ANACORTES – Duck and goose hunters will enjoy seasons similar to last year’s under a package adopted by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission at a meeting here Aug. 3-4.
The commission, which sets policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), approved hunting seasons based on state and federal waterfowl population estimates.
The statewide duck hunting season will run Oct. 13-17 and Oct. 20-Jan. 27, and a special youth hunting weekend is scheduled for Sept. 22-23.
As part of that package, the commission increased the bag limit for canvasback from one to two. Special limits for hen mallard, pintail, redhead, scaup, harlequin, scoter and long-tailed duck remained the same and are included in the 107-day hunting season.
Goose hunting seasons vary by management areas across the state, but most open Oct. 13 and run into January 2008.
The commission also modified the snow goose quality hunt on Fir Island in Skagit County to allow three weeks of hunting later in the season, and increased the number of days a week hunters can participate in the quality hunt from three to five.
The snow goose population that winters in the Skagit Valley has been growing for the past 10 years, and is expected to increase again this year.
“Allowing hunters more days in the field on Fir Island will help manage this growing snow goose population and address some concerns about crop damage at farms in the area,” said Jerry Gutzwiler, commission chair.
In other action, the commission:
- Modified rules regarding the Nooksack elk herd in Game Management Unit 418, ensuring that state hunters will have an opportunity to harvest up to 15 bulls this year in the unit.
- Changed Silver Dollar Association landowner hunting permits, which are designed to address elk damage issues and provide hunter access to private lands, from “any bull” to “any elk.”
- Restricted access to the southern end of the North Potholes Game Reserve to protect breeding birds and waterfowl habitat.
- Clarified tagging requirements for big game animals.
In other business, the commission took public comment on proposed public conduct rules, designed to protect fish and wildlife resources and ensure public safety on state lands. The rules address the use of aircraft, camping, commercial activity, dumping and sanitation, erecting structures, firearms and target shooting, fireworks, land and road closures, livestock, parking, pets, resource removal, vehicle use and other issues.
Proposed rules for public conduct on department lands have been under development for several years, with involvement by WDFW’s statewide Land Management Advisory Council and citizen advisory groups for individual wildlife areas.
The commission is scheduled to consider approval of public conduct rules at its Oct. 12-13 meeting in Olympia. The proposals are available on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/lands/proposed_wac_232-13.htm.
The commission also was briefed on scoter populations, the North of Falcon salmon-season setting process, the Fir Island snow goose quality hunt, rot cords for crab pots and ecotourism.