OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is now accepting proposals for changes in state hunting rules during the 2015-17 seasons.
Hunters and other members of the public can post their proposals on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/regulations/seasonsetting/, which includes a timetable for rule development.
The department also plans to host six public meetings around the state in August to discuss options for proposed hunting rules.
Dave Ware, WDFW game program manager, said changes proposed by the public will play an important role in shaping hunting seasons and associated hunting regulations for 2015-17.
“We want to hear people’s comments and concerns, especially those that address a significant conservation or management issue,” Ware said. “We don’t implement every proposal we receive, but we do take a close look at all of them and incorporate a lot of those ideas into the state’s hunting rules.”
Meanwhile, WDFW is also accepting public input on the state’s draft game management plan 2015-21, which lays out guiding principles for upcoming hunting seasons. Six public meetings – listed at http://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/game/2015/ – are scheduled around the state in June.
The public can also comment on key aspects of the six-year plan via an on-line survey, available at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/gmpobjectives through July 18.
Key issues considered in the draft plan include:
- Promoting hunter recruitment and retention;
- Managing predator/prey relationships;
- Maintaining hunter access to timberlands;
- Managing wolves after they are no longer classified as an endangered species; and
- Possible new rules requiring the use of non-toxic shot.
Final recommendations for the six-year plan will be presented to the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission for a public hearing in August and adoption in September. Final rules for the 2015-17 hunting seasons will be submitted to the commission next spring.