WSR 04-13-165

PROPOSED RULES

DEPARTMENT OF

FISH AND WILDLIFE

[ Filed June 23, 2004, 10:13 a.m. ]

Original Notice.

Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 04-10-081.

Title of Rule and Other Identifying Information: Amend WAC 232-28-272 2003-2004, 2004-2005, and 2005-2006 Black bear and cougar hunting seasons and regulations and 232-12-243 Public safety cougar removals.

Hearing Location(s): Embassy Suites, 20610 44th Avenue West, Lynnwood, WA 98036, (425) 775-2500, on August 6-7, 2004, at 8:00 a.m.

Date of Intended Adoption: August 6, 2004.

Submit Written Comments to: Attn: Wildlife Program Commission Meeting Public Comments, 600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091, e-mail Wildthing@dfw.wa.gov, fax (360) 902-2612, by Friday, July 16, 2004.

Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Susan Yeager by August 2, 2004, TTY (360) 902-2207 or (360) 902-2267.

Purpose of the Proposal and Its Anticipated Effects, Including Any Changes in Existing Rules: These rules accommodate a cougar-hunting season with the use of dogs (hound hunting) and restrict general cougar hunting seasons. These proposals are designed to improve public safety while maintaining viable cougar populations.

Reasons Supporting Proposal: The 2004 legislature passed a bill requiring the Fish and Wildlife Commission to establish a cougar-hunting season with the aid of dogs. The proposed regulations and changes are designed to provide the hound-hunting season for cougars while improving the department's ability to manage the harvest composition and the population of cougars.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 77.12.047.

Statute Being Implemented: RCW 77.12.047.

Rule is not necessitated by federal law, federal or state court decision.

Name of Proponent: Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission, governmental.

Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting and Implementation: Dave Brittell, Natural Resources Building, Olympia, (360) 902-2504; and Enforcement: Bruce Bjork, Natural Resources Building, Olympia, (360) 902-2932.

No small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW. These rules regulate recreational hunters and do not directly regulate small business.

A cost-benefit analysis is not required under RCW 34.05.328. Not hydraulics rules.

June 23, 2004

Evan Jacoby

Rules Coordinator


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending Order 04-98, filed 5/12/04, effective 6/12/04)

WAC 232-28-272   2003-2004, 2004-2005, and 2005-2006 Black bear and cougar hunting seasons and regulations.  


Fall Black Bear Seasons:


2003 Black bear seasons:


Black Bear Management Unit Season Hunt Area
Coastal Aug. 1 - Nov. 15 GMUs 501, 504, 506, 530, 601, 602, 603, 607-621, 636-651, 658-663, 672-684
Puget Sound Aug. 1 - Nov. 15 GMUs 407, 410, 454, 624, 627, 633, 652, 666, 667
North Cascades Aug. 1 - Nov. 15 GMUs 418-450, 460
South Cascades Aug. 1 - Nov. 15 GMUs 466, 485, 505, 510-520, 524, 550-574, 653, 654
Okanogan Aug. 1 - Nov. 15 GMUs 203, 209-243
East Cascades Aug. 1 - Nov. 15 GMUs 244-247, 249-251, 328, 329-371, 382, 578, 588
Northeastern A Sept. 2 - Nov. 15 GMUs 101-117
Northeastern B Aug. 1 - Nov. 15 GMUs 121-130, 204
Blue Mountains Sept. 2 - Nov. 15 GMUs 145-154, 162-186
Columbia Basin Aug. 1 - Nov. 15 GMUs 133, 136, 139, 142, 248, 254, 260-290, 371-381
West Side PLWMAs July 15 - Nov. 15 PLWMAs 401, 600
Long Island Sept. 2 - Nov. 15 GMU 699

2004 Black bear seasons:


Black Bear Management Unit Season Hunt Area
Coastal Aug. 1 - Nov. 15 GMUs 501, 504, 506, 530, 601, 602, 603, 607-621, 636-651, 658-663, 672-684
Puget Sound Aug. 1 - Nov. 15 GMUs 407, 410, 454, 624, 627, 633, 652, 666, 667
North Cascades Aug. 1 - Nov. 15 GMUs 418-450, 460
South Cascades Aug. 1 - Nov. 15 GMUs 466, 485, 505, 510-520, 524, 550-574, 653, 654
Okanogan Aug. 1 - Nov. 15 GMUs 203, 209-243
East Cascades Aug. 1 - Nov. 15 GMUs 244-247, 249-251, 328, 329-371, 382, 578, 588
Northeastern A Sept. 7 -

Nov. 15

GMUs 101-117
Northeastern B Aug. 1 - Nov. 15 GMUs 121-130, 204
Blue Mountains Sept. 7 - Nov. 15 GMUs 145-154, 162-186
Columbia Basin Aug. 1 - Nov. 15 GMUs 133, 136, 139, 142, 248, 254, 260-290, 371-381
West Side PLWMAs July 15 - Nov. 15 PLWMAs 401, 600
Long Island Sept. 7 - Nov. 15 GMU 699

2005 Black bear seasons:


Black Bear Management Unit Season Hunt Area
Coastal Aug. 1 - Nov. 15 GMUs 501, 504, 506, 530, 601, 602, 603, 607-621, 636-651, 658-663, 672-684
Puget Sound Aug. 1 - Nov. 15 GMUs 407, 410, 454, 624, 627, 633, 652, 666, 667
North Cascades Aug. 1 - Nov. 15 GMUs 418-450, 460
South Cascades Aug. 1 - Nov. 15 GMUs 466, 485, 505, 510-520, 524, 550-574, 653, 654
Okanogan Aug. 1 - Nov. 15 GMUs 203, 209-243
East Cascades Aug. 1 - Nov. 15 GMUs 244-247, 249-251, 328, 329-371, 382, 578, 588
Northeastern A Sept. 6 - Nov. 15 GMUs 101-117
Northeastern B Aug. 1 - Nov. 15 GMUs 121-130, 204
Blue Mountains Sept. 6 - Nov. 15 GMUs 145-154, 162-186
Columbia Basin Aug. 1 - Nov. 15 GMUs 133, 136, 139, 142, 248, 254, 260-290, 371-381
West Side PLWMAs July 15 -

Nov. 15

PLWMAs 401, 600
Long Island Sept. 6 - Nov. 15 GMU 699

Bag Limit: Two (2) black bear per annual hunting season only one of which may be taken in Eastern Washington.


Area Restriction: Special deer permit required to hunt black bear in GMU 485.


Spring Permit Black Bear Seasons:


Permit quotas for each license year:


Hunt Name Permit Hunt Boundary Permit Level
Blue Creek GMU 154 15
Dayton GMU 162 15
Tucannon GMU 166 10
Wenaha GMU 169 30
Mt. View GMU 172 15
Lick Creek GMU 175 15
Grande Ronde GMU 186 5

Who May Apply: Anyone with a valid Washington big game license, which includes black bear.


Bag Limit: One (1) black bear per black bear special permit season.


Permit Season:
April 15 - May 31. Permits are valid for the license year they are issued.

Requirements for Spring and Fall Black Bear Seasons:


License Required:
A valid big game hunting license, which includes black bear as a species option, is required to hunt black bear. One black bear transport tag is included with a big game hunting license that has black bear as a species option. A second black bear transport tag must be purchased to take a second bear.

Hunting Method: Hunters may use any lawful big game modern firearm, archery, or muzzleloader equipment for hunting black bear. The use of hounds and bait to hunt black bear is prohibited statewide.


Submitting Bear Teeth: Successful bear hunters must submit the black bear premolar tooth located behind the canine tooth of the upper jaw.


Cougar Seasons:


Seasons for each license year, 2003-2005:


((Cougar Management

Unit

Season Hunt Area
Coastal Aug. 1 - Mar. 15 GMUs 501, 504, 506, 530, 601-621, 636-651, 658-663, 672-684, 699
Puget Sound Aug. 1 - Mar. 15 GMUs 407, 410, 454, 624-633, 652, 666
North

Cascades

Aug. 1 - Mar. 15 GMUs 418, 426, 437, 448, 450, 460, 466, 485
South

Cascades

Aug. 1 - Mar. 15 GMUs 505, 510-520, 524, 550-574, 653, 654, 667
East

Cascades

North

Aug. 1 - Mar. 15 GMUs 203, 209-247, 249-251, 328, 329, 334-340
East Cascades South Aug. 1 - Mar. 15 GMUs 342-368, 382, 578, 588
Northeastern Aug. 1 - Mar. 15 GMUs 101-133, 204
Blue

Mountains

Aug. 1 - Mar. 15 GMUs 145-154, 162-186
Columbia

Basin

Aug. 1 - Mar. 15 GMUs 136-142, 248, 254-290, 330, 371, 372, 381))

Unit Season Hunt Area Special Restrictions
Coastal Aug. 1 - Mar. 15 GMUs 501, 504, 506, 530, 601-621, 636-651, 658-663, 672-684, 699 Any legal weapon
Puget Sound Aug. 1 - Mar. 15 GMUs 407, 410, 454, 624-633, 652, 666 Any legal weapon
North Cascades Aug. 1 - Mar. 15 GMUs 418, 426, 437, 448, 450, 460, 466, 485 Any legal weapon
South Cascades Aug. 1 - Mar. 15 GMUs 505, 510-520, 524, 550-574, 653, 654, 667 Any legal weapon
East Cascades

North A

Aug. 1 - Mar. 15 GMUs 328, 329, 334-340 Any legal weapon
East Cascades

North B

Oct. 16 - Nov. 19 GMUs 203, 209-247, 249-251 within Chelan or Okanogan counties Any legal weapon
East Cascades

North C

Sept. 1 - Nov. 30 GMUs 203, 209-247, 249-251 within Chelan or Okanogan counties Archery deer or elk hunters and muzzleloader deer or elk hunters who possess a valid big game license that includes cougar as a species option may hunt for cougar without the aid of dogs during their respective deer or elk seasons and must use equipment consistent with their deer or elk tag.
East Cascades South Aug. 1 - Mar. 15 GMUs 342-368, 382, 578, 588 Any legal weapon
Northeastern A Aug. 1 - Mar. 15 GMUs 124-133 Any legal weapon
Northeastern B Oct. 16 - Nov. 19 GMUs 101-121 within Ferry, Stevens, or Pend Oreille counties, 204 Any legal weapon
Northeastern C Sept. 1 - Nov. 30 GMUs 101-121 within Ferry, Stevens, or Pend Oreille counties, 204 Archery deer or elk hunters and muzzleloader deer or elk hunters who possess a valid big game license that includes cougar as a species option may hunt for cougar without the aid of dogs during their respective deer or elk seasons and must use equipment consistent with their deer or elk tag.
Blue

Mountains

Aug. 1 - Mar. 15 GMUs 145-154, 162-186 Any legal weapon
Columbia

Basin

Aug. 1 - Mar. 15 GMUs 136-142, 248, 254-290, 330, 371, 372, 381 Any legal weapon


Requirements for Cougar Seasons:


License Required: A valid big game hunting license which includes cougar as a species option is required to hunt cougar.


Bag Limit: Two (2) cougar per license year excluding public safety cougar removals. It is unlawful to kill or possess spotted cougar kittens or adult cougars accompanied by spotted kittens.


Area Restriction: Special deer permit required to hunt cougar in GMU 485.


Tag Information: One cougar transport tag is included with a big game license that has cougar as a species option. A second cougar transport tag must be purchased to take a second cougar.


Hunting Method: Hunters may use any lawful big game modern firearm, archery, or muzzleloader equipment for hunting cougar. The use of hounds to hunt cougar is prohibited except ((during)) by a public safety cougar removal permit or commission authorized hound permit.


Cougar Pelt Sealing: Any person who takes a cougar must notify the department within 72 hours of kill (excluding legal state holidays) and provide the hunter's name, date and location of kill, and sex of animal. The raw pelt of a cougar must be sealed by an authorized department employee within five days of the notification of kill. Any person who takes a cougar must present the cougar skull, in such a manner that teeth and biological samples can be extracted, to an authorized department employee at the time of sealing.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 77.12.047 and 77.12.020. 04-11-036 (Order 04-98), 232-28-272, filed 5/12/04, effective 6/12/04. Statutory Authority: RCW 77.12.047. 03-13-047 (Order 03-129), 232-28-272, filed 6/12/03, effective 7/13/03; 01-20-011 (Order 01-198), 232-28-272, filed 9/20/01, effective 10/21/01. Statutory Authority: RCW 77.12.040, 77.12.020, 77.32.070, 77.32.530. 01-10-048 (Order 01-69), 232-28-272, filed 4/26/01, effective 5/27/01. Statutory Authority: RCW 77.12.047. 00-21-038 (Order 00-215), 232-28-272, filed 10/12/00, effective 11/12/00. Statutory Authority: RCW 77.12.040, 77.12.010, 77.12.020, 77.12.770, 77.12.780. 00-11-137 (Order 00-50), 232-28-272, filed 5/23/00, effective 6/23/00. Statutory Authority: RCW 77.12.040. 99-01-138 (Order 98-249), 232-28-272, filed 12/22/98, effective 1/22/99; 98-10-008 (Order 98-57), 232-28-272, filed 4/22/98, effective 5/23/98.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending Order 03-186, filed 8/14/03, effective 9/14/03)

WAC 232-12-243   Public safety cougar removals.   (1) Definitions:

As used in this section and in the context of public safety cougar removals, the following definitions apply:

(a) "Confirmed" means qualified department staff is led to believe a cougar(s) was at the scene of the incident by interview of the complainant or observation of evidence at the scene.

(b) "Human-cougar safety incident" means aggressive or unusual behavior by a cougar which presents an actual or perceived threat to an individual.

(c) "Livestock or pet depredation" means incidents where livestock and/or pets are killed and/or injured by cougar.

(d) "Marginal cougar habitat" means those areas usually dominated by urban/suburban, developed lands with relatively high human densities.

(e) "Nuisance activity" means incidents associated with property disturbance, property damage, or livestock/pet harassment.

(f) "Preferred cougar habitat" means those areas usually dominated by rural, undeveloped lands with relatively low human densities.

(g) "Public safety need" means there exists a reasonable threat to human safety or property by one or more cougar, as indicated by the level of confirmed human-cougar safety incidents or livestock/pet depredations, and confirmed cougar sightings or nuisance activities.

(h) "Removal" means the act of killing one or more cougar with the aid of dogs.

(i) "Sighting" means a direct observation of one or more cougar, in urban or rural settings, near individuals or residences; typically more than chance observations.

(j) "Human-cougar interaction" means a human-cougar safety incident, livestock or pet depredation, cougar nuisance activity, or cougar sighting event.

(k) "Dog hunter" means a person that owns and hunts with dogs that are capable of detecting, tracking and treeing a cougar.

(2) Public safety cougar removal authorization: The commission authorizes the director to issue public safety cougar removal permits consistent with this rule. Prior to issuing public safety cougar removal permits, the department shall use other practical alternatives to address a public safety need, including livestock or pet depredations. Other practical alternatives may include, but are not limited to, general cougar hunting seasons, general public information, educational programs, information to recreational hunters, cougar depredation/kill permits, and department capture and relocation/euthanasia of specific cougars.

(3) Public safety cougar removal criteria:

(a) The commission determines that when the above practical alternatives have been utilized within a game management unit, eleven confirmed human-cougar interactions per year, of which at least four must be confirmed human-cougar safety incidents or livestock/pet depredations, therein demonstrating that the practical alternatives have been inadequate to address the public safety need. The director then is authorized by the commission to remove one or more cougar, with the aid of dogs, in a selected area of that game management unit or nearby geographic area suitable for the use of dogs. The commission authorizes the director to remove one cougar per one hundred twenty square kilometers of complaint area in preferred cougar habitat, and one cougar per four hundred thirty square kilometers of complaint area in marginal cougar habitat.

(b) If warranted by conditions of this rule, public safety cougar removal(s) will be conducted annually between December 1st and March ((15th)) 31st in selected areas of game management units designated by the director to address a public safety need presented by one or more cougar except in game management units 101 and 204, public safety cougar removal(s) will be conducted annually between January 1 and March ((15)) 31 for a cougar capture-recapture study.

(c) The department shall not target more than one hundred nine cougar during a public safety cougar removal period unless otherwise authorized by the commission.

(4) Public safety cougar removal permit issuance procedure.

(a) To participate in a public safety cougar removal, individuals must request that his/her name be placed on a list of available participants (participant list) by mailing their request to Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Enforcement Program - Public Safety Cougar Removal, 600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091. The request must include the individual's name, address, phone number, and game management units being applied for. Individuals may apply for no more than four game management units. An individual's request to be placed on a participant list for a removal period must be postmarked no later than October 1, or be received at the department's Olympia office no later than 5:00 p.m. on October 1, during the year the removal period begins.

(b) To be eligible for a public safety cougar removal permit (permit), the participant must be a Washington resident dog hunter who, at the time of application for a permit, possesses a valid big game license with cougar as a species option. The permit holder must use dogs while participating in a public safety cougar removal.

(c) Individuals eligible for participation in a public safety cougar removal will be randomly selected from the participant list. The department will issue a permit to the person whose name is selected from the participant list. Individuals selected will be notified by telephone or mail. Individuals selected must contact the department's enforcement program in Olympia and accept the public safety cougar removal permit within fifteen days of being notified. Failure to contact the department will result in forfeit of the permit and the individual will be placed on the participant list for later selections. Permits may not be sold or reassigned.

(d) Permit holders and all individuals who will accompany the permit holder must complete the department's public safety cougar removal education course prior to participating in a public safety cougar removal.

(5) Public safety cougar removals: Quota system and participation in cougar removal.

(a) ((The)) Public safety cougar ((removal period)) removals will be based on a quota system, where permit holders may hunt cougar until the allotted numbers of cougar have been removed from each game management unit or March ((15)) 31, whichever is first; EXCEPT in game management units with pilot hound hunting seasons (WAC 232-28-285), where public safety cougar removal permit holders may hunt cougar until the allotted numbers of cougar have been removed, the female zone quota has been filled, the total zone quota has been filled, or March 31, whichever occurs first.

(b) Permit holders who harvest a cougar before January 15 may continue hunting for a second cougar with dogs. The permit holder must purchase an additional cougar transport tag to hunt and harvest one additional cougar and the permit holder will be issued a second permit. Permit holders who harvest a cougar after January 15 are not eligible to harvest a second cougar with dogs.

(c) To verify if the cougar removal season is open or closed in each game management unit, the permit holders shall notify the department's enforcement program in Olympia ((at least)) within twenty-four hours prior to exercising a public safety cougar removal permit.

(d) No more than four total individuals may participate per public safety cougar removal, including the permit holder(s). Only the permit holder, whose name appears on the permit, may take a cougar.

(e) Hunters killing a cougar during a public safety cougar removal must notify the department's enforcement program in Olympia within twenty-four hours after harvesting the cougar.

(f) The department reserves the right to accompany permit holders while participating in a public safety cougar removal.

(6) Public safety cougar removal general requirements.

(a) A valid big game hunting license which includes cougar as a species option is required to hunt cougar. One cougar transport tag is included with a big game license that has cougar as a species option. A second cougar transport tag must be purchased to take a second cougar. Individuals may participate in multiple public safety cougar removals, but must purchase a cougar transport tag for each cougar removed. Purchases in excess of two cougar transport tags must be made at department offices.

(b) It is unlawful to kill or possess spotted cougar kittens or adult cougars accompanied by spotted kittens. Individuals selected for a public safety cougar removal permit may take one cougar per permit ((and must take the first legal cougar available)).

(c) Hunters may use any lawful big game modern firearm, archery, or muzzleloader equipment for hunting cougar. The use of dogs to hunt cougar is prohibited except during a public safety cougar removal.

(d) Any person who takes a cougar must notify the department within twenty-four hours of kill (excluding legal state holidays) and provide the hunter's name, date and location of kill, and sex of animal. The raw pelt of a cougar must be sealed by an authorized department employee within seventy-two hours of the notification of kill. Any person who takes a cougar must present the cougar skull, in such a manner that teeth and biological samples can be extracted, to an authorized department employee at the time of sealing.

(e) The public safety cougar removal permit (permit) belongs to the state of Washington. The permit holder may be required to return to or turn over to the department the permit when, in the judgment of the department, the permit holder violates any conditions of the permit, violates trespass laws while acting under this permit, or violates any other criminal law or hunting regulation of the state while acting under this permit. If the permit holder is required to return to or turn over to the department the permit, the permit holder may request an appeal of that action in accordance with chapter 34.05 RCW. Appeal request shall be filed in writing and returned within twenty days of the date of action and be addressed to WDFW Legal Services Office, 600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, Washington 98501-1091.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 77.12.047. 03-17-037 (Order 03-186), 232-12-243, filed 8/14/03, effective 9/14/03; 02-17-013 (Order 02-183), 232-12-243, filed 8/9/02, effective 9/9/02; 01-20-011 (Order 01-198), 232-12-243, filed 9/20/01, effective 10/21/01.]

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