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February 23, 2009
Contact: Susan Yeager, (360) 902-2267

Fish and Wildlife Commission to take comment on proposed 2009-11 hunting rules

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will take final public input on a proposed three-year package of hunting seasons and rules during its March 6-7 meeting in Ellensburg.

The commission, which sets policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), will meet both days beginning at 8:30 a.m. at the Quality Inn, 1700 Canyon Road in Ellensburg.

The commission will be briefed by WDFW wildlife program staff and take public comment on rule proposals for the 2009, 2010, and 2011 hunting seasons. The seasons include hunts for deer, elk, moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goat, black bear, cougar and small game. Commissioners also will hear comments on proposals for special seasons and hunting restrictions; opportunities for terminally ill and disabled hunters; hunter-education requirements; landowner hunting permits and damage-prevention permit hunts; trapping seasons; big game and wild turkey auctions, raffle and special-incentive permits; special closures and game management unit boundary descriptions; non-toxic shot requirements; and hunting equipment restrictions.

Details on all proposed rules are available on the WDFW website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/regulations/seasonsetting/. The proposals were developed after extensive public involvement last year and are based on the 2009-15 Game Management Plan, available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/publications/00433/.

The March commission meeting provides the last opportunity for public input on the 2009-11 hunting seasons proposals. Final commission action is scheduled for the April 3-4 meeting in Olympia.

At the March meeting the commission also will consider approval of a proposed acquisition of property to protect critical wildlife habitat in Okanogan County, and receive a WDFW fish program staff overview on salmon forecast data and fishery opportunities.

Public input on fish and wildlife issues is welcome at several scheduled times during the meeting. A preliminary meeting agenda is available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/commission/meetings/2009/03/agenda_mar0609.html.