The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is seeking public comments on proposed recommendations to the cougar management guidelines that set the framework for recreational harvest.
From Feb. 6 through Feb. 26, WDFW will accept public comments to help finalize hunting rules and regulations proposed for the upcoming year. The proposals are available on the department’s website at wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/regulations/season-setting.
WDFW will propose four options related to the cougar harvest guidelines. The public can watch a video explaining the four options here: youtu.be/8G_naHin_ys. Information on how the department currently manages cougars is also available in this video: youtube.com/watch?v=slfoanRAK9s&t=2s.
Options include maintaining the current harvest guideline, but using a median instead of mean to calculate density. Some options include changing the way WDFW counts animals toward the guideline. Other options look at increasing the guideline in areas with historically higher harvest and conflict.
The department will host a digital open house about the proposed cougar changes, on Feb. 13 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Eric Gardner, Wildlife Program Director and Anis Aoude, Game Division Manager will explain the options in more detail and host a live question and answer session. View the open house at player.invintus.com/?clientID=2836755451&eventID=2020021000.
“If you’re interested in how cougars are hunted in Washington and would like to provide input on the 2020-2021 hunting season, please take time to watch our videos or attend our digital open house,” said Anis Aoude, WDFW game division manager. “We need your input to provide our Commission with the best information about the public’s desires for cougar harvest management.”
The Commission, which sets policy for WDFW, will accept public comments on the proposed recommendations at its March 13-14 meeting in Kennewick. Final action by the Commission is scheduled at a public meeting April 10-11 in Olympia.
WDFW is the primary state agency tasked with preserving, protecting, and perpetuating fish and wildlife and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing and hunting opportunities.