Friends of the Clearwater to lead hike Saturday

MOSCOW — The Friends of the Clearwater will lead a hike into the 7,000-acre Eldorado Creek Roadless Area Saturday.

Those interested in joining the hike can meet in the southwest corner of the Safeway parking lot in Moscow at 8:30 a.m. for carpooling.

The roadless area is crossed by the Nez Perce and Lewis and Clark trails and Eldorado Creek, a tributary of Lolo Creek, that is known to support salmon and steelhead. More information about the hike is available by contacting the Friends of the Clearwater at (208) 882-9755.

Umatilla National Forest officials urge caution when building campfires

PENDLETON — Officials on the Umatilla National Forest are urging campers and other visitors to be careful when building campfires.

According to a news release from the agency, campfires should be in fire pits surrounded by dirt, rock or in commercial rings cleared of all flammable material for a 3-foot radius and free of overhanging vegetation. Forest visitors should also carry a shovel and 1 gallon of water while building and tending campfires. The guidelines also apply to the use of charcoal briquettes.

“The public’s awareness of the increasing fire danger is essential to a safe fire season,” said Brett Thomas, Umatilla fire management officer. “We ask for everyone’s help and diligence in practicing safe campfire building techniques that, in the long run, will protect lives, property and our natural landscapes.”

IDFG managers extend comment on deer plans

BOISE — Idaho Department of Fish and Game wildlife managers have extended the deadline to comment on the agency’s mule deer and whitetail management plans to next Friday.

According to a news release from the agency, the separate plans focus on a variety of topics that include population management and frameworks and concepts for hunting seasons designed to maintain sustainable deer herds and strive to meet hunters’ expectations.

After hunters review and comment on the draft plans, wildlife managers will incorporate the comments and revise plans before presenting a final draft to the Idaho Fish and Game Commission this summer.

The whitetail plan is available for review at https://idfg.idaho.gov/form/wt-deer-draft-plan and the mule deer plan is available at https://idfg.idaho.gov/form/mule-deer-draft-plan-2019.

Agencies seek approval to remove more sea lions from Columbia watershed

OLYMPIA — The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, along with a consortium of state and tribal partners, submitted an expanded application to lethally remove California and Steller sea lions preying on threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead runs in the Columbia River and its tributaries.

Both species have been observed in growing numbers in the Columbia River Basin, especially in the past decade, where they prey heavily on salmon and steelhead runs listed under the Endangered Species Act, including thousands of fish at Bonneville Dam each year.

The impacts come at a time when many chinook runs are already at historic lows.

The application submitted to the National Marine Fisheries Service and its partners is the first since Congress passed an amendment to the Marine Mammal Proection Act last December. That amendment, spearheaded by the Pacific Northwest congressional delegation, passed with strong bipartisan support and offers greater flexibility to wildlife managers when determining if a sea lion should be lethally removed in waters that have ESA-listed runs of salmon or steelhead.

If approved, the agencies expect to begin humanely removing animals under the terms of the expanded application beginning next spring. The application is subject to a public comment period and review by the National Marine Fisheries Service. The application is available for review at http://bit.ly/2Xd41Hd.

Other entities submitting the application include the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, the Nez Perce Tribe, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon and the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation.

Forest Service officials set public meeting on plan for prescribed burning

LOWELL — Officials on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest will hold a public meeting from 6 to 7:30 p.m. July 10 at the Fenn Ranger Station near here to discuss planned prescribed burning on the Coolwater project east of here this summer.

The Coolwater prescribed burn project encompasses about 5,000 acres and is designed to improve elk habitat, forest health and ecological functions within the project area. An additional goal is to reduce hazardous fuel loading and the potential for high-intensity wildfires. Questions about the project or the public meeting can be directed to Neal Cox, fuels specialist, at neal.cox@usda.gov.

Wildlife club range will play host to cowboy/hunter pistol match Saturday

LAPWAI — The Lewis-Clark Wildlife Club will hold a National Rifle Association-approved cowboy/hunter pistol silhouette match at its range off of Tom Beall Road near here Saturday.

Sign-up starts at 9 a.m., and the match will begin before 10 and end in the early afternoon. Each participant will shoot from a standing offhand position at small, steel knock-down targets of chickens at 40 meters, pigs at 50, turkeys at 75 and rams at 100 meters. One shot is allowed per target, and the total match requires 40 rounds. Practice will be allowed before the match starts.

Six categories of firearms are used for National Rifle Association-approved matches: small-bore cowboy rifle (.22 long rifle cartridge only, and rifle must have a tubular magazine but not be semiautomatic); pistol cartridge cowboy rifle (sample cartridges include .38/.357, .45 Colt, .44 magnum, .22 magnum); hunter’s pistol scoped (sample cartridges include .22 Hornet, .25-20, .38/.357, .32-30, .44 magnum); small-bore hunter’s pistol (open sights, .22 long rifle only); small-bore hunter’s pistol scoped (.22 long rifle only); and hunter’s pistol open sights (same cartridges as hunter’s pistol scoped). Bullet velocities for centerfire arms should not exceed 1,000-feet-per-second muzzle velocity, to prevent target damage. Practice targets are available for checking loads.

Cost per shooter is $9 for the first match, $5 for the second and $5 for first-time shooters. Each competitor should have a copy of the National Rifle Association Score Book, available for $13, which is good for a year. Competing in local matches will qualify shooters to participate in the Idaho State Silhouette Match in early July.

The smaller portion of the range, with targets to 100 yards, will be available to nonmatch shooters. There will be several cease-fires as targets are reset by hand.

The range can be reached by turning east off U.S. Highway 95 onto Tom Beall Road, 1 mile north of Lapwai, and proceeding up the road about 4.5 miles.

Idaho championship match set at range near Lapwai

LAPWAI — The Lewis-Clark Wildlife Club will put on the Idaho State Varmint-for-Score Championship match at its range along Tom Beall Road near here Sunday.

The match, sanctioned by the National Bench Rest Association, will consist of one shot at each of five bull’s-eyes on one target, for record. All shots must be made in 7 minutes. Shooting will be done from existing benches. Targets will be at 100 and 200 yards, and five targets for score per shooter will be shot at each range, plus a warm-up target at each range.

Varmint class rifles may be .24- to .40-caliber. Telescopic sights up to 24 power are allowed. Muzzle brakes are not allowed. The Varmint-for-Score rifle class has additional specific rules pertaining to weight, size and action type, and questions can be directed to match director Paul Gylling at (509) 553-1118 or (509) 397-3094.

The range will open for bench-rest competitors only at 7 a.m. For all noncompetitors, the range will be open at 9 a.m., as usual. The 18-bench side of the range, from which the match will be shot, is for the exclusive use of competitors. Noncompetitors will be allowed to shoot at distances up to 100 yards from the six-bench side.

For nonmatch shooters, there will be 10 cease-fires of 15 to 22 minutes, one of 45 to 50 minutes, and one of 35 to 40 minutes during this match, which will last well into the afternoon.

The range can be reached by turning east on Tom Beall Road off of U.S. Highway 95, 1 mile north of Lapwai and proceeding up the road about 4.5 miles.

Drum making, Nez Perce language topic of events set at historical park

SPALDING — Bert Williamson will demonstrate traditional techniques for making a Nez Perce drum at the Nez Perce National Historical Park here during two Saturdays in July.

In addition to the demonstration, Jewie Davis will give a talk about preserving the Nez Perce language.

The drum making demonstrations will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on July 6 and July 20. The language talk will be from 10-11 a.m. on July 13.

The Spalding Visitor Center is 12 miles east of Lewiston at 39063 U.S. Highway 95. The visitor center is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Park Admission is free. More information is available by contacting the park at (208) 843-7009.

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