Voters said no, but some cougar hunts continue

  • Wayne Kruse / Outdoor Writer
  • Saturday, November 4, 2000 9:00pm
  • Sports

Hound hunters interested in assisting the state Fish and Wildlife Department with cougar removal in areas where the cats have been documented as public safety concerns must submit a written request by Nov. 15.

The request process is in accord with rules adopted Oct. 6 by the state Fish and Wildlife Commission concerning the use of dogs to remove cougars in limited areas where there have been a number of cougar/human conflicts.

The use of dogs to hunt cougars was banned by initiative in 1996, but increasing problems with the cats over the past few years convinced the Legislature to pass a bill this year directing the commission to develop the selective hunts.

Dog hunters must submit their written request to WDFW Enforcement Program, Attn: Sean Carrell, 600 Capitol Way N., Olympia 98501. The request must include name, address, phone number, and the administrative region in which the person would like to participate.

Requests for specific game management units cannot be honored, but hunters should state which WDFW regions they’re interested in (see page 4 of the 2000 Big Game Hunting Seasons and Rules Pamphlet for a regional map). Individuals may apply for more than one region.

State staff determined that up to 74 cougar removal permits could be issued statewide, mostly near urban/suburban areas around Puget Sound and Spokane. Public safety cougar removals will occur in four of the six WDFW administrative regions this year: Region 1 (eastern, Spokane), 37 permits in portions of GMUs 109, 117, 121, 124, and 130; Region 2 (north central, Ephrata), two permits in a portion of GMU 250; Region 4 (this region, Mill Creek), 20 permits in portions of GMUs 407, 448, 454, and 460; and Region 6 (coast, Aberdeen), nine permits in portions of GMUs 621, 654, and 666.

Permits will be drawn at random and successful permittees will be notified by mail. The notice will include the GMU and the boundaries of the permit, plus a video which must be viewed by the permittee and the owner of the dogs that will be used. The applicant will also have to produce a copy of his/her valid state big game hunting license, with cougar as a species option, prior to the issuance of the permit.

Permits will be valid for participation by up to four persons, from Dec. 16 through March 15. The permit holder will be required to notify the regional WDFW enforcement office 24 hours prior to exercising the permit, and the first cougar available must be taken. The permittee will be allowed to keep the cougar, after complying with reporting and pelt tagging requirements.

  • The deer hunt with the highest success rate in the state opens Monday in northeast Washington – the late, rifle, whitetail season in GMUs 105 to 124. Running through Nov. 19, it includes some of the peak time in the whitetail rutting period, when bucks tend to be less wary, and when snow sometimes makes tracking and hunting even more productive.

    The Cowlitz River is in the middle of what may turn out to be a record return of sea-run cutthroat, and fishing has been hot. Another top fishery this month should be for an excellent run of summer steelhead to the Snake River.

  • Ducks Unlimited, an admirable organization which leaves no stone unturned in its quest for funds to save and enhance wildlife wetland habitat, has published a children’s book eminently suitable as a Christmas gift. The Wide World of Suzie Mallard is a more realistic view of ducks and their place in the natural world than children get from many other sources, but it’s also a good tale that young children will enjoy.

    The book is a hardcover, 32 pages, full color illustrations, and sells for $14.95. To order, call 800-45-DUCKS, or visit www.ducks.org.

  • The biggest smallmouth caught this year by members of the Washington Bass Association was by Karen Bruggman, at 5 pounds, 5 ounces. Biggest largemouth went to John Arenz and Wade McNamar, a tie at 6 pounds even.

  • The “Kids Classic” fishing event on Silver Lake last month, put together by national organization C.A.S.T. For Kids and staffed by volunteers from local fishing clubs, was an enormous success. A staggering 643 youngsters were officially counted, receiving free tackle and T-shirts, involved in casting contests and fishing lessons, and doing some actual fishing for newly planted rainbow trout. Volunteer helpers, unfortunately, were in somewhat short supply and could have used a lot more hands.

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