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Washington Commission approves new 4-point rule for whitetails

From the Washington the Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife

-- None of the proposals at the April 8 and 9 Commission meeting  drew more public comments-both pro and con-than one that adds a four-point antler restriction for hunting white-tailed deer in game management units 117 and 121 in Stevens County. Commissioners approved the new four-point antler rule by a vote of 5 to 2 after an extensive public review process.

Previously, hunters have been allowed to take any buck in those two GMUs where white-tailed deer populations are considered depressed.

That was one of the new hunting rules for deer, elk and other game animals during the public meeting. The commission which sets policy for the Department of Fish and Wildlife, adopted the new rules for the 2011-12 hunting season after a 60-day public comment period.

Another measure approved by the commission will reduce antlerless deer hunting in northeast Washington to help those deer populations recover from past hard winters. 
 
In addition, the commission also approved rules to:

* Increase permit hunting for antlerless elk in the Yakima area and for bulls and antlerless elk in the Mount St. Helens area, where elk populations are exceeding management objectives.

* Increase spring black bear hunting seasons and permits in western and northeast Washington to help reduce timber damage, address bear nuisance activity and expand hunting opportunities within population management guidelines.

* Authorize certain landowners in Asotin County to issue hunting permits to increase access to deer and elk hunting on private lands. Hunting permits for those properties also would be available to the public through WDFW's special permit drawing.

* Clarify public-conduct rules on private lands open for hunting under cooperative agreements with WDFW.

All of those new rules will be incorporated into the state's 2011-12 Big Game Hunting Seasons rule pamphlet, which will be available at sporting goods stores and other licensing outlets later this month. The new pamphlet will also be available on WDFW's website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/regulations/.

See more information on the commission's April 8 and 9 meeting at http://wdfw.wa.gov/commission/.

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