OUTDOORS: Hunter schooling class adjustments for youth

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State training opportunities for youth hunters are changing

Youth interested in participating in fall hunting opportunities should take note of the changes in hunter education licensing.

New hunters should complete hunter training now to ensure they are later eligible to hunt.

In response to COVID-19 and related public health measures, the State Department of Fish and Wildlife has transitioned to an online-only course for the past two years.

On June 1st, Fish and Wildlife raised the minimum age to take this course from 9 to 18. Students under the age of 18 can complete the online course but must complete a field proficiency assessment before they can be certified.

Traditional classroom courses are also offered. There is no minimum age for enrolling in a course with an instructor-led component.

All hunters born after January 1, 1972 must complete a hunter’s course in order to obtain a hunting license.

Deferring hunter training is another option for students as young as 10 years old who want to try hunting before taking a hunter training course. Deferment allows a person to hunt with an experienced hunter for a year before completing hunter training.

For more information, see wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/requirements/hunting-clinics.

The largest “fish” in the world

STUNG TRENG, Cambodia — Fishermen in northern Cambodia, working with an international team of scientists, have discovered a 661-pound freshwater stingray near a remote island in the Mekong.

The endangered fish’s size, which has been confirmed by scientists to weigh twice that of the average lowland gorilla, makes it larger than the 646-pound Mekong catfish caught in Thailand in 2005, which was the previous record-holder for the largest freshwater fish on earth.

The record-breaking stingray, which measures more than 13 feet from snout to tail, was hooked by a fisherman from the island of Koh Preah, south of the town of Stung Treng in the Mekong River, which flows through northern Cambodia.

Realizing the importance of his catch, the angler quickly contacted a team from the USAID-funded Wonders of the Mekong research project to help release the ray, an endangered species, back into the river.

The giant ray has been fitted with an acoustic tag, a technology that will allow biologists to learn more about the mysterious creature’s elusive behavior, a first for a stingray in Cambodia.

Clammers take poll

Razor clam diggers from Washington were invited to take part in a survey on the potential of an app-based forecasting tool for harmful algal blooms.

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is surveying members of the shellfishing and outdoor recreation community to gauge interest in such a tool and the potential benefits if the technology is developed.

You must be at least 18 years old to participate in this study.

To participate, visit survey.alchemer.com/s3/6908328/WHOI-HAB-Survey.