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Northwest Fire Season Overlapping With Hunting Season

Wildfires have closed some prime hunting grounds in the Northwest. Photo by Dennis Stern/ USFS Gila National Forest
Wildfires have closed some prime hunting grounds in the Northwest. Photo by Dennis Stern/ USFS Gila National Forest

Evacuation notices around the Northwest have subsided as fire crews beat back the threat of wildfire to homes and subdivisions.

Officials have removed an alert near Sisters, Oregon, where the Pole Creek Fire is 80 percent contained. In Idaho, the Idaho County Sheriff lifted an evacuation order near the McGuire Complex in the Nez Perce National Forest. And crews at the Wenatchee Complex in Washington have been reduced by half since last weekend.

But a dry spell in the region has pushed fire season … into hunting season. This means some hunters may have to forgo their favorite spots this year.

The Wendling Travel Management Area near Eugene is a popular spot for Oregon deer hunters. Last year, 600 people showed up on the season’s opening day. This year, it’s a no go -- closed due to fire danger.

In central Washington, hunters are finding some prime hunting grounds are either closed off because of nearby fires, or are on fire.

In Idaho, rather than bagging a big horn sheep or a mountain goat, a handful of hunters had to be satisfied with bagging a state-issued rain check for next year.

But eastern Idaho wildlife manager Tom Keegan says the big game is still out there.

“The animals tend not to flee from the fires as you might imagine watching a Bambi movie or something like that. They tend to hang around then come back in.”

Keegan says the singed forests could actually make it easier for hunters to see their prey. Of course the dry weather also creates a problem for the hunter: Crunching leaves.

On the Web:

Oregon hunting resources

Hunting in Washington

Hunting in Idaho

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network

Inland Northwest Correspondent Jessica Robinson reports from the Northwest News Network's bureau in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. From the politics of wolves to mining regulation to small town gay rights movements, Jessica covers the economic, demographic and environmental trends that are shaping places east of the Cascades.
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