OLYMPIA – Washington state bird hunters preparing for this year's seasons are reminded that all battery powered electronic waterfowl decoys are prohibited throughout the State of Washington, including on Indian reservation lands, according to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
"This is a new law and there has been some confusion and many questions about its implementation, including the legality of using electronic decoys on tribal lands," said Dave Ware, WDFW game division manager. "While federally recognized Indian tribes are sovereign nations, non-tribal members must abide by state laws while on reservation land."
Ware said any non-tribal hunters using motorized waterfowl decoys anywhere within Washington state will be subject to fines and other penalties.
The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission voted in August to ban the use of robotic waterfowl decoys. These include all battery-powered and other electronic devices such as quiver magnets, spinning and flapping wing decoys, disks, swimming type decoys and others used to attract waterfowl. Commissioners expressed concerns about "fair chase" issues and loss of traditional hunting skills when they voted in favor of the ban.
Other methods of creating motion in decoys are permitted, including flags, kites, or wind-powered decoys.
The general duck, coot and snipe season runs from Oct. 6-17, then Oct. 20 through Jan. 20, 2002. More information regarding WDFW's Wildlife Program is available at (360) 902-2515 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.