RAFTING – Applications to get coveted permits for floating the Selway, Snake, Middle Fork of the Salmon, or wild main Salmon rivers next season must be submitted online between Dec. 1 and Jan. 31.
The new shift to online applications includes a few other twists, U.S. Forest Service officials announced this month:
•Reservations will be accepted only at the national public lands recreation Web site: www.recreation.gov.
•Each applicant must have a unique e-mail address to create an online profile.
Officials say the new system will be faster and allow applicants to file for more launch options.
Safety alerts and notices can be sent to river permit holders as their trips draw near abouts.
Boaters also can use the Web site to make reservations for preseason and postseason launches for the Middle Fork and wild main Salmon rivers.
Montana reaches wolf hunt quota
PREDATORS – Wolf hunting in Montana closed statewide Monday after Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks officials determined that harvest quotas had been reached or were nearly met in all of the state’s wolf hunting zones.
The state’s first wolf seasons would have run as late as Dec. 31 if quotas had not been met.
The statewide quota was 75 wolves while 74 were reported as being taken by hunters.
Going into the season, Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials estimated about 500 wolves in the state.
Despite the hunting, the number of wolves in Montana is likely to increase by 20 percent or more next year, officials said.
Idaho’s first wolf hunt is still under way in nine of 12 zones. About 110 wolves have been taken out of a quota of 220. The Dec. 31 season end has been extended to March 31 in some areas or until quotas are reached, state Fish and Game officials said.
Pheasant releases planned for holidays
HUNTING – A total of about 2,000 pen-raised pheasants are scheduled to be released sometime next week at eight public hunting sites in far-Eastern Washington.
The pheasant release program will end for the season in mid-December when another 500 roosters will be turned loose at the state’s six southeast sites.
Fishtrap Lake and Sherman Creek areas will not get birds in the December release, Washington Fish and Wildlife officials said.
About 5,000 birds already have been released to supplement wild birds during this year’s pheasant seasons.
In addition to the release sites, which are detailed on the department’s Web site, a few pen-raised birds are occasionally sprinkled into Whitman County “feel free to hunt” areas.
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