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Field reports: Hunting, fishing insight for newcomers

HUNTING – Hunting, fishing and where to go to participate in these outdoor activities will be the focus of a free “fair” of information and activities presented by sportsmen’s groups and state fish and wildlife staffers Saturday, Sept. 28, in Spokane Valley.

The fair will feature:

• Inland Northwest Wildlife Council’s “virtual reality” fishing and hunting games, 

• Eastern Washington University Sportsman Club student members demonstrating fishing equipment rigging and line casting,

• WDFW information about Hunter Education, Fish Washington, and Wildlife Area and Water Access Site programs. 

• Plus, introductions to archery, bird-hunting dogs, and other outdoor skills, along with fish cleaning and preparation demonstrations, will also be available.

The activities are set for 1 p.m.- 5 p.m. at the office grounds, 2315 N. Discovery Pl. in Spokane Valley.

The events also are celebration of  National Hunting and Fishing Day and  National Public Lands Day.

Heller Bar ramp construction set

FISHING – Just as the fishing season is picking up, construction will run Monday through Friday to repair the badly eroded ramp for the Snake River boat launch at Heller Bar upstream from Asotin.

Washington Fish and Wildlife Department officials have finally secured all need permits and expect one of two lanes to the ramp to be closed through Friday. Boat launchers can expect delays, said Jeff Holmes, department spokesman.

An alternative public gravel launching site is 6.5 miles downriver, he said. 

Idaho may reward hunter loyalty

HUNTING – Loyalty to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game may soon pay off for hardcore anglers and hunters.

As the department’s leadership explores ways to bolster license sales, “Job one is to protect and reward our consistent customers.” said Sharon Kiefer, one of the department’s deputy directors.

Fish and Game is considering proposing raises in the cost of hunting and fishing licenses and tags by as much as 20 percent.

The proposed fee increase and the creation of a loyalty program are an effort to fix a decades-old problem: The department’s license-generated revenue is flat while costs are increasing.

The department’s two main sources of revenue are license and tag sales and federal money generated by taxes on hunting and fishing equipment.

Last fiscal year, the department fell short of its license sales goal by roughly $3 million, Keifer said. That led to fewer stocked fish and fewer conservation officers in the field, she said.

The loyalty program proposal would allow sportsmen who have purchased a license this year to avoid paying the 20 percent increase proposed for next year.