OLYMPIA - The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has received $25,000 for wildlife conservation and management activities from the Northwest Chapter of the conservation group Safari Club International (SCI) following the auction of two big game hunting tags.
The money was collected recently at the Northwest Chapter's annual fund- raising banquet from two hunters who successfully bid on a moose tag and an eastern Washington elk tag.
Under an agreement with WDFW, organizations such as SCI organize and conduct auctions each year for hunting tags to generate funds for management and research pertaining to those specific species. WDFW is spared administrative and other expenses involved in organizing an auction event.
Other conservation groups that participated in separate big game tag auctions in 2002, generating more than $70,000, include the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep, the Seattle-Puget Sound chapter of SCI and the Washington Chapter of the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep.
The Department's agreements with SCI and other conservation groups to conduct the big game tag auctions underscores the importance of public-private partnerships in game management, said WDFW Director Jeff Koenings.
"In an age where government is downsizing and fish and wildlife agency budgets are stretched thin, the partnerships we have formed with Safari Club International and other conservation organizations become increasingly important," said Koenings.
Each year, most western state wildlife agencies auction a handful of highly sought after big game tags or "Governor's Tags," to augment limited wildlife budgets. Auctions started in 1994 with a bighorn sheep tag and have expanded over the years. WDFW currently auctions one tag each for bighorn sheep, moose, mountain goat, deer, east-side elk and west-side elk on an annual basis, and since 1994, about $500,000 has been raised for these species in auctions.