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David Sparks Ph.d Fires and Hunting
by David Sparks Ph.d, click here for bio

Program: Sportsman's Spotlight
Date: September 22, 2017

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Download Report: Fires_and_Hunting.mp3

Since so many wildfires are burning across the entire span between Colorado and the northwest coast, I thought I would read this advisory from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife because it really applies to every hunting area.

Dear Hunting Enthusiast:

As of this writing, wildfires continue to threaten federal, tribal, state, and private lands, as well as many communities. We are all concerned for public safety and the loss of life and property, as well as the impact to our natural resources. As a hunter, you may also be concerned about the status of upcoming hunting seasons. WDFW has no plans to close or delay any general hunting seasons due to fire activity. Hunters should, however, be aware of widespread land access restrictions currently in place throughout the state due to wildfires. Now more than ever, it is important to check the fire and land access situation before setting out on your trip.

Updated information on active wildfires, including local travel and access restrictions are available on selected web sites. Please bear in mind that landowners determine who has access to their land. Some landowners, including multiple private timberland owners, have closed their lands to access in response to current wildfire activity. At this time, it is too early to know whether landowners will keep their lands closed or reopen lands during the hunting season. Conditions can change rapidly over the next few weeks, so hunters should check periodically for access changes.

In the unlikely event that access to a special permit hunt area is closed due to fire activity, the Department will work with permit holders to restore special permit points in the affected areas. WDFW will notify permit holders if they are eligible and explain how points can be restored. Points will not be restored if hunting opportunity is still available for a permit holder, or if the permit has already been used for hunting in the special permit area this season.

Hunters who wish to hunt on private lands should make sure they have permission to hunt before they go. Check in with landowners regarding access and be sure to leave the area in better condition than when you arrived. For more information, visit the WDFW Private Lands Access website: http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/hunting_access/private_lands/ .

In an effort to assist hunters with access information, WDFW has compiled a list of major public landowners, along with contact details, in each region. This information is available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/hunting_access/ .

Finally, all of us have to be especially cautious to avoid starting a fire while in the field. A wayward cigarette butt or a truck parked in a field of dry grass can spark yet another wildfire. Please observe current rules in effect on WDFW lands and other areas regarding restrictions on campfires, chainsaws, and motorized equipment (including ATVs).

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