Sportsmen hooked on the rewards of hunting and fishing beyond roads and rigs are dropping their packs in Spokane this week. The 4th annual North American Rendezvous of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers (BHA) will convene at the Red Lion in the Park on Friday and Saturday. The schedule includes a brewfest, workshops, banquets, keynote address by a TV hunting show host, a film presented by an ethicist and other programs open to the public for the price of a ticket.
In the world of TV sportsman shows, at least one star is trying to avoid skewing the reality of hunting and fishing. “I try to paint the real image of public land hunting on my show,” said Randy Newberg of Bozeman, TV host and producer of Fresh Tracks and On Your Own Adventures on the Sportsman Channel.
March is one of my least favorite months. Ice fishing is over, as are all bird and deer hunting seasons. In March, I can peruse garden catalogs until the pages are tattered, clean guns and oil reels and watch the ground turn muddy. Fishing is still good at Lake Roosevelt, but if I need a hunting fix in March, there are only the hunting shows on TV. I dislike hunting shows and I hate myself if I watch one. Deer hunting shows are the worst – “snuff flicks” I call them, where a wild animal dies for entertainment and profit.
Fly fishing Sunday is the opener in the Quincy Wildlife Area. Lenice and Nunnally didn’t get much attention last season and could be very good this year. There are big rainbow and some browns in these lakes. Dusty Lake has also been popular over the years with fly fishermen looking for large rainbow, browns and tiger trout. It is a walk-in lake.
Surveys conducted this winter showed a substantial increase in elk calf-cow ratios for elk in portions of North Idaho as the region’s elk seem to be digging out of a six-year slump. Snow and weather conditions have not cooperated so far for aerial surveys in Units 1 and 4 of far northern Idaho, but biologists are encouraged by what they’ve found among the prized herds in the St. Joe region.
After five years, the once-controversial decision to allow elk hunting on Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge appears to be a win-win-win for the refuge, wildlife and hunters. The number of elk packing onto portions of the 18,217-acre refuge has been reduced, giving the wildlife habitat they were destroying a chance to regenerate.
The public has until Tuesday to comment on 2015-2017 Washington hunting rule proposals such as increasing moose permits and restricting the use of bait in deer and elk hunting. The proposals, developed after several months of public meetings and involvement, will be refined and presented to the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission at its March 20-21 meeting in Moses Lake.
Area chapters of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation are organizing their annual fund-raising banquets to raise money for wildlife habitat enhancement projects throughout the region. Since 1984, the Missoula-based foundation says it joined agencies and other partners to conserve or enhance 6.6 million acres of North America’s finest elk country.
To euthanize or tranquilize? That is the question state wildlife officials must ask as a last resort when moose become a high-risk threat to humans. Spokane officers have had to answer the question several times this winter.
Fly fishing Lake Roosevelt doesn’t get much pressure from the fly fishing community, but a few hardy anglers are testing their cold water tolerance and stamina in float tubes. A recent report indicated an Egg Sucking Black Bugger brought a couple of fish to the net in the vicinity of 7-Bays.
Sportsmen’s groups and outdoors business owners have scheduled rallies at the Idaho and Montana capitols to protest efforts by some state lawmakers to take control of federal public lands. The groups contend state takeovers would ultimately result in the public losing access to millions of acres of land critical to hunting, fishing and other outdoor recreation opportunities.
Nine members have been added to the committee that advises the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife on wolf recovery and management. Their appointments, for two-year terms that run through 2016, bring the Wolf Advisory Group’s membership to 18. Jim Unsworth, who assumed duties as the agency’s director this month, said the new members will bring diverse personal and professional backgrounds to the group that makes recommendations to guide the department’s implementation of the state’s Wolf Conservation and Management Plan. WDFW formed the group in 2013, with nine members representing the interests of wolf advocates, cattle ranchers and hunters. Unsworth said the new members bring a wider range of perspectives and, for example, include a science teacher and a member of the state’s largest hiking association.Dave Ware, the department’s wolf policy lead, said more than 50 people applied for the new positions following the department’s announcement in October that it was seeking to expand the group. Ware said WDFW placed a priority on selecting people from diverse backgrounds who have the ability to share information about the advisory group’s discussions within their own networks of contacts.
The region’s biggest cross-country skiing event of the season – a race or a tour, depending on how you want to ski it – is set for 11 a.m. on Feb. 8 at Mount Spokane State Park. The Spokane Langlauf 10-kilometer cross-country citizens race is led by elite skiers, but it also celebrates a Woollies Division for skiers donned in nonsynthetic clothing, and a Woodies Award for the top male and female finishers on wood skis.
No one has influenced so many facets of Inland Northwest fisheries as Allan Scholz during his 35 years at Eastern Washington University. The 67-year-old biology professor is transitioning into retirement, leaving a legacy that would rival Mark Few if fisheries science were a ball sport …