Posts tagged: deer hunting
HUNTING — In what’s being called a “bold” move, the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission gave initial approval Thursday to convert all but a few mule deer tags to antlered only, which would prohibit taking does in light of what appears to be a rapidly dwindling population, according to the Helena Independent Record.
In addition, the commission is proposing to eliminate almost all of the “B” licenses for mule deer statewide and for white-tailed deer in most of regions 4, 5 and 6; these licenses allow people to harvest more than one deer of the same species. About 30,000 B licenses were issued last year at a cost of $10 for residents and $75 for nonresidents.
The moves are supported by a wide range of hunting organizations, whose representatives noted that their members are seeing anywhere from a 60 to 90 percent drop in the number of deer on the landscape. It’s something commission members said they’ve also noticed.
Read on for more details.
HUNTING — My Outdoors column today features a model bowhunter who recruited capable help and went the extra grueling mile to track and retrieve a whitetail buck (above) after his arrow missed the vitals.
But what about other archers, especially during the bowhunting seasons that target rutting bucks and bugling elk?
There are no good current statistics to support the argument, but all hunters wince at the amount of wounding loss that comes up in conversations. Add it all up and the number of lost animals appears to be significant if not disgraceful.
The advantages archers get in season timing coupled with the advances in archery equipment, trail cams and the increased reliance on baiting apparently has lured more undesirables into the bowhunting ranks.
A lot of luck and years are invested in a trophy buck or bull.
We should all be thinking of ways, rules and standards to minimize the waste of such coveted resources.
WILDLIFE WATCHING — This week marked the peak of the whitetail breeding season, and this buck was clearly in the mood, said Montana outdoor photographer Jaime Johnson.
“Girls on the mind,” he said.
HUNTING — The late whitetail buck season for modern rifle hunters in select northeastern Washington units closes today at 4:45 p.m.
The the snow that blanketed hunting areas last weekend for the closing days apparently have been good for hunters.
“Weather conditions for 2013 created great conditions for late season hunting over 2012,” said says Kevin Robinette, Department of Fish and Wildlife regional wildlife manager in Spokane. “Participation at our check stations increased also.”
Indeed, the number of hunters checking in to the stations at Chattaroy and Deer Park last weekend (303) was up about 40 percent from last year while the number of whitetails they had bagged (84) increased by about 80 percent.
The overall hunter success rate last weekend was about 28 percent compared with 21 percent on the last weekend of the season last year.
Whitetails get a bit of a respite now as the their breeding season peaks.
But the late archery season opens on Monday.
HUNTING — I traded emails a few years ago with a local hunter named Dennis regarding the feelings we experience when we are skillful and/or lucky enough to fill our big-game tags. I've kept his last note as a reminder of the fence many sportsmen walk as we make the ultimate decision to squeeze the trigger:
Being a hunter, and growing older makes for constant reflection in my justification for pursuing and dispatching warm-blooded animals. Many of my friends have quit as they age. I guess we tend to become more in touch with our mortality, and find ourselves wanting to preserve life rather than ending it.
I harvested a nice mature buck this year, and although I hit him hard in the vital zone, I had to follow up and apply the coup de grace. I told my son just how I felt standing there, that it gave me no pleasure to put an end to that animal's life. Were it not for the great tablefare it provided, and the time I got to enjoy with my son in the field, I would have left the rifle in the cabinet and found something else to do.
HUNTING — The code of ethics among hunters is eroding, as this Eastern Washington sportsman graphically points out in the following message to Washington Fish and Wildlife police:
Here are pictures of the deer that I shot Saturday, Oct. 19, near Rock Lake. I shot the deer about 9:30 a.m. and processed it and put it into game bags. The hind quarters I hung in a tree about 50 yards from where I shot the deer and the rib cage I set on a stump. I left the head lying by the gut pile. I took the front quarters back to the truck (.85 miles according to my GPS) to get my pack frame.
My wife met me where I had parked my pickup and we went in to get the rest of the deer. It took 1.5 hours from the time I left to when I returned and found all that was left was the gut pile.
Whoever took the meat cut the rope out of the tree.
It is a sad day when someone steals a man's deer.
Anyone with tips or information about this wildlife crime can qualify for a reward by calling the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department's poaching hotline, (877) 933-9847 or the Spokane Region office at (509) 892-1001.
What's going on out there?
Reader's Letter: Respect lacking in outdoors
HUNTING — Although there's still plenty of deer hunting opportunity remaining in 2013, the general modern rifle seasons in Eastern Washington ended in many units on Sunday with mixed results.
Bottom line: Mule deer success rates are up in the Okanogan region while hunters still struggle in their odds of bagging a mulie or whitetail in northeastern Washington.
One other point: The number of hunters who take time to stop in at check stations conveniently located on U.S. 395 near Deer Park and U.S. 2 near Chattaroy remains low. The information collected by state biologists and volunteer hunter education instructors is valuable to wildlife management, which ultimately is geared to improving hunter success in future years.
Following are summaries from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife:
Northeast Washington stations at Deer Park and Chattaroy:
A total of 405 hunters stopping at the stations on Oct. 13, 19 and 20 killed 62 deer (56 whitetails, 6 mule deer) with hunters also checking in forest grouse, waterfowl and one each: moose, cougar, coyote and bobcat.
Check station participation continues to be low, as are success rates. In 2012 the same check stations on these 3 week-end days had a total of 408 hunters checked with 79 deer including 67 white-tails and 12 mule deer.
Okanogan station at Winthrop:
Biologists Fitkin and Heinlen ran the Winthrop deer check station for the final weekend of the general modern firearm season. Over two weekends we checked 252 hunters with 78 deer. The total number of hunters checked is almost identical to last year; however, the number of deer checked this year is up noticeably, indicating a significant increase in hunter success despite the mild weather. In addition, 44% of the checked bucks were in the 4 ½ years old or greater age category as compared to 30% in 2012. These check station numbers suggest late permit hunters should look forward to excellent hunting opportunity.
WILDLIFE — Tough times for mule deer.
Western states search for reason mule deer populations declining
A recent report from the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies found mule deer populations in Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, North Dakota and Saskatchewan were in decline, and that, while Montana's mule deer populations in the central and eastern regions of the state were generally stable, the numbers in Western Montana were decreasing.
HUNTING — Mule deer numbers seem to be improving, as predicted, in the Okanogan County area as indicated by the number and size of bucks that came into check stations on opening weekend.
Some deer checked in and checked out voluntarily (click Continue reading to see both photos).
Here's the initial report from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife… more to come:
General Deer Opener –Biologists Fitkin and Heinlen ran the Winthrop deer check station for opening weekend of the general modern firearm season. We checked 107 hunters with 30 deer. These numbers suggest a reduction in hunting pressure, but a significant increase in success as compared to last year’s opening weekend. Thus far, we’re also seeing a higher than average percentage of the harvest in the >4 ½ year old age class as expected including one nice 30” wide buck (see photo). Prospects for the rest of the season remain good, although mild weather will likely keep deer well distributed on the landscape. Hunters who harvest animals on the weekend are encouraged to bring their deer to the WDFW Deer Check Station located at the Red Barn in Winthrop (some are even showing up on their own).
HUNTING — More than 100,000 hunters were expected to be in the field last weekend for the opening of Washington's modern firearms deer hunting season, according to the Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Adam Lynn of Tacoma was among those out and in position for Sunday's glorious sunrise over Lincoln County. He came within 50 yards of a nice mule deer buck, but couldn't get a clear shot.
Presumably the buck is still out there today, and so is Adam.
HUNTING — Whitetail bucks are famous for taking advantage of thick cover to live long and grow big racks.
But even the white-tailed deer of Eastern Washington and North Idaho could take a lesson from Western Washington blacktails, where the average hunter can expect to devote something like 30 days in the field per buck.
Click “continue reading” for a report by Alan Thomas of the Vancouver Columbian on what it takes to to west of the Cascades and make a blacktail hunt successful.
HUNTING — The general hunting season for white-tailed deer opens today in most North Idaho areas.
Saturday is the opener for modern rifle season in most of Eastern Washington.
HUNTING – The Idaho Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Public Outreach Campaign is urging people who use ATVs or motorbikes during hunting season to stay on designated trails and do their homework to ensure that the trails they plan to ride are open.
New resources are available to help OHVers learn which routes on public lands are open and closed.
About 70 percent of the 240,000 people who hunt in Idaho (residents and non-residents) during the fall months are using motorbikes or ATVs to access their hunting areas, according to the latest survey cited by campaign officials.
Here are five ways that hunters can research what trails and hunting units are open to OHV use:
1. National Forest Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUM's) from the national forest where you plan to hunt. Hard-copy maps are available from national forest ranger district offices (that is, when they reopen from the current federal shutdown), IDFG offices, and in many cases, the MVUMs are online. The OHV Campaign's stayontrails.com web site has a link to all of the current online MVUMs: http://stayontrails.com/mvum/.
2. BLM travel maps defined route open to motorized use. See a comprehensive list of BLM travel maps statewide online at http://stayontrails.com/blmTravel/ and on BLM web sites. Hard-copy maps are available at BLM district offices and field offices (but, again, remember the shutdown).
3. Idaho Department of Fish and Game's website Hunting page has a big game unit map that lists restrictions on OHV use in specific hunting units. The IDFG Motorized Hunting Rule affects 30 units statewide. Here's a link to the big game unit map of the units affected by the rule.
4. Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation has an online map resource that's great for researching new OHV trails and for checking on whether OHV trails are open during hunting season, and when. The web site is: http://trails.idaho.gov. The maps break down trail restrictions by OHVs, Utility Terrain Vehicles, ATVs and motorbikes.
5. YouTube hunting tips video walks hunters through the multi-step process of researching whether trails are open or closed. Here's the link: http://www.youtube.com/edit?ns=1&video_id=dTgL0ZH41i8&o=U
Officials with the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and Idaho Department of Fish and Game say that hunters riding off-trail on ATVs or motorbikes continues to be a problem on public lands during hunting season.
“We are most concerned with instances where a hunter drives off-trail to scout for game or retrieve game,” said Andy Brunelle, a spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service. “One set of tracks through the brush or in a meadow can invite others to do the same, and the impacts add up, damaging vegetation and causing soil erosion into streams.”
Under the Forest Service's National Travel Rule, “it's incumbent on the user to know if the trail is open or closed” regardless if the trail is signed appropriately, forest officials said. That's because people have been known to shoot signs full of bullet holes, remove signs or vandalize them.
Jon Heggen, enforcement chief for the Idaho Department of Fish and game, encouraged motorbike and ATV riders to be sensitive to the fact that some people may be hunting on foot in the same area where they are riding their trail machine.
“We want to remind hunters to stay on trails and be courteous to other users,” Heggen said.
A new Idaho state law requires youths who do not have a driver's license to take a free safety course before they ride OHVs on forest roads. The law also stipulates that youths under the age of 18 are required to wear a helmet when riding on an OHV or driving one.
HUNTING — I have fond memories from 50 years of deer hunting seasons, including the one pictured above. The buck was harvested miles from an open road with the .270 my father used for decades before I was born.
It was a hard hunt, and the meat was even more delicious because of it.
I don't doubt that you have fond memories of hunting seasons past.
HUNTING — Get the skinny on hunting prospects for deer and elk as well as upland birds and other species in the 2013 hunting forecasts posted by The Washington Fish and Wildlife Department.
Area wildlife biologists have posted notes on their observatins of eveything from pheasant crow counds to big-game population trends by district.
HUNTING — Hunters have until midnight Aug. 14 to apply for a permit to hunt deer this fall on the 6,000-acre Charles and Mary Eder unit of the Scotch Creek Wildlife Area near Oroville in northeastern Okanogan County.
Submit an application for the “limited-entry” deer hunt on the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website or by contacting the WDFW northcentral region office, (509) 754-4624.
Eighteen applicants will be chosen during a random drawing scheduled Aug. 15.
“This is part of our effort to provide quality hunting opportunities in Washington,” said Matt Monda, WDFW Northcentral Regional Wildlife Manager. “This drawing is open to the general public without any additional fees beyond the cost of a hunting license and the standard tags.”
Of the 18 access permits available this year, six will be reserved for bowhunters, six for muzzleloaders and six for hunters using modern firearms.
Hunters are allowed to take only one deer, and must follow general hunting rules in effect for this area.
Deer-hunting seasons for the area are Sept. 1-27 for bow hunters, Sept. 28-Oct. 6 for muzzleloaders, and Oct. 12-20 for hunters using modern firearms.
The results of the drawing will be available on WDFW’s website the last week of August. Hunters who are drawn will receive an access permit and a boundary map in the mail.
HUNTING — A black bear gives a hunter a moment he'll never forget. Check it out.
HUNTING — Elizabeth Odell is a model of hunting consistency.
The young Spokane hunter bagged her first turkey (see photo at left) and deer in the spring and fall seasons when she was 9 years old.
Liz, now 15, was out last weekend to keep the string going with a nice gobbler (top photo).
Odell is from Spokane and hunts with her father, Jim, and proud grandpa, Dick, who submitted the photos.
HUNTING – Although the signs went up on enrolled fields last fall, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department’s new Quality Hunt Reservation System didn't come online until today — just in time for the spring gobbler season that runs Monday through May 31.
Selected private lands enrolled in access agreements are available to hunters who can book reservations up to three weeks in advance.
By this fall, the agency expects hold drawings for reserving the most popular areas as hunters catch on.
Officials also say they want to hear your comments by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HUNTING — Idaho Fish and Game Department officials met with state legislators today to let them know there's been no relief in the downturn of nonresident hunters buying hunting and fishing licenses.
That's significant because nonresidents pay most of the bills for the state's wildlife management, and they also contribute substantially to the local economy, especially in rural towns.
The reduction in nonresident hunting is hurting Montana, too.
I wrote about this issue in August, as Montana and Idaho wildlife officials looked at the grim numbers from the low sales non-resident licenses before the fall seasons.
A detailed update from today's hearing at the Idaho Legislature has been posted by S-R Boise Bureau reporter Betsy Russell.