Posts tagged: upland birds
HUNTING — Eastern Washington's pheasant season ended Sunday in a weekend of winds gusting to 70 mph at the top of the 49 Degrees North ski area where they toppled a cell phone tower.
I figured I had a better shot at chukars in the Snake River canyon where I could loop into bowls out of the wind.
Indeed, I found some pleasant hunting interspersed with high-wind exposure as I hiked around basalt bands on the ridges.
But I was surprised that in 4.5 hours of covering a lot of ground, my English setter, Scout, found only two coveys of chukars. The dog locked up solid 80 yards away from the first cover as the strong winds telegraphed their scent to his nose. But the covey flushed wild as I approached, caught the wind, and appeared to be setting wings for a wind-assisted flight to Montana.
The other covey cooperated in making my hunt successful.
But that was it. I covered some great private land where I've hunted with permission numerous times and never have found fewer than three coveys.
So now I'm wondering: Should I have been hunting the highest slopes that were open to the high winds? Is that where the chukars were hanging out?
The hunting season for partridge and quail runs through Jan. 20.
HUNTING — While hunting pheasants on Sunday, this is how my English setter, Scout, defined the idiom, “Got 'em dead to rights.”
Many hunters get all excited about opening days — forest grouse and mourning doves open Sunday.
But the best and safest hunting for a bird dog is later in the seasons, when the field is cooler, damper and there's been more opportunity to get in tip-top shape after the dog days of summer.
HUNTING — I don't want to jinx the odds, but a lot of upland bird hunters are noticing this is the driest weather we've had in several years for the peak period of the wild quail, chukar and pheasant hatching season.
Upland bird chicks are particularly vulnerable to hypothermia if cool, wet weather persists in early June.
Last year's season was boosted by a good second hatch of birds.
This could be the year the first hatch blossoms.
PRIVATE LANDS — Hunters have a stake in the Conservation Reserve Program signup scheduled for May 20-June 14. The federal government expects the contracts to be highly competitive. The corresponding boost to wildlife habitat depends on the quality of the bids made by landowners.
Nationwide, 27 million acres are enrolled in CRP. The program is capped at 32 million acres. The signup will also cover acreage included in contracts that are expiring on Sept. 30.
Idaho has 622,570 acres enrolled in CRP, with 68,332 acres set to expire. The state has 2,722 farms enrolled in CRP, receiving more than $31.725 million in annual rental payments at an average of about $51 per acre.
Washington has 1,453,481 acres enrolled in CRP, with more than 253,600 acres set to expire. The state has 5,305 farms receiving more than $83.631 million in annual rental payments, averaging more than $57 per acre.
CRP contracts typically span 10 years and offer payments for growers to manage land for environmental and wildlife benefits rather than planting crops. Growers' contract offers are chosen based on scores derived from plans they offer to make enduring environmental improvements and benefit wildlife habitat, water quality, erosion control, farm soil health and air quality.
Interested landowners already are meeting with specialists from farm and fish and wildlife agencies to help groom their bids for maximum points.
BIRD HUNTING — Upland bird hunters should be aware that the Eastern Washington pheasant season closes Jan. 13 while the season for other upland birds — quail, chukars, Huns — runs through the Martin Luther King holiday and closes on Jan. 21.
Most waterfowl seasons run through Jan. 27.
WILDLIFE — More than 6,400 pheasant chicks have been distributed in the past few weeks to people in the Spokane region who vow to raise and release the birds into the wild.
The annual chick giveaway program is facilitated by the Inland Northwest Wildlife Council.
The chicks are mostly hens, the byproduct of captive rearing programs that raise pheasants for hunter release sites.
HUNTING — Ouch. The first week of June is prime time for the first hatch of pheasant chicks in southeastern Washington. Once again, it's being greeted by rain and cold weather, which is a sentence to death by hypothermia for the young birds.
Quail and pheasants have a built in response to nest again if their first brood fails.
Keep your fingers crossed.
UPLAND BIRD HUNTING — Hunters chilled at the thought of what the cool, rainy spring was doing to nesting pheasants and quail in June.
Indeed, the hatch isn't anything to crow about, but it's not as bad as hunters may have feared, at least in the Snake River region.
Surveys by Idaho Fish and Game biologists indicate quail and Hungarian partridge had modest reproductive success and pheasants did better than the did last year, although last year's hatch was pitiful.
Idaho partridge populations of both are down slightly from 2010 and long-term averages. Pheasant numbers are up from last year, but still be low the averages.
Read on for details in a story by Eric Barker of the Lewiston Tribune:
HUNTING — Fall wild turkey hunting seasons open Thursday (Sept. 15) in Idaho and Sept. 24 in select Eastern Washington units.
Other hunts will follow soon.
Read on for the long list of details for Idaho hunts, including the youth waterfowl season (Sept. 24-25) and the youth pheasant hunt, wich starts Oct. 1.
Fall turkey hunters typically find less competition in the field because of other hunting seasons that open in the fall, and they are more likely to bag a bird, Idaho Fish and Game officials say. Check out their webpage.
Idaho's turkey season is open:
The daily bag limit is one turkey of either sex per day in the fall. No more than three turkeys may be taken per year, except in Units 1, 2, 3 and 5, where up to five turkeys may be taken in a single day during the fall season. Turkey hunters will need a general or an extra tag. General tags not used in the spring general or controlled hunts are valid for the fall hunt. Special unit tags are valid only for the fall season in Units 1, 2, 3 or 5.
Turkey tags are available at all license vendors for $19.75. An extra turkey tag costs $12.25, and the special unit tag costs $5.
For more information see the turkey rules book or the Fish and Game Web site at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/hunt/rules/?getPage=67.
Youth Waterfowl Seasons Open Soon
The Idaho waterfowl youth hunt opens September 24 and 25, and the regular 107-day season opens October 1 in northern and eastern Idaho, and October 15 in southwestern Idaho.
Daily duck bag limits are seven birds in the aggregate – no more than two female mallards, two redheads, three scaup, two pintails, one canvasback – with a possession limit of 14 birds after the first day and no more than four female mallards, four redheads, four pintails, six scaup and two canvasbacks.
Daily limits for Wilson’s snipe are eight; with a possession limit of 16 after the first day; and the daily limit for coots are 25 with a possession limit of 25 after the first day.
Daily bag limits for dark geese – Canada, greater white-front – are four per day. Daily limits for light geese – snow, blue, Ross’s – are 10 per day.
Parts of Area 2 closed during the spring light goose season areFort Boise and Payette River WMAs and that portion of the Roswell Marsh Wildlife Habitat Area south of state Highway 18, and the Snake River Islands Unit of the Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge in the Southwest Region.
In Area 1, Fremont and Teton counties are closed to light goose hunting.
Additional details will be available in a printed brochure and on the Fish and Game website within about a week.
Hunters must have a valid Idaho hunting license, a federal migratory game bird harvest information program validation and a federal migratory bird (duck) stamp, except youths 15 and under do not need the duck stamp.
Nontoxic shot is required for all waterfowl hunting in Idaho. For details see the 2011-2012 Waterfowl seasons online at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/hunt/rules/?getPage=66; the printed brochure will be available within abouta week at license vendors and Fish and Game offices.
Youth Pheasant Hunt Opens October 1
A youth pheasant season opens statewide Saturday, October 1, and runs through October 7 for all licensed hunters 15 years old or younger.
The week-long hunt opens a half hour before sunrise in Area 1, 2 and 3, except on the C.J. Strike, Fort Boise, Montour and Payette River wildlife management areas, where shooting hours begin at 10 a.m. Shooting hours continue statewide through a half hour after sunset.
The regular season opens October 8 in Area 1 and October 15 in Areas 2 and 3.
Youth hunters must be accompanied by a licensed hunter 18 years or older – one adult may accompany more than one youth.
The daily bag limit is three cocks, and the possession limit is six after the first day, except on wildlife management areas where pheasants are stocked, in which case the daily limit is two cocks and four in possession.
Hunters 17 and older need a WMA pheasant permit to hunt on Idaho Fish and Game wildlife management areas where pheasants are stocked. Pheasants will be stocked on the Payette, Montour, Fort Boise, Niagara and Market Lake wildlife management areas before the youth hunt weekend.
All upland game hunters are required to wear hunter orange during the pheasant season when hunting on wildlife management areas where pheasants are stocked. And all hunters must have a valid 2011 Idaho hunting license.
Details are available in the current Upland Game, Furbearer and Turkey rules brochure, available at license vendors and online at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/hunt/rules/?getPage=67.
Sage-Grouse Season Opens October 1
The Idaho restricted seven-day; one-bird per day season for 2011 opens Saturday, October 1.
Details are available in a brochure available in print at license vendors and on the Fish and Game website: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/docs/rules/uplandSage.pdf.
Any person hunting sage- or sharp-tailed grouse must have in their possession a valid hunting license with a sage- sharp-tailed grouse permit validation at $4.75.
The sharp-tail grouse season also opens October 1 and runs through October 31. Check the Upland Game, Furbearer and Turkey Seasons and Rules brochure for 2011-2012 for season and limit details.
UPLAND BIRDS — The Conservation Reserve Program has been a boost for wildlife in many areas, but everyone agrees that the type of vegetation planted in the retired farmlands is critical to its subsequent value to wildlife. Some plantings have left cover, but little food value for birds such as pheasants.
On Tuesday, Joey McCanna, Washington Fish and Wildlife Department upland game bird specialist, will present information from his research project “Invertebrate Population Response to Native and Non-Native Forb and Legume Improvements to Existing Conservation Reserve Program Lands.”
In other words, will a different mix of plants in CRP improve the production of bugs that will boost the nutrition and survival of upland birds, such as pheasants?
Check it out: Tuesday, 7 p.m., at the Inland Northwest Wildlife Council’s general meeting, 6116 N. Market St.