Latest from The Spokesman-Review
BOWHUNTING — During the hot summer months, archers often turn their attention to carp and other legal targets. This is called archery fishing, and certain rules apply, according to the Idaho Fish and Game Department's “Ask a conservation officer” series:
Q: Do I need an archery permit to bow-fish?
A: No. Archery permits are only required for hunting in archery-only seasons. But a valid Idaho fishing license is required to fish with a bow. Fishing with a bow and arrow, crossbow, spear or mechanical device, excluding firearms, is permitted only in the taking of bullfrogs and unprotected nongame fish – such as carp and suckers – and only in those waters during the season set for the taking of game fish. See the 2013-2015 Fishing Seasons and Rules brochure – Page 50 for archery fishing and Page 52 for the definition of nongame fish.
WILDLIFE WATCHING — The Blue Mountains delivered a Yellowstone-like wildlife watching experience for hiker Ken Vanden Heuvel of Newman Lake last weekend.
He was solo hiking one of the ridge trails that lead into the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness when he came across a herd of elk — at least 46 cows, yearlings and calves.
I cropped in on the left portion of Ken's main photo for a blow-up shot of the left portion of the herd where at least 12 calves were concentrated for protection.
“When they came back up the ridge in front of me, the calves were whining,” Ken said, noting that he held still to watch the spectacle. “As I waited for them to cross, a few of the calves were nursing.”
A few weeks ago, the cows were all off on their own delivering their young of the year. As soon as the calves were strong enough, they joined up with other cows and yearlings for strength in numbers — more eyes and ears to help detect danger from predators.
This looks like a good crop.
The bulls, by the way, are off on their own — until September.
HUNTING — A screening of short films devoted to bowhunting films — the Full Draw Film Tour — is schedule in Spokane for Wednesday, June 11, starting at 7 p.m. at the Bing Crosby Theater. Tickets are $14 for adults, available online. Doors open at 6 p.m.
In its fourth year, the 2014 tour featuring eight hunting filmmakers is traveling to at least 21 U.S. cities.
HUNTING — A Spokane man's four-year crusade to make lighted nocks allowable for archery hunters — as a means of reducing wounding loss, among other things — has found his ultimate reward.
The Pope and Young Club, the bowhunting record-keeping group for big-game trophies since 1961, has voted to make an exception to its ban on electronic equipment for taking animals submitted for archery records.
Jim Sutton, president of the Inland Northwest Wildlife Council, started his campaign by showing up at public game-rule meetings, writing letters and testifying before the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission — often with his daughter. Over and over they made the case that the state should allow bowhunters to use the electronic devises, since they gave the hunter no killing advantage but a big advantage in finding wounded game and recovering arrows from the field.
The Suttons' proposal was slow to be accepted, but gained backing by most archers, save for the traditionalists.
Once the state made the exception in 2013, Sutton and others turned their attention to convincing the members of Pope and Young. He knew that even though it was finally legal to use lighted nocks in Washington, many hunters would not use them if it would disqualify a once-in-a-lifetime trophy from being recognized in the record books.
Last week, he proudly sent me this memo from Pope and Young:
Lighted Nocks will be Acceptable; Other By-law Changes Passed
TO: Pope and Young Club Members,
Standard lighted nocks and bow-mounted cameras will be exempted from the “no electronics attached to the bow or arrow” rule, as a result of changes to the Club's By-laws that had passed a vote of the Board of Directors and passed ratification by the voting membership.
Since the late 1980s, the Club has had bowhunting equipment definitions and a Rule of Fair Chase that addresses electronic devices. Among other things, those stated “no electronics attached to the bow or arrow.” This is part of the Club's By-laws constitution and governs the acceptability of animals for entry into the Club's Records Program (“the record book”).
The significant change, the result of much internal discussion/debate over many years, creates exemptions that read as follows:
- RULES OF FAIR CHASE #7: [Not] by the use of electronic devices for attracting, locating or pursuing game, or guiding the hunter to such game, or by the use of a bow or arrow to which any electronic device is attached, with the exception of lighted nocks and recording devices that cast no light towards the target and do not aid in rangefinding, sighting or shooting the bow.
- DEFINITION OF A HUNTING BOW, EXCLUSIONS #2: Electronic or battery-powered devices shall not be attached to a hunting bow, with the exception of recording devices that cast no light towards the target and do not aid in rangefinding, sighting or shooting the bow.
- DEFINITION OF A HUNTING ARROW, EXCLUSIONS #1: No electronic or battery-powered devices shall be attached to the arrow, with the exception of lighted nocks.
This change will officially go into effect on Aug. 1, 2014, as new Fair Chase Affidavits are created and distributed to our corps of volunteer official measurers. The change IS RETROACTIVE — meaning that animals previously taken, as well as those taken from this point forward, will now be eligible to be entered into the Records, provided they meet all other conditions/criteria.
The By-law change language passed voting membership ratification by a vote of Yes-296 (75%), No-101 (25%).
HUNTING — My Outdoors column today features a model bowhunter who recruited capable help and went the extra grueling mile to track and retrieve a whitetail buck (above) after his arrow missed the vitals.
But what about other archers, especially during the bowhunting seasons that target rutting bucks and bugling elk?
There are no good current statistics to support the argument, but all hunters wince at the amount of wounding loss that comes up in conversations. Add it all up and the number of lost animals appears to be significant if not disgraceful.
The advantages archers get in season timing coupled with the advances in archery equipment, trail cams and the increased reliance on baiting apparently has lured more undesirables into the bowhunting ranks.
A lot of luck and years are invested in a trophy buck or bull.
We should all be thinking of ways, rules and standards to minimize the waste of such coveted resources.
HUNTING — Washington wildlife officials are looking for ways to reduce the number of mule deer that congregate in the city limits of Republic, Wash. But in this one case, local officials felt the poor doe deserved a second chance.
Fish and Wildlife biologists Wednesday removed an arrow stuck in a mule deer doe that wanders the Ferry County town with her two fawns.
The wounding comes just a week after state officials requested local residents help them figure out ways to cull the deer.
Republic Police Chief Jan Lewis requested WDFW help for the deer, which apparently wasn’t critically wounded by the arrow lodged through the skin of its neck.
Republic has long had many deer living in town – both enjoyed and considered a nuisance by residents — and local authorities have worked with WDFW to lethally remove many of them.
But with two fawns still in tow, and the insult of the arrow through its neck, Lewis asked for help in catching, treating and releasing this deer.
WDFW biologists easily found the trio in a Republic backyard and shot a tranquilizer dart into the doe to handle her safely. While her fawns watched not far away, the doe was blindfolded to keep her calm, the arrow was removed and the wound treated with antibiotics. The deer also received a bright orange ear tag marked with the number “7” so she could be monitored easily.
After a reversal drug took effect, the doe rejoined her fawns. A day later Lewis reported that “lucky number seven” was doing well.
WDFW estimated cost of the operation, including staff time, fuel, drugs and equipment, was about $1,000.
Information about how the deer was shot with the arrow can be reported by calling 1-877-933-9847, or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or completing an on-line report form at http://wdfw.wa.gov/enforcement/violation/.
Depending on the circumstances, the incident could be considered unlawful hunting of big game second degree, or harming/harassing wildlife, both gross misdemeanors which could carry penalties of up to $1,000.
OUTDOOR PROMOTIONS – Women will be treated to prizes, free seminars on handguns, an intro to archery and other events plus discounts on purchases during the Ladies Day Out promotion Saturday at the Post Falls Cabela’s store.
Five half-hour seminars begining at 10 a.m., include jerky and fudge-making.
Read on for the entire schedule, plus two carry over seminars set for Sunday.
HUNTING — Amanda Lowrey, 25, a Sandpoint mother of two girls, is among the top four finalists in the final rounds of the 2014 Extreme Huntress Competition filmed in July in Texas. Episodes will run online starting next month and then will be televised next year.
See the S-R story about Amanda as she went into the competition in June.
The competitors are being judged based on physical fitness, shooting, tracking, and hunting. The competitor with the highest daily score determines the daily activities.
In addition, the competitors will need the votes of fans.
Ten episodes will be released every two weeks online at ExtremeHuntress.com and their partner sites. Episode voting will begin on Oct. 1, 2013, through early next year.
Says Lowrey on her Facebook page:
It's the last leg of the race for the 2014 Extreme Huntress Competition. I'm gonna need help from all of YOU to win this part of the race! Online voting begins again on Oct.1. Please take a moment of your time and vote for me and share the heck out of the contest with everyone you know. I've only made it this far because of all of you, so lets go all the way and win this thing!
To vote, visit www.extremehuntress.com.
See a KREM 2 News report here.
HUNTING — My buddy, Andy, sent me this photo of bull elk passing by his trail cam, which is mounted just 20 yards from his bowhunting blind.
Trust me: you can't really imagine how anxious Andy is for the first week of September, unless you're a bowhunter.
HUNTING — A free traditional archery-bowhunting workshop will be held starting at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 27 at the Idaho Fish and Game Department office, 3316 16th St. in Lewiston.
“If you’re thinking about making the switch to traditional gear, or simply curious, this workshop is a good place to start” says Clay Hayes, habitat biologist and traditional archery enthusiast.
This “into to traditional archery” will cover topics including: choosing a bow and arrows, aiming, practice, tuning, as well as the major differences between modern and traditional archery. Participants will learn from experts in the field and will get a chance to shoot using primitive archery equipment.
Pre-register: (208) 799-5010.
HUNTING – Allowing lighted nocks for bowhunting was among 17 measures adopted for the 2013 hunting seasons during the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting Saturday in Oympia.
Jim Sutton of Spokane has worked for several years to get the commission to approve the use of electronically illuminated nocks, which can be helpful in retrieving arrows. Traditional bowhunters had originally opposed the any use of electronics in primitive weapon seasons, but Sutton argued that lighted knocks had no impact on harvest success.
Some of the other new rules will:
- Restore archery hunts for antlerless elk in Yakima County in game management units 352 (Nile) and 356 (Bumping).
- Rescind the five special hunting permits previously available for the Tieton bighorn sheep herd, which the state recently eliminated to prevent the spread of a deadly outbreak of pneumonia.
- Restrict importation of dead game animals from Missouri, Texas and Pennsylvania, which are among a number of states with deer and elk populations known to harbor chronic wasting disease.
All 17 hunting rules approved by the commission will be included in the 2013 Big-Game Hunting pamphlet, which will be available in sporting goods stores and other license vendors late this month.
HUNTING — By a 6-2 vote, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission today approved used of lighted nocks on arrows for bowhunting.
Spokane hunter Jim Sutton has been promoting the proposal for several years, as pointed out in a Spokesman-Review story published in 2011.
Sutton argued that lighted nocks are allowed for hunting in many states because they help archers recover wounded game as well as retrieve lost arrows from the field.
The proposal had been opposed by some groups, notably the state's traditional bowhunters.
Even though the Pope and Young Club has been dragging its feet on the issue, the trend is changing.
HUNTING –The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will consider adopting 17 new hunting rules for the upcoming season when it convenes Friday and Saturday April 12-13 in Olympia.
Among other proposals on the agenda, the panel will consider allowing bowhunters to use illuminated arrow nocks, which can be helpful in finding and retrieving arrows.
All of the proposals scheduled for a vote are posted online.
In other business, a plan will be discussed for transferring the Fish and Wildlife Department's Hunter Education Division and certain wildlife-conflict responsibilities from the Enforcement Program to the Wildlife Program.
HUNTING — Idaho Fish and Game answers a question that's probably important to an share of my readers, the proportion of which we will keep to ourselves:
Ask Fish and Game: Archery for Felons?
Q. Can a felon hunt with a bow in Idaho?
A. It depends on the felony. Under Idaho law, anyone convicted of any of 36 felonies may not own, use or carry a firearm, which the law defines as “any weapon from which a shot, projectile or other object may be discharged by force of combustion, explosive, gas and/or mechanical means, whether operable or inoperable.” That would include a bow (and muzzleloader equipment).
The right can under some circumstances be restored, unless the crime was murder in the first or second degree, or if conviction included the use of a firearm in the commission of any the listed felonies.
(For a list of felonies see Idaho Code Title 18, Chapter 3, section 18-310.)
HUNTING — North Idaho bowhunter Bob Legasa was in postion to put a nice bull elk in the freezer a couple weeks ago when it came to the calls of his hunting partner.
But when he realized the elk was a hair smaller than the bull he wanted to tag this fall, he relaxed his bow and enjoyed the thrill of being 15 yards of a 600-pound animal with raging hormones.
HUNTING — Bowhunters have been learning over the years — some of them the hard way — that bears and even cougars will sneak in on them while they are calling elk during the September rut seasons.
Cow and calf talk is especially effective in luring predators, and archers must be ready to deal with being prey for a large carnivorem whether it's with their bow, bear spray or a handgun, where allowed.
This week, a Montana elk hunter with a wolf license shot a wolf on the fourth day of archery season just west of the Whitefish Divide, reaching a quota that prompted Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks to close the North Fork Flathead’s wolf management Unit 110. It is the only hunting district in the state that retains a quota for wolves.
Region One Wildlife Manager Jim Williams said the hunter checked in the wolf as required on Wednesday.
“An individual archer took an 83-pound, 4-year-old male wolf just west of the Whitefish Divide,” Williams told the Daily Interlake. “The guy was cow-talking at elk. The wolf came right in.”
Only two wolves can be harvested a year in the district, which covers the North Fork west of Glacier National and extends over the Whitefish Divide into Lincoln County.
One more wolf can be harvested once the rifle season for wolves opens Oct. 15.
BIG-GAME HUNTING — A Bozeman man has based a soon-to-be released movie around elk hunting season and his newborn son.
Visit the online trailer and you quickly see there's some unusual depth and quality to the making of Searching for West by Mark Seacat, a 33-year-old elk hunting fanatic. As Brett French, Billings Gazette outdoor writer points out:
A preview of the film shows dramatic aerial photos of elk on a ridgeline, jaw-dropping slow motion shots of an archer releasing an arrow, all accentuated by a vibrant sound track that makes you want to be in the woods hunting. Now!
While you're online, sign up for the prize drawings. Some good stuff there.
Searching for West will premier at Bozeman’s Emerson Center for the Arts and Culture’s Crawford Theater on Aug. 16 and will be released online at noon on Aug. 22.
Read on for French's report on the film and the filmmaker.
WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT — Perhaps it's a hint of the difference wolves can make. While Idaho cut back on elk hunting opportunity for this fall, Washington — where wolf expansion is still in its infancy — is expanding elk hunting permits.
But the Fish and Wildlife Commission wasn't game for proposals to allow electronic devices for hunting. During its meeting Friday and Saturday in Olympia, the commission left intact the statewide ban on using electronic decoys to attract waterfowl and illuminated knocks on hunting arrows.
Click “continue reading” for more details on the commission's decisions for 2012-2014 hunting seasons, plus info on new wildlife lands purchase in Asotin and Okanogan counties and the landowner hunting program approved for the Turnbull area.
BOWHUNTING — A proposal to allow lighted nocks to be used on arrows for bowhunting seasons in Washington got a big vote of confidence for bowhunters in an email survey conducted last month by the Fish and Wildlife Department.
The survey results were released to The Spokesman-Review this afternoon. The proposal had been opposed by some groups, notably the state's traditional bowhunters.
The proposal comes from Spokane hunter Jim Sutton, who couldn’t even get his idea discussed at the Spokane public meeting held this summer to gather public comment on the first round of proposals.
In a Spokesman-Review story published this summer, Sutton argued that lighted nocks are allowed for hunting in many states because they help archers recover wounded game as well as retrieve lost arrows from the field.
Even though the Pope and Young Club has been dragging its feet on the issue, the trend is changing.
- 86 percent favored the use of lighted nocks,
- 10 percent said no lighted nocks should be allowed,
- 4 percent were undecided.
Dave Ware, WDFW big-game manager in Olympia said 3,800 people responded to the email survey presented to hunters who'd purchased archery tags in the past two years.
Washington has about 24,000 licensed archery deer hunters and 22,000 archery elk hunters, he said.
The proposal will be worked into the package of revised proposals to be presented for more public review in January and ultimately to the Fish and Wildlife Commission for a vote in March.
ARCHERY — This photo is going around the Internet. Although I cannot verify it since there are no contacts or specifics, I agree it illustrates a point of caution needed when trying out archery equipment.
The photo reportedly was taken on a cell phone after a man took his friend
to a shop to buy his first bow.
The clerk reportedly was assisting him in zeroing it in, and, after shooting several arrows, making adjustments etc., the clerk is reported to have accidently handed him an arrow that was too short.
Here's the rest of the report from the anonymous e-mail:
When the man drew back, the arrow tip fell down onto his hand as he released it. They rode to the hospital with the bow in his buddy's hand because it impaled his finger also! They are both archery amateurs (I'm thinking the clerk is also?).
HUNTING — Years ago, before Jim Ebel had retired as manager of the Colville Fish Hatchery, I wrote a story about his unnerving encounter with a cougar.
He was putting up a tree stand before the archery deer season when a cougar came in below the tree and waited for an easy meal to come down. Ebel was unarmed.
Eventually the cat left the immediate area, so Ebel crawled down and began hiking a mile to his pickup, but the cougar immediately showed up again and stalked him from beihind and from the side, slipping in and out of sight at close range.
That experience — something most hunters will never experience in their lifetimes — was enough to convince Ebel to carry a weapon in the woods.
But last year's hunting season seemed to move Ebel's status from hunter to “bait.”
Read on for the rest of the story:
WILDLIFE ENCOUNTERS — It's worth emphasizing that an Idaho archer was able to end a grizzly attack on his bowhunting partner on Saturday by using pepper spray, an essential that should be on the pack straps of every hunters in grizzly country.
The elk hunter who apparently stumbled across a bear’s resting spot and was hospitalized after the animal bit him and broke his right arm, officials said.
Richard Paini, 40, suffered puncture wounds and an injured left hand along with the broken forearm in the attack at about 9 a.m. He was taken to the Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls.
A hospital spokesman said Paini, of Island Park, was listed in serious condition Saturday afternoon.
The bear involved in the attack fled after Paini’s archery hunting partner, John Stiehl of Island Park, used bear spray to scare off the bear. Stiehl told authorities he believed it was a grizzly bear.
Gregg Losinski, an Idaho Fish and Game bear specialist, said hunters are at more risk of surprising bears because they are understandably being stealthy when they're in the woods.
BOWHUNTING — Alex McClean, a senior at Timberlake High School/Spirit Lake is an avid bow hunter who boasts of being able to “Robin Hood” an arrow on numerous occasions. (He can shoot a bull's eye, then split the arrow with another shot, reports photographer David Nall).
Alex caught the attention earlier this week of Huckleberries blogger D.F. Oliveria.
Alex still has the target he used with the two arrows, one split right down the middle up to the point, hanging in his room as proof, Oliveria said. Nall snapped the photo above in a group of trees right down the divider of Seltice Way, in Post Falls, near the National Guard.
HUNTING — North Idaho bowhunter Bob Legasa followed some hunting guides into the Gardner, Mont., area to bugle in elk. First came a young cow, then a bull that would stand out in any crowd of large beasts.
Check out this short sample of a longer video he's producing to document the hunt.
“More than 70 elk seen in 2.5 days, 5 set up-close encounters with a bull screaming within 75-100 yards,” Legasa reports. “The taxidermist I was filming guessed the bull would score around 370 (Boone and Crockett points). Pretty impressive ground over there!”
BIG-GAME HUNTING — The 2011 archery elk permit drawing results are in, and for some it was a day of reward and excitement. For others there was disappointment in not drawing a permit for this year. For Montana it was an economic bloodletting.
The details are spelled out in an op-ed piece published in the Missoulian by Mac Minard, executive director of the Montana Outfitters and Guides Association.
“More than $16 million in economic activity has been lost due to residents and nonresidents who wanted to archery hunt in Montana but could not draw the permit. Limitations on permits are not based on conservation concerns, as all of the hunting districts involved are either at or over published population objectives for elk.
“In 2008, in a very controversial decision, the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission decided to move from unlimited to limited archery elk permits for the Missouri Breaks. The rationale given included a number of factors, none of which had to do with abundance (or lack) of elk as populations are larger than desired. This action spurred a furious debate, but in the end it passed with no one really knowing what the impact would be.
“Then in 2010 the commission further reduced archery hunting opportunity in 22 additional hunting districts where elk were at or over the management objective. Taken together, 29 hunting districts, or 36 percent of the land mass of Montana, are now managed under a limited permit system. All of them enjoy an abundance of elk.
“Now, in 2011, we find that 1,854 resident hunters and 1,989 nonresidents, who had already obtained hunting licenses, put in for archery permits but were not drawn. These 3,843 hunters would have come to rural Montana to hunt and would have spent money on motels, restaurants, travel and incidentals that provides desperately needed economic activity and benefits families in communities that are struggling financially.”
Read on for more of Minard's commentary.
Jim Sutton of Spokane displays arrows with lighted nocks, which he believes should be allowed for hunting in Washington.
A Spokane sportsman says the state should consider his bright idea for reducing the number of deer and elk wasted by archery hunters.
“Allowing lighted nocks is a no-brainer to me,” said Jim Sutton, referring to an LED light in the fletching end of an arrow that illuminates upon release by the bowstring’s thrust.
Washington hunting regulations prohibit the use of certain modern and electronic equipment such as lighted sights and nocks for use during the special primitive weapons seasons. Rich Landers, SR Full story.
Seems to me lighted arrow nocks might be a good idea. What do you think?
BOWHUNTING — From my recent interview with Ted Nugent, here's an audio clip of his rant on the archery industry and its tendency to promote high-poundage bows.
WILD FOWL — In a testament to the species’ hardiness, reports of white wild turkeys among the region’s big wintering flocks are fairly common.
First, one must marvel that there are big wintering flocks after two bad winters in the past three years followed by this year’s unusually wet spring nesting conditions.
Then, to see white wild turkeys surviving through spring, summer, fall and into winter reinforces the bird’s top survivor status.
Albinism and white phases occur in many species, including skunks. But nature tends to be harsh on these aberrations. Lacking the natural camouflage, predators key in on them easily, although they might have some sort of advantage in the scattering of weeks when snow is on the ground.
Sadly, another sign of their toughness is the beating they take. Evan Johnson sent me the two photos accompanying this post. — the white turkey and the normal wild turkey feeding among its flock with an arrow through its breast.
The only thing worse than the shot and the arrow choice some archer made is his unwillingness to do what it takes to finish the job on a noble bird.