Scouting Around
Washington — Blue Mountains Elk Herd

The public will have the opportunity to comment on a draft management plan for the Blue Mountains elk herd at an informational "open house" sponsored by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, June 29.

The event is scheduled for Thursday, June 29, from 7 to 9 p.m. in the multipurpose room at Walla Walla Community College. The college is located on Bridge St. in Clarkston.

The Blue Mountains Elk Herd Plan is a five-year planning document designed to guide the management of one of Washington's 10 major elk herds. Numbering approximately 4,500 animals, the Blue Mountain herd is distributed over an area of approximately 900 square miles.

The management plan addresses a variety of issues including population and habitat management, agricultural damage, and hunting.

Copies of the draft plan will be available at the meeting, and herd managers will be on site to answer questions. All public comments will be recorded and considered by the agency before the adoption of the final plan.

Oregon — Hunting Report

Deschutes District
Coyotes: Good numbers continue to be available throughout the district. Areas near Fort Rock and Christmas Valley should provide excellent opportunities as well as east of Bend from Pine Mountain to Glass Butte. Pelts are in excellent condition. Large numbers are scattered north of Frederick's Butte and Pine Ridge near antelope herds.
Jackrabbits: Numbers are low throughout the district. Best success will be adjacent to agricultural lands. Ask permission first prior to hunting on private lands.

Ochoco District
Ground Squirrels offer good off-season opportunities for hunters. Best opportunities will be on private agricultural fields around Prineville, Madras and along the upper Crooked River. If you hunt private lands, contact the landowner first.
Coyotes: Populations are widespread throughout the district.

Klamath District
Coyotes: Good numbers are available near agricultural and foothill areas with the pups now outside of the dens.
Ground Squirrels are becoming active in many of the fields. Remember, you must always ask for permission to hunt on private land.

Baker District
Coyotes: Numbers are high and calling should be good. Be sure to ask permission before hunting on private land.

Union District
Coyotes: Numbers are high and hunting lower elevations by calling should be good. Hunters are reminded to get permission before hunting private lands.

Wallowa District
Coyotes: Good numbers are available throughout the district.

Harney District
Ground Squirrels: Alfalfa is getting too tall for good visibility of squirrels. Farmers are busy watering fields and not as eager to accept hunters as they were earlier. Ask permission at the farmhouses, and be careful to use areas with adequate backstops for bullets in the flat terrain. Respect farm animals and equipment.
Coyotes: Numbers are fair. Animals are widely scattered and difficult to locate during this pup-rearing period.

Arizona — Predator Management Policy

The Arizona Game and Fish Commission is considering a wide range of issues from proposed restrictions on crayfish use to a predator management policy during its June 16-17 meeting in Phoenix at the Arizona State Fairgrounds Wildlife Building on 19th Avenue and McDowell Road starting at 8 a.m. both days.

The commission will consider a draft predator management policy by the department's Predator Management Team. The predator management team is recommending an overall commission policy regarding predators, and associated department procedures for managing predators.

The department came under fire last year by some sportsmen and animal welfare organizations for not having in place a predator management plan. A team of department experts was assembled to draft such a policy, along fwith constructing possible predator management guidelines. Those are now up for consideration before the department takes the policy and associated guidelines through a formal public review process before bringing the package back to the commission later for final approval.

Utah — Upland Game Hunting Rules Meeting

Sandhill crane and upland game hunting rules and permit numbers will be among items the Utah Wildlife Board will discuss, and likely act on, when it meets June 14 in Heber City.

The public meeting begins at 9 a.m. in the Heber City Council Chambers, 75 N. Main.

Among the agenda items will be the following:

• Upland Game & Sandhill Crane Proclamation - Dean Mitchell, upland game coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources, and Tom Aldrich, Division waterfowl coordinator — The Division will present proposed changes to the annual Upland Game Proclamation.
• Statewide Turkey Management Plan - Dean Mitchell, Division upland game coordinator — The Division will present the Statewide Turkey Management Plan.
• Cooperative Wildlife Management Unit Rule for Small Game & Waterfowl - Dean Mitchell, Division upland game coordinator — The Division will propose changes and request a 5-year reauthorization of this rule.

Wyoming — Public Meeting on Next Year's Regulations Changes

Significantly reducing the mountain lion quota in the Snowy Range, slightly increasing quotas in the Black Hills and Dubois area, and reducing the 2001 nonresident price of doe/fawn and cow/calf licenses highlight public meetings across Wyoming this month.

Other proposed regulations include clarifying Game and Fish Department procedures for handling formal information requests, a new definition of legal handgun calibers for big and trophy game and the 2000-01 trapping seasons.

The meetings begin at 7 p.m. at these locations:
June 20 Lander G&F Regional Office
June 21 Laramie G&F Regional Office
June 21 Sheridan G&F Regional Office
June 21 Casper G&F Regional Office
June 22 Cody Park County Courthouse
June 22 Green River G&F Regional Office
June 22 Jackson Snow King Resort

The G&F is proposing to reduce the nonresident doe/fawn antelope and deer fee to $50 and $30 for youth in 2001. The nonresident cow/calf elk license would be $150 for adults and $75 for youth. The G&F is also considering issuing the federally required Harvest Information Program or "HIP" permits through the Internet, in addition to over the counter, beginning July 1, 2000.

"There are doe/fawn antelope and deer and cow/calf elk licenses that are not being sold," said Terry Cleveland, G&F assistant chief game warden. "So we are hoping reducing the nonresident price will increase sales so our harvest goals can be reached."

Other licensing changes include changing the bison application period to Jan. 1-31 and officially requiring a license to be signed by the holder to be valid.

A regulation permitting firearms .35 caliber and larger with at least 500 foot-pounds of impact at 100 yards to be used for big and trophy game hunting will be discussed. This regulation would reinstate wording formerly used to define calibers, and eliminate the specific caliber exemptions currently in the regulations.

Cleveland said since the G&F was frequently being requested to add new calibers to the exemption list, changing the wording would save regulation changes in future.

The annual mountain lion quota in Snowy Range is being reduced from 25 to seven. The reduction is proposed as part of an ongoing study in which harvest is being manipulated to evaluate techniques to estimate impact of hunter harvest on mountain lion populations, according to Cleveland.

The G&F is considering adding two beaver trapping areas in the Encampment vicinity and extending the muskrat season so it closes with the beaver season.

If unable to attend a meeting, written comments will accepted through June 30 by writing Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Attn: Regulations, 3030 Energy Lane, Suite 100, Casper, WY 82604. Copies of the proposed regulations are available by writing the same address.

The G&F Commission will consider the proposed regulations at their July 27 meeting in Rock Springs. All comments will be presented to the commission prior to the meeting.

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