Washington FWC Adopts New Big Game Rules

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The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission adopted 2007-08 big game hunting season rules, modified crab catch reporting and approved land transactions at a public meeting April 6-7 in Ellensburg.

The nine-member commission, which sets policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), also took action or heard briefings on various other agenda items.

Changes to deer and elk hunting include:

  • * Expansion of general antlerless elk hunting and addition of over 1,700 special draw permits for antlerless elk in Mt. St. Helens area units to help reduce the size of the state's largest herd in an area of limited habitat capacity.
  • * Expansion of high buck deer hunting to include all of the Henry Jackson Wilderness Area in the North Cascade Mountains.
  • * Addition of 50 antlerless deer permits in the Methow Valley in response to nuisance deer problems on private land.
  • * Reduction of general antlerless mule deer hunting season and special draw permits for antlerless mule deer in the southcentral region in response to population declines.
  • * Addition of 12 any bull permits in the Nooksack Game Management Unit (418) where the population is growing.
  • * Increase of bull or any elk permits from 100 to 122 in the Blue Mountains.

Other hunting rule changes include:

  • * Slightly increased permits for moose and mountain goats in response to growing populations, and slightly decreased permits for bighorn sheep.
  • * Added participants and set this year's season dates and permit levels for the Landowner Hunter Permit program, established last year to address game damage issues and increase hunter access to private lands.
  • * Made hunting hours consistent with new federal daylight savings time policy, and in Grays Harbor County, consistent with the rest of Goose Management Area 3.
  • * Added Kansas to the list of states where Washington hunters are required to process animal carcasses before bringing them into the state to guard against the importation of Chronic Wasting Disease.

All 2007-08 big game hunting season rules and regulations will be available in early May in pamphlet form at WDFW offices, license dealers and on the WDFW website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/wlm/game/hunter/hunter.htm.

In addition, the commission approved the following land transactions:

  • * Acquisition of 520 acres, and the hunting rights to the property, in the Chehalis Valley in Grays Harbor County to protect wetlands and riparian area habitat and provide wildlife viewing, waterfowl and elk hunting and fishing.
  • * Acquisition of 71.6 acres on Padilla Bay in Skagit County to add to ongoing freshwater and saltwater habitat enhancement work.
  • * Acquisition of 30 acres on Debay Slough in Skagit County to add to the Johnson/Debay Swan Reserve, a wintering area for trumpeter swans near Sedro-Woolley.
  • * Allowance of a county road easement on the Ancient Lake portion of the Columbia Basin Wildlife Area in Grant County.

The commission also:

  • * Approved permanent rule amendments to WDFW policy regarding livestock grazing on WDFW lands to emphasize benefits to fish and wildlife and to provide more flexibility for temporary permits in emergencies like wildfire.
  • * Adopted permanent rule amendments to have common salmon management and catch reporting areas between Washington and Oregon.
  • * Heard briefings on sea urchin license buyback program proposals, Washington Biodiversity Strategy, Advanced Hunter Education program enrollment moratorium, and capital budget study report.