Duck hunting season to be delayed at Ridgefield refuge

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RIDGEFIELD — Waterfowl hunting at Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge will not open as scheduled on Saturday due to the federal government shutdown.

Chris Lapp, complex manager for the federal refuges in Southwest Washington, said hunting on Tuesday also appears lost. If the government reopens soon, the first day of hunting likely would be Oct. 19.

Hunting on the River S unit of the refuge is open Saturdays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Hunting is by reservation, with some walk-in hunters allowed.

Lapp said he needs to have his staff available for two days to prepare the River S unit for hunting.

Certain wetlands still need flooding, hunting blinds and the new check station need to be readied, and the trails to the blinds could use another mowing, Lapp said.

To open for hunting on Saturday, the shutdown needs to end by Wednesday, he said.

Monday is a federal holiday, so refuge staff would not be available that day. Duck hunting is closed Oct. 16-17 statewide, then reopens Oct. 19 through Jan. 26.

Lapp called the situation "extremely frustrating'' and will be at the main gate on Saturday morning to inform hunters who show up.