The public has one last chance to tell the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission the concerns about upcoming hunting rule change proposals in person at the commission’s March 17-18 meeting in Olympia.
The most notable proposed changes include the elimination of several special elk areas in and around Grays Harbor County, increasing the bag limit for white-fronted and white geese to address their growing abundance, and allowing the restoration of points to hunters who draw a permit for a damage hunt but are not called on to participate in a hunt.
The meetings are set to commence at 8 a.m. both days, with a public comment starting each session. There also will be a public comment period after each presentation, each featuring a different segment of proposed hunt rules changes. The meetings will be held in Room 172 of the Natural Resources Building at 1111 Washington St. SE in Olympia; a complete agenda is available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/commission/. All the proposed changes are available for review at http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/regulations/seasonsetting.
Some areas of interest for local hunters include a 10:40 a.m. presentation Friday about the elimination of several elk areas, including the Tri Valley, South Bank, Chehalis Valley and Willapa, meaning the land within those areas will be reabsorbed into their respects Game Management Units and fall under the same rules governing those units. Following that at 11:05 a.m. will be a discussion of general deer seasons and deer and elk special permits.
The migratory bird hunting presentation will be at 1:40 p.m., where the public can hear about proposed bag limit changes for several species of geese, among other changes.
Final action by the commission on the proposed recommendations is scheduled at a public meeting April 14-15 in Spokane.
The commission also will be briefed on a few other topics, notably the Willapa Bay salmon management plan and its adaptive management objectives, scheduled for 11:45 a.m. Saturday. Also among the briefings will be in-season management of Puget Sound salmon fisheries and bird dog training at two units of the Snoqualmie Valley Wildlife Area.
Prior to the regular meeting, the commission will have its annual meeting with Gov. Jay Inslee March 16 at 3 p.m. in the Governor’s Office.
Wildlife managers also will provide an update on the status of wolves in Washington and actions the department took in 2016 to implement the state’s Wolf Conservation and Management Plan.
In addition, the commission will be briefed on a petition the federal National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration received calling for a protection zone for southern resident killer whales off the coast of San Juan Island.