Vernonia's voice. (Vernonia, OR) 2007-current, October 01, 2007, Page 11, Image 11

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voice outdoors and recreation
Hunting Season - Be Prepared, Be Safe
Staff Article
The 2007 hunting season is now upon us. remember to sight in the weapons to ensure know where you will be hunting.
The nights are getting shorter and the crisp an ethical kill. Many factors can contribute to Thankfully many landowners allow hunters to
morning air is following close behind. Many a great season, or a foul one. Stop and think, use their land without many rules or regula-
archery hunters have polished and
tions. Please be respectful of them to
cleaned their bows to retire them for
ensure continued use for many years
the following months. Rifle season is
ahead. Closed gates and fences
at hand. Hunters are thinking of large
properly posted are that way for a rea-
bucks and mammoth bulls; from re-
son -- crossing them only creates un-
ports of several archery hunters who
wanted frustration and tension. There
have been out in the field, we can ex-
are many places to hunt – please re-
pect to see many of both. Late Sep-
spect the wishes of private property
tember brought vocal elk, teasing the
pursuing hunters. Bucks were spot-
ted in deep ravines, sometimes alone,
Dry conditions through October mean
other times in small groups of three to
there’s still potential for a fire hazard.
five. The numbers seem good.
Properly extinguishing smoking mate-
rial and campfires is a must -- a little
Preparing for the hunt is something
spark can go along way.
that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Proper
gear such as warm clothing, good hik-
Enjoy the hunt and remember to put
ing boots, and communication devices
safety at the top of your hunting list.
are a must. Before going out into the field, then go prepared – and always let someone
The Return of the Salmon
By Scott Laird
October marks the time in Vernonia when we celebrate the return
of our native Salmon to local waters. Every autumn we marvel at the
phenomenon of our returning friends – the Coho, the Chinook, the
Chum, the Steelhead and the Cutthroat Trout, and on special occa-
sions the Sockeye to the Nehalem Watershed. Often we stand on the
Bridge over Rock Creek and admire their struggles, their strength and
their determination to reach their home waters. It is an event each
year that reminds us of our connection to the natural world and what
a special place in which we live.
Recently I sat down with Maggie Peyton, Director of the Upper
Nehalem Watershed Council (UNWC) to learn more about the life cy-
cle of the Salmon and about their place in our community.
“They’re opportunists,” Peyton mentioned a number of times dur-
ing our conversation. “They take advantage of the conditions they
are given and make the most of them. It depends on how fresh the
water is, the amount of rain fall, how long they’ve been waiting for the
flow, the number of fish in the run. Lots of factors determine when
and how far upstream the salmon will come in any given year. It’s all
about the quality and quantity of the water.”
will head down stream as soon as they emerge. Once they start
downstream smolting occurs – physical changes that ready them for
larger waters. When they reach the estuary they will stay and adjust
to the salt water and feed. The larger a salmon gets, the more likely
it is to survive during it’s time in the ocean. Finally, they head to sea,
returning to their home waters years later.
“The different species will inhabit different parts of the river,” ex-
plained Peyton. “The Chinook will mostly stay in the main streams
where there is better flow, because they are bigger. The Coho will
head up the smaller streams. The Steelhead and cutthroats will go
even higher up the smaller streams.”
“We have three runs of Chinook, in the spring, summer and fall.
The spring run comes into the river in May. They stay in deep holes
and wait for the flow of water
that comes from the rain in fall,
then start moving upstream to
spawn. The summer run joins
them in the deep holes. The fall
run joins the group heading up-
stream during spawning. The
Coho follow the Chinook in the
fall,” said Peyton.
According to a US Fish and Wildlife brochure, the Salmon life cy-
cle differs slightly for each species. The Salmon live in the ocean for
one to seven years before heading for the fresh water of their home
stream. While traveling upstream to spawn they undergo physical
changes. They stop feeding, change color, and begin the slow process
of dying. When the females reach their home stream they choose a
nesting site. The males fight for access to nest building females. The
eggs are released and the dominant male fertilizes them. The eggs
are covered and both the female and male die soon afterwards.
“They are an essential part
of the food chain,” Peyton told
me. “Their flesh after they die
feeds other predators and offers
nutrition that helps the growth of
vegetation in riparian areas. That
vegetation offers them shelter,
habitat and shade during their
upstream migration and young
life. It is a complete cycle.”
The eggs lie through the winter and hatch in the spring, which al-
lows the fry, as the young are called, to begin the new cycle. The fry
spend a year or more in their home stream, although pink and chum
Next month: The Recovery of
the Salmon
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