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Artist’s passion for wood decoys, waterfowling displayed at GU

WATERFOWLING — Hand-carved waterfowl decoys — pretty to see and effective for hunting — are on display through Sept. 13 at Gonzaga University.

  • Artist Frank Werner of St. Maries, Idaho, will give a public lecture, “An Art of Deception,” about his decoys and his passion for using them at 4 p.m. Friday, June 27, at GU's Jundt Art Museum’s Arcade Gallery. “I'll be talking about decoys, how they fit in the art world, how hunting has influence the art world. with visuals showing how they are part of the American Culture,” he said.

The exhibition is part of the museum’s “Close-In” series of summer exhibitions highlighting the work of regional artists.

Werner, a retired U.S. Marine Corps master sergeant who was born in New York City, is recognized as a master decoy carver whose been carving decoys and hunting with them since 1974. His work has been shown in more than 50 exhibitions since 1984.

He describes his decoys as “strongly gridded, post-modern pieces,” but he emphasizes they are utilitarian first and are not solely decorative.

His elegantly sculpted waterfowl are positioned in attitudes that are typical to their activities: perching, standing, and feeding. No matter how aesthetically pleasing, “duck decoys are meant to deceive,” he says.

Intended for their practical use in the water, the display “cases” in the exhibition are only temporary homes until the next hunting season.

Werner has written and lectured about decoys, folk art, carving competitions, hunting, collecting, and the debate of art vs. artifact.

The museum’s exhibitions are free and open to the public Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The museum is closed Sundays and University holidays. Info: (509) 313-6843.

Scoot-n-shoot turkey hunting raises issues of ethics, safety

HUNTING — Promotion of a controversial turkey hunting technique that involves hiding or sneaking behind a fanned out gobbler decoy has caught my attention this season.

As you can see in the video above by Mojo Outdoors, this “scoot-n-shoot” method, also known as “fanning,” poses major issues with hunter safety as well as ethics.

In today's Outdoors column I write about on these tactics, featuring the viewpoint of five experts in the field, from the International Hunter Education Association to the National Wild Turkey Federation.

Check out the video first and then the reactions from the experts. Then let me know what YOU think.

Should the state enact a rule that prohibits a hunter from being closer than 5 or 10 feet from a turkey decoy while in the act of hunting?

  • To show how the basics of hunter education are deteriorating behind this mentality, the photo with this post shows TV crews and men who call themselves turkey hunting experts setting up an outdoors show filming featuring Miss Kansas shooting from behind a gobbler decoy.

Electronic decoy setups can rival Disneyland

WATERFOWLING — How crazy could it get if Washington had allowed electronic waterfowl decoys?

Check out this video.

Washington expands elk hunting, rejects electronic duck decoys

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.

Washington hunting rules to be set in Olympia

HUNTING – The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission is scheduled to take action on more than a dozen proposed changes in hunting rules for the 2012-14 seasons at a public meeting April 13-14 in Olympia.

New rules proposed for adoption include allowing waterfowl hunters to use electronic decoys and allowing bowhunters to use illuminated knocks. A separate item on landowner hunting permits also is on the commission's meeting agenda.

Some of the proposed hunting rules were developed after a series of public meetings and online surveys that began last summer. However, several proposed rules emerged after those meetings started, including the provisions on electronic decoys, lighted knocks and changes to the master hunter program for elk hunting near Turnbull National Wildlfie Refuge.

In other business, the commission will:

  • Consider adopting a statement designed to guide WDFW’s implementation of the state’s wolf plan,
  • Receive a briefing on legal aspects of the species’ protected status in Washington state.
  • Consider approving a request by WDFW to purchase 1,144 acres along Asotin Creek in Asotin County and 49 acres on the Methow River in Okanogan County to maintain habitat for fish and wildlife.

3 dozen people address commission on hunt rules

HUNTING — More than three-dozen people testified, mostly on new hunting rules proposed for the 2012-14 seasons, during the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting last Friday and Saturday in Moses Lake.

Hunters have passionate feelings on both sides of many of the proposals. Audio transcrips of the meeting should be posted soon on this portion of the commission's website.

Those proposals range from a measure allowing waterfowl hunters to use electronic decoys

The commission is scheduled to take action on more than a dozen proposals at a public meeting April 13-14 in Olympia.

Washington's Wolf Conservation and Management Plan also was discussed.

To help keep the public involved, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department has set up an online reporting tool to record observations of wolf activity.

In otherwords, when people see a wolf, or identify wolf tracks or hear a wolf howl, they're requested to file a wolf observation report at the agency's website/

Livestock owners suspecting wolf harassment of their animals would continue to call (877) 933-9847. 

Posted on the Fish and Wildlife commission's website is a draft Statement on Wolves in Washington to guide the state agency's implementation of the state’s wolf plan.

Survey gives mixed review for allowing electronic decoys in WA

WATERFOWL HUNTING — After mechanical “Robo Duck” decoys were invented in the late 90s, Washington waterfowl hunters enjoyed a few seasons to sample their effectiveness.

Many hunters liked what they saw as the wings caused movement in the air and water to lure waterfowl from afar.

But a majority of sportsmen and wildlife managers thought they were so effective they could eventually lead to reduced limits or shorter seasons.

In 2001, the Fish and Wildlife Department conducted a casual survey of hunters and found that 34 percent opposed use of mechanical decoys, 46 percent would be in favor of using them if it did not result in loss of hunting opportunity and 20 percent favored mechanical decoys unconditionally.

A 2006 survey found 40 percent opposition, 49 percent in favor if no restrictions resulted and 11 percent in favor unconditionally.

This fall, sportsmen on the Washington Waterfowl Advisory Group voted 7-5 to support a proposal reinstating use of battery-operated or other electronic decoys. This would bring Washington into alignment with Idaho and Montana, which have no restrictions on mechanical decoys.

The proposal made the list of items being considered for the 2012-2014 Washington hunting regulations.

In November, the WDFW conducted one more email survey among hunters who had purchased state waterfowl license endorsements in the past two years. Of the 3,500 responses:

  • 29 percent opposed use of electronic decoys,
  • 57 percent favored their use if they did not lead to hunting restrictions,
  • 14 percent favored their use unconditionally.

More public comment will be taken on revised proposals in January before the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission consider the hunting rules package again in March.

Ardent waterfowl hunter Kent Contreras of northeastern Washington said he’s on the fence, along with most hunters.

“They definitely are effective at bringing in ducks and geese,” he said while hunting Saturday. “I’ve heard from hunters in other states who say mechanical decoys become less effective the more waterfowl see them. But motion in a decoy spread is always effective.”

Last chance for online survey on allowing electronic duck decoys in WA

WATERFOWLING — Wednesday is the dealine for hunters to let the state know whether they want to head down the slippery slope of allowing electronic decoys for waterfowling.

Several waterfowl hunting guides have petitioned the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to consider allowing electronic decoys for waterfowl hunting starting in 2012.

The agency is approaching this petition by asking hunters (WILD ID requierd to vote) to comment by Nov. 16 in an online survey on this single question:

 
 
This survey is a followup to the first round of hunting proposals presented in late summer. See the results from more than 3,000 respondents to the previous survey on hunting proposals for 2012-14.
 

Hunters asked to vote on electronic decoys, East-West elk tags

HUNTING – Hunters have until Nov. 16 to comment in an online survey on two new proposals for 2012 hunting regulations being considered by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Electronic decoys: Several waterfowl hunting guides have petitioned the state to consider allowing electronic decoys for waterfowl hunting starting in 2012.  Vote here.

East-West elk tags: Some elk hunters want to elminate the East Side-West Side elk tag designations they can apply for special permits on both sides of the state. Vote here.

Have your WILD ID from your hunting or fishing license ready in order to complete the one-question surveys.

More than 3,000 people participated this summer and fall in the online scoping survey on the first round of proposals for the 2012-2014 huning seasons.  See the results.

The Washington Fish and Wildlife commission will consider the refined proposals this winter.

Out of the blue, commission to consider battery-operated decoys

WATERFOWL HUNTING — The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will consider a petition to allow use of battery-powered spinning-wing decoys for hunting during a special conference call meeting Friday, 8:30 a.m.

This didn't come up at the recent meeting the Fish and Wildlife Department had on new rules for upcoming hunting seasons.

The only way the public can listen to the discussion — travel to the Fish and Wildlife Department's Olympia headquarters and listen on the speaker phone.

Outlawed in Idaho, cow decoys work elsewhere for goose hunters

WATERFOWL HUNTING — Jump-shooting waterfowlers might be able to beef up their success by devising a cow “blind” for stalking birds in the field.

The practice once used by market hunters is not legal in Idaho.

But it's legal in Washington, according to  Capt. Mike Whorton of the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department.

Plow through the first part of the video above to the third segment, which shows three waterfowl hunters using a cow silhouette to stalk amazingly close to a flock of snow geese.

The subject of cattle silhouttes as hunting blinds came up in a Q&A feature from Idaho Fish and Game.

Read on for more details.