LEE HORTON’S OUTDOORS COLUMN: Deer hunt ends this weekend

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IT’S TIME TO get your hopes up for another hunt.

This one is short and sweet, only lasting through the weekend.

The elk hunt that ended Wednesday was a bit of a dud, as was the blacktailed deer season before it.

Hunters have another chance to get some venison, but the late-season deer hunt opened on Thursday and ends on Sunday.

Maybe some of you can put an alternate meat on the Thanksgiving table next week.

I had deer for Thanksgiving dinner a while back.

Truth be told, I don’t remember the taste of the meat as much as I do the rhubarb relish that I slathered all over it.

Hunters have a few reasons to hope that this deer hunt goes better than the last.

For starters, there should be plenty of blacktailed deer roaming around.

“There weren’t a lot taken [during the earlier hunt],” Brian Menkal of Brian’s Sporting Goods and More (360-683-1950) in Sequim said.

“So, there are more bucks out there.”

Second, the deer have a hidden agenda that makes them less likely to hide.

“The bucks are in rut, so they’re a little love crazy,” Menkal said.

“So they’re on the move, which makes them more visible to hunters.”

Hopefully the weather holds up. There is rain in the forecast, as well as a bit of a breeze.

Menkal said that in the right amounts, both can be advantageous to hunters.

Wind causes noises that bring the deer away from the trees. Since they are no longer able to hear predators, at least they’ll be able to see them by moving into the clearing.

Rain makes it easier for hunters to sneak up on the deer.

You just don’t want too much of either condition.

Duck hunt

Ward Norden, a fishing tackle wholesaler and hunting expert, said the ducks have arrived.

“The first batches of ducks from the far north started to arrive on Hood Canal bays last week, heralded by the flocks of widgeon,” he said.

“This is right on time.

“Time to get serious.”

Bob Gooding of Olympic Sporting Goods (360-374-6330) in Forks did some duck hunting recently, but don’t expect any to be part of his Thanksgiving spread.

“Love to hunt them, hate to eat them,” Gooding said.

“I’d rather eat dirt. They taste like liver, and I don’t like liver.”

Crabbing good

One of my favorite Thanksgiving days involved a buffet with my future in-laws at a place called Salty’s in Portland.

Along with the usual fare of turkey and potatoes, there were many seafood options.

Even though I was just a boyfriend back then and trying to make a good impression, I didn’t hesitate to eat a lot of everything.

I think I ate more that Thanksgiving than any other in my life, as evidenced by the pain in my gut that lasted at least an hour.

So, what I’m saying is that maybe you should serve some crab for Thanksgiving.

Menkal said the winter crab season continues to go well for the few who are going out.

Mushroom stuff

Norden, a do-everything type of outdoorsman, said the recent cold weather hasn’t ended the fun for mushroom hunters.

“Mushroom pickers should get another week of good picking this week,” Norden said. “Last week was cold, but not cold enough to shut down mushroom growth.

“The speed that wild mushrooms like chantarelles have grown this year has been amazing.

“I have seen the chantarelles in my favorite patches down along the Hamma Hamma River go from zero to quarter-pounders in only five days.”

Winterfest 2012

Don’t forget Winterfest, the annual fundraiser for the Hurricane Ridge Ski area, is Saturday at Vern Burton Community Center at 308 East 4th St. in Port Angeles.

The event includes a rib dinner by chef Steve McNabb, an oyster bar, and a no-host beer and wine bar.

There also will be live music by Bill and Rudy, live and silent auctions and the top films from the VideOlympics will be shown.

Doors open at 5 p.m., the festivities start at 6 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased for $45 at Brian’s Sporting Goods and More in Sequim, and Swain’s General Store, Brown’s Outdoor, and Necessities and Temptations in Port Angeles.

Tickets at the door are $50 per person. A community table for eight costs $320.

Last week’s gear swap and outdoors expo was a success, with more than 150 people who showed up to sell old gear or purchase new and used gear.

“We are very pleased that we were able to raise enough money to get our racing team off to a good start this season,” Lindsay Fox, expo organizer and Hurricane Ridge Ski Team assistant coach, said.

River fishing class

Menkal teaches a two-part class that covers basics of catching salmon and steelhead on the Peninsula’s rivers, including tips on good spots.

The first part will take place Tuesday from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Brian’s Sporting Goods and More at 542 W. Washington St. in Sequim.

Part two will be held the following Tuesday, Nov. 27, also from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Bring a pen or pencil, a notebook and a chair.

For more information, contact Menkal at 360-683-1950.

Watch salmon

Finally, a video for you to watch.

Reader Mich Carver went to the salmon cascades recently.

Though he wasn’t there when the salmon were leaping up the falls, he did find them hanging out in the pools nearby and took some underwater video.

It’s really cool. Watch it here: http://tinyurl.com/salmonpool.

Send photos, stories

Have a photograph, a fishing or hunting report, an anecdote about an outdoors experience or a tip on gear or technique?

Send it to sports@peninsuladailynews.com or P.O. Box 1330, Port Angeles, WA 98362.


Outdoors columnist Lee Horton appears here Thursdays and Fridays. He can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5152 or at lhorton@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: November 15. 2012 5:47PM
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