OLYMPIA – With nearly 75 percent of Washington’s 200,000 hunters expected to be afield this week as general deer and waterfowl seasons open, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) officials are reminding them to comply with rules and take safety precautions.
“Hunters as a group play by the rules and hunt safely,” said Steve Pozzanghera, WDFW’s Wildlife Program assistant deputy director. “But it’s always a good idea for anyone recreating outdoors to plan ahead by reviewing rules and safety precautions prior to heading out.”
Details on hunting season dates and regulations, including the long-standing requirement for wearing blaze orange clothing, are available on WDFW's website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/regulations and in printed regulation pamphlets at recreational license dealers and at WDFW offices statewide. A list of license dealers is available on the WDFW website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/licensing/vendors/vendors.
Hunters also are reminded that this is the first fall hunting season since new public-conduct rules for WDFW wildlife areas were adopted by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission last December. Hunters should review those rules, particularly on camping, campfires, target shooting and building blinds and tree stands, at http://wdfw.wa.gov/lands/public_conduct_rules.
As big-game seasons in neighboring states also gear up, hunters are reminded that it is illegal to bring home bone-in deer or elk carcasses or body parts from other states and Canadian provinces where chronic wasting disease (CWD) — a disease of the central nervous system that is fatal to deer and elk — has been detected in wild herds.
“We don’t have CWD in Washington and we want to keep it that way,” said Pozzanghera. “Hunters can help by following the restrictions on bringing carcasses in from other areas where CWD is a problem.”
For a list of the states and provinces that have detected CWD and more information, see page 16 of Washington’s 2008 Big Game Hunting Seasons & Regulations pamphlet.