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Fire is still a very big deal

Updates at wdfw.wa.gov and www.dnr.wa.gov.

COVID-19 is still in charge

Updates are at wdfw.wa.gov/about/covid-19-updates (or coronavirus.wa.gov).

This weekend

First of two Youth Hunting Weekends happens this Saturday and Sunday (Sept. 19 and 20) for pheasants. Info at 509-575-2740, 360-902-2515, or in the new Waterfowl and Upland Game Pamphlet.

In 10 days

National Hunting and Fishing Day, celebrated since 1971, is Saturday the 28th. This year’s honorary chairs are Social Media superstars “Dude Perfect,” known for the viral videos that have more than nine billion views. These devoted outdoor nuts and advocates are encouraging experienced hunters and fishers to mentor youth in the outdoor activities which make their lives worth living. Think about what you might do in honor of the billions of dollars that hunters and fishers have contributed for wildlife in America. You will find more information and plenty of useful and interesting materials at www.nhfday.org.

National Public Lands Day (free day for national parks) is also that same Saturday. This day of volunteer activity — and free entry into our national parks — has activities you’ll find by googling “National Public Lands Day.”

Second Youth hunting weekend also happens that weekend (26th and 27th) for upland game birds other than pheasants. Check the new Waterfowl & Upland Game Pamphlet for more details.

Just under three weeks

Youth Waterfowl Hunting Day (youngsters under non-hunting adult supervision) happens on Oct. 3 for eastern Washington duck and goose hunts.

Oct. 3 and 4 can make a full weekend of The 51st Annual Issaquah Salmon Days Festival. Salmon, hatchery tours, exhibits, arts & crafts booths, the Grand Parade, foods of the world and continuous live entertainment, along with chances to win big bucks for having fun. Prizes and fun made possible by this year’s Prime “Spawnsers.” Info at 206-270-2532 or www.salmondays.org.

Chukar and quail open that weekend, too. Pheasants not long after that.

Hunters’ Breakfast

The 33rd annual Swauk-Teanaway Grange Hunters Breakfast MAY happen on Saturday, Oct. 17, 8 a.m. to noon on Ballard Hill Road near the mouth of the Teanaway. All you can eat “Ham & Eggs & Hotcakes” with hot coffee, cold juice and homemade apple butter. Adult breakfast will be $8 and kids half that. Questions to Claire Lucke 509-857-2580. Stand by…

Coming hunting

A last-minute hunter ed class? Check out the online classes at www.hunter-ed.com/wa.

Waterfowl hunting opens in a bit over t four weeks. Irrigated portions of the Yakima Valley appear to be the best of our region, with scattered flocks of early migrants (mallards, widgeon and green-winged teal). Better as the season wears on.

Fall hunting prospects for the fall are online at wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/locations/prospects. You will find info about wildlife populations and access to public and private hunting lands there, too.

Modern firearm deer hunting opens in just over a month, on Saturday, Oct. 17. Numbers are good and deer are in fairly good shape, but access and closures are still up for grabs in places. For general access info, check out DFW at wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/locations/prospects, and follow any appropriate link. There are more than 850,000 acres of accessible private land scattered through eastern Washington. DFW offices can also help you locate them.

Opening day of eastside pheasants is Oct. 24, with some improved opportunities. Check out sites in Grant and Adams counties where roosters are being released (locations available at the regional office in Ephrata or click the best link at wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/locations/prospects. Get info on release sites closer to home from Yakima office at 509-575-2740.

Remember chronic wasting disease (CWD) rules. Follow them carefully (violations are taken seriously and are costly). Check out wdfw.wa.gov/species-habitats/diseases/chronic-wasting.

Reminder

Cle Elum and Cooper Rivers are closed to salmon fishing. You are welcome to watch the bright red spawning sockeyes on the fall streambeds, but do not bother them. If you see anyone bothering the fish, get a license plate number and call the State Patrol or wildlife agents at 911.

These crisp days are the most delicious of the year. Get out and celebrate National Hunting and Fishing Day. Spend a moment considering the billions of bucks sportsmen have contributed to wildlife conservation and habitat to benefit all wild critters. Take a picnic, a hike or a sightseeing trip out into the valley. Take someone who will probably spend too much of the winter inside.

— JH

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