OLYMPIA — The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife on Tuesday announced continuing hunts in Clallam, Pacific and Whatcom counties and a two-day hunting season for brant geese in Skagit County.
Continued stable winter counts of brant have allowed for continued hunting opportunities in Clallam and Whatcom counties on Saturday, and on Jan. 19 and 22. In Pacific County, hunting days will be Jan. 13, 15, 16, 18, 20, 22, 23, 25, 27, 29 and 30.
Reduced brant counts in Skagit County mean that hunters will have a limited two-day season there on Jan. 15 and 22.
“The recent aerial brant counts in Skagit County indicate numbers fell short of the 3,000-bird requirement to allow for additional hunt days beyond the approved two-day season,” said Kyle Spragens, WDFW waterfowl section manager. “The reduced schedule is necessary to restrict harvest of western high arctic brant, which primarily overwinter in Skagit County.”
Spragens said population surveys conducted in Skagit County over Padilla, Samish and Fidalgo bays tallied 2,750 birds, the fifth lowest count in the 70-year history of surveys, prompted this year’s two-day season.
“This is the fifth consecutive year of fewer than 6,000 brant in Skagit County bays, and while we strive to provide a harvest opportunity when appropriate, these types of historically low counts require us to restrict opportunities for this unique coastal waterfowl species,” Spragens said.
The WDFW reminds hunters to familiarize themselves with local regulations and boundaries. Specifically, hunters in Clallam County are advised to consult the closed zones of the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge outside of Sequim.
Information on brant seasons is available in WDFW’s Migratory Game Bird regulations at www.tinyurl.com/3myt33e2. Brant hunters are reminded they must possess a valid migratory bird authorization and brant harvest report card, including during the youth, veteran and active military opportunity on Feb. 5.
Free fee days
PORTLAND, Ore. — The U.S. Forest Service is offering several fee‐free days coming up to encourage people to enjoy the outdoors and use public lands.
The fee-free days for 2022 are:
• Martin Luther King Jr. Day — Monday.
• President’s Day — Feb. 21.
• National Get Outdoors Day — June 11.
• National Public Lands Day — Sept. 24.
• Veterans Day —Nov. 11.
The fee waiver applies to most USFS day-use recreation sites in Oregon and Washington, including many picnic areas, boat launches, trailheads and visitor centers. Fees for camping, cabin rentals or other permits still apply.