Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Black Bear Hunters Can Test Identification Skills Online

OLYMPIA - Black bear hunters can test their bear species identification skills through a new interactive program on the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (WDFW) website.

The program, available at , includes information on how to correctly identify black bears and grizzly bears, and gives hunters a chance to test their identification skills.

Grizzly bears are protected under state and federal endangered species laws. Whereas black bears are classified as a game species.

"This test was developed to help black bear hunters be sure of their targets," said Dana Base, a WDFW northeast district wildlife biologist. "We encourage hunters to test their knowledge about the two species before going afield."

Hunting season for black bear opens Sept. 1 in several areas of the state, including the northeast district, where hunters sometimes encounter grizzly bears. That district spans Pend Oreille, Stevens and Ferry counties and includes game management units 101-121.

Up to 50 grizzlies are estimated to roam the Selkirk Mountains of northeast Washington, north Idaho and southeastern British Columbia. Less than a dozen are believed to roam the North Cascades of northcentral Washington and southcentral British Columbia.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

WDFW Commission to Discuss Wolf Plan Aug 29 in Ellensburg

OLYMPIA - The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will discuss the Wolf Conservation and Management Plan recommended by state wildlife managers at a special meeting in Ellensburg on Monday, Aug. 29.

The special meeting, which includes time for public comment on the plan, is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Quality Inn and Conference Center, 1700 Canyon Road, Ellensburg.

An agenda for the meeting is available at .

Two other special meetings on the recommended wolf plan are scheduled Oct. 6 and Nov. 3 in Olympia, a day prior to previously scheduled commission meetings.

The commission, a citizens’ board appointed by the Governor to set Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) policy, heard an initial presentation of the department’s recommended wolf plan at a meeting Aug. 4 in Olympia.

WDFW has been working to develop the plan since 2007, when a 17-member citizen advisory group was formed to work with department staff. It has since been the subject public scoping and comment periods, invited and blind scientific peer review and more than a dozen meetings across the state.

The recommended plan is the preferred alternative recommended in the Final Environmental Impact Statement issued in July on wolf-management options under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA).

Recovery objectives included in the plan are designed to eventually remove wolves from current state endangered species protective status. The plan also includes management strategies to address conflicts with involving livestock, elk and deer.

The Commission is scheduled to take action on the wolf plan at its Dec. 2-3 meeting in Olympia.

For more information on the wolf plan, see .

Friday, August 19, 2011

Washington Hunters: Let Your Voices be Heard!!!

Friday, August 19, 2011
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has imposed a ban on the use of traditional ammunition for all upland bird hunting on all WDFW pheasant release sites across the state. This restriction was adopted by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission two years ago but its implementation was delayed until this hunting season. The Commission adopted the restriction during the course of its 2010-2012 hunting season-setting process.

With this in mind, it is critical that hunters and sportsmen participate in the 2012-2014 season-setting process, which is just getting underway. The WDFW will be hosting a series of public meetings next week to take comments from the public as the first step in the process. You can bet that the anti-hunting extremists will be represented at these meetings so the importance of hunters and sportsmen participating cannot be overstated! Please see the meeting dates and locations provided below.

The current traditional ammunition restrictions pertain to quail, dove, pheasant and any upland bird hunted on the pheasant release sites. No scientific studies have been cited showing population-level impacts on any species. The WDFW seems to be acting on emotion and politics, citing the “potential” for problems associated with traditional ammunition as the basis for these far-reaching restrictions.

The NRA believes that the current push to ban the use of traditional ammunition in Washington is part of a new strategy being used by anti-hunting and anti-gun activists all over the country to attack our hunting traditions and firearm freedoms. Traditional ammunition bans have a significant chilling effect on hunting by pricing hunters out of the market while hunters’ ranks are already in decline. The opposition’s “next logical step” will be to propose a complete traditional ammunition ban throughout Washington. This is the pattern in other states so don’t think “it won’t happen here!”

It is likely too late to do anything about the existing restriction on traditional ammunition for this season. Hunters and sportsmen now have the opportunity to demand that the restriction be withdrawn for the next three years and vocally oppose any further unsubstantiated restrictions on hunting. The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies has adopted a traditional ammunition resolution stating that "state agencies should focus regulation efforts where population-level impacts to wildlife are substantiated." (AFWA - 2010 Lead Ammunition and Fishing Tackle Resolution) (emphasis added). With no population-level impacts cited, it is time to tell the WDFW that emotion and politics have no place in wildlife management.

With that in mind, it is important for you to attend the WDFW meeting in your part of the state. The following meetings will run from 7:00-9:00 p.m.:

- August 22 - Federal Way Community Center (Alder & Birch rooms), 876 South 333rd St, Federal Way- August 23 - Edison Place Event Center (Edison Room), 201 North Rock St, Centralia - August 24 - The Lincoln Center (Monroe Ballroom), 1316 North Lincoln St, Spokane - August 25 - Clarion Hotel & Conference Center (Selah Wapato rooms), 1507 North First St, Yakima

In addition to attending one of the above meetings, please comment on the issues at the WDFW’s hunting website. Your voice matters! Comments must be submitted by Tuesday, September 20.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Most Washington Fishing,Hunting License Fees Increase Sept.1

OLYMPIA—Starting Sept. 1, the base cost of most Washington hunting and fishing licenses will increase.
This is the first general recreational license fee increase in more than a decade.
The 2011 Legislature approved the new fees to help meet rising costs and a shortfall in revenue for managing hunting, fishing and the fish and wildlife populations that are the focus of those activities.
Not all license fees will increase, and some will decline, including those for youth, seniors and persons with disabilities. New license fee prices are available on the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) website at
“The new fees are critically important in maintaining fishing and hunting opportunity and make it possible for the department to fulfill its dual mission of conserving species while providing sustainable fishing, hunting and outdoor recreation across the state,” said WDFW Director Phil Anderson. “The fees reflect the cost of managing specific fisheries and hunts, and are competitive with fees charged in neighboring states. At the same time, we made an effort to encourage broad participation through youth and senior discounts.”
The new fees are expected to generate about $8 million annually for activities that support hunting and recreational fishing. Recreational license and permit revenue is used to manage fisheries and hunting seasons, produce trout and steelhead for recreational fisheries, enforce regulations, monitor fish and game populations and help maintain wildlife lands.
Revenues from the license fee increase will replace a temporary 10 percent license sale surcharge that expired in June, and will fill a projected deficit in the account that funds fishing and hunting activities. Without the license fee increase, WDFW would have been forced to make major cuts in hunting and fishing seasons and opportunities.
“Fishing and hunting contribute more than $1.4 billion a year to the state’s economy, benefitting local communities, small business owners and the people they employ,” Anderson said. “Maintaining fishing and hunting opportunity is vital to Washington’s economy and quality of life.”

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Oregon DFW Airlifts Trout to 500 High Lakes

29 July 2011
fish drop
A helicopter releases a canister of trout fingerlings into Todd Lake near Bend during a biennial high lakes stocking project administered by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
- Photo by Rick Swart, ODFW -
SALEM, Ore. – The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife took to the air last week to release 345,000 trout in approximately 500 lakes throughout the Cascade mountain range.
Rainbow, brook and cutthroat trout ranging from 1 to 2 inches in length were trucked from five ODFW hatcheries to heliports at Mt. Hood, Hoodoo Ski Area, Fall River Hatchery, and Klamath Falls so they could be airlifted to some of the state’s most spectacular fishing destinations.
“There is a lot of interest in fishing Oregon’s high mountain lakes, especially this time of year,” said Rhine Messmer, ODFW Recreational Fisheries Program Manager for Inland Fisheries. “It can be really good fishing. The thing about Oregon’s high lakes is there are not a lot of places in the lower 48 United States where you can have this kind of wilderness fishing experience.”
The trout are transported by helicopter in a custom made shuttle carrying 30 individual canisters that hold a couple gallons of water and up to 1,000 fingerlings apiece. The canisters can be opened individually by remote control while the chopper is hovering over a lake. Biologists like to use the smaller, juvenile fish because they can make the 50-100 ft. fall to the lake with less trauma than larger fish, which improves survival rates.
Data collected afterwards in ODFW sampling surveys have shown that once in their new environs the trout are able to establish themselves and grow to harvestable sizes, mostly in the 8- to 12-inch range, but some lakes do produce trout up to or larger than 15 inches.
“It can be very rewarding after a long hike to catch some nice trout and be able to cook them up for dinner or breakfast right out of the lake,” Messmer said.
High lakes fish stocking is nothing new in Oregon. ODFW has been releasing trout in the high lakes for decades. What is new is technology that is making aerial stocking more efficient. Biologists for each participating watershed district plot the flight paths and release sites on handheld GPS units, which they then use to help the helicopter pilot navigate directly to each lake with pinpoint accuracy.
High lakes fishing is very popular according to a survey of anglers conducted by ODFW in 2006. Of those anglers surveyed, 25 percent identified Oregon’s high lakes as their preferred place to fish for trout. That equates to roughly 52,000 anglers per year, according to Messmer.
“It can be a really good fishing experience,” he said. “The crowds are usually smaller, you don’t have competing activities like boats and jet skis, and it’s generally more relaxing, not to mention some exceptional scenery.”
ODFW is currently developing a database of high lakes fisheries, which the department plans to post on its website. In the meantime, anglers are encouraged to consult with local district fish biologists for information about specific lakes.
Contact:Rhine Messmer (503) 947-6214
Rick Swart (971) 673-6038