Summer crabbing season came to an end in a strict statistical sense Monday, Sept. 3, though it's still legal to soak pots and deploy other gear in our local Dungeness digs Thursdays through Mondays until the end of September.
The switch is now on to those winter catch record cards for the remainder of Marine Area 7's crab stint and it's time to file reports on your crab take-homes that were recorded on the summer CRC.
That goes for everybody with a summer 2012 catch card whether you were unsuccessful in your crabbing exploits or didn't even exercise your Puget Sound Dungeness Crab Endorsement at all in the last month and a half to two months.
Summer personal use catch estimates figure substantially in determining whether marine areas can reopen for the fall/winter period.
SEEKING REASONS FOR LAME ELK
With the occurrence of hoof deformities in Southwest Washington elk appearing to be on the rise, fish and wildlife department researchers are broadening their network to share as well as gain information about the disease(s) that may be the cause, the breadth of elk afflicted as well as the prevalence.
WDFW has set up a Web page devoted to the problem that has a reporting portal for the public to provide details of their observations of afflicted animals directly to agency biologists.
Besides this, a public meeting has been called for Monday, Sept. 17, from 6-8 p.m. in Longview.
It is too soon to detail the cause, but agency officials say there could be more than one process at work. At present the malady does not match known hoof diseases in either domestic or wild animals, though it has some characteristics similar to lower extremity ailments in several wildlife and livestock species.
For more details about the crab reporting system and the elk hoof disease plus more fishing and hunting news, read the Outdoors Column in the Sunday Herald.
Doug Huddle, the Bellingham Herald's outdoors correspondent since 1983, has written a weekly fishing and hunting column that now appears Sundays. Read his blog and contact him at http://pblogs.bellinghamherald.com/outdoors