OLYMPIA, Wash. - There’s more than one way to put a turkey on your table for Thanksgiving. Rather than head to the grocery store, thousands of hunters plan to get their bird during the hunting season for wild turkey that gets under way Nov. 20 in eastern Washington.
Then again, who says turkey has to be the center of attention on Thanksgiving Day? November is also prime time to hunt ducks, geese, elk, deer, pheasant, forest grouse and a variety of other game around the state.
"Waterfowl hunting usually picks up around the middle of the month, when the wet and windy weather starts pushing more migrating birds into the area from the north," said Don Kraege, waterfowl manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). "That’s good news for waterfowl hunters from the Skagit Valley to the Columbia Basin."
November is also prime time to hunt deer and elk on both sides of the Cascades.
For anglers, Thanksgiving traditionally marks the start of winter steelhead fishing in western Washington, where coho and chum salmon also start moving in from the ocean. On the eastside, anglers are still reeling in high numbers of hatchery-reared summer steelhead from the upper Columbia River and several major tributaries.
Rather serve shellfish? Most areas of Puget Sound are currently open for crab fishing, and two multi-day razor clam digs are scheduled at various ocean beaches in November.
Meanwhile, birders throughout the nation are making preparations for the 113th Christmas Bird Count scheduled Dec. 14, 2012 through Jan. 5, 2013. Sponsored by Audubon, the annual event enlists tens of thousands of volunteers throughout the Americas to count and categorize the birds they see for science. For more information about the bird count see the Audubon website at http://birds.audubon.org/christmas-bird-count .
For more information about the full array of fishing, hunting and wildlife viewing available over the next month, see the Weekender Regional Reports posted on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/weekender/ . These reports are updated throughout the month to provide current information about recreational opportunities around the state.