Fish & Feathers: Hunting opportunities open up

<I>RON MALAST photo</I><BR>This Ocean Park resident, playing hooky from work, took this nice Chinook earlier in the season.

As we pass through the first days of autumn, hunting seasons for both birds and big game open across the state. This past weekend, a special youth hunt was scheduled for hunters under the age of 16 years old. Other openers are as follows:

Sept. 22 to 26: Special pheasant hunt for hunters 65 and older in western Washington.

Sept. 27: General pheasant season opens in western Washington.

Sept 30: Early archery season for deer ends in most areas of the state.

Oct. 4: General hunt for quail in western Washington and for chukar and partridge in eastern Washington.

Oct. 11: General hunting for ducks and geese gets underway in most areas, although goose hunting will remain closed until Nov. 8 in Management Area 2A in southwest Washington.

Oct. 4-10: Early muzzleloader season for deer and elk opens in many selected game units.

Oct. 11:  Deer-hunting season with modern firearms begins in selected areas across the state.

Bear and cougar are also an option. Hunters are allowed two cougars during the season, which runs through March 15th, 2009.  Hunters are also allowed two bear during the season, which runs Aug. 1 through Nov. 15, but only one in eastern Washington.

Salmon Reopens above the mouth of the Lewis RiverDue to the Columbia River Chinook runs that are larger than expected, starting Saturday Sept. 30 and continuing through Dec. 31 (or until further notice) the river above the mouth of the Lewis River was opened upstream to the Bonneville Dam. The river from the mouth of the Lewis downstream to Tongue Point remains closed.

As of Sept. 16, Bonneville Dam counts have totaled 180,831 bright stock Chinook and 83,132 tulle stock Chinook compared to the preseason estimate 170,900 brights and 75,200 tules at Bonneville Dam.

Stop Washington PoachersWe are entering the time of the year, which envelops a lot of outdoor activity, those including big game hunting, upland and waterfowl hunting and clamming. The men, wome,n and youth that participate in these are 99 percent law biding citizens who obey legal shooting times, bag limits and the personal safety of other outdoor enthusiasts, but then there is the other 1 percent. Those that just have to kill that extra duck, stuff an extra pheasant in the back of their pickup, take that illegal deer or the extra limit of clams, just to feel that they have beaten the system. Well, truth is, they are cheating each and every legal sportsperson of our natural resources and our fair share of these resources. 

If you happen to see someone who you know is breaking the law, call The Poacher Hot Line at 877- 933-9847 (put it in your cell phone address book), and do us all a favor. 

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