Posts tagged: hunting
WILDLIFE — Time magazine indicates the good ol' days of hunting are changing, and our bloated civilization has turned a corner in the way we regard wildlife.
We've reduced animals such as deer and turkeys to pest status, the story contends.
Andy Walgamott of Northwest Sportsman shares a few thoughts on the national news weekly's latest cover story.
PREDATORS — The latest livestock attack by Oregon’s Snake River wolf pack puts it one bite away from a potential state kill order, according to Jeff Barnard of the Associated Press.
An Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife report released Monday says the rancher who found a wounded cow Nov. 21 in the rugged country between the Imnaha and Snake rivers had taken required nonlethal steps to deter wolf attacks. Those steps included cleaning up old cow carcasses, putting out radio-activated alarm boxes and checking the cattle up to five times a day.
The report says bite marks on the cow’s hindquarters were characteristics of wolf attacks. The wounds were estimated to be a week or two old, and a GPS tracking collar put the pack in the area at that time.
New rules established under a legal settlement allow officials to consider a kill order after four qualifying attacks by a wolf pack in six months, the AP reports. The most recent attack makes three for the Snake River pack since October.
Unlike other states trying to control wolves in cattle country, Oregon has adopted specific rules requiring ranchers to take nonlethal steps to deter wolf attacks before the state can shoot a wolf for attacking livestock. The rules were the result of a legal settlement of a lawsuit from conservation groups.
Steve Pedery of Oregon Wild, one of plaintiffs, says the department is faithfully carrying out the new rules. He noted that the number of attacks by the Imnaha pack has gone down as nonlethal efforts have gone up. The Imnaha pack was Oregon’s first and had the most livestock kills last year when a decision to shoot two of its members was blocked by court order.
“I think the agency deserves a lot of credit for following the letter of the plan, putting out reports and making them public, which is a big change over where we were a couple years ago,” Pedery said.
Russ Morgan, wolf coordinator for the department, said more ranchers have bought into nonlethal control in the range of the Imnaha pack, where they have been dealing with wolves for a longer time. However, it is still uncertain whether the nonlethal controls are responsible, he said.
Morgan added that the Imnaha pack is made up of different wolves, except for the breeding pair, than when the pack was more actively attacking livestock. Young adults have moved on, and the pack has at least seven new pups.
Rancher Rod Childers, who negotiated the rules on behalf of the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association, said ranchers are still frustrated with the slow pace of the process, which can take a week or more to confirm a kill and determine whether it qualifies under the rules.
“People are learning it’s here and we’ve got to deal with it,” he said of the seven confirmed wolf packs in northeastern Oregon. “We just want it dealt with in a more timely manner than what it is.”
HUNTING — Hunting camps are full of traditions and camaraderie, and often they're pretty darned photogenic.
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife officials want to capture that feeling for the cover of the 2014-15 hunting regulations pamphlet that hundreds of thousands of sportsmen will pore over next year.
Hunting camps are the them of the agency's third-annual Big Game Regulations Pamphlet Contest.
All submissions must be received by by the agency by March 1, 2014.
The winner’s photo will be featured on the cover of next year’s Big Game Hunting Seasons and Regulations Pamphlet.
HUNTING — This is a note to the person who discovered a little public land quail honey-spot I've hunted for 30 years.
You apparently had a good day recently. I don't really care how many birds you killed or missed, but I found at least six of the red 12-gauge 7 1/2-shot shell casings you left littering the sage brush on just a few acres of land. I have no idea how many I didn't see.
I don't know who you are, but I have this vision of you being a pig.
Responsible hunters should clean up all of their litter, especially plastic shot shell hulls that will remain an eyesore in the field to give all hunters a black eye for decades.
WILDLIFE — Wild turkeys are found across Idaho, and there’s even an open hunting season on them right now in the Panhandle Region and portions of the Clearwater.
But wild turkeys are not native to the state.
Merriam's strain turkeys were introduced by the Idaho Fish & Game Department in 1961, a move that was a common part of wildlife management in the state at the time. The Fish & Game photo above shows the first turkey release in '61.
S-R reporter Betsy Russell has more on her Eye on Boise blog.
The Idaho Fish and Game Department is celebrating its 75th anniversary with daily web posts about its history in wildlife management.
Updated 11-26-13 at 9 a.m. with correction from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.
WILDLIFE — Just in time for Thanksgiving! Montana's online permitting system to legally take possession of road-killed big game goes operational today.
A new state law allows people to salvage deer, elk, antelope and moose killed on roadsides.
According to reporter Rob Chaney of the Missoulian, anyone wanting to claim one of those game animals they find dead can fill out the online permit within 24 hours. State law enforcement officers will also have permits available if called to the site of an animal-vehicle collision. The permits are free.
The move could offer a lot of extra protein to Montana dinner tables albeit at the expense of beetles, ravens, eagles, coyotes and other critters in nature's clean-up crew. The Missoulian reports:
But Washington is not one of them. It's illegal to pick up roadkill without a permit in Washington.
Read on for more details about the Montana law and salvage permit system:
POACHING — Rewards of up to $5,000 are being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for illegally shooting a cow elk recently and leaving it to waste on private land between Moscow and Troy.
Colorado's elk, deer lure hunters despite new gun laws
After Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a trio of new gun bills into law earlier this year, there was a public outcry and a warning that hunters would shy away from the Centennial State, but preliminary numbers on nonresident and resident hunting permits for elk and deer indicate that thousands more were sold this year than last.
— Denver Post
HUNTING — While hunting pheasants on Sunday, this is how my English setter, Scout, defined the idiom, “Got 'em dead to rights.”
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.
WILDLIFE WATCHING — Some smart asses had a lot of fun this week spreading rumors that wolves had attacked three horses near La Crosse, Wash.
A Whitman County Gazette reporter tried to track down the word-of-mouth reports and so did several Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife police and biologists.
“We tracked down the source and can verify there's no substance whatsoever to the rumors,” Steve Pozzanghera, WDFW regional manager in Spokane, said this morning.
He said the rumors were not even a case of mistaken identity, such as stray dogs attacking livestock or anything like that. “It's just purely a rumor,” he said.
While we're putting that issue to bed, let's also dismiss the rumor going around that WDFW staff has been releasing wolves in Whitman County. For God's sake, get a clue out there.
“Somebody is saying they actually saw the department releasing four wolves and that's pure rumor,” Pozzanghera said. “The department is not relocating wolves, and we have not had a capture or any hands-on activity with wolves in recent months.”
Turnbull elk rumor
One more rumor that needs to be squashed is the persistent rant that WDFW uses a helicopter to herd elk away from hunters and onto Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge each fall. Indeed, the hunting seasons enacted on the refuge a few years ago were designed specifically to help move elk OFF the refuge to reduce damage on Turnbull and increase hunter harvests outside the refuge boundaries.
A two-day helicopter survey is run at the end of September each year to monitor Turnbull-area elk, but the elk are not herded.
Farmers who've had depredation problems with elk can verify that nobody could chase a herd of elk to a patch of ground on one weekend and expect them to stay there throughout the fall hunting seasons. Nobody with a hint of knowledge about elk would believe that, and nobody with a brain would repeat the rumor.
Research belies wolf management by the numbers
Through 43 years of studying wolves primarily in Alaska, wildlife biologist Gordon Haber says his research found that wolves are the most “social of all nonhuman vertebrates.” Trying to manage them by the numbers simply won't work, he says in this column by Marybeth Holleman, a contributor to Writers on the Range, a service of High Country News.
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 — Washington's late fall turkey hunting season opens Wednesday, Nov. 20, in East Side GMUs 105-154 and 162-186.
A wildlife biologist I know said he has given up the spring gobbler hunts in favor of filling his tags in the fall. He's trading the thrill of calling in the gobblers during their mating season, but gaining quality for the table, he said.
“In the spring turkeys are skinny and tough from the winter and all the effort they put into mating,” he said. “In late fall they're in the fattest and best condition of the year.”
Of course, with Washington's generous tag allocations, a hunter can have it both ways.
Read all the Washington wild turkey hunting regulations.
PREDATORS — Am I shocked that a wolf hunter has shot someone's pet near a popular Montana-Idaho winter recreation area? Yes.
Am I surprised? No.
And the Missoula County sheriff’s office is just throwing up its hands, saying there's nothing it can do as it ends its investigation into the fatal shooting of a malamute on Lolo Pass by a hunter who apparently mistook it for a wolf.
According to the story moved by the Associated Press, Layne Spence of Missoula said he was skiing with his three dogs on a quiet logging road near Lee Creek Campground Sunday afternoon when he heard a shot and saw his dog, Little Dave, fall down with a leg injury.
About 15 to 20 yards away, Spence said he saw a man wearing camouflage and carrying a gun.
“I started screaming ‘Stop, stop,’ and the man kept shooting,” Spence, 48, said. The dog was struck in the neck and died.
“My dog is lying there, dead and I shouted ‘What are you doing?’ and the guy said, ‘I thought it was a wolf.’ ”
Spence said the hunter asked if there was anything he could do, but Spence said he was so distraught he told the man to leave.
When Spence returned to town he filed a complaint with the sheriff’s office.
The Missoulian reports the agency passed the case over to the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks and the U.S. Forest Service.
“There is no criminal activity here, and this is out of our jurisdiction,” Sheriff’s spokeswoman Paige Pavalone said on Monday. “We don’t have any witnesses and we’re not investigating the situation any further.”
Spokespersons for both FWP and the Forest Service had said Monday morning that they believed the case would be a criminal matter.
“This doesn’t have to happen,” Spence said. “Not every big dog is a wolf. These are pets, they all had their collars and lights on, they were all with me the entire time.”
He wondered what would have happened if he had a child on a sled or if a bullet ricocheted.
“There are other people who use the woods besides hunters this time of year,” Spence said.
The U.S. Forest Service maintains the Lee Creek campground for non-motorized winter use. Lolo National Forest recreation manager Al Hilshey said the area is popular with cross-country skiers who like to bring their dogs.
LESSONS FROM THE TRAGEDY
- Hunters must be extra alert when hunting in areas such as Lolo Pass, where other people routinely recreate, and they should be accountable for their actions.
- Dog owners must be aware that hunters can legally target wolves in Montana and Idaho. Dogs — especially malamutes and other dogs that resemble wolves in any color ranging from white to black — should be wearing large fluorescent orange collars and even vests when recreating in areas where hunters could be out.
HUNTING — I've been exploring some of the properties in the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Private Lands Access Program this week.
While there's some good habitat holding upland birds on these lands, the thing that strikes me is how much “filler” there is in the acreage listings. I hunted a property on Monday that lists a sizable acreage, but 90 percent of it is cultivated, and recently plowed so that there's no holding cover.
Just be warned. All the properties listed aren't winners.
CLIMATE CHANGE — The National Wildlife Federation continues to point out the potential impacts of climate change on wildlife populations and the sports, hobbies and economies they support.
Rising temperatures, deeper droughts and more extreme weather events fueled by manmade climate change are making survival more challenging for America’s treasured big game wildlife from coast to coast, according to a new NWF report.
Nowhere to Run: Big Game Wildlife in a Warming World suggests how climate change is already putting many species of big game at risk, creating an uncertain future for big game and the outdoor economy that depends on them.
“The recovery of big game species is one of America’s wildlife conservation success stories, made possible in large part by sustained investment by generations of sportsmen,” said Dr. Doug Inkley, senior scientist at the National Wildlife Federation “But today, a changing climate threatens to rewrite that success story.”
Nowhere to Run is the latest in the National Wildlife Federation’s 2013 Wildlife in a Warming World series, which also includes:
Some of the impacts the NWF reports cite are still being studied, including the impact warming enviroments may be having on moose and their exposure to ticks. But with wildfire, floods and extreme weather events like heat waves, droughts and heavy rainfall becoming more frequent and more severe, the NWF says climate change should be on every sportsman's radar.
Unprecedented changes in habitat are having far-reaching consequences for big game and for sportsmen and women, affecting, for example, the timing of hunting seasons and the distribution and survival of animals, the NWF says.
“We’re already seeing changes where we hunt big game – reduced snowpack, dying forests, shifting migration patterns,” said Todd Tanner, founder and chairman of Conservation Hawks. “We have to let our elected officials know that we need solutions and we need them now. We’re running out of time.”
Read on for more details about Nowhere to Run, and the steps the NWF proposes to tackle the issue:
WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT — Sharon Kiefer, Idaho Fish and Game Department deputy director, is the speaker for the monthly Sportsmen's Breakfast on Tuesday (Nov. 19), 6:30 a.m. at Lake City Senior Center, 1916 N. Lakewood Dr. in
Breakfast can be purchased for $7.50, which includes tax and gratuity.
Info: Idaho Fish and Game Department Panhandle Region office, (208) 769-1414.
HUNTING — Anyone who's tried to get a coveted big-game hunting tag in a state special permit drawing will relate to the satire in this video. Be sure to watch it all the way through to the clever ending.
I howled with laughter.