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A spruce grouse eyed an intruder from a log high in the mountains of Pend Oreille County last Sunday.  (Rich Landers)
A spruce grouse eyed an intruder from a log high in the mountains of Pend Oreille County last Sunday. (Rich Landers)

Hunting quick-starts with grouse, doves

OUTFIELD – Hunting seasons for some of the smallest and most difficult targets in the Inland Northwest opened this week.

Mourning doves and forest grouse are fair game in Idaho and Washington, as well as cottontail rabbits and snowshoe hares.

Hunting for raccoons also opened in Washington, although the species can be hunted year-round in Idaho.

Stevens and Okanogan counties usually are the state’s top forest grouse producers, surveys show. However, forest grouse numbers have generally been down in recent years, Washington Fish and Wildlife Department biologists say.

While Idaho opened its forest grouse season Monday, two days earlier than in previous years, some Eastern Washington biologists have been advocating a later start.

“I’d like to see the limit reduced to two and the season start delayed until mid-September to reduce the hunting pressure on hens and chicks,” said Dana Base, state biologist in Colville.

Surveys indicate hens and chicks are a high percentage of the dusky (blue) grouse killed in the first two weeks of September because the birds lag behind the males in dispersing to high areas.

Magazine ranks Spokane in top 25 outdoor towns

OUTSTANDING – Generally falling just under the national radar, Spokane finally has been exposed as one of the nation’s top places for outdoor enthusiasts to live.

Outside magazine’s August issue ranks Boise as the nation’s top outdoor town for skiers, paddlers, cyclists and runners.

Spokane was listed as runner-up to Ashland, Ore., for trail-running.

But in reading the text, it’s clear that Spokane is second to none in that category. For instance, the editors shortchanged us, saying the 75 miles of trails in Riverside State Park start “just five miles from town.” Huh? The trails start IN town near Albi Stadium and SFCC.

That barely scratches the surface of options ranging from South Hill Bluff trails, Spokane Valley’s Beacon Hill – and just ask the local high school cross-country teams about the trails on the north side near the Little Spokane River and elsewhere.