Everything tagged

Latest from The Spokesman-Review

Washington offers first female-only hunter education course

HUNTING — Washington's first hunter education field skills class designed especially for women and girls is set for Nov. 1 in Black Diamond.

The class, the first of its kind offered by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department  specifically for females, is a field skills evaluation for those who have previously completed the online hunter education course.

The agency announced Friday that the field skills class is set for 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 1, at Black Diamond Gun Club, 34862 Enumclaw-Black Diamond Rd.  The site is east of Auburn.

“We are seeing more women participating in hunting and shooting sports,” said Dave Whipple, hunter education division manager. “This class recognizes the trend, and will help female students make connections within the community of women hunters.”

The course will be led by female instructors.

Sign up to participate or contact Steve Dazey, (425) 775-1311.

Register here to complete the hunter education online course in preparation for the field skills course.

Additional female-only courses are being planned for different regions of the state over the coming year, Whipple said.

Washington man international hunter safety instructor of year

HUNTING — Western Washington Hunter Education Instructor Steve Mills has been named the 2014 International Hunter Education Association Volunteer Instructor of the Year.

Mills, of Toledo, Wash., was named this year’s recipient of the award at the 2015 IHEA-USA Annual Conference in Des Moines, Iowa. The award, sponsored by Federal Premium Ammunition, was presented to Mills at the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting on Friday.

Here's the scoop from the Department of Fish and Wildlife:

Mills taught 32 student classes and six new instructor classes, certifying 800 students and 45 additional hunter education instructors in Washington in 2014. He has been instrumental in assisting the WDFW in developing several new statewide program enhancements, including the online field skills evaluation course and the chief instructor training guide.

“Steve is a persistent, dedicated and humble man who relentlessly pursues improvement to our program and its delivery,” said Dave Whipple, WDFW Hunter Education Division Manager. “His integrity, commitment to service and significant contributions serve as an inspiration to all instructors.”

IHEA-USA annually recognizes one volunteer instructor who represents excellence in hunter education and benefits hunter education nationally.

“IHEA-USA represents over 700,000 students trained annually by over 55,000 instructors, most of whom are volunteers like Steve Mills,” said Steve Hall, IHEA-USA executive director. “Mr. Mills represents a great institution of volunteer instruction, dedication and passion that has carried hunter safety education since its inception in the mid-1940s.”


Registration deadline extended for free Hunter Education Jamboree

HUNTING — Prospective hunters who have completed online hunter education coursework can complete field skills requirements at the Hunter Education Jamboree June 6-7 in Yakima.

This is an event worth looking into regardless of where you live in the state since scheduling the required field test can be difficult where qualified hunter education instructors are in short supply.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has extended the deadline to register for through May 25.

Field skills requirements include a review of the online course content, including safety, firearms, first-aid and conservation topics, as well as hands-on firearm handling and live fire practice.

The Jamboree will take place at the Boy Scouts of America Camp Fife, 8370 Bumping River Road, near Goose Prairie, south of Bumping Lake. Three field skills sessions will be offered: Saturday, June 6, 8 a.m.-12 p.m. and 1- 5 p.m., and Sunday, June 7, 8 a.m.-12 p.m.

Each of the three sessions can accommodate up to 100 preregistered students. The Jamboree will be conducted by WDFW hunter education coordinators and more than 30 volunteer instructors from all over the state, said Aaron Garcia, WDFW south central region hunter education and volunteer coordinator.

For more information on registration, and to register, visit the following webpages:

Many campgrounds are available in the area for use by those who want to arrive the night before a registered session.

All prospective Washington hunters born after January 1, 1972 are required to show proof of hunter education course completion before purchasing their first hunting license.  To learn more about online hunter education courses and the field skills requirement, new hunters can visit http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/huntered/.

Don’t paint women hunters a particular color

HUNTING — With the help of a sociologist's research, my Sunday Outdoors feature story related insights on the growing ranks of women hunters.

Here's another insight gleaned from the women’s panel discussion at Backcountry Hunters & Anglers Rendezvous in Spokane in March:

You can’t lump women in one basket any more than you can stereotype men in terms of their likes and attitudes about hunting.

Hunter Yana Robertson, creative director for onXmaps in Missoula, cringed at the marketing of women-shaped fishing waders and hot pink guns and camouflage. “Just treat us like any other sportsman,” she pleaded.

On the other hand, some women enjoy the look and comfort of anatomically contoured fishing waders. I've seen plenty of testimonials that a pink-stocked shotgun was the ticket that got a woman to try out the target range.

And pink camo? Don't shoot it down on sight.

U.S. military testing in the 1990s found hot pink to be one of the most visible colors in to the human eye – a major safety consideration– yet because hot pink is a a blend from opposite ends of the rainbow, deer see shocking pink as neutral gray, researchers say.

Strong women may not just embrace hot pink in their hunting camo, they might also buy it for their kids, as well as their boyfriends and husbands.

Dogs can inflict tough love on poor-gun-handling hunters

HUNTING — Abiding by the laws and never putting a loaded gun into a vehicle prevents countless firearms accidents.

Beyond that, a hunter who's around children or animals must be especially vigilant to firearms safety, often beyond the law.

I like the actions-open approach to any dealing with a bird dog in the field, as the photo above shows.

The story below illustrates the consequences of ignoring basic firearms safety, especially around pets.

SHERIDAN, Wyo. (AP) – Police in northern Wyoming say a rifle discharged after a dog apparently stepped on it, injuring a 46-year-old man.

Johnson County Sheriff Steve Kozisek says the bullet struck Richard L. Fipps, of Sheridan, in the arm on Monday.

The injury is not life-threatening but Fipps is being treated in a hospital in Billings.

Kozisek said Fipps and two others were in a remote area trying to move a vehicle that had become stuck. Fipps was standing beside his truck when he told his dog to move from the front seat to the back seat.

The sheriff says a rifle was on the back seat and it discharged toward Fipps.

Read about another incident in which a dog shot its hunting partner.


As hunting seasons peak, keep safety in mind

HUNTING — Bear with me. I'm going to tell you something you probably already know.

But as volunteers at the area rifle sight-in days tell me year after year, you can't believe how many veteran hunters violate the basics of safe gun handling.  I know you're not one of them, but humor me… read this anyway.

Hunter Education Instructors stress several safe gun handling basics in their classes. Knowing that many hunters completed the course a long time ago, it makes sense to revisit the lessons — and share them with your family and hunting buddies.

  • Always control the muzzle of your firearm. As long as the muzzle is pointed in a safe direction, nobody can get hurt in the case of a mishap.
  • Be certain of your target and what is beyond it. A safe hunter never shoots at sound or movement. 
  • Wear hunter orange.  It's required in Washington. Idaho is one of few states where hunter orange is not required.  But it's still a good idea there as well as anywhere else where it's proved to reduce "mistaken for game" hunting accidents while having little or no impact on modern rifle or upland bird hunting success.
  • Treat every firearm as if it is loaded, whether it's in your hands or someone else's.
  • Be sure the barrel is clear of obstructions and that you are carrying only the correct ammunition for your firearm.
  • Never point a firearm at anything you do not intend to shoot.  Carry binoculars to check out the hillside. Never look through your scope at something you cannot identify.
  • Hand your firearm to a friend or slide it under when you cross a fence.
  • Store firearms and ammunition separately and never put a loaded firearm in a vehicle.
  • Alcohol and guns don’t ever belong together.

Please be safe in the field and be strong enough to let your hunting partners know when you think they are putting themselves or others at risk. 

Hunter education course bears the heat

HUNTING — The hot sunshine that sent most folks toward water on Saturday didn't deter a group of dedicated hunter education instructors, their students and a few good hunting dogs from hitting the field near Medical Lake to take their best shot.

Jack Dolan,73, and a stable of helpers and instructors offer the rare course that includes the vital element of live fire under carefully controlled field situations. 

On Saturday, they tested the students and their ability to walk through the field with loaded shotguns to see how they would react to real chukars that flushed in unpredictable directions. The students had to decide in an instant whether to shoot, or not,  while swinging on a flying bird.

  • Would you want to hunt with a student who'd never shot  a firearm in a field situation? 
  • Would you want a heart bypass by a surgeon who'd never dealt with the variables of hemorrhage in a living creature?

Here's a tip of the hat to the crew that's been going the extra mile for hunter safety for 23 years.

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.

Beat the rush: hunter education classes have openings

HUNTING — Spring and summer are the best times to get youths enrolled in hunter education courses that are pre-requisites for obtaining a hunting license.

Idaho reports openings are available in upcoming classes, unlike fall, when procrastinators vie for limited space in crowded classes.

Check on available classes in your areas online:

Sad story about dads taking daughters hunting

HUNTING — Normally we're uplifted by parents who take their kids hunting.

Not this time.

No one was injured, physically at least, but a Western Washington hunting incident described by this weekend story in the Olympian might be one of the grimmest stories I've read about parental responsibility and the sport of hunting.

Read on.

Smart hunters in blaze orange stand out in the crowd

HUNTING — Washington’s main deer hunting season opens Saturday, three days after Idaho hunters got the head start.

You can tell the difference between hunters from the two states. Washington hunters must wear fluorescent orange clothing during the modern rifle big-game seasons. Most Idaho hunters wear camouflage.

Growing up in Montana, where blaze-orange clothing has been required since I started hunting as a grade-schooler, I’m comfortable being highly visible to other hunters while being nearly invisible to big game.

Orange camo clothing is highly efficient. I’ve verified that during plenty of close encounters with unwitting deer and elk.

The first lesson my dad gave me is still the best and most basic advice for getting close to big-game, and it works regardless of whether you’re wearing blaze orange:

A hunter should be seen and not heard – and always strive to be still and downwind.

Hunter orange clothing works in more ways than one

HUNTER SAFETY — Wearing fluorescent orange clothing already was a requirement for hunters in Montana when I passed my hunter education course and bought my first hunting license in the 1960s.

I know some guys think only scaredy cats wear hunter orange, especially in Idaho and Oregon, where sportsmen don't have the courage to enact minimum hunter orange requirements for modern firearms seasons.

Although Idaho's statewide hunting accident rate is low, more than 70 percent of recorded incidents are caused by hunters mistaking other hunters for game animals.

Hunter orange clothing requirements virtually eliminate mistaken for game shooting accidents.

And the impact on modern-firearms big-game hunting is nil, something that was confirmed to me again last week as I sat on a stand during the late whitetail buck hunt.

I was wearing a fluorescent orange fleece jacket with a camouflage pattern. A whitetail doe came out of the woods and angled through a slight opening in the woods to within 25 yards just upwind of where I sat leaning against a tree. At one point she looked right at me before twitching her tail, nibbling the brush and taking her sweet time walking on past.

I've lost track of how many times I've had the same experience with deer, elk and antelope.

Hunters who can hold still and take advantage of the wind have nothing to fear from hunter orange clothing, but a lot of life to gain if a foolish hunter is in the area.

Veteran officer offers field safety tips to turkey hunters

HUNTING — With spring turkey hunting seasons in full swing around the Inland Northwest, it's worth pausing a moment to hear out Larry Case, a Virginia conservation officer for three decades as well as an addicted turkey hunter, has see it all over the years, from inside a blind and behind a badge.
"No groaning or eye rolling, please: Hunter safety is serious business," he says. 
"Let's start with the most basic rule in hunter safety; if all hunters observed this rule, all the time, we would have virtually no "hunter mistaken for game" incidents. If you ever had a Hunter Education course you should have this first one memorized…"
Read on for his eight timely tips on "Safety In the Turkey Woods."

Gun powder needed for hunter education

HUNTING — Hunters education classes can use any gun powder that might be sitting unneeded in shops or basements of the region's hunters and reloaders.

"We do a powder burning demonstration for our classes to demonstrate the different burn rates for rifle, shotgun, pistol and black powder," said Paul Weekley, one of the certified instructors for the Inland Northwest Wildlife Council.

The powders keep forever, so if people have some they're not using, these classes are a worthy cause.

Bring it to the Big Horn Show, which closes today at 5 p.m. at the Spokane Fair and Expo Center.

Or contact the council office, (509) 487-8552.

Hunter ed classes filling at Big Horn Show

HUNTING — This year's hunter education classes offered by the Inland Northwest Wildlife Council were filling fast at the sign-up table at the Big Horn Outdoor Recreation Show on Saturday.

Classes in May were full by Saturday morning and April probably filled before the day was over.  

But there was still plenty of room to fill in classes set for other months. 

The show ends this afternoon.