As of New Year's Day, anyone who took out a 2012 Puget Sound winter Dungeness crab catch record card must start reporting their activity - or lack of it - as well as all Dungeness crab taken home.
The deadline to file these reports is Friday, Feb. 1. Card carriers who don't file will pay a $10 penalty to obtain a 2013 Puget Sound crab endorsement, which allows legal crabbing in inland waters.
The period to file for is Tuesday, Sept. 4, to Monday, Dec. 31. If you failed to file a report for the period prior to Labor Day, it's too late.
There are several ways to meet this requirement.
? Option 1: Mail catch record cards to the fish and wildlife department's Olympia headquarters. If you have no plans to fish in the coming week, that can be done immediately.
The address: WDFW CRC Unit, 600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091.
? Option 2: Wait until Tuesday, Jan. 1, and log onto WDFW's crab reporting webpage, which will be at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/wdfw/puget_sound_crab_catch.html.
Every paying PSC endorsement holder as well as crabbers age 14 and younger who took out free winter 2012 catch record cards are must file, even if they didn't go crabbing or didn't catch and retain any keepers.
The data from all personal use crabbers is important in managing the Puget Sound crab fishery.
Washington state hunters of black bear, elk, deer and turkeys holding general or special-hunt tags must report starting Tuesday, Jan. 1. Again, these reports are required of all tag-holders, even those who hunted but were unsuccessful or who took out tags but did not hunt at all. Successful big game hunters must report kills within 10 days of filling their tag(s).
The deadline is Thursday, Jan. 31, and there is the usual $10 civil penalty for failing to do so.
However, there's an incentive for speedy compliance as well.
The names of all those filing tag reports by Thursday, Jan. 10, will be entered into a drawing for nine special hunting permits - five for deer and four for elk.
These 2013 permits will be valid regionally from September through December.
Holders of special hunt tags for the four main game species, as well as holders of general transport tags, must now make separate reports of activity on tags in each general category.
There are two ways to file transport tag and special hunt tag reports: by telephone, at 877-945-3492, or by going to https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/hunting and clicking on a report link in the upper right-hand column.
Either way, you'll need to provide your WILD number (found on all license documents) and the individual game management units in which you hunted with each tag.
Take note of and record the confirmation number issued at the conclusion of each report. If you don't get one, it means the report was not received and logged by the agency's system and you must repeat the report.
OPTIONS BEFORE AND AFTER NEW YEAR'S
Crabbing in greater Puget Sound closes for the season at sunset Monday, Dec. 31, at which time all personal use gear must be out of the water. Until then all inland waters are open daily except those in marine areas 10 and 11.
Locally crabbers may combine quests for Dungeness with blackmouth excursions at Chuckanut Bay, Eliza Island, Padilla and Samish bays and the Cherry Point near-shore zone.
The next opportunities for crabbing will come in the summer of 2013.
A final four-day fall razor clam dig is set to open Friday, Dec. 28, on Twin Harbors (for all four days), Long Beach and Mocrocks (Saturday, Sunday and Monday only) and Copalis Beach (Sunday and Monday only) razor clam management sectors.
WDFW shellfish managers have posted a tentative early winter clamming schedule with one long and one short opening each in both January and February.
These depend on marine toxin clearances, which are announced about a week before each proposed opening.
Dig dates are Tuesday, Jan. 8 (a seven-day opening), Friday, Jan. 25 (a three-day opening), Thursday, Feb. 7 (a six-day opening), and Saturday, Feb. 8 (a two-day opening).
Nearly all big game hunts including late primitive weaponry as well as forest grouse seasons close at sunset Monday, Dec. 31.
However, small game seasons for rabbits, coyote, bobcat and fox continue through March.
Pheasant hunting continues east of the Cascades through Sunday, Jan. 13, while partridge and quail hunters may exercise their legs and shotguns on the east side until Monday, Jan. 21.
Waterfowlers have the most time left to hunt for ducks and geese, with seasons ending on Jan. 27.
HOMING WINTER-RUN WATCH
With restrictions now prohibiting inter-basin transfers of hatchery winter-run steelhead eggs to make up deficits if a hatchery does not get needed spawners, it is important that enough adult fish reach their artificial spawning destinations.
The Herald publishes a weekly summary of hatchery winter-run steelhead arrivals at Western Washington hatcheries.
Under the state's steelhead management plan and individual hatchery genetics management plans, facilities must spawn the earliest returning adipose fin-clipped adults. This will breed more fish likely to return early, reducing the potential for interacting with later-returning wild adult populations.
As of Thursday, Dec. 20, these are the numbers reported by each hatchery of adult hatchery winter-run steelhead trapped, as well as eggs already taken and other details:
Maritime Heritage Center Hatchery (Whatcom Creek): one adult, no eggs taken
Kendall Creek Hatchery (North Fork Nooksack River) : 23 adults, no eggs taken (target 165,000 egg take)
Marblemount Hatchery (Cascade River): 30 adults, 4,000 eggs taken (target 275,000 egg take)
Whitehorse Hatchery (North Fork Stillaguamish River): 33 adults, 56,386 eggs taken
Tokul Creek Hatchery (Snoqualmie River): 211 adults, 148,200 eggs taken
Soos Creek Hatchery (Green River): 32 adults, no eggs taken
Dungeness Hatchery (Dungeness River): 22 adults, 14,000 eggs taken
Bogachiel Hatchery (Bogachiel River): 580 adults, 306,000 eggs taken
Humptulips Hatchery (Humptulips River): 385 adults, 103,750 eggs taken
Forks Creek Hatchery (Willapa River): 371 adults, no eggs taken
Cowlitz Hatchery (Cowlitz River): 490 adults, no eggs taken
Doug Huddle, the Bellingham Herald's outdoors correspondent, since 1983 has written a weekly fishing and hunting column that now appears Sundays. Read his blog and contact him at http//pblogs.bellinghamherald.com/outdoor.