WSR 07-21-130

PROPOSED RULES

DEPARTMENT OF

FISH AND WILDLIFE

[ Filed October 23, 2007, 4:01 p.m. ]

Supplemental Notice to WSR 07-18-075.

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

Title of Rule and Other Identifying Information: WAC 232-12-073 Master hunter program.

Hearing Location(s): Red Lion Hotel, 221 North Lincoln, Port Angeles, WA 98362, on December 7-8, 2007, at 8 a.m.

Date of Intended Adoption: On or after January 10, 2008.

Submit Written Comments to: Rules Coordinator, 600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091, e-mail preuslmp@dfw.wa.gov, fax (360) 902-2155, by Monday, November 19, 2007.

Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Susan Yeager by December 5, 2007, 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 provide authority for the department to establish a master hunter education program. The proposed amendments provide such authority and allow the department to determine the enrollment fee, prerequisites, curriculum, ethical standards, and other aspects of the program.

Reasons Supporting Proposal: Master hunters are role models and mentors for the hunting community and for the public at large. They also are ambassadors of the department. The department holds them to the highest ethical standards. The proposed amendments will allow the department to suspend hunting privileges of master hunters who violate fish and wildlife laws, trespass laws while hunting, and other related laws, as well as egregious ethical violations.

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.

October 23, 2007

Loreva M. Preuss

Rules Coordinator

OTS-9634.4


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

WAC 232-12-073   ((Advanced hunter education.)) Master hunter program.   (1) In order to ((provide for additional hunting opportunity, on species,)) effectively manage wildlife in areas((,)) or at times when a higher proficiency and demonstrated skill level ((is)) are needed for resource protection or public safety, the department establishes the ((advanced)) master hunter ((education)) program. Persons who successfully pass the master hunter ((level of advanced hunter education)) program and maintain the requirements set forth in this section are entitled to ((exercise the privileges of participation)) participate 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)) and maintained the requirements set forth in this section. The person also must possess a valid master hunter identification card while participating in ((such a)) the hunt((, and)). It is unlawful to participate in a hunt restricted to master hunters if the person's master hunter ((status has)) privileges have 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:

(a) Sharpshooter education: This program emphasizes marksmanship, with the goal of humanely killing 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 habitat restoration and land use practices that maximize protection for wildlife. 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 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)) The department will determine the enrollment fee, prerequisites, and curriculum for the master hunter program. The department may establish an advisory group to assist the agency staff in developing prerequisites and curriculum for the master hunter program.

(a) The master hunter program emphasizes safe, lawful, and ethical hunting practices. Two of the program's goals are to improve the public's perception of hunting and to perpetuate the highest hunting standards. Master hunters actively participate in controlled hunts to eliminate problem animals that damage property and/or threaten public safety.

(b) Master hunter candidates who successfully complete the master hunter program will receive a certificate, ((an advanced)) a master 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)) forty hours of additional master hunter program requirements 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, should a master hunter violate the trapping or recreational fishing or hunting laws, that person's master hunter status will be suspended or revoked as provided in this subsection)) because these hunters are role models and mentors for the hunting community and for the public at large. Master hunters also are ambassadors for the department. As such, applicants must submit to a criminal background check. Applicants who have prior fish and wildlife convictions, trespassing violations, felony convictions prohibiting the possession of firearms, or hunting license suspensions in another state, cannot apply for the master hunter program.

(a) Individuals who successfully complete the master hunter program must obey all laws. Master hunters will be required to sign and abide by a hunter code of ethics in addition to all department laws and regulations.

(b) Master hunter violations of fish and wildlife laws, trespass laws while hunting, or reckless endangerment laws involving hunting weapons, will result in suspension of master hunter privileges for life. The grounds for suspension ((and revocation)) are proof by a preponderance of the evidence that the master hunter ((has)) committed a criminal law violation ((of law)). A criminal conviction is a rebuttable presumption that the violation occurred. Any person who has his or her master hunter ((status revoked or)) privileges 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.

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

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

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

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

(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) Any violation while 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) Master hunter violations involving fish and wildlife infractions will result in suspension of master hunter privileges for a five-year period.

(d) "Conviction," as used in this section, is defined in RCW 77.15.050.

(4) The department's master hunter coordinator will maintain open communications with landowners and the community to investigate complaints about master hunters or the master hunter program. If a master hunter commits an ethical violation that does not rise to a criminal law violation, a master hunter peer review committee, selected by the department, will evaluate the behavior to decide whether it was egregious. If the committee deems the behavior egregious, the department may determine whether to suspend the violator's master hunter privileges for life.

[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