OUTDOORS: Hunters donning the orange and camouflage for Saturday’s deer and waterfowl openers

HUNTER ORANGE JOINS the myriad colors of fall foliage Saturday for the opening day of modern firearm deer and waterfowl hunting season.

A rundown of deer hunting prospects on the North Olympic Peninsula appeared in the Sept. 25 Outdoors column and is available at tinyurl.com/PDN-DeerHunt19.

Information on access to more than 1 million acres of private land can be found at the Private Lands Hunting Access page at tinyurl.com/PDN-PrivateLands19). Hunters can also find information on public or private lands open to hunting by visiting WDFW’s hunt planner webmap at tinyurl.com/PDN-PlannerMap19/.

Waterfowl

Duck, goose, coot and snipe seasons open Saturday.

The exceptions to October waterfowl hunting openings include dusky Canada goose hunting, which is closed to harvest. Brant season, determined by the midwinter waterfowl survey, also is currently closed, but may open on selected dates in January.

Skagit County is where the bulk of brant hunting occurs, but Clallam County also has hosted hunts for the past three years.

Counts in Clallam and Whatcom counties have increased in recent years and have remained above the 1,000 brant threshold for the past three years, the state criteria required to consider seasons in these areas.

Scaup season is also currently closed, but opens on Nov. 2.

Trout planted

Jefferson County lakes received their annual fall trout plants last week.

Lake Leland was boosted with a planting of 2,120 rainbows while Teal Lake received 150 rainbows and Gibbs was planted with 350 rainbows.

Quilcene’s Ward Norden, a former fisheries biologist and owner of Snapper Tackle Co., checked the water temperature at Lake Leland on Thursday.

“The water temperature at the pier on the lake is 50 degrees, about four degrees more than I expected,” Norden said. “The anglers at the pier are doing very well and the trout recently planted are very nice fish, about 1-pound [apiece], with the occasional holdover about 2 pounds.”

Continued colder temperatures will put a crimp on the bite, Norden said.

“Once the water temps head into the low 40s the bite will become like it will be all winter — irregular,” Norden said.

Check the status of Jefferson County lake water quality at www.jeffersoncountypublichealth.org/723/Lake-Status.

Dungeness opener

One benefit of this wet, cold start to fall is an on-time opening of the Dungeness River hatchery coho fishing season.

The season will open Wednesday and run through Nov. 30.

The minimum size is 12 inches and anglers are limited to four hatchery coho only.

Navigation talk

Doug Miller, founder and president of Port Orchard-based Milltech Marine, will speak at Thursday’s meeting of the North Olympic Peninsula Chapter of Puget Sound Anglers.

The monthly meeting will be held in Sequim at Trinity United Methodist Church, 100 S. Blake Ave., with raffle-prize viewing and fish tales at 6:30 p.m. and the meeting starting at 7 p.m.

Milltech Marine is a provider of Automatic Identification System (AIS) solutions for the marine market — a technology that works to avoid collisions between maritime vessels around the world.

It is possible to “see” vessels in real time on a chartplotter, computer navigation system or even mobile devices such as iPads.

If you install an AIS transponder on your boat, other vessels including commercial vessels can see you on their navigation systems.using an AIS.

This talk will cover the basics of how AIS works, various AIS devices and an overview of the steps for adding AIS to your vessel’s navigation systems, which will include system prerequisites, wiring examples and how to configure your displays to use AIS. We will also cover how AIS can be used in mobile apps, man overboard scenarios, vessel tracking and more.

A short club business meeting, raffles and a $75 membership drawing (must be present to win) also are on tap.

Refreshments will be served and the public is welcome to attend.

Clam digs a success

The three-day razor clam dig last month on the Long Beach Peninsula attracted a big crowd that made an estimated 18,900 clam-digging trips, resulting in a harvest of 281,800 clams.

“Success was high for most everyone,” Coastal Shellfish Manager Dan Ayres said Tuesday. An average of 14.9 clams were retained per person, meaning virtually all diggers achieved a 15-clam limit. The average size was 3.8 inches.

Ayres expects the clam size to get bigger later in the fall.

The next digs are set Oct. 26 through Nov. 1 at a number of Pacific Ocean beaches.

Watch this space for the full details later this month.

Thin the herd

I’d never suggest a firearm deer hunting season inside the Port Townsend city limits, but a controlled, supervised archery tag hunt would be a good way to thin the outrageous number of deer roaming all over the city.

Such a hunt could raise some funds for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife’s coffers, and provide protein in the form of venison for the crowds that flock to pickup days at the Port Townsend Food Bank.

And you know those Port Townsend bucks would taste delicious after feasting on the Key City’s lush lawns and gardens.

I understand why the city’s roads are in such a shambles — you can’t drive the speed limit without encountering deer crossing the street, so why bother repairing them?

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