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The signals have been showing up in the woods. Hunters are taking note: White-tailed deer have been gearing up for the annual breeding frenzy known as the rut. Northeastern Washington’s late whitetail buck season starts Saturday and runs through Nov. 19 in Units 105, 106, 111, 113, 117, 121 and 124. The season is open to taking any whitetail buck, except in units 117 and 121, where a buck must have at least four points on one antler to be legal.
I hunted with Dick Rivers almost as many years as I’ve lived with my wife and hunted with my late father. Readers have learned, cringed and laughed as they followed our outdoor adventures, successes and miscues for a quarter century.
Soaked, bloody and five hours overdue, Dick Rivers slogged through the mud to the trailhead. His flashlight batteries were nearly spent, and the beam could no longer punch through the fog, drizzle and darkness. The source of the blood wasn’t clear in the glow of my pickup’s headlights. His pant leg was ripped, exposing red-stained gauze taped below his knee. Blood was smeared on his boots and shirt sleeves, too.
When Mandy Miles drew a coveted bighorn sheep tag for Idaho’s Unit 11, he decided he wanted three things. 1. Look for a nice “old” ram.
First, the good news: White-tailed deer hunting should be good in Idaho this fall. The herds have taken some hits in recent years from hard winters, but they’ve repeatedly proven resilient. Whitetails should continue to provide some of the state’s best big game hunts.
Hunting in country inhabited by bears, cougars and wolves poses a challenge to sportsmen to be wary, and to clean up their act. Hunters who kill a big game animal should be aware that the gut pile and carcass attracts bears, wolves and other scavengers. Hunters in grizzly bear habitat should try to remove the meat the same day they kill the animal, according to Idaho Fish and Game Department officials.
Idaho elk hunting may have bottomed out in 2009, followed by better times for hunters that ought to continue this season. Elk harvest had declined for four years but went from 15,800 tagged elk in 2009 up to 17,792 in 2010.
Some hunters regularly do better than the statistics. Some bag their game year after year. Consistently successful hunters share similar traits.