WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT -- The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission today voted to increase cougar hunting opportunities in six counties.
Meeting via telephone, the commission amended cougar hunting regulations for a pilot project that authorizes cougar hunting with the aid of dogs. The project had expired and was not extended this year by the Legislature.
The commission increased cougar hunting opportunities without the aid of dogs in Klickitat, Chelan, Okanogan, Ferry, Stevens and Pend Oreille counties to continue to meet management objectives in those areas.
In addition, the commission modified the criteria for determining when cougars are removed to address public concerns about pet and livestock depredation and personal safety. The change allows for cougar removals when complaints confirmed by WDFW staff in a given game management unit exceed the five-year average.
WDFW game managers recommended the amendments to cougar hunting regulations as an interim measure until the 2012-14 hunting season package is developed.
Public discussion of the 2012-14 hunting seasons is scheduled to begin this month, including a Spokane meeting on Wednesday.
Click here for more information about future commission meetings.