This Friday

Boy Scout Banquet, 6 p.m. at the Armory (our fairgrounds) .Speaker is acclaimed pro Jason Edwards (300 plus ascents of Mount Rainier, four successful Everest expeditions, and 2 car-to-car climbs of Liberty Ridge in less than 24 hours). Check him out at www.mountainguides.com/guides.shtml then get your $50 tickets from Dustin Brunson at 509-929-1854. You are invited.

Next Monday

Wolves in Kittitas County is the topic for the next Kittitas County Field & Stream Club meeting at Hal Holmes, 7 p.m. this coming Monday (Nov. 11). DFW’s regional wildlife conflict pro Steve Wetzel and Statewide Wolf Biologist Ben Maletzke will bring you up to date with some fascinating insights.

Coming soon

Kids and Kritters 4-H Club’s Fourth annual Turkey Shoot happens at 11 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 17 on the Red’s Fly Shop grounds. Plenty of turkeys to be won and just $25 to play — great fun and a great way to support 4-H and our future. Info and registration at 509-933-2300.

Nature of Night for grade schoolers and parents is 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 23. In CWU’s Science I Building (south of the greenhouse, just off Wildcat Way), learn the sights, sounds, and critters of the night. Hosted by The College of the Sciences, activities to help Cub Scouts, Webelo Scouts, Brownie Girl Scouts, and Junior Girl Scouts to earn astronomy-related badges. Get more information from www.cwu.edu/sciences or Dannica Price at 509-963-2135.

The Kittitas Valley Rifle and Pistol Club annual meeting is coming soon. It will happen at 608 W. 15th Ave. (the KVR&PC Range). It’s your chance to see range improvements, get info on the winter family leagues and sign up for one or more of several possible match rifle, pistol and light rifle shooting nights (pellet rifles, too) which start in December. More info from Mel Goudge (509-925-4285) or Hal Mason (509-962-3002). You are invited and are always welcome.

Think about now

Thanksgiving bird count is fun and simple and one hour. Valuable info will be gained from the count in your 15-foot diameter “count circle” extending upward, forming a cylinder. On Thanksgiving Day, count all birds (each only once) entering your cylinder and report your count to thanksgivingbirdcount@gmail.com. Find count forms and additional info at www.utahbirds.org/cbc/ThanksgBirdCount.htm. The count started in 1966 in the East, and 1992 in the West. Kittitas Audubon has consistently been one of the top five counting chapters in the country. (Usually, more than 400 counters in 11 western states and Alaska register counts.)

Kittitas Audubon 41st Annual Christmas Bird Count happens on a December Saturday — date to be announced. Count birds at your feeders, or in a 15-mile diameter circle centered on the west freeway interchange. Details for our Ellensburg count will be available in coming weeks. Count on your own or on a team, with a Players’ Potluck at dusk. (From now to early January, 50,000 bird watchers nationwide will count birds in a 15-mile diameter during a 24-hour period. It’s the longest-running citizen-science activity in America.)

Cle Elum count — also in December — may be shaping up soon. Watch for info about that count.

Photo Contest is coming. Start pulling together your wildlife, fish or nature photos (and kids’). Prizes awarded at the Central Washington Sportsmen Show. Stand by…

Wildlife and family fun

Just down the road, the bighorn sheep are coming into the rut — their breeding season. California bighorn rams in the Canyon are butting heads for mating dominance. No guarantees, but check out cliffs on the west side of the river south of mile 18, particularly above the mouths of Umptanum and Roza Creeks, and south of Roza Dam. Use binoculars/spotting scopes and get off the roadway.

Migrating birds are all over the Columbia Basin. Check back roads from Vantage to Ritzville and north-south connectors — and the Winchester Wasteway or any other wetland in the Basin.

Got bird feeders ready? A variety of feeders, feed and placement gets best diversity of critters. Water, too. Info at wdfw.wa.gov/living/backyard (click winter bird feeding link, on the left).

Hunting and shooting

For Yakama Rez pheasants, check out www.ynwildlife.org. Other questions about hunting tribal ground are welcome; call Sandra at 509-865-5121, ext. 6307.

Sunnyside Wildlife Area near Grandview, and other sites, are getting roosters. General location info at wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/pheasant/eastern.

Potholes and the Desert Wildlife Area are holding increasing numbers of ducks and geese. As northern areas freeze, try Toppenish, McNary, and Umatilla National Wildlife Refuges and DFW’s Sunnyside Wildlife Area south of Yakima.

Fishing

A number of those rainbows dropped into North Fiorito and Mattoon over the past few months are still there, waiting for your favorite bait. Go fish.

More tips and info always found at www.salmonuniversity.com.

On Monday, take a moment to thank a veteran for his or her part in ensuring our outdoor future. Make this the first of several outdoor weekends for which to be thankful. Take the family, sandwiches and optics. Start a tradition and breathe the best crisp air in the state.

— JH

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