Outdoor opportunities in November

Opportunities are still out there in November for you to to put some meat on the table. As always, weather conditions play a big part in your activity of choice and it all depends on how daring you want to be.

I sure wouldn’t want to be out there on the salt pursuing some winter Dungeness crab trying to re-enact scenes from Deadliest Catch, but that is just me.

Elk hunting is open for modern firearm hunters in Western Washington and these poor winter conditions can be a benefit or a hindrance. Snow is always a welcome sign as it pushes the elk down out of their higher elevation stomping grounds. Rain, on the other hand, will cause them to seek shelter and bed down early in the day.

Most hunting will take place south of Seattle or on the Olympic Peninsula. Elk hunters have to travel further distances than they do for deer, but the reward is a freezer filled with some of the best table fair you can eat.

Bear hunters have until the Nov. 15 to fill their tags. This time of year most bear are ready for their long winter nap, making hunting difficult. Hunters should concentrate on the lower elevations for the best possibility of success.

Waterfowl hunters are enjoying this weather, though. The cold, wet and windy weather is keeping waterfowl on the move. Big northern flocks have been making their way through the region and these birds are not as gun shy as our locals that have been pressured for almost a month.

Over this past weekend I saw several hunters out in the Skagit Valley with large spreads of snow goose decoys, and there where some nice flocks flying around the area. I know these hunters were having a blast, literally.

Lucky for us, the Skagit is not the nearest area to hunt. Hunters all over the island have been fairing very well and good hunting will continue to as weather conditions get worse.

Fishing has been off and on for most of the past few weeks. The Skagit River systems have been putting out some chums and a few silvers as well, but fishing has been tough.

With water conditions poor, scent is a key ingredient in a formula for success. High, cloudy water forces fish to rely on their sense of smell. Anglers should also cover as much water as possible, too. This will maximize your chances for a successful outing.

Marine areas 6 and 9 opened for crab Nov. 1. Although not the most popular areas for most crabbers, it is still a chance to catch a few more until next year’s summer season. These areas can be very difficult and dangerous to fish this time of the year, so paying attention to the weather is important. Be sure to dress appropriately and check the weather reports often. Far too many times, hunters and anglers have been caught out in conditions that if they would have been prepared for would have faired far better than they did. Safety is everything.

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