Do Environmentalist Groups in WA Really Run Fish & Wildlife?

Mike7

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Feb 28, 2012
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969
Location
Northern Idaho
I get emails occasionally from a couple of environmentalist groups that are headquartered in Western Washington (go figure) and are usually asking for donations or some kind of activism participation. They always seem to be for having breeding wolves on almost every inch of Washington, are against all logging, etc. I have to laugh at some of the emails from these groups which make no logical sense seemingly, unless of course the primary mission is to solicit donations and not really manage wildlife.

I thought an email that I got today was interesting. It was from a group that put an Op Ed in the Seattle newspaper regarding Fish & Wildlife needing more money, yet environmentalist groups throughout the rest of the year seem do everything possible to ensure that fish and wildlife has less money from hunters, and is under the thumb of these groups instead of following ecological principals for game management. This Op Ed talks about hunters paying a portion of the amount of the "needed" increase and the rest coming from taxes, but I can't see why hunters would want to pay anything more in Washington under the current situation...other than what they have to pay through increasing Washington State taxes.

Having been a resident of several western states, Washington seems to have one of the poorest values for hunting licenses of any state that I have lived in, and from my view outside the internal workings of the Fish & Wildlife Dept as a customer, one of the poorest ran departments. Hawaii may be more poorly run from my interactions, and California might be a worse value, but I am not so sure about that. Washington Fish & Wildlife doesn't want to be anything like Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, or even Oregon (at least from my experience communicating with them), who all seem to value hunters (the main paying group) at least somewhat as an important special interest group in the wildlife management process.





ARTICLE

Lawmakers, stop underfunding Fish and Wildlife, the agency that protects our lands and water
Now is the time to invest in conservation and outdoor opportunity, not continue to shortchange the legacy we hold in trust for future generations.


By Rachel Voss, Mitch Friedman and Butch Smith
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is like a wild goose that lays golden eggs. Yet Washingtonians — especially legislators in Olympia — are taking it for granted. We need lawmakers to fully fund the department to fulfill its mission for the Evergreen State’s outdoor enthusiasts and natural heritage.

Doing so yields dividends for state and local economies. While the Legislature has been allocating less than $50 million in tax money annually to WDFW, more than $170 million comes back to Olympia each year from sales taxes on purchases made to enjoy fish and wildlife. What’s more, Washingtonians spend hundreds of millions of dollars fishing, hunting and wildlife watching, often in small towns from Ilwaco to Chewelah — places that really need these dollars and jobs.

Yet, as made plain from headlines about orcas to the grim talk around our campfires, Washington’s wildlife are at risk. Underfunding of WDFW since the Great Recession hinders the ability to respond. All told, these natural resources comprise under one percent of the state’s overall budget.

It’s astounding that we expect WDFW to manage and let us enjoy everything from salmon and elk to wolves and waterfowl for what amounts to a rounding error for the state.

In 2017, the department alerted the legislature to its $15 million per year funding gap. Legislators were skeptical, demanding an audit and oversight. WDFW assembled a Budget and Policy Advisory Group with more than 20 diverse stakeholders, including the three of us. An independent audit showed that the department compared well with other state agencies and found no significant fat to trim.

After reviewing the audit, we’ve taken aim at the real problem of underfunding, which has exacerbated fish and wildlife declines, generating understandable frustration. While we’re used to competing over things like salmon allocations or wolf management, we all depend on WDFW being successful.

This year we’ve asked the Legislature to increase WDFW’s two-year budget by $60 million. A quarter of that would come from modest fishing and hunting license increases, the rest from the state.

The fact is, we ask a lot of our Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Washington’s growing population puts unrelenting pressure on our land and waters. From resident orcas to spring Chinook, we’re seeing biodiversity and habitat lost faster than they can be recovered. Hikers and bikers are looking to state wildlife areas as trailheads get increasingly crowded. Hunters and anglers, who provide conservation funding through licenses and special taxes on their equipment, are wondering whether their children and grandchildren can continue cherished outdoor traditions.

All of us are demanding healthy ecosystems and abundant fish and wildlife. But if we want the department to hold back the tide, we need to give the agency a bigger bucket.

If you take your kids to jig for squid on the Seattle waterfront, bird watch on the Skagit Delta or photograph mountain goats in the Cascades, the Department of Fish and Wildlife is your agency. If you fly fish for steelhead, troll for salmon or roam the ridges hunting deer, this is your agency. If you want to hear the howl of wolves, and know that officers are protecting them from poachers, this is your agency.

Fish and wildlife are vital to Washington’s quality of life. Now is the time to invest in conservation and outdoor opportunity, not continue to shortchange the legacy we hold in trust for future generations.​
 

HookUp

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Nov 4, 2015
Messages
688
Washington does a sub par job running the WDFW. The commercial fishing interests have a much greater influence and contribute very little to the agency in license fees but donate heavy to the politicians. They are very conservative on big game tag allocations and free run otc tags in many units. Washington manages its sportsmen for maximum money and does the typical we are listening but have already what we are going to do public process.
 

BluMtn

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Joined
Nov 24, 2016
Messages
185
Location
Washington
One of the major problems with that department is the hiring trend of their biologist and game agents. Many of the new hires have either no or very little hunting experience. I have had conversations with both groups in the last couple years and have ask them their hunting experience and their reply has been "I don't hunt". The biologist just want to do studies on everything and when it comes to their recommendations they would just as soon as not shut everything down. Their agents will also tell you that the heads of their departments are not outdoors people and the rule book is so screwed up on the regulations that most of the agents don't even know what seasons are going on all the time, especially on the rivers when it comes to the fishing. Then you have the tribes dictating to them what they will allow to be caught in the rivers and the year around hunting of wildlife in the mountains. Basically when it comes to hunting in Washington you are not getting anything but a pile of brown stuff. Their tag draws are a joke and most of the time I believe they are even fixed. I use to have great respect for the WDFW, but now they are government environmentalist that want the wolves to populate and the hunters to go away.
 

HookUp

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2015
Messages
688
BlueMtn,

What problems are your referring to? WDFW biggest problem is we have 7 million people and not a lot of room. If they pulled the OTC tags no one would be hunting if it was all a draw. Our premium units have very few trophy deer due to hunter pressure. You raise a lot of complaints but I'm not sure how you suggest they be fixed.

The tribes have an impact but its not the main issue. Every time I hunt OTC in Idaho or Montana I lteterally see no one, I hunt OTC in WA and it looks like a pumkin patch.
 

BroodBuster

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Joined
May 9, 2012
Messages
1,077
Location
Bothell, Wa
I feel bad for any Wa state employee who doesn't work in Olympia. All (well most) of the gamies I've interacted with over the years have been decent and committed to their jobs.

The bureaucrats on the other hand are living in a LaLa bubble. I've always assumed that Ronnie's quote below was aimed to the government of Wa state.

As bad as the management of hunting is that doesn't even come close to the mismanagement of the fishing resource.

Puget Sound King salmon and steelhead are functionally extinct. And considering just 30 or so years ago it was the best steelhead fishing in the world and amongst the best salmon fishing that took quite the effort! Now that the Orcas are starving and carrying their dead calf's around for a month we can spend another billion dollars subsidizing a problem that no one plans on fixing. But that should free up two billion once the one billion is spent.
Repeat as necessary.

But at least it makes me feel good knowing my tax money was spent with love and peace and good intentions which is all that is really important. Never mind the human shit and drug needles on the streets polluting our rivers and sea. For only another billion we they'll fix that problem too :(
 

BluMtn

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2016
Messages
185
Location
Washington
BlueMtn,

What problems are your referring to? WDFW biggest problem is we have 7 million people and not a lot of room. If they pulled the OTC tags no one would be hunting if it was all a draw. Our premium units have very few trophy deer due to hunter pressure. You raise a lot of complaints but I'm not sure how you suggest they be fixed.

The tribes have an impact but its not the main issue. Every time I hunt OTC in Idaho or Montana I lteterally see no one, I hunt OTC in WA and it looks like a pumkin patch.

Never said anything about pulling OTC tags. I am saying the WDFW could care less about the hunter. When you have 9 days for deer and 11 days for elk with modern firearm it puts alot of pressure on the animals in a short amount of time. The bow hunters get a early and late season along with the muzzleloaders. I get alot more time in Idaho and Montana for hunting. As far as the tribes go we get the privilege of watching pickup load after pickup load of dead cow and bull elk come out of the mountains multiple times through out the summer and fall.

And the tag draw is the biggest joke they have come up with. When the draws were first talked about the game agents came around to the camps during that hunting season and explained what they were thinking of doing. One of the questions that was ask about the draws were what if you don't ever get drawn for a tag. Their response was after 10 years if you have not been drawn you will receive a tag. We now have people over 20 pts. and other people who are on their 3 and 4 tag, Tell me how that works.

The 7 million people must be camping next to you, because if I am lucky I may see at the most two people hunting deer where I do and Elk season I see some camps but I usually have the mountain to myself. I have run into the occasional guy on the trail coming or going but not much more.
 

HookUp

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Messages
688
Montana and Idaho have much longer deer seasons. You are saying WDFW doesn't care about the hunters for providing to much opportunity with seasons much shorter than other states? I feel like they do a fair job balancing our hunting opportunities. Fisheries they have sh!t the bed but that is more politically driven.

Our tag odds are simply way to many people putting in for few tags, there isn't much anyone can do about it. The state makes extra money off us and you do have a few more chances of drawing that's about it.
 
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Mike7

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Joined
Feb 28, 2012
Messages
969
Location
Northern Idaho
Where do I start, just some things to at least consider...

Without hunting zones then hunters from all over the state will cram into the better areas, a 9 day season for the entire year for hunting further crams people together and is horrible for youth hunter recruitment which basically means 2 or maybe 4 days of hunting if their lucky because of school and sports for the entire year, extremely poorly done 3rd party surveys sent out to hunters once every 10 yrs without any follow up and without any sign that any of these recommendations are considered, community meetings for big topics like wolf management where the bare minimum is done to try to pacify groups other than radical environmentalists, approx 375-600 dollars for a nonresident to get a deer, bear, or elk preference point or over 100 dollars for a goat/sheep/moose pref point despite really high avg points needed to draw (how many out of state people are going to send that amount of money to that ponzi scheme to help fund the WA Dept of fish&wildlife?).

I don't know what the current health of sheep and goats is, but the last time I was at the moose recovery area northwest of blanchard or in the area north of deer park, a good population of big moose had been exchanged for wolf crap everywhere...yet there is no concern seemingly about the wolves being far over objective as long as they can be hazed away from cattle?

Write the fish and wildlife department headquarters of each state as a hunter in a very thoughtful way about a real question or concern, and see who you hear back from...I would be shocked if Washington even responded, even with a form letter...night and day between them as opposed to Idaho/Wyoming/& Montana from my experience with respect to considering a hunter someone worthy of customer service.
 

Huckleberry Hound

Junior Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2019
Messages
28
Location
Stevens County, WA
Write the fish and wildlife department headquarters of each state as a hunter in a very thoughtful way about a real question or concern, and see who you hear back from...I would be shocked if Washington even responded, even with a form letter...
I wrote about a 3 page letter just about our lion issues in my area, sent it to all the commissioners and the director. No response. I emailed a biologist asking a few questions about the deer collaring project she was in charge of in my neighborhood, no response. Wdfw doesnt care about us or our concerns.
 

Okhotnik

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Joined
Dec 8, 2018
Messages
122
Location
PNW
The anti hunting group Conservation NW is often consulted by WDFW when in comes to managing game in WA.

I see WDFW just cut out the early archery cow elk season and cut their bull elk tags in half .

Meanwhile they are shutting down or shortening cat seasons and introducing more wolves.

They issue extra mule deer doe tags and this further decimated our mule deer herds.

Then the tribal hunters go shoot elk and deer from their vehicles while in the wintering herds. Sometimes they take what they shoot sometimes not. Especially if wounded and have to leave their vehicles to find them.

It’s turned into a joke
 

Huckleberry Hound

Junior Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2019
Messages
28
Location
Stevens County, WA
The anti hunting group Conservation NW is often consulted by WDFW when in comes to managing game in WA.

I see WDFW just cut out the early archery cow elk season and cut their bull elk tags in half .

Meanwhile they are shutting down or shortening cat seasons and introducing more wolves.

They issue extra mule deer doe tags and this further decimated our mule deer herds.

It’s turned into a joke
Where are you getting that they are shortening cat seasons? Scuttlebutt ive got is that theyre likely going to let it run an extra month this year, through jan 31st, before harvest guideline b.s. kicks in.
 
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