OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is inviting hunters, conservation groups and the general public to help shape state hunting seasons for 2009-11.
Through July 13, WDFW will accept public comments on issues ranging from general hunting hours to mule deer seasons. A questionnaire on those issues is posted on the department’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/regulations/seasonsetting/index.htm.
Hunters and others can also suggest their own ideas for future hunting seasons, said Dave Ware, WDFW game manager.
“This is the first of several opportunities people will have to participate in developing hunting seasons for the next three years,” Ware said. “We have certain management goals that we must meet, but we want to involve hunters and other members of the public in helping us determine how best to achieve them.”
Once the first comment period is over, WDFW will assess recommendations received from the public and use them in developing various season alternatives and proposed hunting regulations for 2009-11, Ware said.
In mid-August, WDFW will post those alternatives for public comment on its website and kick off a series of public meetings throughout the state. Evening meetings are planned Aug. 25 in Everett; Aug, 26 in Aberdeen; Aug. 27 in Tacoma; Aug. 28 in Vancouver, Wash.; Sept. 2 in Wenatchee; Sept. 3 in Spokane Valley; and Sept. 4 in Pasco. Specific times and locations of those meetings will be announced in July.
In March and April 2009, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will take public comments and consider adopting the proposed hunting seasons.
WDFW will provide regular updates on the hunting season-setting process via the WDFW website noted above. Interested citizens can also receive updates through the mail by calling (360) 902-2515 and asking to be added to the mailing list.