Father of Washington School Shooter Arrested on Gun Charge

By Gene Johnson, The Associated Press

The father of a Washington state high school student who killed four classmates and himself last fall was arrested Tuesday on a federal charge that he was barred from possessing the gun his son used in the shooting.

Raymond Lee Fryberg Jr., 42, faces one count of unlawful possession of a firearm by a prohibited person. An FBI agent alleged in a criminal complaint that even though Fryberg was subject to a domestic violence protection order, he purchased five guns from a Cabela’s outdoor recreation store, including the Beretta pistol his son used in the shooting, by lying on a federal form.

Jaylen Fryberg, 15, a well-liked freshman who had recently been a Homecoming prince, inexplicably shot and killed four friends and wounded another last October after inviting them to lunch in the cafeteria at Marysville-Pilchuck High School north of Seattle.

“Our office has a long history of working with our federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement partners across Western Washington to prosecute those who illegally possess firearms,” Annette Hayes, the acting U.S. attorney in Seattle, said in a news release. “This case is part of that effort and a reminder that we are united in our commitment to get firearms out of the hands of those who pose the greatest risk to our communities.”

Fryberg was due to appear in U.S. District Court on Tuesday afternoon. Federal court records did not indicate whether he had a lawyer.

According to the complaint, Fryberg’s then-girlfriend, the mother of one of his children, obtained a protection order against him in Tulalip Tribal Court in 2002, alleging that he had threatened her, slapped her and pulled her hair.

The order became permanent, and in September 2012, Fryberg entered a no-contest plea to a charge that he violated it. He was given a suspended sentence of six months and ordered again to comply with the terms of the order.

Just four months later, Fryberg went to a Cabela’s store on the Tulalip reservation and purchased the Beretta, the complaint said. He answered “no” on a federal form asking if he was subject to a court order restraining him from harassing, stalking or threatening a child or intimate partner, and he answered the same when he filled out forms for the purchase of four other weapons at the store between January 2013 and July 2014, the complaint said.

State Sen. John McCoy, a member of the Tulalip Tribe, said he didn’t know Fryberg had been subject to a restraining order.

“That’s exceptionally troublesome to me,” McCoy said. “It points me to the issue we’ve been arguing about in the state, that people are not going to tell the truth when they fill out the forms to buy a gun, so maybe we should have a registry of people who are subject to these orders. That’ll be more fodder for discussion.”

Salmon seminars

By Wayne Kruse, The Herald

Free seminars at Cabela’s Tulalip this weekend are pointed toward summer salmon seasons, and include the following highlights:

Saturday: 11 a.m., Catching Silvers on the Fly, with Mike Benbow; noon, Fall Salmon Fishing in the River, with Jim and Jennifer Stahl of NW Fishing Guides; 1 p.m., Chasing Salmon in the Salt, with Gary Krein; and 2 p.m., Egg Cure Secrets, with Cabela’s Outfitters

Sunday: 11 a.m., Rigging Your Salmon Rod, hosted by Jim and Jennifer Stahl; noon, Chasing Salmon in the Salt, with Nic Kester; 1 p.m., Salmon Love Herring, Strategies, Tips and Secrets, with Cabela’s Outfitters; and 2 p.m., Fall Salmon Fishing in the River, with Jim and Jennifer Stahl.

Cabela’s celebrates hometown heroes

Cabela's Tulalip By Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

TULALIP – Cabela’s Hometown Celebration, which honors all active military service men and women, reservists, veterans, law enforcement, firefighters and Emergency Medical Services personnel, begins today until  May 18. As a show of appreciation Cabela’s is extending their employee discount to these hometown heroes. Must present badge, valid government ID or other proof of eligibility to receive the discount on wide variety of merchandise through out the store.

Cabela’s will also be hosting their Armed Forces Appreciation Weekend this Saturday-Sunday, that includes a barbecue lunch by Famous Dave’s and a variety of interactive activities with local veterans, armed forces, and recruiters. A flag raising ceremony will be held at 10:00 a.m. Boy Scouts of America will raise the flags in honor of the armed forces and hometown heroes. Worn and tired American flags can be given to the Boys Scouts of America, who will properly burn the flags through a flag retirement ceremony between 10:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. in front of the store near the flagpoles.

Cabela’s Tulalip is located within the Quil Ceda Village on the Tulalip Indian Reservation at 9810 Quil Ceda Blvd., Tulalip, WA 98271. Please visit their website at www.cabelas.com.

Weigh in on Baker Lake sockeye fishery

By Wayne Kruse, The Herald

Never been interested in getting involved in the annual salmon season-setting process? Maybe you should rethink that position, and here’s a specific example of how public input can affect your fishing opportunity:

The preseason forecast for the uber-popular Baker Lake sockeye fishery is 35,380 fish, according to Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist Brett Barkdull in La Conner. That’s not as good as the numbers for the initial fishery in 2012, when the run clocked in at about 48,000, but much better than last summer’s meager 18,000 fish.

So there should be plenty of sockeye for a pretty good season this year. But the guy in the back of the room raises his hand and asks, “Who gets to catch ’em?”

Will it be primarily the bank fisherman on the lower Skagit, plunking with Spin N Glo and shrimp? Or will it the boater on Baker Lake, with downriggers and trolling gear? Or should the catch be split between the two very distinct user groups? That’s the question you can help answer by being at the public meeting 6-9 p.m., March 22nd at WDFW’s Mill Creek office (16018 Mill Creek Boulevard, phone 425-775-1311).

“The public will decide,” Barkdull said. “It’s their fish, and we’re taking input right now.”

The recreational sockeye catch on the river during the 2012 season was 4,300 fish, despite terrible fishing conditions. “The river was high, cold, dirty and people were dodging trees,” Barkdull said. The catch in the lake that summer was 9,600 salmon.

The river opened June 16 and the lake on July 1 in 2012. There were not enough fish predicted last year for both a river and lake fishery, so the lake opened July 10. This year?

“Nothing’s set,” Barkdull said. “It’s a relatively new fishery, and the where and how are still shaking out.”

He said last year’s preseason discussions were influenced more heavily by a larger contingent of lake-oriented anglers. Many of the river fishermen, by contrast, were apparently afraid that if they once lost the river option, they would never get it back.

“That’s not true,” Barkdull said. “One of our management goals is to harvest more than the roughly 50 percent of hatchery sockeye caught in the first two seasons, and both a river and a lake fishery might be one way to do that.”

If a river opening becomes part of the sockeye scenario, it will not be at the mouth of the Baker River. Barkdull said that small area drew crowds and some confrontations in the past, so the fishery was moved downstream. The hot spots during the 2012 river fishery, Barkdull said, were Young’s Bar, just upriver from downtown Mount Vernon; the “soccer fields,” farther upriver; and at Gilligan Creek, above Sedro-Woolley.

Only about 6,000 sockeye were trucked last year from the power company fish trap to the lake, resulting in a slow — and short — season. If, say, 15,000 fish could be trapped and trucked this year, that would likely result in a very good fishery.


Next up in the Northwest salmon derby Series is the 8th running of the Everett Blackmouth Derby, March 22, marine areas 8-1, 8-2 and 9, offering a first place cash prize of $3,000. Tickets are limited to 100 boats, at $100 per boat (up to four anglers), and available at John’s Sporting Goods, Bayside Marine, Greg’s Custom Rods, Ted’s Sport Center, Ed’s Surplus, Three Rivers Marine, Performance Marine, and Harbor Marine.

For more information go to www.everettblackmouthderby.com.

Learn how

Tackle shop owner John Martinis and expert angler Mike Greenleaf will host an hour-long chinook fishing seminar at 7 p.m. March 19 at Bayside Marine, 1111 Craftsman Way, Everett. The free seminar will cover where to fish, rigging gear, rigging bait, selecting tackle and more. Martinis’ phone number is 425-259-3056; Bayside Marine’s number is 425-252-3088.

Local blackmouth

All Star Charters owner/skipper Gary Krein said the fairly good fishing for blackmouth on outer Possession Bar has held up well, but that near-flood-level rivers have pumped mud, logs and other debris into the area, making getting from Everett to the outer bar a risky endeavor.

“And we had to go at least halfway across the bar to find clean water early this week,” Krein said.

Columbia River

Still no springers showing in the popular fishing areas of the lower Columbia, according to Joe Hymer, state biologist in Vancouver.

“Despite sampling 100 boats and just over 100 bank fishermen, we checked one steelhead last week,” Hymer said on Monday. “In fact, we still haven’t sampled our first spring chinook of the season.”

Farther upriver, walleye fishermen were doing much better. State checks on The Dalles Pool last week showed 35 boat fishermen had kept 38 walleye and released 21 more. On the John Day Arm and vicinity, 39 fishermen kept 22 and released nine fish.

And above the Tri-Cities, the Ringold-area steelhead fishery has finally come on. State personnel last week checked 14 bank and 12 boat fishermen, with 18 hatchery steelhead. Anglers averaged between six and 16 hours per fish.


Recreational smelt dipping in the Cowlitz on Saturday was excellent, state biologist Joe Hymer said. Most dippers were harvesting their 10-pound limit in only a few dips.

Smelt were reported as far upstream on the Cowlitz as Blue Creek, and also reported in the North Fork Lewis and as far up the mainstem Columbia as Vancouver.

No more recreational smelt fisheries were scheduled, as of early this week, Hymer said.

Record walleye

A record Washington State walleye was caught Feb. 28 on Lake Wallula (McNary Pool, Columbia River) by John Grubenhoff of Pasco. The fish weighed 20.32 pounds, was 35.5 inches long, and had a girth of 22.75 inches. Grubenhoff was trolling upstream along a current break in 22 feet of water, using a Rapala J-13, six feet behind a 2-ounce bottom walker.

The previous record walleye was also caught in February, 2007, in the same Columbia pool, by Mike Hepper of Richland, and weighed 19.3 pounds.

Wolves stable

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife released over the weekend its official annual count of gray wolves living in the state: 52 individuals; one more than found in the 2012 count, and the same number of breeding pairs as reported in 2012. Wolves in eastern Washington were federally delisted a few years ago, but they are still protected under state endangered species laws.

Free seminars

Cabela’s Tulalip store presents Spring Great Outdoor Days this weekend, March 15-16, offering free seminars, turkey calling contests, Dutch oven cooking, bow fishing and more.

Highlights include: Introduction to Reloading; Dutch Oven Meals; Turkey Calling Techniques and Fine Tuning Your Hunting Skills; Applying for Out of State Tags; and Spring Bear Hunting and Calling Tips & Tactics.

Good winter blackmouth fishery in Area 9

By Wayne Kruse, The Herald

One of the better winter blackmouth seasons in the past several years is underway on Possession Bar and in the rest of Marine Area 9, according to Gary Krein, All Star Charters owner/skipper in Everett.

“The triangle — Possession, Double Bluff and Point No Point — had a good opener and have held up well since,” he said. “It’s been a much better fishery than we saw here a year ago,”

Saturday creel checks by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife personnel at the Port of Everett ramp tallied 45 anglers in 24 boats with 22 chinook. By comparison, 45 anglers had seven chinook on the same day at the Washington Park ramp in Anacortes, and 27 anglers had 11 fish at the Ediz Hook Public Ramp in Port Angeles.

Possession is probably the most consistent producer right now, Krein said, particularly on a strong tide. On weaker tides, Point No Point and Double Bluff fish better. Pilot Point and Midchannel Bank are also good bets.

The Area 9 fisher stays open through April 15. Areas 8-1 and 8-2 remain open through April 30 with a daily limit of two hatchery chinook. Marine Area 10 (central Sound) closes this week.

Krein likes 3-inch or 31/2-inch Kingfisher Lite spoons in white or greens, such as Irish cream, Irish flag, or red racer, behind a Gibbs Moonglow flasher and 38 to 40 inches of 25-pound monofilament leader. He puts his gear near bottom in 90 to 150 feet of water, and he says good electronics will pick up individual fish, not necessarily around bait this time of year.

Blackmouth are running from just-legal 5-pounders up to about 10 pounds, with good numbers in the 8-pound range.

“Surprisingly, shakers haven’t been the problem we had anticipated,” Krein said.

But seals have. Lots of seals, taking taking lots of hooked salmon.

“They’ve really been pests,” Krein said, “to the point that we’ve had to move to a different area at times, in order to boat a fish or two.”

Areas 8-1 and 8-2 — Possession Sound and Saratoga Passage — haven’t shared in the early action to any degree, Krein said. A fish or two from south Hat Island, but nothing much from Onomac, Ole’s Hole or any of the other north-end prospects.


The winter hatchery steelhead season was pretty much a non-event, but recent catches (and releases) of wild-stock fish in the Forks-area streams have been pretty good at times. On the Bogachiel last week, 63 fishermen had released 13 wild steelhead, kept eight and released four hatchery fish. This included 12 bank anglers and 47 boat fishermen. On the Calawah, seven bank anglers kept two hatchery fish. On the Sol Duc, 46 fishermen, mostly boaters, kept one and released 33 wild fish, and kept one hatchery fish. The wild fish kept was illegal.

On the lower Hoh over the weekend, 122 anglers released 14 wild-stock steelhead, and kept 17 and released 11 hatchery fish.

Enough hatchery broodstock steelhead now have been taken in a couple of local rivers to enable biologists to reopen the pair, in whole or partially. The Fortson Hole section of the North Fork Stillaguamish opened last Friday and will remain open through Friday. The Cascade River, tributary to the Skagit at Marblemount, will reopen Saturday and remain open through Feb. 15.

And hey, steelheaders. When was the last time you saw a steelhead fishery disrupted by tumbleweeds? Yeah, tumbleweeds; Russian thistles. State biologist Paul Hoffarth reported that the weekend saw large numbers of the dead, dry, round shrubs coming down the river after strong winds last week and making things difficult for fishermen at the Ringold hatchery upriver from the Tri-Cities. Fishing has been slow, tumbleweeds or not, Hoffarth said.


Discussions are still ongoing between fish managers of Washington, Oregon and the feds about opening at least a limited sport smelt (eulachon) dipping season on the Cowlitz River this winter as a means of gathering catch-per-unit data on the fish, which were listed as a threatened species in May, 2010. Following the ESA listing, both Oregon and Washington enacted permanent rules prohibiting directed harvest of eulachon on the Columbia and its tributaries. Commercial fishing closed permanently on Dec. 1, 2010, and recreational fishing on Jan. 1, 2011.

Then, what was estimated as one of the strongest eulachon runs in 10 years surprised everyone when it showed up in 2013. This winter’s run may not mirror last year’s, but then again, it might. As of last week, smelt have been confirmed in the Cowlitz and also in the Grays.

Free classes

Cabela’s Tulalip Store offers three interesting upcoming free classes: Long Range Shooting; Beginning Decoy Carving; and Successful Chironomid Techniques for Stillwater Fly Fishing.

The shooting class will include equipment, types of rifles and scopes, calibers and ammunition, reading the wind, using a spotter and ballistics computer, and more. It’s scheduled for Feb. 1, 11 a.m. to noon. Please RSVP by calling 360-474-4880.

The intro to decoy carving runs on Feb. 7, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., offering hands-on training in carving and painting a mallard drake working decoy. Participants must bring their own carving tools to class. Paint and wood are provided by the instructor for a minimal fee. Please contact instructor Kurt Benson directly with any questions at 425-231-6497. Space is limited to first 20, so RSVP by calling 360-474-4880.

Learn how to successfully fish chironomids, an insect seldom used but which comprises 40 percent of a trout’s diet in still waters year-around. Jerry Buron’s Feb. 8 presentation from 2-3:30 p.m. will introduce chironomids as a food source, how to fish them, when to use them and finally, how to tie chironomid patterns. It will explore the fly fishing equipment used, and how to set up your gear to catch fish. RSVP by calling 360-474-4880.

Razor clams

State razor clam manager Dan Ayres in Montesano said the ongoing razor clam dig should produce improved results over the mid-January dig, because of better tides and flatter surf.

The remaining tides and open beaches are: Jan. 30, minus 1.4 feet at 6:11 p.m., at Twin Harbors, Long Beach and Mocrocks; Jan. 31, minus 1.4 feet at 6:55 p.m., at Twin Harbors, Long Beach and Mocrocks; Feb. 1, minus 1.0 feet at 7:38 p.m., at all beaches except Kalaloch; and Feb. 2, minus 0.5 feet at 8:20 p.m., at Twin Harbors, Long Beach and Mocrocks.

San Juans blackmouth

Rosario Strait remains the hot spot in the islands, according to Kevin John at Holiday Sports in Burlington. Blakely Island/Thatcher Pass is producing and Strawberry Bay also has held a lot of fish to 12 pounds or so. When tides are right, Eastern and Salmon banks have been good places to catch blackmouth in the eight- to 10-pound range. A few more fish, John said, are coming from Fidalgo Head and Lopez Flats, while Reef Point remains slow.

Bait behind a flasher is still the go-to setup, John said, or small lures such as the 3-inch Kingfisher, needlefish squid, or Brad’s mini cut-plugs.


Cabela’s® Celebrates Holiday Shopping Season with Free Gifts

Doors Open at 8 a.m., Saturday, December 14

Tulalip, Washington (December 12, 2013) –Cabela’s Tulalip is celebrating Christmas early by giving away more than $3,800 in free gifts to the first 250 customers in line on Dec. 14. Doors will open at 8 a.m.
Early weekend shoppers at Cabela’s will enjoy refreshments, games, entertainment, camp fires and more, and will have the chance to take home a Savage firearm, Vista Polaris Bow Package, Coleman camping gear, Cabela’s vacuum sealer, Mitchell 300 Pro fishing Combo or a Cabela’s cash card worth up to $100.
The first 250 Cabela’s customers, ages 18 and older, will be given a mystery envelope containing information about their gift. All gifts will be distributed randomly. Winners will be able to pick up their gift at the store immediately after the store opens. Firearm winners will be required to complete a standard federal background check to take ownership of the firearm.
Cabela’s store location and holiday hours are available at www.cabelas.com/tulalip. Extended hours will continue throughout the holiday season.

Cabela’sTulalip Spooktacular, Oct 26

Cabela’s halloween

Cabela’s Tulalip will host a “spooktacular” for kids and adults from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, with trick or treating in each department of the store. Then take a stroll through the haunted aquarium, try a shot in the 3D Pumpkin Archery Range, decorate yourself with ghostly camo face paint, sample some terrifyingly delicious Dutch oven treats and hunt for the elusive, hairy Sasquatch. Try your hand (1-15 years of age) at the Sasquatch calling contest at 1 p.m. for a chance to win prizes.

For more information, call 360-474-4880.

Eastside steelhead fishery off to fast start

By Wayne Kruse, The Herald

The upper Columbia and its major tributaries opened for steelhead last week and anglers found “lights out fishing in the Methow for the first few days,” according to Don Talbot at Hooked On Toys in Wenatchee (509-663-0740).

Instead of a simple float-and-jig rig, Talbot said, more and more steelheaders in his bailiwick are going to a “float-and-whatever,” adding a second lure to the setup hanging under the float.

“They’re tying a couple of feet of leader directly to the jig hook (the bend, not the eye), and then either a small Corky or a same-size bead on a number-4 hook to finish off the second lure,” Talbot said. “Use a Corky if you want the second lure to float, or the 6- to 8-mil bead if you want it to sink.”

Pinks are popular colors for the rig, as are red/black combinations.

“The setup is a little unwieldy to cast,” Talbot said, “but on the other hand, you always hope you’re going to hook a double.”


The bottom 12 miles of the Methow have been the most productive so far, he said. The lower Wenatchee is also a possibility, although there are fewer fish, apparently, in the Wenatchee run.


“Put in your time on the river, cover a lot of water, change colors,” Talbot said. “Persistence pays off.”

State Fish and Wildlife Department regional fish manager Jeff Korth in Ephrata said about 14,000 adult steelhead are expected to return to the upper Columbia system this year, enough to allow a fishery, but with a caution. Korth said fishing will be more tightly regulated this year than last because protected wild-stock fish are expected to make up a higher percentage of the run.

These fisheries traditionally remain open through the winter, but Korth said, “We may have to close early due to the higher number of encounters with wild steelhead expected this year.”

Anglers are required to keep the first two hatchery, fin-clipped, steelhead they catch, and that with the exception of the Columbia proper, where bait may be used, selective-gear rules apply.

San Juan salmon

Fishermen in the San Juan Islands are transitioning from coho to winter blackmouth, with pretty fair fishing available for both right now. Kevin John at Holiday Sports in Burlington (360-757-4361) said big, wild, “hooknose” coho are the target along the west side of San Juan Island, while blackmouth anglers are finding fish “inside” at Lopez Flats and around Cypress Island. Small baits and lures — yellow-label herring, Coho Killer spoons in shades of green — are popular choices, John said.

River coho

Work some different water for coho; try the main stem Stillaguamish, which has been putting out better than usual fishing the past couple weeks. Kevin John said the I-5 and Silvana areas are both good bets, although coho are where you find them. Try Dick Nite spoons in green, chartreuse or 50-50, he said.

The best bet for boat fishermen right now might be the Skagit River in the Sedro-Woolley area, backtrolling Brad’s Wigglers or drifting Vibrax spinners.

Snow geese

Waterfowl hunting has been slow around the state, with bluebird weather the general rule, but when winter storm fronts start marching through the area, there should be snow geese available locally. The prediction by state biologists is that it was at least a fair hatch and that it should be a decent, if not great, hunting season.

Because of changes in farming practices on the Skagit delta, and other factors, over-wintering snows have separated themselves into three fairly distinct groups: the Stanwood flock, the Fir Island flock and the Bow flock. Goose populations at all three locations are building each day.

Steelhead clinic

Mark your calendar for the annual Steelhead and River Fishing Workshop sponsored by the Everett Steelhead and Salmon Club and Everett Parks & Recreation. It’s free and open to all interested anglers. The popular seminar is scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Nov. 9 at Floral Hall in Forest Park in Everett.

The event covers methods and techniques for river fishing, tackle selection, hook tying, rigging and casting, reading water and more. There should be something here for both beginning and experienced anglers.

For more information, call Everett Parks at 425-257-8300, extension 2.

Cabela’s halloween

Cabela’s Tulalip will host a “spooktacular” for kids and adults from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, with trick or treating in each department of the store. Then take a stroll through the haunted aquarium, try a shot in the 3D Pumpkin Archery Range, decorate yourself with ghostly camo face paint, sample some terrifyingly delicious Dutch oven treats and hunt for the elusive, hairy Sasquatch. Try your hand (1-15 years of age) at the Sasquatch calling contest at 1 p.m. for a chance to win prizes.

For more information, call 360-474-4880.

Federal land should be open to deer hunters

By Wayne Kruse, The Herald

The answer, deer hunters, is “yes.” And the question is: Are we allowed to hunt on national forest land this weekend?

With the federal government shutdown still in place as of Wednesday, and U.S. Forest Service personnel on furlough, it wasn’t possible to get a live federal opinion on whether or not hunters would be welcome on federally managed land for the modern firearm deer opener on Saturday. But state Fish and Wildlife Department enforcement captain Mike Hobbs, at the agency’s Mill Creek office, said that in his opinion, unless you’re faced with a locked gate or signage specifically denying entry, you’re good to go.

And with that out of the way, here’s a quick rundown on prospects for the 2013 hunting seasons in selected parts of the state:

Okanogan County mule deer: A real bright spot in Washington’s deer-hunting picture this year, according to district wildlife biologist Scott Fitkin. The Okanogan supports Washington’s largest migratory mule deer herd, has excellent public access, and has long been arguably the most popular hunting area for mulies and a few whitetail.

This year should provide a good hunt, Fitkin said, following three consecutive winters of above average fawn recruitment. Hunters should see moderate numbers of younger bucks but — and here’s the big draw this year — the best population of older bucks in a long time.

A survey last year showed 34 bucks per 100 does, the highest ratio in decades, and an indicator of excellent buck carryover. Fitkin said summer forage conditions were favorable, so deer should be in top physical condition this fall.

Permits and regulations are about the same as last year, which produced a harvest 13 percent better than 2010. The top total harvest was in Game Management Unit 204, with its 50-50 population of whitetail and mule deer, but GMUs 215, 218, 224 and 233 also were good. Those five units produced 75 percent of the county’s deer harvest in 2012.

Southwest Washington blacktail: Several units here are almost always tops in the state for blacktail. The highest general season harvest last year was in GMUs 501 (Lincoln), 520 (Winston), 530 (Ryderwood) and 550 (Coweeman). The better hunting by far, according to state district biologist Pat Miller, is during the late portion of the general season or during the late buck hunt, when wind and rain have dampened and knocked down thick foliage.

Some of the better hunting occurs on private forest land, which can be researched on the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Private Lands website, page 96 of the hunting regulations pamphlet or at the state’s Go Hunt mapping website. Weyerhaeuser’s phone number is 1-866-636-6531; the Cowlitz Valley Ranger District office is 360-497-1100; and the Castle Rock Department of Natural Resources office is 360-577-2025.

Southwest Washington elk: The area is usually No. 1 or 2 in the state for elk hunting success rates, according to biologist Miller. The best units last year were 506 (Willapa Hills), 520 (Winston), 530 (Ryderwood), and 550 (Coweeman). Permit elk hunters took 1,458 elk in 2012, while general season hunters harvested 1,728 animals.

Columbia Basin birds: Grant County is traditionally the best place in the state to hunt ducks, geese and pheasant, and because the harvest has been fairly consistent over the past 10 years, this season should be no different.

The highest population of wild pheasant (Eastern Washington pheasant season doesn’t open until the Oct. 19), according to district biologist Rich Finger in Ephrata, is around the Frenchmen and Winchester wasteways, between Potholes Reservoir and the town of George. Mixed bags of wild and released pheasant can be found along lower Crab Creek, around the Gloyd Seeps, and in the Quincy and Dry Falls areas.

Don’t always zero in on the release sites, Finger says. Data show that released birds made up only a quarter of the pheasant, at most, taken in the county in 2012.

Pheasant tips: Move fast and cover a lot of ground; use non-toxic shot and diversify your bag with waterfowl; try the pheasant release sites (go to wdfw.wa.gov/hunting and find Eastern Washington Phasant Enhancement Program).

Opening weekend for waterfowl in the north Basin is usually very good, Finger said, averaging better than three birds per person on the 2012 opener. Local hatches have been declining, but migratory populations from Canada and Alaska have been strong. The outlook this season for northern ducks is perhaps down a little from last year, but generally above 10-year averages.

Grant and Adams counties last year put out a total of 90,228 ducks, with the peak number of migrating mallards harvested in December.

Two of the better public duck hunting areas according to Finger include the north end “sand dunes” portion of Potholes Reservoir and, particularly, Winchester Lake. A mix of pheasant, duck and goose hunting is available to the public through the state’s Regulated Access Areas, and private grain fields enrolled in the Hunter Access Program. For more information on the two programs, call the Ephrata office at 509-759-4624.

Finger said a crucial factor in Columbia Basin waterfowl hunting is scouting — both to see where the birds are feeding and to gain permission from the landowner to hunt.

Processing big game

Your animal is down. Now what do you do? Cabela’s Tulalip presents a big-game processing seminar from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday in the boat showroom, with an experienced meat cutter demonstrating live how to field dress and debone your big game. Please preregister by calling 360-474-4880.

At 3 p.m. the processing scene turns to meat grinding for sausage, inside the Tulalip store, at “the mountain.” Grinding for proper texture, plus seasonings for sausage, hamburger and more.

At noon Sunday, in the main store aisle, learn dehydrating tips for beginners; preserving your harvest and making delicious snacks.

And finally, at 2 p.m. Sunday outside the front of the store, gather “Game Day Recipes” and tips on how to use different cookers and quick and easy spices to turn game meat into a game pleaser.

For more outdoor news, read Wayne Kruse’s blog at www.heraldnet.com/huntingandfishing.

Ladies Day Out

By Wayne Krus, The Herald

Cabela’s Tulalip and the U.S. Sportsman’s Alliance will celebrate the growing number of women enjoying the outdoors with Ladies Day Out this Saturday, Oct. 5, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The bi-annual event encourages women to try out the latest outdoor aparel, camping gear, personal firearms and other products. The first 100 women to register at the store receive a free gift, and all women who participate in the event will be invited to enjoy the employee discount on all purchases until 1 p.m.

With more than 5 million women participating in shooting sports — an increase of 46.5 percent since 2001 — this growing demographic will enjoy classes including Waterfowl University for Ladies; Introduction to Archery; Ladies, Don’t be a Victim; shoot in the Daisy BB Gun Range; let an arrow fly on the Archery Range.

Non-shooting sports classes include Waders for Women — fishing from the bank with pro-staff; Dutch Oven Lovin’ cooking demonstrations; Flashy Fly Tying with the Federation of Fly Fishers; and Gold Panning.

For a complete schedule of Ladies Day Out events, call 360-474-4880, or visit www.cabelas.com/tulalip.