Spring Black Bear Hunt Applications Due March 12

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Hunters who want a chance at one of 305 spring black bear hunting permits must submit an application to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) by midnight on March 12, 2006.

A drawing for the permits, which are for hunts in western or eastern Washington, will occur in mid-March. Permit winners will receive notification in the mail by March 21.

In western Washington, two pilot spring black bear damage hunts are scheduled from April 15 to June 15. The hunts will occur southwest of Olympia in Capitol Forest and on the Kapowsin Tree Farm (South Unit) in eastern Pierce County. WDFW will issue 100 permits for each hunt.

Hunters selected for the Kapowsin Tree Farm hunt must purchase an access permit from Hancock Forest Management by calling (360) 879-4200.

In southeast Washington, a spring bear hunt also will occur in seven game management units in the Blue Mountains. WDFW will issue 30 permits for the Wenaha Unit; 15 permits each for the Blue Creek, Dayton, Mountain View and Lick Creek units; 10 permits for the Tucannon Unit; and five permits for the Grand Ronde Unit. The spring bear season in these units runs from April 15 to May 31.

Access to the Tucannon Unit may be limited, however, after a wildfire burned a portion of the area last year. For more information on access restrictions due to the wildfire visit http://wdfw.wa.gov/do/newreal/release.php?id=feb1606a.

To apply for a spring bear permit, hunters must purchase a special permit application and a hunting license that includes bear as a species option. Hunting licenses, bear transport tags and bear permit applications can be purchased at any license vendor in the state or by calling (866) 246-9453.

Applications for the spring black bear hunt require a correct hunt choice number, which can be found at any license vendor or on page 44 of the 2005 Big Game Hunting Seasons and Rules pamphlet (http://wdfw.wa.gov/wlm/game/hunter/hunter.htm).

Hunters can only submit a spring bear application by calling (877) 945-3492.

Any legal weapon used during the modern firearm, archery or muzzleloader seasons can be used for spring black bear hunts. Bait or hounds are not allowed for bear hunting.