Hunting season will not close for fires

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Dennis L. Clay

A check of the weather website shows no rain is forecast for the next week or so. This is good news for hay farmers with alfalfa on the ground, but hunters want rain.

The risk of a wildfire is less when the ground is wet. The woods are a bit quieter with the ground and plants damp.

A check with Fish and Wildlife has indicated hunting season will not close. Access to some areas may be denied, however, as is to be expected. For heaven sakes, be careful out there.

As always we must all remain watchful and attentive when in the Great Outdoors

From Fish and Wildlife:

The following shouldn't need to be mentioned, but the information is suitable for all of us outdoor-minded people to read and respect. If you read it last week, read it again and pass the info along to others.

With unusually dry conditions and wildfires burning in parts of the state, Fish and Wildlife is prohibiting campfires and other activities on all agency-managed lands.

The emergency order, which is effective immediately, prohibits:

Fires or campfires: However, personal camp stoves or lanterns fueled by liquid petroleum, liquid petroleum gas or propane are allowed.

Smoking: Unless in an enclosed vehicle.

Target shooting: Except at shooting ranges developed by Fish and Wildlife.

Welding and the use of chainsaws and other equipment: Operating a torch with an open flame and equipment powered by an internal combustion engine is prohibited.

Operating a motor vehicle off developed roads: Except when parking in areas without vegetation within 10 feet of the roadway and parking in developed campgrounds and at trailheads.

These restrictions are part of a larger effort by state and federal agencies to reduce the risk of further wildfires in Washington. That effort includes a burn ban issued for all forestlands protected by the state Department of Natural Resources in Eastern Washington.

The restrictions on Fish and Wildlife-managed lands will remain in effect until conditions improve and the risk of wildfires decreases.

Before recreating on public or private lands, hunters and others should check with the appropriate landowner for any restrictions.

Hunting seasons

Duck, goose, snipe and coot seasons open a week from tomorrow. The general modern firearm general deer season will also open on Oct. 13. The pheasant season will open on Oct. 20.

Forest grouse hunting is ongoing and will continue through Dec. 31.

The early cougar hunting season is open and scheduled to continue through Dec. 31. The late cougar season will begin on Jan. 1 through March 31. Any legal weapon may be used in both seasons.

Master Hunter Advisory Group seeking members

Fish and Wildlife is accepting letters of interest through Oct. 31 for membership on the department's Master Hunter Advisory Group.

Five positions are currently open on the 15-member volunteer group, which represents more than 2,000 master hunters statewide and advises Fish and Wildlife on issues affecting the department's Master Hunter program.

To qualify, applicants must be certified master hunters, who have completed special training to be eligible to assist Fish and Wildlife in addressing specific wildlife-management issues in Washington. Advisory group members serve three-year terms.

Current openings are for master hunters living in these areas: Region 3 (one vacancy), representing Kittitas, Yakima, Franklin, and Benton counties. Region 6 (two vacancies), representing Clallam, Jefferson, Grays Harbor, Mason, Thurston, Pierce, Pacific, and Kitsap counties. Any county in the state (two vacancies), serving at large.

To be considered for a position on the advisory group, applicants must submit a letter of interest to Fish and Wildlife by Oct. 31. Appointments become effective March 2013.

The group meets at least four times a year in Ellensburg. Members are volunteers and don't receive compensation, mileage or per diem.

Applicants should address letters of interest to Sgt. Carl Klein at carl.klein@dfw.wa.gov or to WDFW Law Enforcement Program, Attn: Carl Klein, Hunter Education Division; 600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091.

Applications should include information on the nominee's relevant experience and reasons for wanting to serve as a member of the advisory group. More information on the Master Hunter program is available on WDFW's website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/masterhunter/index.html.

Selective chinook fishery now open in the Wenatchee River

Anglers will be able to fish for and retain adipose fin clipped adult and jack summer chinook salmon in the lower Wenatchee River. The seasons are as follows: Aug. 4 through Oct. 15 in the Wenatchee River from the mouth, the confluence with the Columbia River, to 400 feet below Dryden Dam.

And Sept. 1 through Oct. 15 in the Wenatchee River from the confluence of Peshastin Creek to a line perpendicular to the river at a marker on the opposite shore, approximately 1,000 feet above Dryden Dam, to the Icicle Creek Road bridge on the west end of Leavenworth.

The daily limit is two adipose fin clipped summer chinook, adult or jack. All other fish must be released. Selective gear rules apply, single barbless lures or flies, no bait allowed. In addition, no boats with motors are allowed, knotless nets, and night closure is in effect.

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