Update: Despite overwhelming opposition from BHA and other hunting and wildlife conservation groups, on November 19th the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Commission voted 4-4 to postpone the 2022 spring bear hunt (the tie vote effectively closes the spring bear hunting season). BHA remains supportive of a spring bear hunting season and is extremely disappointed in the commission's decision.
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers (BHA), the voice for our wild public lands, waters, and wildlife, urges the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Commission to support the continuation of the Spring Black Bear Hunting Season.
The United States is the envy of the world in wildlife conservation, fishing and hunting management. This is a direct result of the implementation of the North American Conservation Model, a set of principles that guide and protect our shared natural resources and hunting heritage while allowing for wise use. This Model is built around the use of science as a key tool in sustainable wildlife populations, policy and management. This model also incorporates hunters as a critical asset in the responsible management of wildlife for the holistic good of ecosystems. Without a doubt, predator management can elicit strong emotions. However, for the wellbeing of the species and their biomes, we must choose to let science lead instead of emotion, politics and conjecture.
The Washington Chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers strongly recommends that the WDFW Commissioners allow the Spring Black Bear Hunt season to persist in Washington State. The science and analysis as presented by Dr. Stephanie Simek, the WDFW Carnivore Section Manager, supports the continuation of this hunt. The Spring Black Bear Hunt provides an opportunity for hunters to assist in managing a robust population, reduce human-predator conflicts, help mitigate deer fawn and elk calf predation and provide food for their families. As advocates of our wildlife and wild places, we believe that black bears play a critical role in their ecosystems. Data-driven management is the role the WDFW must play to ensure the success of this species and its habitat. We call upon the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Commission to continue to serve the State and the WDFW by voting in favor the 2022 Spring Black Bear Hunting Season.
Public comment regarding this issue be submitted via this LINK through 5 PM on Monday, November 1st. The commission is scheduled to make a final decision regarding the 2022 Spring Bear Season on November 19th.