OLYMPIA – Persons interested in assisting the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) with the removal of cougars in areas with documented public safety problems must submit a written request by Nov. 15.
The request process is in accord with rules adopted Oct. 6 by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission that allow the use of dogs to remove cougar in limited areas where there have been a number of cougar/human conflicts.
The use of dogs to hunt cougars was banned in Washington in 1996 by ballot initiative. Since then, the season for hunting cougars without dogs has run from August 1 to March 15. But after increasing problems with cougar over the last few years, the 2000 State Legislature passed a bill directing the Commission to develop rules to allow the use of dogs to remove cougars in selected areas of the state.
Interested persons who are able to use dogs to track cougars must submit a written request by November 15 to WDFW Enforcement Program, Attn: Sean Carrell, 600 Capital Way N, Olympia WA 98501-1091. (No application forms will be provided.) The request must include name, address, phone number, and the administrative region in which they would like to participate.
Requests to remove cougar within specific Game Management Units (GMUs) will not be accommodated. However, individuals should state which Regions they are interested in. (see page 4 of 2000 Big Game Hunting Seasons and Rules Pamphlet for regional map). Individuals may apply for more than one region.
WDFW staff determined that up to 74 cougar removal permits could be issued within portions of 17 game management units that had the highest levels of public safety cougar related complaints in 1999. The units are primarily near the urban/suburban areas around Spokane and Puget Sound.
Public safety cougar removals will occur in four of the six WDFW administrative regions this year:
In addition, six cougar will be removed by WDFW staff in portions of four GMUs in regions 1 and 6.
- Eastern (Region 1) - 37 permits in portions of GMUs 109. 117, 121, 124, 130
- Northcentral (Region 2) - 2 permits in a portion of GMU 250
- North Puget Sound (Region 4) - 20 permits in portions of GMUs 407, 448, 454, 460
- Coastal (Region 6) - 9 permits in portions of GMUs 621 654, 666
Cougar removal permits for each region will be drawn at random. Individuals selected for permits will be notified by mail. The notice will include the GMU and the boundaries of the permit.
The notice will also include a video which must be viewed by the permit applicant and the owner of the dogs that will be used. The applicant will have to produce a copy of his/her valid Washington Big Game Hunting License (with cougar as a species option) prior to the issuance of the permit.
The permits will be valid December 16, 2000 through March 15, 2001. Participants will be required to notify the Regional WDFW Enforcement office 24 hours prior to exercising the permit. No more than four persons can participate in the removal. The first cougar available must be taken. The permit holder will be allowed to retain the cougar after complying with reporting and pelt tagging requirements.