Fish & Feathers: It's the time of year for young critters

<I>RON MALAST photo</I><BR>This baby seal was alert and waiting for Mama on a Peninsula beach. If you find a young seal on the beach, leave it alone. The mother will return in a day or two to claim it.

It's that time of the year when just about every wild creature on the Peninsula and at sea is having babies. Yes, wildlife reproduction is in full swing and, depending on the species, could be troublesome for some homeowners. The arrival of skunks and raccoons is particularly uncomfortable when they choose a portion of your house for their home.

Food, whether in the form of garbage, pet food, gardens or chickens, is likely to attract wild things. You should check around your house and make sure your crawl spaces are screened. Any nook or cranny that offers a cozy setting will be found.

Just this past week, while exercising my dog on the beach, we happened upon a baby seal. Now I'm not a big seal fan by any stretch of the imagination, but I did call 911 and they immediately directed me to Fish and Wildlife. The lady said to leave the small one alone, don't harass it and in a day or two the mother would return to claim it. She said it happens all the time. Sounds like a good way to keep from paying a babysitter.

Surf Perch DerbyWashington's 9th Annual Surf Perch Derby will be held on Saturday, May 16. These fish, which are usually in full bloom at this time of year, seem to be a little late in hitting the beaches.

The pre-registration is $25 and includes a breakfast of pancakes, ham, scrambled eggs, cranberry juice, coffee and milk. Cash prizes will be awarded and applications can be found at Dennis Company in Long Beach.

Big halibut caught near Port Townsend

Last week, Ray Fredrick of Silverdale caught the "big one" west of Point Wilson near Port Townsend in 95 feet of water. The halibut weighted in at 223 pounds.

Shed-antler auctionThe Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife auction for shed-antlers raised $15,032 for winter elk feeding. About 1,275 pounds of antlers were sold at the May 2 auction, attended by about 150 people. The funds raised will cover about 18 percent of the cost for an average 80-day winter feeding season at Oak Creek. The highest single sale of $500 was made on a set of 8-point antlers from the Hanford area.

Sport fishing in Washington 2009-10The new fishing pamphlet is now available in sporting goods stores such as Dennis Company and there are some statewide rule changes that you should check out on page 15.

Some rules of interest include the new opening date for streams, use of live aquatic animals for bait, sturgeon measurement, non-buoyant lure restriction and anti-snagging rule, $10 penalty for not returning crab catch record cards, new marine protected area for Saltwater State Park and the Lower Columbia river coho limit.

ClammingFor those of you who missed it, the final two days of the spring clam season were great. The weather, the clams and the beach traffic made it a very enjoyable weekend for all.

Ron Malast can be reached at 665-3573 or 360-801-3443.

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