OLYMPIA –The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission is scheduled to take action on a variety of new hunting rules at a public meeting April 8-9 in Olympia.
The commission, which sets policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), will meet both days in room 172 of the Natural Resource Building, 1111 Washington St. S.E. in Olympia. The meeting will start at 8:30 a.m. both days.
An agenda is available on the commission’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/commission/.
New hunting rules proposed for the 2011-12 season would:
- Adjust elk and deer general seasons and special-permit levels in response to population changes and crop and property damage problems in various parts of the state. Proposed modifications include reducing antlerless white-tailed deer hunting in northeast units, while maintaining opportunities for youth, senior and disabled hunters. The commission also will consider a proposal that would implement antler point restrictions for white-tailed deer in two northeast Washington game management units.
- Adjust moose, bighorn sheep, and mountain goat hunting permit levels, based on population surveys.
- Increase spring black bear hunting seasons and permits in western and northeast Washington to help reduce timber damage, address bear nuisance activity and expand hunting opportunities within population management guidelines.
- Simplify game management unit boundary descriptions for deer and elk hunting.
- Authorize certain landowners in Asotin County to issue hunting permits to increase access to deer and elk hunting on private lands. Hunting permits for those properties also would be available to the public through WDFW’s special permit drawing.
- Clarify public-conduct rules on private lands open for hunting under cooperative agreements with WDFW.
In other action, the commission will consider proposed changes in state bald eagle management plan requirements. Bald eagles are no longer listed as an endangered species and are considered recovered in Washington state. The proposal would relax current management plan requirements to require site-specific management plans only if bald eagles were again listed as a state threatened or endangered species. Bald eagle habitat protection would continue through the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service under the federal Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.
The commission will also consider approving acquisition of land for fish and wildlife habitat and public recreation in Okanogan, Wahkiakum, Whatcom and Chelan counties. Funds used to acquire the properties would be part of the state’s capital budget and are not available for use in operating budgets.
In other business, the commission is scheduled to hear briefings on the Estuary and Salmon Restoration Program and an update on the management of forage fish in Puget Sound.