Outdoors

Outdoors briefs: Hunters must file tag reports by Jan. 31

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife reminds hunters that reports on their hunting activities are due by Jan. 31 for each black bear, deer, elk, or turkey tag purchased in 2008.

Failure to meet the deadline can result in a fine. But unsuccessful hunters who submit their reports by today will be entered into a drawing for one of nine deer or elk special hunting permits for the 2009 season.

The same also holds for successful hunters who filed a report within 10 days of harvesting black bear, deer, elk or turkey. All hunters, whether successful or not, are required to submit activity reports.

Hunters can report by calling (877) 945-3492, or by the Internet at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov.

Big game feeding underway at Oak Creek

NACHES -- Elk and bighorn sheep are congregating daily for meals at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife's Oak Creek Wildlife Area near Naches, and the public is welcome to watch.

The feeding program is maintained to keep the area's elk and sheep from damaging adjacent private agricultural lands. Elk are fed daily at 1:30 p.m. at the headquarters site off Highway 12 west of Yakima. Volunteers conduct free viewing tours and talks daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Groups can register for tours 48 hours in advance by calling 509-698-5106.

Idaho closes partridge season early

Idaho closed its 2008-2009 chukar and gray partridge hunting season three weeks early on Friday because of hard winter weather conditions that threaten an already low bird population.

The population of partridge already was down because of two straight years of adverse weather conditions during the spring hatch.

Officials said winter storms have concentrated remaining bird populations, making them vulnerable to hunting pressure.

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