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Sports >  Outdoors

Field reports: Court invalidates use of bait, hounds to kill bears on timber lands

In response to a lawsuit filed by the Center for Biological Diversity, an appellate court ruled on Tuesday that the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife can no longer issue permits to private hunters to use bait and hounds to kill black bears on timberlands.  (Robert F. Bukaty/AP)
In response to a lawsuit filed by the Center for Biological Diversity, an appellate court ruled on Tuesday that the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife can no longer issue permits to private hunters to use bait and hounds to kill black bears on timberlands. (Robert F. Bukaty/AP)
Staff and wire reports

In response to a lawsuit filed by the Center for Biological Diversity, an appellate court ruled on Tuesday that the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife can no longer issue permits to private hunters to use bait and hounds to kill black bears on timberlands.

“This ruling is a big win for Washington’s black bears,” said Collette Adkins, carnivore conservation director and senior attorney at the center. “Going against the will of Washington voters, the state let a small group of selected hunters shoot bears over bait and chase them with hounds. The court stopped that cruelty, and we’re celebrating.”

In 1996 and 2000, Washington voters approved Initiatives 655 and 713, respectively, which banned the killing of black bears using bait, dogs and traps. The initiatives contained limited exceptions for targeting animals that cause property damage. The center’s lawsuit challenged the department’s program for not falling within these narrow exceptions.

The appellate court’s decision invalidates the department’s rule that allowed timber companies to use private hunters to bait bears and chase them with hounds upon receiving a permit from the state. Dozens of bears have been killed with these methods by such permit holders prior to the court’s intervention.

States seek advisory group nominations

WDFW and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife are accepting nominations for appointees to three-year terms on the Columbia River Commercial Fishing Advisory Group and Columbia River Recreational Fishing Advisory Group through Nov. 24. The new terms begin in January and end in December 2023.

The two groups meet two to four times per year to develop recommendations for salmon, steelhead, sturgeon and smelt fisheries.

Up to 20 applicants from Washington and Oregon will be chosen for each advisory group, representing a wide array of fishing interests. Learn more about the recreational fishing advisory group at wdfw.wa.gov/about/advisory/crrfag and the commercial fishing advisory group at wdfw.wa.gov/about/advisory/crcfag.

Advisers will be selected based on their fishery experience, willingness to engage in the management process, geographic and diverse affiliation representation, and their ability to communicate with fishery managers and other organizations.

Nominations for Washington residents can be submitted to WDFW by mail at 5525 S. 11th Street, Ridgefield, WA 98642, by fax at 360-906-6776, or by email to myrtice.dobler@dfw.wa.gov.

Nominations must be received no later than Nov. 24.

Construction set at Lake Roosevelt marina

Beginning Tuesday and continuing through mid-December, the National Park Service will replace the water main at Keller Ferry Campground and Marina. This project, funded through camping and boat launch fees collected at Lake Roosevelt, will bring the Keller Ferry marina, boat launch, campground and day-use area into compliance with Washington State drinking water regulations.

During this time, the boat launch will remain open and accessible through the west entrance.

All other entrances will be blocked and barricaded.

Visitors should drive carefully and watch for workers in the area. For more information on Lake Roosevelt, please visit nps.gov/laro.

Access near Hayden Creek to close temporarilyThe Coeur d’Alene River Ranger District of the Idaho Panhandle National Forests will temporarily close a short segment of Forest Service Road 437 and an adjacent gravel pit while contractors using heavy equipment make needed repairs to the road.

Starting at the junction with East Hayden Lake Road and terminating about a mile east at the junction with Forest Service Road 206, the road segment and gravel pit will be closed starting Tuesday and is expected to remain closed for the remainder of the week. Plans call for the road to reopen again on Friday.

Motorists may use Forest Service Road 206 beginning at East Ohio Match Road as an alternate means of travel.

Motorists are prohibited from driving the road during improvement work in order to promote public and employee safety. Heavy equipment, such as dump trucks, an excavator and a road grader, will be operating on the road. The Forest Service appreciates the public’s assistance as it works to improve this motorized travel route.

For more information, contact the Coeur d’Alene River Ranger District at (208) 664-2318 or (208) 783-2363, or visit the Idaho Panhandle National Forests website at fs.usda.gov/ipnf.

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