Elk City Wildlife Area News
PRAIRIE RESTORATION - Native grassland restoration continues with the use of a skid steer mounted saw to remove trees from existing blocks of native grass. Brush is being piled and stumps treated to prevent resprounting. Species such as sumac and dogwood will be chemically treated next year to limit its density.
DOVE SEASON - The Elk City Unit harvested just over 4,000 doves in 2011 and 2400 in 2012. The data was collected from Elk City, Dove Flats WA and the Buffalo Ranch plots. Over 600 hunter trips were recorded. Harvest was down across the state on most sunflower dove management areas.
WETLAND MANAGEMENT - Area wetlands have received little to no precipitation this summer, thus allowing vegetation and soil manipulations to occur. Chemical and mechanical manipulations have allowed critical soil disturbance to occur to remove undesirable plants and promote desired species. Disking by department personnel has created open water areas for this fall if rainfall returns, and that should produce beneficial plant communities next year as well. All these wetlands are filled by rainfall only and cannot be pumped. Drought conditions have severly hampered moist soil plant seed production. Several repair projects have been completed and several continue. A new ephemeral wetland is being developed in the Elk River and Card Creek Bottoms. This small wetland project will have two cells and will provide shallow water and mud flat habitat for a variety of game and non-game species.
DROUGHT CONDITIONS - Dry weather this summer has created conditions where area fields have not produced good crop yields. Much of the corn has produced from 20-60 bushels per acre, and the soybeans are suffering from the record temperatures and low moisture levels as well and may not produce well in some areass. Some of the area corn will be strip harvested by the farmers. Soybeans will be harvested where seed is made with strips left along field edges and limited amounts out in the open areas. Wheat planting is planned and completed on some area fields, with strips left unplanted along the edges for brood habitat in 2013. Area wetlands have suffered from the drought, but some seed production occurred early in the summer.
RESERVOIR WATERFOWL HUNTING CONDITIONS: The reservoir was held up above conservation pool this summer due to the forecast of drought conditions. Shoreline areas were inundated early in the summer and are now becoming exposed. High temperatures have hindered vegetative responses and thus possible seed production.
Deer season is under way. Hunters are reminded that changes were made for public land hunters regarding baiting and the use of blinds. No individual may use more thn two portable blinds or tree stands on any single department owned or managed property. Portable blinds or decoys shall not be left unattended overnight. Each portable blind or treestand shall be marked with the users name and address or the users department issued identification number in a visible, legible and weather proof manner.
No person may place or use bait while hunting on department lands. Bait is defined as any grain, fruit, vegetable, nut, hay, salt, sorghum, feed, other food or mineral that is capable of attracting wildlife. Liquid scents and sprays are not considered bait. Hunting is prohibited within 100 yards of any baited site for up to 10 days after removal of the bait. Hunting is not prohibited over standing crops or food plots found on the area.
Commercial guiding on public land is not allowed without a commercial guide permit issued by the department for a specific area. An annual report must be submitted before July 1 on a form provided by the department.