Lend your voice (and ears) to debate over gray wolves

4:01 pm January 21st, 2013

By Bob Brown
Management and recovery of gray wolves in Washington and other western states will be the topic of three public meetings hosted by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) this month.
Wolves are a high–profile species that attract considerable public interest from people who often have opposing views, said Dave Ware, WDFW game manager.
“This is a great opportunity for people interested in gray wolves to hear from experts about the recovery of the species throughout the west,” he said.
A panel of experts will discuss ongoing efforts to recover Washington’s gray wolf population, the latest information from population surveys, and gray wolf management strategies used in other states. Keynote speakers include Mike Jimenez, Rocky Mountain wolf coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Lorna Smith, executive director of Western Wildlife Outreach; Carter Niemeyer, retired wolf specialist with the USFWS and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services; and Donny Martorello, WDFW carnivore section manager. Smith will moderate the meetings, including:
The public meetings are scheduled for:
• Jan. 17, Office Building 2 at 14th Avenue and Jefferson Street in Olympia, 2:30 p.m.
• Jan. 18, Magnuson Park’s Garden Room, 7400 Sand Point Way NE. in Seattle, 6 p.m.
Each meeting will include an opportunity for the public to submit questions to the presenters about wolf recovery and management.
WDFW has confirmed the presence of eight wolf packs in Washington. There is also evidence of unconfirmed packs near Kettle Falls in northeastern Washington, in the Blue Mountains and in the North Cascades, as well as transient wolves.

If it works in New Mexico, how about here?

The New Mexico Game Commission pasted a new hunting regulation last month that could turn the tide of declining numbers of young hunters and could go a long way in alleviating frustrations many parents have about being unable to get their children into hunter education classes. Starting this year, New Mexico will be offering a one-time mentored –youth hunting license.
The new rule will enable youngsters to hunt under adult supervision prior to getting into and taking a hunter education course. Previously, all hunters under the age of 18 had to take and pass the state’s mandated hunter education course. Under the new rule, applicants must pass an online quiz and those that score eight out of 10 on the test will then be issued a mentored-youth authorization number they can use to apply for a license using the same online system as everyone else.
Once in the field, the youngster must be supervised by their adult mentor and be within unaided sight and voice distance of that person at all times.
The mentored-youth hunting license is good only once, and for two consecutive license years. After that time, if the hunter is still under 18, he or she will be required to pass the standard hunter education class to obtain a license.
New Mexico will continue to run hunter education classes throughout the year. Traditional hunter education courses in New Mexico rely on volunteer instructors, and the demand has outpaced supply in recent years.
Jennifer Morgan, who coordinates hunter education at New Mexico’s Department of Game and Fish, said, “If we don’t make it easier, kids are going to find other interests, and that’s going to hurt—conservation, wildlife management and tradition.”
Studies have demonstrated youngsters who hunt with a mentor are significantly safer hunters than those who have passed a course and then hunt on their own. Those statistics were a significant factor in the commission’s decision to adopt the new rule. Should Washington consider adopting a similar rule? Maybe.

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