OLYMPIA– The public will have an opportunity to comment on several proposed changes in state hunting rules—some modifying seasons and special permits—during the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission’s March 9-10 meeting in Olympia.
Other issues scheduled for public hearings range from proposed modifications in the reporting system for Dungeness crab caught in Puget Sound to a clarification of livestock-grazing policies on lands owned by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
The commission, which sets policy for WDFW, is scheduled to begin its public meeting at 8:30 a.m., March 9, in room 175-A of the Natural Resources Building at 1111 Washington Street S.E. The meeting will continue March 10 at 8:30 a.m.
Proposed hunting rules scheduled for discussion before the commission would:
- Expand high buck hunt to all of the Henry Jackson Wilderness in the north Cascade Mountains.
- Reduce hunting opportunities for antlerless mule deer in south-central Washington, in response to declining deer populations.
- Scale back muzzleloader hunts for antlerless blacktailed deer in the Satsop and Williams Creek game management units (GMUs).
- Provide more antlerless elk-hunting opportunities for bowhunters in GMUs 520 and 503 near Mount St. Helens.
- Slightly increase the number of permits available to hunt moose, bighorn sheep and mountain goats, in response to growing populations of those animals.
- Add participants and set this year’s season dates and permit levels for the Landowner Hunter Permit program, established last year to address elk-damage issues and increase hunter access to public lands.
- Make waterfowl-hunting hours in Grays Harbor County consistent with the rest of Goose Management Area 3.
- Add Kansas to the list of states where Washington hunters would be required to process animal carcasses before bringing them into this state. WDFW has proposed this measure as a means of guarding against the importation of Chronic Wasting Disease.
The commission is scheduled to take action on these and other proposed hunting regulations at its April 6-7 meeting in Ellensburg. Public comments will also be taken at that meeting on antlerless elk permits for hunters using modern firearms and muzzleloaders.
“These proposals are modifications to the three-year hunting plan the commission approved last year,” said Dave Ware, WDFW game division manager. “The upcoming meeting will give hunters and other members of the public opportunity to comment before the commission takes action on these proposals in April at its meeting in Ellensburg.”
During its meeting in March, the commission is scheduled to take action on a proposal that would update WDFW guidelines on raising and releasing marine fish such as rockfish and lingcod. That policy would limit marine aquaculture to scientific research and efforts to rebuild native marine fish stocks designated as “depleted.”
Also at the March meeting the commission is scheduled to take action on a number of land transactions.
An agenda for the March 9-10 meeting in Olympia is available on the commission’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/com/meetings.htm.