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State wildlife commission to consider waterfowl hunting seasons

Waterfowl hunting seasons for 2006-07 will be considered for adoption by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission at its meeting Aug. 4-5 in Mount Vernon.

The commission, which sets policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), is scheduled to begin its public meeting at 8:30 a.m. Aug. 4 at the Best Western CottonTree Inn, 2300 Market St. The meeting will continue at 8:30 a.m. Aug. 5.

Under waterfowl hunting seasons proposed by WDFW, the general duck season would be open 107 days, as it was last year. Overall, waterfowl populations and their habitats are doing well, said Don Kraege, WDFW waterfowl section manager.

"A majority of the migratory waterfowl populations are stable, and we have seen an increase in the number of ponds, which has improved habitat for the birds," Kraege said. "It looks like it will be another good year for waterfowl hunters."

WDFW's proposal would also shift Grays Harbor County from Goose Management Area (GMA) 2B in southwest Washington to GMA 3. Transferring the county from GMA 2B would eliminate a requirement that hunters check all geese harvested in the county. The current requirement is intended to document the harvest of dusky Canada geese, which are rarely found in Grays Harbor County, said Kraege.

In addition, the proposal addresses hunter trespass and safety issues on Fir Island. The proposal would prohibit waterfowl hunting within 100 feet of public roads and increase penalties for noncompliance, while improving hunter access to private lands by creating special opportunities.

In other action, the commission will:

Consider amending regulations to allow for the import of meat from game-farm raised deer and elk in other states. The meat must arrive from a licensed game farm, boned and packaged for sale. The amendment also would eliminate the need for a special permit to sell cougar hides.

Consider WDFW's final legislative and budget proposals for the 2007-09 biennium, several land transactions, and an amendment that would require trappers to pay late reporting penalties and report their trapping activity to WDFW before purchasing another annual trapping license.

Hear briefings on canary and yelloweye rockfish, coastal spot shrimp seasons, the Puget Sound Recreational Fishery Enhancement Program, and spotted owl management.


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