Outdoors briefs: Elk antlers to be auctioned at Oak Creek

NACHES -- The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife will conduct its first auction of shed elk antlers May 2 to raise funds for its Oak Creek Wildlife Area winter elk feeding program.

The auction starts at 1 p.m. at the Oak Creek headquarters building, 16601 Highway 12, west of Naches in Yakima County. Those interested in bidding should arrive at 11 a.m. to pre-register.

Area Manager John McGowan said hundreds of pounds of antlers, shed by Rocky Mountain elk at the Oak Creek winter feeding site, will be available for bidding. The antlers, shed annually by bull elk, were picked up and stored by staff and volunteers in recent years. Winning bids must be paid in cash or check, payable to the department, at the auction.

"There are some matched sets from some of the biggest and oldest bulls, plus lots of single sheds of all sizes," McGowan said. "We'll also have some shed antlers from Roosevelt elk from the Mount St. Helens Wildlife Area, and possibly deer antlers from other wildlife areas."

All funds raised at the auction will go into the winter wildlife feeding program.

About 3,500 to 4,000 elk are fed each winter at several sites on the 47,200-acre Oak Creek Wildlife Area.

Women, youth firearms event set for May 23

An introduction to firearms course for women and youth is being offered from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 23.

The purpose of the event is to give women and youth, ages 10-17, an opportunity to shoot. A variety of firearms (from shotguns to handguns), ammunition and safety equipment will be provided. No experience is required and the event is free.

The Tri-Cities Metal Silhouette Association and the Richland Rod and Gun Club are sponsoring the event at the association's range, which is 1.7 miles from the intersection of Highway 12 on the Kahlotus Highway. The gate is on the right and signs will be posted.

For more information, call 547-6273.

Northern pikeminnow season starts May 1

Anglers looking to make a little extra cash and help curtail a predator of juvenile salmon in the Columbia and Snake rivers can start fishing for American pikeminnow beginning May 1.

The 2009 Northern Pikeminnow sport reward season, which runs through Sept. 27, pays anglers to catch these juvenile salmon-eating predators. And the more pikeminnow over 9 inches long an angler catches, the higher the reward.

Sponsored by the Bonneville Power Administration, the reward program pays $4 per fish for up to 100 returned to a registration station, and $5 per fish for every pikeminnow from 101 to 400, and $8 per fish for every over 401. Some pikeminnow also are tagged, which are worth $500.

Last year, an angler who caught 7,015 fish made $57,772, followed by another angler who earned $44,608 for 5,185 fish.

For more information about the program and to find registration stations, visit www.pikeminnow.org

Young boaters need to take education classes

The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission is reminding boaters about the state's boater education card requirement.

Boaters ages 12-25 years are required to carry the card when operating a boat. The card requirement for other age groups will be phased in through 2014.

Boaters born before Jan. 1, 1955, are exempt from this law.

Boaters can take approved courses in a classroom, online or at home. Once the course is passed, boaters pay $10 for the card, which is good for life. Information is available online at www.parks.wa.gov/boating or by calling 360-902-8832.