Hunting swift targets

Hunting seasons for some of the smallest and most difficult targets in the Inland Northwest opened on Sept. 1.

Mourning doves and forest grouse already are fair game in Idaho and Washington, as well as cottontail rabbits and snowshoe hares.

Hunting for raccoons also opened Sept. 1 in Washington, although the species can be hunted year-round in Idaho.

Stevens and Okanogan counties usually are the state’s top forest grouse producers, state surveys show. However, Dana Base, a Washington Fish and Wildlife Department biologist in Colville, didn’t want hunters to get their hopes up.

“Forest grouse continue to be way down in this area,” he said. “I’d like to see the limit reduced to two and the season start delayed until mid September to reduce the hunting pressure on hens and chicks.”

Surveys indicate hens and chicks are a high percentage of the dusky (blue) grouse killed in the first two weeks of September because the birds lag behind the males in dispersing to high areas.

Dove seasons run through Sept. 30.

“We see most of the (hunting) effort on doves in the first week of the season, or the first day,” said Don Kraege, WDFW migratory bird manager. “After that, it drops off. We also usually get a cold front that comes through in September, and birds tend to move out.”

That statement was verified last year, when Washington’s season was extended two weeks through September.

“Our surveys showed no significant change in harvest rates despite the two-week extension of the season,” said Mikal Moore, WDFW biologist.

The largest number of doves harvested in 2003-2007 seasons were in Grant and Yakima counties. Doves typically leave roosts in trees in the morning to feed in harvested grain fields. They return in the afternoon or early evening.

Click here to comment on this story »

Rich Landers

Rich Landers

More Outdoors Columns »
More Outdoors Blog Posts »

Most recent column

Recent blog posts

Mt. Spokane ski area expansion meeting Nov. 19

STATE PARKS -- The controversial proposal to expand the downhill ski area at Mount Spokane State Park will get another public hearing in Spokane Valley next month. The Washington State ...

Idaho record coho caught on Clearwater

FISHING -- Idaho's first specific coho fishing season opened Friday on the Clearwater River and before the weekend was over, the state had a new record for coho salmon. Ethan ...

Outdoors Calendar

Submit Your Event »

Outdoors Photography

More SR Photo Galleries »
More Reader Photos »





Contact the Spokesman

Main switchboard:
(509) 459-5000
(800) 338-8801
(509) 459-5400
(800) 789-0029
Customer service:
(800) 338-8801