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Field reports: 5,497 acres added to wildlife area

SUNDAY, NOV. 10, 2013

PUBLIC LANDS – A huge addition to a state wildlife area in Kittitas County has been approved for purchase by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission during its meeting Friday in Olympia.

The acquisition will include 5,497 acres adjacent to the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department’s  L.T. Murray Wildlife Area, 35 miles northwest of Yakima.

The commission also gave approval for the agency to purchase a 589-acre inholding in the Wenas Wildlife Area near the state’s winter feeding area for elk.

Also on the agenda was a report on the status of reptiles and amphibians in Washington and a briefing on proposed changes in hydraulic permit approval rules.

Anglers must keep hatchery steelhead

FISHING – Anglers must keep all hatchery-marked steelhead they catch up to their daily limit of two in the Tucannon River, according to an emergency fishing rule the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department enacted on Aug. 30.

The rule, still in effect, brings the Tucannon in line with rules to reduce the impact of hatchery fish on wild spawners in the upper Columbia River and tributaries including the Wenatchee, Icicle, Methow, Similkameen and Okanogan rivers.

Graying of hunters noted by officers

HUNTING – In the weekly Washington Fish and Wildlife police report for far-eastern Washington following the opening weekend of elk hunting season, Capt. Dan Rahn noted, “Every officer commented on the overall decline in hunter numbers combined with an apparent aging of the hunter population as a whole.”

Turnbull trumpeters attract more swans

BIRDING – Trumpeter swans that nested this year at Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge appear to be attracting the attention of other swans.

Two pairs of swans nested this spring, the first time in decades that two clutches of cygnets were produced.

While two of those cygnets have died, the others are flying and chasing around the ponds near the refuge headquarters.

“We have recently been seeing a group of 11 flying around, so the two pairs and their young of this year have picked up a couple of swans from the previous years’ broods,” said Mike Rule, refuge wildlife biologist. “I expect to see more any day now. We are hoping more of the 2009 and 2010 cygnets will return to nest next year.

“Winslow Pool, which has been dry for two years because of a failed water control structure, has been repaired and is refilling.

“This has been an important swan pond; it is the original swan display pond where the first cygnets were released on the refuge. So having it functioning again is a real plus for the swans.”

Wolf trapping opens in Idaho Friday

PREDATORS – Idaho’s wolf trapping season opens Friday and state officials warn dog owners that they should know how to release their pets from leg-hold traps and snares on the off-chance they are caught.

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