WSR 00-14-081

PROPOSED RULES

DEPARTMENT OF

FISH AND WILDLIFE

[ Filed July 5, 2000, 11:50 a.m. ]

Original Notice.

Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 00-10-085.

Title of Rule: Wild animal trapping, and trapping seasons and regulations.

Purpose: To amend WAC 232-12-141 Wild animal trapping, and 232-28-515 Trapping seasons and regulations.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 77.12.040.

Statute Being Implemented: RCW 77.12.040.

Summary: Trapping is an essential wildlife management tool that is benefitting from technological improvements and other changes designed to improve animal welfare. The amendment to WAC 232-12-141 reduces the amount of time that animals can remain in restraining traps from forty-eight hours to twenty-four hours statewide. Proposed changes to WAC 232-28-515 are designed to optimize use of the wildlife resource and include reopening a section of private land near Mt. St. Helens and closing a section of St. Helens Monument land; extending trapping season length for three furbearer species in Skagit and Whatcom counties to match standard season structure; and extending beaver and river otter seasons by fifteen days in western Washington (close February 15 instead of current January 31).

Reasons Supporting Proposal: Improves welfare of animals captured in restraining traps.

Increases trapping opportunity in some areas without negatively impacting wildlife populations.

Clarifies existing regulations that may be confusing to some participants.

Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting and Implementation: Dave Brittell, Assistant Director, Wildlife Program, Olympia, (360) 902-2504; and Enforcement: Bruce Bjork, Assistant Director, Enforcement, Olympia, (360) 902-2932.

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

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

Explanation of Rule, its Purpose, and Anticipated Effects: The proposed rule changes reduce the maximum time an animal can be held in a trap from forty-eight to twenty-four hours. Trapping opportunity is increased in three ways:

(1) Returns mink, muskrat, and raccoon seasons in three counties to same length as remainder of western Washington (currently three weeks shorter than other counties).

(2) Extends trapping season for beaver and river otter by fifteen days in western Washington.

(3) Opens some lands previously impacted by Mt. St. Helens eruption to trapping for all legal species (previously open only for bobcat and coyote).

The purpose is to improve animal welfare while maintaining reasonable trapper efficiency and opportunity, and optimize opportunity when and where the resource can be maintained in healthy condition. Currently, trappers must check traps that restrain animals at least once every forty-eight hours (twenty-four hours in some areas of high human population). The proposed rule requires that animals be removed from restraining traps within twenty-four hours of capture. The proposed rule clarifies that animals must be removed from traps and allows trappers to observe traps from remote locations (e.g., via binoculars) rather than requiring physical presence of a trapper at each trap site.

Likely effects include reductions in the amount of time some animals spend in restraining traps, thereby improving welfare of captured animals; increased trapper opportunity; and small to moderate increases in harvest of beaver, river otter, and other furbearers in western Washington. Some trappers may trap less often or be forced to use fewer traps because traps must be monitored more often.

Proposal Changes the Following Existing Rules: See above.

No small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW. This rule does not affect small business.

Section 201, chapter 403, Laws of 1995, does not apply to this rule adoption. This rule is not related to the hydraulics code.

Hearing Location: Best Western Southcenter, 15901 West Valley Road, Tukwila, WA, on August 11-12, 2000, at 8:00 a.m.

Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Debbie Nelson by July 31, 2000, TDD (360) 902-2207, or (360) 902-2267.

Submit Written Comments to: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Dave Brittell, 600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091, fax (360) 902-2162, by July 31, 2000.

Date of Intended Adoption: August 11, 2000.

July 5, 2000

David Ware

Game Division Manager

for Evan Jacoby

Rules Coordinator


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending Order 99-118, filed 8/11/99)

WAC 232-12-141
Wild animal trapping.

(1) The trapping season authorizes the taking of furbearing animals for their hides and pelts only. Furbearers may not be taken from the wild and held alive for sale or personal use without a special permit pursuant to WAC 232-12-064.

(2) Any wildlife trapped for which the season is not open shall be released unharmed. Any wildlife that cannot be released unharmed must be left in the trap, and the department of fish and wildlife must be notified immediately.

(3) Lawfully trapped wild animals must be lethally dispatched or immediately released. A firearm may be used ((for this purpose)) to dispatch trapped animals.

(4) It is unlawful to trap for wild animals:

(a) By any means other than padded foot-hold traps having a minimum rubber pad thickness of one-eighth inch, unpadded foot-hold traps, cage (live) traps, kill traps and snares.

(b) With an unpadded foot-hold trap, unless the trap has jaws with a minimum jaw face width of one-fourth inch, or the trap is set so that it completely submerses and drowns any trapped animal, except that unpadded foot-hold traps not meeting the one-fourth inch jaw face requirement may be used on nondrowning sets on private property with landowner permission for the purpose of protecting livestock, domestic animals, private property, or public safety.

(c) With a steel trap having a jaw spread exceeding seven and one-half inches, except that a kill trap having a jaw spread exceeding seven and one-half inches is lawful when set beneath the water surface.

(d) On dry land, with a nondrowning set with a No. 3 size or larger unpadded foot-hold trap if it does not have jaw spacing of at least three-sixteenth of one inch when the trap is sprung,

(e) With a steel trap with teeth or serrated edges.

(f) Unless kill traps, including foot-hold drowning sets, are checked and animals removed within seventy-two hours.

(g) ((Unless traps not capable of killing the animal are checked and animals removed within forty-eight hours, except within identified urban trapping areas, where sets not capable of killing the animal, must be checked and animals removed within twenty-four hours)) Unless animals captured in restraining traps (any non-killing set) are removed within 24 hours of capture.

(h) With a neck or body snare attached to a spring pole or any spring pole type of device.

(i) Using game birds, game fish or game animals for bait, except nonedible parts of game birds, game fish or game animals may be used as bait.

(j) Within thirty feet of any exposed meat bait or nonedible game parts which are visible to flying raptors.

(5) Game bird feathers may be used as an attractor.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 77.12.040. 99-17-034 (Order 99-118), 232-12-141, filed 8/11/99, effective 9/11/99; 98-01-207 (Order 97-253), 232-12-141, filed 12/23/97, effective 10/1/98; 92-18-083 (Order 563), 232-12-141, filed 9/2/92, effective 10/3/92; 90-19-097 (Order 460), 232-12-141, filed 9/19/90, effective 10/20/90; 87-15-082 (Order 293), 232-12-141, filed 7/20/87; 81-12-029 (Order 165), 232-12-141, filed 6/1/81. Formerly WAC 232-12-310.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending Order 97-252, filed 12/23/97, effective 1/23/98)

WAC 232-28-515
((1997-98, 1998-99, 1999-2000)) Trapping seasons and regulations.

Trapping Regulations


To be issued your first Washington State trapping license an individual must pass the Washington State trapper education exam.


A trapping license will only be issued to a trapper that has returned the mandatory trapper report of catch postmarked on or before April 10 of the previous year. A trapper that fails to submit a report of catch must wait one year before purchasing another trapping license. False reports will be considered the same as failure to return the catch report.


It is unlawful to: Trap for wild animals before October 1, and after March 15, in western Washington, except that owners of, or persons legally controlling a property (or their designee) may trap unclassified wild animals that are causing damage or depredating on said property.


It is unlawful to: Place traps or establish drowning wires and weights prior to 7:00 a.m. on the opening date of the trapping season. All opening and closing season dates are inclusive.


Trapping Seasons:


General Western Washington Trapping Seasons (Clallam, Clark, Cowlitz, Grays Harbor, Island, Jefferson, King, Kitsap, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, Pierce, San Juan, Skagit, Skamania, Snohomish, Thurston, Wahkiakum, Whatcom counties):



SPECIES

OPENING DATE

CLOSING DATE
Bobcat, Red Fox, and Weasel November ((22, 1997)) 18, 2000

November ((21, 1998)) 17, 2001

November ((20, 1999)) 16, 2002

February 15, ((1998)) 2001

February 15, ((1999)) 2002

February 15, ((2000)) 2003

((Red Fox)) ((November 22, 1997

November 21, 1998

November 20, 1999))

((February 15, 1998

February 15, 1999

February 15, 2000))

((Weasel)) ((November 22, 1997

November 21, 1998

November 20, 1999))

((February 15, 1998

February 15, 1999

February 15, 2000))

Marten, Mink, Muskrat, and Raccoon November ((22, 1997)) 18, 2000

November ((21, 1998)) 17, 2001

November ((20, 1999)) 16, 2002

January 31, ((1998)) 2001

January 31, ((1999)) 2002

January 31, ((2000)) 2003

((Raccoon)) ((November 22, 1997

November 21, 1998

November 20, 1999))

((January 31, 1998

January 31, 1999

January 31, 2000))

((Mink)) ((November 22, 1997

November 21, 1998

November 20, 1999))

((January 31, 1998

January 31, 1999

January 31, 2000))

((Muskrat)) ((November 22, 1997

November 21, 1998

November 20, 1999))

((January 31, 1998

January 31, 1999

January 31, 2000))

Beaver and River Otter December ((13, 1997)) 9, 2000

December ((12, 1998)) 8, 2001

December ((11, 1999)) 14, 2002

((January 31, 1998)) February 15, 2001

((January 31, 1999)) February 15, 2002

((January 31, 2000)) February 15, 2003

((River Otter)) ((December 13, 1997

December 12, 1998

December 11, 1999))

((January 31, 1998

January 31, 1999

January 31, 2000))


Exceptions to General Western Washington Trapping Seasons:


((Cowlitz County))

Game Management Unit 522 (Loo-wit) (Cowlitz and Skamania counties is closed to all trapping.


Island County

The red fox season is closed.


Lewis County

Green River drainage, above and including Miners Creek drainage, ((above the confluence of Elk Creek)), is closed to all trapping except for bobcat((,)) and coyote. ((Game Management Unit 522 (Loo-wit) is closed to all trapping.))


((Skagit County)) Skagit and Whatcom counties

((The Ross Lake National Recreation Area is closed to all trapping. The red fox season is closed in Skagit County, except within the exterior boundaries of the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. Raccoon, mink, and muskrat seasons are December 13, 1997 to January 31, 1998; December 12, 1998 to January 31, 1999; and December 11, 1999 to January 31, 2000.)) Ross Lake National Recreation Area is closed to all trapping. Red fox season is closed, except within the boundaries of Mount Baker-Snoqalmie and Okanogan National Forests.


Skamania County

((Smith Creek, Bean Creek, and Clearwater Creek, above USFS 83 Road on Pine Creek, and above the confluence of Bean Creek on the Muddy River are closed to all trapping except for bobcat and coyote. Game Management Unit 522 (Loo-wit) is closed to all trapping.)) The following areas are closed to all trapping, except for bobcat and coyote: Muddy River drainage, above and including Bean Creek drainage; Pine Creek drainage above USFS Road 83; and Green River drainage, above and including Miners Creek drainage.


((Whatcom County

The Ross Lake National Recreation Area is closed to all trapping. The red fox season is closed in Whatcom County, except within the exterior boundaries of the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie, and Okanogan National Forests. Raccoon, mink, and muskrat seasons are December 13, 1997 to January 31, 1998; December 12, 1998 to January 31, 1999; and December 11, 1999 to January 31, 2000.))


General Eastern Washington Trapping Seasons (Adams, Asotin, Benton, Chelan, Columbia, Douglas, Ferry, Franklin, Garfield, Grant, Kittitas, Klickitat, Lincoln, Okanogan, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Stevens, Walla Walla, Whitman, and Yakima counties):


SPECIES

OPENING DATE

CLOSING DATE
Badger, Beaver, Bobcat, Mink, Muskrat, Raccoon, Red Fox, and Weasel November ((8, 1997)) 11, 2000

November ((14, 1998)) 10, 2000

November ((13, 1999)) 9, 2002

February 28, ((1998)) 2001

February 28, ((1999)) 2002

February 28, ((2000)) 2003

((Bobcat)) ((November 8, 1997

November 14, 1998

November 13, 1999))

((February 28, 1998

February 28, 1999

February 28, 2000))

((Red Fox)) ((November 8, 1997

November 14, 1998

November 13, 1999))

((February 28, 1998

February 28, 1999

February 28, 2000))

((Weasel)) ((November 8, 1997

November 14, 1998

November 13, 1999))

((February 28, 1998

February 28, 1999

February 28, 2000))

Marten December 15, ((1997)) 2000

December 15, ((1998)) 2001

December 15, ((1999)) 2002

January 31, ((1998)) 2001

January 31, ((1999)) 2002

January 31, ((2000)) 2003

((Raccoon)) ((November 8, 1997

November 14, 1998

November 13, 1999))

((February 28, 1998

February 28, 1999

February 28, 2000))

((Mink)) ((November 8, 1997

November 14, 1998

November 13, 1999))

((February 28, 1998

February 28, 1999

February 28, 2000))

((Muskrat)) ((November 8, 1997

November 14, 1998

November 13, 1999))

((February 28, 1998

February 28, 1999

February 28, 2000))

((Beaver)) ((November 8, 1997

November 14, 1998

November 13, 1999))

((February 28, 1998

February 28, 1999

February 28, 2000))

River Otter

(Season Bag

Limit is 6 River

Otter in Eastern

Washington)

November ((8, 1997)) 11, 2000

November ((14, 1998)) 10, 2001

November ((13, 1999)) 9, 2002

February 28, ((1998)) 2001

February 28, ((1999)) 2002

February 28, ((2000)) 2003


Exceptions to General Eastern Washington Trapping Seasons:


((The river)) River otter trapping season is closed in all Eastern Washington counties, except that it is open in Chelan, Ferry, Klickitat, Kittitas, Okanogan, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Stevens, and Yakima counties, as well as in the Snake and Walla Walla ((Rivers and their tributaries)) river drainages.


Chelan County

((The beaver)) Beaver season is closed in Swakane and Mudd Creek drainages.


Kittitas County

((The beaver)) Beaver season is closed in the following drainages: north fork of Tarpiscan Creek((,)) and ((the)) Umtanum Creek ((drainage)).


Urban Trapping Areas: Special Regulations and Trap Restrictions


The following described areas are closed to the taking of classified furbearing animals, and coyote, opossum, nutria, and skunk, by the use of foot-hold, kill, or snare traps except muskrat and mink may be taken with a number one and one-half foot-hold drowning set or a 110 instant kill trap during lawful trapping seasons as established by the Fish and Wildlife Commission. In these areas all traps or devices, not capable of killing the animal must be checked and the animal removed within 24 hours.


Thurston County, within the established city limits (including county islands) of Lacey, Olympia, and Tumwater.


Within Snohomish, King, and Pierce counties((.)): Beginning at the confluence of ((the)) Snohomish River and ((the)) Puget Sound; ((then)) east up ((the)) Snohomish River to Interstate 5 (I-5); ((then)) south on I-5 to Interstate 405 (I-405); ((then)) south on I-405 to I-5; ((then)) south on I-5 to ((its junction with)) Pioneer Way; ((then)) east ((along)) on Pioneer Way to Waller Road; ((then)) south ((along)) on Waller Road to SR 512; ((then)) west ((along)) on SR 512 to Highway 7; ((then)) south on Highway 7 ((to)) and Highway 507 to ((the)) Pierce County line; north on Pierce County line to Puget Sound; ((then)) north along ((the)) coast to ((the)) mouth of the Snohomish River and point of beginning.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 77.12.040. 98-01-208 (Order 97-252), 232-28-515, filed 12/23/97, effective 1/23/98.]

Reviser's note: The typographical error in the above section occurred in the copy filed by the agency and appears in the Register pursuant to the requirements of RCW 34.08.040.

Washington State Code Reviser's Office