WAC 220-415-120 2022 Bighorn sheep seasons, permit quotas, and areas

Purpose of the proposal and its anticipated effects, including any changes in existing rules:

In accordance with the Department’s mandate to provide recreational hunting opportunity and preserve, protect, perpetuate, and manage wildlife populations, RCW 77.04.012, this proposal, if adopted, would provide special permit bighorn hunting opportunities at levels that avoid overharvest to maintain sustainable general bighorn hunting season opportunities in 2021 and in the future. The proposed elimination of Selah Butte and Umtanum (Yakima bighorn herd) adult ewe, juvenile ram, and youth permits are due to a recent outbreak of bighorn sheep pneumonia. These permits were created in 2019 and modified in 2020 to assist in population reduction as part of a new novel effort to eliminate Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae, the pathogen that causes pneumonia. Unfortunately, an outbreak of pneumonia occurred in 2021 and management efforts must be put on hold until the impact of the outbreak are understood.

Reasons supporting proposal:

1. Changes to bighorn sheep permit availability (i.e., permit levels) are proposed to balance hunting opportunity with population status. Elimination of Selah Butte and Umtanum (Yakima bighorn herd) adult ewe, juvenile ram, and youth permits are proposed due to a recent outbreak of bighorn sheep pneumonia. Anticipated effects are a reduction in special permit hunting opportunity for bighorn sheep in the two hunt areas.

2. An adjustment of hunt dates is proposed that increase or maintain the number of open days for some hunts. The anticipated effect of this proposal is a maintenance or increase in hunt opportunity as measured by hunting days.

3. Modification of the hunt area for the Mountain View – Black Butte hunt is proposed to increase the hunt area to include GMUs 186 and portions of GMU 181. Anticipated effects are expanded hunting area for this permit, otherwise no effects are anticipated.

Question title

Please provide any comments you may have for the proposed WAC 220-415-120 amendments.

Closed for Comments

Please refer to the proposed rule making document: 2022 Hunting Season Setting CR-102

You can add comments into the text boxes below, or e-mail the comments with or without attachments to  2022HuntingSeason102@PublicInput.com, or leave a voicemail message by calling 855-925-2801 and entering project code 2331.

Please note:  All comments received by WDFW are part of the public record and will be available for public viewing - so please do not include private information in the text of your comments. Comments are subject to disclosure under the Public Records Act, RCW 42.56.