OLYMPIA— Hunting management guidelines developed jointly by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and Washington tribes were presented today to the Fish and Wildlife Commission and are available for public review.
The draft guidelines— the product of a year-long series of meetings between the state and tribes— are aimed at maintaining healthy wildlife populations, rebuilding weak elk herds and preserving future hunting opportunities for both tribal and non-tribal hunters.
The guidelines establish a system for sharing information on hunting regulations, harvest data and resources, and provide a statewide planning process. The guidelines also establish joint Department-tribal workgroups to address regional herd management, as well as education, outreach, enforcement and technical issues.
"It is essential for the Department and the tribes to work together to protect wildlife resources and preserve hunting opportunities" said WDFW Interjurisdictional Program Director Phil Anderson. "The department and the tribes recognize that lack of data is a serious challenge to meeting these objectives and are working together to resolve this problem."
Copies of the draft guidelines are available by writing to the Wildlife Management Program, WDFW, 600 Capitol Way N., Olympia WA 98501-1091 or by calling (360) 902-2515. Written comments on the draft guidelines may be sent to the same address until March 5.
The draft guidelines may be revised following the public comment period. The final draft of the guidelines will be distributed beginning March 23 and a second public comment period will be held from then until April 3. The Fish and Wildlife Commission will consider adopting the guidelines during its April 2 and 3 meeting in Spokane. Public comment on the final draft guidelines will be taken at that meeting.