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Author Topic: We just lost the most productive, public duck hunting spot on the Westside  (Read 2665 times)

Offline Chesterdog

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The Skagit Island Unit is the most productive duck hunting spot by numbers on the west side of the state.  WDFW announced last month that this historic public hunting opportunity is being sacrificed for salmon habitat recovery.  To put that in perspective, it would be like the Eastsiders losing the opportunity to hunt Potholes or McNary.  THIS IS A HUGE LOSS!

If you hunt the Eastside and think, "oh well that doesn't affect me."  When additional trucks show up at your honey hole and you're wondering where they all came from, please pause and take some responsibility before throwing dirty looks.  A loss of hunting opportunity, especially one as huge as this, effects everyone.  Hunters will hunt.  If I can't hunt at Skagit, I'll be looking elsewhere and that may translate to increased pressure in your area.

I understand that this was a David vs Goliath fight.  When the state is looking to get their hands on those sweet of piles of Federal Funding and Orca Jay is on his soap box about the starving JPOD, us duck hunters realistically never stood a chance.  As a community, us westside duck hunters just aren't well organized from what I've seen. 

It's funny to me that the Natives in our state can claim cultural and historical hunting rights, and the state takes it as serious as a heart attack, yet the spot I learned to hunt on 30 years ago from someone willing to pass-on the knowledge of the Skagit tides and the ability to navigate the ever changing Skagit river, or the location of the best blinds to hunt based on wind direction including the "Scout blind" an eagle project over a half century old which is used almost daily, none of that is cultural or historic, or at least not significant according to the state.

The best we can hope for at this point is table scraps in the form of expanded opportunity elsewhere.  Anyone who understands duck hunting (clearly WDFW doesn't), will know that a quality opportunity for waterfowl requires a magical mix of feed, water, and a flyway that ducks want to use.  The Skagit Island unit bordered a national wildlife refuge.  I don't believe anything comparable is possible for WDFW to offer to the west side, but it's still worth it for us to put pressure on WDFW during these public comment periods to offer something

Finally, as a waterfowler from the Seattle area, I used to hunt units in the Snoqualmie Valley such as Cherry Valley, or Crescent Lake.  In the last 10 years WDFW has shown favor to pheasant hunters and installed signs at these spots that don't allow entry from 4pm to 8am.  Duck hunters know that the most favorable hunting occurs in the first and last hours of daylight.  By 8am the parking lot is full of pheasant hunters eager to hit the field.  What a bummer for duck hunters like me who used to enjoy those areas. 

Do I have an advocate within WDFW who cares that we've lost all 3 duck hunting opportunities within an hour of Seattle in the last 5 years? That has to be on someone's watch who's still there within the department.  I'd sure like to meet him/her.

Please send an e-mail, or register on the available zoom comment periods.  We've got to push back on these loss of public land hunting opportunities. When they're gone, they're gone and if no one cares, no one cares...  A loss elsewhere in the state hurts all of us as we keep getting squeezed.

Offline Stein

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It's sad for sure, that property was one of the only places where tons of people hunted.  They will either quit or be crammed onto the very few other public lands.

Sadly, WDFW chose to give up basically any piece of land the state own bordering salt instead of working to find other solutions that didn't involve a lose/lose situation.

I agree we are not well organized.  I know WWA put up a fight, but yeah, we don't have the resources to mount serious legal battles that could get results.

Offline Special T

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 :yeah:

It is very hard to fight anything Salmon related.

I joined Washington Waterfowl Association because they are a  HUNTING org worried about sportsmen caress rights ECT.

Some of you may not know it but the farmed island was 2x as large 20 years ago when they turned it into habitat. I left that other waterfowl association  because they wouldn't speak against it and have been on the esa salmon test since then.

The only way to make progress is to join a team that wants to engage the department. I'm a proud member of the NW chapter (I've hunted the island)  and if you want to get involved or make things happen you should join like me.

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Offline Stein

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I don't see anything changing until there is some national level support.  There are national waterfowl associations, but as mentioned at least one of them is more of a hindrance than a help regarding destruction of waterfowl hunting areas in western WA.  None of them seem willing to go to bat for their members here. 

Local organizations are great in many ways, but they aren't large enough to have staff attorneys or the reach or influence required to give hunters a fighting chance.

Offline Special T

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I don't see anything changing until there is some national level support.  There are national waterfowl associations, but as mentioned at least one of them is more of a hindrance than a help regarding destruction of waterfowl hunting areas in western WA.  None of them seem willing to go to bat for their members here. 

Local organizations are great in many ways, but they aren't large enough to have staff attorneys or the reach or influence required to give hunters a fighting chance.

It will stop when the state restores every piece of intertidal property it owns. They will still come up short about 1000 acres in the state then they have to buy up private property.
In archery we have something like the way of the superior man. When the archer misses the center of the target, he turns round and seeks for the cause of his failure in himself. 

Confucius

Offline Chesterdog

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The state sure doesn't care about the prime salmon habitat along the Duwamish river under the 1st Ave South bridge that I drive past on my way to work every day.  It's a festering homeless site that resembles a scene from an apocalypse movie.  This is a tidal estuary that they don't have the will to keep clean in the only river that runs through Seattle.  That should tell you something.  I don't believe for a second that these people care about salmon or people.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2021, 03:48:40 PM by Chesterdog »

Offline Stein

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They are complying with a court mandate, not managing fish.  I'm not sure they have any sort of salmon recovery plan but that's another discussion.  In WA, the courts seems to be the only ones really managing fish. :dunno:

Offline h2ofowlr

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The Island hunted really good this season.  Probably over 10K birds harvested off of it this year.  Very unfortunate to see this happen.  WDFW goes where the money is and the state seems to want to throw money in this direction vs. actual fixes like habitat improvements up river and restricting net fishing and by catch.
Cut em!
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Offline 2MANY

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Washington is short for Lil' Cali.
The Rockies and Alaska is next.
Over population has no boundaries.

Offline Stein

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The Island hunted really good this season.  Probably over 10K birds harvested off of it this year.  Very unfortunate to see this happen.  WDFW goes where the money is and the state seems to want to throw money in this direction vs. actual fixes like habitat improvements up river and restricting net fishing and by catch.

WDFW largely relies on the court system to manage game.  Just do whatever the judge says, or better yet, just do what the plaintiff says so you don't even need to go to court.

There are good people in there, unfortunately the good ones only have so much latitude and the big decisions are out of their hands.  When you rely on appointed people and you have the guy we do, you will never get anything remotely science based.

Offline pianoman9701

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The Island hunted really good this season.  Probably over 10K birds harvested off of it this year.  Very unfortunate to see this happen.  WDFW goes where the money is and the state seems to want to throw money in this direction vs. actual fixes like habitat improvements up river and restricting net fishing and by catch.

WDFW largely relies on the court system to manage game.  Just do whatever the judge says, or better yet, just do what the plaintiff says so you don't even need to go to court.

There are good people in there, unfortunately the good ones only have so much latitude and the big decisions are out of their hands.  When you rely on appointed people and you have the guy we do, you will never get anything remotely science based.

If there's a ruling by a court that something is unconstitutional or violates city, county, state, or federal laws, the DFW has not choice, other than appeal, than to follow the ruling. Don't get me wrong; I have many problems with the DFW. Following the judgements of the courts isn't one of them. In those cases, my problem lies with the courts.
"Restricting the rights of law-abiding citizens based on the actions of criminals and madmen will have no positive effect on the future acts of criminals and madmen. It will only serve to reduce individual rights and the very security of our republic." - Pianoman

Offline Tbar

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The Island hunted really good this season.  Probably over 10K birds harvested off of it this year.  Very unfortunate to see this happen.  WDFW goes where the money is and the state seems to want to throw money in this direction vs. actual fixes like habitat improvements up river and restricting net fishing and by catch.

WDFW largely relies on the court system to manage game.  Just do whatever the judge says, or better yet, just do what the plaintiff says so you don't even need to go to court.

There are good people in there, unfortunately the good ones only have so much latitude and the big decisions are out of their hands.  When you rely on appointed people and you have the guy we do, you will never get anything remotely science based.
Stein,
Speaking to this specific project, do you want to go over or dispute the science presented in the process? The political element was 97-0 in the house and 44-4 in the senate. If you want to talk specifics we can get as specific and technical as you'd like. Keep in mind this was rooted in an agriculture driven process many years ago.  It's easy to armchair quarterback a process which will make you popular around here.  :twocents:

Offline Tbar

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The Island hunted really good this season.  Probably over 10K birds harvested off of it this year.  Very unfortunate to see this happen.  WDFW goes where the money is and the state seems to want to throw money in this direction vs. actual fixes like habitat improvements up river and restricting net fishing and by catch.

WDFW largely relies on the court system to manage game.  Just do whatever the judge says, or better yet, just do what the plaintiff says so you don't even need to go to court.

There are good people in there, unfortunately the good ones only have so much latitude and the big decisions are out of their hands.  When you rely on appointed people and you have the guy we do, you will never get anything remotely science based.

If there's a ruling by a court that something is unconstitutional or violates city, county, state, or federal laws, the DFW has not choice, other than appeal, than to follow the ruling. Don't get me wrong; I have many problems with the DFW. Following the judgements of the courts isn't one of them. In those cases, my problem lies with the courts.
What's unconstitutional? Please enlighten me.   :dunno:

Offline PatoLoco

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"Speaking to this specific project, do you want to go over or dispute the science presented in the process? The political element was 97-0 in the house and 44-4 in the senate. If you want to talk specifics we can get as specific and technical as you'd like. Keep in mind this was rooted in an agriculture driven process many years ago.  It's easy to armchair quarterback a process which will make you popular around here."

The political element? Are you referring to HB1418? (Recommending that public lands be reverted to intertidal first?) There was no vote in the legislature for the this project.

One wonders why, of the estuary projects on public land in NW WA, you have 100% conversion to estuary on three public hunting areas (Headquarters, Leque Island, and now the Island Unit), but a partial restoration/"compromise" on the Fir Island snow goose reserve, which has no public hunting. Will a project that converts the rest of that area be next, before DFW tries to buy private land to remove dikes?

Offline Tbar

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"Speaking to this specific project, do you want to go over or dispute the science presented in the process? The political element was 97-0 in the house and 44-4 in the senate. If you want to talk specifics we can get as specific and technical as you'd like. Keep in mind this was rooted in an agriculture driven process many years ago.  It's easy to armchair quarterback a process which will make you popular around here."

The political element? Are you referring to HB1418? (Recommending that public lands be reverted to intertidal first?) There was no vote in the legislature for the this project.

One wonders why, of the estuary projects on public land in NW WA, you have 100% conversion to estuary on three public hunting areas (Headquarters, Leque Island, and now the Island Unit), but a partial restoration/"compromise" on the Fir Island snow goose reserve, which has no public hunting. Will a project that converts the rest of that area be next, before DFW tries to buy private land to remove dikes?
Yes, 1418.

 


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