A meeting in Elma on October 2 to discuss possible changes to hunting rules in Game Management Unit 660 has been expanded to include possible statewide changes as well.
Originally scheduled as a meeting solely for hunters who participated in a survey and asked to be part of the process for the changes to GMU 660, or Minot Peak, the meeting will now feature open discussion on all upcoming seasons.
The special public meeting will be held on Monday, Oct. 2 from 6-9 p.m. at the Elma Grange, in Elma, to discuss regional proposals for consideration in setting hunting seasons for 2018-2020.
Brian Calkins, regional wildlife manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) told KXRO that the special meeting is still designed to gather more information about proposals following the online survey and at a meeting last month in Olympia.
Calkins said the department will welcome all ideas about upcoming seasons, but will also convene a focus group to discuss a specific proposal that calls for increasing the number of 4-point or better bucks in GMU 660.
“We’re prepared to discuss a variety of issues, but we want to take some time to hear what Minot Peak hunters have to say about this proposal.” Calkins said. “We don’t always get all the information we need from online surveys or a single meeting.”
The Minot Peak GMU covers land south of Highway 12 from the Raymond Highway to Highway 12 on the east, spanning portions of Grays Harbor and Pacific counties.
The focused meeting portion of the event will look at how to manage trophy black-tailed deer opportunities in the Minot Peak area.
Based on input from the public, WDFW will develop formal recommendations about new statewide hunting rules for consideration by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission in April 2018.
Anthony Novack, District Wildlife Biologist – Pacific and Grays Harbor Counties with the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife released the results of the survey of hunters who used GMU 660.
Novack says that public meetings and an online survey to assess statewide opinions about various proposals for changes to the 2018-2020 hunting seasons were held earlier in the year.
One issue presented was how to manage for a trophy black-tailed deer opportunity in GMU 660.
This could include options to increase the number of 4 pt or better black-tailed bucks harvested after 3 years.
“Changes to general deer season hunting opportunity may allow more bucks to survive to an older age class.”
Multiple options were presented to increase the amount of trophies available.
This includes changing the November late buck season to permit only, implementing a 3 pt or better restriction, limiting non-permit hinters to spike or 2 pt bucks, or ending the October modern firearm season early.
In the survey, 29% of those who responded says that their chances of harvesting a trophy black0tailed deer from GMU 660 were “Poor”, while both “Fair” and “Very Poor” both received 35%.
Despite these figures, 44% of those who responded said that they would not approve of restrictions to the season if changes were made to produce more trophy bucks.
66% of respondents said that they used a private timber access permit during the hunting season.
In a statewide survey saw 37% of those who responded saying they would like to see no change to how WDFW handles GMU 660.
Novack tells KXRO that since any changes would only affect deer hunters in GMU 660, the focused meeting is open to those who responded to the survey and indicated that they wanted to participate.
GMU 660 – Black-Tailed Deer Hunter Survey – 2017
1.) N= 135 How would you rank your chances of harvesting a trophy black-tailed deer during the general season (circle one)
|A) Excellent||1%||D) Poor||29%|
|B) Good||8%||E) Very Poor||27%|
|C) Fair||27%||F) Don’t Know 2%|
2.) N= 135 Within the GMU you typically hunt, would you approve of restrictions to the general deer season and total harvest if, that allows the area to produce more trophy bucks?
Yes 27% No 44% Maybe 28%
3.) N= 137 In 2016, did you purchase a private timber company access permit?
Yes 66% No 34%
4.) N=123 If you had to pick only one of the 5 options presented, which would be your preferred option?
- End the October modern firearm season 4-7 days earlier 20%
- Implement a 3 pt or better antler restriction. ……………28%
- Adopt a spike or two point only antler point restriction for general seasons with larger bucks by permit only ……… 22%
- Change the November late buck season from a general season to hunting by permit only. ………………………………… 29%
5.) N=127 Which single one of these options is the least acceptable?
- End the October modern firearm season 4-7 days earlier 28%
- Implement a 3 pt or better antler restriction. ……………24%
- Adopt a spike or two point only antler point restriction for general seasons with larger bucks by permit only……… 23%
- Change the November late buck season from a general season to hunting by permit only. ……………………………….. 23%
6.) N=137 Which type of weapon did you use for deer hunting last year?
|A) Modern firearm – rifle||78%||C) Muzzeloader||6%|
|B) Archery||12%||D) Multi season||4%|
7.) N=138 Overall, how would you rate the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s management of Black-Tailed deer?
|A) Excellent||3%||D) Poor||22%|
|B) Good||14%||E) Very Poor||14%|
|C) Fair||38%||F) Don’t Know 7%|
Same question posed to attendees of the various sportsmens show’s in 2012. Asked of deer hunters who primarily hunted in Western Washington. N=224
|A) Excellent||9%||D) Poor||20%|
|B) Good||26%||E) Very Poor||10%|
|C) Fair||31%||F) Don’t Know 2%|
Statewide results from hunters responding to 3 yr package survey ——-
Q3. Issue: Manage for a trophy black-tailed deer opportunity in GMU 660. Background: Develop a quality buck black-tailed deer unit with the goal of increasing the number of 4 pt or better black-tailed bucks harvested from one GMU (660) after 3 years. Changes to general deer season hunting opportunity may allow more bucks to survive to an older age class. The potential changes to general deer seasons, outlined below, will be explored by directly surveying deer hunters who reported hunting in GMU 660 in 2016. Select and comment on an alternative:
|Ending the October modern firearm season 4 to 7 days earlier, to coincide with MF white-|
|tail or mule deer seasons.||5%||155|
|Implementing a 3 pt or better antler restriction.||23%||732|
|Adopting a spike or two point only antler point restriction for general seasons with larger|
|bucks by permit only.||9%||295|
|Make the late buck season permit only.||9%||290|
|All of the above.||12%||369|