Monday, October 1, 2012

Samantha's 2012 Archery Bull (By Toby Gangler)

Well...the day after I took my bull we had a storm front come in to the area and the wind was blowing a hundred miles an hour and Samantha and I were debating on even heading out for an evening hunt as we were still a bit wiped out from the hunt the day before.
Reluctantly we decided to go and head to a spot I had thought could hold elk and just check it out for the next days hunt. As we drove into the new area we both said out loud "this place should hold elk!"
We could see one drainage in particular that had a thick north slope and looked like it should have water it so we decided to check it out.
We walked over the first ridge and didn't see much for elk sign, but we were optimistic of the area ahead of us.
As we topped out we seen a really neat old tree stand that someone had built out of lodge poles way back in the day and Samantha saw it as a cool photo op. While she was taking her pictures, I decided to walk over the hill and sound off a bugle into the canyon that I was most interested in. Mind you, the wind was ripping like crazy and I didn't expect to hear a bull, even if he answered, but boy was I wrong! Right after I pulled my grunt tube away from my mouth I heard the faint sound of a bull. I looked over at Samantha to see if she heard it. Apparently she did, as she was running at full tilt in my direction!
Since we had a very definitive wind direction, we both started in the direction we need to head to attack the bull.
As we dropped down off the ridge, I bugled again to get a better idea of where the elk was. He answered back instantly so we devised a plan of attack and proceeded.
We moved down into the canyon slowly and got to a point where we felt comfortable setting up. I began to call after Samantha was ready and the bull responded like we hoped. A few minutes later I looked up and about 220 yards away I could see the bull come out of the trees. I put my Minox glass up to inspect him and its like he knew I was watching! He began to put on a show that every archery elk hunter loves to see, tearing and ripping apart an old rotted out stump and bugling up a storm. We watched with excitement and hoped the evening light would hold on.

After what seemed like an eternity, the bull started to walk back the way he had came and we knew we had to do something to get his interest. I started making a show myself, breaking limbs, racking and stopping around like a rival bull, bugling aggressively every so often. After this we moved forward another 50 yards or so and when I happen to look up I seen that my display had worked to regan his interest and that he was coming fast!
We found a small opening in the trees that would give Samantha some room for a shot and I set myself up to try and bring him to her. In just a matter of minutes I heard some brush breaking to the left of Samantha and I could see tines! At that point she drew her bow and the bull came into the opening we had hoped for. The problem was he was walking straight at her so she had to hold at full draw for a bit. At about 9 yards the bull turned broadside and stopped to look for me. At that point, Samantha's arrow was on its way and the bull had no idea what had happened! He ran down the hill 30 yards and I was able to stop him with a bugle. He stood in one spot looking for the elk that had just sounded off and then started the stagger all archery hunters hope to see after a well placed shot and took off down the hill in a crash and was down about 65 yards from our set up!
The recovery was made in the dark of night and was not the easiest we'd ever had, but the feeling of knowing we had just taken 2 elk in 2 days was as good as it gets!

Toby and Samantha Gangler

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Washington Gray Wolf Update

Gray Wolf Update
September 26, 2012
OLYMPIA – Three wolves from the Wedge Pack in Northeast Washington were killed today as the state Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) continued its effort to put a stop to persistent attacks on livestock by eliminating the pack.
Since July, Wedge Pack wolves are believed to have killed or injured at least 17 cows and calves from the herd of the Diamond M Ranch of northern Stevens County.
Department Director Phil Anderson said a WDFW marksman shot the wolves from a helicopter at about 8 a.m. The wolves were located about seven miles south of the Canadian border in the same area where two other wolves from the Wedge Pack were killed yesterday.
Anderson said a department wildlife veterinarian would perform necropsies on all five of the wolves killed this week.
For more information see the Wedge Pack Lethal Removal Actions FAQ

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Washington DFW To Eliminate Wolf Pack

WDFW plans to eliminate wolf pack to end attacks
on livestock and 'reset' stage for recovery in the Wedge

OLYMPIA - In response to ongoing attacks on livestock by a wolf pack in Northeast Washington that appears to be preying exclusively on cattle, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) today announced it plans to eliminate the pack and lay a foundation for sustainable, long-term wolf recovery in the region.
WDFW Director Phil Anderson said the plan has the support of key conservation interests and livestock operators. Two organizations that participated in developing the state's 2011 Wolf Conservation and Management Plan - Conservation Northwest and the Washington Cattlemen's Association - joined the department in issuing a statement explaining their positions. The full statement is available at
Anderson said two WDFW teams are in the field today with the goal of killing the members of the Wedge Pack, a group of at least eight wolves whose range includes a remote, roughly triangular area of northern Stevens County bordered by Canada and the Columbia and Kettle rivers.
Anderson said WDFW marksmen would hunt the wolves from the ground and, if those efforts are not successful, might use helicopters to increase the effectiveness of their efforts. WDFW is consulting with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services office, the Stevens County Sheriff's Office and independent wildlife biologists with extensive experience with wolf management in other Western states.
The Wedge Pack is believed to have killed or injured at least 15 cattle from the Diamond M herd, which grazes in a large area near the Canadian border. Attacks have become increasingly frequent since July, continuing even after WDFW staff killed a non-breeding member of the pack in early August. Since then, Anderson said, WDFW wildlife specialists and wolf experts from other states believe the Wedge wolves have become dependent on cattle as their primary food source.
"Once wolves become habituated to livestock as their primary food source, all of the wolf experts we've talked to agree that we have no alternative but to remove the entire pack," Anderson said. "By doing that, we will preserve the opportunity for the recovery of gray wolves in balance with viable livestock operations."
Jack Field, Executive Vice President of the Washington Cattlemen's Association, said, "We understand that as wolves re-populate the state there will be conflicts with livestock. We also understand that we need to work with WDFW to find solutions, including the use of non-lethal measures, in order to minimize losses for producers, but we need everyone else to understand that managing and killing wolves that cause problems is an important part of a healthy co-existence."
Conservation Northwest Executive Director Mitch Friedman said, "As difficult as this situation with the Wedge Pack is to accept on a personal level, we understand and agree that pack removal is the right action at this point. We have been strong advocates for exhausting all non-lethal means possible to avoid this situation and are extremely disappointed that it has come to this."
Friedman expressed a strong desire for the department and ranchers in areas with wolves to work together to avoid a repeat of this situation. "There has to be a commitment on the part of all sides to allow wolves to occupy the landscape while protecting the rancher's livelihood and maintain their ability to raise cattle," he said.
Field said the Cattlemen's Association is encouraging landowners to enter into cooperative management agreements with WDFW that specify non-lethal measures that a livestock operator will use to minimize wolf-livestock conflict.
Anderson said the management agreements would provide cost-share funding for such measures and could include "caught in the act" kill permits to enable livestock operators in Eastern Washington to protect their livestock. The department will continue to offer compensation to ranchers for wolf-caused livestock losses, he said.
"These agreements are necessary to improve cooperation between the department and livestock operators to help address the problems caused by wolves," said Field.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Oregon DFW Weekly Recreation Report

Bull elk
Joseph Miller took this bull elk on the opening day of the 2009 archery season in the Rogue Unit
Archery season opens Aug. 25
Be sure to check for any fire restrictions before you go afield. Oregon Dept of Forestry has a list of fire restrictions and closures online and InciWeb has information about current fires—or check with USFS, BLM or the appropriate landowner.
2012-13 Oregon Game Bird Regulations online
Season dates and bag limits are here and the entire booklet is here Complete 2012-13 Oregon Game Bird Regulations. Get set for another great bird hunting season!
Sign up for free youth pheasant hunts in September
ODFW hosts pheasant hunts at locations around the state in September. Space is limited. Sign up online or at a license sales agent. Dates, locations and more information
Learn to fish, hunt, crab or clam
See the ODFW Outdoors Program calendar and sign up for a class that interests you.
Fall salmon seasons are underway
There have been reports of good chinook fishing at Buoy 10, and anglers have been catching some early returners in several coastal rivers. See the special regulations for coastal rivers on the Coast Fall Salmon Seasons page.

Friday, August 24, 2012

WDFW to Conduct Controlled Burns in Northcentral and Northeast Washington

OLYMPIA - The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) plans to conduct controlled burns starting next month on parts of two wildlife areas in northeast and northcentral Washington to reduce wildfire risks and enhance wildlife habitat.

Depending on weather conditions, controlled burns could be conducted as early as Sept. 1 on parts of WDFW's Sherman Creek Wildlife Area on the west side of Lake Roosevelt in northeastern Ferry County and at the Sinlahekin Wildlife Area in northcentral Okanogan County.

After recent wildfires in Washington, WDFW Sinlahekin Wildlife Area Manager Dale Swedberg acknowledges that burning now may seem counterintuitive to some people.

"In fact, it's more important now than ever," he said. "Controlled burns reduce fuel loads and the risk of catastrophic, high-intensity wildfires that can destroy wildlife habitat. It's not a question of whether we'll have fires on these lands in the future, but whether they're controlled. The low-intensity burning in a controlled fire can also improve forage and other habitat for deer, moose, black bear, forest grouse and many other wildlife species."

Swedberg said the controlled burns will be coordinated by WDFW's fire project manager Tom Leuschen, a former U.S. Forest Service fire manager. The fires are permitted by the Washington Department of Natural Resources only when daily conditions are safe and fires are monitored constantly until they are out.

The controlled burns - planned for September and October - will cover about 600 total acres, and will be conducted on parcels ranging from 15 acres to several hundred acres. Other burns will be conducted in coming spring and fall seasons.

"Where there's fire, there's smoke," Leuschen said. "We will be working to minimize impacts, but smoke could make its way into some communities near these burns."

Those towns include Kettle Falls and Colville near Sherman Creek, as well as Loomis and Conconully near Sinlahekin. Signs will be posted on the wildlife areas to alert recreationists about the projects. Motorists should use caution and watch for personnel, fire equipment, and smoke on the roads in the vicinity of the burns.

Swedberg noted that the department did not receive any complaints regarding smoke or disturbance from machinery in the Sinlahekin Valley last year when controlled burns on grasslands and timber thinning slash were conducted under the Sinlahekin's ongoing Ecosystem Restoration Project.

Leuschen is coordinating resources with other agencies in the area to assist with the burning and is using private contractors with bulldozers and other equipment from local communities.

"We've been working closely with private, county, state and federal land managers to promote the use of prescribed fires, in a coordinated effort on all lands, to improve wildlife habitat and reduce wildfire fuels," Swedberg said. "This year we're extending our effort to Sherman Creek."