Master hunter program faces possible budget cuts/elimination

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Dennis Clay

This is bits of a Nov. 26 letter from David Whipple, Fish and Wildlife hunter education division manager, to master hunters.

You have likely heard Fish and Wildlife is facing significant budget challenges in the 2019-2021 biennium.

Unless the problem is comprehensively addressed during the 2019 legislative session, Fish and Wildlife will not be able maintain its current level of services and opportunities. Ultimately, some of the department’s core functions such as programs, services, and facilities will have to be reduced, and in some cases, eliminated.

The Master Hunter Program is one that could be eliminated if appropriate funding is not realized.

Fish and Wildlife’s budget proposal requests that 25 percent of the needed funds come from a 15 percent increase in recreational hunting and fishing license fees (capped at $7 for fishing and $15 for hunting) and 75 percent come from the state general fund.

Dennis note: More information about this possible action in the near future.

Predator-prey study continues in northeast Washington

Dennis note: This study sounds good to me. Questions have been circulating about the effect of wolves on deer and elk. This will help us understand and evaluate how many animals predators are taking. Read on.

Fish and Wildlife staff will start capturing deer in northeast Washington in early December and fit them with radio-collars as part of an ongoing predator-prey study that began two years ago.

The study, scheduled to run at least five years, will help to assess the impact of wolves, cougars, and other predators on deer and elk by monitoring the interactions of all species.

This winter, researchers hope to capture at least 30 white-tailed deer in Stevens and Pend Oreille counties. Capture techniques include trapping animals using bait, entangling them in drop nets and darting them with immobilization drugs from the ground.

The study plan also calls for radio-collaring wolves, cougars, bobcats, and coyotes in Stevens, Pend Oreille, and Okanogan counties. Some wolves are already radio-collared in those areas, but researchers want to maintain collars on at least two wolves in each of the packs within the study area.

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