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Field Reports: Washington restricts big-game parts coming in from Montana after CWD detected

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HUNTING – The discovery of chronic wasting disease in free-ranging deer in Montana this fall means restrictions for sportsmen who come from CWD-free states to hunt deer, elk or moose there.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has filed an emergency rule that adds Montana to the list of states and provinces with restrictions on what parts of the game animals can be brought across the state line.

CWD has not been detected in Washington or Idaho, and officials hope to keep it that way. The discovery of CWD in Montana means the disease has hopped a step farther west.

CWD is caused by prions (mutated proteins) that affect the nervous systems of the deer family. It’s a fatal illness that can be transmitted between these animals, WDFW said in a release. While CWD is not known to affect humans, experts routinely advise hunters to avoid consuming sickly animals and to wear protective gloves when field dressing game.

“We discussed our contingency for dealing with CWD at our meeting last week,” Brad Corkill, Idaho Fish and Game Commissioner from Cataldo said Tuesday at a sportsman breakfast in Coeur d’Alene. “Our discussion is no longer about ‘if’ CWD makes it to Idaho, it’s about ‘when.’ ”

“Idaho Fish and Game currently has no restrictions against hunters bringing deer or elk carcasses into the state,” said Roger Phillips, agency media contact in Boise. He said the agency is revising its CWD response plan, which was written in 2002 and revised in 2010 and 2012. The next revision could address transporting carcasses to reduce the chances of CWD coming in from other states.

CWD has been detected in animals in 23 states and two Canadian provinces as well as in South Korea and Norway. Other states and provinces with importation restrictions in Washington are listed on page 65 of Washington’s 2017 Big Game Hunting Seasons & Regulations pamphlet.

Washington restricts hunters who harvest a deer, elk, or moose in a CWD-positive state – which now includes Montana – from bringing certain tissue and potions of the animal’s head an skeleton in to the state.

Only the following items from these animals can be brought into Washington:

  • Meat that has been deboned in the state or province where it was harvested and is imported as boned-out meat.
  • Skulls and antlers, antlers attached to the skull plate, or upper canine teeth (bugler, whistlers, ivories) from which all soft tissue has been removed.
  • Hides or capes without heads attached.
  • Tissue imported for use by a diagnostic or research laboratory.
  • Finished taxidermy mounts.

WDFW has been testing for CWD since 1995, although testing has been only occasional in recent years, said Kristin Manfield, state wildlife veterinarian.

Montana officials have confirmed that a deer killed by a hunter in late October had the disease. A second potential case is undergoing further testing. It’s the first time the disease has been detected in Montana wildlife.

Washington anglers

catch record fish

FISHING – Two Washington state sport fish records were set during one late-September weekend, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife reports:

Opah, 37.98 pounds, 32.5 inches long, caught Sept. 23 by Mike Benoit of Gig Harbor while fishing with anchovies off the Washington coast out of Westport.

Blue shark, 49.50 pounds, 71 inches long, caught Sept. 24 by Erik Holcomb of Lynden while fishing with anchovies out of Westport.

Solo kayaker speaks

on paddling Chile

BOATING – Jim Payne, veteran long-distance paddler and author of several paddling books, will present a free program on his solo kayaking on Bio Bio River in Chile, 7 p.m., Monday at Mountain Gear Corporate Headquarters, 6021 E. Mansfield in Spokane Valley, sponsored by the Spokane Canoe & Kayak Club.

Avalanche schooling offered

in Canada backcountry

WINTERSPORTS – Staying and skiing out of a remote but full-service backcountry lodge near Kimberley, British Columbia, can be an educational experience in avalanche safety.

The Boulder Hut , operated by Sarah and Mark Yancey of Sandpoint, is offering Avalanche Skills Training 2 courses for more advanced experience in terrain selection, decision making, navigation and skiing or boarding in avalanche terrain.

Three courses are scheduled in January. Students helicopter into the cozy huts and lodge located in premier skiing terrain.

Email info@boulderhutadventures.com for details.

Eagle numbers boom

at Lake Coeur d’Alene

BIRDING – The number of bald eagles has increased more than four-fold since last week for their annual gathering to feast on kokanee spawning in the northeastern corner of Lake Coeur d’Alene.

Carrie Hugo, U.S. Bureau of Land Management wildlife biologist, counted 146 bald eagles on Wednesday –129 adults and 18 immature –in the Wolf Lodge Bay area. That’s up from 37 eagles counted last Wednesday during her first weekly survey of the eagle-watching season.

On Nov. 20, 2016, she counted only 26 bald eagles.

Bald eagles traditionally show up from early November into January for a winter feast of spawning kokanee.

Stay tuned for what’s likely to be a lot more eagles at Wolf Lodge Bay during the peak period that’s coming up in mid-December.

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