WSR 04-13-170

PROPOSED RULES

DEPARTMENT OF

FISH AND WILDLIFE

[ Filed June 23, 2004, 10:16 a.m. ]

Original Notice.

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

Title of Rule and Other Identifying Information: Adopt WAC 232-28-285 2004-2005 Pilot cougar hunting season with the aid of dogs.

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: This rule establishes a cougar-hunting season with the use of dogs (hound hunting). This proposal is 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


NEW SECTION
WAC 232-28-285   2004-2005 Pilot cougar hunting seasons with the aid of dogs   (1) The pilot cougar-hunting season will allow use of dogs to hunt cougar. The hunts will consist of pursuit-only hunts and pursuit-and-kill hunts (hound season), and are allowed only in Chelan, Okanogan, Ferry, Stevens, and Pend Oreille counties, as defined in Chapter 264 Laws of 2004.

(2) Hound season:

Cougar may be pursued or killed with the aid of dogs from December 1, 2004 until the female zone quota has been filled, the total zone quota has been filled, or March 31, 2005, whichever occurs first; EXCEPT GMUs 101 and 204 where cougar may be pursued or killed from January 1, 2005 until the female zone quota has been filled, the total zone quota has been filled, or March 31, 2005, whichever occurs first.

(3) Hunt areas and kill quotas:

Cougar seasons will be based on a quota system, where permit hunters using dogs may hunt cougar until the allotted numbers of cougar have been removed from each hunt zone or March 31, 2005, whichever occurs first.

(a) Kill quotas will start September 1 and will include all cougar killed during seasons without and with the aid of dogs, including public safety cougar removals authorized under WAC 232-12-243, depredation permits, landowner kill permits, and WDFW depredation authority.

(b) Individual problem cougar will continue to be killed on an as needed basis-utilizing depredation permits, landowner kill permits, and WDFW depredation authority even if these kills result in exceeding a zone quota.


CMU Hunt

Choice

Hunt

Zone

Area

description

DRAFT QUOTA
Total Female
East Cascades North 9001 Okanogan Those portions of GMUs 203, 209, 215, 218, 233, 224, 231, 239, and 242 within Okanogan County 23 TBD
9002 Chelan Those portions of GMUs 243, 244, 245, 246, 247, 249, 250, and 251 within Chelan County 13
Northeastern 9003 Ferry-Okanogan GMUs 101, 204 26 TBD
9004 Stevens-Pend Oreille Those portions of GMUs 105, 108, 111, 113, 117, 121 within Stevens and Pend Oreille counties 32

(4) Quota hotline:

Hound hunters must call the toll free cougar quota hotline within 24 hours prior to each day hunting cougar to determine if the zone quota is filled and the zone is closed. Hunters who hunt more than one consecutive day must call the quota hotline once daily to determine if the zone quota is filled. Hunters who harvest a cougar with the aid of dogs must notify the department within 24 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.

(5) Pursuit only season:

If a zone quota is filled prior to March 31, 2005, cougar may be pursued with dogs in portions of that zone until March 31, 2005. Hunters may only pursue cougars in designated pursuit only areas identified on their hound permit. Only hunters selected for the hound kill season (accompanied by up to three of their identified handlers) may participate in a pursuit only season. Hunters may not kill cougar during pursuit only seasons.

(6) Permit issuance procedure:

(a) The number of permits for a pursuit or kill season with the aid of dogs may be established by the Director, but will not exceed two-times the total cougar quota for each hunt zone.

(b) To apply for a hound hunt, individuals must purchase a cougar permit application and submit the application in compliance with WAC 232-28-291 by midnight September 30 each year.

(c) The department will issue a hound permit to the person whose application is selected. Individuals selected will be notified by telephone or mail. Individuals selected must contact the department's wildlife program in Olympia and accept the hound permit within fifteen days of being notified. Failure to contact the department will result in forfeit of the permit. Permits may not be sold or reassigned.

(d) To be eligible for a permit, the participant must be a Washington resident dog hunter as defined in WAC 232-12-243, 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 cougar hound hunt.

(7) Qualifications for participation and requirements

In addition to the provisions applicable to all cougar hunters:

(a) Participants must have their hound permit issued by the department in the person's possession while hunting cougar. A permit will not be issued to any person who has been convicted of unlawful use of dogs under RCW 77.15.245. Any person who has a permit and who is convicted of any wildlife offense while participating in a hound hunt, or who violates any condition of the permit, will have the permit revoked and will be ineligible to participate in the remainder of the 3-year pilot program.

(b) Individuals selected for a hound permit may kill and possess one cougar per permit and only the permittee may kill the cougar.

(c) The 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.

(d) Individuals selected for a cougar pursuit or kill season with the aid of dogs may identify up to five hound handlers. However, no more than three of the five handlers may accompany the permittee while hunting or pursuing cougar. The names of the five hound handlers must be provided to the department by October 31 and will be listed on the hound permit. Hound handlers not identified on the permit are not allowed to participate.

(e) Hound handlers must be a Washington resident and possess a valid hunting license.

(f) It is unlawful to kill or possess spotted cougar kittens or adult cougars accompanied by spotted kittens.

(g) Participants must have a vehicle placard issued by the department. The vehicle placard must be placed in the permittee's and hound handler's vehicle and be visible from outside the vehicle at all times while hunting or pursuing cougar.

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