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WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE     Print Version
NEWS RELEASE
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091


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April 08, 1998
Contact: Madonna Luers, (509) 456-4073 or Tim Waters, (425)775-1311, ext. 119

Commission adopts 1998 fall hunting seasons, regulations

OLYMPIA -- The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission today adopted the 1998 fall hunting seasons and regulations for deer, elk and other big game species.

For the first time ever, commissioners approved an antlerless only moose hunt in the Spokane area for young hunters this year. Wildlife biologists had recommended commissioners approve the antlerless only hunt because the state's moose population continues to expand in northeast Washington.

Young hunters who participate in the hunt and are successful will not forfeit their right to hunt for moose in future years. Under present regulations, hunters are allowed to take only one moose in their lifetime.

Among notable changes enacted by the commission was the elimination of the requirement that modern firearm hunters obtain a special applicant elk tag if they want to apply for special permits. All modern firearm hunters will now be able to hunt the entire nine-day elk season regardless of whether they applied for a special permit.

Last year, Commissioners added a northeast Washington elk tag hunting area, separate from the Blue Mountains elk tag area. They also changed the "spike only" rule for western Washington elk hunting to a "3-point antler minimum" rule. That means areas previously designated as branch bull permit hunting areas are now 3-point only for all hunters in 1998.

In the White River hunting area adjacent to Mt. Rainier National Park (Game Management Unit 472), commissioners adopted a 3-point minimum rule for both archers and modern firearm hunters. Previously, the area was designated permit only for all hunters.

Commissioners also eliminated all antlerless deer permits in central and north- central Washington as a continuation of efforts to recover deer populations impacted by the severe 1996-97 winter which resulted in high mortality rates in deer populations.

In all of western Washington and four hunting areas in the Wenatchee area (Game Management Units 304, 306, 308 and 316), commissioners increased from one to two the number of black bears that hunters may take annually. The increase was recommended by wildlife biologists because of increase in population and incidence of bear damage complaints.

Hunters should consult the department's hunting seasons and rules pamphlet for complete details. The publication is expected to be available by mid-May. The permit application deadline for all species is June 12.