison, in 2016 there were eight adult bucks and 11 spikes.

Over at the Red Barn in Winthrop, Scott Fitkin and Jeff Heinlen checked 83 hunters and seven deer — and one of those was actually shot down in Douglas County.

That’s the same number of hunters as 2016’s rain-soaked opener, but just 35 percent of that year’s harvest.

NIC BELISLE BAGGED THIS NICE MULEY IN THE OKANOGAN DURING OPENING WEEKEND. HE WAS HUNTING WITH FRIEND CHUCK HARTMAN, WHO SENT THE IMAGE OUR WAY. (BROWNING PHOTO CONTEST)

And it’s way down from 2015’s bumper opener, when 101 hunters came out with 39 deer. But that was also an unusually successful campaign that followed on a snow drought and massive conflagrations.

The caveat with the above figures is that the check stations are voluntary and participation probably varies based on hunters’ moods (less likely if unsuccessful, more likely if tagged out).

For what it’s worth, two of the six hunters in our party got their bucks over opening weekend in Okanogan County, but that success rate was not enjoyed by others camping nearby.

AFTER HELPING HIS FRIEND NIC, CHUCK HARTMAN NOTCHED HIS TAG WITH THIS OKANOGAN COUNTY THREE-POINT YESTERDAY. (BROWNING PHOTO CONTEST)

Where biologists wait for hunters to stop by the Winthrop and Deer Park stations, Susan Van Leuven takes a more direct approach on the Klickitat Wildlife Area, driving around to camps in the central Klickitat County state lands.

She and an assistant manager saw lower turnout than usual “with several popular campsites unoccupied and fewer vehicles encountered on the roads.” Of 62 hunters encountered on Saturday and 69 on Sunday, only one had a deer, a doe taken the second morning, though word is that someone got a three-point on the sprawling Soda Springs Unit on opening morning.

“The resident deer population appears to be in worse shape than we thought,” Van Leuven reports. “After the hard winter and a disease outbreak in East Klickitat during the summer we knew the numbers would be down, but weren’t expecting the season to be this poor.”

Rifle deer season for whitetails runs through October 24 or 27, depending on the unit, while mule deer are open through Tuesday, Oct. 24.

“Significant snow forecast for the high country may improve prospects for the second weekend,” Fitkin notes.

WDFW DISTRICT WILDLIFE BIOLOGIST SCOTT FITKIN AGES AN UNUSUAL CRITTER BROUGHT THROUGH THE RED BARN CHECK STATION IN WINTHROP. (WDFW)

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this blog inexplicably listed Chuck Hartman as Kevin Hartman because the editur is stupid and can’t read what’s directly in front of his nose. Our apologies.

Elk, Habitat, Hunters In 16 Washington Counties Benefit From $233K In RMEF Grants

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN ELK FOUNDATION

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation awarded $233,373 in grant funding for nearly two dozen conservation projects in Washington that enhance wildlife habitat, assist research and promote hunting heritage.

FUNDS FROM THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN ELK FOUNDATION WILL HELP TREAT 300 ACRES OF THE OAK CREEK WILDLIFE AREA WITH FIRE. (RMEF)

The grants benefit 4,966 acres across Asotin, Clallam, Chelan, Columbia, Cowlitz, Douglas, Ferry, Garfield, Grant, King, Pierce, Okanogan, Pend Oreille, Skamania, Snohomish and Yakima Counties. There are also two projects of statewide benefit.

“Forest management techniques like thinning, prescribed burning and noxious weed treatments improve habitat in Washington for elk and many other species,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “This grant funding will help with those efforts and supply research dollars to benefit elk management.”

Since 1985, RMEF and its partners completed 621 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Washington with a combined value of more than $121.5 million. These projects conserved and enhanced 471,547 acres of habitat and opened or secured public access to 125,245 acres.

Here is a sampling of the 2017 projects, listed by county:

Asotin County—Apply noxious weed treatment across 700 acres on the W. T. Wooten and Chief Joseph Wildlife Areas within the Blue Mountains Wildlife Area Complex to keep weeds in check on year-long elk range (also benefits Garfield and Columbia Counties).

Clallam County—Thin 203 acres of elk summer range in the Upper Sitkum Watershed on the Olympic National Forest where overly dense forests led to documented low body condition scores for elk as well as downward trends in pregnancy rates.

King County—Provide funding to acquire one new GPS collar and refurbish four others for a study to determine if elk are using new habitat areas created by the Snoqualmie Valley Elk Management Group as well as determine a better herd population estimate and seed 50 acres of a newly cleared area in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains.

Yakima County—Apply prescribed fire to 300 acres on the Oak Creek Wildlife Area as part of a larger, wide-scale effort to benefit wildlife by rejuvenating native grasses, forbs and shrubs as well as mitigating wildfire hazards.

Go here for a complete project listing.

Washington project partners include the Colville, Gifford Pinchot and Olympic National Forests, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and private landowners as well as sportsmen, government, civic and other organizations.

Washington’s Rifle Deer Season Opens This Weekend

If you’re like this Washington rifle deer hunter, you’re probably in giddy final preparations for this weekend’s opener.

I spent much of last Saturday washing all of my hunting clothes in scent-free detergent and packing them in totes with sprigs of Doug fir, hauled out my Work Sharps and honed a collection of knives, and gathered and checked equipment.

(ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Speaking of gear, a month or so back I reclaimed my deer hoist from the boys.

True story: River and Kiran had absconded with it and one of our spaghetti-pot lids to fashion — of all things — a guillotine.

(This part didn’t make my blog or magazine article about our spring trip through Germany, but our sons utterly horrified an English-speaking tour guide at the Marksburg castle on the Rhine with their over-the-top interest in torture and torture devices; they fit right in at Rothenburg’s Kriminalmuseum.)

The boys are pushing hard to join me and Grandpa at Deer Camp, and they will soon enough, but we’ve got a little more work to do on their stalking skills — they showed those off during a stop last month in Olga while crabbing in the San Juans, running amuck after a buck, arms waving in the air, shouting.

Yi yi yi.

But I get pretty excited too. With deer season straight ahead, as you can imagine, it’s a bit hard for me to focus on Actual Work — especially, with snow showers in the forecast.

Alas, I have to, so I will let what I’ve written already and in the past provide the rest of the warm-up for the hunt.

Brian “Ought-Six” Johnson and hunting partner and brother Drew “Sticks” Johnson teamed up to take down this symmetrical muley five-point Douglas County, Wash. Brian bagged it with just 15 minutes of shooting light left in season, with his Winchester 30-06. (BROWNING PHOTO CONTEST)

In case you missed my previous blog, here is what WDFW district wildlife biologists think about this season’s prospects for Eastern Washington mule deer and whitetail hunters:

Reasons For Hope Inside 2017 Buck Hunting Forecast For The 509

For blacktail hunters, see their PDFs for:

Whatcom, Skagit and portions of San Juan Counties
Snohomish, Island and portions of San Juan Counties
King County
Pierce and Thurston Counties
Clallam and western Jefferson Counties

Kitsap, Mason and eastern Jefferson Counties
Grays Harbor and Pacific Counties
Lewis, Wahkiakum and Cowlitz Countie
s
Clark and Skamania Counties

While Washington’s fire season has pretty much wrapped up, there are a few road and area closures to be aware of in northwest Okanogan County and north-central Kittitas County. For other locations, see Inciweb.

OKANOGAN DEER HUNTERS GATHER AROUND THE EVENING FIRE. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Here’s a link to the National Weather Service’s Seattle and Spokane offices and their pinpoint forecasts for their respective regions of the state.

Though it’s a few days out yet, broadly speaking Saturday looks mostly sunny with temps in the 30s to mid-50s in Eastern Washington, with a chance of rain or snow, depending on elevation, in Western Washington.

And should you need any more inspiration, I offer a few of my past ramblings from this time of year:

The Hunting Beard

I’m working on my annual hunting beard, but I’m not sure this fall’s edition will make it the week and a half until Washington’s deer season opener.

Too many white hairs, especially around my chinny chin chin.

Also up around my ears and above my upper lip …

Sense And Scent-sibility

“The bane of a logical wife.”

That was Amy’s suggested headline for this blog entry on the eve of the eve of me leaving for deer camp.

As we lay in bed after getting the boys down last night, she wasn’t buying into my precautions with scents …

October Reimagined: Scenes From Deer Camp, Via Prisma

I’ve hunted Okanogan mule deer since college, and I’ve always taken photos while afield.

Back in the day, it was with a Nikon N50 and slide film, then a D7000 and crazy lenses before a series of pocket digital cameras, and for the past few years my smartphone.

I truly miss shooting slides, but I also love being able to edit images right there on the phone — what my young sons call “messing up pictures” …

Posthunt Interview With An Okanogan County ‘Deer Camp Coach’

Scene: It’s the day after the end of Washington’s muley rifle season. All members of Deer Camp von Walgamott, located somewhere in the mountains of western Okanogan County, have returned home, but a pack of hungry reporters have caught up to Coach Walgamott as he puts his hunting gear away.

Reporter 1: Coach, can you tell us what happened over there these past two weekends at deer camp?

Coach: Well, I tell you what, we fielded what we thought was a good team of deer hunters — some veterans, some recent buck killers, a newby or two to the area for beginner’s luck …

To Deer Camp And Back, In A Saturn: Parts I, II and III

I’ve gone to deer camp in many different General Motors products, but never one so out of place as a four-door Saturn.

The gas mileage was pretty damned good, lemme tell you, but it just doesn’t match the manliness of pulling into Okanogan County in a black-smoke-belching Chevy Silverado HD diesel towing a boxcar-sized trailer …

THE AUDACITY OF A DEER HUNTER, STUFFING A MULEY IN HIS MOTHER IN LAW’S SATURN. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Enjoy, and best of luck this season!

High Hunters Find Bucks, Crowded Conditions Due To Fires

The heights were crowded and smokey, but some High Buck hunters came down with nice muleys as Washington’s early rifle season kicked off.

KEN GRAHAM NOTCHED HIS TAG DURING WASHINGTON’S HIGH BUCK HUNT WITH THIS NICE MULEY. (MIKE QUINN)

Dale Wick at Icicle Outfitters in Leavenworth reports that one party of four, including hardcore High Buck hunter Stan Weeks, all tagged out after spotting more than a dozen legal bucks the day before the Sept. 15-25 season began.

VETERAN HIGH BUCK HUNTER STAN WEEKS GOT ANOTHER GOOD ONE, THIS MULEY. ACCORDING TO DALE WICK OF ICICLE OUTFITTERS, WEEKS TOOK IT ON THE SECOND DAY OF SEASON AFTER PASSING ON THREE OTHERS. (STAN WEEK)

But he confirmed that with closures due to the Diamond Creek, Jolly Mountain and Jack Creek Fires, as well as uncleared trails in the recently reopened upper Entiat, more hunters were crowded into portions of the Henry M. Jackson, northern Alpine Lakes and southern Glacier Peak Wildernesses his company runs drop camps in.

SMOKE TURNS THE SKY A LURID RED OVER WASHINGTON’S NORTH CASCADES DURING THE HIGH BUCK HUNT LAST WEEKEND. (MIKE QUINN)

Freelance hunters had mixed results. Mike Quinn said that before recent storms rolled in, bucks had been bedding before daylight and not risking exposing themselves till after dark.

“We had to roll a couple of large rocks down the slope we were covering, and lightly blow on a predator call to get the bucks curious about what was occurring in their bedroom/kitchen,” said Quinn. “It worked. Fifteen minutes after the last stone rolled down the hill two four-points came slinkin’ out of their bedding sanctuary and the larger buck paid the ultimate price for Ken Graham. We let the other four-point go as he was probably only 2 1/2 years old and small.”

IT WASN’T JUST STAN WEEKS (RIGHT) TAGGING OUT — THREE OTHER MEMBERS OF HIS DROP CAMP ALSO SCORED BUCKS DURING WASHINGTON’S HIGH HUNT. (STAN WEEKS)

Writing on The Outdoor Line’s blog, Jason Brooks reported a couple chances lost after other hunters fired on bucks.

Chase Gunnell was solo hunting 6 miles up a trail in falling snow when he spotted a nice four-point in a burned area, taking his first buck in his third year participating in the historic High Hunt.

“Between the crowds of hunters and the weather, the deer seemed to be less active in the open alpine slopes and meadows compared to past years, and what I saw scouting just a few weeks ago,” he reported.

CHASE GUNNELL TOOK HIS FIRST HIGH HUNT BUCK, THIS CHAR-ANTLERED FOUR-POINTER. (CHASE GUNNELL)

Like Quinn and Graham, Gunnell had to switch up tactics to succeed.

“After a few fruitless early mornings and evenings glassing the basins, I got my buck still hunting meticulously through some steep timber where I figured they were bedding. Felt more like a general season strategy than the usual spot and stalk high hunt approach, but it paid off,” he noted.

The High Hunt has been around more than 50 years and is open in select North Cascades and Olympic Peninsula wilderness areas, as well as the Lake Chelan National Recreation ARea.

This week’s snowier, colder weather could help hunters out for the second and final weekend. Already it’s led to the reopening of Harts Pass Road and portions of the western, southeastern and eastern sides of the Pasayten Wilderness due to moderating fire behavior. For more, see Inciweb.

“Success rates and hunting opportunity in Washington may not compare with some other Western states, but the chance to put your time in and hunt public land as truly wild and rugged as what we have here is something worth savoring,” says Gunnell. “I know I was relishing it the entire brutal pack out, and will be for many meals and stories to come.”

Washington 2017 Deer, Elk, Bird Hunting Prospects Out

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

With hunting seasons for deer, elk, waterfowl and upland game birds set to get underway in September, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has issued its annual online guide to hunting opportunities throughout the state.

LOOKING FOR EVERGREEN STATE DEER, ELK, UPLAND BIRDS AND WATERFOWL PROSPECTS? WDFW’S 2017 HUNTING FORECASTS ARE NOW AVAILABLE FOR ALL OF WASHINGTON’S DISTRICTS. (BROWNING PHOTO CONTEST)

WDFW’s Hunting Prospects report, available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/prospects/, provides updated information about game populations, hunting rules and land access in every game-management district in the state.

“This report was compiled by local wildlife biologists to help hunters succeed in the field,” said Anis Aoude, WDFW game division manager. “Whether you’re a seasoned hunter or just getting started, you’ll likely find some helpful information in Hunting Prospects.”

State game managers expect another good year of hunting, although hunters can expect new restrictions on deer and elk hunts in some areas due to the harsh conditions last winter. Meanwhile, hunting prospects for gamebirds are looking up, according to the report.

“This last winter was one of the tougher ones we’ve seen in recent years, and we have to give the herds – particularly those east of the Cascades – some time to rebuild,” Aoude said. “Fortunately, most Washington deer and elk benefitted from a previous string of mild winters, so the affected herds are only slightly below our population objectives.”

Late spring rains also delayed nesting for doves and some other upland game birds, but observations in the field indicate a good hatch this year, said Kyle Spragens, WDFW waterfowl manager.

Especially encouraging is the boom in the state’s waterfowl populations, which have rebounded from the drought of 2015, Spragens said. Among the various species of ducks and geese that breed in Washington state, Canada geese are up by 17 percent, mallards are up by 74 percent and wood ducks are up by 76 percent from last year.

“This year’s long, wet spring was a boon to waterfowl in our state,” Spragens said. “Those local birds will be the focus of hunters’ attention until northern birds arrive later in the year from Canada and Alaska.”

Aoude asks that hunters pay special attention to several new rules that will take effect this year:

  • Youth-only hunts: The traditional bird hunt for hunters under age 16 has been split between two weekends this year, providing more options for them and the non-hunting parents, guardians and mentors who accompany them. The youth hunt for waterfowl is scheduled Sept. 16-17, followed by the youth hunt for pheasant and other upland game birds Sept. 23-24.
  • Goose bag limits: Starting Oct. 14, hunters in most areas will be allowed to take up to six white geese and 10 white-fronted geese – in addition to their limit of four Canada – per day. The change reflects the large number of white geese on the northern breeding grounds.
  • Special deer hunts: Youth hunters and hunters with disabilities can hunt any deer in Game Management Units (GMU) 101, 105, 108, 111, 113, 117, and 121 from Oct. 14-15 and Oct. 21-22 during the modern firearm general season.
  • Hoof disease precaution: Several units have been added to the list of GMUs where hunters are required to remove and leave behind the hooves of harvested elk to reduce the spread of elk hoof disease. Those units include GMUs 633 and 636 in Mason County, and 407, 418, 437, and 454 in north Puget Sound.

These and other hunting regulations are described in WDFW’s Big Game Hunting pamphlet or Migratory Waterfowl and Upland Game pamphlets, available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/regulations/.

However, for an overview of how those hunting seasons are shaping up in specific areas of the state, Aoude recommends checking the Hunting Prospects report.

“Most serious hunters are eager to get all the information they can before they go afield,” Aoude said. “The Hunting Prospects are designed to fill that demand.”

Good News For Early Season NW Duck Hunters In Annual Survey

Silver lining to all of last winter and spring’s rain? Plenty of water for waterfowl to do their thing — and boy howdy did they ever.

Nearly twice as many ducks were counted in Washington compared to last year, according to a federal survey released today.

WATERFOWLERS LIKE LES CUMMINGS AND LES LOGSDON SHOULD SEE MORE MALLARDS AND WOODS DUCKS THIS FALL, THANKS TO STELLAR PRODUCTION IN WASHINGTON AND LIKELY GOOD PRODUCTION IN OREGON. THE DUO LIMITED AT THE BARKER RANCH NEAR RICHLAND EARLY LAST FALL WHILE PARTICIPATING IN A DISABLED VETERANS HUNT PUT ON THERE EACH OCTOBER. (BROWNING PHOTO CONTEST)

That’s good news for hunting in the early season, which is typically fueled by local production until migrating northern birds arrive.

“In Washington the total duck estimate was 99% higher than the 2016 estimate, and 44% above the long-term average (2010–2016),” reports the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

They may not have the bright-orange legs of their Alberta brethren, but Evergreen State mallards did well, up 72 percent over last year and 29 percent above the 1978-2016 average, USFWS adds.

To the south, Oregon’s 2017 total duck and mallard estimates were similar to 2016 and the long-term average, though greenheads were down 21 percent over the long haul.

But there may not really be any reason for Beaver State waterfowlers to get their waders in a bunch over that.

For our September issue’s fall flight forecast, MD Johnson interviewed ODFW’s duck boss Brandon Rieshus.

“Normally, we count the best of the best – the Willamette Valley and the wetlands in Eastern Oregon – as examples. Maybe the birds were scattered across the basin in places we don’t count. But from a habitat standpoint, it looked very good. The best it’s been in four or five years. (My guess is) production will be pretty good,” Rieshus told Johnson.

The USFWS report backs that notion.

“Habitat conditions in Oregon were much improved relative to the past several years and were good to excellent in all surveyed areas. Some areas of southcentral and southeastern Oregon had basins and playas with water for the first time in a decade or more. Many playas and dugout ponds throughout the High Desert were flooded as well,” the agency stated.

It was even wetter to the north.

“In Washington, overall water availability was the among wettest seen in 20 years according to state wildlife area staff and others, particularly through the Potholes and Channeled Scablands region, where potholes and ponds were plentiful. Reservoirs throughout east­ern Washington were at or above 100% capacity with associated flooding of fields and pastures. In early May, significant snowmelt runoff was still occurring throughout the Okanogan and Northeast Highlands,” USFWS reported.

A U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY MAP FOR WASHINGTON STREAM FLOWS SHOWS THAT CREEKS AND RIVERS IN EASTERN WASHINGTON STILL RUNNING AT ABOVE NORMAL LEVELS, INCLUDING CRAB CREEK, AND THE PALOUSE AND WALLA WALLA RIVERS. (USGS)

In terms of hard numbers, Washington’s mallard population was estimated at 103,400, well above 2016’s 60,000 (overall ducks: 242,000 vs. 121,500.

Oregon’s duck population was 239,900, up from last year’s 213,600.

Looking across the rest of North America, Ducks Unlimited reports that the overall estimate of 47.3 million breeding ducks in traditional survey zones is less than a million birds below 2016’s count, but still 34 percent above the 60-year average.

While mallards are down 11.3 percent, DU points to dry conditions in the Canadians “Parklands” of southern Alberta and Saskatchewan.

 

Another New Washington State Record Sanddab Caught, This One 1.22 Pounds

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

A King County angler–and recently retired regional director for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW)–has set a new record for the biggest Pacific sanddab caught in state waters, fishery managers confirmed today.

BOB EVERITT HOLDS THE NEW STATE RECORD SANDDAB, CAUGHT JULY 1 OFF JEFF HEAD. (WDFW)

Bob Everitt of Kirkland didn’t waste any time making a name for himself in the fishing world after his retirement. Retired for one day after a 37-year career at WDFW, Everitt caught one of the biggest, little fish around on July 1 at Jefferson head in Puget Sound.

“We were mooching deep, looking for salmon, and two sanddabs hit the two hooks on my line,” said Everitt, who was the director of regional operations in northern Puget Sound.  “These are small fish, and I thought about shaking them off,” he added.

(WDFW)

But, Danny Garrett, Everitt’s fishing partner and a WDFW biologist, took a second look and noted that one of the fish might be a record, which was later confirmed at a certified scale in Bothell.

Everitt’s sanddab weighed in at 1.22 lb. and measured 14 inches.

Juan Valero of Seattle set the previous record of 1 lb. and 12.5 inches on May 25 while fishing near Possession Point in Puget Sound.

“I had a fun day and a fun career, and if I had any advice for anglers, it would be to get out there and fish often,” said Everitt. “You never know what you might catch.”

A Pacific sanddab is a small, left-eyed, flatfish that prefers sand or mud bottoms. Most weigh less than a third of a pound.

WDFW has created a YouTube video on fishing, prepping and cooking flatfish that is available at https://www.youtube.com/thewdfw.

WDFW Reports Second Sherman Pack Depredation, 5 Recent Wolf Deaths

The Sherman Pack attacked and killed a calf for the second time in a month, according to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The confirmed depredation was outlined today in a wolf update from the agency.

(WDFW)

The fresh carcass was found Wednesday, July 12, by a range rider, similar to last month, and also within 200 yards of that wolf kill, on a Bureau of Land Management grazing allotment in Ferry County.

According to WDFW, bite marks and other wounds on the calf as well as GPS collar data from the Sherman male “clearly indicate a wolf depredation.”

The producer uses five range riders and has been patrolling the area since even before turning their cattle out in late May on private ground, say state wolf managers.

They say there are no known dens or rendezvous sites in the area.

Under the agency’s new protocols, just three depredations, including one probable, in a 30-day period, could lead to the beginning of lethal removals. Last year it was four confirmed.

In other Washington wolf news from the update, WDFW reports that a Goodman Meadows Pack male that was captured in collared in January was legally harvested in Idaho;

That a Dirty Shirt Pack male that dispersed to Salmo Pack country in April was subsequently lethally removed by British Columbia officials trying to protect rare woodland caribou;

That the deaths of another Dirty Shirt wolf as well as one from the Loup Loup Pack are under investigation;

And that a wolf that had been part of the Huckleberry Pack in 2014 was recently mortally wounded by a vehicle collision further north this month and was dispatched by WDFW staff.

Killings wolves in Washington is illegal, and west of Highways 97, 17 and 395, where they are listed under ESA, a federal offense.

The update also includes proactive deterrence measures being used on a number of packs, recent activities of those wolves and community outreach provided by WDFW and volunteers.

Pretty interesting reading.

 

1,610 Roadkilled Deer, Elk Salvaged In First Year Of Washington Program

From Aberdeen to Zillah, Camano Island to Rock Island, Naselle to Newport, folks far and wide took advantage of the first full year of Washington’s roadkill salvaging rule.

More than 1,600 dead deer and elk were hauled off the sides of the state’s highways and byways between the time the program began on July 1, 2016 and June 30 of this year.

AMONG THE FIRST ELK SALVAGED IN WASHINGTON LAST JULY WAS THIS BULL NEAR ORTING. (RANDY HART JR.)

True, that’s just a small fraction of last fall’s hunting harvest and not meant to replace it any way.

But the meat that otherwise would have fed coyotes and crows or just rotted in the ditch or a DOT dumping ground instead provided nourishment to families around Washington.

And hopefully, data reported by salvagers will help the state better focus its efforts to prevent roadkill and improve highway safety — the program is the brainchild of a state Fish and Wildlife Commission member who lives near a very bad stretch of US 97 in Okanogan County.

In the meanwhile, a WDFW spreadsheet for all 1,610 deer and elk also provides interesting details on the agency’s most popular move in recent years.

To wit:

PERMITS BY MONTH

The month with the highest number of salvage permits issued was November 2016, with 319, followed by October with 293 and December with 141.

The lowest months were the last three, May 2017 (51), April (63) and June (72).

DEADLY DAYS

Salvagers reported collecting 20 roadkilled deer and elk on November 18th, 19 deer on Nov. 10th and the same number of deer and elk on Nov 13th, as well as 18 deer and elk on Nov. 6th.

(Oct. 17 also had 18 roadkills.)

People undoubtedly were concerned with other things on the 24th of the month — Thanksgiving — but two animals were collected and four reports filed that day (you have 24 hours to record a salvaging).

(Someone in Okanogan also went home with a deer on Christmas.)

FASTEST FILERS

No sooner had the program gone into effect last year than did Naselle and Sequim residents collect the first elk and deer — the former outside their hometown on the morning of July 1, the latter near the Dungeness River bridge that afternoon.

Hard to say when the first whitetail and muley were salvaged, but likely between July 5 and 7 when reports were filed by residents of Cheney, Kettle Falls and Moses Lake.

SPECIES BREAKDOWN

According to WDFW, among the 1,610 deer and elk were:

1,427 blacktails, whitetails and muleys and 183 elk.

Note that deer in three Southwestern Washington counties — Clark, Cowlitz and Wahkiakum — can’t be collected because of issues with ESA-listed Columbian whitetails there.

BY SEX

833 does and cows, and 691 bucks and bulls.

43 were marked down as unknown sex.

BY ANTLER POINTS

230 spikes
141 two-points
81 three-points
59 four-points
32 five-points
17 six-points
4 seven-points.

A bull elk reported by an Auburn resident was written up as having “25” points.

EXTREMES

Salvagers are asked to input the location of where they picked up their deer or elk.

They came from just about everywhere inside Washington, but also the very edges of the state — from the southernmost spot east of Washougal, to just south of the British Columbia border in Blaine and Oroville, and from the mouth of Hells Canyon at the easternmost point of the state, to the Quileute Cemetery by La Push at its western edge.

BY RESIDENCY

Seattleites have little appetite for roadkill, and the same goes for residents of other cities in the core of Pugetropolis.

Hard to say why that might be — perhaps just a function of availability of roadkilled deer and elk along typical travel routes and/or the ability/facilities to butcher any … or we’re just weak-stomached wusses.

But outside those parts, boy howdy, did folks take advantage of the opportunity!

Here are how many salvage permits were filed by city:

Olympia: 50

Spokane: 48
Port Angeles: 43

Ellensburg: 26
East Wenatchee: 22
Shelton: 21
Winthrop: 21
Bellingham: 20

Yakima: 19
Cashmere: 18
Sedro-Woolley: 16
Wenatchee: 16

Aberdeen: 15
Bonney Lake: 15
Colville: 15
Graham: 15
Leavenworth: 15

Bremerton: 14
Buckley : 14
Chehalis: 14
Dayton: 14
Peshastin: 14
Roy: 14
Tonasket: 14
Yelm: 14

Eatonville: 13
Maple Valley: 13
Newport: 13
Oak Harbor: 13
Orting: 13
Port Orchard: 13
Sequim: 13

Moses Lake: 12
Renton: 12
Walla Walla: 12
Winlock: 12

Belfair: 11
Centralia: 11
Cheney: 11
Cle Elum: 11
Naches: 11
Okanogan: 11
Snohomish: 11
Twisp: 11

Arlington: 10
Everson: 10
Mount Vernon: 10
Port Townsend: 10
Puyallup: 10
Randle: 10
Stanwood: 10

If your hometown isn’t listed here, nine or fewer residents obtained a salvage permit.

OUT-OF-STATE COLLECTORS TOO

Of note, five Oregonians collected a roadkilled deer or elk in Washington, as did two Idahoans, one Californian and one New Yorker.

SALVAGER NOTES

When folks fill out their forms, they include humdrum details about the wheres and whens, but also sometimes poignant information about the circumstances. Some examples:

“She was about 3 miles north of Duvall on west side of 203, just north of a barn with two large silos. She had been eating apples.”

“By Peshastin pinnacles”

“Just up river from reds fly shop about .25 miles ”

“Male & female elk killed on 452nd St North Bend”

“Yearling hit by a passing pickup salvaged at once”

“Deer was hit right after the 35MPH sign going into electric city from grand coulee.”

“was driving outside Naches towards bald mountain and hit a doe with my truck.”

“The deer was hit directly in front of my house. The same address where the meat will be stored as listed above”

“I-90 East Bound, South Side of highway, about 2 miles past the WSDOT ‘Elk Ahead’ Readerboard.”

“Officer Kit Rosenberger responded to call of injured deer. He euthanized the deer and gave permission for salvage.”

“A white honda civic hit the deer on north bound I-5 about 5 miles outside of Bellingham.”

“when hiking up at a friends. me and a friend of mine found a mule deer buck hit by a car off the road a ways. ”

“I was driving on hwy 12 just west of the oak creek feeding station. I was going to pull the elk off the road when a WSP Trooper showed up and I decided to salvage the elk, so we went from there.”

“I did not hit the deer but it was very fresh. I did not witness the deer getting hit but it was not badly damaged. It is a very small deer but I did not want to let it go t waste. The mile marker I saw was 411.”

“Deer was struck by an unknown vehicle in front of my home, there were pieces of the vehicle’s front end on the ground nearby. I arrived and found the doe to be deceased but still warm. ”

“A lady hit the deer with her SUV about 2 miles west of Darrington. I was on my way home from work and stopped to assist the driver. She informed me of the deer and said the accident was reported, and a tow truck was on it’s way and she was not injured. I asked if she was interested in the salvage of the doe. She was not. I loaded the animal between 6:30 and 7:00 pm. I hope I was able to give you all the information needed. Thank you for your time, and happy holidays.”

‘Free Fishing Season’ Returns To Northwest Starting This Weekend

Early June is “free fishing season” here in the Northwest, a chance to get friends and family without a license out and with all kinds of events and opportunities to take advantage of this weekend and next.

SPRINGERS ARE AMONG THE OPPORTUNITIES FOR FREE FISHING DAYS ACROSS THE NORTHWEST. KRIS RONDEAU NABBED THIS BIG ONE ON OREGON’S UMPQUA WHILE ANCHOR FISHING THE LOWER END WITH A GREEN LABEL HERRING BEHIND A SPINNER. (FISHING PHOTO CONTEST)

First up is Free Fishing Weekend in Oregon, June 3-4, which ODFW calls “the perfect weekend to take a friend or family member out fishing, crabbing or clamming.”

The agency has lined up a mess of events all over the state Saturday, and for even more ideas, check out the weekly Recreation Report!

Idaho’s Free Fishing Day is June 10, and Fish and Game will be hosting activities across the Gem State, including its Southwest Region.

Then, on June 10-11, it’s Washington’s turn to host the free fishing.

What to fish for in the Evergreen State? WDFW suggests coastal lings, spinyrays throughout the state and Columbia River shad, among other opportunities, and for even more, check out the June Weekender.

Just remember, even though the fishin’s free, all the usual bag limits and regulations apply.