Hunting

Washington’s big game seasons are on | Local

Washington Fish and Wildlife commissioners approved big game hunting seasons with little debate on Friday, but rejected proposed rules that would have incrementally modernized some primitive gun hunts.

They chose to postpone the vote until today on a controversial proposal that would clarify when wolves can be killed for attacking livestock. The delay will allow more people to comment on the proposed rule.

The commissioners also enacted a ban on importing deer, elk, moose and caribou carcasses from out of state. Washington hunters can bring antlers and boneless meat from animals killed in other states. The rule is designed to keep chronic wasting disease out of Washington. The disease was discovered in Idaho in the fall.

At a meeting last month, a split commission rejected the ministry’s proposed spring black bear hunt. Hunters were concerned that some of the statements made by some of the commissioners who voted against the spring bear hunt signaled their reluctance to support other harvesting opportunities. In particular, commissioners Timothy Ragen and Melanie Rowland said they were uncomfortable with the ministry’s lack of accurate data on black bear population dynamics.

On Friday, Ragen again expressed a desire to better understand how the agency’s biologists track animal populations and determine sustainable harvest levels. Rowland expressed a lack of knowledge about the difference between general hunts, where people can participate simply by buying licenses and tags, and permit-only hunts, where they have to earn a drawing to participate – and a desire for better understand harvest levels.

But both said they would work with agency officials to answer their questions. The commission unanimously approved general and special seasons for deer, elk, bighorn sheep, mountain goat, moose and migratory wildlife.

The commission split on recommendations that would have allowed muzzleloaders to attach 1-power or red dot scopes to their weapons or attach video cameras to their weapons. They also split on a recommendation that would allow archery hunters to use rangefinder bow sights and bow-mounted video cameras.

Some argued that this would add too much modern technology to the hunts that were designed to be primitive. Others felt that gear could lead to better shot placement and more efficient kills.

The commission ultimately rejected muzzle-loading goggles, rangefinder arc sites, and video cameras.

The meeting resumes at 8 a.m. this morning. An agenda and login information is available at bit.ly/36UmHCt.