1) As if Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife staffers are riding around in their gold trucks taking potshots at the state’s wolves, seven groups today petitioned the agency “to stop the indiscriminate killing” of the species by making the wolf management plan legally binding.
“The new push to codify provisions put in place in 2011 comes after the state killed seven Wedge Pack wolves last year — a decision that ignored Washington Wolf Conservation and Management Plan provisions governing when lethal control of wolves is allowed,” said the Center for Biologist Diversity, Cascadia Wildlands, Western Environmental Law Center, Gifford Pinchot Task Force, Kettle Range Conservation Group, The Lands Council and Wildlands Network in a press release.
“The state’s killing of seven wolves last year was tragic, unnecessary and violated the wolf plan. But Fish and Wildlife got away with it because the wolf plan isn’t currently enforceable. Wolves — and Washington taxpayers — deserve better,” said a CBD representative.
“Not true,” replies WDFW manager Dave Ware about the ignoring provisions part.
The wolf plan is considered a guidance document, not written-in-stone law, but even so, the agency reviewed it before it began removing members of the pack after a series of confirmed depredations on local livestock.
WDFW, which is mistrusted to handle wolves by those on both extremes of the issue, is told that if the petition is denied, the groups will go to Governor Jay Inslee.
It has 60 days to reply.
2) The agency posted last night’s Washington wolf webcast for those who didn’t get to see it live (it begins at the 14-minute mark, for some reason) but want to learn more about impacts to big game from experts in the Northern Rockies.
“We did get quite a few comments,” Ware says about the opportunity for hunters to email in questions for the webcast. “Most were fairly positive in terms of hearing what other states are doing.”
He added that a overall a variety of views were expressed.
Among the numerous questions from hunters and others posed by Wildlife Program chief and MC Nate Pamplin to Ware (as well as Montana and Idaho big game managers) was one by a Miles: “Is there going to be a Washington wolf hunting season?”
Ware says that the wolf plan says it’s a possibility, and that the agency feels like other states, that hunting is a good management tool that provides recreation and is mandated by the legislature to provide hunting opportunities.
“I can’t imagine why we we wouldn’t recommend it, to have wolves to be hunted as well,” he says near the 2:42:30 mark