Come again?

Nov 16, 2018 | 0 comments

Bumper Sticker

“Maybe that’s why we haven’t had a razor clam season this fall…”  I had just arrived at the post office and there was my neighbor looking at the “I sell guns to clams” sign in the store window.

“You think it’s some kind of standoff, then?” I asked him.  “Could be…” was the reply.

“But how do you do a background check on clams?  Is it obvious if they are suffering from mental illness?” The conversation continued along those lines for a while – perhaps one of those better-to-laugh-than-to-cry-about-it discussions.

Digging Razor Clams

So far this fall there has not been a razor clam season on the Long Beach Peninsula.  The reason according to WDFW [Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife]:  Based on beach surveys conducted this summer, WDFW estimates the total razor clam population on most Washington’s beaches has increased significantly from last season, which means more days of digging this season. The exception is Long Beach, an area that is recovering after a decline in clam survival due to low salinity in winter 2017.

And for those who don’t live in the area or who have never had the pleasure of digging for the elusive razor clam, a clam gun is one of those answers to the question, “When is a gun not a gun?”  In this case, it’s a long tube made of metal or, perhaps PVC, with a handle so that you can push it into the sand over a clam hole.  Some say they are THE fool-proof method of procuring your 15-clam limit – if the clams are showing.  And, of course, if the season is open.

“Come Again” said the old Oysterville Approach Sign

Others swear by the tried-and-true clam shovel – which was actually the first tool referred to as a “clam gun” back in the day.  That’s when most diggers simply repurposed a garden spade by shaving the sides and bending it at an angle to the handle.  Before that, at least for me, was the old-fashiioned hand method: dig-like-mad-and-hope-for-the-best.

All of those techniques, of course, were used well before guns were being sold to clams.  (What do you suppose a clam’s gun looks like, anyway?)


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