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The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is seeking public comment on proposed changes to the regulations for hunting contests.

In Washington, permits are issued to non-profit organizations to hold a hunting contest, whereby a monetary prize of up to $2,000 may be offered to the contest participant who harvests the most animals.  WDFW has determined that “spree killing contests” that encourage and reward the killing of large numbers of native wildlife are not consistent with sound wildlife management practices, and therefore is proposing the following changes.

The first change would prohibit the Department from issuing hunting contest permits for hunting contests (involving both classified and unclassified wildlife species) that do not have bag limits.  The second proposal would make it illegal for an individual to participate in a hunting contest that is not permitted by the Department and specifies that doing so would be punishable as an infraction.  (Under current rules, only the sponsor of an unpermitted contest commits a natural resources infraction.  The second proposal is to ensure that individual participants who participate in unpermitted contests are also held accountable for participating in unlawful activity.)

These proposals do not change general hunting regulations for species that have no bag limit, including but not limited to bobcats, coyotes, crows, foxes, or raccoons.  Field trials are not affected by this proposed rule change. 

Click here to review the proposed rule and accompanying documentation.

WDFW will accept written public comments on the proposed rule changes through July 14.  The public can submit written comments via email at Rules.Coordinator@dfw.wa.gov, on the web at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/July2020FWC, or by mail to:

Wildlife Program
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
P.O. Box 43200
Olympia, WA 98504

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will also accept public comments on the proposed recommendations at its July 30-August 1 webinar.  Final action by the Commission is scheduled at their August 21 webinar.

For more information, contact AKC Government Relations at doglaw@akc.org.

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