Outdoors blog

Emphasis shifting in seasons for Master Hunters

Bull elk that have learned to hole up on Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge until winter have another year of reprieve. A limited elk hunt proposed in the refuge management plan last winter has been delayed, probably untl 2010.richl@spokesman.com (Rich Landers / The Spokesman-Review)
Bull elk that have learned to hole up on Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge until winter have another year of reprieve. A limited elk hunt proposed in the refuge management plan last winter has been delayed, probably untl 2010.richl@spokesman.com (Rich Landers / The Spokesman-Review)

HUNTING -- A Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife plan to turn a prized December elk hunt for Master Hunters into a permit hunt is ruffling the feathers of sportsmen who had a lock on the land used by elk coming off Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge.

The plan is to use Master Hunters as on-call helpers to target elk causing damage to crops while developing a Landowner Hunting Permit Program to give more hunters access to the elk herd that must be kept from getting too large.

The Columbia Plateau Wildlife Management Association, which is being enlisted to help organize the landowners into this program, already has about six landowners and nearly 6,000 acres enrolled.

The agency, which is charged with protecting wildlife while providing the public with reasonable access to wildlife resources, already has changed a Master Hunter elk hunt in Western Washington that had become a trophy bull fest.

“Basically, we’re refocusing the program to have Master Hunters help the agency with damage problems rather than providing them with special hunts,” said Kevin Robinette, WDFW regional wildlife manager in Spokane.

It's not a done deal.  The proposals have to be approved in Olympia and then by the Fish and Wildlife Commission in March

GET MORE DETAILS in today's Outdoors column.

Then stay tuned.




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Rich Landers
Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.

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