Greetings Pheasant Hunters:
This is a reminder that our meeting to discuss issues related to the upcoming pheasant hunting season will be this Thursday, July 18, from 6:30-8:30 pm. The meeting location will be the same as last year, the Mount Vernon Senior Center, 1401 Cleveland Street. Department staff will be present to update you on operating details for the 2013 pheasant release program in Region 4.
Agenda items will include:
Updates from Wildlife Area Managers
Hunter and Bow Hill Resident Survey Results
Release numbers and Schedules
WDFW Game Farm Production
The rising feed and other costs at our game farm forced WDFW to re-evaluate our pheasant production goal. Part of the concept of the Western Washington Pheasant License has been that the revenue it generates should cover operating costs at the game farm. This has not been the case since the license change went into effect and the gap with expenses widened significantly over the past two years. Our new production goal is 38,000 birds for release and all indications are that we will meet that target. The primary cost savings will be in the amount of feed we purchase which has been the primary cost increase item. The other significant change is reduced seasonal staffing during the hatching and rearing season. We will be looking for other cost savings and creative marketing options to increase revenue generated through license sales. A draft release schedule with bird numbers by site will be available at the July meeting. One important point is that even with the reduced number of birds noted above, we will still be producing more birds per hunter than was the case before new licenses went into effect. The root of the issue is that hunter numbers dropped, as expected with any license fee increase, but have not gone back up as much as was predicted at the time.
For more information contact: Brian Calkins, 360-902-2691 or Brian.Calkins@dfw.wa.gov
Snoqualmie Wildlife Area
The access hours during the pheasant season will again be 8 am to 4 pm for both pheasant and waterfowl hunters. Hunting hours per the pamphlet will apply after November 30th. Reasons for the change include hunters being in the fields before and after pheasant hunting hours, possibly shooting or flushing pheasants off the area, and volunteers releasing pheasants when duck hunters are in the field. In addition, WDFW Enforcement officers have a difficult time regulating pheasant harvest before and after legal pheasant hunting hours.
The units affected by these hunting hours include: Stillwater, Cherry Valley, Crescent Lake and Ebey Island.
For more information contact: Brian Boehm, 425-327-4869 or Brian.Boehm@dfw.wa.gov
Skagit Wildlife Area
The Samish Unit will continue as a youth and senior hunt for the 2013 season. There will be no additional releases for general season pheasant hunting.
Justification for this includes the Samish Unit was purchased with funding from the North American Wetland Conservation Act grant for waterfowl habitat management. Since the acquisition in the mid-1990’s, a number of wetland enhancements to improve waterfowl habitat and waterfowl hunting opportunities have been implemented with funding from private donors and project partners. The annual agricultural enhancements have been funded by the State Duck Stamp and are directed towards wintering waterfowl forage and hunting opportunity. There is concern that continued pheasant release on the site may impact support for this funding priority if the site shifts to multiple use hunting.
Waterfowl and pheasant hunting are two different hunting styles. The visible nature and movement of pheasant hunting discourage waterfowl use of the site and therefore decrease waterfowl hunting opportunity and success. In a normal year, this disturbance to waterfowl activity can result in numerous user conflicts.
The Leque Island and DNR Bow Hill site will continue youth, senior and general hunts for the 2013 season.
If you have questions or want additional information, contact: Belinda Rotton, 360-445-4441 or Belinda.Rotton@dfw.wa.gov
Whatcom Wildlife Area
No changes from last year.
If you have questions or want additional information, contact: Richard Kessler, 253-589-7235 or Richard.Kessler@dfw.wa.gov
Let me know, if you have anything to add to the agenda and please share this correspondence with anyone you feel may be interested.
Thanks and hope to see you in July!
Wildlife Program Manager
Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife
16018 Mill Creek Blvd.
Mill Creek, WA 98012
Office: 425-775-1311 ext. 110