Under open enrollment and with the qualifying membership increasing by 30 percent in the past four years, applications to join the nearly 2,000-member Washington Master Hunter Program have been indefinitely suspended.
Using its specially vetted, trained and sworn hunters since 1992 in sensitive locales to disperse or remove bands of troublesome elk and deer, state fish and wildlife department officials will take time during this enrollment hiatus to clarify the mission of program and make sure all who apply in the future to prepare themselves to qualify for it can be used effectively and efficiently.
Master Hunter Mike Britton, who chairs the oversight committee that provides input on the program to the agency, agrees with the membership recruitment moratorium.
GRANTS AID CITIZEN VOLUNTEERS
The 2013 cycle has begun that will lead to the bestowing by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife of another round of grant monies from the state's Aquatic Lands Endowment.
This is an opportunity for citizen groups to gain a portion of the resources in the form of funding to undertake project work that benefits fish, wildlife and habitat in keeping with the goals of the agency.
Sweat equity (volunteer labor) can be used as a match to gain ALEA dollars that can be spent for the purchase of tangibles ranging from equipment rental, building materials and educational materials to mileage, fish feed and citizen research.
RAZOR CLAMMING GREENLIGHTED
With a go-ahead for the state health department a new round of razor clam digs will take place next week in several beach management sectors on Washington's coast.
The six-day opening starts at 12 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 11, with digging legal each day between noon and midnight until Sunday, Dec. 16.
Twin Harbors beach will be open all six days, Mocrocks and Long Beach beaches three of the six and Copalis Beach just two of the six days.
For more information about the master hunter program application closure, how to apply for an ALEA grant, local club activities plus additional 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/outdoor.