OLYMPIA—Tribal leaders and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife officials are continuing to make progress on the development of a proposed joint hunting management plan.
The first draft of the plan is expected to be ready for presentation to the Fish and Wildlife Commission later this fall. The Commission may consider adopting the plan early next year following a public comment process. Tribes would consider adoption of the plan independently through individual tribal governments.
The state and tribes have been meeting since January to develop the plan. The joint effort involves more than two dozen tribes, each a sovereign government.
"There has been significant progress on the plan which is encouraging, especially given the number of parties involved and the complexity of the issues," said WDFW Interjurisdictional Program Director Phil Anderson. "Cooperative hunting management is an important tool in the effort to maintain healthy herds of elk and other game animals for meaningful future hunting opportunities."
"Tribes and the state are finding common ground for cooperative management of wildlife resources through development of the joint wildlife management plan," said Todd Wilbur, chairman of the Intertribal Wildlife Committee of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission. "While there is still a lot of work to do, we are confident that by working together we can successfully address the many complex issues we face."
The plan would provide a general framework for cooperative statewide hunting management. Management of local wildlife populations would be addressed on a regional basis through development of individual herd plans.
The framework plan is expected to address:
- Information sharing regarding hunting regulations, wildlife population estimates, habitat needs and harvest results
- Cooperative pursuit of wildlife studies and population monitoring
- Enforcement procedures for hunting violations
The plan also calls for establishment of joint state-tribal workgroups to address policy issues, technical wildlife management concerns, enforcement procedures and public outreach.
For more information on tribal hunting issues, please see our Tribal Hunting FAQ