WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT -- The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission during its meeting in Olympia today set 2013-14 waterfowl seasons, extended protections for octopus in Puget Sound, approved land transactions and heard testimony on rules for interactions with wildlife including wolves.
Specifically, the commission:
- Established the 2013-14 hunting seasons for migratory waterfowl. The general duck season will be open for 107 days – from Oct. 12 through 16 and from Oct. 19 through Jan. 26. A special youth hunting weekend will take place Sept. 21 and 22. WDFW Wildlife Program staff members said surveys in the Pacific Flyway show duck populations are near long-term averages, while goose populations are generally at or above management goals.
- Approved seven land acquisitions – five purchases and two conservations easements – for parcels ranging from 1.3 to 191.4 acres in Pacific and Okanogan counties. Each parcel is either adjacent to existing state wildlife lands or surrounded by other publicly owned land, said WDFW Director Phil Anderson. The Pacific County acquisitions will help WDFW preserve and restore salmon habitat. The Okanogan transactions will protect shrub-steppe habitat, mule deer winter range, and migration corridors used by deer, bighorn sheep and other wildlife.
- Took public testimony on several proposed amendments to wildlife interaction rules that are designed to implement actions by the 2013 Legislature and to ensure the WDFW administrative rules are consistent with the department’s 2011 Wolf Conservation and Management Plan. The amendments include a proposal that would make permanent an emergency rule adopted earlier this year, which permits ranchers, farmers, and other pet and livestock owners in the eastern third of the state to kill a wolf that is attacking their animals. The commission will accept written public comments through Friday, Sept. 20, and is scheduled to adopt the regulations later in the fall.
- Extended protections for giant Pacific octopuses in Puget Sound by prohibiting the recreational harvest of the species at seven popular scuba diving sites from Whidbey Island to Tacoma.