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WDFW director to address sportsmen at Brewster roundtable

WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT — Northcentral Washington residents have an opportunity to discuss fish and wildlife issues with Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Phil Anderson and regional staff in a roundtable-style meeting Sept. 26 in Brewster.

The 10th annual meeting is scheduled from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Columbia Cove Recreation building, 508 W. Cliff Ave., in Brewster.

“This forum has become a tradition that allows local residents to meet with our director and staff in an informal setting to discuss topics of interest to hunters, fishers and other outdoor recreationalists,” said Dennis Beich, the agench's Northcentral Regional director in Ephrata.

Charges dropped against ex-detective

The case against former Spokane police Detective Jeff Harvey has essentially been dropped after a jury deadlocked Wednesday on an obstruction charge and the prosecutor said he won’t pursue a second trial.

 Verdicts require unanimous decisions and the jury split 5-to-1 in favor of acquittal. Deputy Spokane County Prosecutor Brian O’Brien said the case is over.

“I won’t be pursuing it,” O’Brien said. Harvey “had to go through the full trial. We had our day in court on this charge.”

Read the reset of Tom Clouse's story here.

Past coverage:

Sept. 20: Obstruction trial for ex-police detective begins

July 16: Fired detective files $10 million claim

July 15: SPD detective fired for 'troubled history'

Feb. 10: SPD detective accused of obstruction

CdA River campgrounds reopened for free autumn use

CAMPING – Big Hank and Bumblebee campgrounds on the Coeur d’Alene River Ranger District have been reopened for free fall camping through October on a trial basis.

“We’ve had requests to open the campgrounds in the fall to accommodate both hunters and people who enjoy fall camping,” said Deputy District Ranger Kimberly Johnson.

“This year we decided to experiment with an extended season to determine how much use these sites would receive after Labor Day.”

No camping fee is being charged during the extended trial season. No water or trash removal is offered, but outhouses will remain open.

If the experiment works, and visitors pack out their garbage, other campgrounds, including Kit Price and Devils Elbow, would be considered for fall openings.

  • Big Hank Campground is 15 miles north of Prichard, Idaho, on Forest Road 208 along the North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River.
  • Bumblebee Campground is 2 miles west of Forest Highway 9 near the Little North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River on Forest Road 796.
  • Info: (208) 664-2318.

Spirit Lake teen hits bulls eye with archery

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.

See David Nall's Facebook page here.

Hunter: Deadline looms for buying Montana preference points

BIG-GAME HUNTING — Montana has gone to a preference point system for elk and deer.

Of course, this means the cost of being competitive has gone up, but as a benefit, this should make planning your hunt more predictable.

If you plan to hunt Montana in the future, you shouldn't miss the chance purchase a preferance point before the deadline.

Applicants may purchase only one preference point per license year.

Preference points purchased at the time of application are awarded prior to the drawing.

The deadline for applications to be postmarked is Sept. 30 at 5 p.m.

Click here to download a 2011 nonresident preferance point application.

PETA plans porn site to screw hunters, anglers; protesters naked in Spokane today?

ANTI-HUNTING — People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is planning to launch a pornographic website to promote its animal rights and vegan diet message, according to a story today by the Associated Press.

And members are planning to protest naked today at a sushi restaurant in Spokane, according to Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat.

Critics say the stunt to start a porn site will backfire and ostracize PETA from mainstream society — but the anti-hunting and anti-fishing group will get millions of dollars of publicity in the meantime.

(Reader comments have gone mostly like this: “PETA ostracized themselves from the mainstream long ago.”)

PETA also made news in Seattle this week, protesting the practice of teaching kids how to fish.

PETA spokeswoman Lindsay Rajt said in a telephone interview from Los Angeles that the group has applied with ICM Registry to launch the website peta.xxx.

Rajt says the site will feature “tantalizing” videos and photographs, which will lead viewers into animal rights messages. She noted that Norfolk-based PETA has used porn stars and nudity to get its message across in the past, including an annual speech online in which a PETA representative undresses. That video later shares a message about slaughterhouses.

Read on to see the rest of the porn site story from the Associated Press.

Biologists post Washington hunting prospects on web

HUNTING — Washington Fish and Wildlife Department biologists and staffers have posted on the agency's webesite their observations on prospects for hunting this fall.

There's information for districts across the state ranging from canned to to detailed. Check it out before you plan your hunt.

Also check out the information in The Spokesman-Review's Hunting 2011 special section of stories.

Fired detective’s criminal trial begins

The obstruction of justice trial began Monday against embattled former Spokane police detective Jeff Harvey.

Harvey was fired this year after being charged with a gross misdemeanor following a confrontation with a state Department of Fish and Wildlife police officer who responded on Jan. 22 to a report of boys shooting after hunting hours on private land north of Spokane. Harvey, who was off-duty at the time, is accused of hindering the investigation, which involved his sons.

Read the rest of Tom Clouse's story here.

Past coverage:

July 16: Fired detective files $10 million claim

July 15: SPD detective fired for 'troubled history'

Feb. 10: SPD detective accused of obstruction

Last chance to sign up for North Idaho youth waterfowling clinics

YOUTH HUNTING — A few openings are still available for three mentored waterfowl hunting opportunities for youth aged 15 and under, sponsored byThe Idaho Department of Fish & Game Department.

If you have a kid who might be interested in being exposed into this fascinating sport, don't miss this opportunit y.

The hunts are planned for Saturday, Sept. 24, the opening day of the annual youth-only waterfowl season which is open only to hunters age 15 and under.  The mentored hunting clinics will be held at Boundary Creek Wildlife Management Area, Heyburn State Park, and the Clark Fork River delta.

Participation will be by advanced reservation and space is limited.  Anyone interested should call to reserve a spot at one of the three clinics and to obtain additional details. 

  • For the Boundary Creek and Heyburn hunts, contact Dave Leptich at (208) 769-1414. 
  • For the Clark Fork hunt contact Ray Millard at (208) 264-5252

Young hunters will need to be accompanied by a non-hunting adult and bring a shotgun and ammunition.  Young hunters will also need to secure a youth or small game license ($7.25) with a federal migratory bird permit ($1.75) prior to the event. 

Youth participants and a guardian will have the opportunity to spend a morning hunting with an experienced waterfowl hunter.  Following a morning hunt, all will be treated to a free barbeque and waterfowl hunting skills clinic. 

The idea is to expose youth to a quality hunting experience and provide their guardian with enough training to repeat the experience independently.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is also soliciting experienced waterfowl hunters willing to assist with the clinics.  If you want to help pass on the tradition of waterfowl hunting, please call either of the numbers listed above.

Hunter culpable in death of partner, grizzly

HUNTING — While I'm still bowing my head in sympathy for the hunter and the family of the hunter who was killed by a grizzly bear in the remote far northwestern corner of Montana on Friday, I'm also shaking it back and forth now that more details have been revealed in today's news story.

Here's the perspective from the father of the young hunter who shot the bear.

Idaho hunter bagged 2 wolves in 2 minutes

HUNTING — Hunters have a seven-month season to kill two wolves in Idaho, but Boise's Stan Burt did it in about two minutes, according to Roger Phillips of the Idaho Statesman

Near McCall of the second day of Idaho's wolf hunt, Burt said he howled to see if any wolves were in the area.

“A whole chorus erupted,” Burt told Phillips

Not only had Burt located a pack within a quarter mile, but the wolves had located him, and they headed in his direction.

He positioned himself in a clearing with a good view of the terrain.

Within minutes, Burt told Phillips he had at least eight wolves were milling around and looking for the source of the howling.

“They were basically all around me,” he said.

He got his sights on a wolf about 75 yards away and shot it with his Ruger bolt-action rifle chambered in .223.

He expected the wolves to scatter, but they continued stirring in front of him.

“The gunshot did not bother them,” he said. “It really unnerved me that they were not afraid of me after firing a rifle shot.”

Hunter near Idaho-Montana border kills grizzly after bear kills hunting partner

HUNTING — A grizzly bear killed a hunter in Montana near the border of Boundary County, Idaho, today before another hunter fatally shot the bear, S-R police reporter Mehgann Cuniff reports.

Officials from the Boundary County Sheriff’s Office, Idaho Fish and Game, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service went to the scene of the attack, which occurred about 10 a.m. in the remote area of Buckhorn Mountain near the border Idaho-Montana.

The hunter who was killed is not a resident of Boundary County, officials said.

The victim’s name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin. The hunter’s partner shot and killed the attacking grizzly, officials said.

Several rifle hunting seasons are open in the Boundary County region, including black bear, mountain lion, wolf and controlled hunts for moose and deer.

The Idaho Fish and Game Department bear hunting regulations page warns hunters that grizzlies can be encountered in the North Idaho units.

Heading into bear country?

Click here for good information on hiking, hunting and traveling in grizzly country.

Idaho Fish and Game also has tips for hunting and camping in carnivore country on its Grizzly Bear webpage.

Disabled hunters can sign up for special vehicle access on forests

HUNTING — Handicapped hunters in the Inland Northwest are making inroads to decent hunting opportunities on the Idaho Panhandle National Forests as well the Colville National Forest and two timberland companies.

Deadlines are approaching to sign up for several of the opportunities to drive motorized vehicles behind otherwise locked gates.

Hunters with certified disabilities can apply for access to hundreds of miles of otherwise closed roads on the Colville National Forest and Idaho Panhandle forests as well as Forest Capital Partners lands.

Inland Empire Paper Company also participates, although the road access is not exclusive to handicapped hunters.

The program allows hunters with disabilities to use a motorized vehicle on the designated roads, which are usually closed to motorized use year-round.

Several special platforms are being built by Inland Northwest Wildlife Council volunteers to accommodate hunters in wheelchairs at specially selected sites.

The Sandpoint Ranger District holds a drawing to select disabled hunters for special access behind gates on three roads during big-game seasons. The deadline to apply is Sept. 28.

The deadline to apply for access to roads on the Coeur d’Alene District is Sept. 30.

Generally, hunters must provide a copy of their disabled hunting license and handicapped vehicle hunting permit, make, model and year of the vehicle to be used, and the name of the hunting assistant.
  

Washington contacts include:

  • Colville National Forest, (509) 446-7500. Hunters also can sign up at the BLM & Colville National Forest Information Desk, 1103 N. Fancher in Spokane Valley.
  • Forest Capital Partners timber company has designated areas in Stevens County with access coordinated by Inland Northwest Wildlife Council, (509) 487-8552.
      

Idaho contacts include:

  • Coeur d'Alene River Ranger District in Fernan, (208) 783-2363.
  • Sandpoint Ranger District, (208) 63-5111.
  • Bonners Ferry Ranger District, (208) 267-5561.
  • Craig Mountain Wildlife Area on the Snake River, coordinated by Idaho Fish and Game Department, (208) 799-5010.

Read on for details on disabled hunter programs on the Sandpoint and Coeur d'Alene Ranger Districts:

Fish and Game taking names for Panhandle wolf trapping class

PREDATORS — Idaho wolf trapping rules require trappers complete a wolf trapper class before they can buy a wolf trapping tag.

Idaho Fish and Game Department regional officies are making a list of people interested in taking the courses, which will be scheduled, probably in October. The wolf trapping season — Idaho's first — will start in November.

To register for the Idaho Panhandle class, contact the Fish and Game office in Coeur d'Alene, (409) 769-1414.

Classes are first-come, first-served and limited to 25 individuals. The $8 fee covers the cost of materials. All class times, unless noted, are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with a one-hour lunch break; lunch will not be provided.

For details please consult the Wolf Trapping page on the Fish and Game website: .

Elk poachers bagged after slaying Wenaha Unit trophy bulls

POACHING — An Island City, Oregon father and son were arrested last week by Oregon State Police Fish & Wildlife Division troopers following an investigation into the unlawful taking of two bull elk in the Wenaha Wildlife Management Unit in northeast Oregon. 

The Wenaha Unit is considered a premier controlled branch antler bull elk hunting unit for which only 20 tags are issued during archery season.  This is a very difficult tag to obtain, and for most hunters it may be a once-in-a-lifetime hunting opportunity.

Read on for details from an Oregon State Police press release via Northwest Sportsman Magazine:

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.

Whitetail bucks losing velvet, prepping for fall, at different rates

DEER HUNTING — Hot weather and a brief cooling trend followed by record or near-record hot weather greeted archery hunters out for the opening of whitetail hunting seasons the past week in western states.

Then came the full moon: Deer activity really slowed for hunters.

The change in weather should get the action back in gear.

Although the velvet seems to peel off most bucks around Sept. 1, hunters are seeing some major differences in antler appearance.

In northeastern Washington, Kevin Scheib saw two nice bucks while scouting over the weekend: One was all rubbed clean, the other still had velvet hanging off his rack, he said.

A little farther south, Brandon Enevold has had plenty of action near his stands as well as at his trail cams as bucks continue to be in summer feeding patterns.

The night of Sept. 6, he snapped photo documentation (above) of two bucks, one in full velvet and the other with a bone-clean rack.

“I'll be letting both of these bucks grow for another year or two,” he said, offering an explanation for his patience: “I passed up 10 bucks over Labor Day weekend and almost got a shot at a solid 140 incher.”

But he said the hot weather shut down his action last weekend. He's expecting that to change.

Can hunters block their scent from a deer’s nose?

HUNTING — What do you think? Is a hunter spending his money wisely investing in soaps and clothing billed to mask human scent from the discriminating noses of deer and elk?

I'll tell you what I think in my Thursday outdoors column. Check it out, along with a long list of stories in our Hunting 2011 special section Thursday at spokesman.com/outdoors

Idaho hunters can exchange tags if fires prevent access

HUNTING — Fires burning in Idaho’s backcountry have state and federal land managers to close roads and trails in some areas, including the Idaho Panhandle.raised concerns about public safety and hunter access.

Those closures may affect access to some hunting units.

Idaho Fish and Game officials say they will not recommend closing hunts or altering season dates in response to fire restrictions. Most fires are not large enough to affect an entire hunt unit, they say.

Hunters affected by a fire closure can adjust their schedule to hunt later in the season or exchange general tags to hunt in a different area. But tags must be exchanged before the season begins.

Hunters with controlled hunt tags affected by a fire closure may exchange them for general season tags before the controlled hunt begins. But controlled hunt fees would not be refunded.

Fish and Game will consider requests for rain checks or refunds in the event that access to a hunting unit is blocked by fire. Hunters requesting a rain check will be required to submit their tags and permits with a letter describing the conditions of their request.

Rain checks would be evaluated case-by-case at the end of the hunting season. Rain checks will be valid in 2012 and offered only for the same species and hunt area as the hunter held in 2011.

Written requests should be sent to the license section at Fish and Game, P.O. Box 25, Boise ID 83707 when the season is over.

For updates on fires and access restrictions, go online to the Forest Service fire incident website.

Hold on bird hunters: Idaho quail, chukar seasons two weeks later than usual

HUNTING — The birds of the year will be larger and the hunting dogs will have less chance of heat stroke and rattlesnake encounters when Idaho's partridge and quail seasons open this fall.

The Idaho seasons open Oct. 1 — that's two weeks later than last year's season opener.

Organized sportsment made the a case for the later season opener before the state  Fish and Game Commission two years ago.

Washington, which also will open it's quail and chukar seasons on Oct. 1, went to the later season opening several years ago.

Read on for more details on Idaho's chukar and quail seasons.

Special 2011 hunting section coming Thursday

HUNTING — See 12 pages of updates and tips for hunters heading into the field for the 2011 hunting seasons in our annual hunting section, coming in the Thursday paper and online at spokesman.com/outdoors.

VIDEO: Bull elk responds to bowhunters bugle

Archery Elk Hunt with Montana Guide services from Bob Legasa on Vimeo.

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!”

British Columbia declares open season on Chilcotin wolves

PREDATORSThe British Columbia government has declared open season on wolves in the Cariboo region to benefit cattle ranchers, a move that critics contend is unjustifiable and based on politics, not science.

Under new wildlife regulations, there is no closed season and no bag limit on hunting wolves in 10 management units in the Cariboo region, according to the Montreal Gazette.

An annual hunting bag limit of three wolves is typical in B.C.

The changes also allow for unlimited trapping of wolves on private land with leghold traps in nine management units from April 1 to Oct. 14.

Northwest Alloys land near Addy provides hay for elk

WILDLIFE – Northwest Alloys land near Addy, Wash., has a hand in feeding elk wintering at the Oak Creek Wildlife Area near Yakima.

For the fourth consecutive year, the Alcoa subsidiary is allowing local farmers to harvest alfalfa from fields adjacent to its curtailed magnesium and silicon plant near Addy so the hay can be donated to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The agreement nets the state about 750 tons of hay a year to feed the elk forced onto the Oak Creek winter range to keep them from damaging private-land crops.

Here we go again: court asked to reverse Congress on Rockies wolves

PREDATORS — As hunters have begun shooting gray wolves in the first weeks of the wolf hunting seasons in Idaho and Montana, wildlife advocates are once again urging a federal appeals panel to restore endangered species protections for wolves.

The Alliance for the Wild Rockies, WildEarth Guardians and other groups argue the judicial branch needs to “zealously guard” against a move by Congress that lifted protections in defiance of earlier court rulings, according to the Associated Press.

They sued the government after Congress in April approved a budget rider taking wolves off the endangered list in five states.

The filing of their briefs in the case comes as wildlife agencies on Friday reported hunters have killed 11 of the predators since wolf seasons opened in Idaho and Montana last week.

Initial attempts to stop the hunts were denied last month by a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. A November hearing in the case is expected.

Globetrotting sportsman writes survival manual for worldwide hunters

INTERNATIONAL HUNTING — Planning a big hunt to an exotic locale outside the United States?

“World Hunter's Info Manual” by John Lowery offers an inside look at global political climates, first aid and how to recognize hazards before going abroad for a hunting trip

Read on for details from the publisher.

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.

Hunters on OHVs urged to stay on designated trails

HUNTING — The Idaho Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Public Outreach Campaign is urging people who use ATVs or motorbikes during hunting season to stay on designated trails and do their homework to ensure that the trails they plan to ride are open.

Officials with the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Managementand Idaho Department of Fish and Game say hunters riding off-trail on ATVs or motorbikes continues to be a problem on public lands during hunting season.

“We are most concerned with instances where a hunter drives off-trail to scout for game or retrieve game,” said Andy Brunelle, a spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service. “One set of tracks through the brush or in a meadow can invite others to do the same, and the impacts add up, damaging vegetation and causing soil erosion into streams.”

According to several surveys, more than half of the approximately 240,000 people who hunt in Idaho (residents and non-residents) during the fall months are using motorbikes or ATVs to access their hunting areas.

Officials with the U.S. Forest Service encourage hunters to obtain copies of Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUM's) from the national forest where they plan to hunt. Hard-copy maps are available from national forest ranger district offices, and in some cases, they are online.

The Panhandle National Forests have published new MVUMs for the Coeur d'Alene River Ranger District and the Kaniksu Zone. These are available from Panhandle National Forest offices, and they are online on the forest's web site.

Panhandle National Forest officials are still working on the map for the St. Joe National Forest. The Idaho OHV Public Outreach Project's web site, www.stayontrails.com, has a link to online Forest Service MVUM's on its where to ride page

BLM officials encourage hunters to check BLM district office web sites for info. Hard-copies are available at district offices.

Under the Forest Service's National Travel Rule, “it's incumbent on the user to know if the trail is open or closed” regardless if the trail is signed appropriately, forest officials said. That's because people have been known to shoot signs full of bullet holes, remove signs or vandalize them.

Hunters also should check Idaho Fish and Game regulations to check on trail or road restrictions in their hunting areas. The Idaho OHV Public Outreach Project produced a YouTube video that helps explain how to sort through MVUM maps and Fish and Game regulations to see if trails are open or closed.  

 A new Idaho law requires youths who do not have a driver's license to take a free safety course before they ride OHVs on forest roads, and that youths under the age of 18 are required to wear a helmet when riding on an OHV or driving one.  

  • Check out 10 hunting tips for OHVers.
  • Idaho Fish and Game also has a brochure that reviews motor vehicle and ATV regulations pertinent to hunting. 

Washington advances lead restrictions to East Side pheasant release sites

ENVIRONMENT - Lead is gradually getting the boot in Washington's hunting and fishing circles.

Starting this season, hunters will be required to use non-toxic shot in their ammunition while hunting at pheasant release sites in Eastern Washington.

The nontoxic shot rule has been in effect at refuges and release sites for several years in Western Washington.

The pheasant release areas and boundaries of those nontoxic shot zones are defined in maps available online at the agency's website.

It was a federal rule that banned lead shot for use in waterfowl hunting starting in 1986.



  

Montana game takes hit; economy will feel pain of bad winter

HUNTING — Last winter took a serious toll on deer and pronghorns in parts of Eastern Montana. 

The ripple effect has translated into a sharp decline in sales of big-game tags in some areas.   The next hit will be to local economies that rely on the traditional spike in business hunters normally bring to small Montana towns.

Read the story from the Billings Gazette.