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Skiers prepare to board the lift at White Pass Ski Area.

Panattoni perfect at Button Shoot

Scott Panattoni broke a perfect 25 and Curt Robins nearly matched him with a 24 to earn buttons in the men's division on a spring-like day at week 6 of the Yakima Valley Sportsman Association W.K. Button Shoot.

Senior shooter Paul Klingele won with a 24 and ladies shooter Deanna Turnbull broke a 22 to win her button. Dave Thacker won the Super Senior division with a perfect 25.

Jennifer Klingele also broke a perfect 25 to win the Ladies division, while D.J. Blankenship outlasted Jim Thorn in a shoot-off after both broke 24 in the senior division. Super Senior Bob Stonecipher broke 22 to earn his button.

WDFW seeks comments on cougar hunting

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife opened its comment period for the state's proposed recommendations on cougar hunting and will host a digital open house Thursday night.

Through Feb. 26, Washingtonians are invited to provide feedback on four proposed options for cougar harvest guidelines. Wildlife program director Eric Gardner and game division manager Anis Aoude will explain the options in more detail and host a live question and answer session during a digital open house accessible from wdfw.wa.gov.

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will also accept public comments on the proposals at the March 13-14 meeting in Kennewick before taking final action at its April 10-11 meeting in Olympia.

BIRD ALERT

A couple of local birders tallied 28 species while searching Priest Rapids Lake above the dam. Highlights included one Canvasback, a Redhead, over 1500 greater scaup, 150 ruddy ducks, four grebe species with pied-billed, horned, red-necked and western all present, two pacific loons, seven common loons, a double-crested cormorant and six bald eagles.

Birders at the Yakima Training Center were thrilled to spot four greater sage grouse, the largest grouse in North America that is entirely dependent on wide open spaces of intact and healthy sagebrush ecological communities. They also saw a long-eared owl, northern shrike and four American tree sparrows.

One enthusiast searched the forest along Forest Road 511 and found a good mix of birds with sooty grouse, Northern pygmy-owl, hairy woodpecker, Steller's jay, mountain chickadee, golden-crowned kinglet, red-breasted nuthatch, white-breasted nuthatch and brown creeper rounding out his list.

A small group joined the Yakima Valley Audubon Society’s “Second Saturday Bird Walk” at Sarg Hubbard park and picked up 28 species including green-winged teal, common goldeneye, Virginia rail, bald eagle, peregrine falcon, Steller's jay, black-capped chickadee, Bewick's wren, varied thrush, fox sparrow, dark-eyed junco, white-crowned sparrow, golden-crowned sparrow, song sparrow and spotted towhee.

Please email your bird sightings to kdturley@embarqmail.com and be sure to like us on our Facebook page or visit yakimaaudubon.org.

ON THE CALENDAR

SATURDAY: White Pass is hosting its annual Coug Day, encouraging visitors to show their pride on the hill and in the Sitzmark after ski to be eligible to receive WSU swag. Join Jacki and her crew from 3:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m. for a post-shred beverage and WSU giveaways.

FRIDAY: Kids ages five through 12 are invited to the Yakima Area Arboretum for a “Love Birds” themed Kids Nature Night, where participants will learn about the many wonders of birds, including how they attract their mates. The event goes from 5-9 p.m. at a cost of $35 per child and $20 for each additional child. Pizza, snacks and lemonade will be provided, and the night will end with a nature movie. For more information and to register, go to ahtrees.org.

MONDAY: The Cascadian Camera Club will hold its monthly meeting from 7-9 p.m. at the Alliance Church, 902 South 36th Ave. Please go to the upstairs entrance on the south side of the building and bring five photos illustrating the theme “Night Photography” plus 20 others for a total of 25 digital images on disc or thumb drive to share, or just come to enjoy great photography.

TUESDAY: The Yakima Fly Fishers Association will host its weekly fly tying class at 6:30 at Memorial Bible Church, 111 Old Stage Way in Yakima. Materials will be provided and loaner tools are available. For more information, call Ron at 509-952-3971 or email rtb351@gmail.com. Classes will be held each week through Feb. 25.

ALSO TUESDAY: Gasparetti's will host Lunch for a Cause featuring the Yakima Greenway from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30. Dishes prepared from the "Fresh Sheet" will be available with 10% of the sales going to the greenway. 

GETTING OUTDOORS

THURSDAY: The Cascadian Pathfinders will ski or snowshoe on Bumping Lake Trail in the Bumping Lake area. Bring a lunch and all the usual winter attire. Call Marlene and Bruce at 509-901-3980 for meeting time and place.

SATURDAY: Join The Cascadians for David’s Winter Walk No. 4, an easy-intermediate hike (i.e. possible steep pitches, elevation gain of 1,500 feet or so, or travel over scree and talus) with a leisurely lunch. The group will leave at 8:30 a.m. from Chesterley Park parking for a destination to be determined by the weather. Drivers will most likely need a Discover Pass. For more information, call David at 509-965-3697.

MONDAY: The Cascadians will ski six to nine miles along the Pleasant Valley Trail off of US Highway 410, with departure at 8:30 a.m. from the Chesterley Park parking lot. The terrain is wooded and slightly rolling as it travels over bridges add into the burn area from a few years back. Be prepared with cold weather clothing, essentials, lunch and water. Drivers will need a Sno-Park permit. Call Kim at 509-853-8698 with any questions.

TUESDAY: The Free Spirits will snowshoe or ski a distance to be determined with minimal elevation gain at near Bumping Lake off of Highway 410, Green Trails map 271, with departure at 8 a.m. from the Chesterley Park parking lot. Bring your own buttered grilled cheese sandwich wrapped in foil to grill and a cup and a spoon for soup. Fire and wood, plus grill and tomato soup will be provided for a warm lunch break. Drivers need a Sno-Park permit. Email Stephanie at Sweise59@gmail.com with any questions.

THURSDAY, FEB. 20: The Pathfinders will hike along the Tieton Nature Trail near the Oak Creek Wildlife Area off of US Highway 12 west of Naches. Call Wies at 509-965-7587 or Lynne at 509-952-5059 for meeting time and place. Secure your seat or table by calling 509-248-0628.