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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports

Don’t delay to answer the call of wild

Rich Landers The Spokesman-Review

When it comes to handling a surging crowd, technology isn’t any better than a single-lane on-ramp.

Just before the Memorial Day weekend, a herd of procrastinating hunters waited until the deadline before applying for big-game controlled hunts.

The online stampede brought down Idaho’s computerized hunting and fishing license system.

The crash was so thorough, anglers who waited until the last day were foiled in getting their fishing licenses for the opening of Idaho’s stream fishing season.

This week, Fish and Wildlife Department officials in Washington are hoping hunters act now to avoid crushing the Washington computer system with an online surge at the Sunday application deadline for special hunts.

“We strongly encourage hunters not to wait until the last minute,” said Dave Ware, the department’s game division manager. “If the system gets overloaded with 11th-hour applicants, there’s always a chance that applications won’t be processed on time.”

Washington no longer has customer service personnel to take hand-delivered applications. You must do it by phone (877-945-3492) or online (http://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov).

Remember, before applying for a special hunt, you must buy the necessary hunting licenses and transport tags. The application itself costs $3 for youths, $5 for residents and $50 for nonresidents.

Snakes alive: People who enjoy hiking or running their dogs in the undeveloped People’s Park – the wedge of land at the confluence of Hangman Creek and the Spokane River – should be alert for more than just the creeps who will continue to hang out there until a whitewater park beckons a higher-caliber contingent.

A newspaper colleague came across a rattlesnake there this week.

Hunting errata: As usual, a few mistakes cropped up in Washington’s new hunting regulations pamphlet. Here are some corrections to note in the 2005 edition:

•On the hunting seasons summary card that’s inserted into the main pamphlet, the East Side upland bird season is shown as ending Nov. 30. This is an error. The season is correctly listed as running through Jan. 16 in the hunting pamphlet on page 8.

In case you missed the news this spring, the traditional Dec. 31 end to the pheasant season was extended to Jan. 16.

•Eastern Washington elk (spike bull) hunt dates listed on page 37 should be Oct. 29–Nov. 6.

•The boundary description on page 60 for Game Management Unit 368 is incorrect. If you plan to hunt there, check out the accurate description under “game pamphlet errata” at http://wdfw.wa.gov/ wlm/game/hunter/hunter.htm.

•Although the information regarding second deer tags on page 34 is correct, some hunters have been confused by new wording that says, “These permits are only valid when a second license and tag is purchased.”

The new wording removes the deadline to purchase the second tag and indicates that a second license and tag must be purchased before a person who draws the second-tag option can pursue the second deer. Hunters are not required to buy a second deer tag and license unless they are drawn for the B-Tag option.

Note: The second deer permit is “restricted to the general, early seasons by tag choice.” That means a properly licensed hunter with a general tag and a B-Tag could kill two deer during the same day, as long as the hunting is done in an early season.

Cash crop: Farming isn’t the only business that could possibly cash in on a bounty of wheat and other crops nourished by abundant spring rain.

Veterinarians must be wringing their hands, building mansions and buying boats and Cadillacs because of the wealth assured by the bumper crop of cheatgrass.

In most of this region, cheatgrass is still somewhat green and supple. But by the time hunters start working their dogs in preparation for the upland bird seasons, the spear-like seeds will be prime to latch onto a dog’s fur and raise havoc everywhere from the toes to the eyes.

In particular, cheatgrass seeds like to beeline down the canal toward a dog’s eardrum with the programmed determination of a sperm pursuing ripe ovaries.

Ward off that part of the scourge by stuffing each ear with a cotton ball lightly rimmed with petroleum jelly.

Commission meets: The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will meet Friday and Saturday at the Clarion Hotel, 1507 N. First St., in Yakima.

Turned on turkey: A man who calls himself James Morning Hunter had his most productive day of turkey hunting this spring while watching TV in his Addy, Wash.-area home.

The gobbler season was over, but Morning Hunter was reliving the excitement by watching the Penn’s Woods TV hunting show that started at 9 a.m.

“It was nice outside and I had the windows and door open,” he recalled. “I finally noticed that every time the hunter used his yelp call on the television there was an answer from outside my house. I went out to look and there was a gobbler and he was going nuts. He gobbled and gobbled and wouldn’t go away. He just kept going around the house looking for that hen.”

It was insult to injury. “During the season,” he said, “I couldn’t buy one to come to a call.”

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