Outdoors: Things may be different, but hunting’s still where I want to be

Shane Ullrich

For The New Era

With the archery hunters in the woods already and the rifle hunters starting to scout for their season opener around the corner, it’s evident that hunting season is surely here.

This once was a more popular time for people. At least it seemed that way as a boy. I remember that just after school started half the boys in the class were gone for a week. Growing up with a single Mom I was one that was left behind, but not any more. It’s real simple to me – it’s hunting season and that means “gone hunting.”

For a lot of people that means a chance to feed their family from the success of their hunt or filling their trophy room.

My trophy room is a little different than some. It’s a stand-up deep freezer that holds the real trophy. Don’t get me wrong, I like the big ones too! With the cost of beef going up so high and gas prices rising, some people say it’s a coin toss which is more cost effective. But you just don’t get the same enjoyment from shopping for a steak at Thriftway as you get from dropping a four-point buck and seeing it go from the field to the table. Sorry, Scott, I know you will understand. (That last dig was aimed at the publisher. It’s a long story.)

I have just started my scouting for deer and elk and have already noticed a huge increase in expansion of residences in rural areas. What once was a great food plot is now a house lot. Public lands are decreasing and private timber companys are shutting and locking gates everywhere. I know that they have their reasons but to punish everyone for the ignorance of a few is pretty radical.

I hope that the ODFW can take into account that in their management of game and the numbers to equal the amount of land that’s huntable now not to include private timberlands. I guess we should just leave the politics up to the politicians.

I just hope that my sons will get to enjoy getting out of school for a week to be “gone hunting.” They only way I know to try to keep the passion of hunting is to set a good example, be a polite hunter and outdoorsman, and keep it clean. Sometimes it’s not a nice thing but even picking up others trash is the right thing to do.

Also, before you go find out what the fire restrictions in the area that you hunt or scout in are, remember that they may change from BLM to Forest Service to private timer company. The same goes for motor vehicle restrictions as well. Good luck to you all and please keep it safe.

Next week we’ll issue our annual hunting section with items of interest for many of you out there, including forecasts for deer, elk, bear and other critters.

Thanks to Wayne Dahlenburg for sharing his success on the halibut boat with us. If you’ve got photos of recent catches or kills, sent ‘em on in. Talk is cheap but a picture’s worth a thousand words.

* * * * *

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife staff began applying rotenone to Diamond Lake on Sept. 14 to kill the invasive tui chub that have drastically degraded water quality and destroyed one of the state’s most popular fisheries.

The tui chub, a species of minnow, are native to the Klamath Basin but not to Diamond Lake. They were likely brought to the lake by anglers as live bait, which is illegal in Oregon’s freshwater fisheries. Since the fish were discovered in the lake in the 1990s, they have rapidly proliferated, impacting water quality and upsetting the lake’s ecosystem.

“We are pleased to be actively working on restoring Diamond Lake’s water quality,” said Steve Denney, ODFW southwest regional manager. “It will take one or two days to get the rotenone into the lake. We have a well-trained crew on the ground and are confident the plan we have in place is 100 percent safe and effective.”

Rotenone, a plant substance, has been approved as a fish toxicant by the Environmental Protection Agency. At the concentrations used to kill fish, rotenone is not toxic to humans, other mammals and birds. It completely breaks down in the environment and will not be detectable within weeks of treatment.

“This is an important day for Oregonians. The recovery of Diamond Lake is good news for the boaters, anglers and vacationers who come to the lake year after year to enjoy the beauty of the area,” said state Rep. Susan Morgan. “It is also critically important to the economy of Douglas County.”

ODFW, Umpqua National Forest, Douglas County and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality conducted extensive public meetings and an environmental impact study before the current course of action was decided upon. It is supported by the Oregon Wildlife Heritage Foundation and numerous clubs, organizations, businesses and individuals.

In spring 2007, ODFW will stock Diamond Lake with about 75,000 catchable trout and 75,000 fingerlings.

* * * * *

We’ve all heard the sermons about wearing proper life preservers. Here’s a report from the public safety files that illustrates the realities out there.

Last week, a family of five became stranded near the confluence of the North and South Santiam Rivers east of Jefferson at approximately 6:30 in the evening. Jefferson Fire District Water Rescue personnel were called to assist the stranded victims who ended up on a rock bar after their five inner tubes, which were tied together had gotten tangled in a tree snag. All family members, Frank Furnish, 41, Teresa Furnish, 38, their two daughters, 8 and 11, and their 7-year-old were wearing life jackets.

According to Assistant Chief Scott Shepherd, Jefferson emergency crews quickly found the family from the shore search and planned a land-based rescue. One of the rescue team members, Firefighter Ryan Campbell, reached the family to assist. Albany Fire Department personnel were able to get their boat launched in Jefferson and it was decided to transport the family to the Jefferson boat ramp via Albany’s boat.

The father had a cell phone and was able to call for help. The family was cold and scared but there were no injuries reported.

“To the family’s credit, they were all wearing their life jackets and had the ability to call for help,” an official statement from the Jefferson Fire Department said.

Shane Ullrich writes about the outdoors every other week. Got some feedback for him? You can find him at the American Barber Shop, 1121 Main St. in Sweet Home, or by calling 367-8086.