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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Sports >  Outdoors

Washington big game hunting seasons a go

Washington Fish and Wildlife commissioners approved hunting seasons for big game such as bighorn sheep, deer and elk on Friday.  (The Spokesman-Review archive)
Washington Fish and Wildlife commissioners approved hunting seasons for big game such as bighorn sheep, deer and elk on Friday. (The Spokesman-Review archive) Buy this photo
By Eric Barker Lewiston Tribune

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

They chose to put off a vote 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.

Commissioners also enacted a ban on the importation of deer, elk, moose and caribou carcasses from outside the state. Washington hunters may bring in the antlers and deboned meat from animals killed in other states. The rule is designed to prevent chronic wasting disease from entering Washington. The disease was found in Idaho in the fall.

At a meeting last month, a split commission rejected the department’s proposed spring black bear hunt. Hunters worried some of the statements made by commissioners who voted against the spring bear hunt may signal their reluctance to support other harvest opportunities. In particular, commissioners Timothy Ragen and Melanie Rowland indicated they were uncomfortable with the department’s lack of precise data on black bear population dynamics.

On Friday, Ragen again expressed a desire to better understand how agency biologists track animal populations and determine sustainable levels of harvest. Rowland expressed a lack of knowledge about the difference between general hunts, in which people can participate simply by purchasing licenses and tags, and permit-only hunts, in which they must win a drawing to participate – and a desire to better understand harvest levels.

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

The commission split on recommendations that would have allowed muzzleloaders to attach 1-power or red dot scopes to their guns or attach video cameras to their guns.

They also split on a recommendation that would allow archery hunters to use range-finding bow sights and bow-mounted video cameras.

Some argued doing so would add too much modern technology to the hunts that are designed to be primitive. Others felt the equipment could lead to better shot placement and more efficient kills.

The commission ultimately rejected the muzzleloader scopes, range-finding bow sites and video cameras.

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