Starting next year, every time a hunter’s name fails to be drawn in Washington’s computer-selected big-game permits, his chances will get better for the next round.
And better and better.
The Department of Fish and Wildlife plans to implement a “weighted” system under which applicants will receive one or more points every time they apply for a permit and don’t get it.
“If you apply again the next year, you have an additional point,” said Jim Rieck, big-game program manager.
The department receives 81,000 limited-permit applications each year. Some are for deer or elk, with applicants seeking tags for special hunts. Those might be for antlerless animals or for quality units. For certain other species, such as cougars and goats, all hunting is by limited permit.
The current system is random, but still there seems to be hunters who draw tags nearly every year while others never get a chance.
Hunters continue to earn points every time they don’t get drawn in the new system. If the hunter does not reapply for several consecutive years, he will be purged from the system. But if he applies for any species, all points for all species will be retained.
As soon a hunter draws a permit, he goes back to zero points for that species.
The new system will cost the department $73,000 a year, Rieck said, but no increase in permit prices is planned. The Fish and Wildlife Commission has directed the department to have the system in place by May 1996.
IDAHO STOPS SELLING NAMES
Idaho’s Fish and Game Department is out of the mailing-list business.
Irked by reports the department was selling the names and addresses of fishing and hunting licensees to commercial and political groups, the Fish and Game Commission instructed its staff to stop the practice.
“I saw no reason for us to be involved in it,” said Fish and Game commissioner Richard Meiers of Eagle. “I enjoy my privacy and I think other people do also. It was just a matter of protecting individuals’ private concerns.”
Meiers said he thought a 1992 law prohibiting state agencies from selling lists applied to Fish and Game.
Fish and Game administrators believed the 1992 mailing-list ban allowed the continued bulk sale of its records because license holders technically volunteered the use of their names. Those who objected could check a box on the license application.
The department made $10,000 selling these lists, far less than the $2.4 million the Idaho Transportation Department earns selling drivers-license and vehicle-registration information.
The Transportation Department does not plan to stop the practice, spokesman Jeff Stratten said. The agency is exempt from the 1992 mailing-list ban, and argues that state law requires it to comply with any request for the information.
Fish and Game had hired a New York marketing company to sell its lists. The company paid the department $5,740 in royalties.
“We’re such a small player that it certainly wasn’t worth the criticism and it certainly wasn’t worth the effort to continue the program,” Fish and Game director Jerry Conley said.
Individuals still are free to comb through all licenses under Idaho’s public-records law.
CARD BENEFITS CONSERVATION
Orvis, an outdoor clothing supplies retailer, has begun to offer consumers The Orvis Conservation Visa card, with a percentage of purchases made on the card being donated to conservation efforts.
Consumers can elect to have 1 percent of their everyday purchases and 5 percent of Orvis purchases donated to conservation efforts selected by Orvis and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
In addition, consumers can transfer high-rate credit card balances to the Orvis Visa and earn a 1 percent contribution.
“Our customers are particularly interested in helping to preserve critical habitats and contributing to conservation programs supporting wildlife throughout the United States,” said Orvis president Perk Perkins.
The card is issued by First USA Bank and will feature no annual fee and an introductory annual percentage rate of 5.9 percent.
Info: (800) 548-9548.
OPEN HOUSE IN LEWISTON
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game will conduct an open house Friday from noon-6 p.m. at its office in Lewiston to discuss 1996-97 Idaho fishing regulations and the five-year fishery management plan.
A proposed change to the Idaho general fishing seasons and rules pamphlet includes a barbless-hook requirement for all anglers year-round on the Clearwater River, regardless of what species they’re fishing for.
Currently, only anglers fishing for steelhead trout, a species the change is designed to protect, must use barbless hooks.
The 1996-2000 draft of the Resident Fishery Management Plan calls for continuing protection of bull trout in all waters of the region and maintaining restricted harvest rules on rainbow and cutthroat trout in designated “wild trout” waters.
PUBLIC INPUT SOUGHT
Anyone interested in proposing any sport fishing regulations for the 1996 season in Washington should submit a proposal form to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife by Sept. 1.
“We would like the public’s help in drafting these regulations,” said Bruce Crawford, assistant director, who runs the department’s Fish Management Program. “We are willing to look at anything and everything.”
Those contacting the department will be put on a mailing list and notified of all public round-table discussions and hearings pertaining to the 1996 regulation development process.
Proposal forms are available at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Sportfishing Regulations Committee, 600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091, or by calling (360) 902-2700.
CAMPGROUNDS NEED HOSTS
Washington State Parks are encouraging anyone interested to apply to become a campground host.
Hosts greet park visitors with information and maps, perform minor maintenance projects and inform park staff of potential emergencies or problems.
In return, hosts receive free camping and recreational vehicle hookups. Hosts need to provide their own tent, trailer or camper.
Info: (360) 902-8583.