Effect of Carlton Complex fire, WA... Can we get involved?

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This may be a good opportunity to work with WDFW and private land owners, as well as, keep on top of extra hunting opportunities. I'm thinking... we need a few good volunteers.


WDFW NEWS RELEASE

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

http://wdfw.wa.gov/

Aug. 7, 2014

Contact: Jim Brown, (509) 754-4624 ext. 219

WDFW assesses habitat affected by wildfires,
helps landowners fence out displaced wildlife


OLYMPIA – State wildlife managers are working with Okanogan landowners to protect their crops from deer displaced by area wildfires and are assessing the fires’ damage to wildlife habitat.

In addition to burning hundreds of homes, the Carlton Complex fire has scorched tens of thousands of acres of habitat used by wildlife, including mule deer, wild turkeys and western gray squirrels. The fire, which is still burning in some areas, has damaged 25,000 acres within five wildlife area units managed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

“A fire of this magnitude will have both short and long-term effects on wildlife populations and the landscape and that will have implications for hunting and grazing in the area,” said Jim Brown, WDFW regional director. “This is not a problem with easy answers.”

The burned area is home to a local mule deer population, which lives there year-round, and supports thousands of migratory deer during the winter. Some of the areas may still provide winter habitat depending on weather throughout this summer and fall.

Even if conditions are ideal, however, there will be too many deer for the area to support this winter and possibly for several years to come, said Scott Fitkin, WDFW district wildlife biologist in Okanogan County.

“We know we need to take steps to reduce the size of the herd,” Fitkin said. “That effort will focus initially on minimizing conflicts between deer and agricultural landowners.”

WDFW is working with local property owners to stop deer from moving into orchards, hay fields and pastures to seek food and cover. The department is helping landowners replace a limited number of fire-damaged fences and seek state and federal emergency funding.

“We expect more issues to arise as migratory deer return to the area this fall, but we are taking steps now to minimize those problems,” said Ellen Heilhecker, WDFW wildlife conflict specialist in Okanogan County.

WDFW likely will increase the number of antlerless deer permits issued this fall and winter, reaching out first to youth and senior hunters and hunters with disabilities. The department will directly contact hunters who already applied for deer permits in the area, so a new application process is unnecessary, Fitkin said.

The agency plans to draw deer and other wildlife away from agricultural lands with feed this summer and fall. WDFW is considering a feeding program for deer this winter.

“Winter feeding is not a long term solution,” Fitkin said. “At best, it’s a stop-gap measure until the deer population and habitat are back in balance.”

Sustained supplemental feeding is neither efficient nor beneficial to wildlife and often creates problems, he said. Feeding concentrates animals, making them more vulnerable to predators, poaching and disease, such as hair slip, which is already a concern for deer in the region. Having so many animals clustered in one area also causes damage to the land and can hinder restoration efforts.

In the winter, deer prefer to eat shrubs and bitterbrush, which WDFW plans to re-seed on department lands within the burned area. However, it will take many years for shrubs and bitterbrush to re-establish in the damaged area. Likewise, western gray squirrel habitat could take several years to recover. In some areas, ponderosa pine and Douglas fir tree stands sustained significant damage.

WDFW will work with other government agencies on restoration activities such as timber salvage and weed control. The agency also has located alternate wildlife units in Okanogan County with suitable forage for emergency livestock grazing. This grazing will be offered to department permit-holders first, then to others if enough land is available.

Like other public land managers, WDFW likely will close roads in some wildlife units due to hazardous trees, said Dale Swedberg, WDFW’s Okanogan lands operations manager. That could reduce access for hunting in the burned areas this fall.

“We’re developing contingency plans in anticipation of what happens during the remainder of the fire season, fall green-up and winter severity,” Swedberg said.

Hunters and others should check WDFW’s wildfire webpage at wdfw.wa.gov/wildfires for updates on conditions and access on WDFW lands. Information on wildlife and restoration efforts in the affected area also can be found on the webpage.
 
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Jim Brown called me back today and was excited to know of our presents and our interest in helping out with deer control. He said at this time, he has all the help he needs through various agencies he works with, however, the need may arise in the near future. He asked for our contact info and he may ask for help as he sees a need.

I think it would be good to work with DFW, as it may open doors to private land hunting access for volunteers and perhaps an opportunity at extra doe hunts, if they go that way. Not only that, but you would get that opportunity to learn more areas to hunt.

For now, we sit and wait. Ya never know.

Bill
 
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"This is not a problem with easy answers.”
Well it kinda is.If you live in that area,kinda like living in a flood plain,you must understand that fires can happen.Then you have extra crops to make up for it..........or go broke.
As far as the wildlife,they will adapt and carry on.And won't ask for 1 single dime of funds for help
i just don't think there needs to be answers to every calamity that nature deals us.
Sometimes we lose
 
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I know what you're saying, MJ. Certainly, a country boy can, (and will), survive. And the wildlife will as well. However, if FEMA won't step in to help them, like they so readily do in California fire disasters, then perhaps some of us can, or should. That's where I'm coming from.

Although this has happened to those who live "up there", those "up there" are our neighbors. If we poke our heads up over the hills, really, they are not so far away. Farmers and ranchers are vital to our society and need to be preserved for the sake of our future food and meat.

If wildlife invades the farmers hay, that he needs for his livestock and income, then they need to be moved. If fences are burnt down and he looses his cattle, then the fences need to be rebuilt and the cattle rounded up. If his house was burnt down, then he needs a new one.

Yes, he will bounce back, but I'm sure it will be largely because of the help he gets from his community. I think we should be part of his community.

Along with getting involve, comes a couple of benefits. We learn the area and find good hunting land. Perhaps a rancher takes a like'n to you and invites you to hunt on his land. WDFW may offer an extra doe hunt to help thin down the herd. Guess who's going to hear about it first? And you have the opportunity to get involved and learn more about wildlife management.

Yeah, I feel kinda strong for the farmers and ranchers. It's how I grew up.

Bill
 
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As I was eluding to with the rivers,I believe if we're gunna help these folks ,it should be a 1 time deal.
You had 2 100 year floods 20 years apart?We will buy you a new house **** outside the flood plain**** and maybe a trailer to live and work your land ***inside the flood plain***
Yes we should help but if the same disaster strikes,every 10 years,then I say the people need to move

You must understand the risks in the area you are going to buy a house and live in.
Understand that if next to a river,then you may get a flood. Your choice,nobody else's.
You live in eastern WA,OR,or socal,Montana,etc,you understand there may be fire damage
Your choice,nobody else's
I choose to live in western WA where I have to worry about rain damage and some wind up here in the sun belt.
I made that choice because of the risks aforementioned
 

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