Field reports: Forest offers options for disabled hunters
HUNTING – Six gated roads will be included in the Colville National Disabled Hunter Access program this year as well as access platforms for wheelchair hunters provided by a sportsman’s group.
The 2013 disabled hunter access routes are:
• Betty Creek in Ferry County, 12.4 miles
• Boundary Mountain in Ferry County, 7.8 miles
• Brewer Mountain of Stevens County, 2.4 miles
• Middle Fork Calispell Creek in Pend Oreille County, 10.6 miles
• Mitchell of Stevens County, 7.8 miles
• Renshaw in Pend Oreille County, 2.8 miles
The program allows hunters with disabilities to have motorized access into a gated road where other hunters must walk in. The overall project is a cooperative effort between the Colville National Forest, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Inland Northwest Wildlife Council, which has built special wheelchair-accessible platforms in prime wildlife movement areas.
Disabled hunters who obtain permits and one of their two permitted assistants may harvest any game in season for which they have purchased licenses. Qualified disabled hunters must register and obtain a permit from a Colville National Forest office.
Info: (509) 684-7000, fs.usda.gov/colville.
Elk habitat secured in Wenas area
WILDLIFE – A 640-acre timber company inholding in the Wenas Wildlife Area near Yakima has been conserved for wildlife in a deal brokered by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. The Department of Fish and Wildlife will assume control of the land so it can be managed for wildlife. The Pine Canyon property, previously held by Western Pacific Timber on the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountains, is a key parcel for the public, officials say. “Not only is this vital winter range now permanently conserved for elk and other wildlife but there is an important public access component to this project,” said Blake Henning, RMEF vice president of lands and conservation. “A private landowner could have purchased the property and closed a road running through it to surrounding public land. Now it will remain open, providing access to those who want to hunt or otherwise enjoy it.” The property is home to more than 200 elk during the winter. It is also important for mule deer, bighorn sheep, mountain lions, black bears, bobcats, eagles and quail.
More forests ban exploding targets
SHOOTING – Led by a ban on exploding targets issued by Northwest national forests on July 9 and bans by other public land managers, a similar ban was issued Monday by Rocky Mountain Region Forest Service officials who cited the products enjoyed by target shooters as a major cause of wildfires.
Shooters who use exploding targets have ignited 16 wildfires since last year, including seven in the Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain region that includes Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota.
The ban extends to all national forests and grasslands in those five states.