THREE-YEAR CYCLE: State gathers hunting rule proposals

Now is the time to submit proposals for changes in state hunting rules for the 2015-17 seasons.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife also plans to host six public meetings in August to discuss options for proposed hunting rules.

Dave Ware, game program manager, said changes proposed by the public are important in shaping hunting seasons and major regulation changes for the next three-season cycle. Minor changes in the regulations are made each year.

Not included in this process are the major migratory bird hunting seasons. Those seasons, and bag limits, are set on an annual basis coinciding with the federal waterfowl season-setting processes.

“We want to hear people’s comments and concerns, especially those that address a significant conservation or management issue,” Ware said in a news release. “We don’t implement every proposal we receive, but we do take a close look at all of them and incorporate a lot of those ideas into the state’s hunting rules.”

The deadline to submit a proposal is July 18. At that time, department staffers will refine the proposals into preferred alternatives, based on the comments. A second public comment period, on the alternatives, will run from Sept. 1-30.

Taking input gathered during the public meetings and the second comment period, staffers will develop recommendations for consideration by the Fish and Wildlife Commission.

The commission is expected to holding a public hearing on the final proposals in March, and then take action on the proposals at its meeting the next month.

Get involved

Hunters and other members of the public can post their proposals at wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/regulations/seasonsetting. The site also includes a timetable for the rule development process.