The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will meet April 3 and 4 in
Wenatchee to discuss budget problems, to consider adoption of a policy to pursue a
state-tribal hunting coordination plan and to set 1998 fall hunting seasons, among other
The meeting is open to the public and will start at 12 noon on Friday, April 3, in
the Columbia River Room of the Doubletree Hotel at 1225 N. Wenatchee Ave. in
The Commission is a nine-member board appointed by the governor to oversee
the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
Budget discussions on Friday afternoon's agenda will focus first on the short-
term impacts of WDFW's fishing and hunting license revenue shortfall, projected to be
as high as $17 million by the end of the biennium, July 1, 1999. Commissioners also
will discuss long-term funding stability ideas.
The state-tribal hunting coordination policy will be considered at about 6:30 p.m.
on Friday. The Commission will vote on a policy acknowledging the tribes' legal status
as sovereign governments and recognizing the need for cooperative management to
preserve wildlife while meeting the needs of both tribal and non-tribal hunters. The draft
policy also commits WDFW to work with tribes to develop a harvest data exchange
system and enforcement protocols.
A hunting and fishing agreement with the Colville Tribes also will be signed
during the Friday evening portion of the meeting. The agreement, revised from a 1982
version, expands non-member hunting for upland game birds and waterfowl, provides
greater protection for mule deer, and protects non-member fishing opportunity on and
around the Colville Reservation. Rules that continue a closure of big game and grouse
hunting and furbearer trapping on the Colville Reservation also will be considered for
The 1998 hunting seasons will be considered on Saturday, April 4, starting at 8
a.m. Most hunting seasons and rules being recommended by Washington Department
of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) game managers are similar to last year's regulations.
Notable changes include a shift from a "spike only" to a "3-point antler minimum" rule
for western Washington elk hunting, addition of a northeast area elk tag (separate from
the Blue Mountains elk tag), elimination of the special tag for special elk permit
applications, and allowance for hunters to take up to two black bears annually. The
number of special hunting permits for moose, goat, sheep, elk, and deer also will be set
at this time.
Other agenda items during Friday afternoon's meeting include:
- Listing sage grouse and sharp-tailed grouse as state threatened wildlife
- Briefing on 1999-2000 sportfishing rule and pamphlet simplification plans
Public comment time is scheduled for all action items on the agenda. Public
comment on any topic also will be taken Friday night before adjournment; on Saturday
morning at 8 a.m., and Saturday afternoon before adjournment.
- Briefing on preliminary results of Blue Mountains elk calf survival study