ACCESS – Qualified applicants have until Sunday to sign up in a drawing for special access to hunting areas through the Coeur d’Alene River Ranger District’s Hunters with Disabilities Program.
Disabled hunters must sign up in person at either the Forest Service’s Silver Valley Office, (208) 783-2363, in Smelterville or Fernan Office, (208) 664-2318, in Coeur d’Alene.
Applicants must present a Disabled Persons Motor Vehicle Hunting Permit (orange card), a valid Idaho Disabled Hunting License and a big game tag when signing up.
The Forest Service is allowing motorized access for hunters with disabilities during the general elk season, Oct. 10-31, in two areas:
• Clover-Haystack Mountain, Roads 6544, 6545 and 944.
• Idaho Gulch, Road 1505.
The drawing will be Monday.
Sandpoint Ranger District also has two areas open for disabled hunters. Applications for opening day hunts must be submitted by noon on Friday.
Info: (208) 263-5111.
Use non-toxic shot at pheasant release sites
BIRDS – Hunters are required to use non-toxic shot in their ammunition while hunting any type of birds at 29 pheasant release sites in Eastern Washington.
The first of three scheduled releases of pen-raised pheasants occurred last week in advance of the Youth Upland Bird Hunt. Hunters reported that plenty of birds survived for the debut of the early seniors-only pheasant season that started Monday and runs through Friday.
Blinds set at Winchester Regulated Access Area
DUCKS – Five duck blinds are being built in choice hunting spots on the Winchester Regulated Access Area southwest of Moses Lake to give hunters destinations, spread out pressure and improve hunter harvest, says Rich Finger, Washington Fish and Wildlife Department biologist.
“We’re starting with five crude but effective blinds to see how hunters respond to them,” Finger said, noting that staff is building the blinds with surplus materials.
Brochures at the “register to hunt” access area will show blind locations and ask hunter not to move them.
Discover Pass required by DNR
STATE LANDS – Washington’s Discover Pass is required on vehicles accessing most state-managed lands.
The Vehicle Access Pass that comes with a hunting or fishing license is valid only on state lands and access sites managed by the Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The Discover Pass is required for access to state parks and lands managed by the Department of Natural Resources. The Discover Pass, available where hunting licenses are sold, also is valid for access to WDFW wildlife lands.
New report required
WATERFOWL – The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission this year approved a $10 penalty for failing to report the harvest of several specific waterfowl species.
Hunters who fail to report their harvest of brant sea ducks in Western Washington and snow goose in Goose Management Area 1 will face a $10 fine that will be imposed when they apply for a 2013 special migratory bird hunting authorization.
The $10 penalty is designed to increase the number of reports needed for waterfowl management.
Check for CWD needed on returning game
DISEASES – Washington hunters returning with game from Wyoming or 16 others states, as well as the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan, must have the meat and trophies properly processed to prevent possible spread of Chronic Wasting disease.
The requirements are in place to reduce the risk of spreading CWD into Washington, where no cases of the disease have been confirmed.
While CWD is a fatal illness in deer and elk, there have been no confirmed cases of CWD being transmitted to humans or passed to domestic animals or livestock.
Details are on page 93 of Washington’s Big Game Hunting Seasons and Rules Pamphlet.
Hunter participation increased from 2006
SURVEYS – Numbers of anglers and hunters in the U.S. population increased in recent years.
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 38 percent of all Americans 16 years of age and older participated in wildlife-related recreation in 2011.
That’s an increase of 2.6 million participants from the previous National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation conducted in 2006.
Recreational fishing increased by 11 percent and hunting was up 9 percent, reversing a trend over previous surveys showing a 10 percent decline in hunting participation between 1996 and 2006.
The 2011 survey reports a corresponding increase in hunting equipment expenditures, which are up 29 percent from 2006.
Pot crops up in hunt areas around region
PUBLIC LANDS – Illegal marijuana plots have cropped up on public lands in recent years, posing danger to hunters who might stumble into areas that might be watched by armed guards or even boobytrapped.
National forest police in Washington, Idaho and Oregon advise hunters to be aware of clues that they’re in the vicinity of a pot grow. Watch for game trails that suddenly widen, thick walls of cut brush blocking a path, the smell of cooking food, lots of PVC piping and the most obvious indicator – the smell of marijuana.
Officials ask hunters to make a GPS note of the location if they encounter such things, but otherwise to just leave – and call their local sheriff when they get home.