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The Observer Paper 10/22/14

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Saturday is Opening Day for buck rifle season

The Gregorian calendar, the one most widely used in the world, lists Sept. 21 as the first day of fall.

However, in the hearts of many sportsmen the day of autumn’s true coming out party is Oct. 4 — the opening of deer buck rifle season in Northeast Oregon.

Saturday represents a seasonal rite of passage. Hunters in Union and Wallowa counties will celebrate more than tradition Saturday They will also celebrate promising hunting conditions.


Moose count up to about 40 in N.E. Oregon

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This bull moose was photographed Wednesday in the Lookout Mountain area north of Elgin by Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist Pat Matthews of Enterprise. - ODFW/PAT MATTHEWS
It is a question local Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife officials frequently field.

Will there ever be a moose hunting season in Northeast Oregon?

It is a natural query considering that the moose population in Northeast Oregon has grown significantly the past five years.

Dense vegetation will challenge youth pheasant hunt participants

Dogs will be the best friends of young hunters this weekend at the Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area.

Hunting dogs like Labrador retrievers will be needed by boys and girls participating in the annual youth pheasant hunt at the Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area. The reason in part is meteorological — vegetation is much denser at Ladd Marsh now because of an unusually moist spring. Dogs will be needed by hunters to find and flush birds and then retrieve them.


Hunters gobble up fall turkey opportunities

Rio Grande turkeys will see something historic in Wallowa County this fall — hunters stalking them.

The first fall turkey season in Wallowa County is set to begin in about six weeks. The controlled season, recently approved by the Fish and Wildlife Commission, will run from Oct. 11 to Nov. 30.

The commission approved the hunt because of rising turkey populations in Wallowa County. The fall season will be in addition to the spring turkey hunt conducted annually in all of Northeast Oregon from April 15 to May 31.


Bow hunters set sights on opener

On the eve of bow season in Northeast Oregon, prospects are looking up for elk hunters.

Especially if they are careful to silence the buzz at their campsites.

Elk hunters should do well in Union and Wallowa counties because of increased numbers of elk, according to Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists.


4-H dog handlers display poise at field trial

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William Densmore and Georgia Larvik received awards for their 4-H field trial performances. Standing behind them are judges Teddi Montes-Botham and Vic Retherford. - Submitted photo
Darin Larvik had no choice.

The 4-H leader had to make history if he wanted to achieve his objective.

Larvik wanted to enter the members of his Sagebrush Pointers club in a 4-H dog field trial competition.


Two days, two states, 205 miles

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Riders in the Seattle To Portland Bicycle Classic cross into Oregon over the Longview Bridge. Longview is about 50 miles northwest of Portland. Riders were escorted across the steel truss bridge one group at a time by volunteer motorcycle riders. Each group consisted of 300 to 400 riders. - Submitted photos
While the majority of the company was at the summer picnic, a few of us decided to try and beat the heat (lots of sarcasm intended) with a 205-mile bike ride from Seattle to Portland.

Trust me, we didn’t beat the heat. But we had a lot of fun, and everyone on our team finished the ride.

Here is a little background for those of you that may not have heard about the Seattle to Portland bike ride.


Proposal calls for changes at the lake

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Mark Touhey, second from right, the City of La Grande’s parks and recreation director, talks to La Grande Rotary Club members about a development plan for Morgan Lake Park. The four men are at Morgan Lake Park looking at an aerial photo which has details of the development plan. The Rotary Club members are, left to right, Gordon Kohler, Lance Shoemaker and Colby Marshall, far right. The La Grande Rotary Club will assist with the development project. - Observer photos/DICK MASON
It is easy to miss.

At the base of Morgan Lake Road is a large but inauspicious metal pipe sticking out several feet. Water from Morgan Lake once flowed through the pipe to a small hydroelectric plant, one that stopped operating many decades ago and burned down in 1963.


Alternative fuel powers bear’s appetite

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A black bear peers from a fir tree at the home of Chuck Koch located two miles north of Elgin. - Photo/Chuck Koch
Warning: taking creative steps to combat the high cost of gasoline can have unintended consequences.

Just ask Chuck Koch of Elgin.

Koch recently received more than he bargained for because of his efforts to spend less on gasoline — a black bear in his backyard.


Turtles: Humans’ good intentions can harm the cute creatures

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The western painted turtle is our native turtle species. They've always been present on Ladd Marsh, but the ODFW has augmented their numbers many times in years past. Last year, about 50 were brought over and released on the marsh. - Photo/JIM WARD
Well-meaning people are clouding the outlook for the western painted turtle.

Many female western painted turtles are being spotted crawling out of ponds and mud flats at Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area and other nearby places. The turtles are searching for dry areas where they can lay eggs.

Big-hearted people finding these turtles far from water are bringing them back to ponds and marshy areas.


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