Latest from The Spokesman-Review
HUNTING — Daniel Kuhta, 15, ended his career of participating in youth upland bird hunting seasons Sunday at the BLM Fishtrap Lake area with a limit of pheasants, and a good weekend with his dad, Scott, their yellow Lab, Luby, and the family's new Lab pup, Max.
"This was the last year for my son to take advantage of the youth hunt weekend," said Scott, marking just one in the series of changes of teenagehood.
"He turned 15 in July and today was the first time he drove ME to our hunting spot."
HUNTING — Two men, on opposite sides of the world, have been shot by their alleged best friends, reports News.com.au.
One man's shooting trip in Utah, US took a surprise turn when he was shot in the buttocks - by his own dog.
Meanwhile in France, a 55-year-old hunter had to have his right hand amputated after his dog accidentally shot him has said he doesn't blame the pet, which he still considers "adorable".
WILDLIFE CRIMES — In a major crackdown on alleged illegal wildlife traffickers today, Washington Fish and Wildlife police served 14 search warrants on businesses — including Walla Walla County restaurants selling illegal elk meat.
A SWAT team was called in to arrest one West Side man officers say provided “two to three big game animals a week” at times to undercover officers.
See the report by Andy Walgamott of Northwest Sportsman.
Here's report by KING 5 TV.
PUBLIC LANDS — Citing extreme fire danger in Eastern Washington, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has just issued emergency restrictions — including a restrictions on target shooting, smoking and open fires — for all state wildlife lands.
Many of these restrictions already are in place on national forests.
Read on for the details.
WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT — It's one thing to be an anti-government blowhard.
It's another thing to be detrimental to Idaho's public resources and the state's very valuable wild elk herds.
Good riddance, Rex Rammel.
See the story here, and we hope it's the last we hear of him.
ENDANGERED SPECIES — Even though Washington wolves are still protected by state endangered species rules, Idaho offered a touch of "management" to the Diamond Pack of northeastern Washington over the weekend.
A Washington man with an Idaho wolf hunting license killed a wolf on Saturday just east of the Pend Oreille County/Washington border.
The wolf had the red Washington eartags 379, 378, which means it had been caught, tagged and released by Washington Fish and Wildlife Department biologists studying the Diamond Pack's movements.
According to Jim Hayden, Idaho Fish and Game Department regional wildlife manager, the male wolf was killed by the hunter in Kalispell Creek. which drains into Priest Lake near Nordman.
The Diamond Pack had been observed as early as 2007 and was confirmed as the second breeding wolf pack in 2009. The photo above shows Diamond Pack pups photographed in Pend Oreille County in 2009 by a remote camera placed by the Washington Department of Natural Resources.
Only a few tagged Washington wolves have previously strayed to legal doom in other jurisdictions.
- A Diamond Pack female wolf was killed by a trapper in Idaho last winter just east of the Washington border.
- A Teanaway Pack female wolf was shot last spring in a southeastern British Columbia pig pen.
Read on for details on the Diamond Pack from the WDFW.
FOREST FIRES — The map above from the Wenatchee National Forest shows areas off limits to visitors because of forest fires in the Central Washington area.
The closures affect hikes in prime season and hunters out for Washington's early High Buck Hunt that opened Saturday.
BACKPACKING — After reading my post this morning about fire-related closures affecting hikers in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Stephanie Akker of Kennewick emailed me the photo (above) snapped Saturday from the Colchuck Lake area as she decided to evacuate during the night to safety.
I was happy to see your article on-line as I have been scouring for more info since we backpacked out of Colchuck, in the dark, Saturday night.
Attached is a photo of the fire from our campsite on the north end of Colchuck. We day hiked into the Enchantments Saturday after camping at Colchuck Friday night. We chose to evacuate after watching the fire grow dramatically over the course of 24 hours and also considering the proximity to the parking lot.
Yes, we had to forgo our coveted permit, but felt it better safe than sorry.
Read on for her photo of Colchuck Lake, a scene that helps you understand why it was no easy decision to leave.
HIKING — Many backpackers with coveted permits for the prime September season in the Enchantment Lakes area of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness in northcentral Washington are finding their plans up in smoke.
Area includes Eightmile Road, Colchuck, Stuart, Eightmile, Caroline, and Trout lakes, and the Windy Pass portion of the Enchantment area in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness due to a fire burning Many Enchantment area overnight camping permits are cancelled. However, the Enchantment Basin itself remains open at this time with access via Snow Creek Trail. Please call the Wenatchee River Ranger Station for more information on which permits are cancelled.
See a photo and report from a backpacker who self-evacuated Colchuck Lake Saturday night as fires closed in.
Read on for the latest press release and details from the Wenatchee National Forest.
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.
WILD FIRES from recent lightning storms on tinder-dry landscapes are an issue for people heading outdoors in almost every direction.
Here's a regional roundup from Mountain West News:
The 300-acre Cascade Creek Fire is the worst of the 200 wildfires sparked by lightning in Washington state over the weekend.
Portland Oregonian;Sept. 10
Strong winds pushed a wildfire first reported Sunday afternoon across more than 200 acres in southern B.C., and more than 1,550 residents near Peachland were ordered to evacuate.
Vancouver Sun;Sept. 10
Evacuations ordered as wildfire burns on Wyoming's Casper Mountain
A wildfire first reported at 4 p.m. Sunday on the east side of Casper Mountain in Wyoming grew quickly to hundreds of acres and forced the evacuation of campgrounds and dozens of homes.
Casper Star-Tribune;Sept. 10
More evacuations ordered on Mustang Complex fire in Idaho
A level 3 evacuation order was issued for residents along the Highway 93 corridor from Quartz Creek to North Fork in Idaho on Sunday, as the Mustang Fire Complex moved closer to that corridor.
Ravalli Republic (AP);Sept. 9
The Little Horsethief Fire that ignited Saturday afternoon grew quickly to 800 acres, and on Sunday, residents living on Snow King Mountain near Jackson, Wyo., were put on notice that they may need to evacuate.
Jackson Hole Daily;Sept. 10
Fire investigators believe the 8,000-acre wildfire burning in Montana south of Livingston was human caused.
Billings Gazette;Sept. 10
ENDANGERED SPECIES — No report yet on whether more Wedge Pack wolves have been killed in northern Stevens County as they continue to kill cattle while eluding the guns and traps of Washington Fish and Wildlife Department officers.
Get up to speed with:
Fight over wolves reignited — Seattle Times
Daily Wolf Howler, week's-end update — Northwest Sportsman
Colville Tribe confirms state's 9th wolf pack — Spokesman-Review
PUBLIC LANDS — Last night's wave of thunder storms in Eastern Washington has sparked numerous fires in the dry canyons and forests near Leavenworth, Chelan and Wenatchee. Here's the just-posted Forest Service report for details on locations, with the grim warning that high winds are predicted to fan the flames.
HUNTING — Larry Carey, who measures dozens of trophy big-game animals in Spokane each year as an official Boone and Crockett scorer, bagged his own wall-hanger recently while antelope hunting with relatives near Cimarron, N.M.
Carey, 74, shot a pronghorn measuring 85 inches green. After the 60-day drying period, the buck should easily make the 82-inch gross score minimum for the B&C Record Book.
Carey, a member of the Inland Northwest Wildlife Council and the anchor of Trophy Territory at the annual Big Horn Show, logged eight pronghorn hunts before tagging a bruiser this large.
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.
HUNTING — Duck and goose calling contests plus seminars by waterfowling experts and a retrieving dog trainer are on the schedule for two days of free events this weekend (Sept. 8-9) at Cabela’s in Post Falls.
Some of the seminars will be conducted by hunters who've been spotlighted in S-R outdoors features, including Pend Oreille County waterfowling expert Kent Contreras and Spokane-area dog trainer Dan Hosford.
8 a.m.-9 a.m. – Registration for junior duck calling.
9 a.m. – Seminar on identifying waterfowl, hunting regulations by Idaho Fish and Game.
9:30 a.m. – Junior Duck Calling Contest (16 and under).
9:30 a.m.-10:30 – Registration for open duck calling.
10:30 a.m. – Reading birds, when to call by Bill Saunders.
11 a.m. – Open Duck Calling Contest. 1 p.m. – Layout blind hunting, judging distance by Kent Contreras.
2 p.m. – Working Man’s Retriever by Dan Hosford.
9 a.m. – Registration for junior and open goose calling.
9:15 a.m. – Duck calling strategies by Chris Redell.
9:45 a.m. – Junior Goose Calling Contest.
10:30 a.m. Reading birds, when to call by Bill Saunders.
11 a.m. – Open Goose Calling Contest.
1 p.m. – Hunting gear, hunting situations by John Plughoff.
2 p.m. – Working Man’s Retriever by Dan Hosford.
Note: dog-training seminars may change times if weather too hot for the dogs.
HUNTING/FISHING – Matthew Scott, Washington coordinator for the Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, will present a program about the group’s involvement in the Colville National Forest planning, wilderness recommendations, collaboration efforts and off-road vehicle issues Tuesday (Sept. 4), 7 p.m., at the Inland Northwest Wildlife Council, 6116 N. Market.
HUNTING — A nice, easy, fulfilling start to the hunting seasons.
Scout and I have three and a half months to go!
WILDLIFE ENCOUNTERS — The effort continues:
PUBLIC LANDS — Fire danger as well as still-burning wild fires will be a major factor for some campers and hunters heading for recreation areas in Idaho, Montana and Washington during Labor Day weekend.
Smoking, campfires and use of chain saws are restricted on most state and federal lands to prevent more fires. Access roads and trails to some areas are closed because of existing fires, notably in Montana and central Idaho.
For example, the Selway River Trail, popular with hikers and hunters in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, is closed this week as fire crews clear timber falling on the route in the Moose Creek District.
No major fires are listed on the Colville or Idaho Panhandle National Forests, but fire restrictions are in place.
Despite cooler temperatures, fire danger continues to be rated extreme in much of the region, said Joani Bosworth, spokeswoman for the Umatilla National Forest.
National forest websites are the best all-hours sources for updates on fire-related restrictions.
Websites with updates on fires and restrictions include:
THROUGHOUT THE WEST
- Forest fire activity updates: www.inciweb.org
- Clearwater-Nez Perce National Forest: http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/nezperce/alerts-notices
- Idaho Panhandle National Forests: www.fs.fed.us/ipnf/
- Colville National Forest: www.fs.usda.gov/colville
- Umatilla National Forest (Blue Mountains): www.fs.usda.gov/umatilla/.
- Washington state lands: http://fortress.wa.gov/dnr/firedanger/BurnRisk.aspx
WATERFOWLING — Abel Cortina of Prosser won the premier solo event in the Washington State Duck Calling Championships last weekend, earning a berth in the prestigious World Duck Calling Championships held over Thanksgiving holidays in Stuttgart, Ark.
John Plughoff of Yakima dominated goose-calling, winnng the Washington State Goose event as well as the Open Goose event.
Cortina — chairman of the Washington Waterfowl Association and one of the judges in the state event — won the Washington premier contest in 2003 and went on to place 16th at Stuttgart.
Cortina missed several years of competitive calling while serving in the military, although he won the 2005 Arizona state title while stationed there and returned to finish second hin the Washington state event last year.
Cortina teamed with another WWA member, Mike Maier of West Richland, to top the Two-Man Duck event.
Apparently Cortina’s position with the WWA judges doesn’t help him in the competition. Judges never know who’s competing at any time; they’re in a segregated area and can only hear (and grade) the calls — not seeing the callers.
Read on for the list of top callers in each division.
PREDATORS — Idaho's 2012-2013 wolf hunting season opens statewide on Thursday (Aug. 30).
A season has been open since July 1 on private land in the Panhandle Zone, but no wolves have been reported harvested to date.
Wolf advocates are countering the Thursday wolf season opener with a rally "honoring the 379 wolves killed in Idaho, during the 2011-2012 wolf hunt." The event is set for 3:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Thursday at Fort Sherman/Coeur d’Alene City Park.
Live music, guest speakers, refreshments are planned as well as a trap-release workshop put on by Footloose Montana. The session is aimed at educating citizens on how to identify traps/snares, and if necessary, how to release a pet that is caught in a trap or snare.
The 2012-2013 wolf trapping season opens Nov.15 in six wolf zones.
Wolf hunting and trapping seasons and rules are posted on the Idaho Fish and Game website.
WILDLIFE — More anglers are heading into the mountains and hunters soon will follow, putting more people out among wildlife, including bears.
The Grizzly Bear Outreach Project offers basic tips to help hunters and anglers avoid attracting bears, which can be dangerous people if not just destructive to their camping gear.
Worse, a bear that finds value — notably food — in raiding camps or threatening humans almost surely will become a repeat offender that ultimately will have to be killed.
Click "continue reading" to refresh your memory on tips that come from years of case studies
BIG GAME — Antlers raw from freshly shed velvet, this whitetail buck's clock is ticking toward the rut.
The image was made last week by Montana outdoor photographer Jaime Johnson.
WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT — Idahoans care deeply about fish and wildlife, and whether they engage in it or not they strongly support hunting and fishing, according to a recent poll commissioned by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.
That's one of the points made at the beginning of the three-day Wildlife Summit held over the weekend at venues acrosss the state.
Read on for insight from the beginning of the summit reported Saturday by Eric Barker of the Lewiston Tribune.
HUNTING — An Asotin County ranch purchased by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife last winter is open to public walk-in access this year with the exception of some big-game hunters.
Deer and elk hunters are allowed on the newly-acquired addition to the Chief Joseph Wildlife Area only if they drew “4-0 Ranch” special hunting permit, officials said this week.
“The restriction is an effort to provide high-quality hunting opportunities and was something the rancher wanted as a condition for sale of the property,” said Madonna Luers, agency spokeswoman.
The 2,180-acre 4-0 Ranch parcel – the first of a multi-phase, multi-year public land acquisition project – was purchased in January with the approval of the state Fish and Wildlife Commission.
The ranch is within Game Management Unit 172 (Mountain View). But neither GMU 172 permit holders nor general season deer and elk hunters are allowed to hunt the parcel this year.
Read on for more details.
WILDLIFE ENCOUNTERS — A judge has dismissed most of a widow’s claims in a $10 million suit against the federal government after her husband was killed by a mountain goat at Olympic National Park two years ago, saying that even if it seems unfair, the park can’t be sued for the decisions it made, according to the Associated Press.
Robert Boardman, a 63-year-old registered nurse, was trying to protect his wife and friend when the 370-pound billy goat gored him, severing arteries in his thigh, on a trail near Hurricane Ridge in October 2010. The goat is believed to have been one that harassed park visitors for years.
- The incident spurred park officials and hiking groups to work harder at educating hikers on ways to visit the high country without teaching mountain goats bad habits that can lead to aggressive behavior.
His wife, Susan Chadd, sued, accusing the government of negligence in its management of the goat, known as “Klahanne Billy” for the name of a nearby ridge. She also alleged that the park botched the rescue effort – the one claim that was not dismissed in U.S. District Judge Robert Bryan’s ruling in Tacoma this week.
Bryan said even though the park could have acted more quickly to kill or relocate the goat, its actions are immune from lawsuits under the Federal Tort Claims Act because they involved an exercise of discretion related to public policy.
The one remaining claim is that the park staff failed to act quickly once the attack was reported, AP reported.
WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT — More than 800 hunters and anglers, birders and wildlife watchers and others interested in wildlife conservation have signed up to participate in the Idaho Wildlife Summit that starts Friday and runs through Sunday (Aug. 24-26).
“It is extremely gratifying to see so many Idahoans care enough about their wildlife to be involved with the Wildlife Summit,” Fish and Game Director Virgil Moore said in a media release.
The three-day event will convene at the Riverside Hotel in Boise and six concurrent satellite sites in Coeur d’Alene, Lewiston, Salmon, Twin Falls, Pocatello and Idaho Falls. People also may participate online in real time.
The agency hopes to involve as many people as possible in helping to set the direction for how wildlife is managed in Idaho, to find common ground, and ultimately to build a broader base of support for wildlife conservation.
Part of the conversation involves the question: Where will the funding come from to manage game and non-game critters alike? Currently virtually all of the funding for Idaho's wildlife management comes from hunter and anglers.
Participation is free, but registration is required because of limited seating.
The Boise venue is at capacity, but an overflow room, which will feature a live video feed, is available.
Click here for more details and background.
HUNTING — The Idaho Fish and Game Commission will consider hunting seasons for sage grouse and waterfowl and changs to the motorized hunting rule when it meets on Aug. 23 at Fish and Game headquarters in Boise.
Read on for details.
HUNTING — A TV documentary will air Thursday featuring two Montana hunters confronting the issues and the difficulty centered around hunting wolves. The two-episode program on the Sportsman Channel will be the first to follow a wolf hunt in the Lower 48 states.
It's already getting praised and bashed, as you might expect. See the video intro above and judge for yourself.
“On Your Own Adventures” tackles the issue of wolf management head-on with an attempt to present equal parts education and adventure.
Big game hunter and conservation historian Randy Newberg, along with hunting partner, Matt Clyde, will try to outsmart an intelligent predator—and explain the reasons why wolf management is necessary—during an 11-day spot-and-stalk wolf hunt.
The series airs Thursday (Aug.) 16 and concludes on Aug. 23.
To find the Sportsman Channel:
Use the zip code locator on the website http://thesportsmanchannel.com if you plug in your zip code, it will show the providers the channel is on.
I used zip code 99201 and it shows the Sportsman Channel on Comcast ch 428, DIRECTV 605, DISH 395 (that's in HD too).
For more details, see my Outdoors column: TV show confronts contentious wolf hunting issues