WSR 07-19-098

PROPOSED RULES

DEPARTMENT OF

FISH AND WILDLIFE

[ Filed September 18, 2007, 4:18 p.m. ]

Original Notice.

Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 07-16-128.

Title of Rule and Other Identifying Information: WAC 232-28-285 2007-2008 Pilot cougar hunting seasons with the aid of dogs.

Hearing Location(s): Campbell's Resort on Lake Chelan, 104 West Woodin, Chelan, WA 98816, (509) 682-2561, on November 2-3, 2007, at 8:00 a.m.

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

Submit Written Comments to: Wildlife Program Commission Meeting Public Comments, 600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091, e-mail Wildthing@dfw.wa.gov, fax (360) 902-2162, by Monday, October 15, 2007.

Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Susan Yeager by October 31, 2007, TTY (800) 833-6388 or (360) 902-2267.

Purpose of the Proposal and Its Anticipated Effects, Including Any Changes in Existing Rules: Continues the pilot cougar [hunting seasons] with the aid of dogs in Chelan, Okanogan, Ferry, Stevens, and Pend Oreille counties for the 2007-08 [season]. Under the rule, an anticipated one hundred-two cougar will be harvested within four hunt zones. No notable changes; only calendar date adjustments and removing the reference to a "three-year" pilot program.

Reasons Supporting Proposal: Enhance public safety and provide a more effective cougar management 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 fish and wildlife commission, governmental.

Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting and Implementation: Dave Brittell, Natural Resources Building, Olympia, (360) 902-2504; and Enforcement: Bruce Bjork, Natural Resources Building, Olympia, (360) 902-2373.

No small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW. These rules regulate recreational hunters and do not directly regulate small business.

A cost-benefit analysis is not required under RCW 34.05.328. Not hydraulics rules.

September 18, 2007

Loreva M. Preuss

Rules Coordinator

OTS-1052.1


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending Order 06-196, filed 8/15/06, effective 9/15/06)

WAC 232-28-285   ((2006-2007)) 2007-2008 Pilot cougar hunting seasons with the aid of dogs.   As used in this section and in the context of pilot cougar hunting seasons, the following definitions apply:

"Accompany" means the dog handler and permit hunter must be in the physical presence of each other at the time dogs are released from a leash or unrestrained or starting a cougar track.

"Pursue" or "pursuit" means dogs are:

Not on a leash or restrained; or

Starting a cougar track; or

In the act of tracking a cougar; or

At a treed cougar.

Transporting dogs in a motorized vehicle or walking a dog on a leash is not pursuit.

"Dog owner" means a person that owns and hunts with dogs that are capable of detecting, tracking and treeing a cougar.

"Quota" means the targeted harvest goal. The actual harvest level may exceed the quota.

"Kill permit" allows a hunter to pursue or kill cougar.

"Pursuit permit" allows a hunter to pursue cougar.

(1) The pilot cougar-hunting season will allow use of dogs to hunt cougar. The hunts will consist of pursuit-or-kill seasons and pursuit-only seasons, and are allowed only in Chelan, Okanogan, Ferry, Stevens, and Pend Oreille counties.

(2) Pursuit-or-kill seasons:

Cougar may be pursued or killed with the aid of dogs from December 1, ((2006)) 2007, until the female zone quota has been killed, the total zone quota has been killed, or March 31, ((2007)) 2008, whichever occurs first; EXCEPT GMUs 101 and 204 where cougar may be pursued or killed from January 1, ((2007)) 2008, until the female zone quota has been killed, the total zone quota has been killed, or March 31, ((2007)) 2008, whichever occurs first.

(3) Pursuit-only seasons:

(a) If a zone quota is killed prior to March 31, ((2007)) 2008, cougar may be pursued with dogs in all or portions of that zone until March 31, ((2007)) 2008. Hunters may only pursue cougars in designated pursuit only areas identified on their kill or pursuit-only permit. Hunters may not kill cougar during pursuit-only seasons.

(b) Hunters selected for the pursuit-or-kill season (accompanied by up to three of their identified handlers) may participate in a pursuit-only season. Permit hunters that harvest a cougar under a kill permit may continue to pursue cougars until March 31. If a zone quota is killed, the department will also issue pursuit-only permit to hunters drawn at random from the unselected pool of applicants. The director will identify the number of pursuit-only hunters selected.

(4) Hunt areas and kill quotas:

Cougar seasons will be based on a quota system, where permit hunters using dogs may hunt and kill cougar until the allotted numbers of cougar have been killed from each hunt zone or March 31, ((2007)) 2008, whichever occurs first.

(a) Kill quotas start September 1 and will include all cougar killed during seasons with and without the aid of dogs, including cougar seasons under this section, cougar seasons without the aid of dogs authorized under WAC 232-28-272, depredation permits, landowner kill permits, and WDFW depredation authority.

(b) Individual problem cougar will continue to be killed on an as-needed basis utilizing depredation permits, landowner kill permits, and WDFW depredation authority even if these kills result in exceeding a zone quota.


QUOTA
CMU Hunt Choice Hunt Zone Area Description Total Female
East Cascades North 9001 Okanogan Those portions of GMUs 203, 209, 215, 218, 233, 224, 231, 239, and 242 within Okanogan County 28 11
9002 Chelan Those portions of GMUs 243, 244, 245, 246, 247, 249, 250, and 251 within Chelan County 10 4
Northeastern 9003 Ferry-Okanogan GMUs 101, 204 26 10
9004 Stevens-Pend Oreille Those portions of GMUs 105, 108, 111, 113, 117, 121 within Stevens and Pend Oreille counties 38 15

(5) Quota hotline:

Permit hunters participating in a pursuit-or-kill season must call the toll free cougar quota hotline within twenty-four hours prior to each day hunting cougar to determine if the zone quota has been killed and the zone is closed. Hunters who hunt more than one consecutive day must call the quota hotline once daily to determine if the zone quota is killed. Hunters who harvest a cougar with the aid of dogs must notify the department within twenty-four hours of kill (excluding legal state holidays) and provide the hunter's name, date and location of kill, and sex of animal. The raw pelt of a cougar, with proof of sex naturally attached, must be sealed by an authorized department employee within five days of the notification of kill. Any person who takes a cougar must present the cougar skull in such a manner that teeth and biological samples can be extracted to an authorized department employee at the time of sealing.

(6) Kill or pursuit-only permit eligibility:

(a) To apply for a kill or pursuit-only permit under this section, individuals must sign an affidavit provided by the department, certifying under penalty of false swearing under RCW 9A.72.040 that they are a dog owner. The affidavit must be mailed to WDFW by the date and time identified by the director. Individuals not registered as a dog owner will not be issued a permit.

(b) To apply for a kill or pursuit-only permit under this section, individuals must purchase a cougar permit application and submit the application in compliance with WAC 232-28-291 by a date and time identified by the director.

(c) To be eligible for a permit, the participant must be a Washington resident who at the time of application for a permit possesses a valid big game license with cougar as a species option. The permit holder must use dogs while participating in a cougar hunt under this section.

(d) A permit will not be issued to any person who has been convicted of unlawful use of dogs under RCW 77.15.245 within the five-year period prior to December 1, 2004. Any person issued a permit and who is subsequently convicted of any wildlife offense while participating in a pursuit-or-kill or pursuit-only season, or who violates any condition of the permit, will have the permit revoked and will be ineligible to participate in the remainder of the ((three-year)) pilot program.

(7) Permit issuance procedure:

(a) The number of kill permits for a pursuit-or-kill season with the aid of dogs may be established by the director, but will not exceed two times the total cougar quota for each hunt zone.

(b) The department will issue kill or pursuit-only permits to the persons whose applications are drawn at random. Individuals selected will be notified by telephone or mail. Individuals selected must return the signed affidavit to the department's wildlife program in Olympia within fifteen days of being notified. Failure to return the completed affidavit to the department will result in forfeit of the permit. Kill and pursuit-only permits may not be sold or reassigned.

(c) If a female zone quota or total zone quota is not killed in a hunt zone by January 15 (or sooner as identified by the director), then the department will issue kill permits to additional hunters. Hunters will be drawn at random from the unselected pool of applicants and must be a resident of one of the five counties.

(8) Qualifications for participation and requirements:

In addition to the provisions applicable to all cougar hunters:

(a) Successful applicants must complete a training program prior to participating in a pursuit-or-kill season or pursuit-only season with the aid of dogs.

(b) Participants must have their permit issued by the department in their possession while hunting cougar.

(c) Individuals selected for a kill permit may kill and possess two cougar per permit and only the permittee may kill the cougar(s). However, a kill permit holder may not kill a second cougar in a hunt zone until January 15 (or sooner as identified by the director).

(d) Individuals selected for a cougar kill or pursuit-only permit may use dog handlers. However, no more than three handlers may accompany the permittee while hunting or pursuing cougar. Dog handlers may not pursue cougar when the permit hunter is not present at the time the dogs are released from a leash or unrestrained. Dog handlers must have a dog handler identification card, issued by the department, in their possession while participating in a pursuit-or-kill season or pursuit-only season.

(e) Dog handlers must be a Washington resident and possess a valid hunting license.

(f) It is unlawful to kill or possess spotted cougar kittens or adult cougars accompanied by spotted kittens.

(g) Participants must have a vehicle placard issued by the department. The vehicle placard must be placed in the permittee's and dog handler's vehicles and be visible from outside the vehicles at all times while hunting or pursuing cougar.

(h) Kill and pursuit-only permit hunters are required to maintain and return to the department a pilot cougar hunting season logbook. At the end of each day hunting cougar, the permit hunters must record their hunting activities, including that of their dog handlers, in their logbook. If requested by department staff, permit hunters must provide the logbook for inspection. Logbooks must be mailed to the department at WDFW-Pilot Cougar Hunt, 600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091 by April 10, ((2007)) 2008. A violation of this requirement under this subsection is punishable as an infraction under RCW 77.15.160.

(9) The permit belongs to the state of Washington. The permit holder may be required to return to or turn over to the department the permit when, in the judgment of the department, the permit holder violates any conditions of the permit, violates trespass laws while acting under this permit, or violates any other criminal law or hunting regulation of the state while acting under this permit. If the permit holder is required to return to or turn over to the department the permit, the permit holder may request an appeal of that action in accordance with chapter 34.05 RCW. Appeal request shall be filed in writing and returned within twenty days of the date of action and be addressed to WDFW Legal Services Office, 600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, Washington 98501-1091.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 77.12.047. 06-17-095 (Order 06-196), 232-28-285, filed 8/15/06, effective 9/15/06; 05-17-098 (Order 05-174), 232-28-285, filed 8/15/05, effective 9/15/05; 04-21-036 (Order 04-284), 232-28-285, filed 10/14/04, effective 11/14/04.]

Washington State Code Reviser's Office