Outdoor Briefs for Saturday, Oct. 8

Most popular hunting seasons of the year open Oct. 15

Some of Washington’s most popular hunting seasons will get underway Oct. 15, when hunters with modern firearms will take to the field for deer and waterfowl.

“Deer hunting opportunities should be good in many parts of the state,” said Jerry Nelson, Washington Department of Fish &Wildlife deer and elk manager.

“Last year’s deer harvest was the highest in our state since 2004, but drought took less of a toll this summer and overwinter survival was favorable in most areas,” said Nelson.

Hunters will also take to the field for waterfowl. Last season, nearly 550,000 waterfowl were harvested in Washington. Duck—except scaup—coot, and snipe seasons open Oct. 15, as well as goose seasons in all goose management areas.

The exceptions include dusky Canada goose hunting in Goose Management Area 2, which is closed from October through March. Brant season, determined by the midwinter waterfowl survey, is also currently closed, but will open on selected dates in January.

“We expect another strong season,” said Fish &Wildlife waterfowl manager Kyle Spragens. “Conditions point to a good year for brood production, which is great for waterfowl hunters as long as enough rain falls during hunting season.”

Fish &Wildlife’s 2016 Hunting Prospects reports (http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/prospects/) include local and up-to-date information on what upcoming seasons may hold. The reports are written by Fish &Wildlife district biologists and are organized by game species.

Information on access to more than one million acres of private land can be found at the Private Lands Hunting Access page (http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/hunting_access/private_lands/). Hunters can also find information on public or private lands open to hunting by visiting GoHunt, Fish &Wildlife’s interactive mapping program (http://apps.wdfw.wa.gov/gohunt/).

While online sales for hunting licenses are currently disabled, hunters can purchase their licenses at any Fish &Wildlife license dealer (http://wdfw.wa.gov/licensing/vendors/) or by calling Fish &Wildlife’s licensing customer service number at (360) 902-2464.

Razor clam digs approved at two beaches, awaits test on third

Washington’s fall razor clam season will get underway Friday, Oct. 14 at Copalis and Mocrocks as planned, but the status of Twin Harbors in that dig will depend on the results of one more marine toxin test.

Long Beach will remain closed to clam digging due to test results that show domoic acid levels that exceed the amount deemed safe under state health standards.

“This isn’t an ideal way to start a razor clam season, but public health has to be our first priority,” said Dan Ayres, coastal shellfish manager for the Washington Department of Fish &Wildlife. “We’re hopeful that this condition will clear up soon.”

Ayres recent tests have found toxin levels at Twin Harbors meet state health standards, but the Washington Department of Health has asked for one more test to make sure. Fish &Wildlife will announce the results of that test on Monday, Oct. 10.

Digs currently approved at Copalis and Mocrocks beaches will run Oct. 14-16 on evening tides. No digging will be allowed those days before noon. Evening low tides will be:

• Oct. 14, Friday, 5:55 p.m.; 0.2 feet; Copalis, Mocrocks

• Oct. 15, Saturday, 6:42 p.m.; -0.6 feet; Copalis, Mocrocks

• Oct. 16, Sunday, 7:28 p.m.; -1.1 feet; Copalis, Mocrocks

Under state law, diggers can take 15 razor clams per day and are required to keep the first 15 they dig. Each digger’s clams must be kept in a separate container.

Last year, elevated levels of domoic acid forced state shellfish manager to cut short the spring razor clam season and delay the opening in fall.