Bill seems to lack the harsh attacks on national parks, wilderness, and national monuments that are in the House bill-

Senator Tester’s (D-MT) opponents figured they had him where it hurts with the misleading Sportsman’s Heritage Act in the House.  We covered some of the House version’s many provisions that are intended to effectively abolish Wilderness areas, prevent the President from creating new national monuments, introduce hunting in national parks, and much more.

Tester’s bill needs close examination, but it appears to drop the attacks on America’s most beautiful and pristine places and maybe even do some things that help sportsmen and other Americans.

It is actually co-sponsored by Tester and by  Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., who is co-chair of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus. The Sportsman Caucus is an interest group (non-party group) inside Congress. It is not part of the committee or other official structure of Congress.

According to the Missoulian,  the bill will be inserted into the massive Farm Bill that Congress is considering.  The bill is actually a collection of a number of individual bills. As such, it includes “measures to spend 1.5 percent of the Land and Water Conservation Fund for buying access to isolated public property; provide money for shooting ranges; reauthorize the Partners for Fish and Wildlife grant program; allow the secretary of the Interior to raise the prices of Duck Stamps; and reauthorize the North American Wetlands Conservation Act for five years.”

The Tester/Thune  measure would “protect” the use of lead bullets and fishing tackle (sinkers).  Many will find this irritating because, while controversial, this lead poisons at least some animals, and it might poison a great many.  Lead, mercury, and selenium poisoning are all increasingly responsible for warnings not to eat fish and game in numerous places. Critics say this is very counter-productive.  It keeps the costs of ammunition lower but it also contributes to wild fish and game that is not safe to eat.

All kinds of other measures are being added to the Farm Bill.  Conservationists, environmentalists, farmers, agri-business, foresters, and many other groups are both pleased or outraged (often both).  Bills that become this large and many-faceted can fail for this reason, but sometimes very good or bad legislation can ride the bill into law because the Farm Bill is considered “must pass.”  That is why these attached measures are called “riders.”

We will be examining this more closely.

- – - – - -

Update: The House version claimed that the biggest problem for sportsmen was access, and that was due to them having to walk (hence the attack on Wilderness areas and National Parks and Monuments).  The Tester-Thune version also said access was a great problem, but it lies not in hunters having to walk or ride a horse, but in lack of legal access to 35-million acres of public land due to adjacent private landowners blocking it off.  So the Senate version authorizes some money from the Land and Water Conservation Fund to buy legal access to these block areas.

 

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides.

44 Responses to Senator Jon Tester introduces his own version of Sportsmen’s Heritage Act

  1. avatar ramses says:

    Yes, I would definitely examine that piece of paper very, very closely. Tester was the one who started the whole war on wolves, HE put the rider into the budget bill last April.
    Him & Rep. Simpson of Idaho. are the culprits. Of coarse then the all but 3 or 4 Democrats signed it & Obama put his signature on it. Hence we have our war on wolves. State management culling of wolves. But, I like to call it ERADICATION of our apex predators.

    • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

      When Jon Tester was elected to the U.S. Senate, I was grateful. He replaced Conrad Burns, an obnoxious fool, but a powerful fool, who famously predicted in 1995, the wolves would kill a child before the year was out. Burns then defunded further wolf restoration, but monies were found — public and private — and volunteers who did make the 1996 wolf restoration happen (the 1995 capture and release of wolves was fully funded).

      I don’t think I can work for Tester this year, but too many people are not seeing that many people like him — disappointments who have, nevertheless, done a few good things — have opponents who are beyond the pale like his, Republican Denny Rehberg, the super rich land developer.

      • avatar louise kane says:

        I’d like to see a rider that prohibits non germane riders. DLB is correct, the average American can not keep up with the issues even when they try to. Non germane riders are sleazy methods to pass controversial measures that are often complicated, multilayered and opposed by large numbers of constituents. I’ve been following the ever so euphemistic sportsmen heritage act, and this was the first I heard about a new version being sponsored by Tester. Its hard to believe Tester is a democrat. But the democrats now seem to be more like moderate republicans of the past.

        • avatar Nancy says:

          Louise – Tester is bi-political, appears to go “both ways”

          Although his actions seem more republican in nature, literally.

          Tester is involved in and has history with farming & ranching.

          Our governor, for the past few years is Democrat but his runningmate was a Republican.

          A new approach to getting elected these days – satisfying and yet at the same time confusing, the voting public?

          • avatar mikarooni says:

            I love it. “Tester is bi …political…” I recall a line from an old Star Wars movie about how, when it comes to adversaries from the dark side, there are always two, a master and an apprentice. Does this mean that, when Larry Craig left office, we defeated the master and now we’re dealing with the apprentice?

  2. avatar DLB says:

    This is another example of how political maneuvering over an increasingly complex set of issues is moving beyond the average voter’s ability to track it all, even to a small extent.

    How are folks supposed to responsibily follow a diverse set of increasingly complicated issues like the environment, wildlife, immigration, economic, foreign policy, entitlements, etc., when they have a family and work 50 or 60 hours a week? I can tell you from personal experience: It’s a pain in the @ss!

    Politicians and powerful individuals/corporations will exploit this to their advantage to a greater and greater degree, in my opinion.

    • avatar SEAK Mossback says:

      I’ll certainly agree with that. I like to make more specific comments and find they work better with our representatives here (the more reasonable ones anyway), but putting my finger on specific talking points is difficult in part because the opposition group arguments pretty much say “Trust us — It’s evil, now please just join us in carpet-bombing the whole idea.” That, combined with the fact that the apparent most serious problems in this were likely intentionally camoflaged, makes it additionally difficult. Looking closely at the polar bear provision, I can find no argument with it. It does not allow any bears shot in Canada after the species was listed under the ESA to be imported — only addresses a handful that were caught basically in transit or at Canadian taxidermists at the time they were listed. They are already dead — as if a handful of rich, adventurous guys taking a few by dog sled really has much to do with the stated rationale for why theyv’e been listed anyway. If Tester has come up with a rider that mostly has benefits for wildlife and legal public access to public land (not permitting access methods damaging to the wilderness character of designated wilderness) and in doing so is able to the knock wheels off of trojan horses, then that seems generally positive.

  3. avatar Mike says:

    ++The Tester/Thune measure would “protect” the use of lead bullets and fishing tackle (sinkers). Many will find this irritating because, while controversial, this lead poisons at least some animals, and it might poison a great many.++

    20 million birds a year die horrible, miserable lead-poisoning deaths due to lead bullet fragments alone.It really is just about the worst death there is.

    It is a huge deal.

    http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/15/zeroing-in-on-lead-in-hunters-bullets/

    Another dumb action from Tester.

    Hunters need to start getting on the right side of science. Embarrassing and unethical.

    • avatar aves says:

      Accurate estimates of bird mortality are hard to come by but as we both know lead based ammunition is a huge problem. The NRA portrays the issue as an attack on hunting and too many hunters accept that much thought. The NRA’s propaganda has made it especially hard to get the facts out when the messengers are not hunters themselves. That’s why we need the EPA to enact a ban or force manufacturers to phase out lead by a certain date.

      It took almost a decade to reach anything close to full hunter compliance when lead shot was banned for waterfowl hunting. That makes timely action on this issue (and opposition to Tester’s bill) vital to save condors and end the suffering of so many other birds.

      I’m glad you keep bringing this issue up and only wish the moderators here would step up and follow suit with a full posting on the dangers of lead based ammunition.

      Here’s a great 2010 editorial from a hunter who founded “Project Gutpile” to help save birds:

      http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/16/opinion/16prieto.html

      • avatar aves says:

        oops, 2nd sentence should read “too many hunters accept that WITHOUT much thought”

  4. avatar Mike says:

    This is what lead bullet fragments do to raptors:

    STOP using lead bullets, idiots.

  5. avatar Dan Lynch says:

    You guys are confusing lead shot with lead bullets. Most of the so-called studies do not make the distinction. Lead shot is already outlawed for most waterfowl hunting.

    20 million birds do not die from bullet fragments. I doubt if 20 birds die from bullet fragments, if any die at all. On other hand, birds may die from lead shot, which is why it is outlawed for hunting waterfowl.

    If Tester’s bill succeeds in keeping ATV’s out of the wilderness, that’s certainly a good thing. ATV’s are a blight.

    • avatar aves says:

      “I doubt if 20 birds die from bullet fragments, if any die at all.”

      You have no idea what the hell your talking about. Please stop drinking the NRA Kool-aid and do some research:

      http://www.peregrinefund.org/subsites/conference-lead/2008PbConf_Proceedings.htm

      • avatar aves says:

        Plenty of information here as well from the Arizona Game and Fish Department:

        http://www.azgfd.gov/w_c/california_condor_lead.shtml

      • avatar SEAK Mossback says:

        aves –
        Thanks — that document is a pretty staggering indictment of the exposure, particularly in birds of prey, throughout the world, including eagles and ravens around Yellowstone — with hundreds of swans still dying annually in Washington (apparently from old lead shot from decades ago). It appears they were only starting to look at it in Argentina where I believe lead shot is still use even for waterfowl, with advertisements for shooting trips showing hunters posing behind great heaps of ducks and pigeons at the end of a day — 1,600 tons of lead fired annually just in NW Cordoba, mostly at doves and pigeons with a high percentage of birds not recovered. I saw an occasional vulture or hawk circling over the pampas (during a visit in nearby San Luis Province), which even seems remarkable after reading that.

        I switched to copper Barnes triple shock bullets for deer and other big game hunting a number of years ago when lead fragments in venison hit the news. However, the danger to birds is obviously far greater because of their digestive system. We have dinner bell ravens that are able to quickly zero in on gun shots, and all of my bones and scraps go out where the eagles, ravens and crows pick off most before it goes into the deep where the shrimp and sand fleas finish the job. This spring, a goshawk snatched (unseen) a dusky grouse (that had disappeared downhill into large timber after being shot) and somehow lugged it into the air, descending 1,300 feet off the mountain to where I found it on the first level open spot, with an impressive bulging crop, standing over the nearly half eaten bird. I’ve been using fully jacketed .22s that I doubt would fragment in a grouse, but notice that that fully non-toxic .22 ammunition is now being manufactured, so will check with the local sporting goods store about getting some shipped in.

    • avatar Mike says:

      ++20 million birds do not die from bullet fragments. I doubt if 20 birds die from bullet fragments, if any die at all. ++

      This is absolute nonsense. Please check your facts next time.

  6. avatar Ralph Maughan says:

    Here’s some more on the difference between the House and Senate version of the Sportsman’s Heritage Act.

    The House version claimed that the biggest problem for sportsmen was access, and that was due to them having to walk (hence the attack on Wilderness areas and National Parks and Monuments). The Tester-Thune version also says access is a great problem, but it lies not in hunters having to walk or ride a horse, but in the lack of legal access to 35-million acres of public land due to adjacent private landowners blocking it off. So the Senate version authorizes some money from the Land and Water Conservation Fund to buy legal access to these blocked off areas.

    • avatar louise kane says:

      Ralph,

      I had not had a chance to read the new version of the Senate bill yet but thought it contained language to authorize funds from the land and water commission to make access to the areas blocked by private land owners easier. I hope this does not pass, inch by inch sportsmen and trophy hunters want to access every niche that wild animals have and where they can avoid the misery of traps, guns, arrows, snares and any other killing device the hunters bring with them. I hate the idea of using federal funds to subsidize hunting access. What about using those funds to secure corridors for wild animals that can be free from hunting.

  7. avatar Rancher Bob says:

    Part of the bill also allows private land owners and BLM to block up land ownership over the current checker board landscape. That would be nice.

  8. avatar John R says:

    Lead bullets left in gutpiles are eaten by a variety of wildlife including eagles, condors, and other wildlife. Probably 20 eagles a year in Minnesota alone die from lead poisening.

  9. avatar bigbrowntrout says:

    Access is a huge issue. In Montana we have so much public land but much of it is either hard to access. Over my lifetime here in Montana I have seen outfitting become a giant business. Knocking on doors to get permission to hunt used to be very realistic and a great way to get in to the field. Now, so much private land is leased to outfitters or trespass fees, good chunks of money might i add. so i cannot blame private landowners for doing it, but now so much is leased by outfitters, mostly for the out of state crowd, that finding decent hunting places are getting harder and harder to come across. There are sections of state land and national forest that are very hard to get to because of private land development. and once the private land that borders the land is developed it almost becomes there private property as well, denying access for people who want to hunt the state land….very sad. So I hate to hear people say that it is just because hunters dont like to walk. i would just like to see better access to certain state and national forest sections, because like i said it almost becomes just more private land.

    • avatar Mike says:

      I don’t like it when private land blocks access to public lands, but I don’t think any more areas need to be opened up to the toxic lead and litter that comes with hunters, either.

      Some times, it’s best just to give animals a break.

      I like to fly-fish, and I can access any part of a stream in Montana if I want to wade or raft. But I don’t really NEED to, and I like that large sections of rivers are difficult to get to. It’s better for the fish.

  10. avatar Robert R says:

    bigbrowntrout land locked public land is becoming common place and unless the road was public or had an easement. This is why the game cannot be managed and recreation is lost.
    I don’t think you can put all the blame on lead bullets, when lead is used in fishing products from lures to sinkers and led wire in wet flies.
    Not just hunters use public so don’t scapegoat them because they are not the only ones to use public land, like hikers,fishing and outdoors enthusiast in general. So using hunters as an excuse is like being racist.

    • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

      Robert R,

      I think the House of Representatives is really trying to take advantage of the access problem by trying to direct the anger toward wilderness, national parks, etc. “Doc” Hastings, the chairman of the Natural Resources Committee in the House, has always been in the pocket of the big industrial interests and rich far right wingers who have no interest in the wishes or needs of the average person.

      Pondering the 2 bills, I think Tester sees the real problem with access that Robert R writes about, and would like to do something about it — something the would work and not have a awful hidden agenda.

      I don’t like the lead shot (though I shoot it), but in these times we will be lucky if our vast reservoir of freedom — the public lands — is not sold off. That is the worst danger and why hunters and all users of the public lands need to stand firm against attempts to make them private.

      • avatar Mike says:

        ++I don’t like the lead shot (though I shoot it),++

        You don’t seriously use lead bullets, do you Ralph?

    • avatar elk275 says:

      On the major fishing rivers in Montana one of the greatest scources of lead is from boat anchors. A typical boat anchor weights 30lbs and after a season of fishing the anchor weights between 20 to 25 pounds, depending whether the guide will drag anchor while drifting. I would typically lose an anchor a year while guiding there is another 25 pounds of lead in the river.

      • avatar Jerry Black says:

        Elk….that’s exactly why “responsible” guides, including my son who guides, and all float advocates need a metal shield around the lead. A friend that builds raft frames in Turah also will encase the lead in a metal jacket.
        Not a good idea to handle these unprotected lead weights bare handed.

  11. avatar elk275 says:

    Jerry,

    The last trip I guided was 20 years ago and they were just starting to encase the lead with metal. It would be interesting to observe what is be used to today. Maybe Rip Van Winkle needs to wake up.

    • avatar Jerry Black says:

      Elk…..very few bother to encase the lead. I was in the upper Rock Creek area yesterday and that always catches my eye. I’d guess 10% give a damn….the rest are oblivious or lazy.

      • avatar WM says:

        Maybe that is subject for the river guide/outfitter licensing agency in MT (and other states)to take a look at, if brought to their attention. I gather in MT that would be FWP. If regulation or voluntary incentive to encase can gain a foothold there, then look to the general public running river boats with lead anchors. Most flat water boats, to my recollection just use iron; lead is used on river boats because it is heavier per unit volume, and maybe doesn’t scare the fish so much when it more silently hits bottom, without the metalic clank (I really don’t know, but just speculating on that one, because it makes sense. Encased lead wouldn’t seem to make much noise, either).

        An idea: river guide gets a $50 one time/annual credit toward licensing fee for using encased anchor.

        • avatar Jerry Black says:

          Sounds logical but remember, we’ve got Tester who fights against any lead restriction, a commission who voted against lead restrictions saying there’s “not enough information about the dangers of lead” and a general mentality that’s against any change in “Montana’s culture”.
          Well…..I’ll be back fishing the Yakima soon and living in Rosyln where the population is a little more enlightened.

          • avatar WM says:

            Jerry,

            I expect the Yakima River has its share of lead and other stuff on the bottom. I don’t know what the guides are using for anchors these days (just haven’t looked closely at the boats). Years ago the Chamber of Commerce (or Junior Chamber, I can’t remember which) used to have an annual float trip from Ellensburg to the Rosa Diversion. The flotilla consisted of anything that had a chance to stay afloat on a hot summer day, often with partially submerged coolers full of beer and ice roped to trailing or leading overloaded boats, rafts, tubes and whatever (maybe even a bath tub or two). The idea wasn’t so much to stay in one’s craft, some swimming along behind just make it from point A to point B, not loosing sight of the beer cooler, and they really didn’t care what went to the bottom. The whole thing was really kind of disgusting, and eventually stopped. Since it is a dam-regulated river above Ellensburg it doesn’t get flushing flows so much, and even after thirty years or so there are likely still full beer bottles and cans, along with the residual of some empties, along much of the stretch, and now concentrated in the deeper holes, on what is now a federally protected Scenic River, with a catch and release fishery. I don’t know whether there was a clean-up campaign at some point.

            Your assessment of Roslyn residents is more current than mine, but I did not differentiate it much from Cle Elum, both of which at the time, I did not consider particularly “enlightened.”

            • avatar Jerry Black says:

              WM…I fished the upper part of the river and rarely ventured south of Ellensburg for that very reason….too many boats, rafts, tubes, beer cans and assholes.
              Rosyln, and I always stopped there after fishing or hiking in the Teanaway for a beer at the Brick and pizza at the Village Pizza, has a very diversified population of retirees from Seattle and N.California, artists, old hippies those from Seattle with second homes and of course Suncadia…..I’ve been to 2 fundraisers there recently, one for the Chimp Rescue Center in Ellensburg and another for a dog and cat rescue group. I like the folks that Rosyln attracts…..hell of a difference from Montana. I’m already involved in a wolf education program for later in August….lots of support for it.
              I’ll actually be living north of Rosyln out toward Salmon Le Sac….having a cabin built. When I was there I had elk behind the cabin, bear poop and lion tracks…

  12. avatar mikepost says:

    While the lead issue is very real, the use of non-lead ammunition for all forms of hunting has led to much more wounding and unrecovered suffering animals. Copper ammo for big game is a ballistic and humane hunting failure. Steel shot for birds is just the same. Beware the unintended consequences…lead was not chosen as the projectile of choice for no reason…

    Ralph, you dont have to make any excuses for doing the right thing.

    • avatar aves says:

      Of course lead bullets were designed for a quick kill, but, as you already know, that same design causes fragmentation that eventually leads to lead poisoning. Talk about “unintended consequences”. Using lead bullets for hunting wildlife is not “the right thing” if you care about avian scavengers. The right thing to do is to not use lead ammunition or if you do to remove all carcasses from the field, bury gut piles, or remove bullets and surrounding flesh.

      The main reasons lead bullets are still used are cost and education. The majority of hunters made aware of the issue are very interested in helping avian scavengers provided there is no loss in performance from non-lead ammunition, that they can afford the new bullets, and can find them in their needed caliber and weight.

      Your suspect claims about non-lead ammunition causing “more unrecovered animals” and “ballistic and humane failure” were offered without any evidence or sources. See these results from a survey of Arizona hunters that accepted free non-lead ammunition while hunting big game in the condors range:

      60% rated the accuracy as excellent or above average.

      78% rated the performance as better than or as good as lead.

      86% tracked the animal less than 100 yards and only 1.5% did not recover their animal.

      75% would recommend non-lead ammunition to friends.

      89% would use lead ammunition again if it was provided for free.

      “Survey results from Arizona hunters given free non-lead ammunition”:
      http://www.azgfd.gov/w_c/documents/AmmoSurveyFINALReport2-23-06_000.pdf

      And see here for plenty of positive reviews for non-lead ammunition:
      http://www.huntingwithnonlead.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=13&Itemid=7

    • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

      mikepost -
      I don’t intend and don’t want to argue the performance merits of non-toxic ammunition, but….. my own experience with copper bullets is different. Very accurate and very lethal. Steel shot is less effective than lead. Bismuth and tungsten/tungsten matrix shot is much more effective than steel, and much more expensive. For controlled competition and practice shooting the argument against lead based ammunition is negligible.

    • avatar SEAK Mossback says:

      Mikepost –

      My experience with pure copper bullets for larger caliber rifles is generally similar to Mark Gamblin’s. There were a few reported incidents of Barnes tripleshock bullets not expanding at longer range, and I experienced that at closer range with a Sitka blacktail when I tried to transition to copper tripleshocks while maintaining a very light 30-06 load (using pistol powder) I developed for my son to when he started hunting deer at age 11. However, switching to their newer version that has a polycarbonate tip designed to initiate expansion took care of that.

      I switched to non-toxics after reading about lead in venison. Basically, a standard lead core bullet is designed to shed about 40% (assuming it does not hit heavy bone) of its weight while traveling through the animal while expanding into a mushroom. I decided I could live without the lead fragments and also became more aware of how much I interact with birds. Basically, it just seems reasonable to add “not shedding lead” to the other priority features in a bullet (accuracy, expansion and weight retention). There are probably a few bullets that contain some lead that would work practically as reliably in avoiding lead fragments, such as the Fail Safe that has lead surrounded by thick metal in a rear compartment but not in the front the expansion section. Anyway, the technology and choices are already there in large rifle ammunition.

      As far as non-toxic .22 ammunition, some has recently come on the market to meet California requirements, and I plan to try it. However, a review I read from a substantial test of one brand indicated that accuracy was not particularly good and that more development work is needed. Since most of my use of .22 ammunition involves shooting grouse perched 2/3rds to 3/4ths of the way up the immense old-growth Sitka spruce that males prefer in the spring, accuracy is paramount. I used to use subsonic target ammunition (exposed lead) only for head shots but found a type of fully jacketed high velocity ammunition that shoots nearly as well, and I think the odds are very low of it shedding any lead in a grouse. However, if they make accurate non-toxic hollow points, that would be an improvement for difficult body shots where hollow points drop grouse more reliably (although conventional hollow points damage some meat, in addition to shedding lead).

      As far as using shot, I also agree that trap shooting with lead shot (that I suspect Ralph may be referring to) is not an issue. Most of my use for waterfowl is not quite conventional — I don’t set up and wait with decoys but take a quick walk with the dog to nearby ambush sites for mallards — a tide pool and a couple creek mouths, and I’m not sure I would call it sport (I have no qualms about shooting sitting ducks and preferably ones that are lined up). However, I do keep the range short and find a double barrel is enough because ducks always seem to be out of what I consider reasonable range (with steel shot or otherwise) before I could make a third shot. For that first shot after a long, wet crawl, I often keep a small supply of expensive premium ammunition (tungsten or bismuth) that is even more effective than lead ever was. Turkey hunters also seem to have gone to the premium stuff, as their use of ammunition is very low so cost is not consequential. There probably is more wounding loss with steel compared with lead, but I think it can be mitigated with care (keeping ranges shorter) and some education (they’ve occasionally held steel shot clinics here). Wounding loss is clearly undesirable but a wounded duck simply does not last long in this area, where at least an eagle or two is always watching everything. I’ve had eagles (and once even a hawk) approach downed ducks before I could get to them. Continued use of lead shot would just spread misery up the food chain and likely into other ducks that may ingest it.

  13. avatar Jerry Black says:

    WM…I fished the upper part of the river and rarely ventured south of Ellensburg for that very reason….too many boats, rafts, tubes, beer cans and garbage.
    Rosyln, and I always stopped there after fishing or hiking in the Teanaway for a beer at the Brick and pizza at the Village Pizza, has a very diversified population of retirees from Seattle and N.California, artists, old hippies those from Seattle with second homes and of course Suncadia…..I’ve been to 2 fundraisers there recently, one for the Chimp Rescue Center in Ellensburg and another for a dog and cat rescue group. I like the folks that Rosyln attracts…..hell of a difference from Montana. I’m already involved in a wolf education program for later in August….lots of support for it.
    I’ll actually be living north of Rosyln out toward Salmon Le Sac….having a cabin built. When I was there I had elk behind the cabin, bear poop and lion tracks…

    • avatar DLB says:

      jerry Black

      You can surely meet rowdy groups of campers hanging out around Salmon la Sac. Last time I camped there, I came across a cache of unexploded sparkler bombs (sparklers grouped tightly together and wrapped with electrical or duct tape, then lit).

      There are great places to fish below the Rosa dam once the river level drops, you just have to be willing to work harder to get there, and be comfortable reeling in the occasional squaw fish. Some of the riffle sections close to the entrance on the Ellensburg side can be slightly less crowded since it is a much longer float if you put in at Ringer Loop as opposed to farther down the river. The drunken floating crowd can be annoying. In college, when I would float with friends, it was always me or some other fly-fisherman in the group at the back of the flotilla grabbing empties that got away from people.

      The upper canyon is great to fish as well, but access is more limited and I’ll only fish it with a drift boat.

      I worked at the first Suncadia golf course during its first two seasons – what a flop that development has been so far! Beautiful courses, but if you bought property there during the boom you took about a 50% haircut in property value.

      • avatar Jerry Black says:

        DLB….campgrounds do often attract that type and you’ll never find me anywhere near them.
        Looks like Suncadia is rebounding as I saw new homes being built and lots of traffic at the Winery.
        It is tough access on the upper Yakima, but certainly worth it

  14. avatar ramses09 says:

    Why is it ALWAYS about hunters? I mean ….. they are the biggest whiners I have ever come across. They seem to get what they want all of the time. Before you know it there aren’t going to be any animals left for them to shoot. Then what are they going to shoot. I guess they’ll go after liberals, tree huggers & people of color, etc.
    They are that crazy IMO.

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey