Page 1

A special publication of OUTDOORS SECTION | FRIDAY, SEPT. 8, 2017

STATE OF THE HERDS  PAGES 2-8

WAYS TO AVOID GETTING TICKETED

INCREASE YOUR HUNTING ACUMEN

TO HUNT SAFE IS TO HUNT AWARE

COOLING CARCASS IS FIRST PRIORITY

 PAGE 9

 PAGE 12

 PAGE 13

 PAGE 14

S U P P L E M E N T T O T H E M O S C O W - P U L L M A N D A I LY N E W S


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OUTDOORS / HUNTING 2017

F R I D A Y, S E P T E M B E R 8 , 2 0 1 7

Film tour will tide you over ’til the hunts begin M Eric ost hunters don’t need Commentary extra motivation for the start of the fall season and I’m no exception. I mourn its passing each winter and eagerly anticipate its return in September. For me, it starts with an early outing or two with the dogs show up and the whitetail where we attempt to bag bucks begin to rut. grouse or doves. But those I’m ready now for the heart first few hunts are generally of fall to arrive, for the leaves short because of the still sum- to change color and drop mer-like weather. from the trees, for The pace quick“Hunting Film frost to greet me in ens with the openthe mornings and for Tour” ing of chukar, gray my weekends to be partridge and quail Sept. 16 busy with trips to the seasons. It really forest and field. 6-9 p.m. breaks loose durBut until then I Clearwater and many others will ing October’s crisp River Casino have to be content days and the start of the deer and elk with short trips and rifle seasons, plus day dreaming of the the opening of waterfowl and coming action. For those of pheasant hunting. The pinyou jonesing for the hunt, Trinacle of my fall is in Novembune Outdoors has something ber when temperatures are to wet your appetite and get you even more psyched. We cool enough for long days are screening “New Horichasing upland game birds, zons” — the latest offering the northern ducks start to

Barker

from the Hunting Film Tour — from 6 to 9 p.m. Sept. 16 at the Clearwater River Casino near Lewiston. The roughly two-hour-long screening, with a raffle held by our partners at the Selway Bitterroot-Frank Church Foundation during the intermission, will be a fun gathering of like-minded folks that culminates with the movie, which is a compilation of short films featuring a wide range of hunting adventures.

If you aren’t familiar with the Selway Bitterroot foundation, it’s a nonpolitical, nonprofit outfit that works with the U.S. Forest Service to help keep backcountry trails open and to care for wilderness areas where many of us hunt. Our partner sponsors, which include North 40, Guys Outdoors, the Jack O’Connor Hunting Heritage and Education Center, Vista Outdoors and the casino, will be on

hand to share their excitement for the fall seasons. Please think about joining us for this fun evening. Tickets are $15 if purchased in advance, or $20 at the door. VIP ticket packages that include a drink ticket, door prizes and reserved seating are $40. They are available at the Lewiston Tribune and Moscow-Pullman Daily News, Sportsman’s Warehouse, North 40 and Guys Outdoors in Lewiston, or online at www.huntingfilmtour.com. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the show starts at 7. A no-host bar will be available. Bring your friends and family and enjoy the quality films that average about 10 to 12 minutes each and feature some of the world’s most beautiful hunting destinations and exciting fair chase hunts. ———

Barker is the Outdoors editor of the Lewiston Tribune. He may be contacted at (208) 848-2273 or ebarker@lmtribune.com.

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3

OUTDOORS / HUNTING 2017

outlook: idaho deer and elk

Ungulates weather the storms Mid-winter weather shift gave Clearwater region’s herds a chance to avoid purge By ERIC BARKER of the Tribune

Idaho’s streak of mild winters was broken last year and deep snow combined with cold temperatures took a toll on some of the state’s deer and elk herds, but the Clearwater region seems to have been an exception. “Southern Idaho had some really horrendous conditions and they had pretty high mortality rates on both mule deer fawns and elk,” said Dave Koehler, a wildlife biologist for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game at Lewiston. “We had more snow up here than we have had in a while, but realistically in the backcountry our snow levels weren’t that much more than what historically has been fairly average. ” Koehler also noted that winter hit early and snow piled up in November and December, but by January the weather pattern shifted. “It really warmed up back there and we got as much rain as snow from that point on and conditions never got any worse,” he said. Based on data collected from a small number of elk calves wearing radio collars, there was higher winter mortality than winters of the recent past. But Koehler said the mortality rate wasn’t terrible. “We might have lost 50 percent this year, which is higher than it’s been, but it’s certainly not a wipeout sort of year like 1996,” he said. Deer in the region also appear to have survived the winter. Again, Koehler said there were some localized pockets where above-average winter mortality was reported, but nothing out of the ordinary. He said most of the deer in the re-

Robert Millage Photography

A bull elk bugles during a recent September rut. Based on data collected from a small number of elk calves wearing radio collars, there was higher winter mortality than winters of the recent past, but the mortality rate wasn’t devastating.

A

Prospectus: Deer The streak of mild winters came to an end last year, but deer populations in the Clearwater Basin fared better than those in southern Idaho that were hit hard by the storms.

gion drop to lower elevations like the breaks of the Clearwater, Snake and Salmon rivers or the lower-elevation slopes around Dworshak Reservoir. “They don’t really even have to be in snow much at all and this year when it warmed up like it did in January, I don’t expect we had much in deer mortality above what you would see in a normal year.” Going into winter, deer and elk populations in many but

not all areas of the state and region were pretty healthy due in part to previous mild weather. “We have had exceptional conditions for a number of years running all across the state, so populations were pretty good to start with. Even if we saw higher-than-average mortality, we still have a lot of animals out on the hill.” The Lolo and Selway elk hunting zones are the excep-

C+

Prospectus: Elk A mixed bag. Backcountry units continue to struggle but have shown signs of inching toward recovery. Herds in the rest of the basin look good but overwinter calf survival was lower than in recent years.

tion. Elk numbers there have been down for two decades. Biologists did aerial surveys of the Lolo Zone last winter and found mixed results. The overall number of elk in Unit 10 of the zone continued to be low. But biologists saw positive signs that the herd might slowly be stabilizing or even setting itself up for growth. “We had 32 calves per 100 cows, which is really quite good, and we saw lots of spikes

and a lot of sub-adult bulls, which would tell you we had good recruitment for several years running,” he said. “The disappointing part for a lot of people was just the total number of elk in there was pretty similar to 2010 (the last time it was surveyed). But in 2010, we knew the population was still declining.” Biologists believe that after

> See idaho, page 4


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OUTDOORS / HUNTING 2017

IDAHO > Continued from PAGE 3 the survey six winters ago, elk numbers continued to suffer and at some point bottomed

out and started to rebuild. Koehler said the problem is growing a herd that has been hammered takes time. “We are not talking about that many elk. (Herds) have the ability to decline a lot faster than they do to increase.” Elk numbers in the Unit 12

UNIT 8 DEER Hunters ......... 3,235 Success ...... 40.8% Bucks ........... 1,094 Does ................. 225 Whitetail ..... 97.7%

ELK Hunters ...... 1,024 Success .......... 26.5 Antlered ......... 146 Cows ................ 125 Spike............... 9%

ELK Hunters ...... 2,434 Success ..... 18.8% Antlered ......... 289 Cows .............. 169 Spike ............. 24%

UNIT 10 DEER Hunters .......... 699 Success ..... 30.3% Bucks ............. 156 Does ................. 55 Whitetail ... 46.5%

ELK Hunters .......... 510 Success ..... 20.4% Antlered ......... 104 Cows .................. 0 Spike............. 20%

UNIT 10A DEER Hunters ....... 6,958 Success ..... 49.4% Bucks .......... 2,414 Does ............ 1,028 Whitetail ... 97.3%

ELK Hunters ...... 3,549 Success ...... 18.9% Antlered ......... 509 Cows .............. 163 Spike ......... 48.7%

UNIT 11 DEER * Hunters ....... 1,894 Success ..... 40.5% Bucks ............. 567 Does ............... 200 Whitetail ... 99.5%

ELK ^ Hunters .............. Success .............. Bucks ................. Does ................... Whitetail ............

X X X X X

UNIT 11A DEER * Hunters ....... 2,456 Success ..... 48.6% Bucks ............. 921 Does ............... 272 Whitetail ...... 89%

ELK Hunters .......... 285 Success ...... 10.5% Antlered ........... 20 Cows ................ 10 Spike .............. 31%

UNIT 12 DEER Hunters .......... 256 Success ......... 27% Bucks ............... 58 Does.................. 12 Whitetail ....... 96%

ELK Hunters .......... 282 Success ...... 19.9% Antlered ........... 56 Cows .................. 0 Spike ............ 8.5%

The health of the region’s deer and elk herds is not always reflected in hunting season success. Koehler said weather during the hunt often plays a bigger role. “People get really focused on the number of animals on

Idaho deer and elk general hunt stats Figures compiled from 2016 hunts in the various hunting units by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game: * — Whitetail only ^ — Controlled hunts

Potlatch

UNIT 8A DEER Hunters ...... 5,126 Success .... 38.5% Bucks ........ 1,440 Does .............. 535 Whitetail .. 99.3%

portion of the zone were not as positive. “We would like to see it at 25 or 30, and cow numbers were down in there, too,” he said. “Overall the (Unit) 12 count was less than 2010. For whatever reason it did not recover as well as (Unit) 10.”

F R I D A Y, S E P T E M B E R 8 , 2 0 1 7

UNIT 16A DEER Hunters .......... 165 Success ...... 33.9% Bucks ............... 52 Does ................... 5 Whitetail ...... 78%

ELK Hunters .......... 234 Success ....... 17.1% Antlered ........... 37 Cows .................. 3 Spike ............... 4%

UNIT 17

Deary

LATAH

CLEARWATER 10

Elk River

Moscow

8A 8 Pierce Orofino LewistonNEZ 10A PERCE LEWIS Kooskia Lowell Winchester 11 11A 16 13

the hill, but it seems like hunter success rates and harvest is driven as much by weather conditions during the hunt as anything,” he said. “If it’s hot and dry, hunting is tough. If it’s cooler and you get some precipitation, oftentimes harvest is a lot higher.”

15 IDAHO

Grangeville White Bird

Elk City

14

18 Riggins

19 19A

More online: http://bit.ly/2wYH8um

UNIT 13 DEER * Hunters .......... 428 Success ...... 38.1% Bucks ............... 89 Does................. 74 Whitetail ....... 98%

ELK ^ Hunters .............. X Success .............. X Antlered ............. X Cows .................. X Spike ................... X

UNIT 14 DEER * Hunters ........ 1,727 Success ...... 35.7% Bucks ............ 449 Does ................ 167 Whitetail ...... 99%

ELK Hunters ....... 1,078 Success ......... 25% Antlered ......... 187 Cows ................ 82 Spike ............. 62%

Powell

12 17

DEER * Hunters .......... 916 Success ..... 38.6% Bucks ............. 207 Does ............... 146 Whitetail .... 100%

ELK ^ Hunters .............. Success .............. Antlered ............. Cows .................. Spike ..................

X X X X X

UNIT 19 DEER Hunters .......... 447 Success ...... 42.1% Bucks .............. 153 Does ................. 35 Whitetail ...... 39%

20

ELK Hunters .......... 334 Success ..... 23.4% Antlered ........... 78 Cows .................. 0 Spike ............ 29%

UNIT 19A

20A

TRIBUNE GRAPHIC/ERIC BARKER, BRIAN BEESLEY

UNIT 15 ELK Hunters .......... 975 Success ...... 15.8% Antlered ......... 124 Cows ................. 31 Spike ............. 19%

UNIT 16 DEER Hunters ....... 1,242 Success ...... 49.1% Bucks ............ 469 Does ................ 141 Whitetail .... 100%

ELK Hunters ......... 364 Success ......... 17% Antlered ........... 62 Cows .................. 0 Spike .............. 9%

UNIT 18

16A

DEER Hunters ....... 2,416 Success ........ 46% Bucks ............. 769 Does ............... 343 Whitetail ... 96.5%

DEER Hunters .......... 369 Success ...... 53.1% Bucks ............. 178 Does ................. 19 Whitetail ....... 71%

ELK Hunters .......... 358 Success ..... 25.4% Antlered ........... 62 Cows ................ 29 Spike ............. 34%

DEER Hunters .......... 492 Success ..... 24.8% Bucks .............. 111 Does .................. 11 Whitetail ....... 11%

ELK Hunters .......... 671 Success ...... 14.5% Antlered ........... 94 Cows .................. 3 Spike ............. 15%

UNIT 20 DEER Hunters .......... 277 Success ..... 38.6% Bucks ............... 82 Does ................. 25 Whitetail ...... 56%

ELK Hunters .......... 220 Success ..... 20.5% Antlered ........... 45 Cows .................. 0 Spike ............. 14%

UNIT 20A DEER Hunters .......... 143 Success ....... 37.1% Bucks ............... 49 Does ................... 5 Whitetail ....... 34%

ELK Hunters .......... 245 Success ..... 24.5% Antlered ........... 60 Cows .................. 0 Spike .............. 0%


F R I D A Y, S E P T E M B E R 8 , 2 0 1 7

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OUTDOORS / HUNTING 2017

OUTL O O K : W A S H I N G T O N D E E R A N D E L K

WINTER THINS HERD

A mule deer buck walks along a tree line. Robert Millage Photography Mark Vekasy and Paul Wik, hunter success rates, with some exceptions, are generally below 23 percent. Unit 162 has exceeded the 23 percent threshold recently DEER and will likely do so again this Biologists divide District 3, year. Vekasy said harvest is domwhich includes Asotin, Garfield, inated by whitetails. The herd Columbia and Walla Walla coun- was in good condition going into ties, into units with high, medium the winter and, unlike some other and low success rates for harvest. units, was not hit hard by harsh winter conditions. Low “We are looking for a slight upUnits 162, 166 169 and 175 tick in harvest this year,” Vekasy have the most public land in the wrote in a draft hunting prospects district and see some of the high- report. est hunter numbers. According to The same is not true for units a report from district biologists 166, 169 and 175. There, snow

Persistent snow cover takes a toll on the deer and elk populations of Washington state’s SE corner By ERIC BARKER OF THE TRIBUNE

Much of southeastern Washington is known as an area where deer and elk populations are generally immune from harsh winters that can lead to population drops. It’s the rare winter that leads to die-offs that hunters will notice the following fall. Unfortunately, the winter of 2016-17 was rare and populations did suffer in some but not all locations.

cover was more persistent last winter and likely took its toll.

Medium Units 154, 163, 172 and 186 have seen harvest rates from 23 to 33 percent over the past few years. Vekasy expects whitetail harvest in 154 to mimic its past levels of around 30 percent this year. He said whitetail numbers are gradually increasing and the mule deer numbers are stable. In Unit 163, an increase in doe permits added in 2015 and an outbreak of EHD disease the same

> See DISTRICT-3, page 7

Prospectus

BHarsh winter weather took a toll on some higher elevation units but hunters should find plenty of deer in other areas.


6

OUTDOORS / HUNTING 2017

UNIT 139 DEER * Total ............... 629 Bucks .............. 458 Does ................. 171 4-pt. ................ 228 5-pt. ................. 112

ELK Total ................. 40 Bulls.................. 24 Cows ................ 16 Spikes ................ 7 5-plus pts. .......... 7

Washington deer/elk hunt stats

ELK Total ................... Bulls.................... Cows .................. Spikes ................ 5-plus pts. ..........

2 2 0 0 0

ELK Total .................. 15 Bulls.................. 10 Cows .................. 5 Spikes ................ 0 5-plus pts. ........ 10

149

0 0 0 0 0

ELK Total .................. 13 Bulls................... 13 Cows .................. 0 Spikes ................ 0 5-plus pts. ......... 13

Walla Walla

Pullman

162 154

Clarkston

Pomeroy

178

Dayton

175

166 169

UNIT 163 DEER * Total ................ 150 Bucks ............... 107 Does .................. 43 4-pt. .................. 43 5-pt. ................... 22

ELK Total ................... Bulls.................... Cows .................. Spikes ................ 5-plus pts. ..........

ASOTIN

172

181

ELK Total ................... Bulls.................... Cows .................. Spikes ................ 5-plus pts. ..........

2 0 2 0 0

UNIT 181

Anatone

186 DEER * Total ................. 89 Bucks ................. 77 Does ................... 12 4-pt. .................. 42 5-pt. ................... 16

DEER * Total ................ 323 Bucks .............. 238 Does .................. 85 4-pt. .................. 98 5-pt. ................... 41

DEER * Total ................ 295 Bucks ............... 253 Does .................. 42 4-pt. ................ 100 5-pt. .................. 42

ELK Total ................. 34 Bulls.................... 8 Cows ................ 26 Spikes ................ 2 5-plus pts. .......... 6

UNIT 186

UNIT 166 8 3 5 0 3

ELK Total ................. 57 Bulls.................. 27 Cows ................ 30 Spikes .............. 20 5-plus pts. .......... 6

UNIT 178

GARFIELD

157

SOURCE: WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

Check the regulations when you head out in the field and call our office with questions [208] 799-5010 or check idfg.idaho.gov/. Call the CAP hotline 24 hours a day to report violations 1-800-632-5999 and a reminder to ask for permission before crossing or hunting private land.

COLUMBIA

WALLA WALLA

ELK Total ................. 39 Bulls.................. 14 Cows ................ 25 Spikes ................ 7 5-plus pts. .......... 7

DEER * Total .................. 43 Bucks ................ 42 Does ..................... 1 4-pt. ................... 14 5-pt. .................... 0

145 163

ELK Total ................. 48 Bulls.................. 40 Cows .................. 8 Spikes .............. 16 5-plus pts. ........ 23

UNIT 175

Colfax

142

ELK Total ................. 20 Bulls.................. 20 Cows .................. 0 Spikes ................ 4 5-plus pts. ........ 16

UNIT 172 DEER * Total ................. 80 Bucks ................ 66 Does ................... 14 4-pt. ................... 37 5-pt. ..................... 5

WHITMAN

District 3

UNIT 157 DEER * Total ................... Bucks .................. Does .................... 4-pt. .................... 5-pt. ....................

58 30 28 20 10

More online: http://bit.ly/2gqe0By

UNIT 154 DEER * Total ................ 467 Bucks .............. 287 Does ................ 180 4-pt. ................ 120 5-pt. .................. 64

ELK Total ................. Bulls.................. Cows ................ Spikes .............. 5-plus pts. ........

* 3-point minimum

UNIT 149 DEER * Total ............... 626 Bucks .............. 503 Does ................. 123 4-pt. ................ 229 5-pt. ................. 101

DEER * Total ............... 505 Bucks ............... 337 Does ................ 168 4-pt. ................. 172 5-pt. ................... 75

139

UNIT 145 DEER * Total .................325 Bucks ............... 261 Does .................. 64 4-pt. ................ 104 5-pt. ................... 22

DEER * Total .................. 51 Bucks ................. 51 Does .................... 0 4-pt. .................. 24 5-pt. ................... 14

Units 139 and 142 are part of District 2

UNIT 162

ELK Total ................. 20 Bulls................... 12 Cows .................. 8 Spikes ................ 4 5-plus pts. .......... 8

UNIT 169

Figures compiled from 2016 general and special permit hunts in southeastern hunting units by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife:

UNIT 142 DEER * Total ................ 571 Bucks ............. 473 Does ................. 98 4-pt. ............... 227 5-pt. .................. 71

F R I D A Y, S E P T E M B E R 8 , 2 0 1 7

ELK Total ................. 17 Bulls................... 17 Cows .................. 0 Spikes ................ 3 5-plus pts. ........ 14

DEER * Total ...................41 Bucks ................ 39 Does ..................... 2 4-pt. ................... 12 5-pt. .................. 10

ELK Total ................... Bulls.................... Cows .................. Spikes ................ 5-plus pts. ..........

6 6 0 4 2

TRIBUNE GRAPHIC/ERIC BARKER, BRIAN BEESLEY


F R I D A Y, S E P T E M B E R 8 , 2 0 1 7

district 3

Prospectus

because of it.

ELK

The best elk hunting in the district is in units with at least partial forest cover — 154, 157, 162, 166, 169, 172, year is likely responsible for 175 and 186 — where Wik and a decline in harvest there. Vekasy manage for stable or Vekasy said whitetail popugrowing populations. lations in the unit are stable A tough winter Elk numbers in the and a drop in harvest can be was rough on district dropped in response pinned on lower mule deer calves which to harsh winter conditions. harvest. He expects an upwill mean A springtime aerial survey tick in harvest this year and fewer spikes produced an elk population said deer are going into the and reduced estimate of 4,396, compared fall and winter in good conbranched to a five-year average of dition. antlered bull 5,360. Unit 172 saw harsh winopportunities The cow-to-calf ratio ter conditions last year that in the future. dropped from the five-year “were hard on deer.” Vekasy average of 30.4 to 17.8, and said recent increases in deer harvest in the unit are not likely to be the cow population dropped from a five-year average of 998 to an estimatrepeated this fall. Unit 186 is not expected to see big ed 466 this spring. Bull-to-cow ratios were stable but changes in harvest success this fall, he total bull numbers were off by 25 persaid. cent compared to a year ago. High The decline in numbers will mean In units 145, 149, 178 and 181, har- fewer spikes available this fall and vest has been on the rise in recent fewer branch-antler permits in years years and led to an increase in permits to come. One bright spot is Unit 172, also in 145 and 149 two years ago. Vekasy said that has affected the population known as the Mountain View Unit. and led to a drop in success rates from According to the report, elk numbers recent years. He said harvest can be have risen in recent years. However, 60 percent of the unit is expected to continue on that trend, with success rates of about 30 percent private and access can be difficult. It also includes the 4-O Ranch Wildlife in 149 and 36 percent in 145. Units 178 and 181 should see har- Area, where deer and elk hunting is vest rates around 42 percent, similar restricted to only those with permits. More detailed information on Washto recent years. However, Unit 181 experienced tough winter conditions ington hunting prospects is available and hunters may see fewer animals at wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/prospects.

> Continued from Page 5

B-

Whitetails and mulies still haven’t bounced back from 2015 drought By ERIC BARKER of the Tribune

Whitman County deer herds are still feeling the effects from the drought of 2015 that put a small dent in mule deer populations while hitting whitetails much harder. The hot and dry conditions in 2015 led to an outbreak of blue tongue, a disease spread by biting gnats that live in the muddy edges of water holes. Whitetail deer are susceptible to the disease and it can hammer herd numbers when the animals are concentrated around the water

7

OUTDOORS / HUNTING 2017

sources. Mule deer are less prone to blue tongue but can be stressed by hot and dry conditions. Hunters can expect an average year for mulies, said Michael Atamian, district biologist for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and they should see an increase in whitetails even though the herd has not yet recovered from the blue tongue outbreak of two years ago. “The deer populations aren’t back to pre-outbreak levels but are rebounding on the whitetail side,” he said. “The mule deer didn’t suffer

from blue tongue but did get impacted by the 2015 drought. That reduced some fawn recruitment that year. They are not growing but stable, so success for mule deer should be relatively average.” Deer harvest has been down in the county for the past couple of years. Atamian said that is likely because hunter numbers have also been down. He said some hunters have chosen to go elsewhere because of the lingering effects of the blue tongue outbreak. He also said

> See drought, page 8

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F R I D A Y, S E P T E M B E R 8 , 2 0 1 7

drought

Prospectus

B-

> Continued from Page 7

some landowners have been protective of the depressed herd and not given the same level of access in the past. Expect an “Some landowners have cut down on average year their access,” he said. for mulies and In Whitman County, there are pockets of a slight uptick land managed by U.S. Army Corps of Engiin whitetails neers, Department of Natural Resources and even though the Bureau of Land Management, but the Althey haven’t mota (142) and Steptoe (139) units are domiyet recovered nated by private land. That means hunters from a 2015 have to do their homework and make sure outbreak of they have legal access to hunting spots. blue tongue. The department does have some programs designed to help hunters obtain permission to be on private ground. “You have to knock on doors and get access and permission,” he said. “We have our private land access program. I encourage people to go to our GoHunt website,” he said. The site highlights private land available to hunters. It includes “Feel free to hunt” properties where hunters can access without prior notification as well as private parcels where hunters must first obtain permission to hunt. The program also includes the “Hunt by reservation” program, in which hunters make appointments to access certain chunks of private property. More access information is available at apps.wdfw.wa.gov/ Associated Press gohunt or wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/hunting_access. Additional A whitetail doe stands in a field behind a screen of tall grass. The Whitman County popula- information on hunting prospects in Washington is available tion is still trying to rebuild after being hit with an outbreak of blue tongue two years ago. at wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/prospects.

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OUTDOORS / HUNTING 2017

9

Here are some ways to avoid getting pinched By ERIC BARKER OF THE TRIBUNE

Common situations can lead to citations, according to Mark Carson of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. Aside from blatant poaching incidents, conservation officers issue citations every fall to people who trip up and make simple but avoidable mistakes. Here’s a short list of actions that can lead to a ticket and how to avoid them. MAKE SURE YOU ARE HUNTING IN THE RIGHT AREA — Carson said conservation officers often write tickets for people unknowingly hunting in the wrong unit or in areas that are not open. NOTCH THAT TAG — Once the animal is down, fill out the tag and place it on the animal before proceeding with field dressing. EVIDENCE OF SEX — In Idaho, all big game hunts, even those that allow hunters to take either sex of the animal they are after, require evidence of PRIVATE LAND — Trespassing is one of sex to be on the animal during trans- the most common infractions. DON’T SHOOT FROM THE ROAD. port. ASK PERMISSION BEFORE HUNTING ON Matt Sabo, a law enforcement offi-

mediately after an animal is killed are his three most common citations. Others include:  People who shoot two-point bucks in units that have a three-point minimum. He said this often happens when people see a large two-pointer at a long distance and assume the eye guards will meet the 1-inch requirement.  In Washington, all-terrain vehicle drivers must wear helmets and the vehicle must be registered.  Operation of ATVs and other motor vehicles in closed area. For example, motor vehicles cannot be operated off of designated roads in the Asotin Wildlife Area.  Hunter orange. Washington requires big game and upland game bird hunters to have 400 square inches of hunter orange. A hat is not enough. The hunter orange also has to be visible. If a hunter wears an orange vest but puts a backpack or game vest on top of it, the portion that is not visible isn’t counted. He recommends people safety pin orange to their backpacks cer from the Washington Department or game pouches. of Fish and Wildlife at Clarkston, said Sabo said anybody with questions trespassing, loaded guns in vehicles about hunting laws or regulations can and failure to affix or notch a tag im- call him at (509) 780-9843.


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OUTDOORS / HUNTING 2017

By ERIC BARKER OF THE TRIBUNE

Veteran and newbie hunters always can learn something new or brush up on the basics. Tribune Outdoors talked to some of the region’s most experienced to get a few preseason pro tips. Here is what they had to say.

JEREMI SYRON, manager of the Kamiah-based Flying B Ranch Know your weapon Whether you shoot a bow, rifle, pistol or muzzleloader, practice is critical. “We as hunters have a responsibility to do all we can to make an ethical shot.”

Bigger isn’t better

BUFF UP YOUR HUNTING IQ Local pros offer some tips to help you improve your chances of bringing something impressive back from the wild Field dressing

Most hunters think the bigger “Be sure you understand what the caliber the better. Syron has it takes to field dress an animal seen hunters with large-caliber and get it cooling. If you are elk rifles shoot poorly because they hunting off the beaten path, make were afraid of the kick. He says sure you have a lot of rope, a most of the animals in Idaho couple of knives, game bags, head and Washington don’t require lamps, water, food and some good the biggest calibers out there. Jeremi Syron friends on call to help if needed. Making a clean kill is about It is a lot of work, and no meat understanding bullet placement should be wasted — period.” and being patient for the right shot. There are shoulder pads and slip-on recoil pads Scope setting to lessen the kick for those who are lookWhen hunting with a scope, Syron ing to shoot a bigger-caliber rifle but are recommends keeping it on a lower power worried about kick.

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F R I D A Y, S E P T E M B E R 8 , 2 0 1 7 by taking advantage of ridges and outcroppings.

Mind your bullet drop If you plan to hunt in canyon country, Barker advises doing some homework on bullet drop. “The biggest thing (hunters) don’t account for is the lack of bullet drop when they are shooting uphill,” he said. “People often look downhill and say my bullet is not going to drop as much and I can hold (my rifle) a little lower. The same thing happens uphill. It just doesn’t sound right in your brain.”

KEVIN MCNAB of 7 Devils Elk Calls at Lewiston Wait for the wind

McNab said wind direction is critical. setting. “You never know when you may Elk rely on their keen noses and if they have a close encounter with an animal catch your scent it’s over. and the lower power setting will al“If you are hunting with low a more accurate shot.” Most new scopes with advanced the wind — the wind is blowtechnology go up to 14x power or ing at your back and (in the more. He says when a long-distance direction) you are walking shot presents itself, hunters have — honestly, you might as plenty of time to turn the power up well be running through the before pulling the trigger. woods screaming because “Not too long ago, a lot of scopes that is really what you are were sold on a set 4x magnification, doing. Scent is such a huge Kevin McNab part of any hunting, but bow and I am a firm believer (in leaving) the scope at this setting and when hunting in particular.” the opportunity is there adjust it upward.” If you locate a bull but the wind isn’t cooperating, McNab said it’s better to exJON BARKER of Barker Trophy Hunts ercise patience than to try to fight it. That Go slow and glass is especially true during the late morning when thermals can be erratic and swirling. Jon Barker guides bighorn sheep, elk “I will sit above them or far enough away and deer hunters in Idaho’s famed Unit 11 from them that the wind isn’t going to as well as various other spots around the switch on me and I’ll wait for the thermals state and the West. to stabilize.” When it comes to spotting game, he “The only reason I know that is I recommends finding a prominent overscrewed up so many times,” he said. look, getting there early, glassing with There are a lot of ways to call elk and quality optics and staying put. many hunters have their own systems, but “Some deer and elk won’t come out McNab said when challenging a herd bull, until the last 15 minutes of it’s best to be in his living room. He prelight, especially when we fers to be within 80 yards, close enough have warm temperatures that it makes the bull mad, territorial like we do in this country. and apt to charge toward the intruder. Just sit back and get as But calling from far away rarely will expensive of glass — binocmake him come running. ulars and spotting scopes “He is just going to move away from — as you can afford.” you. He might bugle back at you the Don’t be afraid of a whole time, but he’s going to bugle tough hike if it gets you to a back while walking away.” vantage point with expanJon Barker Herd bulls will respond to a cow call, sive, long-distance views. but if they already have a harem they He said it’s better to find such a spot and aren’t likely to chase after it. hunker down rather than spending valu“That is why killing herd bulls is so difable time making forays into various draws ficult,” he said. “They already have 20 to and canyons. 30 cows. They say, ‘If you want to join us, “Sit back and see if you can tell what’s great. If not, I have my harem.’ ” there from a farther distance.” Younger bulls often respond to cow calls, and they sometimes come in Use the terrain distracted because they want to find the When you spot an animal you want to receptive cow but are also nervously lookgo after but the country is open, Barker ing over their shoulders for herd bulls. “You can call in a satellite bull.” said hunters can conceal themselves


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e du c a ti o n

Safety starts with awareness Two longtime instructors offer some advice to parents of prospective hunters By ERIC BARKER of the Tribune

Every year, new youngsters take up the pursuit of game, and for many of them it will evolve into a passion that will last a lifetime. Young hunters often are recruited via family tradition. But most receive formal safety, conservation and ethical training from state-sanctioned hunter education instructors. In Idaho, children as young as 10 can hunt small game, and Washington doesn’t have any age restrictions when it comes to hunting. Parents are left to decide when their children are ready. Tribune Outdoors visited with two longtime instructors, Ron Landrus from Clarkston and Jerry Bateman of Lewiston, who offered advice for parents preparing children to both hunt and to take a hunter education course. Here is what they said.

Jerry Bateman “I think if a parent wants to take someone hunting, they should get out early with them and actually walk through the hunting area and look at tracks and see animals and acclimate the child to the outdoors in hunting, not just camping or playing but more in a hunting mode.” “We try to get them used to traveling through the woods and looking and paying attention,” he said. Bateman stresses teaching situational awareness — essentially asking the prospective hunters to ramp up their attention to their surroundings, not only for the presence of game animals and key aspects of habitat but also safety issues. “It’s learning to kind of think that makes them a hunter,” he said. “I would take the child out in the real woods and see how observant they are and see how close they can pay attention.” If possible, start firearm safety before they come to a hunter education class. He recommends doing so with .22 rifles or even BB guns. “See how well they handle the firearm or rifle. Are they safe with it? Do they point it at people? You can kind of

“Always maintain muzzle control, use the safety but don’t trust it, and third, keep the finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot. I tell them that, in a nutshell, is gun safety.” Kids have to take a test to pass hunters education. For the youngest students, reading is sometimes a problem. Washington allows students to have the questions read to them. Landrus said parents of young kids can help them either by making sure their reading skills are a match for the test or by asking that questions be read to them. For example, one question uses words like conservation and preservation. “When they get to big words (like preservation), some kids get confused,” he said. Landrus also recommends parents go over the 10 commandments of gun safety, often found in the owner’s manual of firearms or available at http://bit.ly/2vCR4YK. “Drill them on that before they come to class and just take an active part in it as a parent. You don’t have to be there, but when they bring the book home at night, ask them about it.” He also teaches them that once they start hunting, when they have a rifle or shotgun in their hands, they are expected to act like a grown-up. That means practicing safety and also speaking up when others do not. “If they (other hunters) are not maintaining muzzle control you have an obligation and a right to say ‘hey, Grandpa, watch that muzzle.’ You are equal to them now because you are out hunting.” He follows that by telling his students they still have to listen to their parents and do their homework and chores when told. “But in the field, I firmly believe Idaho Fish and Game they have the obligation and right to Bird dog handler Jay Roach of Genesee poses with a young hunter during an say something when they see something unsafe.” Idaho Department of Fish and Game youth pheasant hunting clinic. do those things with 9-, 10-, 11-yearolds. There is a readiness level that will show up.”

squirrels and rabbits and not lay a big rifle in their hands, that is fine,” he said. “But on the walk-through course, the hardest part (for small children) is Ron Landrus to maintain muzzle control. We try to Size is a key consideration when deciding if a child is ready to hunt. Many fit kids to the firearm, but if we have a young children have trouble physi- lot of them, some of them will have to cally handling a shotgun or rifle, even hold an adult rifle.” Landrus said three simple rules parmodels made for their small sizes. “If mom and dad just want them to be ents can work on even before hunters able to take hunters ed to shoot ground ed are the fundamentals of gun safety.

Adult students

Idaho and Washington, as well as many other states, also cater to adults who want to take up hunting. For them, an online course followed by a required test and in-person field session is often the best bet. More information about hunting education is available at the following sites. Idaho — https://idfg.idaho.gov/hunt/ education; Washington — dfw.wa.gov/ hunting/huntered .


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af t er the h u n t

Cooling carcass is crucial Removing an animal’s hide will allow the meat to cool, expert says, so skinning your kill is of the highest priority By ERIC BARKER of the Tribune

If you are pursuing elk or deer this week, it’s probably hot. High temperatures and dry conditions can make for tough hunting conditions, but it also can complicate dealing with a downed animal. Meat begins to break down quickly in high temperatures, and early season hunters need to be prepared to deal with them. But taking care to cool harvested deer and elk isn’t just important in September. Mark Carson, conservation supervisor for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game’s Clearwater Region at Lewiston, said he issues more meat spoiling waste citations in October than he does in late August and September. “When it’s warm out, everybody knows, ‘I have to take care of this and get it in the freezer,’ ” he said. Later in the season, when the late summer heat is long gone, some hunters are lulled into thinking Mother Nature will do the cooling for them. But Carson said the thick hides of deer and elk are designed to hold heat in and if an animal isn’t skinned soon after it is killed, the stage is set for spoilage. “The primary thing for the care of game is to get hide off the critter as soon as you can,” he said. “The function of all hides are to keep the animal warm, and it works just as effectively when they are dead.” Most deer and elk carry a body temperature of 101 or 102 degrees. A carcass will cool just a couple of degrees an hour. Removing the hide and elevating the body so air can circulate around the meat will accelerate the cooling. Obvious measures like getting the meat out of the heat and in the shade before it’s transported also are important. In the early part of the season, Carson said people can use milk jugs filled with frozen water and large coolers to help protect meat. He recommends putting the jugs in the body cavity. If

mountain nights can see temperatures in the 20s and 30s. Once the temperature of the carcass has dropped, Carson said it can be placed in the shade and insulated to keep it from spoiling. “You can throw a sleeping bag over it and it really won’t heat up. You can keep meat quite well for days that way if you are paying attention to sun and shade and paying attention to temperatures. Game bags are nice because bugs are going to be an issue. You’d like it not to be full of blow flies.” When its cold and snow covers the ground, hunters still need to worry about preserving meat. Deer and elk put on thick winter coats that trap heat. Snow also is a good insulator. Carson said an unskinned elk lying on its side has snow and multiple layers of skin between the outside of its shoulders and hams and the meat. If the animal can’t be immediately skinned and packed out, he recommends getting rocks or logs beneath it. “That will buy you some time,” he said. “I like it to be laying on its backbone with the body cavity open so heat can escape and the legs splayed out so you don’t have four layers of hide on each side of the armpits.” Once an animal is removed from the field, hunters still need to be wary of heat. For example, if a deer is hung in a garage, it might be subjected to temperatures in the 50s — warm enough for bacteria to take over. “It’s going to start to go bad fast,” he said. Carson, who has worked as a butcher, notes the commercial beef is aged for weeks but it’s done in climate-controlled coolers and often under lights designed to kill bacteria. “Nobody has the facilities to do that at their house for game meat, and without the fat like in a side of beef has, it does not age the same way.” Tribune file “We are hanging these things in Mark Carson, senior conservation officer for the Idaho Department of Fish unsanitary conditions in our garages. and Game, demonstrates how to butcher deer during last year’s Hunt Idaho We all do it and it works just fine if we don’t hang it too long.” Expo in Lewiston. Carson prefers to hang his game no longer than overnight before butchanimals are placed in coolers, he sug- chance to escape out the top.” gests putting something under the Hunters who are in remote areas ering it. If he wants to age steaks, he meat, again so air can circulate and and need to preserve an animal that does it in the fridge. “It starts to break down the same because coolers can also trap heat. might not be packed out for a number “I try to get some jugs underneath of days can take advantage of shade way and now I don’t lose half of it to it. At least on the first day, I leave and cool nighttime temperatures. shrinkage and it doesn’t get dry and the cooler cracked open so heat has a Even with daytime highs in the 80s, crusty on the outside.”


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IN THE KITCHEN

Getting the wine right Vintner has suggestions for the right spirits to serve with certain wild meats

By ERIC BARKER OF THE TRIBUNE

By ERIC BARKER OF THE TRIBUNE

Wild game is full of flavor, so when looking to pair your favorite game dish with wine, Mike Pearson of Colter Creek Vineyard and Winery recommends picking one that matches its robustness. “I think of spicier reds,” he said. “Anything like standard cabernet sauvignon or cab blends. We have a cabernet franc that I think is really good with game.” For example, if cooking venison backstrap medallions, a flavorful and tender cut best enjoyed medium-rare, Pearson said it’s good to choose a wine that is equally bold. “I would definitely move toward reds and spicery flavors,” he said. “There are a lot of reds that work with Mike Pearson game meat.” Other wines that pair well with flavorful cuts of game meat include grenache, syrah or mourvedre — or a blend of the three known as a GSM. Colter Creek makes Arrow Rim Red, a GSM that Pearson likes to serve with duck. “It just works really well with duck. I love it,” he said. Game birds such as pheasant and quail sometimes call for white wines with hints of citrus and a high acid content. Pearson said people often use oranges, peaches or other fruits to flavor game bird dishes. Wines like viognier or chardonnay work well with citrus-flavored dishes, as do some rieslings. “We are big fans of rieslings. I think it’s a really underrated wine. Try a good dry riesling with foods that have citrus or fruits in it. Cooking prime cuts like deer or elk backstrap tends to be easy. But some tougher cuts like shanks call for braising — a technique where meat is cooked in liquid for hours at low temperatures to break down

Cooking your wild game can be tricky but it can be done; experts offer tips

Tribune/Steve Hanks

Pairing a good wine with your fresh game meat can make your meal more enjoyable. connective tissues. Many cooks use wine as a braising platform. Pearson recommends pairing such dishes in the same wine that was used for braising and to choose a quality wine for both.

“Braise it with a good wine. I tell people, ‘Don’t cook with anything you wouldn’t drink,’ ” he said. “It pairs really nice with the wine you braise with. If you braise with syrah, pair it with syrah.”

The best part of a successful hunt isn’t the antlers — no matter how impressive — that hang on your wall for years to come. It’s the months of delicious, organic meat in the case of deer and elk, and the smaller but equally flavorful bounty that game birds provide. But cooking wild game can be tricky. To get some culinary tips, Tribune Outdoors visited with a pair of experts — wild game blogger and cookbook author Randy King of Boise and Ryan Nelson, executive chef at the Flying B Ranch in Kamiah. King said game meat is best when it comes off the grill or stove after just a few minutes, or when it’s allowed to linger at low heat for hours. “Cook it medium-rare or until it’s pull-apart tender, and there is not too much in between.” People often describe deer and elk as gamey and they don’t always mean it in a good way. King rejects that idea. Just because venison steaks don’t taste Ryan Nelson like beef doesn’t mean they’re not good. But gaminess does need to be controlled. “You notice that more when it’s well-done,” he said. “If a steak comes off the grill well done, you’re going to notice that gaminess more.” But some cuts, like Randy King shanks, meat from the neck, ribs and brisket, are too sinewy to be enjoyed medium-rare. The solution is to cook it low and slow so the connective tissue breaks down. “I say make delicious, pull-apart meat,” he said. Canning also is a good way to go with tougher cuts of meat. “Pressure-canning meat is a great way to make instant whatever. We do it with just taco seasoning and break it out on the hill and make hot and tender, delicious tacos in like three minutes.” King also likes to incorporate fall flavors like apples, elderberries, sage and time and brown butter with the better cuts.

> See TRICKY, page 17


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We are proud to support local outdoor enthusiasts.

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tricky > Continued from Page 15 “Once it starts to cool down just a little bit, people start to hit on those with big game,” he said. “Apple cider is a big one for me.” He likes to make a beurre blanc or white wine butter reduction sauce and add things like shallots, garlic, thyme, lemon and the fall flavors to it. With waterfowl, King says don’t toss the wings and legs. Instead, keep them and make confit — a process where it its cooked slowly in its own fat and then sealed and stored in fat. King adds confit to dishes like pasta. “It takes (what some people consider trash) and turns it into gold.” King has a blog, “Chef in the Wild” at https://chefrandyking.com, and has also written a book by the same name, available on Amazon or from Caxton Press at http://bit.ly/2wpjHZU. He shared his recipe for elk meatballs

Five Spiced Elk Meatballs with Sweet Chili Sauce and Green Bean Salad 1 pound frozen haricot vert (small green beans) 1 pound frozen shelled edamame 1 can black beans, drained ½ red onion, shaved thin 1 cup ginger soy dressing — store bought

For the salad Bring a 2-quart pot of water to a boil. Make an “ice bath” — basically, a large mixing bowl with a 50/50 ratio of ice and water. When the water is boiling, add the edamame and the haricot verts. Let stand in water for 3 minutes, stir one time. Drain vegetables into colander then add the vegetables to the ice bath. Let them cool, remove any excess ice and then drain in the colander. Refrigerate until ready to make salad. When ready, toss the haricot verts/ edamame mix with the drained black beans, shaved onion and ginger soy dressing. Serve cold. For elk meatballs

1 pound ground elk meat 1 teaspoon five spice 1 teaspoon chili powder 1 teaspoon fresh garlic, chopped ¼ cup mayonnaise ½ cup bread crumbs 1 tablespoon sesame seeds 1 tablespoon sliced thin green onions salt and pepper 1 cup sweet chili sauce

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium-size mixing bowl add everything but the sweet chili sauce. Mix by hand for 2-3 minutes. Using a small ice cream scoop, make 1 ounce meatballs; you should get about 18 from this recipe. Place each meatball

OUTDOORS / HUNTING 2017 on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes. A little pink in the center is desired. When done, carefully transfer the cooked meatballs to a mixing bowl. Add the sweet chili sauce onto the meatballs. Carefully toss or stir to fully coat the meatballs with the sauce. Garnish with thin sliced carrot and green onions. Serve hot.

———

Nelson said fine wild game and fish meals start with proper field care. For things like deer and elk, that means quickly skinning and cooling the animal. For fish like salmon and steelhead, he said bleeding them as soon as they are caught is essential. Game meat, whether deer and elk or pheasant and chukar, is much leaner than beef and chicken. Wild game birds are also smaller than chicken. “You can overcook it very quickly,” he said. “Chukar is my favorite bird. It’s kind of fragile. You can’t put it on high heat and expect it to be this tender piece of meat because it’s so small and fragile to begin with,” he said. “If I’m grilling chukar for a salad I try to cook it at medium-rare on the grill and put it in foil and let it finish cooking. If you it take off and it’s medium you are going to have an over-done bird.” Some people like to smother game meat with flavors like teriyaki or drown it in heavy marinades. Nelson prefers light seasoning to bring out the natural flavor. “I don’t like to get crazy with wild game. I like to taste the animal,” he said. “Just good olive oil and pepper and any herbs or garlic.” Nelson shared his pheasant strip recipe:

BOURBON BUFFALO PHEASANT STRIPS 4 or 5 pheasant breasts For bourbon sauce 1 yellow onion 2 tablespoons butter ¼ cup bourbon ž cup Frank’s Red Hot Sauce For seasoned flour 1 cup flour 1 tablespoon salt 1 teaspoon black pepper

Dice up half of a yellow onion. Place onion and 2 tablespoons of butter in a saute pan and cook over medium-high heat until onions become translucent (about 3 minutes). Add ¼ cup of your favorite bourbon and be careful with the flame. Add  cup of brown sugar and cook on low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Add ž cup of Frank’s Red Hot Sauce and let simmer on a low heat for a few minutes. Check 4 or 5 pheasant breasts for shot. Cut breasts into strips (about 5 per breast). Dredge the strips in seasoned flour: Shake any excess flour off of strips and fry in 360-degree oil until golden brown. Toss the strips with the bourbon sauce and enjoy with a ranch or blue cheese dressing for dipping. More of Ryan Nelson’s recipes can be found at www.flyingbhunting.com/ hunting-lodge.html .

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F R I D A Y, S E P T E M B E R 8 , 2 0 1 7

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PREHUNT PREPARATION

Get in shape for the work ahead Aerobic exercise before getting out on the hunt can help you stave off injury

By ERIC BARKER OF THE TRIBUNE

When done right, hunting is an athletic activity and, like all sporting pursuits, it comes with risk of injury. At the very least, hunters work as hard as casual hikers. At the most, they push their bodies to the extreme. Consider for instance the effort required to pack an elk out of a deep side canyon to the Snake or Salmon river; to haul, set up and retrieve decoys in a backwater slough with a silty, foot-grabbing bottom; or to climb alpine slopes in pursuit of mule deer or mountain goats. Chukar hunters are sometimes called masochists because of the steep slopes with rolling rocks and unsure footing they ascend and descend while looking for birds. Hunting whitetails often requires hours of sitting still or slow, methodical creeping, but getting to the right spot requires sweat-inducing work. And as all hunters will tell you, once an animal is down, the real work begins. Injuries happen, especially to hunters who no longer have youth on their side. Mike Ward of S.P.O.R.T. Physical Therapy in Lewiston, an avid hunter, said common hunting injuries include knee-cap inflammation, back strain, hip bursitis, Achilles tendinitis, or worse,

ment to first consult their doctor before undertaking an exercise regime. “You want to get to where you are able to get up to 25 to 45 minutes (in that heart-rate window). If you can do it every day or every other day, that would be best, and incorporate things like carrying a backpack and weigh it down.” “I carry about a 25-pound pack when I’m bow hunting, so I try to simulate that as I’m going along deeper in my training.” To prepare to pack an animal out, heavy weights can be used. Stretching also can help head off the knee, hip and Achilles injuries he often sees related to hunting. Ward said hunters can target the Tribune photos/Pete Caster calves, hamstrings, quads and the ilFitness bracelets like the one at left can guide hunters and others as they work iotibial or IT band in the hips through to get in shape. Weight added to a backpack can simulate the loads hunters stretching or weightlifting. A workout that incorporates squats, leg presses will carry when they pack out an animal following a successful hunt. and single- and double-legged heel an all-out Achilles tendon rupture. “I like to have people work toward raises can be beneficial. All can be avoided with proper a target heart rate of 220 minus their “I’m 57 and I have to train two or training. age, and then take 80 percent of that, three months ahead of time now.” “I’m a believer in early aerobic train- and then take 90 percent of that, and The training allows him to pursue ing,” Ward said. “The most important try to get your heart rate between game and hike up to 20 miles a day in thing people can do is grab themselves those two percentages whether walk- rough country. a heart monitor like a Fitbit and start ing, hiking or running.” Aerobic fitness has benefits beyond initially with walking, depending on So for a 50-year-old hunter, that the lungs. fitness level, and start incorporating would mean a target heart rate of “The number one correlation beinclines and distance along with that.” 136 to 153. He cautions anyone with a tween a healthy and non-healthy back Jogging and running also can help. heart condition or other medical ail- is aerobic fitness,” he said.


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Want to get your bird dog ready? Take him for a swim With the weather still hot, it’s a good time to introduce your hunting buddy to the joys of water aerobics By ERIC BARKER OF THE TRIBUNE

Bird-hunting season has begun but its heart is still weeks out, leaving precious little time to get your dog in shape and brushed up on fundamentals. Rich Coe, wingshooting and fishing manager at the Flying B Ranch near Kamiah, oversees a kennel of expertly trained English pointers and German shorthair pointRich Coe ers. He said now is the time to make sure your dog is in shape and prepared for a long fall of chasing chukars, pheasants and other upland game birds. But the weather is still hot, which can make it difficult to give your dog the prehunt exercise it needs. He

on their joints and body.” At the same time Coe starts working his dogs, he takes them off their summer maintenance diet and starts feeding them foods higher in protein and fat. “I’m not afraid at all of putting in poultry scraps from the table, in small amounts, and definitely small amounts of any read meat. Red meats are a lot harder for a dog to digest.” The late summer and early fall is a good time to make sure your dog is solid with the basics — heal, here and whoa. “The cardinal rule is they all mean what they say,” he said. “Here means here and whoa means whoa. If you yell 50 or 60 times and the dog finally shows up and you praise it, the dog will Tribune/Eric Barker not listen — at all. And whoa means whoa for pointing dogs — not take anA bird dog points a bird in the brush. other step and take another step and take another step.” recommends choosing a water-based its back end up. Feeding time gives owners a chance “It always helps to have a bird wing workout over running. “One thing I like to do is swim our or something in front of them to have to work on the whoa command. Coe dogs. If your dog doesn’t know how to them reach forward,” he said. “Swim- suggests putting food in the dog’s bowl swim, you can easily teach it by lead- ming a dog for 15 minutes is easily and making it whoa. ing them out in the river where you like running dogs for 30 minutes on “If it moves, pick it up from the the ground, and you don’t have to deal belly and set it back and tell it whoa have current,” he said. If the dog’s head is facing upstream, with the heat and you don’t have to and don’t let him move until you allow Coe said, the moving water will force deal with snakes, and it’s much easier him.”

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Hunter devises siren song for elk Kevin McNab has turned his fervor for ‘talking’ to wapiti into a side business venture By ERIC BARKER of the Tribune

Kevin McNab’s love of calling elk and tinkering to get just the right sound has turned his passion into a side business. The Lewiston man is in his second year of operating 7 Devils Elk Calls out of his garage, a venture that has been warmly received by fellow hunters. “I love listening to elk talk and love hunting them and it was just kind of a natural thing for me,” he said. Originally from Goldendale, Wash., McNab began hunting at 10 and first started using a mouth reed to call elk at 12. When he was 16, McNab relocated with his family to Grangeville, a move that vastly expanded his hunting opportunities. Somewhere along the line he started to tinker with commercial elk calls he purchased to alter their pitch and tone. A few years ago, he took his quest for just the right sound to another level. “I kind of thought, ‘Why don’t I try making some of my own,’ and so I did and I showed a few friends and they were like, ‘You ought to make a few of those,’ so I did and that is where everything started.” Now he makes about 150 of his She Devil open reed calls that imitate a cow elk in estrus annually and many more latex mouth reeds with his selfdesigned “air bridge” that he says gives the calls a more natural sound. The She Devil, named after one of the peaks in Idaho’s Seven Devils Mountain Range, are handmade on a lathe and cost $40. The mouth calls, which come in four different styles, are made in presses and sell for $6.99. The She Devils take close to two hours to complete, compared to the mouth reeds that he can crank out at a much faster pace. Because of the labor involved in the She Devil, the limited number he makes and their popularity, the calls are sold out. But the mouth reeds, which are often preferred by many hunters, are still available. “I would say most serious elk hunters use the mouth reeds. That is where a lot of my concentration goes,” he

market because I absolutely love my day job and I would have to sell a hell of a lot of elk calls to do that,” he said. “I’m not looking to compete in the retail market place with (call companies) like Bugling Bull, or Phelps, or Primos. There is a lot of great call manufacturers out there, so you won’t ever catch me throwing stones at any of them.” LEFT: McNab comLimiting the scope of the business pares two of his elk also allows him to spend precious calls. Each one is spare time in elk country during the handmade from wood September rut and archery season, and comes in four dif- his favorite time of year. The short days toward the end of one calendar ferent mouth styles. year and the beginning of the next are Tribune photos/ when he prefers to hunker down in his Steve Hanks garage making calls. “This keeps me busy during the winter and I get to meet a lot of really nice keeping the business as a hobby rather people and a lot of neat people and be said. McNab, the consumer lending man- than trying to turn it into an occupation. a little more involved in my passion of ager at Potlatch No. 1 Federal Credit He sells his calls via word of mouth and hunting.” More information about his calls are Union, believes he could sell more of a small amount of marketing on social available at https://www.facebook. both types of calls if he devoted more media sites like Facebook. “I really don’t want to go to the retail com/7devilselkcalls/ . time to the enterprise. But he is content

ABOVE: Kevin McNab, owner of Seven Devils Calls, blows on a She Devil elk call he designed to attract rutting males.


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Hunting 2017  
Hunting 2017  
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