HOOK AND FUR
By Bob Brown
With summer recreational activities in full swing, it is hard to imagine another waterfowl season is fast approaching – and, according to aerial surveys, a record number of ducks (approximately 48.6 million) were on breeding grounds in Canada and the United States this spring.
Washington ranks second among the 12 western states in waterfowl abundance, hunter numbers and harvest. The state also plays a significant role in the Pacific Flyway with its supported waterfowl saltwater and agricultural habitats. As in previous years, goose hunting seasons will vary by management areas across the state, but most should open in mid-October and run through late January. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has proposed waterfowl seasons and hunting opportunities be similar to last year. The general duck season would be open for 107 days – Oct. 13-17 and Oct. 20-Jan. 27. A special youth hunting weekend would also be scheduled for Sept. 22-23. One expected change this year would be the removal bag limits and an early season closure for diving ducks, which have increased significantly in numbers throughout North America and Washington.
Another proposed change would establish a $10 penalty for failing to report harvest for specific waterfowl species. Under the proposal, hunters who fail to report their harvest for brant, sea ducks in western Washington and snow geese in Goose Management Area 1 will face the fine, which will be imposed when they apply for a 2013 special migratory bird hunting authorization.
Big-game hunters, take note
Dave Ware, game division manager for WDFW, is reminding bear hunters that there have been some regulation changes to the 2012 Big-game Hunting Seasons and Regulations pamphlet, pages 62-63. Also, hunters of black bear in the Selkirk Mountains or the northern Cascades need to positively identify the bear, as endangered grizzly bears also inhabit those areas.
Ware is recommending back-country recreationists carry bear pray, which is an effective deterrent to aggressive bears.
Also, Ware said that “as you are out scouting, we would like to know if you see what might be a gray wolf. We have created a web site about gray wolves that includes characteristics between a wolf and a coyote. Wolves are repopulating Washington, and it is important we know the extent of their movements. Your eyes and ears can provide us with valuable information as you take to the field this fall and winter.
• This past week, 1,417 summer-run steelhead, 137 spring chinook, 27 jacks, 48 mini-jacks and four sockeye were recovered at Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery. Eighty-two summer steelhead and three sockeye salmon were recycled to the lower Cowlitz and released at the Interstate 5 boat launch. As of July 28, a total of 4,454 spring chinook have returned to the Cowlitz Hatchery. • Anglers (15,874 of them) participating in the Columbia and Snake rivers pikeminnow reward fishery have caught a total of 90,137 pikeminnows and 136 tagged fish worth $500 each so far this season. • There will be a mark-selective fall chinook fishery in the lower Columbia River from the Lewis River downstream to the Tongue Point/Rocky Point line Sept. 10-16. The daily limit will be six salmon, of which no more than two may be adult salmon or steelhead, or one each. Only one may be a chinook. All salmon other than hatchery chinook and hatchery coho must be released. The minimum length for salmon is 12 inches. It should be noted that this seven-day fishery for hatchery chinook will occur only if the Endangered Species Act (ESA) impacts set aside for this retention period remain available and aren’t used in prior fisheries.