OLYMPIA– As Washington hunters head out to the field this fall they face a new reporting requirement.
Reports of hunt activity now are mandatory for each deer, elk, black bear or turkey tag acquired. The reports also are required from tag holders who are unsuccessful or who end up not hunting during the season.
Hunters who do not complete the mandatory reports by Jan. 31, 2002 will be blocked from purchasing hunting tags in the future.
The reports may be completed over an automated, toll-free telephone line by calling 1-877-945-3492 or by accessing fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov on the Internet
Incentives are offered to hunters who file their report within 10 days of harvest and to unsuccessful hunters who report by midnight Jan. 10. Names of those filing early will be entered into a drawing for one of nine deer or elk special permits for next year's hunting season.
The reports replace post-season hunter surveys formerly conducted by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). The response to those surveys was low, with only about 40 percent of successful deer and elk hunters reporting activity in a typical year.
"Without accurate information on hunter effort and success, game management is hampered," said WDFW Game Manager Dave Ware. "Harvest information is used to monitor the effect of hunting regulations and estimate wildlife population numbers. When we don't have that information, we have to be conservative in recommending hunting seasons."
The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission, the citizen panel which oversees WDFW activity, approved the reporting requirement last April.
More information about the new reporting requirement is available on the WDFW web site at www.wdfw.wa.gov/wlm/game/hunter/reporting.htm on the Internet.