Posts tagged: elk hunting
HUNTING — There's sad news in this comment by Capt. Dan Rahn in the weekly Washington Fish and Wildlife police report for far-eastern Washington following the opening weekend of elk hunting season:
Every officer commented on the overall decline in hunter numbers combined with an apparent aging of the hunter population as a whole.
On the other hand, it's good news for the hunters who continue to pursue elk — less competition overall, and especially in the hard-hunting spots where many elk tend to hide during the season.
HUNTING — “Did you get your elk?” a colleague asked this morning as I returned to the office after eight days away in the Blue Mountains.
“Yes,” I nodded enthusiastically.
“How many?” my co-worker continued.
I grimaced slightly.
“I'm not a hunter,” he noted.
HUNTING — Outdoors blog posts were downscaled the past 10 days while I focused on filling my elk tag with hunting partner Jim Kujala.
After eight days in our Blue Mountains camp and on the sixth day of the season, I finally dialed in on the elusive elk and scored.
Lot's of work after that shot: 10 hours to get the meat boned-out and packed up and out of a canyon to a closed road and carted back to camp.
Next was 6 hours of meat trimming on the tailgate of the pickup while Jim continued to hunt.
Then another 4 hours of cutting, wrapping and freezing at home. Yum, maybe that's why elk tastes so good to me.
The clean, hairless scraps from all the boning and trimming sessions went into bags bound for the butcher to be ground into smoked German sausage and the best hamburger money can't buy.
Lesson relearned: Always have a weather-band radio in camp, especially when you're hunting for more than a week in high areas of the Blue Mountains and Yakima region where a sudden big storm — like the one forecast for last night — could make getting out of the mountains hazardous. The area-specific weather reports were very helpful in our day-to-day hunting strategies, and prompted our sensible departure a day earlier than planned.
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 — Numerous comments have come in regarding my Sunday Outdoors feature, “Milking the Cow Elk Tag,” a story about what to do with the most coveted permit you never hear a hunter brag about.
Following are phrases in the story that are triggering most of the “right on” and “I remember when” comments in the reader response:
“Can’t eat antlers,” my dad often said. Living through the Great Depression instilled that attitude. It served our family well.
I’ve never seen a cow elk featured on the cover of Field & Stream or Outdoor Life, yet every ordinary-guy elk hunter I know applies for a cow tag.
Maybe this is why hunters don’t gloat when they draw a cow tag. How humiliating would it be if you didn’t fill it.
My luck changed on the last morning of the season, verifying once again that getting into elk is all about putting in the time.
Following an elk down a slope in the Blue Mountains is like flirting with your best friend’s spouse. There’s no easy way out of the situation, and you make things much worse if you score.
E=mc2: That is, Eating quality equals Miles wild meat must be packed out by muscle power multiplied by the number of Contour lines crossed, squared.
I left the mountains, not with a rack to hang on the wall, but with a trophy for the freezer.
POACHING — Officers from three enforcement agencies worked together to make a case and a male suspect has been charged for illegally killing a trophy bull elk in Pend Oreille County.
Charles I. Fraley, 27, of Ione has been charged by the county prosecutor with unlawful big game hunting in the second degree, according to District Court clerks. Fraley's arrainment is set for Friday, Oct. 11, at 1 p.m.
While the illegal killing of a bull other hunters dream a lifetime of tagging is upsetting, the interesting part of the story is the teamwork of three agencies to make the citation.
According to a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife enforcement report:
WDFW Officer Don Weatherman responded to a report of a trophy bull elk being shot with a rifle during the archery season near Ione. A Pend Oreille County Sheriff's Deputy already had a person of interest standing by to speak with Weatherman when he arrived on scene.
Weatherman interviewed the male subject, who had driven into the area where the 6x6 trophy elk had been shot. In the meantime, the Sheriff's Deputy and Border Patrol Agents, who were also on scene, went in search of shell casings in an area of interest and were successful in locating evidence critical to the case!
The Border Patrol Agents also assisted with the use of a tracking dog to backtrack the subject's activities away from his vehicle.After interviewing the subject, the young male admitted to shooting the bull with his rifle, which was stashed in the woods after the elk was shot and before he returned to his vehicle. The subject then took officers to the rifle as well as the area where he had fired the deadly shot.
Charges have been filed.All of the meat was salvaged and donated to the Ione Food Bank.
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.
WILDLIFE WATCHING — I've heard stories about bowhunters who've been having many close, exciting encounters with bull elk during their September season that coincides with the rut.
Just in case the brush was too thick to get a clear shot at what might have been bugling at you in the woods last week, here's a good look from Montana outdoor photographer Jaime Johnson.
WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT — Idaho law requires hunters AND ANGLERS to stop and Fish and Game check stations.
The code says, “all sportsmen, with or without game, must stop at Fish & Game check stations.”
All those who are hunting or fishing that day, or are returning from an overnight hunting or fishing outing, are required to stop.
“Each year, a few sportsmen do not stop at check stations because they were not successful on that specific trip,” says Phil Cooper, IFG spokesman in Coeur d'Alene. “They see the signs, but think the instructions don't apply to them and continue on their way.
“However, information about a trip where nothing was harvested is also recorded. Citations can be issued to those who have spent the day in the field and do not stop.”
Read on for more details about the two types of check stations the state runs.
HUNTING — Jim Hayden, Idaho Fish and Game Department regional wildlife manager, speaks frankly in a post he just made to update the status of elk and elk hunting on the Idaho Panhandle.
Read on for his complete post, plus his encouragement for hunters to participate in the development of Idaho's statewide elk management plan for the next 10 years.
IFG will hold an online chat for sportsmen to monitor or ask questions regarding elk management on Thursday, 5 p.m.-7 p.m.
HUNTING — My buddy, Andy, sent me this photo of bull elk passing by his trail cam, which is mounted just 20 yards from his bowhunting blind.
Trust me: you can't really imagine how anxious Andy is for the first week of September, unless you're a bowhunter.
HUNTING – A proposed 10-year elk management plan has been released for public comment by the Idaho Fish and Game Commission.
The plan is posted on the Fish and Game Department’s elk planning webpage.
Public comments are due by Sept. 22.
Agency officials will hold a live online chat from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday (Aug. 29) to answer questions about the plan.
WILDLIFE — Bull elk are polishing their antlers and getting worked up for the season ahead, as Montana outdoor photographer Jaime Johnson documented yesterday with this photo.
Are you getting ready for the season?
Is your gear ready?
Do you have your territory staked out?
Are you in shape?
Can you beat the competition?
WILDLIFE — As hunters are going out scouting for the upcoming big-game seasons, they aren't necessarily looking for elk in traditional places.
For instance, the hunting seasons conducted the past two years inside the boundaries of Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge have spurred more of the elk to move out and set up shop in the scablands to the south, east and north of the refuge.
Last year, on Aug. 30, birding buff Mike Miller was suprised and pleased to capture the accompanying photos while hiking around the Oligher Ranch portion of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's Telford Recreation Area.
First, the bull was bedded down in the reeds. When Miller surprised it, and himself, the elk trotted out through the sage.
HUNTING — I'm feeling pretty smug this week after checking out the special hunting permit lottery results and seeing that I drew a coveted Blue Mountains antlerless elk tag.
Most years I wish calamities on camo-clad brethren who draw tags while I sulk in the huge pool of losers.
But the game is only begun. Now it's time to be sure everything is planned out, from the camp sites to the scouting and most important — the physical conditioning for hunting day after day in the steep canyons of the Blues.
The last time my hunting partner, Jim, drew a bull tag, he started working out in June in a well-planned schedule with a backpack and increasingly longer distances and heavier loads.
A hunter waits years to draw a tag for a special opportunity to harvest an elk. You don't want to waste the chance.
My workout program kicked in high gear last weekend as I helped my daughter move all her belongings out of a SECOND STORY apartment.
I commute to work on my bicycle, riding 14 miles round trip up and down the South Hill.
I'm planning at least four major backpacking trips and numerous dayhikes through the summer.
And that, in my experience, is just barely enough to get me on track for seriously hunting the Blues and being in shape for comfortably packing out the meat if I'm lucky enough to score.
What are you doing to prepare for elk season?
HUNTING — Idaho Fish and Game is beginning it's process to revise elk management plans with an open house at the Panhandle Region headquarters office from 3 p.m.-7 p.m. Thursday (May 2) in Coeur d'Alene.
Not to be confused with annual hunting regulations, species management plans provide direction for management of a particular species for the next 10 years or more.
Read on for more details from IFG officials.
HUNTING — The Idaho Department of Fish and Game has scheduled an online chat, 6 p.m.-8 p.m., on Wednesday and Thursday (April 10 and 11) for the public to weigh in on the new blueprint for managing the state’s elk herds.
The agency’s big-game biologists and mangers statewide will be working online with transcribers to answer questions as they come in from people who connect through the agency website.
“We had good participation in the online chat we held this winter for waterfowl rules and licensing and that was held during mid-day when people were working,” said Mike Keckler, the agency’s communications chief.
“We’re thinking we’ll get even more participation if we hold it in the evening.”
The agency also will schedule an open house meeting in Coeur d’Alene this spring.
Revisions currently under consideration are based on elk hunter surveys, habitat changes and other factors.
HUNTING — Despite an effort and even a hint of extortion by some Montana outfitters to have him barred, television host Randy Newberg’s appointment to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s board was announced on Wednesday.
BIG-GAME — Some Montana outfitters are threatening to withdraw support from the the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation if the conservation group doesn't withdraw its nomination of national hunting TV show host Randy Newberg to its board of directors.
The outfitters contend Newberg's Sportsman Channel show, On Your Own Adventures, favors do-it-yourself hunters and puts down the services of guides.
In an email from Montana Outfitters and Guides Association to all of the RMEF board members, management and other state outfitter associations, director Mac Minard stated on Wednesday that “Outfitters from several states have expressed concern …” because Newberg “…is affiliated with, and often represents one or more organizations that some perceive to be anti-outfitting/landowner often presenting the western Outfitting Industry in a negative light.”
Minard’s email goes on to say, “(Montana based outfitters) have indicated they may withdraw donations to RMEF if the appointment goes through.”
My two cents: I'm very surprised the MOGA would take this stand against a hunter and outdoorsman who is top notch in his line of work. If anything else, a little diversity on the RMEF board would make the organization stronger. Mostly, I see this as another regrettable fracture in the ranks of sportsmen.
Read on for more details from the Gazette story: