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Tuesday, March 26, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  Outdoors

Wildlife areas closed until April to protect game

Wintering elk move through a field on the 4-O Ranch Wildlife Area above the Grande Ronde River. The 4-O Ranch is among several areas in southeastern Washington that are closed to human activity until April. (Paul Wik/Washington Fish and Wildlife Dept. / Courtesy)
Wintering elk move through a field on the 4-O Ranch Wildlife Area above the Grande Ronde River. The 4-O Ranch is among several areas in southeastern Washington that are closed to human activity until April. (Paul Wik/Washington Fish and Wildlife Dept. / Courtesy)

Several state wildlife areas in southeastern Washington are affected by closures to aimed at reducing disturbance to winter weary big game, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife announced Wednesday.

The 4-O Ranch and Grouse Flats WLAs, along with the Weatherly Unit, Shumaker Unit, and all Asotin Creek WLA units south of the North Fork of Asotin Creek and Campbell Grade are closed to human activity until April.

Severe winter weather in February took a toll and elk and deer have been documented dying of starvation in places in southeast Washington, Paul Wik, department wildlife biologist said in a news release.

He said the fall drought, lack of fall green up, and the dry summer may have resulted in elk being in poorer than normal condition entering the winter.

The closures will mostly impact visitors who use the approximately 27,190 affected acres to recover antlers dropped by deer and elk this time of year. Adjacent U.S. Forest Service public lands are still open for winter recreation activities at this time.

Most closed areas are marked with signs. Grande Ronde River access in the Shumaker Unit is still allowed.

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