Brant hunters, who have their authorizations, can continue to gear up for next week's Samish and Padilla bay season now safe in the knowledge it's going to happen.
State biologists doing an aerial head count Wednesday, Jan. 2, found more than enough Pacific blacks and High Arctic greys to allow the season to go on as scheduled.
Because of the sensitive nature of this overwintering population, at least 6,000 brant must be ensconced on these estuary waters of northwest Skagit County for this mid-January hunt to take place.
A special written authorization that can be obtained via the Internet also must be in hand to shoot brant beginning with the first open day Saturday, Jan. 12. Seven more hunt days are slated.
APPLY FOR 2013 HUNTS
Idaho non-resident deer and elk tags have been on sale since the first of December and Wyoming just opened its application period for non-resident controlled hunts for big game species as of New Year's Day.
Idaho has started accepting applications for spring black bear hunt permits.
Veteran Wyoming visiting nimrods should not wait for the usual booklet to arrive in the mail. Since the majority of drawing transactions now occur online, Cowboy State hunt managers, as of this year, have done away with the printed application booklet and that may not be the only change in store for out-of-state hunters.
LAST MONTH FOR BIRD GUNNERS
With the exception of grouse, doves, pigeons and some westside opportunities that closed previously, much bird hunting remains to be done well into January around the state.
Locally, waterfowlers have some special hunt areas to partake of and snow geese are plentiful this month in Skagit and northwest Snohomish counties.
Besides waterfowl, eastside pheasants and smaller upland gamebirds are fair game.
For more details about the brant hunt, more information on starting the 2013 hunt planning process and bird hunting options plus more hunting and fishing news, read the Outdoors column on Sunday, Jan. 6.
Doug Huddle, The Bellingham Herald's outdoors correspondent, since 1983 has written a weekly fishing and hunting column that appears Sundays. Read his blog and contact him at pblogs.bellinghamherald.com/outdoors.