Deer hunters rejoice as tree farm reopens

2:46 pm October 29th, 2012


By Bob Brown


A new sound has been echoing throughout the hills and valleys of Weyerhaeuser’s Vail Tree Farm. It is the sound of gun fire.

Opened to vehicle access last Saturday for the first time this year, western Washington modern firearm hunters took full advantage of the opening and inundated the farm in search of black-tailed deer.

Chauncey Barnes, Eyes-In–The-Woods volunteer, said that as of 7:30 a.m., 650 vehicles had passed through the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) check station. It was reported about half that number entered the farm through the 150 gate near Chehalis.

Hunter success was running about the same as the past couple of years. As of 5 p.m. Saturday, a total of 42 deer, mostly spikes, had been checked through the station. WDFW biologist Scott Harris said harvested deer numbers were about normal, considering this year’s unique modern firearm opener.

Lacey hunters, Ken and John Yarnell each took a spike and were very happy with their success. Both had been hunting deer on the Vail Tree Farm for a number of years and were familiar with the area. Asked where they were hunting, both menn emphasized it was a secret.

Kent hunter Ken Demerritt, who also shot a spike, said he appreciated hunting the tree farm because it is one of the few places left where you can hunt without having to pay.

Fish and Wildlife Police Capt. Dan Brinson said overall, except for a few hunters caught with loaded firearms in their vehicle violations were minimal. Brinson also said the enforcement division appreciates the work Eyes-In-The-Woods volunteers do to help reduce violations, manning game check stations, and throughout the year assist the department in other wildlife programs.


• Last month’s issue of WDFW’s Crossing Paths had a pretty interesting article on deer warts, written by Madonna Lures, editor of the publication. Lures said warts are not uncommon on deer and a phenomenon that are regularly reported to the wildlife department by concerned citizens and hunters. The warts are called papillomas, fibromas or fibropapillomas, and are usually a benign wart-like growth fastened to the skin of the deer. They are firm, hairless, gray or black in color, can be smooth or rough in texture, small as peas or large as footballs and may grow in clusters. Sometimes, they can become so heavy they hang like a pendulum from deer, and may be found on any part of the animal’s body.

These growths do not usually cause any harm to the deer because the warts only grow on the surface of the skin, and usually do not affect the deer’s behavior or general health unless they block the deer’s vision or become an impediment to walking, running, or eating.

Deer can live a normally with a moderate infection of warts. The caused by viruses that are contagious within the same species, usually do not infect another species, and eventually will out grow their blood supply, dry up and disappear. Fawns exposed to the papilloma virus can develop immunity early in their life. All species of mammals are probably susceptible to their own type of papilloma, but in Washington, papilloma are most frequently observed on deer, elk and moose.

Papilloma viruses are transferred from animal to animal by biting insects, direct contact between deer, or sharing rubbing posts and bedding sites. Deer papillomas do not affect people, pets or livestock. But pets and livestock can become infected with viruses that affect their own species.

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