Commission decides on no spring black bear season; votes on commercial shellfish rules and Pacific Co. land, and land transactions, elects Chair

After indicating the possibility of a spring black bear special permit season in 2022, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission have voted against it going forward this year.

In February, the commission accepted a petition last month to initiate rule-making for a special permit season in 2022 and proposed establishing special hunting permits for a shortened season, beginning May 1. 

At their virtual meeting over the weekend, the Commission voted 5-4 to not establish the season. 

According to a release, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) staff will assess the path forward for offering future spring black bear hunting opportunities, per Commission direction provided on January 21. 

The decision on the spring bear special permit rule does not impact the 2022 fall black bear general season, which occurs between Aug. 1 to Nov. 15.

Also during their meeting, the commission looked at a number of land transactions, including one in Pacific County.

The commission unanimously approved all three land transactions recommended by the Department “to enhance conservation and public recreation opportunities”. 

The transactions included  94 acres in Pacific County to provide recreational access to the Nemah beach and over 300 acres of tidelands,1,035 acres in Thurston County of prairie-oak woodland and wetland habitat, and 1,513 acres in Douglas County to protect and conserve shrubsteppe habitats.

The Commission also unanimously approved a transfer of a 3.5-acre parcel to the City of Sultan in Snohomish County to allow the city to manage the water access area as part of their public park.

The Commission also unanimously approved a suite of revisions to commercial shellfishing regulations, including some changes to logbook or reporting requirements, updates to some commercial crab and shrimp areas, and a variety of updates to gear changes. For more details, see the summary sheet.

This Commission meeting was recorded so members of the public who missed it can watch at their convenience.

To see information about past and future Commission meetings, as well as ways to participate, please visit WDFW’s website.