OLYMPIA - After receiving hundreds of public proposals and comments, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission is preparing to finalize its recommendations for possible revisions to fishing, hunting and other licenses.
The commission, which sets policies for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), received direct public input on proposals for license changes during a series of six public meetings held recently throughout the state.
The commission's review of licenses was requested by the Washington State Legislature, which asked the commission to evaluate the adequacy and structure of hunting and fishing license fees and to make recommendations by Nov. 1. All license fees are subject to approval by the Legislature.
"Public participation in the process has been strong and instructive," said WDFW Director Jeff Koenings. "We had an excellent turnout at many of the meetings, and we have received hundreds of suggestions – both in person at the public meetings, and via the Internet, and other avenues."
At an Oct. 17 conference call, commissioners received summarized information on citizen-recommended changes to the proposals, including the possibility of purchasing a raffle for a lifetime fishing or hunting license, creating a "watchable wildlife" special use permit to promote non-consumptive outdoor recreation, giving citizens the ability to donate to youth outdoor recreation activities and creating a system where hunters could participate in more than one type of hunting season in a year, such as archery and muzzleloader.
Other proposed revisions include linking future license fee increases to an inflation index, and increasing shellfish license costs to more closely reflect fishing license fees.
License change proposals can be reviewed on the WDFW website, and comments can be submitted electronically from that site, and the department will also take written comments until Oct. 23. Send comments to Frank Hawley, WDFW Licensing Director, 600 Capitol Way N., Olympia, WA., 98501.
The commission has set a conference call for Oct. 24 at 9 a.m. to consider the various license fee porposals, and the public is invited to listen. Those interested should contact the commission office in advance at (360) 902-2449.