man, the following aticle (stolen from hunting-washington website) but originally published by The Reel News.
This is a heads up for hunters wishing to hun MY favorite hill. im depressed.
Remember about one year ago when THE REEL NEWS reported on the secret meetings that WDFW was having with the tribes? The main purpose of these meetings was to expand the various tribes hunting and fishing rights, and the areas to which these rights applied. As stated, it was to allow them into more traditional non-tribal areas. The tribes felt they should be allowed to hunt on the same land non-tribal hunters do using their laws. I have seen first hand what these rights amount to.
Long time readers know that I elk hunt in the Colockum Wildlife Area in Eastern Washington. My family settled in this area around 1880. At one time my grandfather owned or leased in excess of 3,500 acres, and along with two other families, was in the process of purchasing all of that and more. His untimely passing at a young age resulted in my grandmother selling his holdings to Washington State. My Uncle Neil owns the section of land that remained. It is the Colockum Ranch. The road from the Wenatchee side accessing the Colockum, runs past his and my cousins property. They see what goes up and down this road.
What they saw a lot of this summer was truck loads of dead elk. Starting at the end of July, as soon as antlers mature and harden, Yakima tribal hunters are decimating the Colockum elk herd. On the last Friday of deer season in the area, my dad and brother saw Indian hunters with a very large 7 point bull in the back. Nothing was open at the time for elk but the elk was dead, none the less. Relatives have seen truck loads of spikes, the only size bull us non-Indians are allowed to shoot. The man in charge of running the area has been told by his superiors, 'hands off." It is estimated by people in the area that the tribes killed 48 large bulls during the summer of 2008. My Uncle works very closely with the WDFW in the area. He tells me the Colockum elk herd is down by 1500 animals. All rules for this herd will change for the 2009 season.
I really have a hard time comprehending the greed in these hunters. They are absolutely classless as far as hunters go. For my lifetime, the top of the mountain in the Colockum has been the elk preserve. It was donated land from one Arthur Coffin. He donated the land for the preservation of elk. Non-tribal hunters cannot access this land at any time. Absolutely no trespassing. Doesn't apply to the tribes. They not only kill elk in the preserve, they camp on it. This year it was estimated that over 40 hunters made up this camp at one time. The elk have had decades of conditioned learning that they are safe in the preserve. Not any longer. And if tribal hunters can't kill their elk by hunting on a game preserve, they spot light at night, and it is legal by their rules. Amazing.
What is even more amazing to me is the fact that the Colockum elk herd was started by non-Indians around 1913. Elk were introduced to the area from the Yellowstone herd. Why do the tribes get to hunt for elk that weren't there prior to our putting them there? I asked this question and was told they have found drawings on caves near the Columbia River showing elk. According to the powers that be, this was enough to give them elk rights on the Colockum herd. I say it is shady closed door decision making at its worst.
I have two references in my collection that state elk were not readily available in Washington, except for the Roosevelt's. In the diary of Lewis and Clark. Lewis wrote that the tribes on the Columbia River really liked elk meat and were quite willing to trade for it, as they didn't have a successful means of killing them unless one stumbled into a bear pit. I have read that the Nez Pierce traveled to Idaho for their elk hunts. In another publication I have, written by R. Roundtree about himself, he describes how he and his brothers had to travel to Idaho for elk. They settled the Pe Ell area prior to the Civil War. But. because now they found a drawing, all the history goes aside.
Unless I am very mistaken about Indi-an traditions, they drew pictures of animals for reasons other than they were in the area. They would draw them to gain power over them for the hunt. They drew pictures in thanks for a successful hunt. Those pictures they found could have been elk killed in Idaho, which everything I have read shows both tribal hunters and non-tribal hunters went for Rocky Mountain elk, prior to their introduction here.
Non-tribal hunters have to draw a permit to shoot a branch antlered bull. In 2004, when my dad and brother were drawn, 28 permits were issued. This year 3 were issued. Just when we thought the practice of not shooting big bulls was starting to pay off, the Yakima tribe is decimating them. Plus, they kill spikes and cows also. I would like to see the spike only rule go away. All it is doing is giving classless tribal hunters carte blanche on big elk. Another item I intend to pursue is getting my hands on the paperwork that had to have been drawn up when Mr. Coffin donated all the land to the state for the elk preserve. It has to contain language pertaining to preservation. Allowing tribal hunters onto that land is not preservation. I am thinking someone could take that information and make the state nervous.
Hunting in this area has been going downhill for the past 3 years. Now we know why. When TRN sent out the questionnaires to the gubernatorial candidates, one of the questions was whether they supported these closed door secret meetings. Our newly re-elected governor chose not to respond. Guess what? We already knew the answer. Soon, elk in the Colockum will go the way of salmon, crab and the Nooksack elk herd, which was nearly wiped out by tribal hunters.