OLYMPIA – The application deadline has been extended until Oct. 17 for hunters interested in participating in the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (WDFW) public-safety cougar removal program.
The deadline was extended two weeks to give hunters more time to apply for the special permits, which allow hunters the use of dogs to remove cougars in selected areas of the state, said Sean Carrell, WDFW problem wildlife coordinator.
Permit applicants must have a valid state big-game hunting license, with cougar as a species option and must own cougar-tracking dogs.
The permit program was established in 2000 at the direction of the Washington State Legislature, which allowed the use of dogs to remove cougars in limited areas where cougars pose a threat to human safety. The use of dogs to hunt cougars during general hunting seasons was banned in Washington by ballot initiative in 1996
WDFW staff has determined that up to 14 cougars should be removed from seven game management units with the highest levels of cougar-related public safety complaints in 2006 and 2007.
Permit applications must be submitted in writing to WDFW Enforcement Program, Attn: Sean Carrell, 600 Capital Way N., Olympia WA 98501-1091. Application forms are available on the WDFW website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/enf/cougar.htm.