Commission office, 360-902-2267
Public comment for 2022 spring black bear special permits extended to Nov. 1
OLYMPIA – On Oct. 22, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission acted to approve two land transfers, and heard testimony on the non-native game fish policy development, and 2022 spring bear special hunting permits.
The Commission approved a transfer of a 0.37-acre parcel located near the west bank of the Skykomish River to Snohomish County. The property has the only parking area that serves the adjacent Snohomish County-owned parcel and will allow the County to manage both properties for public recreation and resource conservation. The Commission also acted to relinquish an invalid 25-foot-wide fishing easement on the Samish River in Skagit County. The fishing easement is not a significant site for fishing access and does not offer parking. WDFW holds many miles of legal streambank fishing easements upriver.
In other business, the Commission approved a rule regarding the importation and retention of dead non-resident wildlife that will add Ohio to the list of states where hunters are prohibited from importing certain parts of deer, elk, or moose that were harvested in those states to minimizing the potential for Chronic Wasting Disease to become established in Washington state. An additional rule approved by the Commission will add two newly created Game Management Units in the San Juan Islands, 423 (Henry) and 424 (Stuart), to the list of units identified as firearm restriction areas to protect public safety and help hunters easily identify the areas.
In the afternoon, the Commission heard a briefing and public comment on development of a policy to guide management of non-native game fish and fisheries. The draft policy will now go through a State Environmental Policy Act review and public comment period, with the Commission expected to make a decision on the policy at its December meeting.
The Commission also heard a briefing and extensive public comment on proposed 2022 spring black bear special hunting permits. Staff presented the scientific data and process used to determine the number of special permits that could be offered in each hunt area this year. Of the roughly 664 spring black bear special permits that are proposed, staff estimate that hunters would harvest approximately 145 black bears. The special permits provide a hunting opportunity and help address specific Department needs, such as reducing tree damage on industrial timberlands, reducing human conflicts, and distributing harvest. The Commission also notified attendees of an extension of the public comment period to allow further public feedback before Commission’s consideration of a decision anticipated for the Nov. 19 regular meeting. People are invited to share their input on the 2022 spring black bear special permits topic by 5 p.m. on Nov. 1 at https://publicinput.com/O8850.
Members of the public can find more information and a meeting recording at wdfw.wa.gov/about/commission/meetings.
The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission is a panel appointed by the governor that sets policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). WDFW works to preserve, protect and perpetuate fish, wildlife and ecosystems while providing sustainable fish and wildlife recreational and commercial opportunities.