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


March 27, 1998
Contact: Madonna Luers, (509) 456-4073

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Commission to discuss budget problems, adopt tribal hunting policy, set 1998 hunting seasons at April 3-4 meeting in Wenatchee

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will meet April 3 and 4 in Wenatchee to discuss budget problems, to consider adoption of a policy to pursue a state-tribal hunting coordination plan and to set 1998 fall hunting seasons, among other agenda items.

The meeting is open to the public and will start at 12 noon on Friday, April 3, in the Columbia River Room of the Doubletree Hotel at 1225 N. Wenatchee Ave. in Wenatchee.

The Commission is a nine-member board appointed by the governor to oversee the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

Budget discussions on Friday afternoon's agenda will focus first on the short- term impacts of WDFW's fishing and hunting license revenue shortfall, projected to be as high as $17 million by the end of the biennium, July 1, 1999. Commissioners also will discuss long-term funding stability ideas.

The state-tribal hunting coordination policy will be considered at about 6:30 p.m. on Friday. The Commission will vote on a policy acknowledging the tribes' legal status as sovereign governments and recognizing the need for cooperative management to preserve wildlife while meeting the needs of both tribal and non-tribal hunters. The draft policy also commits WDFW to work with tribes to develop a harvest data exchange system and enforcement protocols.

A hunting and fishing agreement with the Colville Tribes also will be signed during the Friday evening portion of the meeting. The agreement, revised from a 1982 version, expands non-member hunting for upland game birds and waterfowl, provides greater protection for mule deer, and protects non-member fishing opportunity on and around the Colville Reservation. Rules that continue a closure of big game and grouse hunting and furbearer trapping on the Colville Reservation also will be considered for adoption.

The 1998 hunting seasons will be considered on Saturday, April 4, starting at 8 a.m. Most hunting seasons and rules being recommended by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) game managers are similar to last year's regulations. Notable changes include a shift from a "spike only" to a "3-point antler minimum" rule for western Washington elk hunting, addition of a northeast area elk tag (separate from the Blue Mountains elk tag), elimination of the special tag for special elk permit applications, and allowance for hunters to take up to two black bears annually. The number of special hunting permits for moose, goat, sheep, elk, and deer also will be set at this time.

Other agenda items during Friday afternoon's meeting include:

  • Listing sage grouse and sharp-tailed grouse as state threatened wildlife
  • Briefing on 1999-2000 sportfishing rule and pamphlet simplification plans
  • Briefing on preliminary results of Blue Mountains elk calf survival study
Public comment time is scheduled for all action items on the agenda. Public comment on any topic also will be taken Friday night before adjournment; on Saturday morning at 8 a.m., and Saturday afternoon before adjournment.