Tag Archives: washington department of fish and wildlife

Salmon Open Off Most Of WA Coast This Saturday, Westport July 1

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

Sport anglers will have the opportunity to reel in salmon off the Washington coast starting Saturday, June 24.

That’s when marine areas 1 (Ilwaco), 3 (La Push) and 4 (Neah Bay) open daily for salmon fishing. Marine Area 2 (Westport) will open a week later on July 1.

ILWACO IS AMONG THE WASHINGTON PORTS OPENING FOR SALMON THIS SATURDAY, AND WILL DRAW LOCAL ANGLERS AND PUGETROPOLITES LIKE JOHN KEIZER ALIKE. (SALTPATROL.COM)

Fish managers expect slightly higher numbers of chinook and coho salmon will make their way through the ocean this year as compared to 2016, said Wendy Beeghley, an ocean salmon manager with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

ADS ON THE SIDES OF SOUND TRANSIT AND METRO BUSES ROLLING THROUGH SEATTLE AND ITS SUBURBS BECKON RESIDENTS TO WESTPORT. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Due to the improved forecasts, the recreational chinook catch quota this year is 45,000, up from 35,000 in 2016. This year’s coho quota of 42,000 fish is an increase of 23,100 coho from 2016, when anglers were allowed to keep coho only in Marine Area 1. Coho retention is allowed in all four marine areas this summer.

Anglers fishing in marine areas 1 and 2 will have a daily limit of two salmon, only one of which can be a chinook. In areas 3 and 4, anglers will have a two-salmon daily limit. In all areas, anglers must release wild coho.

STUART ALLEN AND OTHER NEAH BAY ANGLERS WILL BE TARGETING FAT CHINOOK THIS SEASON. THE TRI-CITIES ANGLER CAUGHT THIS ONE SEVERAL SEASONS AGO. (FISHING PHOTO CONTEST)

All four marine areas are scheduled to close to salmon fishing at the end of the day Sept. 4 but could close earlier if the quota is met.

Throughout the summer, anglers can check WDFW’s webpage at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/creel/ocean/ for updates

More information about the fisheries can be found in the 2017-18 Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet, available at license vendors and sporting goods stores and online at http://wdfw.wa.gov/publications/01914/2017-18_marine.pdf.

Fee Hike Dead, WDFW Hopes For General Fund Infusion Instead

It’s now very unlikely Washington hunters and anglers will have to pay more for their licenses any time soon, as it appears WDFW’s fee increase bill is dead for the year.

That word this morning from the agency’s legislative liaison, Raquel Crosier.

“I think we’ll get between $5 million and $10 million in General Fund to deal with budget shortfalls. It’s not as much as we’d hoped for, but it plugs holes,” she said.

Crosier said that $10 million would still require deep cuts, “but not public-facing” ones, meaning they could be dealt with through efficiencies away from the eye of sportsmen and state residents.

As it stands, lawmakers are wrapping up their second special session today, with the third starting tomorrow. Crosier is optimistic a 2017-19 budget with funding for WDFW will be worked out before the June 30 deadline. Though McCleary may not be resolved, that would at least prevent closing fisheries and shuttering hatcheries till a deal is struck.

WDFW’s fee increase proposal — seen by some sportsmen as a done deal but actually requiring the legislature to approve and governor to sign into law — was the subject of a long campaign stretching all the way back to August 2015, when the agency took its Washington’s Wild Future initiative on the road around the state.

June 2016 saw the revealing of proposals, which would have raised around $26 million to help maintain and increase fishing opportunities and enhance hunting ops.

It included $17 catch cards for salmon, steelhead, halibut and sturgeon, later whittled down to $10 apiece in the face of opposition.

This February, the proposal received a public hearing in front of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, which helped identify stakeholder concerns and that more work was needed outside Olympia with fishing and hunting groups on HB 1647.

Crosier said that as recently as a month ago, recreational organizations were supportive of 20 percent increases on the fishing side and 7 percent on the hunting side.

But while the Democratic-controlled House preferred the fee-based approach, Republicans who control the upper chamber did not, and it really showed in the language and approaches senators took with WDFW throughout this year’s legislative sessions.

When agency honchos talked about support from constituents, senators pointed to stacks of emails and letters expressing opposition.

If it had been approved, it would have been the first major hike since mid-2011, but to a degree, WDFW’s big ask also faced bad timing.

True, it may really need more funding, but on the backside of some stellar years of fishing, these past two have seen generally poor salmon runs and unprecedented fishery restrictions due to The Blob, the loss of access to Skokomish River kings and coho and the subsequent backing away of support for fee increases by three important angling organizations, as well as self-inflicted wounds such as the unexplained loss of a couple hundred thousand steelhead smolts from the state’s last best summer-run river, all of which left sportsmen wondering why they should pay more for less.

Despite the apparent death of license fee hikes this go-around, WDFW is hopeful two other revenue bills will pass.

This morning, the Senate Natural Resources and Parks Committee gave a do-pass recommendation to extending the Columbia River endorsement another two years, key for holding salmon and steelhead seasons in the basin.

Crosier said it’s likely the legislature will pass Sen. Kirk Pearson’s SB 5947, with fees going towards monitoring fisheries that occur on or amongst ESA-listed stocks.

And she is also hopeful that legislation addressing the rising threat to Washington waters from aquatic invasive species passes. Sen. Jim Honeyford’s bill has twice been approved unanimously by senators, but keeps getting shuttled back to the House as special sessions end and begin again.

Dipping into the General Fund for however much would begin to fill the $40 million cut out of WDFW’s budget from that source in 2009.

Looking further down the road past the hoped-for infusion, Crosier also mentioned creation of a conservation task force to look into how to better fund nongame management.

 

Washington Senate Committee Moves Key Bill Funding Columbia Fisheries Monitoring

It’s been a while since either of the two state legislative committees that oversee WDFW issues in Olympia have met, but this morning, the Senate’s gave a bill extending the Columbia endorsement for two more years a do-pass recommendation.

It otherwise expires at the end of the month, imperiling a number of salmon and steelhead fisheries throughout the watershed of the big river.

BOATS ON THE COLUMBIA RIVER BELOW BONNEVILLE DAM DURING THIS SPRING’S CHINOOK SEASON. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

The endorsement covers the cost of monitoring catches, required because so many harvestable fish either swim alongside ESA-listed ones or are federally protected themselves.

WDFW’s Kelly Cunningham called the $8.75 fee anglers who fish the Columbia and its numerous tribs for kings, coho, winter- and summer-runs and other stocks have been paying since 2010 “vital” to fisheries, and said none could otherwise occur above McNary Dam without it.

During this morning’s public hearing before the Natural Resources and Parks Committee, Chairman Sen. Kirk Pearson’s SB 5947 received support from Carl Burke of Fish Northwest, who called the endorsement a “win-win piece of legislation” and a model for others in the future.

Scott Sigmon of Coastal Conservation Association of Washington termed it a “successful story that’s benefited anglers up and down the river,” and said that 40 percent of endorsements are sold to Eastside-based anglers.

Cunningham, who is the WDFW Fish Program deputy assistant director, said it’s led to a million angler days a year and $87 million in annual economic activity for local economies.

Bill Clark of Trout Unlimited and Dave Knutzen of Olympia also were in support.

Asked by Sen. Brad Hawkins (R-East Wenatchee) if he foresaw a day where the endorsement would be covered inside WDFW’s regular budget, Cunningham pointed to the “growing financial burden” of ESA listings and two recent examples.

He said that NOAA’s approval to again release early winter-timed steelhead in select Puget Sound rivers and the Mitchell Act biological opinion also included terms and conditions that require new but unfunded monitoring and other work such as a doubling of the number of weirs in Lower Columbia rivers.

Sen. John McCoy (D-Tulalip) stated that the funding was needed for the “conservation of the fishery.”

After a brief discussion, Pearson (R-Monroe) called for a vote and SB 5947 was sent to Senate Ways and Means.

Today’s the last day of the second special session with a third expected to begin tomorrow. There’s optimism a budget will pass before June 30, preventing a shutdown of state fisheries and hatcheries.

WDFW, Utilities Holding Meeting June 29 On Baker-Skokomish Sockeye Egg Transfer

State fishery managers and utility officials are holding a special meeting later this month to shed more light on a project using North Sound sockeye to seed a Hood Canal watershed.

It’s being held the evening of June 29 in Sedro-Woolley to address the continued transfer of fertilized eggs from the Baker Lake system to the Skokomish River.

That’s drawing concern from anglers who object to providing the eggs while the Skokomish Tribe uses a federal solicitor’s opinion to block access to a popular salmon fishery fueled by a state Chinook and coho hatchery.

A PLAN TO SEED LAKE CUSHMAN AND THE SKOKOMISH SYSTEM WITH SOCKEYE FROM THE NORTH SOUND IS GETTING A FROSTY RECEPTION FROM SOME ANGLERS. (JOEL NOWACK, USFS)

Fishermen would also like more surety that, if the egg program that’s literally still in its infancy is successful, nontribal fishermen will be able to access returning harvestable salmon in Hood Canal and Lake Cushman.

In late April we wrote about the Steelhead Trout Club’s request for WDFW to hold a public meeting before signing an agreement with the Skokomish Tribe, Tacoma Power and Puget Sound Energy to continue supplying eggs from Baker fish, and this past Saturday morning, it was the subject of a segment on 710 ESPN Seattle’s The Outdoor Line.

“The [Skokomish] should reopen the river to recreational fisheries as a prerequisite for giving them any eggs from the Baker because it will have some impact, it will have some impact on our (Baker Lake) fishery,” maintains Frank Urabeck, a sportfisheries activist.

As part of the federal relicensing of its dams on the North Fork Skokomish River, Tacoma Power is upgrading fish passage around them as well as building a pair of hatcheries to rear as many as 2 million sockeye and 375,000 spring Chinook, plus some steelhead and coho.

The red salmon eggs are coming from 400 adults collected at the Baker River trap and which are supposed to represent an equal split between state and tribal shares. That pencils out to around up to 500,000 eyed eggs annually, though Tacoma Power states it was incubating 250,000 for release into Lake Cushman this year.

Last year was the first year, and Tacoma Power and the Skokomish Tribe are footing the entire bill for the egg transfer, according to WDFW.

The agency’s Edward Eleazer says the program will initially run for five years to see if sockeye actually rear in and return to Cushman before a long-term agreement is implemented.

He says that Tacoma Power is modeling fish passage at Cushman on Puget Sound Energy’s successful juvenile collector at Baker Lake.

With dams on other watersheds around Pugetropolis, the program could also serve as a model for building sockeye runs elsewhere, but the equipment is not inexpensive and could be a tough sell to utility managers and ratepayers unless dam relicensing is at stake.

In comments about the egg-transfer implementation agreement prepared for WDFW several months ago, Urabeck found vague terminology that “… fishery opportunity would likely be provided in Marine Area 12, north of Ayok (sic) Rock and possibly in Cushman Lake” “unacceptable” and said it shouldn’t be signed unless it specifically guaranteed sport access to salmon.

And he said that broodstock collection at the Baker River trap shouldn’t begin until after Aug. 1 to minimize impacts to the Baker Lake fishery, and that if inseason updates peg the run at 30,000 to 40,000 only 100,000 eggs should be provided, nothing if the return is under 30,000.

Puget Sound Anglers president Ron Garner is urging organization members to attend the June 29 meeting, which will be held at Sedro-Woolley High School, 1235 3rd St., starting at 6 p.m.

He and others also want WDFW to move back the Baker Lake sockeye opener from July 8 to July 6, when it opened last year thanks to good early numbers. The lake had otherwise been opening on July 10 in recent years, July 1 in 2012, and varying dates in the two prior Julys based on run timing and strength.

Urabeck says July 6 should be the opener regardless of how many sockeye have been trucked up to the lake, leaving it up to anglers whether or not to participate.

Apparent Wolf Captured, Collared In Eastern Skagit County

What could be the first wolf captured in Western Washington is now being monitored by wildlife managers.

The 100-pound animal was collared Thursday, June 8, in eastern Skagit County near Marblemount and released.

USFWS CONFIRMS A POSSIBLE WOLF WAS CAPTURED AND COLLARED NOT FAR UP THE SKAGIT VALLEY FROM HERE. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

The news was broken by the Skagit Valley Herald.

“We did capture what appears to be a 2- to 3-year-old male gray wolf,” confirms U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Ann Froschauer late this afternoon.

She says blood and saliva were taken from the animal and sent to the agency’s forensic lab for testing, confirmation that it’s a full-blooded wolf and to determine where it might have come from.

WILDLIFE BIOLOGISTS WORK ON THE SEDATED CANID CAPTURED JUNE 8. (USFWS)

While at least four collared wolves have briefly wandered into Western Washington in recent years (one of which didn’t make it back out after being hit on I-90), this would be the first to have been captured, outfitted with telemetry and released west of the Cascades.

Froschauer says its movements are being monitored via GPS collar to “see if it sticks around or wanders off.”

USFWS and WDFW were drawn to the location in mid-May after a resident reported three chickens killed by a wolf and had solid photos to back it up.

Initially there were suggestions that a pack might be in the area, based on howling, but that’s less certain now.

“We did hang some cameras out. We did not see any other animals. As of right now there’s at least one that appears to be a wolf,” Froschauer says.

Grand scheme, a single wolf doesn’t do much for state recovery goals, but it has the potential to bring issues from the 509 much closer to Western Washington.

USFWS has management authority over wolves in the western two-thirds of the state, where the species remains federally listed.

WDFW had no comment.

WDFW also has had no comment about two dead calves found in the Kettle Range two days ago and which were investigated yesterday.

And WDFW probably doesn’t want to comment on the latest from Washington State University, where a professor plans to sue over alleged free speech violations involving wolves.

Puget Sound Crab Season Begins June 16, With More Waters Opening June 24, July 1

Good news — Puget Sound crab season’s almost here!

Crabbers can begin dropping their pots in as little as a week and a half in three marine areas, with more openings in late June and the waters closest to major population centers fair game starting July 1. The two San Juans subareas are slated for midsummer openers.

RIVER WALGAMOTT HEAVES A CRAB BUOY OVERBOARD IN THE SAN JUAN ISLANDS LAST SEASON. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

WDFW posted the dates yesterday and a press release is due out soon.

According to manager Don Velasquez, this year’s recreational harvest might be a bit down from last year’s 2.062-million-pound catch, and the cold spring could have some crabs still in soft-shell condition early in the season, but there will be plenty of Dungies and red rockies for summer feasts.

“If you want Dungeness crab, stay north of Seattle,” tips Velasquez.

ONE OF THE EDITOR’S SONS REACHES INTO AN INSANELY OVERLOADED-WITH-KEEPERS POT HAULED UP IN THE SAN JUANS LAST YEAR. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Though smaller, red rocks dominate in the South Sound.

“There are plenty there,” Velasquez adds.

That’s especially true in Area 13, where this year’s opener has been moved back from June 1 to July 1.

The other notable change is Hood Canal’s season begins a week later, June 24, compared to mid-June last year.

Other than that, 2017’s summer season will be similar to 2016, says Velasquez.

Crabbing is open Thursdays through Mondays, and the daily limit is five male Dungeness at least 6.25 inches across the carapace and they must be in hard-shell form.

For red rocks, either sex can be kept, and they must be 5 inches across the back.

For most waters, season will run through Sept. 4.

THE WALGAMOTTLINGS MEASURE A SAN JUAN ISLANDS DUNGENESS. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

According to WDFW’s scheduled 2017 seasons, here are opener dates:

JUNE 16
Area 4, western Strait of Juan de Fuca east of the Bonilla-Tatoosh Line
Area 5, Sekiu
Area 11, Tacoma

JUNE 24
Area 9 — Port Gamble/Port Ludlow subarea
Area 12, Hood Canal

JULY 1
Area 6, Port Angeles, Sequim, Disco Bay
Area 8-1: Deception Pass, Skagit Bay, waters between Whidbey and Camano Islands
Area 8-2: Everett, Port Gardner
Area 9: Admiralty Inlet, Port Townsend, Edmonds
Area 10: Seattle, Bremerton, Bainbridge Island
Area 13: South Sound, Olympia

JULY 15
Area 7-South: San Juan Islands south of Patos and Lummi Islands

AUGUST 17
Area 7-North: Boundary Bay and waters north of Patos and Lummi Islands

 

WDFW Seeks Candidates For Asotin Co. Wildlife Areas Advisory Board

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is seeking candidates by June 16 to serve on a new committee that advises the department on the management of the Chief Joseph and Asotin Creek wildlife areas.

WDFW IS LOOKING FOR CANDIDATES FOR A NEW COMMITTEE ADVISING THE STATE AGENCY AS IT DEVELOPS 10-YEAR PLANS FOR ITS ASOTIN CREEK AND CHIEF JOSEPH WILDLIFE AREAS, PART OF WHICH INCLUDES THE 4-O UNIT, SEEN IN PART HERE IN MAY 2016. (ANDY WALGAMOTT

The two wildlife areas, totaling 62,057 acres in Asotin and Garfield counties, are located in the Blue Mountains region. The W.T. Wooten Wildlife Area, which covers 16,481 acres in Columbia and Garfield counties, is also in the Blue Mountains region but already has an existing advisory committee due to its geographic separation, types of uses of the wildlife areas, and management priorities.

The new advisory group, together with the W.T. Wooten advisory committee, will assist the department with the development of the new Blue Mountains Wildlife Areas Management Plan, which will guide the actions on the three wildlife areas for the next 10 years.

WDFW manages the Chief Joseph and Asotin Creek wildlife areas primarily to protect big game winter range and to protect habitat for steelhead and bull trout.  The areas also provide opportunities for hunting, fishing, and wildlife-related recreation, plus other compatible uses such as agriculture.

The department is seeking broad and diverse representation from interested and affected groups. This includes tribes, local governments, hunters, anglers, other recreationists, environmental groups, nearby landowners, and local business owners.

“We would like participation in our advisory group to reflect the different uses of the Chief Joseph and Asotin Creek wildlife areas,” said Bob Dice, WDFW Blue Mountains Wildlife Areas manager.

The selected members will be expected to attend the first wildlife area advisory committee meeting this summer, as well as one or two other meetings per year.

For more information about the committee membership and roles and responsibilities, please go to http://wdfw.wa.gov/about/advisory/cja-waac/.

WDFW WILDLIFE AREA MANAGER  BOB DICE GIVES STATE REP. MARY DYE A VISUAL TOUR OF THE 4-O DURING MAY 2016’S DEDICATION. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Applicants should submit a letter of interest that includes the following:

Name, address, telephone number, and email address.
Organization the individual is representing (if any) and its mission and location.
The applicant’s familiarity with the wildlife areas and interest in participating in the advisory group.
His or her experience in the advisory group process and in collaborating with people who have different values.
A summary of experience with this or other wildlife areas, and land management issues.
Name and contact information for alternate member if selected member is unavailable.

Applications should be postmarked by 5 p.m., June 16, and sent to WDFW Eastern Region Headquarters, Attn: Chief Joseph/Asotin Creek WAAC Recruitment, 2315 North Discovery Place, Spokane Valley, WA 99216-1566; or by email to TeamSpokane@dfw.wa.gov with the subject line “Chief Joseph/Asotin Creek WAAC Recruitment.”

For more information, contact Bob Dice at (509) 758-3151.

Large Undocumented Puget Sound Sea Cucumber Harvest Alleged

Jim Unsworth’s monthly update to the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission usually provides an interesting glimpse into his agency’s activities around the state, including cases game wardens have been working, and today’s report does not lack in that regard.

Along with highlighting the previously reported investigation of 10 Southwest Washington residents alleged to have poached some 100 deer and bears in Oregon and Washington, it spotlights the alleged undocumented taking of a couple hundred thousand pounds of Puget Sound marine life.

SEA CUCUMBER FROM PUGET SOUND’S SARATOGA PASSAGE. (PFLY, FLICKR, VIA WIKIPEDIA)

Sea cucumber poaching won’t garner the interest that illegal killing of big game or salmon will, but with high consumer demand in overseas markets, there’s a financial incentive to collect and sell more than is otherwise allowed, stressing the resource.

According to WDFW, an investigation that began in late 2015 of a company that buys, packages and sells sea cucumber revealed to agency wildlife detectives “that the amount of cucumbers purchased from commercial fisheries was often as much as 40 percent more than was documented on catch reports (fish receiving tickets).”

The agency says that “months of painstaking analysis” of documents seized under search warrants led detectives to believe that 131,424 pounds of sea cucumbers were harvested but not reported by some tribal fishermen in 2014-15, with 107,537 more pounds went unrecorded during the 2015-16 season.

No locational or tribal information was included in the report.

By comparision, during WDFW’s 2016-17 nontribal commercial fishery, around 350,000 pounds of sea cucumber were harvested in Puget Sound and the Straits — two-thirds or 235,000 pounds of which came from the San Juans district — before quotas were met and seasons were closed.

Additionally, Unsworth’s report alleges that four nontribal fishermen are also suspected of not fully documenting their sea cucumber harvests, selling nearly 15,000 pounds over three seasons, and that a fish buyer “admitted to … collusion” with the quartet.

“The effect these violations had on exceeding the total allowable catch for the fishery is still being determined,” reads the report. “Department biologists have observed classic signs of sea cucumber over-fishing in some areas for quite some time. This includes reduced abundance, reduced catch per unit effort, a diver transition to deeper harvest, and a reduction in the size (weight) of sea cucumbers.”

The report says that felony charges against the four fishermen are being prepared for county prosecutors to review.

WDFW Issues New Wolf Depredation Prevention, Lethal Removal Protocols

New protocols for removing problem wolves in the federally delisted area of Eastern Washington began yesterday, the traditional start of grazing season in the region’s national forests and mountains.

The biggest change may be the reduction in the number of depredations needed before WDFW wolf managers begin lethal removals, now three including one probable, in a 30-day period.

During last summer’s cattle attacks by the Profanity Peak Pack, that was four, and all had to be confirmed.

THE LETHAL REMOVAL ASPECTS OF THE NEW PROTOCOLS AFFECT PACKS IN THIS MAP’S EASTERN WASHINGTON REGION, THE AREA OF THE STATE WHERE WOLVES HAVE BEEN FEDERALLY DELISTED. (WDFW)

The protocol also addresses ways ranchers and others can reduce the likelihood of depredations in the first place, increasing the number of preventative measures required for consideration of wolf removal.

The overall idea is to act faster to reduce the number of dead or injured livestock as well as limit the number of wolves that may have to be taken out, explained the agency’s Donny Martorello in late March.

The changes are a collaboration between WDFW and its Wolf Advisory Group.

“The protocol draws on a diversity of perspectives expressed by people throughout the state for protecting wildlife populations as a public resource and livestock,” the agency states in the 18-page document posted yesterday afternoon. “These values include achieving a sustained recovered wolf population, supporting rural ways of life, and maintaining livestock production as part of the state’s cultural and economic heritage. This protocol also serves to increase the transparency and accountability of the Department’s activities and management actions related to wolves.”

A WDFW graph shows a 40 percent increase this year in the number of livestock producers who’ve signed onto damage prevention agreements and/or hiring range riders.

“In 2017, we’re seeing a dramatic uptake in ranchers utilizing proactive deterrence measures over the past several years, and this has come through relationship-building and respect for rural communities and producers,” said Conservation Northwest’s Paula Swedeen, whose organization is on the WAG and supports the new protocols. “Use of those proactive methods is vital for coexistence, and the updated protocol better recognizes that.”

WDFW is also pledging to include monthly updates on its wolf work. According to Director Jim Unsworth, that will include:

* Newly documented wolf packs, changes in known wolf occurrence areas, and non-dispersing lone wolves wearing an active radio collar.  This will include updates to the wolf pack maps on the Department website.
* Recent wolf collaring  activities.
* All known wolf mortalities.
* Department activities related to implementation of deterrence measures to reduce wolf-livestock conflict.
* All livestock depredation events that resulted in the classification of a confirmed or probable wolf  depredation.
* Public notice when the criteria for lethal removal has been met and the Director has authorized lethal removal actions.
* Highlights of wolf-related work activities by  Department field staff.
* Wolf outreach and information sharing activities by Department staff.
* Information on wolf ecology and coexistence measures.
* Notice on all Wolf Advisory Group meetings and work items.

Avoid Fall Rush, Sign Up For Washington Hunter Ed Summer Courses

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

While major hunting seasons are closed in summer, hunter education courses continue to run year-round throughout the state.

Now is the time to enroll in hunter education to avoid the autumn rush, said David Whipple, hunter education division manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

LOGAN BRAATEN POSES WITH HIS FIRST BUCK, TAKE IN 2015 WHILE HUNTING WITH HIS DAD, ERIC. (BROWNING PHOTO CONTEST)

“As fall hunting seasons draw near, seats in these courses fill quickly,” Whipple said.  “Hunters who complete the course this summer will be ready to take to the field in the fall.”

All hunters born after Jan. 1, 1972, must complete a hunter education course to purchase a hunting license.

To find a course and learn about hunter education requirements, new hunters should visit the WDFW hunter education webpage at http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/huntered/classes/basic.php

WDFW offers both traditional and online options to complete the hunter education requirement.

The advantages of the traditional classroom experience include direct person-to-person instruction from certified volunteer instructors, said Whipple.

The online course offers the same content, but on the student’s schedule, Whipple said. Those who take the online course are required to complete an in-person field skills evaluation led by certified instructors, added Whipple.

WDFW will be offering a field skills evaluation course during its celebration of National Hunting and Fishing Day on Sept. 23, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Camp Pigott, 24225 Woods Creek Road, Snohomish.  Pre-registration at http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/huntered/classes/basic.php is required.

The National Hunting and Fishing Day event will also feature activities for hunters, anglers and outdoorspeople, including:

  • Opportunities for youth to shoot bows, air rifles and firearms under close supervision from instructors.
  • Door prize drawings and lunch for the first 500 youth attendees and accompanying adults.
  • Fishing, hunting, and conservation oriented activities, displays and information.

“The National Hunting and Fishing Day event is a great way to introduce youth and newcomers to target shooting, hunting, and angling,” said Whipple. “It’s also an opportunity to recognize that hunters and anglers are among the most active supporters of fish and wildlife management and conservation.”

The free National Hunting and Fishing Day event is hosted by WDFW’s Hunter Education Division and the Volunteer Program. It is sponsored by WDFW, the Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians, the Washington Hunter Education Instructor Association, hunter education instructors,  Master Hunters, the National Wild Turkey Federation, the Mule Deer Foundation, Pheasants Forever, Safari Club International (NW Chapter), Stonerose Interpretive Center and Eocene Fossil Site, Trout Unlimited (Monroe Chapter), Washington Friends of the NRA, Washington Grand Lodge Medical Team, Washington Ornamental Game Bird Breeders, Puget Sound Knappers, Chief Seattle Council BSA Shooting Sports Committee and Camp Pigott, Volterra Restaurants (Ballard and Kirkland), and Pacific Food Importers.

National Hunting and Fishing Day, formalized by Congress in 1971, was created by the National Shooting Sports Foundation to celebrate the conservation successes of hunters and anglers.

Persons with disabilities who need to receive this information in an alternative format or who need reasonable accommodations to participate in WDFW-sponsored public meetings or other activities may contact Dolores Noyes by phone (360-902-2349), TTY (360-902-2207), or email (dolores.noyes@dfw.wa.gov). For more information, see http://wdfw.wa.gov/accessibility/reasonable_request.html.