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Good hatch boosts prospects in Washington

Thu., Sept. 16, 2010

Washington waterfowl hunters can look up to prospects for good hunting this fall.

Don Kraege, Washington Fish and Wildlife Department waterfowl manager, said ducks appeared to have pulled off a hatch similar to last year within the state.

“But areas of northern Alberta, British Columbia and Alaska look like they had pretty good increases in breeding populations, so we’re expecting good flights and significant increases from the north,” he said.

Kraege acknowledged that the department has been looking into complaints in the Columbia Basin about hunting clubs that are flooding unharvested corn fields and luring large numbers of waterfowl.

“It’s an issue of concern,” Kraege said. “In general, it’s legal to grow corn and flood a field even if you don’t intend to harvest, according to current state and federal regulations. The question is, does the state want to be more restrictive?”

Fish and Wildlife Department officials presented information on this issue to the Fish and Wildlife Commission in August. The commission indicated it wanted to consider this and other baiting issues involving big game in one comprehensive look at a policy on baiting.

That debate could come to a head next year when the Fish and Wildlife Department entertains proposals for the next three-year package of hunting rule changes, Kraege said.

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