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Field reports: WDFW seeks information on mule deer poaching case

A mature mule deer buck wearing a winter coat of fur sits quietly in the drizzling rain near the Centennial Trail close to the T.J. Meenach Bridge in Spokane last January.  (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
A mature mule deer buck wearing a winter coat of fur sits quietly in the drizzling rain near the Centennial Trail close to the T.J. Meenach Bridge in Spokane last January. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is seeking help from the public to solve a poaching case in Eastern Washington.

A local rancher recently found a mule deer that was illegally shot on private land along Chapman Lake Road, about one-half mile east of Chapman Lake near Cheney. WDFW officers believe it was shot during Tuesday evening .

The entire carcass of the 4x5-point deer was left.

“This is not only a crime but also pointless,” WDFW Region 1 Police Captain Dan Rahn said. “The shooting was outside of the hunting season for mule deer, which begins in October. It took place on private property without the landowner’s permission or knowledge, and the meat was wasted.”

WDFW is teaming up with the Mule Deer Foundation to offer rewards for information that leads to a citation.

If you have information on the case, there are several ways to report it. Call 877-933-9847, email or send a text tip to 847411.

You can also report online at

Tips can be provided anonymously. A monetary reward or bonus points toward special hunts are available for information leading to an arrest.

Garfield County stresses fire precaution

With several hunting seasons underway and a few about to start – including the early archery general deer season – the WDFW wants to alert those planning to hunt in southeast Washington that they may need to plan their hunting trips around the Rattlesnake Fire burning in Garfield County.

The fire is about 20 miles south of Pomeroy and has closed some areas that hunters may use, as well as trails, trailheads, roads and campgrounds. Up-to-date information on the fire and related closures can be found on the Incident Information System website.

WDFW encourages hunters and recreationists who plan to visit that area to continue to consult the site as they plan trips this fall, being aware that conditions and closures can change quickly.

‘Recreate Responsibly’ signs to be installed statewide

Starting this week, new aluminum signs will greet visitors at state parks, wildlife areas and recreation lands around the state with guidance on how to “recreate responsibly” during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The signs feature seven tips developed by the Recreate Responsibly Coalition.

The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, along with WDFW and DNR, are installing nearly 400 signs in English and Spanish at popular recreation areas.

Land managers are observing a sharp increase in visits to state public lands compared to previous years, leading to health and safety concerns.

State land managers’ goal is to provide guidance on how people can protect their families, communities and the environment while enjoying public lands, trails and waters.

WDFW use drones to count salmon, assess habitat

Starting in September and going through November, the WDFW will partner with Washington State University on a research project to use drone technology to advance conservation efforts for summer chinook salmon.

An unmanned aerial vehicle – commonly known as a drone – will be used to identify and inventory salmon spawning nests, called redds, in three areas of the Upper Wenatchee River watershed. Those areas include near Tumwater Campground, near Blackbird Island (near Leavenworth), and lower Wenatchee site (near Dryden). In addition, surveys conducted on foot and by boat will also be used.

High-resolution photos and video taken by the drone will help to identify spawning locations and habitat characteristics. Redd abundance and distribution are common metrics used to monitor and evaluate the status and trend of adult salmon populations.

The use of a drone is expected to provide improved data for more accurate population forecasting.

Biologists with WDFW will use a drone to assess habitat conditions at the Skagit Wildlife Area Monday through Thursday. The drone will collect imagery of 1,200 acres of tidal marsh habitat.

In collaboration with Western Washington University, WDFW is surveying several areas to document invasive and native vegetation, sloughs, channels, large woody debris and other natural and man-made features. WDFW will use the data to adapt current management practices and inform future noxious weed treatments.

The Skagit Wildlife Area contains approximately 13,000 acres of wildlife habitat composed primarily of intertidal estuary, managed agricultural lands and native habitats.

Idaho offers safe trapping classes

Idaho Department of Fish and Game temporarily halted all hunter and trapper education courses in March, in response to COVID-19. Hunter education is available as an online course and the field day requirement has been temporarily waived until further notice.

There is no online alternative in Idaho for trapper or wolf trapper education. With the opening of trapping seasons on the horizon, courses are being offered so that first-time trappers and wolf trappers are able to purchase licenses and tags.

To safely provide the classes, the department will adhere to health department guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19. A complete list of classes can be found at

Contact your local regional office ( for more information.

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