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January 05, 2016
Contact: Anis Aoude, (360) 902-2520

Cougar hunting seasons closed Dec. 31
in several areas of the state

OLYMPIA – State wildlife managers are reminding hunters that cougar-hunting seasons closed in several areas of the state at dusk on Dec. 31 after harvest guidelines for the animals were reached in those areas.

Of the state’s 50 cougar hunt areas, 14 closed Dec. 31, including Game Management Units (GMUs) 108, 111, 117, 204, 336, 340, 342, 346, 564, 568, 572, 574, 578 and 667.

Those GMUs are located in portions of Stevens, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Okanogan, Ferry, Kittitas, Yakima, Clark, Skamania, Klickitat, Thurston and Lewis counties.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) manages cougar hunts under a plan approved by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission, which sets policy for the department. Under the plan, WDFW can close areas where the cougar harvest meets or exceeds area guidelines, while continuing to allow for hunting opportunities elsewhere.

"The goal is to preserve a variety of cougar age classes – particularly older animals – in numerous areas throughout the state,” said Mick Cope, WDFW Game Division manager. “Those older cougar tend to be more effective at maintaining stable territories."

The cougar harvest varies slightly from one year to the next, Cope said. Annual harvest reports are available on the WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/harvest/ 

Cope reminds hunters that other cougar hunt areas may close before the late season ends April 30. Before going afield, hunters should check WDFW's website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/cougar/ or call the cougar hunting hotline (1-866-364-4868) to check which areas of the state remain open.

Any additional closures will be posted on the website and hotline, both of which will be updated weekly.

A 2016 cougar license is required to hunt cougar in April 2016. Those who wish to hunt cougar during the month of April must purchase a new 2016 license and tag.