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first_imgJason Gray wasn’t happy that he had to pay $150 for a Weyerhaeuser Co. access permit to go elk hunting last week.But Gray wasn’t complaining after he got a 4-by-5-point bull the first day of the season on Weyco land near Toutle.Does he think the $150 was worth it? “Since I have this, yes,” he said, showing off his big bull at Harry Gardner Park last week.Unlike Gray, however, many longtime local hunters who contacted The Daily News have decided to skip hunting this year because of the Weyerhaeuser permit. The Daily News asked to hear from hunters whose plans were changed by the company’s permit requirement, and 20 hunters responded.“I am not hunting deer, elk or grouse for the first time in nearly 50 years,” Jerry Sessions of Castle Rock said in an email. “This is due to the fees charged for access to Weyerhaeuser and other private land.”This is the first year that Weyerhaeuser has charged $150 for access to much of its land around Longview, including prime elk habitat. In one sign of its unpopularity, a Facebook page called “Sportsmen Not Buying Weyerhaeuser Permits” has more than 2,000 members.Still, several hunters told the newspaper the fee was only one factor in their decision not to hunt this year. The spread of elk hoof disease and the related decline of the herd size were other oft-cited factors. Several hunters said they felt slighted by a company they had worked for, while others complained that hunting will become unaffordable.Gray, who used to live in Longview but now lives in Orting, Wash., didn’t know about the Weyerhaeuser permits until he came down here to hunt.last_img read more