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-
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
- 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.