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DU plans treat for youth waterfowlers Sept. 21

HUNTING — Ducks Unlimited is offering a barbecue lunch for youth waterfowl hunters and their parents/chaperones at Mar Don Resort, Potholes Reservoir, on Youth Waterfowl Hunt Day, Saturday, Sept. 21, from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Each of the first 48 youth, who is registered online ($5 fee) on or before Sept. 19 – will receive a bbq lunch,  a “duck hunter’s bucket”, Haydel duck call and lanyard, and a gun tool, all donated by Colonel Tom O’Dell, of Moses Lake.  DU has donated a duck identification poster, DU duck call and cap for each young hunter, as well, while Kraft Foods has donated a snack pack for each youth.

Please visit the DU website,  , or, the specific address is: to

Sign up here.

The fee is $10 for the parent/chaperone, who accompany the youth, and they will be fed, too!

An anonymous donor is buying a Greenwing (youth) membership for each of the first 48 who sign up.

Mike Nilsen, WA State DU Chairman-Elect is coordinating the event.  Mike is a career Navy NCO, who is working with Col. O’Dell to make this happen for our young hunters.

Sept. 21-22 is the special youth only waterfowl and upland game bird hunting season, which gives hunters under 16 years of age a jump start on the general seasons that open later this fall. Non-hunting adults at least 18 years of age must accompany young hunters. Check WDFW’s Migratory Waterfowl and Upland Game Seasons pamphlet for details.

Details of Washington waterfowl seasons changed

HUNTING — Amendments to some of the fine print on Washington's 2013-2014 waterfowl hunting seasons have been made by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission and posted on the state agency's website. The changes include changes in limits for ducks such as canvasbacks and scaup and details about goose seasons.

Click here to see the final regulations and a Concise Explanatory Statement that describes the changes the Commission has made to these regulations. 

The Commission also extended the comment period for proposed Wildlife Interaction Rules to Sept. 20The rule involves mitigating wolf-human conflicts.  Submit comments to: Wildthing@dfw.wa.gov.

Turnbull Refuge to host youth for waterfowl hunting

HUNTING – Young hunters can apply for a limited-entry youth waterfowl hunt at Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge during Washington’s youth waterfowl hunting weekend at the end of September.

Applications will be accepted Aug.1-15 from licensed hunters under age 16.

Hunters will be allowed to use designated hunting sites, accompanied by an adult.

One application per hunters must be submitted on standard U.S. Postal Service postcards and include the youth’s full name, address and telephone number.

Youths may apply with a youth friend or youth sibling on the same application.

Mail postcards to Refuge Manager, Turnbull NWR, 26010 South Smith Road, Cheney, WA, 99004. 

Drawing results will be posted on the refuge website and letters of confirmation and a youth waterfowl hunt brochure will be mailed to selected youths by the end of August. 

A workshop will be held in partnership with the Spokane Chapter of the Washington Waterfowl Association to select hunting sites, and provide waterfowl identification and hunting tips on the weekend prior to the hunt.

Info: (509) 235-4723.

Ducks Unlimited to honor Whitman County landowner

CONSERVATION – The Spokane chapter of Ducks Unlimited will hold its annual fundraising banquet April 11 at the Lincoln Center. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

Bob Zorb of Spokane and St. John, who was unable to travel for the national ceremony in Washington, D.C, will receive DU’s national private lands conservationist of the year award at this Spokane event.

Get tickets online at ducks.org/washington.

Electronic decoy setups can rival Disneyland

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

Check out this video.

Parasites are natural in ducks, fish; but they’re still nasty

HUNTING/FISHING — My outdoors column this week discusses some of the disturbing parasites waterfowl hunters and anglers have discovered in the ducks and fish they've harvested in the Inland Northwest.

They're natural; been around for a long time, and in most cases the game and fish are still safe to eat — as far as we know — as long as you cook the meat to at least 180 degrees.

But would I eat visibly parasitized meat?  What do you think?

  • Waterfowlers: The photo above shows a mallard infested with the sarcocystis parasite, better known as “rice breast.” 
  • Fishermen: Click on the document attached to this blog post to see the pamphlet “Common Parasites and Diseases in Washington Fish,” prepared by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
  • Hunters note that the meat of rabbits, bears and cougars also must be thoroughly cooked to prevent exposure to serious diseases: tularemia and trichinosis.

Documents:

Idaho sets clinics for youth waterfowlers

HUNTING– Registration is underway for the limited number of spots in the annual Youth Waterfowl Hunting Clinics sponsored by the Idaho Fish and Game Department’s Panhandle Region.

This year’s clinics are set for Sept. 29, when girls and boys ages 15 and under and their parents can learn the basics of hunting waterfowl in mentored hunting situation during the states’s special hunting season just for youths.

Following a morning hunt with experienced waterfowlers, participants will be treated to a free barbeque and skills clinic. 

The clinics are limited to 25 participants at three different clinics:

Northern Panhandle Clinic: Boundary Creek Wildlife Management Area, northwest of Bonners Ferry.

Central Panhandle Clinic: Pend Oreille Wildlife Management Area, east of Sandpoint at the Clark Fork Delta drift yard boat ramp.

Southern Panhandle Clinic: Heyburn State Park, northwest of St. Maries at the south end of Lake Coeur d’Alene.

Pre-register with J.J. Teare at the Panhandle Region Office, (208) 769-1414.

Eastern Washington early goose hunt Friday-Saturday

HUNTING — Washington's two-day early Canada goose hunting season in Units 4 and 5 — most of Eastern Washington — is set for Friday and Saturday (Sept. 14-15).

Check your regs carefully, and get ready for what appears to be great hunting.

North Dakota’s problem makes it goose hunter’s mecca

WATERFOWLING — North Dakota is opening what looks to be a bountiful hunting season on Canada Geese in mid-August to deal with the flyway's overly successful goose boom.

For the first time, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department is recommending a daily bag limit of 15 and a possession limit of 30 for the early season that begins Aug. 15 and continues through mid-September.

That’s up from limits of eight and 16 during last year’s early season.

The reason for the liberal bag is simple, wildlife managers say:

There’s too many Canada geese out there - way too many, in some cases.

“Canada geese are definitely emerging as one of the Central Flyway’s top priorities up and down the flyway,” said Mike Szymanski, a migratory game bird biologist for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department in Bismarck. “It’s not just the Dakotas having issues; they’re superabundant, and prairie Canada has a ton of Canada geese, too.”

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the federal agency charged with regulating migratory bird seasons, North Dakota’s estimated Canada goose population this spring stood at a whopping 415,000 birds. That’s more than twice the 162,000 Canada geese tallied in the spring of 2000 and five times higher than the state Game and Fish Department’s management goal of 80,000 birds.

Wetlands conservation banquet set in Pullman

WETLAND CONSERVATION — The Pullman chapter of Ducks Unlimited will hold its annual fund-raising event on Feb. 12 at the Paradise Creek Brewery in downtown Pullman. 

Social hour starts at 4 p.m. A ticket gets you in for heavy hors doeurves, a drink of choice, the fundraising auction and membership in Ducks Unlimited, which is celebrating its 75th year of efforts for waterfowl conservation.

For tickets, contact Joe Ford (509) 872-3030; Vic DeMacon (509) 336-9151, or Jeremy Lessmann (509) 336-9559.

Since 1937, DU has conserved 12 million acres of habitat across North America, benefiting more than 900 different species of wildlife.

A ducky day for a Lab

HUNTING — I had the privilege to hunt the Lower Coeur d'Alene River area with a yellow Lab named Gunner this weekend. It was a good day.

Ducks Unlimited shares the holiday spirit

WATERFOWL HOLIDAYS — A reminder from Ducks Unlimited of the beauty good habitat ensures.

Aerial survey plots Columbia Basin waterfowl congregations

WATERFOWL HUNTING — Mikal Moore, state waterfowl biologist, compiled data Wednesday from the season’s first aerial waterfowl surveys over the Columbia River Basin on Monday and Tuesday.

Bottomline: Northerns are here.

“There a lot of new birds in the area, probably recently arrived, that seem to be staging in large groups at well-established reserves and private hunting clubs”, she said. The ducks were not yet well distributed and widely available to hunters, but many opportunities exist, she said.

Waterfowlers will want to read on for details from her observations.

Waterfowler’s best friend: Labs don’t balk at winter retrieves

WATERFOWLING — Tank, a bruiser black Lab, races back with a mallard drake before the ripples smooth out in the decoys on the Pend Oreille River Saturday.

Temperatures in the teens didn't even nick the the dog's enthusiam for rounding up all the ducks and geese Kent Contreras could bring down from his Avery Outdoors layout blind. 

After every retrieve he returned, settled down steady by Contreras and looked out as if to say, “Bring it on.”

Very cool.

The original plan was to hunt a slough that had been luring ducks by the hundreds. But the cold temps sealed the slough in ice, forcing the Newport-area pair to hunt the open water of the river.

Waterfowl hunting website compiles watershed of info

WATERFOWLING — The Washington Fish and Wildlife Department has a new waterfowling website ready for hunters to take advantage of the best forecast fall flight of ducks since 1955 — and the foul weather that's ushering them southward and into our region.

The site has information for new or returning waterfowl hunters, ranging from the basics of duck and goose identification to details on hunting locations, equipment, licensing requirements and handling harvested waterfowl.

One portion of the site is devoted to helping hunters zero in on places to hunt waterfowl. The information isn't necessarily specific. Hou'll still have to go out and do your homework. 

The site also is a quick stop for hunters checking on waterfowl regulations and seasons, especially for the more confusing seasons for Canada geese. Goose management in much of Estern Washington restricts hunting to Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays, but late fall and winter bring added opportunity on holidays including the Thanksgiving holiday Nov. 24-25, the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, and Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 16.

Veteran artist’s wood duck painting wins 2011-2012 Duck Stamp contest

WETLANDS CONSERVATION — Joseph Hautman of Plymouth, Minn., won the 2011 Federal Duck Stamp Contest on Saturday with his acrylic painting of a single wood duck.

Hautman has previously won the contest three times, in 1991, 2001 and 2007. His art will be made into the 2012-2013 Federal Duck Stamp, which will go on sale July 1, 2012.

The federal migratory bird stamp program has raised $750 million for wetlands conservation since its inception in 1934. The money has been used, among other things, to preserve 5 million acres of wetlands habitat important not only to ducks and geese, but also to a wide range of other wildlife.

See a video about the Duck Stamp Contest here.

I'll be writing more about the current status of the Duck Stamp program and why waterfowl hunters and other wildlife and wetlands cconservationists should be paying particularly close attention this year.

Misprint corrected in IFG waterfowl hunting time chart

WATERFOWLING — Idaho Fish and Game officials say the time chart on Page 11 in the 2011-2012 Waterfowl Seasons and Rules book has some incorrect times for five days in January in southern Idaho area.

The opening times on January 22 through 27 in the column for Ada, Adams, Boise, Canyon, Elmore, Gem, Owyhee, Payette, Valley and Washington counties and part of Idaho County, all in the Mountain Time Zone areas are off by three hours.

The correct opening times in those areas are: January 22 - 7:41 a.m.; January 23 - 7:40 a.m.; January 24 - 7:39 a.m.; January 25 - 7:39 a.m.; January 26 - 7:38 a.m.; and January 22 - 7:37 a.m.

The correct closing time for January 27 is 5:49 p.m.

The times for all other days are correct.

For a correct table, see the waterfowl rules on the Fish and Game Web site.

Ducks Unlimited raising wetland funds at Northern Quest BBQ

CONSERVATION — With waterfowlers gearing up for the fall general season start (Oct. 15), the West Plains Chapter of Ducks Unlimited is sponsoring BBQ buffet dinner and fundraising auction Oct. 6 at Northern Quest Casino.

Many species of wildlife benefit from the work of DU and the generosity of sportsmen and other conservationist to preserve and restore wetland habitats.

Buy tickets online by Oct. 1 for a chance on $100 Duck Bucks to use on the Live Auction!

Read on for details.

DU encourages waterfowls to double up on Duck Stamps

WETLANDS CONSERVATION – Ducks Unlimited is asking duck hunters and other waterfowl enthusiasts to “double up for the ducks” by purchasing two federal duck stamps this year.

“The federal duck stamp has been an important tool in waterfowl habitat conservation for 77 years, but its ability to purchase and conserve important waterfowl habitat has been greatly diminished by inflation and rising land prices,” DU CEO Dale Hall said. “The purpose of the ‘Double Up for the Ducks’ campaign is to show that hunters support the program and are willing to pay more for the duck stamp in order to conserve waterfowl habitat. We view the duck stamp as an investment in conservation, not as a tax on hunters.”

This effort is part of a larger campaign currently being led by Ducks Unlimited to increase the price of the federal duck stamp.

Read on for details.

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.

Idaho sets fall waterfowl hunting seasons

HUNTING — The Idaho Fish and Game Commission adopted a 107-day waterfowl season for 2011-2012 during its meeting Wednesday.

A youth hunt was set for Sept. 24-25.

Read on for other details of bag limits and other seasons that begin in October.

Cheney teen excels in goose call contest

HUNTING — Andrew Graham, 15, a freshman at Cheney High School, recently returned from Easton, Md., where he attracted plenty of attention in the venerable World Goose Calling Championship.

Surrounded by and judged by such goose-calling notables as Tim Grounds and Fred Zink, Graham took second place in the junior division.