WSR 07-18-075




[ Filed September 4, 2007, 11:22 a.m. ]

Original Notice.

Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 07-07-110.

Title of Rule and Other Identifying Information: WAC 232-12-073 Advanced hunter education.

Hearing Location(s): Natural Resources Building, Room 172, 1111 Washington Street S.E., Olympia, WA 98504, on October 12 and 13, 2007, at 8 a.m.

Date of Intended Adoption: On or after November 2-3, 2007.

Submit Written Comments to: Rules Coordinator, 600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091, e-mail, fax (360) 902-2155, by October 11, 2007.

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

Purpose of the Proposal and Its Anticipated Effects, Including Any Changes in Existing Rules: The current rule on this subject does not allow the department any flexibility in changing the requirements or cost of sharpshooter education, conservationist education, and master hunter education. Additionally, the current rule does not give the department the authority to hold master hunters to the ethical standards the department deems appropriate for such hunters. The proposed amendments to the rule will cure these shortfalls.

Reasons Supporting Proposal: The department wants master hunters to be held accountable if these hunters violate fish and wildlife rules and statutes. The department also wants to be able to determine the requirements and cost of the three levels comprising the advanced hunter education program.

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 department of fish and wildlife, governmental.

Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting and Implementation: Mik Mikitik, 1111 Washington Street, Olympia, (360) 902-8113; and Enforcement: Bruce Bjork, 1111 Washington Street, Olympia, (360) 902-2373.

No small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW. These proposals do not impact small businesses.

A cost-benefit analysis is not required under RCW 34.05.328. These proposals do not affect hydraulics.

September 4, 2007

Loreva M. Preuss

Rules Coordinator


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending Order 02-298, filed 12/13/02, effective 1/13/03)

WAC 232-12-073   Advanced hunter education.   (1) In order to provide for additional hunting opportunity, on species, in areas, or at times when a higher proficiency and demonstrated skill level is needed for resource protection or public safety, the department establishes the advanced hunter education program. Persons who successfully pass the master hunter level of advanced hunter education are entitled to exercise the privileges of participation in special hunts restricted to master hunters. It is unlawful for any person to participate in a hunt restricted to master hunters if such person has not successfully passed the advanced hunter education master hunter course and such person possesses a valid master hunter identification card while participating in such a hunt((, and)). It is unlawful to participate in a hunt restricted to master hunters if the person's master hunter status has been suspended or revoked. Violation of this subsection shall be enforced under RCW 77.15.400 (1)(c) for wild birds, RCW 77.15.410 (1)(b) for big game, and RCW 77.15.430 (1)(b) for wild animals other than big game.

(2) The advanced hunter education program has three levels, ((with the following proficiency requirements:)) described below. The department will determine the enrollment fee and prerequisites required for each level. Master hunters will be required to sign and abide by a code of ethics, in addition to abiding by all department laws and regulations.

(a) Sharpshooter education: This program emphasizes marksmanship, with the goal of humanely ((killing)) harvesting game animals with the least number of shots. ((Successful graduates of the sharpshooter course must demonstrate above average shooting skills. The cost of applying for sharpshooter education is five dollars, and)) On successfully passing sharpshooter education, each graduate will receive a certificate of completion and an advanced hunter education patch.

(b) Conservationist education: This program emphasizes landowner relations, habitat ((restoration)) improvement, and land use practices that maximize ((protection for wildlife)) wise resource use. ((Successful graduates of the conservationist course will have spent a minimum of twelve hours participating in landowner-sportsman or wildlife-related projects. The cost of applying for conservationist education is five dollars, and)) Participants must complete a project to successfully pass this program. All projects require advance approval and must meet the minimum criteria established by the department. On successfully passing conservationist education, each graduate will receive a certificate of completion and an advanced hunter education patch.

(c) Master hunter education: In addition to both sharpshooter and conservationist education, the master hunter program emphasizes ethical behavior while hunting, a detailed knowledge of hunting statutes and rules, and specialized knowledge in how to hunt in damage-control hunts that successfully remove problem animals while maximizing public safety. ((Both extensive home study and passing a rigorous test are prerequisites for achieving the master hunter graduate status. The cost of applying for master hunter education is twenty dollars, and)) On successfully passing master hunter education, each graduate will be issued a certificate, an advanced hunter education patch, and a master hunter identification card. The master hunter identification card is valid for five consecutive years from the date of issuance. The card will be renewed for an additional five years if, during the period of validity, the master hunter education graduate completes ((twelve hours of conservationist education, consisting of participating in landowner-sportsman or wildlife-related projects)) further education as determined by the department.

(3) Master hunters are held to the highest ethical standards ((while hunting,)) and are expected to respect all ((recreational and trapping)) laws. Accordingly, the master hunter candidate shall submit a completed criminal history check, performed at the master hunter's expense, along with the master hunter's application. Thereafter, should a master hunter violate ((the trapping or recreational fishing or hunting)) fish and wildlife laws, trespass laws, or reckless endangerment laws involving hunting weapons, that person's master hunter status will be suspended or revoked as provided in this subsection. The grounds for suspension and revocation are proof by a preponderance of the evidence that the master hunter has committed a violation of law. A criminal conviction is a rebuttable presumption that the violation occurred. Any person who has master hunter status revoked or suspended under this subsection has the right to an administrative hearing to contest the agency action, and such hearing will be held pursuant to chapter 34.05 RCW, the Administrative Procedure Act.

(a) A two-year suspension of master hunter status will be imposed for any ((hunting or hunting related violation)) conviction of a first-time law violation listed in this subsection.

(b) A ((five-year suspension)) lifetime revocation of master hunter status ((and a requirement to retake the master hunter course)) will be imposed for:

(i) ((Any resulting in a suspension of recreational hunting or fishing privileges or in a trapping privilege suspension)) A subsequent conviction of a law violation listed in this subsection;

(ii) Any violations that involve two or more big game animals; ((or))

(iii) Any violation that involves twice or more the daily limit of game or fish((.)); or

(((c) A lifetime revocation of master hunter status will be imposed for:

(i) Any conviction resulting in a second suspension of hunting or fishing privileges or in a second trapping privilege suspension;

(ii))) (iv) Any violation that occurs while the master hunter's recreational hunting or fishing privileges, trapping privileges, or master hunter status is suspended((; or

(iii) Any violations that involve three or more big game animals)).

(c) An advanced hunter education peer review committee will review any ethical violations by master hunters where the behavior does not rise to the level of a violation of law. If the peer review committee decides that an ethical violation is egregious, the department may determine whether to suspend or revoke the violator's master hunter status for a two-year period.

(d) A conviction as used in this section is defined in RCW 77.15.050.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 77.12.047. 03-01-077 (Order 02-298), 232-12-073, filed 12/13/02, effective 1/13/03.]

Washington State Code Reviser's Office