Monday Morning News Roundup

Rich Landers of the Spokane Spokesman-Review talks about the importance of fin clipping for Washington anglers in a story that also marks the first time the word “foreskin” has appeared in the lead of an fishing or hunting article that I can recall.

Further down, he writes:

“California is where we were years ago, with closed ocean seasons because of constraints on certain weak stocks of fish,” (NMTA’s Tony) Floor said. “Because they haven’t started fin clipping, they sit on the beach while we go fishing.

In an opinion piece, The Olympian calls the new Discover Pass and user fees “the right way to keep state recreation lands open” during tight times.

The simple truth is if lawmakers had not implemented this new permit system, park gates would be closed and entrance gates to public lands locked. Under the law, those who object to paying the user fee can volunteer three days a year and receive a free pass.

With a sea lion in the area on Saturday at the Wind River, a situation not unlike the following one was going through my mind as I put a tethered springer overboard to bleed out — and illustrates why I ALWAYS wear a life jacket when I’m on the water.

The Oregonian reports on how a 62-year-old Portland man was yanked into the Willamette when a pinniped grabbed his salmon-filled net.

The sea lion yanked the 62-year-old retired pharmaceutical company manager out of the boat and into the 51-degree Willamette River channel.

Clinging to the gunwale with his right hand, he held fast to the net with his left but was no match for what likely was a male California sea lion, whose species can grow to 8 feet and 850 pounds.

Jan wasn’t wearing a life jacket. His boots filled with water. He had to let the $150 net and the fish go. Gone, too, were his son’s G. Loomis rod and Penn reel, valued together at about $500.

A 60-year-old man and a 13-year-old boy out shrimping off Camano Island, Wash., drowned when their boat capsized; neither were wearing life jackets.

In another Oregonian story, there’s an incredible image of vast herd of elk on the Zumwalt Prairie of northeastern Wallowa County, and an article about the, err, elkboy who must move them to prevent overgrazing.

Craig Nichols squints through his binoculars at a herd of 250 Rocky Mountain elk on a distant grassy ridgetop, framed against the snow-covered Eagle Cap Wilderness.

“Most of them are bedded down,” he says softly.

The elk are slug-a-beds this bright spring morning on Wallowa County’s rolling 150,000-acre Zumwalt Prairie. Unfortunately for them, Nichols’ job is hazing elk herds off the prairie toward the forested breaks of the Snake and Imnaha rivers to the north.

“I call it gentle persuasion, relentlessly applied,” he says.

And in yet another story from the Portland newspaper, outdoors freelancer Bill Monroe talks with author Mark Kurlansky, he of Cod, about his new book, World Without Fish.

By happenstance, I just read it; my mother-in-law got it for my son, River (it’s more of a kids and teens book). It isn’t so much about the earth sans finny ones, but without those that are most palatable to us — cod, redfish, certain tunas, salmon, etc. It’s Kurlansky’s Cod on a bigger scale, and reminded me of elements of David Montgomery’s fine book, King of Fish, the Thousand Year Run of Salmon.

“Fish could become extinct within 50 years,” contends the former commercial fisherman, journalist (correspondent for the Chicago Tribune), cook and best-selling author. “It is important to understand that there are not two worlds: the world of humans and a separate world of plants and animals. … We all live on the same planet.”

An ocean without fish as we know and use them, wouldn’t die, Kurlansky says in his book, it will simply resurrect itself in a new paradigm and take on the yellow and orange hues of plankton, algae, jellyfish and turtles.

If it’s not overharvesting, polution and changing ocean conditions that threaten marine life, it’s poaching to feed insatiable markets. Gary Chittim of KING 5 has a piece on shellfish poaching in Hood Canal, featuring a handful of WDFW game wardens.

Says anchor Dennis Bounds, “Officers says thieves could find an endless demand here and overseas for oysters, clams, geoducks and other shellfish native to Washington state.”

For more on just a single example, see Craig Welch’s Shell Games.

And then there’s the fine case of Ajun Escudero. A felon, he was caught hunting near a national military cemetery late last fall by WDFW game wardens.

Says the Kent, Wash., Reporter:

At the sentencing, U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez noted that Escudero’s “love of guns overcomes everything in his life….  (He) has not learned that he can have nothing to do with weapons.”

According to records filed in the case, on Dec. 2, 2010, Escudero was detained by Washington State Fish and Wildlife officers following complaints of illegal hunting near Tahoma National Cemetery.

Escudero, and the two men with him, had five firearms between them. Three of the guns belonged to Escudero – a Colt pistol, DPMS Panther Arms .308 caliber rifle, and a Mossberg shotgun.

Escudero has two prior felony convictions and is prohibited from possessing firearms. When questioned, Escudero admitted that in October 2010, he had hunted illegally, shooting a bear after baiting it with donuts and garbage. He gave permission for the officers to search his residence for additional firearms.

WDFW LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS TAKE DOWN EJAN ESCUDERO IN KENT LAST DECEMBER. (WDFW)

A FINE STASH OF WEAPONS FOR A FELON TO POSSESS .... ILLEGALLY. (WDFW)

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