The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will meet Aug. 3-4 in Twisp to decide a host of policy issues including waterfowl hunting seasons, and criteria for removing cougars for public safety reasons.
The meeting will be held at the Methow Valley Community Center off Highway 20 in Twisp. Commissioners will convene at 10 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 3, and at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 4.
Proposed 2001-2002 waterfowl hunting seasons and rules, which must follow federal migratory bird guidelines, will be discussed by commissioners on Saturday. The seasons and rules are similar to last year's with the following exceptions: canvasback duck hunting may be closed nationwide due to low populations; hunters in all of Grays Harbor County will be required to obtain a special permit for Canada geese (as already required in other parts of southwest Washington); and state goose zones will be re-numbered.
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) waterfowl manager Don Kraege says that although duck populations in northern breeding areas were lower than last year, they were not low enough to warrant season restrictions.
The Commission, the nine-person citizen's panel charged with setting WDFW policy, will also consider a ban on battery-powered, motorized waterfowl decoys (known as "roboduck" or "motoduck"), which some hunters believe are overly effective in attracting waterfowl.
The public is encouraged to provide input on this issue by filling out an internet survey. Persons can also e-mail the Department at firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to Wildlife Program, WDFW, 600 Capitol Way N, Olympia, WA 98501-1091.
On Friday, the Commission will consider proposed adjustments to the permit system which allows the removal of cougars with hounds for public safety reasons. The adjustments include: 1) changing the criteria that warrant permits to address areas of the state where there have been high numbers of cougar safety incidents, but few sighting reports; 2) allow cougar permit applicants to apply for specific game management units rather than by regions; 3) mplement a modified quota system to target up to 74 cougars annually to improve the harvest success rate (which was just 34 percent last year); and 4) require permitees to notify WDFW immediately prior to and following a cougar removal.
The Commission is also scheduled to:
- Be briefed Saturday on the process used to define the recommended southern boundary of the Medicine Creek Tribes' ceded area for hunting. The Commission will be asked to provide direction to the Department on potential public involvement processes and rule making to implement the boundary adjustment.
- Consider proposals to better protect the state from inadvertent introductions of aquatic nuisance species by strengthening watercraft ballast water discharge treatment technology standards and reporting requirements
- Be briefed on WDFW's supplemental budget and legislation requests for the 2002 state legislative session
- Hear briefings on the Department's endangered pygmy rabbit recovery program and domestic livestock grazing on WDFW lands.
The Commission's complete meeting agenda can be viewed on the Department's webpage or a printed copy may be obtained by contacting the Fish and Wildlife Commission office at (360) 902-2267.