Latest from The Spokesman-Review
HUNTING — I don't want to jinx the odds, but a lot of upland bird hunters are noticing this is the driest weather we've had in several years for the peak period of the wild quail, chukar and pheasant hatching season.
Upland bird chicks are particularly vulnerable to hypothermia if cool, wet weather persists in early June.
Last year's season was boosted by a good second hatch of birds.
This could be the year the first hatch blossoms.
BIRD HUNTING — Upland bird hunters should be aware that the Eastern Washington pheasant season closes Jan. 13 while the season for other upland birds — quail, chukars, Huns — runs through the Martin Luther King holiday and closes on Jan. 21.
Most waterfowl seasons run through Jan. 27.
HUNTING — If you were running away from your troubles, the Palouse was a good place to be pheasant hunting on Tuesday. Visibilty was minimal. A good place to hide.
Hunting partner Torsten Kjellstrand caught a photo of me (photo above) through the fog cruising the edge of a wheat field trying to catch up to our dogs.
Unlike planes at the Spokane airport, pheasants have no trouble taking off in the fog, but we're using the visibilty issues and lack of instruments for our limited success in getting many roosters to “land” for our dogs to retrieve.
HUNTING — Although I wasn't old enough to be allowed to carry a gun, I took my English Setter, Scout, out for some training at the Fishtrap Lake pheasant release site this morning, the second day of the new Geezer Pheasant Hunting Season.
Scout found one cock (above) in the first 15 minutes while the sunrise was still glowing orange through smoke from the region's wildfires. Then we worked for another 50 minutes without a find.
Birds had been released for las weekend's youth upland bird seasons and hunters reported roosters leftover after the weekend season closed.
But it's very dry out there. Survivial of pen-raised birds is notoriously short.
I met a legitimate senior hunter with his chocolate Lab, having a good time but they had found no birds by 8:30 a.m. He had other places to try…. and of course he had time to do it.
Being a non-geezer, I had to go back to work.
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 — Jerry Townsend of Pheasant Valley Shooting Preserve and Sporting Clays near LaCrosse, Wash., is in Sacred Heart Medical Center listed in serious condition after clients found him unconscious by his four-wheeler Saturday, according to Whitman County Sheriff's officials.
See our news story.
HUNTING — The new non-toxic shot rules at Eastern Washington pheasant release sites was no deterrent to a few hunters out for the recent youth-only upland bird season. Here's a report from Scott Kuhta, who gathered his sone and dog for a father-son outting on that special last-weekend in September season:
Quick thanks for the article on steel shot requirements for pheasant release sites. I took my son, Daniel, out to chase birds on the Sunday of the youth hunt weekend. If I hadn't read your article, I probably would have brought lead shells. I think it is a good regualtion and it sure didn't affect his shooting. Two years ago on our first youth hunt he went through a box of shells before coming home with two birds. This year we were done in 45 minutes, hitting 3 out of 4 birds. My dog flushed a dozen more on the way back to the car.
I don't know what Saturday was like, but we were the only people hunting Sunday morning. We got there 20 minutes past first light and did not see another car or hear any other shots. LOTS of birds that are now undoubtedly done for by coyotes.
Eastern Washington pheasant hunting release sites are detailed on the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department's webpage.
The regular pheasant hunting season opens Saturday.
UPLAND BIRD HUNTING —Hunters chilled at the thought of what the cool, rainy spring was doing to nesting pheasants and quail in June.
Indeed, the pheasant hatch isn’t anything to crow about, but it’s not as bad as hunters may have feared in some areas.
• In Whitman County, the first hatch for the most part was wiped out, said Joey McCanna, WDFW upland bird specialist. “I have heard good reports of re-nest attempts from landowners harvesting wheat,” he said last week.
• In the Columbia Basin, wildlife biologists are reporting the best pheasant hatch since 2005, McCanna said. “Hunters will need to concentrate on good cover adjacent to food.”
• In the Snake River region of Idaho, Fish and Game Department biologists indicate quail and Hungarian partridge had modest reproductive success and pheasants did better than the did last year, although last year’s hatch was pitiful.
Idaho partridge populations are down slightly from 2010 and long-term averages. Pheasant numbers are up from last year, but still be low the averages.
HUNTING – Moscow-area youths ages 12-15 can register for a Youth Pheasant Hunting Clinic scheduled Oct. 1 in Genesee.
Shotgun skills will be practiced at the local trap range followed by hunting pheasants on nearby private land.
“This will be a great opportunity to introduce young hunters to the sport of pheasant hunting,” says Jay Roach, North Idaho Chapter President of Pheasants Forever. “The goal is to make hunting a fun priority among all the other activities that vie for a teenager's time.”
Along with hunting pheasants, the youth will learn about wildlife conservation, pheasant ecology, dog handling, and the importance of respecting landowners. Safety, ethics, sportsmanship and the hunting tradition will be given special emphasis.
The free clinic is intended for first-time hunters who have completed a hunter education course and hold a valid 2011 Idaho hunting license. An adult supervisor must accompany each young hunter throughout the clinic.
Advance registration is required and space is limited to 20 youth. Contact the Clearwater Region Fish and Game office, (208) 799-5010.
Sponsors include the Pheasants Forever, Flying B-Ranch, Idaho Fish and Game, Snake River Gun Dog & Sportsmen's Association, and Clearwater Point Dog Club.