HOOK AND FUR
By Bob Brown
Hunters interested in multi-season hunting have until March 31 to apply for a permit. In mid-April, the WDFW will randomly draw names for 8,500 multi- season deer permits and 1,000 multi-season elk permits. Winners of the drawing will be eligible to purchase a special tag allowing them to participate in archery, muzzleloader and modern firearm general hunting seasons for deer or elk in 2014. Winners who purchase the multi-season elk tag by August 31 can participate in general elk hunting season in both eastern and western Washington. However tags can only be used during general seasons and in game management units that are open during a modern firearm, muzzleloader, or archery general seasons. Also hunters can only apply once for each species and are limited to harvesting one deer or elk.
Multi-season permit applications cost $7.10 for residents and $110.50 for non-residents. A 2014 hunting license is not required to submit an application, but is required by winners before they can purchase a multi-season tag. Including transaction fees, multi-season deer or elk tags cost $182.00 for residents and non-residents in addition to the cost of an annual hunting license. For more information call the WDFW licensing department at (360) 902 -2464.
Figuring out fisheries
The WDFW is in the progress of evaluating recreational and commercial smell fisheries in Puget Sound to determine if enough measures are in place to conserve and protect the population, and is seeking public comments on proposed fishing regulations for smelt in Puget Sound. The department is reviewing the following options:
· No change.
· Reduce both commercial and recreation use. Commercial fishing would be closed Sundays and would be allowed only from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday during seasonal openings in each area. Inactive commercial fisheries, including dip bag and purse seine, which have not been in use for at least ten years would be closed.
· Close commercial fishing and reduce recreational use. Recreational smelt fishing would be closed overnight except for the use of jig gear that could be used seven days a week, Dip nets would be allowed for recreational use from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday through Tuesday.
A smelt meltdown?
The Fish and Wildlife Commission will hear public testimony on the proposals during its April meeting in Olympia. Written comments can be submitted through May 30 on the department’s website. Smelt fishing in the Cowlitz River was pretty grim the first three Saturday’s in February. No smelt were caught by recreational fishers. Commercial fishers landed nothing on February 10, nothing on February 13, three smelt on February 17, 155 pounds on February 20 and 8,867 pounds on February 24. The catch came from the vicinity of Puget Sound (RM 45) and further down stream.
Washington and Oregon departments of fish and wildlife say both positive and negative indicators exist that do not readily point toward improving or declining smelt returns overall. However, NOOA Fisheries said in making its listing determination, eulachon populations were at or near historically low numbers and have nearly disappeared from several locations. Threats to smelt include climate change effects on freshwater and marine habitats, by-catch in the pink shrimp fishery, water management and habitat changes in the Klamath and Columbia basins, predation by marine mammals and birds, especially in the Fraser River and coastal rivers in British Columbia.
Outdoor recreation is big money
It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that outdoor recreation is an economic powerhouse throughout the state that generates billions of dollars in business and tax revenue. A recent study concluded $ 22.5 billion is spent annually in Washington on outdoor recreation. It also generates 227,600 jobs and $1.6 billion in state and local tax revenue. The study did not include equestrian, sailing and diving activities which also generate significant economic activity in the state. The Outdoor Industry Association reported last year Washington ranks sixth nationally in the number of outdoor recreation jobs, and nearly two-thirds of Washingtonians participate in outdoor activities each year.
Outdoors writer Bob Brown can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org