Agency wants public input on hunting regulation alternatives

The public will have the chance to comment on proposed hunting regulations during a meeting in Tacoma on Wednesday.

It is one of a series of meetings being held by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife as it developsalternatives for 2015-17 hunting seasons. The agency will acceptcomments through Sept. 20.

Meetings about the 29 issues under consideration also will be held this week in Everett and Vancouver, Washington. The agency already held similar sessions in Spokane, Moses Lake and Ellensburg.

Under discussion are nontoxic ammunition, expandable broadhead arrowheads, crossbows, baiting big game, and special-permit drawings.

Department officials have laid out five alternatives related to nontoxic ammunition. Various bird species eat lead shot, causing deaths and other ill effects. According to the department, there is growing evidence that golden eagles, already a species of concern with low populations, ingest lead shot.

Proposed alternatives are:

• Develop voluntary programs to encourage hunters to utilize lead alternatives.

On the topic of baiting, Washington, Oregon and Utah are the only Western states that allow deer baiting. Washington’s department is trying to measure support for change. One option is a ban on the use of bait for big-game hunting. Another would prevent huntingguides from using bait.

Comments received at these meetings and online will be used to develop specific recommendations for the 2015-17 hunting seasons, said Dave Ware, game program manager. Those recommendations are expected to be available for additional public review in January.

Final recommendations will be presented to the state Fish and Wildlife Commission for adoption next spring.