The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission heard public input on proposed 2011-12 hunting season rules, adopted amendments to Puget Sound recreational clam and oyster seasons and approved three land transactions during its March 4-5 meeting in Spokane.
The proposed 2011-12 hunting season rules will be considered for final adoption at the commission's April meeting in Olympia. The hunt proposals include:
Landowner hunting permits to increase deer and elk hunters access to private lands in Asotin County.
Public-conduct rules on private lands open for hunting under cooperative agreements with WDFW.
Increases in spring black bear hunting seasons and permits in western and northeast Washington, to help reduce timber damage and bear nuisance activity, and to expand recreational opportunity within management guidelines.
Adjustments in moose, bighorn sheep, and mountain goat hunting permit levels, based on population surveys.
Simplification of Game Management Unit boundary descriptions for deer and elk hunting.
Adjustments in elk and deer general seasons and special-permit levels, in response to population increases or declines and/or crop and property damage problems in various parts of the state. The modifications include proposals to reduce antlerless white-tailed deer hunting in northeast units, while maintaining opportunities for youth, senior and disabled hunters. There also is a proposal to implement antler point restrictions for white-tailed deer in two northeast Washington game management units.
The commission also approved modifications to 2011 Puget Sound recreational clam and oyster seasons, based on annual species surveys and expected sport fishing effort. The changes will result in longer seasons on eight public beaches, shorter seasons on four beaches, and a shift in season timing on one beach. Details of the season modifications are available on the WDFW website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/commission/meetings/2011/03/mar0511_04_clams_oysters.pdf  .