OLYMPIA — The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission approved amendments to cougar hunting regulations during a conference call today.
The commission, which sets policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), amended cougar hunting regulations in six counties in eastern Washington, where a pilot project authorizing cougar hunting with the aid of dogs was not extended by the Legislature this year.
That amendment increases cougar hunting opportunities without the aid of dogs in Klickitat, Chelan, Okanogan, Ferry, Stevens and Pend Oreille counties to continue to meet management objectives in those areas.
In addition, the commission modified the criteria for determining when cougars are removed to address public concerns about pet and livestock depredation and personal safety. The change allows for cougar removals when complaints confirmed by WDFW staff in a given game management unit exceed the five-year average.
WDFW game managers recommended the amendments to cougar hunting regulations as an interim measure until the 2012-14 hunting season package is developed. Public discussion of the 2012-14 hunting seasons is scheduled to begin this month. More information on those public meetings is available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/news/release.php?id=aug1511a.
For more information about future commission meetings, visit WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/commission/.