First-hunt-of-the-year suggestions

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Dennis Clay

There is a time when anglers and hunters can combine both consumptive sports in one day.

The time is now.

Hunting dove in the morning and evening is a good prospect, as is fishing for walleye in the later morning and early afternoon in Potholes Reservoir. The mourning dove season opened last Sunday, Sept. 1, and will continue through Oct. 30, with a limit of 15 per day.

Another bird species of interest to me is the forest grouse. This season also opened on Sept. 1 and will continue through Dec. 31. The limit is four of any species to include not more than three of each species.

The Washington grouse species are the blue, ruffed and spruce. Biologists have identified the sooty and dusky grouse as a separate species, but in the regulations, both of these are listed in the blue grouse category.

The spruce grouse is also known as the fool’s hen and Franklin grouse. The fool’s hen gets the name because it has a tendency to stay in place when approached by predators, such as a hunter. There are stories about these birds being killed by a stick, rocks or a slingshot.

One time there were two hunters in my vehicle. We were headed up a private road hunting grouse in an area which had sparse evergreens. Suddenly a grouse was spotted at the edge of the road and less than 15 yards in front of the vehicle.

My partner couldn’t spot the bird, because it was so close. He got out and walked toward it, at my direction. It flew when the hunter was within two yards. He had not seen it until it took off. He missed.

My family would meet my aunt and uncle every year on the first day of grouse season near Beehive Fire Outlook, above Wenatchee. Dad and my uncle would hunt grouse in the nearby woods, while my mother and aunt would prepare lunch. My hunting education continued while my job was to walk behind Dad during this hunt and observe. This was a day trip, but there are other destinations for a fishing and hunting trip.

Suggestions include Conconully Lake and Reservoir, plus Curlew Lake. The first two close on Oct. 31. Curlew Lake is open year-round.

The fall turkey season also opened on Sept. 1 in Game Management Units 101 through 154 and 162 through 186. The limit is two beardless and two either sex birds.

There are several areas where a hunter could go after turkeys in the morning and then fish Lake Roosevelt during the afternoon.

Although some fishing seasons will close within a month or two, a bunch of fishing and hunting remain in Eastern Washington.

Dennis note: A report on the first weekend of dove hunting is expected in the Friday column.

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