HOOK AND FUR
By Bob Brown
If you are a hunter and inclined to apply for special hunting permits, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is reminding them they have through May 22 to apply for permits for deer, elk, mountain goat, moose, bighorn sheep, and turkey seasons.
Permit winners will be selected through a random drawing by the department in late June. Instructions and details on applying for special-permit hunts can be found in the 2013 Big Game Hunting Seasons and Regulations pamphlet.
Dave Ware, WFDW game division manager, is reminding hunters to update their e-mail and mailing address in the system when purchasing their special permit applications and licenses. Each year, hundreds of special hunting permits are returned due to invalid addresses.
New chinook record?
Joe Hymer, supervisory fish biologist for Pacific States Marine Fishery, reported last week that a possible new record has been set for spring chinook jacks counted at Bonneville Dam. Through May 9, a total of 18,032 spring chinook jacks were counted at the dam. The record (since at least 1960) was 18,119 fish in 2009. That year, nearly 82,000 jacks were counted through June 15 (the end of the spring chinook count at the dam). With the difference of 100 fish to date, we may have set a new record.
Speaking about Columbia River fisheries, the 2013 northern pikeminnow sport-reward fishery, funded by the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), opened May 1 on a high note. Early reports indicate a potential banner year for pikeminnow fishing and payouts for participating anglers, said fish managers. A weekly field activity report (May 1-5) showed 999 anglers caught 3,299 pikeminnows, plus six tagged fish (worth $500 each). At Kalama, 33 anglers caught 146 pikes, and at Marine Park 182 pikeminnows were caught by 18 anglers. Fishing was slightly better at Washougal, where 57 anglers caught 261 pikeminnows.
Reducing the number of pikeminow is an important tool in our effort to reduce predation on juvenile salmon and steelhead heading to the ocean. That’s where the Pikeminnow Sport-Reward Program and public come in, said John Skidmore, policy analyst for BPA.
Pikeminnow predation accounts for roughly 80 percent of all fish that kill juvenile salmon.
Frogs and bats
WDFW is seeking public comments on a draft recovery plan for Washington’s native population of Oregon spotted frogs and a separated plan to conserve 15 species of bats residing within the state.
Oregon spotted frogs were once common from northern California to southwest British Columbia, but today the species is known to persist in only six river drainages
Because the Oregon frog is not expected to recover without help, the draft plan outlines a variety of measures to curtail the animals decline. Key recommendations include protecting wetland habitat while maintaining short vegetation in seasonal wetlands and coordinating efforts to control bullfrog predation and other invasive species.
None of the state’s 15 species of bats are listed as threatened or endangered, although the Keens myotis and Townsend’s big-eared bats are under consideration for additional state protection. The draft plan for bats is designed to guide future studies of population trends, habitat requirements, potential risks and other considerations for all bat species in the state.
Eric Gardner, manager of the WDFW Wildlife Diversity Division, said, “This is the first conservation plan written for bats in Washington. Among other things, bats play a major role in controlling agricultural damage by pests, and we want to make sure their future is secure. It is always easier to protect wildlife species while they are still viable than to bring them back when they are already in trouble.”
WDFW will accept written comments on the draft recovery plan for Oregon spotted frogs through Aug. 9 and the conservation plan for bats through June 20.