Outdoors

Out & About: Whitetail buck antlers; Spokane Bike Swap; Raptor program; Buttercup Hike; Fly fishing Extravaganza

On Jan. 8, 2011, the matched pair of whitetail buck antlers above were photographed just as Rich Landers found them in the Snake River breaks.  This buck appears to have snapped his head down and shed both antlers at once.  Ah, relief.

 (Rich Landers)
On Jan. 8, 2011, the matched pair of whitetail buck antlers above were photographed just as Rich Landers found them in the Snake River breaks. This buck appears to have snapped his head down and shed both antlers at once. Ah, relief. (Rich Landers)

OUTSHED – As late as the third week of March, some whitetail bucks in the Spokane area farther north were still wearing their antlers.

“Most drop their antlers by the end of January,” said Jim Kujala, who said he noticed what seemed like an unusual number of bucks with their hat racks still on as he trapped deer for a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife research project.

Is this unusual: “Maybe, but maybe not,” says Woody Myers, department research biologist.

Antler growth begins with increasing testosterone levels in spring and peaking during the fall rut. Antlers are shed when the levels drop.

Most adult bucks shed antlers from late December through February, but factors like higher testosterone levels can postpone the event.

Possible reasons for elevated testosterone levels include better body condition, more does in the area or incomplete breeding of the does in the area, he said.

Or maybe some of the female fawns are in such good condition they’re on the verge of ovulation,” he added.

“This usually happens in the spring of their first year if habitat conditions allow,” Myers said.

Spokane Bike Swap coming

OUTPEDDLE – Cyclists can buy or sell used bikes at the  Spokane Bike Swap next weekend at Spokane County Fair and Expo Center.

Bike check-in is Friday; event is 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Info: SpokaneBikeSwap.com.

Expert features live raptors

OUTCLASS – Raptor expert Kate Davis of Montana-based Raptors of the Rockies will present a free program on hawks and owls at the Audubon meeting Tuesday, 7 p.m., at Lutheran Church of the Master, 4800 N. Ramsey Road in Coeur d’Alene.

Davis will demonstrate with live birds.

Buttercup Hike at the Hills

OUTDO – The 48th annual Buttercup Hike through the Dishman Hills Natural Area is set for Saturday and will be led by geologist Michael Hamilton of the Dishman Hills Conservancy.

Meet at 1 p.m. at Camp Caro, 625 S. Sargent Road, in Spokane Valley.

Fly fishers talk trout

OUTCAST – The Spokane Fly Fishers’ annual Extravaganza is set for Wednesday at St. Francis School, 1104 W. Heroy.

Doors open at 5 p.m. with fishing information booths, fly tying and food A presentation by fish biologists starts at 7 p.m. Free.


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Rich Landers

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