Friday, July 29, 2011

WDFW Commission to Discuss Wolf Management Plans & Waterfowl Seasons

OLYMPIA — The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission is scheduled to discuss the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (WDFW) recommended Wolf Conservation and Management Plan during a special meeting Aug. 4 in Olympia.
The special meeting will be followed by a two-day meeting Aug. 5-6, when the commission is scheduled to take action on proposed 2011-12 migratory waterfowl hunting seasons and changes to cougar hunting regulations.
The commission’s special meeting on the final Environmental Impact Statement/Recommended Wolf Conservation and Management Plan will begin at 10 a.m. Aug. 4 in Room 172 on the first floor of the Natural Resources Building, 1111 Washington St. S.E. The commission will meet at the same location Aug. 5-6, beginning at 8:30 a.m. both days.
Agendas for both meetings are available on the commission’s website at
During the special meeting Aug. 4, the commission will receive a briefing and take public comment on the recommended Wolf Conservation and Management Plan. The plan is intended to guide state wolf management while wolves naturally disperse and re-establish a sustainable breeding population in the state.
The plan contains recovery objectives that would allow the state to eventually remove wolves from protection lists, along with management strategies to address wolf-livestock and wolf-ungulate conflicts.
The recommended plan was developed after a scientific peer review and extensive public review of the 2009 draft plan. The public comment process, which concluded last year, included 19 public meetings and drew nearly 65,000 responses. In addition, a 17-member citizen Wolf Working Group, which advised WDFW on the plan, met with WDFW staff 10 times from 2007-2011.
WDFW will post on its website the final EIS/Recommended Wolf Conservation and Management Plan on July 28 at The website also contains information on the wolf plan development process, including past public input and the scientific peer review.
The commission, which sets policy for WDFW, has scheduled three more special meetings to discuss the recommended Wolf Conservation and Management Plan and take public comment. Those meetings are tentatively scheduled for Aug. 29 in Ellensburg, and Oct. 6 and Nov. 3 in Olympia.
The commission is scheduled to take action on the plan during its December 2-3 meeting in Olympia.
Meanwhile, the commission is scheduled to conduct a public hearing and take action on proposed 2011-12 migratory waterfowl hunting seasons during the Aug. 5-6 meeting in Olympia. Under the seasons proposed by WDFW, waterfowl hunting seasons would be similar to last year.
Also at that meeting, the commission is scheduled to take action on proposed changes to cougar hunting regulations in six counties in eastern Washington, where a pilot project authorizing cougar hunting with the aid of dogs was not extended by the Legislature this year.
WDFW is recommending an increase in cougar hunting opportunities without the aid of dogs in Klickitat, Chelan, Okanogan, Ferry, Stevens and Pend Oreille counties to continue to meet management objectives in those areas.
In addition, the commission will consider a proposal that would modify the criteria for determining when cougars are removed to address public concerns for pet and livestock depredation and personal safety. The proposal would allow for cougar removals when complaints confirmed by WDFW staff exceed the five-year average.
In other action, the commission will consider proposed amendments to the list of game reserves. The proposed amendments would clarify and update the boundary description for Swinomish Spit Game Reserve and eliminate the Ellensburg Game Farm Reserve and South Tacoma Game Farm Reserve.
The commission also will be briefed on the new Discover Pass and the status of key groundfish species in Puget Sound. The commission also will consider for approval WDFW’s proposed 2012 supplemental operating and capital budget requests, as well as the department’s legislative proposals for 2012.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Public Comment On Review of Federal Sea Lion Science

July 26, 2011
Contact: Bill Tweit, (360) 902-2723 (Washington)
Doug Vincent-Lang, (907) 267-2339 (Alaska)

Public can comment on review of federal sea lion science

OLYMPIA - An independent panel of marine scientists is inviting public comments through Aug. 31 on its draft report on a federal biological opinion concerning Steller sea lions in the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea.

The scientists' draft report is posted for review on the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife's (WDFW) website at .

A public meeting has also been scheduled Aug. 22 at 9 a.m. to discuss the panel's findings at the Anchorage Hilton hotel, 500 West Third Ave.

The panel of four marine scientists was assembled by WDFW and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG) to review the scientific basis of a biological opinion - or "BiOp" - issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) last year.

Both state agencies have questioned the scientific evidence underlying the BiOp, which served as the basis for closing or curtailing fisheries for cod and mackerel in the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea this year.

"Rather than just argue with the federal action, the two states agreed to assemble a distinguished panel of scientists to conduct an independent review," said Bill Tweit, Columbia River/Distant Waters Policy Lead. "The key word here is `independent' - we won't actually see the panel's draft report until it is available to the public."

Scientists appointed to the panel are David R. Bernard, Ph.D, co-chair of the Sentinel Stocks Committee for the Pacific Salmon Commission; Steven Jeffries, a WDFW research scientist and marine mammal specialist; Andrew Trites, Ph.D, director of the Marine Mammal Research Unit at the University of British Columbia; and Gunnar Knapp, Ph.D, a professor of economics at the University of Alaska-Anchorage.

The panel is scheduled to release its final report in fall.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Washington State's 5th Pack Confirmed

State's fifth wolf pack confirmed in Stevens County

OLYMPIA-Washington's fifth gray wolf pack has been confirmed in northeast Stevens County.

Earlier this month, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) biologists caught, marked with an ear tag and released a 2-month-old wolf pup from the pack. Biologists have since been trying to capture one of the pack's breeding adult wolves to radio-collar it for monitoring. The effort to document the pack began after local ranchers reported observing three wolf pups and hearing howling in late June.

The pack is believed to include a breeding-age male and female and at least three pups. The group has been named the Smackout Pack, in reference to geographic features in the area.

The Lookout Pack, confirmed in Okanogan and Chelan counties in 2008, was Washington's first documented resident gray wolf pack since a breeding population of wolves was extirpated from the state in the 1930s. Two more packs have been documented in Pend Oreille County-the Diamond Pack was confirmed in 2009, and the Salmo Pack was confirmed in 2010.

Last month, the state's fourth documented pack-dubbed the Teanaway Pack- was confirmed in Kittitas County. DNA analysis of that pack's adult female wolf indicated she is likely a recent descendant of the Lookout Pack.

The gray wolf (Canis lupus ) is protected throughout Washington as a state endangered species. In the western two-thirds of Washington, the species is also federally protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). It is illegal to harm or harass a federal- or state-protected endangered species.

WDFW has been working since 2007 to develop a wolf conservation and management plan in anticipation of wolves re-entering Washington from other states or Canada.

A Final EIS/recommended plan-which was developed with a 17-member citizen group and included extensive public review and scientific peer review-will be presented to the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission in a special public meeting Aug. 4 in Olympia. Additional public workshops on the proposed plan are scheduled later this summer and in the fall.

"Wolves are re-establishing here on their own," said Nate Pamplin, who heads WDFW's Wildlife Program. "The confirmation of additional breeding wolf packs moves us closer to achieving a sustainable population, and also highlights the need to finalize a state wolf plan that sets recovery targets and management tools to address livestock and ungulate conflicts."

For more information on the draft plan and all Washington wolf packs, see .

Wolf sightings or activity should be reported through the joint federal-state toll-free wolf reporting hotline at 1(888) 584-9038. Joint federal-state Wolf Response Guidelines, including agency staff contact information, are available at .

Friday, July 22, 2011

Fishing in Idaho

Idaho is famous for its fishing. More than 10 world-class blue-ribbon wild trout streams, including the Henrys Fork, Silver Creek and the St. Joe River, are scattered throughout the state. Many other high-quality trout streams exist that don’t get the headlines and the crowds. Idaho’s rugged mountains contain more than 1,500 high mountain lakes with good trout fishing. Numerous large natural lakes and reservoirs provide a wide variety of fishing opportunities for warm and cold-water species. In contrast to some states, most Idaho fishing waters are located in the public domain, and are open to the public. Access is free.

Family Fishing Waters
In response to anglers’ requests for more family-oriented fishing opportunities and simplified rules, Fish and Game has developed Family Fishing Water regulations. In these areas there are year-around seasons, a general six-fish limit for trout, bass, walleye and pike and no bag limit on other species. There are no length limits or tackle requirements.

Salmon and Steelhead
Idaho is the only inland western state with ocean-run salmon and steelhead, and when conditions are right, the hatchery part of these runs provide an exciting fishing experience. State records are 54 pounds for salmon and 30 pounds, 2 ounces for steelhead.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Non-Native Canadian Gray Wolves vs. Idaho "Native" Wolves

*Editor’s Note* – There has always been discussion about whether there existed a population of native wolves in the Montana, Idaho and Wyoming area before Canadian gray wolves were introduced into Yellowstone National Park and Central Idaho. Most will concur that “native” wolves, those that migrated down from Canada, had taken up residence in Northwestern Montana. Fewer would agree or acknowledge Idaho already had a population of “native” wolves and was well on its way toward recovery. It has also been widely discussed that there are major differences in size and habits between Idaho’s “native” wolf and the introduced Canadian gray wolf.
Below is an email I received today that was initially sent to someone whose name I have “Xed” out. The email is from Tim Kemery who was involved from the mid-1980 to the mid-1990s, in tracking and mapping native wolves in Idaho. He claims that his work was delivered to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service before introduction of Canadian wolves. (Note: In the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) before the actual wolf introduction, claims were made that any wolves found in the Northern Rocky Mountains Distinct Population Segment (NRMDPS) were loner wolves or just passing through with no established packs. This same information has been used repeatedly in subsequent lawsuits about wolves and the Endangered Species Act. Please note that it is a violation of the ESA to introduce a non native species where a native species already exists.)
It has often been discussed at to whether this documented information was deliberately hidden or overlooked in order that introduction take place. Mr. Kemery alludes to that in this email.
However, the importance of this email is that, 1.) It provides more proof that a native population of wolves was habituating Idaho, and 2.) There is a disturbing difference in habits as has been observed by Mr. Kemery and documented below.
Comparison of Wolf Varieties
January 3, 2011
Dear Mrs. XXXXX,
In response to your questions regarding the great disparity in levels of wolf depredation between our former Resident Wolves and the introduced Canadian Grey Wolf, let me attempt to clarify some of the historical issues that surround the work done by several counties in Idaho to document the Resident Wolves in the late 1980′s. Starting in the early 1980′s attempts were being made by several Wildlife Agencies including Idaho Fish and Game and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services to locate and monitor large predator species that were considered “threatened” or “endangered.”
A program was started to send questionnaires to trappers and hunters asking for help in locating these animals, and signs were posted in public offices around the state seeking input from the public to determine if any of these species remained in the state, and if so how many individuals were there. These programs came to be known as “The Wolf and Wolverine Hot Lines.” In reality there was a phone number to call that put you in contact with members of Idaho Fish and Game who would take the details of the public’s sightings of these rare animals. It was in response to these efforts that counties in Central Idaho began to respond by sending correspondence and sightings to the Agencies involved.
As the years passed in the 1980′s a significant amount of data was collected by trappers, hunters, and Fish and Game officers to warrant full time research and monitoring of these species. As criterion to use for observing these species county residents were asked to look for numbers of individuals: sex, age, size of territory, and behavioral qualities such as secretiveness and recruitment numbers of young etc.
During approximately eleven years time (1984-1995), much data using these criteria for observing Resident Wolves was collected and maps of the wolves territories and packs were created. During these
years of observation, very consistent and definitive behavioral and social traits became evident as this
variety of wolf was observed. These traits would become all important in determining what the habitat and prey base this variety of wolf would require, and the impacts it would have on our ungulate populations. A very important contribution to our ability to compare our variety of wolf to the introduced Canadian Grey Wolf was also a result of these years of observing the Pre-Introduction Resident Wolves in their preferred habitats.
I will list the criterion used by the individuals involved in collecting data on the Pre-Introduction Resident
Wolves, and then I will give a brief comparison to the same criterion as observed by all of us in the field as particular to the Canadian Grey Wolf. Remember that really the most important issue to all of us now is the resulting impacts to our fragile ecosystems of one variety of wolf as compared to the other and its portent when deciding on effective wolf control measures.
* Highly secretive behavior. Very sensitive to roads and highways. Largely nocturnal.
* Usually found either as dispersed individuals or pairs.
* Packing activity was very rare except during the months of January-February.
* Pack size at breeding time was usually 4-7 individuals.
* Females (breeding bitches) retained pups for an average of 18 months.
* Pack dispersal was very consistent after breeding season.
* Litter size consistently was 1-3 pups. Bitch bred at 2-year old stage.
* Extremely selective as to food source. Rarely fed on old carcasses or kills of other species, except in the most harsh winter conditions.
* Very much an opportunist when different prey was available. Spent great percentage of hunting effort on rodent acquisition, (moles to rabbits).
* Sport-Reflex Killing almost negligible. Most ungulate depredation was consumptive, not surplus. Typical kill had hams and shoulders consumed.
* Territory of individual or pairs was quite large. Average 2 week return cycle.
* Wolf body size: Female 55 lbs.-70 lbs. Male 85 lbs.-105 lbs.
* Competition with other predator species including coyote and fox was low. Other canine species co-existed and thrived in presence of Resident Wolves.
* Habitat utilized consistently: Mid to high elevation, with forest and mixed forest. Resident Wolves were very resistive to utilizing large areas of open range land with grass or sagebrush cover.
* Older mature males almost always solitary except at breeding intervals.
* Conflict with domestic dogs very minimal except in rare cases.
* Livestock depredations extremely rare but do occur in remote areas.
* Consistent avoidance of man made structures, roads, vehicles, and humans.
NOTE: This data as well as maps locating individual wolves, as well as breeding pairs was hand delivered to Craig Groves in 1992, and entered into the Idaho Fish and Game’s Conservation Data Base by George Stephens.
Craig Groves was at the time in charge of oversight of the Conservation Data Base for Idaho Fish and Game, and was an Idaho Fish and Game employee.
NON NATIVE WOLF Observed Criterion: Introduced Canadian Grey Wolf, 1996 to present.
* Exhibits low level of fear of humans. Non-secretive behavior. Minimal avoidance of humans, vehicles, domestic animals. Will cross large open terrain at will even when other options for cover are available.
* Canadian Grey Wolf is found in small to very large pack sizes. Small packs of 5 individuals are common as are large packs with over 20 members.
* Pack merging, the condition of 2 or more packs combining is being observed in many areas in the west and is not uncommon. Merged packs of over 40 wolves have been observed in the Central Idaho Wilderness.
* Females (breeding bitches) can be bred even at 1-year of age, and produce from 5-9 pups per season. The pups usually remain with the pack but can disperse or be driven off by other pack members.
* All females of breeding potential in the pack are usually bred. There is absolutely no indication that any females are kept from breeding by the theoretical “Alpha-female.” Large packs are quickly produced and can disperse and merge several times within a week.
* Canadian Grey Wolves show a diet preference for elk but will switch at will to a secondary prey species. Low preference is shown for rodent species, but wolves do sporadically hunt rodents.
* Sport-Reflex Killing is highly developed in Canadian Grey packs. From observations in the field, 3-5 ungulates are killed for each ungulate consumed. This surplus killing is greatly increased if the pack size is large or packs have merged. Often small wintering herds of deer or elk are completely extirpated in one hunting event.
* Body Size: Females 60 lbs.-85 lbs. Males 90 lbs.-120 lbs.
* Competition with other predatory species is extreme and often fatal. Both mountain lion and bear have been impacted by attacks and from reduced available prey. Other Canines such as Coyotes and Fox have been severely impacted in most of their habitats. Fox are only able to survive in habitats that include lots of willow or dense underbrush. Coyote populations have been reduced by are persisting at lower than historic levels.
* Canadian Grey Wolves have been found to utilize all available habitats, from high elevation alpine to sagebrush deserts. This has allowed this variety of wolf to be opportunistic in all ecosystems available to it.
* Large mature male wolves remain with the pack threw out the year, sometimes dispersing for short periods of time.
* The Canadian Grey Wolf is highly predatory on all domestic canines. Hunting hounds are especially vulnerable to attacks and are usually killed outright in a confrontation by wolves.
* Canadian Grey Wolves have shown a preference for predating on domestic livestock even with abundant natural prey present. Beef calves are the most common victims of wolf depredation.
* Canadian Grey Wolves show a high level of habituation to humans, and man-made structures. It is not uncommon to find Canadian Grey Wolves in very remote areas eating out of dog dishes and coming onto porches of homes when the owners are present.
It is clear from a comparison of the two varieties of wolves that control efforts will have to take into account the realities of dealing with a wolf as different as the Canadian Grey Wolf is from wolves found in other parts of the continent. Both the high fecundity of the Canadian Grey Wolf and its depredating qualities ensures that control efforts will have to be highly organized and long term if we are to protect our magnificent wildlife from the debacle that is ongoing in Canada and in our western states.
Mrs. XXXXX, I will not in this email go into the fraud and corruption that brought us to this wildlife disaster, but suffice it to say that had the Federal Agencies not been corrupt in dealing with the information given them by Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming citizens we would by now have had a recovered Resident wolf population that would still need to be managed, but we would not have what we have now with the very existence of our ungulates hanging in the balance, and wolf borne diseases threatening our way of life. If possible and time permits I will fill you in later on how our investigation turned out, and who
was responsible for purging our maps and data from the Conservation Data Base, and carrying out the introduction of the Canadian Grey Wolf, in direct violation of the Endangered Species Act. It is a very tragic story, but God willing we will turn this around!
Yours, Mr. Kemery
Tim Kemery is a professional trapper and did the mapping work for the IDFG Wolverine Study. He also mapped the Pre-Introduction Resident Wolves, and hand-delivered those maps of 18 resident wolves to Craig Groves at IDFG, Conservation Data Base, then the Heritage Center. Tim Kemery graduated from the U of I with a B.S. in Range Science in 1982

Read more:

Idaho Fish and Game Proposes new Wolf Hunting Seasons

Proposed Hunting Season
Idaho Fish and Game proposes to set wolf hunting seasons throughout most of the state ranging from August 30, 2011 to March 31, 2012, in 13 wolf management zones.

Harvest limits are being proposed in the Salmon, Southern Mountain, Beaverhead, Island Park and Sawtooth Zones, where hunting proved effective in more open country and additional wolf mortality occurs from control actions to resolve ongoing livestock depredations.
In 2009, hunters met harvest limits in these zones except in the Sawtooth Zone, which was 90 percent achieved. Fish and Game proposes higher harvest limits for these zones for the upcoming hunting season to reduce continued conflict with livestock.
Recent research confirms wolves are dispersing throughout the northern Rocky Mountains, and Idaho wolves are breeding with populations in other states and vice versa. Nevertheless, Fish and Game has proposed a closing date of December 31 for the Beaverhead and Island Park Zones, which closes hunting prior to the peak snowmobile season in Island Park and corresponds to the closing dates in Montana. These zones are late winter/spring dispersal areas between Yellowstone Park and other wolf populations in Montana and Wyoming.
Fish and Game is not proposing specific harvest limits in the Panhandle, Lolo, Selway and Middle Fork Zones because of documented impacts to elk and other prey species. Terrain or access is difficult in these areas and hunters did not reach harvest limits in the Panhandle, Lolo, and Selway Zones in 2009. Fish and Game isn't proposing specific harvest limits in the Palouse-Hells Canyon, Dworshak-Elk City, McCall-Weiser, and Southern Idaho Zones because of high conflict potential with livestock and other domestic animals.
Fish and Game uses a similar strategy for black bears and mountain lions, which have long been under state management. In general, both populations are thriving in Idaho.
Hunters will be required to report wolf harvests within 72 hours and bring harvested wolves to Fish and Game to confirm gender, approximate age, kill location and other information. In 2009, less than one-percent of hunters who purchased an Idaho wolf tag were successful. To increase harvest rates in 2011, Fish and Game proposes to allow electronic calls and increase the annual bag limit to two wolves for hunters.

Proposed Trapping Season
Based on hunter success in 2009 and the inability of hunting pressure to manage wolves across most of their range in North America, Fish and Game proposes a trapping season from December 1 through February 15 in all or some of the Panhandle, Lolo, Dworshak-Elk City, Selway and Middle Fork Zones.

These include areas where access is limited, terrain is difficult, but where wolves are having significant impacts on other big game animals or approaching isolated communities such as Elk City. Fish and Game proposed these areas and this timeframe to allow trapping when pelts are prime, and when there is less potential for conflict with other hunting seasons and recreational uses.
Fish and Game reviewed trapping seasons in Alaska and western Canada in developing its proposal. Fish and Game will use this 10-week trapping season to evaluate Idaho trapper participation, catch rates, gear effectiveness, incidental take and potential conflicts with other uses.
With support of the Idaho Trappers Association, state regulations require wolf-specific training before trapping for wolves, reporting requirements, and restrictions on the types of traps used. Fish and Game proposes an annual bag limit of five wolves for trapping.
Goals of Proposed Seasons
The framework for this proposal is consistent with the goals of the 2002 Idaho Wolf Conservation and Management Plan, which was approved by the Idaho Legislature and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In developing this proposal, Fish and Game biologists reviewed the current status of wolves, federal recovery requirements, potential wolf conflicts, wolf impacts on other wildlife populations, Fish and Game's own research and the research of others, and the experience of Idaho and other states and Canadian provinces in hunting, trapping and other wolf management.
A goal of wildlife managers is to reduce wildlife related conflicts with people, domestic animals, and other wildlife. Conflicts can occur where bears, wolves and mountain lions threaten people or domestic animals or suppress other game populations. They can occur where beavers and raccoons cause property damage, or where elk and deer eat too many crops.
We recognize that public views on wolf hunting and trapping range from those who strongly oppose any harvest of wolves to those who strongly oppose any wolves in Idaho. Neither view can be accommodated under federal or state law.
To continue to meet federal recovery goals, there must be at least 150 wolves and 15 breeding pairs of wolves in Idaho. Fish and Game will manage wolves so the population is above these numbers. Given harvest experience in Idaho, Montana, Alaska and Canadian provinces, it is highly unlikely that a single hunting and trapping season could reduce Idaho's wolf numbers to a level that would compromise our ability to meet recovery goals. Idaho currently has more than 1,000 wolves.
Wolf Harvest and Population Monitoring
Though Idaho Fish and Game is not proposing specific harvest limits for several wolf zones, biologists will closely track harvest through mandatory reports and check in. Wolf populations are closely monitored using radio telemetry (70-80 wolves are currently wearing active radio collars) to determine a minimum estimate of packs, breeding pairs and total wolves.
The Fish and Game Commission will review the number and distribution of wolf harvest at its November and January meetings. Biologists may brief the Commission at any time if other sources of wolf mortality significantly increase, or if mid-winter population estimates indicate concerns. Fish and Game will also evaluate and initiate any control actions if needed based on continued conflict potential and low public harvest.
Fish and Game will make up-to-date zone-based harvest information available to the public via the Fish and Game website.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Youth Outdoors Unlimited, Y.O.U.

Youth Outdoors Unlimited, Y.O.U.

Is a Central Washington based, non-profit corporation organized to take youth who have been diagnosed with a life threatening illness and/or physical disability and who have a DREAM to hunt or fish on their own outdoor adventure.

Youth Outdoors Unlimited is committed to providing those with a passion for hunting, fishing, and the outdoors an opportunity to share the common joy and experience of the outdoors with these special children and their families. Y.O.U. was created to foster faith, fun and fellowship among present and future hunters and anglers. Y.O.U. directors and volunteers are stewards of the future of hunting and fishing and will act in accordance with the highest ethical standards. The Y.O.U. organization will always display proper respect for game, landowners, other hunters and anglers, the public, and all fish and wildlife laws and share these ethical standards with our youth, their families and our volunteers. Youth Outdoors Unlimited is committed to using this opportunity to build interest and awareness about hunting, fishing and experiencing the outdoors in the great state of Washington.

Washington Secures Nearly $1 Million For Hunting and Fishing

Washington secures nearly $1 million more
under Farm Bill for hunting, fishing access

OLYMPIA – More private landowners in eastern Washington will have an incentive to open their lands to fishing and hunting, thanks to a new federal grant of nearly $1 million to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
The new grant, authorized by the federal Farm Bill, is the second awarded to WDFW in as many years by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Last year, WDFW received $1.5 million to increase recreational access to private lands around the state.
“Hunters and fishers consistently rank access to the land and water as one of their top concerns,” said Nate Pamplin, assistant director of the WDFW wildlife program. “This new funding will bolster current state efforts to expand recreational opportunities in our state for years to come.”
Don Larsen, WDFW private lands coordinator, said the new $993,231 grant will be used in three ways:
  • Provide incentives to private landowners to allow hunting on forested properties in Kittitas, Klickitat, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Stevens and Yakima counties.
  • Work with landowners in Columbia, Garfield, Lincoln, Walla Walla and Whitman counties to improve habitat enrolled in both the federal Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and WDFW access programs.
  • Initiate a “Feel Free to Fish” program in southeast Washington, paying private landowners for shoreline access to river fisheries.
Washington was one of 11 states to receive grant funding in this second year of the Farm Bill’s Voluntary Public Access (VPA) and Habitat Incentive Program (HIP), administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
“This federal and state partnership with private landowners creates recreational opportunities for the public that might not exist otherwise,” said Judy Olson, state executive director for the USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), which administers the federal grants. “This access program is one of the ways the Farm Bill benefits more than just farmers.”
Through July 21, the USDA is accepting public comments on its finding that WDFW’s plan for using the $1.5 million awarded last year would not have a significant effect on the environment. The federal findings, consistent with the National Environmental Policy Act, are posted on the Internet at, along with information on submitting public comments.
“We look forward to working cooperatively with private landowners to expand fishing, hunting and wildlife-viewing opportunities on private lands," Pamplin said. “Once we get final approval from USDA, we plan to sign up as many suitable properties as possible in time for the fall hunting season.”

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Fourth State Wolf Pack Confirmed in Washington

July 5, 2011

Fourth state wolf pack confirmed
OLYMPIA - Washington's fourth documented wolf pack has been confirmed through DNA tests on an animal equipped with a radio collar last month in Kittitas County.
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) biologists caught, collared and released an adult female wolf that was lactating, indicating she was nursing pups. The biologists took tissue and hair samples, and submitted them for DNA testing to determine whether the animal was a wild wolf or a wolf-dog hybrid.
Results of the DNA testing conducted at the University of California-Davis confirmed the animal is a wild gray wolf.
WDFW biologists are monitoring the wolf's location and activity through the radio telemetry tracking collar. They are referring to the new wolf pack as the Teanaway Pack.
"The discovery of another resident wolf pack clearly indicates that wolves are returning to Washington state naturally," said WDFW Director Phil Anderson. "Their return highlights the need to continue efforts to finalize a state wolf conservation and management plan that will establish state recovery objectives and describe options for addressing wolf-livestock and wolf-ungulate management issues."
The gray wolf (Canis lupus) is protected throughout Washington as a state endangered species. In the western two-thirds of Washington, the species is also federally protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
The Lookout Pack, confirmed in Okanogan and Chelan counties in 2008, was Washington's first documented resident pack since a breeding population of wolves was extirpated from the state in the 1930s. A second pack, known as the Diamond Pack, was documented in 2009 in central Pend Oreille County. 
A pup from a third pack, known as the Salmo Pack, was radio-collared in 2010 in northeast Pend Oreille County, where pack territory ranges into British Columbia. Wolves from the Cutoff Peak Pack, with a den site in Idaho, range into Pend Oreille County in northeast Washington.
Before the Teanaway Pack was confirmed, WDFW estimated a total of about 25 resident wolves in the state. 
WDFW has been working since 2007 with a 17-member citizen group to develop a wolf conservation and management plan in anticipation of wolves re-entering Washington from other states or Canada. A draft plan, which underwent extensive public review and scientific peer review, will be presented to the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission in August.
For more information on the draft plan, see .
Harriet Allen, WDFW's threatened and endangered species program manager, said the search for the Teanaway pack was prompted by reports of wolves in the area from citizens and state and federal agency personnel.  Remote, motion-triggered cameras were deployed by multiple agencies and private groups.  Images of wolf-like animals were captured on cameras placed in the area by Conservation Northwest, a private, non-profit organization. The group's Citizen Wildlife Monitoring Program also provided the first images of the Lookout Pack pups three years ago. 
"We appreciate the efforts of Conservation Northwest and our partner agencies, the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, to help us document wolves as they return naturally to Washington," Allen said.  "Documenting packs and learning about territory use, productivity and survival will help us understand how wolves are using Washington habitat. That will help us protect them and ultimately determine when we reach recovery goals."
Wolf sightings or activity should be reported through the joint federal-state toll-free wolf reporting hotline at 1(888) 584-9038. Joint federal-state Wolf Response Guidelines, including agency staff contacts, are available at .

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Black Bear Attacks 36 Yr. Old Female Jogger

July 01, 2011
Contact: Capt. Chris Anderson, (509) 754-4624, ext 218

Black bear sought in attack near Colville,Washington.

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) officers are searching for a black bear reported to have attacked a female jogger northeast of Colville yesterday. According to the Stevens County Sheriff’s Office, a 36-year-old woman was attacked by a black bear while she was jogging in the late morning on a trail between Thomas and Gillette lakes, 17 miles northeast of Colville on the Colville National Forest. She dropped to the ground into a protective fetal position and the bear batted at her and then left the area. Later in the day she was treated and released at Mount Carmel Hospital in Colville.

Today WDFW officials were notified of the incident by the Sheriff’s office. WDFW enforcement officers are working with U.S. Forest Service (USFS) staff to investigate the scene of the incident, place bear traps and possibly use dogs to find the bear. USFS campgrounds are maintained at Thomas and Gillette lakes.

WDFW Enforcement Capt. Chris Anderson said that because of the time that has elapsed since the attack, finding the bear may be difficult. If officers find the bear and determine that it was the animal involved in the attack, the bear will be euthanized, according to WDFW policy. There have been five other bear attacks on humans and one reported fatality in Washington, according to historical records. Last September a man was seriously injured by a bear near Lake Wenatchee.

Washington’s black bear population is estimated at 25,000 to 30,000 animals. WDFW receives an average of about 417 black bear complaints annually, ranging from glimpses of bears to encounters. Black bears are classified as a game species and may be harvested during prescribed hunting seasons by licensed hunters who have purchased bear tags.

Typically, black bears avoid people but can pose a safety risk if they become habituated to human food sources. Bears become overly familiar with humans if they are fed or find unsecured garbage, bird seed, pet food, windfall fruit or compost piles.

WDFW officials offer the following advice to minimize the risk of injury if a bear is encountered in the wild:
•Don't run. Pick up small children, stand tall, wave your arms above your head and shout.
•Do not approach the animal and be sure to leave it an escape route. Try to get upwind of the bear so that it can identify you as a human and leave the area.
•Don’t look the bear directly in the eye, as the animal may interpret this as a sign of aggression.
•If the animal does attack, fight back aggressively.
Problem bear encounters may be reported to local WDFW regional offices, or WDFW’s dangerous wildlife reporting line, 1-877-933-9847. In an emergency, dial 911.