The 2014 general black bear hunting season starts with the onset of official shooting hours at 5:17 AM, Friday, Aug. 1 throughout Northwest Washington.
Here in Whatcom County, bruins go on the fair game list in two black bear management/hunt zones, the Puget Sound and North Cascades. Bear hunting is managed in 11 separate zones in Washington.
Owing to their strong maternal instincts, sow (female) bears of breeding age are likely to have cubs in tow in the fall months. Hunters are asked to be deliberate (wait and assess) in taking their shot to make sure those highly vulnerable youngsters are not left motherless.
All game management units in the county including the 407 (North Sound), 418 (Nooksack) and 426 (Diablo) within these two greater bear management sectors will be open.
Private, state and federally owned forest-lands will be key focuses for bear hunters, though with access permission from landowners, smaller hunt areas in some areas can be negotiated.
State and national parks are closed to hunting.
Hunters in Washington may buy two transport tags and kill up to two black bears in a license year (April 1 to March 31). Only one may come from hunting grounds east of the Cascades, but both bagged animals may come from Western Washington.
All otherwise lawful hunting weapons may be used to hunt black bears, but by a vote of the citizens its not legal to deploy baits or scents nor find and pursue bears with dogs.
Successful bear hunters must immediately report their kill and submit a premolar tooth. And if animals are taken from Chelan, King and Snohomish counties, hair and tissue samples must be submitted as well. Call the fish and wildlife department's Region Four Office in Mill Creek at 425 775-1311 to get information about the submittal procedure.
It's mandatory for all holders of bear transport tags to report their hunting effort by the the end of January for each tag they own to avoid a $10 non-reporting civil penalty.
Bear hunters during the first part (August) of their general season are not required to wear hunter orange garb, but may have to later in the season.
Bear season opens in three other hunt management areas the Coastal, East Cascades and Columbia Basin zones. The South Cascades, Okanogan and Northeastern B zones open Friday, Aug 15 and the Northeastern A, Blue Mountains and Long Island zones are the last to open for the 2014 general season Monday, Sept. 1.
All areas close to black bear hunting Saturday, Nov. 15.