As a special incentive for filing early hunting activity reports for the past season, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is offering hunters a chance to win one of nine extra hunting tags.
The special tags, dubbed "Super Tags," include two eastern Washington elk tags, two western Washington elk tags, and five statewide deer tags for the 2002 hunting season. The season for the tag winners will last from Sept. 1 to Dec. 31 in any unit open for general season or permit hunts except Private Lands Wildlife Management Areas (PLWMAs) and Game Management Units (GMUs) 485 and 157. Tag winners must purchase their Super Tag and will also be allowed to purchase regular big-game licenses that include deer or elk tags.
The special tags are intended to provide an incentive for early reporting to avoid a last-minute rush before the Jan. 31 hunter report deadline.
To be eligible for the special tag drawing, successful hunters must report their harvest of deer, elk, black bear or turkey within 10 days of a kill and unsuccessful tag holders must file their reports by Jan. 10. All deer, elk, black bear, and turkey tag holders, whether successful or not, must report their 2001 hunting season activity by Jan. 31.
The new reporting requirement for all deer, elk, black bear, and turkey, approved last April by the Fish and Wildlife Commission, is intended to improve the state's harvest statistics. Hunters have been strong supporters of mandatory reporting, according to opinion surveys and public comments collected over the past two years.
"Hunters, as well as biologists, have recognized the inadequacy of the Department's harvest data for some time," said Dave Ware, WDFW game division manager.
"We worked with hunters and evaluated several options before forming a technical group of experts to oversee the development of the new reporting system," he added. "The agency's new license system makes reporting relatively easy for big-game hunters."
Hunters may file harvest reports either by calling the automated, toll-free phone line at 1-877-945-3492 or electronically at http://www.fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov on the Internet.