OLYMPIA — The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has assembled an internal working group of department biologists and enforcement officers to develop recommended changes to the cougar hunting seasons.
After hearing from concerned constituents at the March 2019 commission meeting, the department began reviewing its current cougar hunting rules in order to bring the commission potential amendments for their consideration.
“Our group has met five times over the last six months to discuss changes to the hunt structure,” said Anis Aoude, WDFW game division manager. “After completing our internal process, we will begin a public engagement process to receive feedback from our stakeholders.”
In the coming months, WDFW will discuss progress with the Fish and Wildlife Commission at their Wildlife Committee meetings, seek input from key external stakeholders, open a public comment period, host a digital open house with a question and answer session, and provide information through social media.
In addition, the commission will seek public comment as they consider changes during a public hearing on proposed rules in March prior to making a decision in April 2020.
“Public safety remains one of our highest concerns,” said Aoude. “This internal cougar working group continues to work at finding the balance between maintaining sustainable cougar populations while also addressing public safety.”
On March 5, the department filed a CR-101 that advertises the intent of possible rule making. The CR-101, and any future filings related to this process, can be found at wdfw.wa.gov/about/regulations.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is the state agency tasked with preserving, protecting and perpetuating fish, wildlife, and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing and hunting opportunities.