Public Hearing Set for Washington Spring Bear Hunting Season

Contact: Keely Hopkins, Pacific States Assistant Manager

  • On March 11, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will hold a public hearing on the state’s spring bear hunting season from 8:00am-12:00pm.
  • This hearing comes after the Commission approved a Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF)-signed petition to begin expedited rulemaking to reinstate the 2022 Spring Bear Hunt. The Spring Bear Hunt was previously suspended at the November 19, 2021, Commission meeting when a 4-4 tie vote failed to meet the necessary majority consensus to authorize the 2022 season.
  • Individuals can register to testify at the public hearing on the Commission’s website, and can also submit written comments in support of the spring bear hunt here or by emailing them to SpringBearPetition102@PublicInput.com.
  • Written comments will be accepted through March 12.

Why It Matters: Since 1999, Washington state has offered a spring black bear hunting season. This season is a fine-tuned conservation and wildlife management tool utilized by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) in the implementation of their overall game management plan, which is executed in pursuit of their mission to protect, preserve, and perpetuate wildlife and the ecosystems upon which they depend. WDFW carefully sets permit numbers based on several factors including population estimates, prey level concerns, and human/bear conflicts. In addition to being a crucial management tool, the spring hunt helps to generate critical conservation funding through hunting license and tag sales as part of the American System for Conservation Funding. This funding is then used by WDFW for habitat restoration, public land access projects, and other statewide conservation efforts of which all Washington residents enjoy.

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission is once again considering the 2022 Spring Bear Hunting season.  Despite scientific data that supports a spring bear hunting season, and a recommendation from Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to continue the hunt, the Commission suspended the hunt because of a 4-4 tie vote at their November 19 meeting. Following the suspension, CSF joined several in-state partners, including the Inland Northwest Wildlife Council, the Hunter’s Heritage Council, and Washingtonians for Wildlife Conservation, in submitting a formal petition to the Commission to begin expedited rulemaking to reinstate the 2022 season. The Commissioners adopted the petition in a 4-3 vote at a special meeting on January 21, which has now cleared the way for the Commission to reinstate the 2022 Spring Bear Hunting season. 

It will be critical for the hunting and conservation community to show strong support of reinstating the 2022 Spring Bear Hunt when the Commission holds a public hearing on March 11 from 8:00am-12:00pm Pacific Time. To testify at the hearing, individuals need to register on the Commission website ahead of the hearing. Written comments can also be submitted on their website, or by emailing SpringBearPetition102@PublicInput.com.  Mark your calendars and plan to make your voice heard. CSF will continue to keep you updated throughout the process.

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