***REMINDER! These are the final days Washington state will accept comments on proposed rule changes to wildlife contests. Please make your voice heard.***
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has proposed language that would prohibit wildlife contests for any species that do not have a bag limit. The department is collecting written comments until July 14.
Take Action Today! Washington members should submit written comments urging the wildlife commission to oppose the proposed wildlife contest regulations. Comments should be submitted through the Washington Department of Fish and wildlife webpage.
Current Washington law allows for wildlife contests to legally take place in the state. These contests are regulated and only allowed by permit to non-profit organizations registered with the state. Based on the proposed language, two friends could kill as many of the species as they wanted on their own, because the animals are so plentiful, and often pests, that scientific management has declared limits unnecessary. But if those two friends participated in any sort of organized, and under current law, permitted, contest doing the same thing, they’d be guilty of breaking the law.
“Anti-hunting activists are pressuring the state to further regulate, and make it a crime to incentivize the hunting of species that the state themselves say to kill on sight, and that they have no established season dates or bag limits for,” said Jacob Hupp, associate director of state services at the Sportsmen’s Alliance. “If this rule is passed, it would put billions of dollars of agriculture at risk and create damage to untold millions acres of fragile wetlands just to pacify animal-rights activists who believe that it’s somehow criminal for citizens to hunt, but perfectly acceptable for the state to kill wildlife.”
Native “unclassified” species covered in this proposal include coyotes, which threaten livestock throughout the state, and are so plentiful in number as to have a year-round season, no bag limits, no prohibition on firearms, ammunition, night hunting or use of electronic calls or even bait.
Even non-native and invasive species, such as nutria, which were introduced to Washington in the mid-1900s, could not be hunted or trapped in a contest setting based on the proposal. Nutria pose an immense risk to the fertile farmlands of the state, as well as some of the most important waterfowl habitat on the West Coast.
“Regulations should be aimed at encouraging joint participation in outdoor sports among family, friends and colleagues rather than dissuading participation,” said Hupp. “We are seeing a major uptick in efforts to chip away at the rights of sportsmen and sportswomen nationwide under the guise of wildlife contests. The bottom line is: the anti-hunting lobby uses wildlife contests as a stepping stone to ultimately put an end to all hunting activities – and they’ve been extremely successful in Washington state, which has only burdened the state and taxpayers.”
About the Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Sportsmen’s Alliance protects and defends America’s wildlife conservation programs and the pursuits – hunting, fishing and trapping – that generate the money to pay for them. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation is responsible for public education, legal defense and research. Its mission is accomplished through several distinct programs coordinated to provide the most complete defense capability possible. Stay connected to Sportsmen’s Alliance: Online, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.