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New hunting rules up for comment

It's time for the public to weigh in on proposed changes to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife's hunting regulations for the 2020-21 seasons.

The recommendations can be found at wdfw.wa.gov and mostly address minor changes in special permit levels and hunting area descriptions. More significant changes, including several options related to cougar season setting, are also under consideration.

Written comments will be accepted from Feb. 6-26 and forms can be found at wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/regulations/season-setting. The public can also comment at the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting March 13-14 in Kennewick, and final action on the proposals is scheduled for a public meeting in Olympia April 10-11.

McDaniel, Johansen perfect at Button Shoot

Mark McDaniel and Brett Johansen both broke perfect scores to win buttons in the men's division week 5 of the Yakima Valley Sportsman Association W.K. Button Shoot.

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.

BIRD ALERT

Birding was good in the Wenas Valley and along Ellensburg Pass this week. Some of the more exciting birds included an adult bald eagle spotted flying west over the pass, a couple of tooting northern pygmy-owls, northern shrike, mountain chickadee, red-breasted nuthatch, white-breasted nuthatch, pygmy nuthatch, brown creeper and Townsend's solitaire.

Along North Wenas Road birders observed a few raptors with bald eagle, red-tailed hawk, Cooper’s hawk, American kestrel and prairie falcons all noted. There was also a flock of over 60 wild turkeys feeding along a creekside pasture half a mile from the lake.

There were 17 snow geese feeding with a large, mixed gaggle of over 250 Canada and 40 cackling geese, spotted in a field along Snipes Pump Road near the Sunnyside Wildlife Area.

Good reports coming from residential bird feeders with a Terrace Heights resident reporting that he had a California scrub-jay, varied thrush, cedar waxwing, American goldfinch, and spotted towhee in his yard. A Chestnut Avenue resident said they had a pair of great horned owls hooting back and forth in the trees behind their house and a Sunnyside birder heard a very active western screech-owl giving its bouncing ball sounding hoot at 2:40 a.m.

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.

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: Local arborist Sean Tait will make the case for a new understanding of tree intelligence based on recent scientific discoveries and his own personal experience, as part of the Cowiche Canyon Conservancy's annual Winter Lecture Series offered in partnership with Yakima Valley College. This year's theme is driven by the CCC's collaboration with Yakima Symphony Orchestra, "Nature's Storytellers." The talk is scheduled to go from 7-8:30 p.m. For more information, go to the conservancy's Facebook page.

ALSO TUESDAY: The Yakima Climbing Scene is hosting its monthly meetup from 6-8 p.m. at Single Hill Brewing Company.

GETTING OUTDOORS

THURSDAY: The Cascadian Pathfinders will ski or snowshoe six miles with little elevation gain on Pleasant Valley Trail North near Chinook Pass, Green Trails map 271. Drivers need a Sno-Park permit. Call Rudy at 509-248-7304 for meeting time and place. This is a Cascadian Centennial outing.

SATURDAY: White Pass General Manager Kevin McCarthy will lead a Twilight Ramble Snowshoe Tour from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the White Pass Nordic Center, where you'll encircle Leech Lake, traverse the Pacific Crest Trail and perhaps even visit a waterfall. The fee of $49 per person includes snowshoes, tour and light appetizers upon your return. Meet at the Nordic Yurt, and you may check in at 3:45 p.m. if you own snowshoes.

TUESDAY: The Free Spirits will snowshoe or ski five to six miles with 450 feet of elevation gain at Pleasant Valley North near US Highway 410, Green Trails map 271, with departure at 8 a.m. from the Chesterley Park parking lot. Drivers need a Sno-Park permit. Call Rudy at 509-248-7304 with any questions. This is a Cascadian Centennial outing.

THURSDAY: The 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.