Leon Archer

The Sportsman’s World: September 29, 2012

Leon Archer

by Leon Archer

I sacrificed the early goose season so that Sweet Thing and I could go to Sammamish, Wash. (just a ways east of Seattle) to visit my son, Ben, and our daughter-in-law, Meghan.

We spent a wonderful couple of weeks getting reacquainted with the sights and sounds of Western Washington.

Last Monday, I watched Green Bay play the Seattle Seahawks. It wasn’t just the final play that was goofed, there were poor calls or no calls all through the game.

That didn’t have much effect on our trip; I just thought I’d mention it since it seems like everyone else in the U.S. has done so, including the president.

This is the dry season in the Northwest – no, it doesn’t always rain in Seattle. We had one day of light drizzle, but for the most part it was sunny or partly overcast.

Washington desperately needs some rain, but the weather patterns don’t look promising. They have some huge forest fires in the Wenachee Mountains that had burned more than 140 square miles the last time I heard, which was about four days ago. They were not overly optimistic about getting them under control right away.

In the meantime, we took advantage of the tourist type weather to visit Pike’s market, where we picked up some smoked salmon and some fruit and vegetables. We bought some of the best peaches and mangos that I have ever tasted. The peaches were from Washington; I think the mangos were from Honduras.

We also visited the precinct office that my son works out of as a Seattle policeman. This is his seventh year on the force, which about makes him a veteran. Seattle has its own problems just like any city, but I feel pretty safe there, especially walking around with a policeman as a guide — off duty and in plain clothes, of course.

Ben’s wife has some relatives who are big time pheasant and duck hunters and I wanted to get to know them. I saw some of their bags from past hunts and they were impressive.

On one hunt, they limited out with just green head mallards. I’ve done that a few times, and they remain very memorable hunts for me. They also get quite a variety of birds at times.

In their pictures, I could easily identify pintails, widgeon, shovelers, ring bills, blue wing teal, cinnamon teal, mallards, and wood ducks. I am hoping I might be able to finagle myself into a hunt or two with those guys.

They hunt pheasants in Eastern Washington, which is a big grain growing section of the state. Mostly the farmers grow wheat, which doesn’t make for really fat birds like corn will produce, but they are good eating all the same.

They had all cock birds in their pictures, but I don’t know if they are the only ones legal or if they just pass up hens.

Of course, when you are near a fish hatchery, you just have to visit it, especially if the fish are running. There is a salmon hatchery in nearby Issaqua and the king salmon had started showing up, so we went to have a look. It isn’t quite the state of the art hatchery like we have in Altmar, but it does raise and release a lot of king and coho salmon.

To read the rest of the column, pick up the latest copy of The Valley News. You may also subscribe to the paper by calling 598-6397

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