Cyber Monday Reads

We’re still gnawing on the bird at my house, but in the four days since I bothered to check my email, my inbox sure was full of stuffing this morning.

Leading off would have to be news that there are zero game wardens based in Cowlitz County, Wash.

“We’re really not covering anything,” WDFW Sgt. Ted Holden told Tom Paulu of The Daily News (Longview), an article that was picked up by numerous other sources.

Holden’s stationed up in Lewis County, and when there’s a call, he’ll zip down I-5, or the Wahkiakum County officer will head east.

The article appeared roughly a month after a piece in a newspaper in the next county south says that WDFW is looking at cutting 20 game wardens as one possible fix for the large budget shortfall the state is facing.

Meanwhile, the Oregon State Police are looking for help in finding a deer poacher who may have shot two deer in Wasco County:

A fork horn buck deer was shot and killed with a firearm in a hayfield adjacent to Highway 197 in Tygh Valley sometime in the late afternoon or evening on Thanksgiving day or  in the early morning hours on Friday.  The deer was located about 150 yards from Highway 197.  It was salvaged for donation by Oregon State Police (OSP) troopers.

A second deer was shot and killed at about the same time frame from Highway 216 west of Pine Grove.  The deer was killed about 50 yards from the highway on private property.  The deer was removed without being gutted and loaded into a vehicle on Highway 216.

Anyone with any information in either or both cases is encouraged to call OSP.  A reward of $250 is being offered in either or both cases for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons responsible.

Contact Information: Senior Trooper Swede Pearson; Phone 541 296 9646  Cell # 541 980 8358

That big article I did on the potential elimination of Puget Sound steelheading drew some interesting comments from a former WDFW biologist and another steelheader.

While one poster on Speypages rails about tribal harvest, Smalma (aka Curt Kraemer) and Flytyer point out that the Samish River has no directed tribal netting and it’s seeing the same poor returns as every other river in the basin — as well as BC’s Georgia Strait and Vancouver Island.

So, is it really Billy Frank Jr. and the Big Bad Indians?

Somewhat along those same lines, The Olympian picks up the story on All Those Salmon In The North Pacific that came out earlier this fall. The nut is, there may be too many fish in the ocean, a result of massive hatchery production increases across the arc of the basin the past few decades. It’s almost incomprehensible that there could be too many salmon, but the more mouths to feed, the less for all.

It affects Northwest salmon fishing because many of our stocks rear up north.

“It’s on people’s radar screens,” Sara LaBorde, who monitors hatchery issues for WDFW, told Les Blumenthal of McClatchy.

But the radar screen is anything but clear, if a response I got last week from one of my sources at that agency is any gauge.

On the radar for nonhunters and -anglers in Oregon is a proposed parking pass fee at ODFW wildlife areas, Mark Freeman of the Medford Mail Tribune reports.

The Fish and Wildlife Commission will vote late this week whether or not to eventually charge $22 to help pay for the sites.

Freeman explains:

Most wildlife areas were purchased with hunting access in mind and paid for with money raised by a federal tax on firearms and ammunition through the Pittman-Robertson Act. Operating funds come from hunting-license revenues.

A 2004 management plan for Denman estimated that hunters log about 5,500 visitor-days a year there. Bird-watchers, hikers and other so-called “non-consumptive” users log about 25,000 visitor-days annually, making them the largest block of visitors. Anglers came second, logging about 10,500 visitor-days — mostly using strips of wildlife land along the Rogue River.

These groups have strained the infrastructure of places like Denman without contributing to wildlife-area coffers.

“These are users who are not paying for any kind of maintenance,” says Michelle Dennehy, spokeswoman for ODFW’s Wildlife Division. “This is a way for them to contribute to what they’re already using.”

Freeman points out that parking passes have been in effect on popular Sauvie Island Wildlife Area since 1990; if the commission approves, the fee would go into effect starting in 2012 on La Grande’s Ladd Marsh, Eugene’s EE Wilson and South-central Oregon’s Summer Lake in 2012.

Back on the north side of the Columbia, WDFW and DNR are also looking at a parking pass proposal for access to their millions of acres across Washington.

To the east of the state line, there’s an interesting article (and debate) about an encounter a North Idaho woman had with four wolves. Walking up a snowed-in driveway a half hour after sunset Saturday, Karen Calisterio (who may or may not be involved with Idaho for Wildlife) says she was approached by the pack.

Different subject, and not to trumpet my own horn too loudly (but I had this one waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back in early September), Doug Huddle of the Bellingham Herald reports on free vision tests for Washington hunters.

And finally, while I accomplished zero hunting or fishing over the weekend (though I did manage to trap the mouse that was trying to set up house in our car), some of the readers and writers here managed to get out. Here are a few pics:

TURKEY'S OFF THE TABLE AT THE BOLLES' HOUSE -- THEY'RE GETTING MALLARD INSTEAD, THANKS TO RANDY'S POST-TURKEY DAY LIMIT OF GREENHEADS ON THE UPPER COLUMBIA. (HI-VIZ PHOTO CONTEST)

NWS SCRIBE ANDY SCHNEIDER WITH A COWLITZ STEELIE, CAUGHT SATURDAY. (ANDY SCHNEIDER)

For more on Schneider’s trip, click here.

A ROOSTER AND DRAKE LIVENED UP THANKSGIVING DAY FESTIVITIES FOR ROB PHILLIPS OF YAKIMA. HE WAS HUNTING WITH SON KYLE AND LAB TESSA. (ROB PHILLIPS)

PHILLIPS ALSO FILLED HIS MUZZLELOADER TAG WITH THIS 3X4 MULEY DEER FROM THE GOLDENDALE AREA. (ROB PHILLIPS)

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