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PostThu Feb 06, 2020 11:39 am 
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* Please see previous post *

Bernardo, on Sept. 18, 2018 in another thread wrote:
Ski, my question was whether the large amount of cougar attacks on Vancouver Island are consistent with the overhunting theory or the underhunting theory, ie overpopulation?

Ski, on Sept. 18, 2018 in another thread wrote:
That's an excellent question for which I do not have an answer.

The cougar population in Oregon was estimated to be about 200 animals in the early 1960s, and is now estimated to be over 6000. (Oregon's land mass is 98,381 square miles.)( .06 cougars per square mile )

As RumiDude pointed out above, the cougar population of Washington State is significantly less - about one-third that of Oregon - estimated to be about 2000 animals. (Washington's land mass is 71,362 square miles.)( .028 cougars per square mile )

The cougar population of Vancouver Island is estimated to be about 3500 animals. (Vancouver Island's land mass is 12,079 square miles)( .289 cougars per square mile )

Oregon outlawed the use of dogs for hunting cougar in 1994.
Washington outlawed the use of dogs for hunting cougar (and other animals) with the passage of Initiative 665 in 1996.
The Provincial Government of British Columbia allows use of hounds for hunting cougar.

There does exist the possibility that Vancouver Island, hosting arguably the highest concentration of cougars in the world, might have more cougar/human incidents simply because there are more cougars in a much smaller area.

* Cougars are one thing where I have to question whether WDFW's "management policy" is as good as it could be. *

Previous discussion thread regarding cougar attack near Mt. Hood

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PostThu Feb 13, 2020 1:06 pm 
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Wednesday February 12, 2020 15:10 PST

NEWS RELEASE

Commission approves forest restorations, Willapa Bay policy guidance, and hears updates on hatchery reform and Grays Harbor salmon policy


OLYMPIA – The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission approved continued implementation of the Willapa Bay Salmon Management Policy for 2019 brood year fall Chinook hatchery releases and 2020 fishery management objectives and measures at their Feb. 7-8 meeting.  The Commission also approved forest restoration thinning projects across 1,200 acres in Oak Creek and Blue Mountain wildlife areas.

The Commission discussed and heard public comment on several topics that will move forward for actions at later dates. These spanned 14 possible future land transactions, Grays Harbor salmon management policy, sturgeon status in the Lower Columbia River, and the latest in hatchery science.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) manages 80 hatchery facilities and 159 hatchery programs across the state. Given the agency’s roles in conservation and fishing access, the Commission will spend time at their March meeting reviewing WDFW’s progress toward implementing the current hatchery reform policy, designed to  advance the conservation and recovery of wild salmon and steelhead.

The Commission further discussed next steps in the Columbia River policy review and directed WDFW to plan a review of current hunting contest rules. The Commission also heard about backyard wildlife sanctuary and pollinator programs.

More information is available online at wdfw.wa.gov/about/commission/meetings .

The Commission is a citizen panel appointed by the governor to set policy for the WDFW.

-WDFW-

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PostTue Feb 18, 2020 6:15 pm 
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Tuesday February 18, 2020 16:02 PST

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

WDFW uses drone to study predators and prey in wild lands of Stevens and Pend Oreille counties


The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and collaborating partners will fly a drone over northeast Washington wild lands during the week starting February 16.

WDFW and University of Washington biologists will use the drone to film landscapes and work sites associated with the Predator-Prey Project, a five-year research effort that began in the winter of 2016-17. Researchers working with the project are studying the impact to ungulates (mule deer, white-tailed deer, and elk) from wolves and other carnivores such as cougars, bobcats, and coyotes.

Using a drone for this work is less risky and less expensive than filming from conventional aircraft. Video taken by the drone will be used in an education-outreach film, available in late 2020, that will describe the data collection process, and how the data will inform wildlife management decisions.

Drone flights will take place in Game Management Units 117 and 121 in Stevens and Pend Oreille counties. Exact locations, flight times and days will be dictated by weather conditions and animal distributions. The flights will take place mostly on public land. Drone pilots will avoid private land and human habitation when possible.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is the state agency tasked with preserving, protecting and perpetuating fish, wildlife and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing, hunting, and other recreation opportunities.

-WDFW-

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PostWed Feb 19, 2020 4:36 pm 
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Wednesday February 19, 2020 14:06 PT

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

WDFW Police arrest alleged repeat big-game poacher in Clallam County


OLYMPIA – Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) Police Officers, along with Clallam County Sheriff deputies, and members of the Olympic Peninsula Narcotics Enforcement Team have arrested a man charged with 26 big-game poaching-related crimes.

Jason Bradley Hutt failed to appear for his court hearings regarding a yearlong WDFW Police investigation into the alleged poaching of a wide range of wildlife across the North Olympic Peninsula. On Jan. 16, 2020, the Clallam County Superior Court issued three felony bench warrants for Hutt. WDFW Officers booked Hutt for these warrants, and he is currently being held in the Clallam County jail on $60,000 bail.

Hutt, and his accomplice Wyatt J. Beck had been charged in Jefferson and Clallam Counties with a combined total of 44 criminal violations which occurred from the summer of 2018 to the summer of 2019.

Hutt had been on the run after failing to appear for a court hearing related to this case. In addition to the previously named crimes, Hutt is now charged with felony bail jumping.

“The public is often instrumental in giving us the ability to catch criminals,” said lead investigating Fish and Wildlife officer, Bryan Davidson. “In this case, we were able to follow up on a public report of a poached black bear, and we found that Beck and Hutt allegedly unlawfully killed three black bears.”

In addition to the bears, the two men are also charged with poaching two bull elk and three buck blacktail deer. The men are charged in Clallam County with unlawfully hunting the three deer, taking an over limit of deer, and unlawfully using an illegal caliber of weapon to hunt big game. The men were also charged in Jefferson County for poaching two bull elk in the Brinnon area in the summer of 2018.

As a result Hutt was charged in Clallam County with hunting/possessing deer without a license, failing to tag deer, unlawfully carrying a loaded pistol in a vehicle in open view, possessing a loaded shotgun, and a rifle in a motor vehicle, and unlawfully possessing bobcat, river otter, and a harlequin duck. Hutt was also charged for possessing methamphetamine found on his person during his arrest.

“We couldn’t have completed this arrest without the Clallam County Sheriff’s Department and the Olympic Peninsula Narcotics Enforcement Team,” said Davidson. “Cases like these take the whole community, and we’re grateful for those who provided information to help us in this investigation.”

Hutt is due to appear in Clallam County Superior Court Friday, Feb. 21 and in Jefferson County Superior Court in April for his next court hearings.

-WDFW-

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PostFri Feb 28, 2020 3:42 pm 
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Friday febrary 28, 2020 15:25 PST

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

Willapa Bay tributaries will close to fishing due to projected low steelhead returns


OLYMPIA – Fishery managers with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) today announced the closure of Willapa Bay tributaries in an effort to meet preseason expectations for spawning wild steelhead.

Affected rivers include the tributaries of Willapa River: Forks Creek, Palix River and all forks, Nemah River North, South, and Middle, the Naselle River, and Bear River.

The closures will begin Monday, March 2 and are expected to last through Friday, May 22.

With projected low steelhead returns statewide this year, WDFW and tribal co-managers have taken steps in-season to maximize the number of wild steelhead that return to spawning grounds, including closing all fishing in the Chehalis River.

“Shifting angling pressure due to the fishing closure of the Chehalis last week is likely to affect the outcome of preseason plans to protect wild steelhead in other rivers,” said James Losee, fish program manager for WDFW’s coastal region. “These additional closures are needed to protect wild steelhead and ensure we meet preseason objectives.”

Losee noted that the number of wild steelhead spawning in the Chehalis River has fallen below the escapement goal every year since 2016, indicating a continuing problem with low returns that can also be seen in Willapa Bay.

“When returns are this low, it is challenging to predict the effect that changes in angling pressure will have on our ability to meet short- and long-term conservation goals,” Losee said.

Fishery managers will continue to monitor other area rivers and streams and announce additional fishery changes as needed. Anglers are encouraged to visit https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/ to see in-season rule changes.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is the state agency tasked with preserving, protecting, and perpetuating fish, wildlife, and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing, hunting, and other recreation opportunities.

-WDFW-

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I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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PostThu Mar 05, 2020 5:09 pm 
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Thursday March 5, 2020 17:04 PST

NEWS RELEASE

Commission will hear comments on 2020-2021 hunting seasons at March meeting in Kennewick


TRI-CITIES - The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will invite public comments on 2020-2021 hunting season proposals during their meeting in Kennewick on March 13. The public will be able to watch the meeting live from a link on the Department website, wdfw.wa.gov, or player.invintus.com/?clientID=2836755451&eventID=2020031002.

The commission meeting begins at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, March 13 with presentations and hearings on:

Changes to the migratory waterfowl and gamebird season regulations
Changes to deer, elk, and other big game species hunting seasons
Changes to landowner hunting permits, multi-season deer and elk permits, and raffle hunts
Changes to cougar management harvest guidelines
Proposal to abolish a rule relating to the spread of elk hoof disease
The Commission will take open public comment in the morning and will take public comment on these specific items throughout the meeting. They are scheduled to make final decisions regarding these and other hunting season proposals at their April meeting in Olympia.

The Commission is asking individuals to consider the advice from the Washington Department of Health regarding the COVID-19 virus by staying home if they are sick or have underlying health conditions.

If members of the public are concerned about attending this meeting in person but wish to provide their comments on any of the hunting rule proposals, the Commission has extended the period for written public comment through March 31. Written comments may be emailed to wildthing@dfw.wa.gov.

Consistent with health authorities' guidance, the Commission is canceling a previously scheduled wolf committee meeting, rescheduling a hatchery policy evaluation review workshop to a date to be determined, and rescheduling the review of the Columbia River Salmon policy to the June Commission meeting in Yakima. The Commission is also modifying an in-person meeting of the Columbia River Salmon Policy workgroup to a teleconference meeting on Wednesday, March 11 at 1 p.m.

The Wildlife Committee will continue to meet at 7 a.m. Friday morning.

A revised meeting agenda is available at wdfw.wa.gov/about/commission.

The meeting will be recorded and may also be viewed from home either live or afterward at the public's convenience.

The Commission encourages the public to monitor the Department's website for further schedule changes that may be needed to help protect public health.

The Commission is a citizen panel appointed by the governor that sets policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). WDFW is the primary state agency tasked with preserving, protecting, and perpetuating fish and wildlife and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing and hunting opportunities.

-WDFW-

==========================================================

Thursday March 5, 2020 17:13 PST

NEWS RELEASE

Commission workgroup to hold special meeting on Columbia River salmon policy


OLYMPIA – The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission has set a special meeting for its workgroup on the Columbia River salmon management policy to begin at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, March 11 via teleconference. The Commission is cancelling the in-person meeting of this workgroup previously scheduled in Kennewick, WA.

The Commission has established this workgroup to develop recommendations to the full Commission regarding whether any long-term modifications of its Columbia River Salmon Management Policy are necessary. The workgroup will not be making any recommendations regarding the policy framework for the 2020 fisheries.

Materials for this Columbia River workgroup meeting are available at wdfw.wa.gov/about/commission. Public comments will not be taken during this teleconference. However, the public can listen remotely or from room 180 in the Natural Resources Building, 1111 Washington Street, S.E., Olympia, WA. Interested members of the public should contact the Commission office at 360-902-2267 prior to 3 p.m. on March 10 to obtain the conference phone number and access code.

The Commission is a citizen panel appointed by the governor that sets policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). WDFW is the primary state agency tasked with preserving, protecting, and perpetuating fish and wildlife and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing and hunting opportunities.

-WDFW-

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I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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PostSun Mar 22, 2020 12:49 pm 
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Sunday March 22, 2020 13:38 PDT

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

Washington campgrounds to close through April 30
Day use areas and trails remain open


OLYMPIA – Today, the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission (Parks), Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced the closure of all state campgrounds across Washington to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Campgrounds will remain closed through April 30.

The closure includes roofed accommodations like cabins and yurts.

No new campers will be allowed into Parks, WDFW, or DNR lands beginning Monday, March 23. Current campers will be phased out following instructions from land officials.

Day use areas and trails remain open. Due to the volume of people visiting Washington's ocean beaches, we are asking the public to avoid those areas. People should continue to practice social distancing when recreating outdoors.

State Parks
Campers who have state parks reservations through April 30 will be notified and offered a full refund. Visitors can find the latest information about State Park operations at parks.state.wa.us/COVID19.

Department of Fish and Wildlife
Although camping is not allowed, WDFW wildlife areas and water access areas remain open for public use at this time. However, due to theft and increased usage of their restrooms, visitors should plan to bring their own hand sanitizer and toilet paper. For the latest information about WDFW operations, visit wdfw.wa.gov/about/covid-19-updates .

Department of Natural Resources
DNR's camping will be closed to dedicated camping areas and dispersed camping or camping outside of designated camp sites. For the most up-to-date information for DNR lands, visit dnr.wa.gov/recreation.

-WDFW-

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I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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PostTue Mar 24, 2020 4:49 pm 
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Tuesday March 24, 2020 16:21 PDT

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

Washington state parks and wildlife areas to close following governor's order


OLYMPIA – Today, the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission (Parks) and the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced the temporary closure of all state-managed parks, wildlife areas, and water access areas for at least two weeks starting Wednesday, March 25. The closure is in response to Gov. Inslee's "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" order issued yesterday.

Entrance gates and facilities will be closed, and on-site public services will be suspended. Essential staff will be present to preserve and protect resources.

Camping and other overnight accommodations on state-managed recreation lands will remain closed through April 30.

The public can find the latest information about State Parks and WDFW operations at:

Parks: parks.state.wa.us/COVID19.
WDFW: wdfw.wa.gov/about/covid-19-updates
State land officials and staff appreciate the public's understanding and cooperation in this unprecedented time.

-WDFW-

(* emphasis added *)

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I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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PostWed Mar 25, 2020 3:55 pm 
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Wednesday March 25, 2020 16:51 PDT

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

WDFW closes recreational fishing statewide in wake of governor's order to 'Stay Home, Stay Healthy' in response to COVID-19


OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) today announced its decision to temporarily close recreational fishing and shellfishing statewide in the wake of Washington Gov. Jay Inslee's order directing Washingtonians to stay home and stay healthy to limit the spread of coronavirus/COVID-19.

The closures will begin at midnight Wednesday, March 25 and last until at least 5 p.m. on April 8, 2020. WDFW will re-evaluate on April 6 whether the closure may need to be extended.

"This is not a decision we take lightly, but it's the right thing to do for the health and well-being of Washington's families," said WDFW Director Kelly Susewind. "Monday's extraordinary order for the residents of our state to stay home requires all of us to work together to ensure these measures have the intended effect."

Fishery managers have reported that some anglers have been seen crowding banks as concerns over coronavirus have continued.

"We've seen an uptick in outdoor recreation at some locations in recent weeks as people have looked for ways to get outside," said WDFW Fish Program Director Kelly Cunningham. "We've had reports of crowded boat ramps and busy fishing on some rivers, which runs counter to the governor's direction to stay home and practice social distancing."

In addition, many salmon and steelhead fisheries require regular monitoring under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), which includes conducting angler interviews at access sites surrounding the state's marine waters. The on-site, face-to-face nature of angler interviews puts people at potential risk of transmitting the coronavirus. Without such monitoring, these recreational fisheries must close to ensure ESA protections.

WDFW and other state agencies previously closed all of their water access sites, including boat launches, and other public lands where people may gather. Local and tribal governments are taking similar actions across Washington.

WDFW Enforcement officers remain on duty and will be enforcing these new closures.

The lowland lakes opening day for trout remains scheduled for April 25, but will be evaluated depending on whether the governor's "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" order might be further extended.

For the latest updates on WDFW's coronavirus response, please visit https://wdfw.wa.gov/about/covid-19-updates. Updates to openings and closures will be posted to that page. For the latest information on the statewide response to this pandemic, visit https://coronavirus.wa.gov/.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is the state agency tasked with preserving, protecting, and perpetuating fish, wildlife, and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing, hunting, and other recreation opportunities.

-WDFW-

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PostMon Mar 30, 2020 1:36 pm 
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Monday March 30, 2020 14:34 PDT

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

Spring youth turkey hunt canceled, bear season to remain closed for now


Stay Home, Stay Healthy actions to reduce the spread of COVID-19

OLYMPIA - The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) today announced a decision to cancel the youth turkey hunt previously scheduled for April 4-5. In addition, six game management units (GMUs) that were scheduled to open on April 1 for spring bear hunting will now be closed pending further evaluation and could reopen if conditions allow.

The Department is taking these steps to limit the spread of coronavirus/COVID-19 per Washington Gov. Jay Inslee's order to Stay Home, Stay Healthy.

Many in the public have shared disappointment tied to previous public land and resource closures, pointing to exercise as an exemption. WDFW Director Susewind understands the need to spend time outdoors but notes that while hunting itself can be a solitary activity, many people have to travel from urban to rural areas to enjoy it.

"Every stop for gas, food, or a restroom break can introduce the virus to areas it hasn't yet reached," said Susewind. "It was a tough decision, but we want to ensure that people are properly encouraged to stay home at this time."

The Department had previously canceled mentored turkey events, but the youth special hunts hold a special place in staff's and hunter's hearts.

"Aspiring hunters often experience their first successful hunt over this weekend," said Susewind. "It's disappointing, but this is a serious situation, and we want our communities and the hunting public to successfully protect themselves."

Youth who were planning to hunt on April 4 or 5 may still use their tags in the regular spring or fall turkey seasons, pending further impacts. The spring turkey season is scheduled to run April 15 through May 31.

On April 6, WDFW will reassess its ability to open the impacted hunting areas, as well as several other upcoming hunting seasons. The most notable upcoming seasons include spring turkey and additional spring bear hunts currently scheduled to open April 15.

Nearly 90 percent of spring bear permit holders in northeast Washington would be traveling from outside the area.

A limited number of open hunting seasons that are winding down or have limited participation that does not create the same public health concerns remain open. Hunters participating in those seasons are reminded to renew their license for the 2020-21 hunting license year.

For the latest updates on WDFW's coronavirus response and harvest season updates, visit wdfw.wa.gov/about/covid-19-updates.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is the state agency tasked with preserving, protecting, and perpetuating fish, wildlife, and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing, hunting, and other recreation opportunities.

-WDFW-

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I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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