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Out & About

Purple mountains majesty prevails

OUTPICK – Honestly, it made us sad last week to see the bounty of huckleberries going unpicked along good hiking trails north of Lake Pend Oreille and around Sullivan and Priest lakes.

Bazillions of them. Too many for the bears to eat. Bears may be sprawled out unconscious from overdosing on huckleberries.

The prized mountain fruits soon will freeze, fall to the ground and rot without “purplizing” a backpacker’s tongue.

A Facebook friend commented: “We’ve gorged until we couldn’t eat anymore of them down McCall way, too.

“Years from now, old-timers will talk about the ’09 huckleberry crop with reverence.”

First-aid training for wild places

OUTCLASS – A two-day wilderness first-aid course is being sponsored by Gonzaga University and the National Outdoor Leadership School-Wilderness Medicine Inc.

When: Oct. 10-11.

Cost: $185

Preregister by Sept. 30; call 313-6396 or e-mail

New deer season targets fork-horns

OUTHUNT – A new hunt this year gives 60 muzzleloaders an early shot at Eastern Washington mule deer, but they’re restricted to shooting only 2-by-2 point bucks.

The season runs Saturday through Oct. 16 in the Roosevelt, Harrington and Steptoe units.

Biologists believe some bucks in those areas are living to old ages while never sporting antlers with more than two points.

Hunters must bring their deer in for analysis to supply the data for research on these “super 2s.”

“Redfish” return in big numbers

OUTRUN – This year’s run of sockeye salmon to Idaho’s Redfish Lake will be the largest since 1956, when 1,381 spawners made the arduous 900-mile journey up the Columbia and Snake river systems.

Meanwhile, the sockeye’s land-locked cousins, the kokanee, are beginning their colorful splash in the waters of the Inland Northwest.

Kokanee with red bodies and green heads are congregating this month in mountain streams such as the Clearwater’s North Fork and Kelly Creek.

In October and November, kokanee will be spawning along shores of lakes such as Priest and Loon.

Harvey Creek at Sullivan Lake offers a convenient view of the crimson tide around the first week of November.

The region’s biggest kokanee-related spectacle is in December as bald eagles congregate to feed on spawners in Lake Coeur d’Alene’s Wolf Lodge Bay.