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


August 01, 1997
Contact: Madonna Luers, (509) 456-4073

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Commission to consider earlier, longer waterfowl hunting seasons at meeting in Tri-Cities Aug. 9

Earlier and longer waterfowl hunting seasons are among the items that the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will consider at its meeting Aug. 9 in the Tri- Cities.

The public meeting starts at 8:30 a.m. in the Vernita Room of the Doubletree Hotel at 802 George Washington Way in Richland. The commission is scheduled to consider the waterfowl hunting seasons in the afternoon.

A duck hunting season that would open statewide Oct. 4, 1997 and run through Jan. 17, 1998 is proposed by WDFW biologists. Goose hunting is proposed to open Oct. 11 and run through Jan. 4, 1998 in most of western Washington and through Jan. 18 in eastern Washington.

Hunting traditionally opens the second Saturday of October for waterfowl, upland game birds and deer. Federal guidelines for season length on waterfowl (which are migratory between states) allow for more hunting days because North American duck production is up due to more water in breeding areas.

Last year's duck hunting season was 93 days in western Washington and 100 in eastern Washington, compared to this year's proposal of 106 days statewide. Last year's goose hunting spanned 79 days in western Washington and 100 on the eastside, compared to this year's 86 days on the westside and 100 on the eastside.

A special youth hunting day, open only to hunters 15 years of age or under if accompanied by a non-hunting adult of at least 18, is proposed for Sept. 27.

In addition to the longer season, duck hunters could be allowed to take up to two hen mallards and three pintails in their daily bag limit of seven ducks if the commission adopts the department recommendation. In past years a bag limit of only one hen mallard and two pintails has been allowed. The non-toxic shot requirement for waterfowl hunting also is proposed for amendment to include tungsten-iron shot, in addition to steel and bismuth-tin shot.

Other action the commission is expected to take at the Aug. 9 meeting includes:

- Classifying the Oregon spotted frog as a state endangered species and downlisting the Aleutian Canada goose from endangered to threatened status and the gray whale from endangered to sensitive status

- Adopting Pacific halibut management policies

- Setting 1997-98 trapping seasons and rules

- Adopting a lake and stream rehabilitation policy

- Establishing game reserves at Coffeepot Lake, Fir Island Farm, Hayton and Debay's sloughs

- Adopting a proposal to return to the April time period for adoption of fall game hunting seasons, regulations and permit quotas.

The commission also is scheduled to present the 1996 Landowner of the Year award to Dave Billingsley for his wildlife habitat improvement work on his property in the Moses Coulee area.

Public input will be taken on all decision items on the commission agenda. Open public input periods are scheduled at the beginning and end of the day on other fish and wildlife issues.