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Washington hunting regulations out; applications open; photo winner revealed

April 22, 2014 6 a.m. - Updated: 8:31 a.m.

HUNTING — Washington's new 2014 Big Game Hunting Seasons & Regulations pamphlet has been posted on the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife website — with hard copies showing up at dealers. 

The month-long special permit application period for deer, elk, moose, mountain goat, bighorn sheep and wild turkey starts today.

The deadline is May 22.

Note the cover photo: Jason Raines won the WDFW hunting camp photo contest for the braggin' rights of getting his camp featured on the cover of the 2014 pamphlet. The photo shows his his 2009 elk camp near Mount St. Helens in the general area where he's hunted elk for more than a decade. Raines reported he bagged a “raghorn” 3x4 bull on the last day of that season.

That's the beauty of a good hunting camp: It keeps you comfortable enough in the right place for as long as it takes to put the odds of success in your favor.

“It’s a place that calms the mind and soul,” he told WDFW about the photo entry. “It is so tough to describe, it just has to be experienced.”

Here's a tip of the blaze-orange hat to Raines who, since 2010, has been bringing wounded veterans out to enjoy the camp and the big-game hunting experience it fosters.

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Idaho’s 2014 big-game hunting rules published

April 22, 2014 5:50 a.m. - Updated: 8:26 a.m.

HUNTING — Idaho's 2014 Big Game Seasons and Rules brochures are back from the printer and should be available at license vendors and Fish and Game offices in most locations. 

Elk hunters will notice changes to several elk management zones in the south half of the state. 

Wolf hunters will notice that bag limits have been standardized to five wolves per year statewide.  The hunting season was also extended to year-round on private land in Units 8, 8A, 10, 10A, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 16A, 17, 18, 19, and 20.

The wolf trapping bag limit has also been standardized to five wolves per season in all units open to wolf trapping.  There are new trapping seasons in 10 game management units, and legally-salvaged roadkill may be used for trapping wolves statewide. 

The minimum hunting age to hunt big game, effective July 1, 2014, will be lowered from 12 to 10 years of age.  Normally a hunter who will be of legal age at the time of a hunt can apply before reaching that age. However, because this law does not take effect until July 1, 2014, hunters who are 9 or 10 cannot apply for big game controlled hunts in the first controlled hunt application periods (April 1 to April 30; May 1 to June 5.)  After the law is enacted in July, 9 and 10 year-olds who will turn 10 or 11 during the season can apply in the second application period in August.

Idaho’s trespass law and use of aircraft law related to hunting have been updated.    Hunters will notice adjustments to seasons have been made in all regions of Idaho, so attention to the current seasons and rules is important.  

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‘DamNation’ film scopes dam removals, river revivals

April 21, 2014 4:29 p.m. - Updated: April 23, 8:48 a.m.

RIVERS – A new documentary about the impact of dams on rivers will be screened Wednesday, April 23, at the Lincoln Center 1316 N. Lincoln St. in Spokane.

DamNation, by Patagonia, follows the movement that started two decades ago with the removal of a dam in Maine to the more recent projects to remove dams on Washington’s Elwha and White Salmon rivers.

This screening — the first in the Northwest — is sponsored by Save Our Wild Salmon and the Spokane Falls Chapter of Trout Unlimited.

The event will feature a no-host bar and a Q & A with the film-makers and local spokespeople after the show. Doors open at 6 p.m.; show at 7.

For more information and to get your tickets online, click here

Contact: Sam Mace at sam@wildsalmon.org or (509) 747-2030

DamNation documents the growing movement in the United States to restore rivers by removing dams that can no longer justify their existence.  Produced by Patagonia, Felt Soul Media and Stoecker Ecological, the film shows how far we’ve come in the last 50 years, from assuming all dams are progress to taking out the first major dam on the Kennebec River in Maine.  Celebrating the successes on the Elwha and White Salmon River, the film turns its lens on the four lower Snake River dams in eastern Washington.  Since premiering at SXSW last month, DamNation has been playing to sold out crowds and winning awards at every film festival, including the People’s Choice Award at SXSW and Best Environmental Advocacy Film Award at the DC Environmental Film Festival.  

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Six sea lions killed to protect Columbia salmon

April 21, 2014 12:30 p.m.

FISHING — Six California sea lions have been killed to protect endangered salmon crossing Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River, the Associated Press reports.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Jessica Sall says the six were among some 20 sea lions that have been hanging around the dam as chinook salmon start their spawning run. People in boats and on shore harass the sea lions to discourage their feeding, but the department is allowed to kill up to 30 a year. Last year two were killed and two sent to a zoo. 

The six that were trapped and euthanized recently are the first to be killed under the permit this year.

Lower Columbia fishermen have seen many of their catches devoured by sea lions before the fish can be netted.  But the pinnipeds pose a serious threat to endangered chinook salmon stocks when they can ambush the fish at man-made river bottlenecks such as the fish ladders at the dams.

Of course, the Humane Society of the United States has been trying to stop the practice, arguing sea lions kill fewer fish than people, the dams and loss of habitat. But a federal appeals court last year upheld the practice.

HSUS spokespeople are quoted and allowed to voice their outrage in several stories I see by area news outlets including Northwest Public Radio. But none of those reports quotes a fisherman, guide, tackle shop owner, motel owner, boat salesman or restaurant waitress on the importance of salmon fishing to their livelihoods. 

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Yellowstone Park roads opening to vehicles

April 21, 2014 11:04 a.m.

PARKS – Snowplows at Yellowstone National Park opened the main road into Old Faithful over the weekend, marking the beginning of the spring tourist season.

The East Entrance is scheduled to open May 2 and the South Entrance May 9. 

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Big pack needed for hike in elk antler country

April 21, 2014 10:31 a.m.

HIKING — Holly Weiler of Spokane Valley recommends a big pack even for an overnight spring backpacking trip into the Blue Mountains. 

Being the first to trek up the North Fork Asotin Creek Trail was rewarded with the discovery of a six-point bull elk antler shed, which she had to pack out around 10 miles to the trailhead.

But what filled her pack was all the trash she collected that wintered in the mountains, leftover from last fall. 

Said Weiler:

Ice axe loops work nicely for shed hunters, too. That pack was heavy! The plastic bag is full of other people's trash.

North Fork Asotin Creek is one of the many destinations mentioned in my story about the visual pleasures of day hiking in April

It's Hike No. 124 in Day Hiking Eastern Washington.

Note:  I do not recommend camping at the ladybird beetle “meadow” during spring.  It's a rare find — a fragile traditional roosting spot for bugs that have great value to society by preying on crop-plaguing insects.

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Photo: five cougars near Newman Lake home

April 21, 2014 8:34 a.m. - Updated: 8:52 p.m.

WILDLIFE WATCHING — Ken Vanden Heuvel got a big surprise when he checked out the photos on the trail cam that's pointed down the driveway of his Newman Lake-area home.

Check it out closely:  1, 2, 3, 4 — 5 cougars in one shot.

Time to keep the dog in the house!

  • Even more impressive is the photo I published in 2010 with the story about about the Wenatchee hunter who captured a pride of EIGHT mountain lions in ONE trail cam photo.  See the story and photo here.
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Volunteer for Palisades Park cleanup Saturday

April 21, 2014 7:41 a.m.

TRAILS – Volunteers are needed for the annual Palisades Park Cleanup starting at 9 a.m. on Saturday. Meet at the intersection of Greenwood, Rimrock and Basalt roads.

A tailgate party lunch for volunteers is set for noon.

The city park, which is near Indian Canyon, features Rimrock Drive, now a non-motorized route overlooking Spokane, plus hiking trails in a natural conservation area.

RSVP: membership@palisadesnw.com.

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Video: duckling is breakfast for northern pike

April 21, 2014 6 a.m.

WILDLIFE — Being cute is no defense in the harsh world of nature.

When a northern pike zeroes in on a duckling, there isn't much a mother can do.

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St. Joe River campground host sought

April 20, 2014 6 a.m. - Updated: 11:13 a.m.

CAMPING – A campground host is being sought for the Huckleberry Campground along the St. Joe River 30 miles east of St. Maries, Idaho.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management's Coeur d'Alene District provides the volunteer hosts free camping and utilities for services five days a week.

Info: (208) 769-5041.

Read on for more details from the BLM:

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