Summary of the proposed amendments

On January 21, the Fish and Wildlife Commission voted in response to a rule making petition to initiate rulemaking to amend WAC 220-415-080 with a proposal to remove from the title the year “2021". A central part of WDFW’s legislative mandate is to provide sustainable recreational hunting opportunity. The purpose of the proposed amendments to WAC 220-415-080 is to carry forward a long-standing spring recreational hunting opportunity of black bears on an annual basis. WDFW is proposing to remove the year from the title of WAC 220-415-080, and to add a stipulation prohibiting harvest of female black bears with offspring and prohibiting the harvest of offspringOffspring would be defined as less than one year old or less than 50 poundsThe proposed amendments also include minor modifications to harvest and inspection procedures.

Effects of changes if adopted

Washington State black bear population is robust and an annual spring hunt with approximately 664 permits is sustainable. If the proposed amendments are adopted, WDFW would issue a limited number of spring bear special hunting permits each year for geographically focused spring hunting of black bear, that can in some instances help address other management issues such as human-bear conflict, commercial timber damage or concerns for ungulate species neonate recruitment.The changes would result in a limited, annual hunting opportunity for approximately 664 hunters who receive permits, and WDFW anticipates approximately 145 black bears would be harvested annually through this limited permit hunting opportunity. WDFW is proposing a reduction in permit numbers for hunt unit 684 (from 10 to 6 compared to 2021in order to reduce crowding on the limited accessible areas of mostly private landRemoving the year from the title would minimize the need for annual rulemaking unless hunt areas or permit levels need adjustment. The addition of a prohibition on the harvest of offspring and females with offspring would minimize the potential of orphaning cubs. The edits to the language related to animal inspection would clarify to hunters the components necessary for harvest check and inspection. The proposed revisions clearly state that the pelt and head must be unfrozen and that evidence of sex and the head must be attached to the pelt. Further the proposed edits would assist WDFW staff’s implementation of the rule by adding a requirement that a successful hunter schedule an inspection with WDFW staff within 72 hours of the harvest.

You can watch the November 15, 2021 Spring Bear Presentation and commission discussion on TVW

Timeline and Links to Materials and TVW Recordin​gs

March 11, 2022 Fish and Wildlife Commission Special Meeting Agenda | Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife

3/15/2022 update: The comment period has closed. You can now view the comments received here.

Question title

Please provide any comments you may have regarding this rule proposal.

Closed for Comments

Please refer to the proposed rule making document: Petition Spring Black Bear CR-102

You can add your comments into the text box below, or e-mail the comments with or without attachments to [email protected], or leave a voicemail message by calling 855-925-2801 and entering project code 6453.

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.