April 03, 1999
Contact: Madonna Luers, 509-456-4073
1999 fall hunting seasons set by Fish and Wildlife Commission
SPOKANE -- The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission set 1999 fall hunting seasons, rules, and special permit levels -- with little major change from last year's seasons -- at their meeting in Spokane today.
Most of the minor changes made are calendar date adjustments or provide slightly more hunting opportunity for some species in some areas. All details of the seasons set will be in pamphlet form available at hunting license dealerships by mid-May, and the special hunting permit application deadline is June 11.
The Commission is a nine-member board appointed by the governor to set policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
Specific hunting issues addressed by the Commission included:
- resuming an early (September) Canada goose hunting season in Quilcene Bay on Hood Canal, that was closed last year due to objections from several waterfront property owners, after WDFW staff met with the community to evaluate safety concerns;
- maintaining the Port Susan Bay Canada goose hunting closure from November 1 through March 31 as adopted in emergency rule last year, (instead of the former year-round closure), to allow the harvest of growing numbers of resident geese during September and October;
- increasing elk and deer hunting opportunities for various user groups (modern firearm, archery, muzzleloader) through damage control hunts, shifts from permit hunts to general hunts, and adjustments in permit levels, bull or buck restrictions, and antlerless or either-sex restrictions;
- increasing once-in-a-lifetime moose hunting permits in northeast Washington units from a total of 43 last year to 49;
- increasing once-in-a-lifetime bighorn sheep hunting permits from 11 last year to 16, including the addition of a new Swakane unit in central Washington;
- and decreasing mountain goat hunting permits from 57 last year (when 37 goats were killed) to 41, including the elimination of the Mount Chopaka and Pratt River units, due to goat population declines.
In other action, the Commission:
- adopted revised Volunteer Cooperative Enhancement Program rules on how funds are spent in volunteer projects for fish and wildlife surveys, propagation, habitat enhancement, education, facility improvement, and other work (about $2.5 million per biennium comes from leases on state tidelands through the Aquatic Lands Enhancement Account (ALEA) for use in these projects);
- and directed WDFW to adopt and implement, by May 1, state-tribal hunting management guidelines that include development of a joint harvest and population data exchange system, enforcement protocols, regional planning, and research and cooperative studies.