Wildlife Commission to discuss deer, elk baiting

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OLYMPIA — The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will debate whether to prohibit baiting for deer and elk during a meeting Friday and Saturday in Olympia. The commission will also consider whether Washington should join several other Western states to allow people to keep road-killed deer and elk for the tasty meat.

The commission discussed the baiting issue last year and decided to not make changes to the existing rule (baiting for deer and elk hunting is allowed). Since then, the Department of Fish and Wildlife has discussed the issue further with a group of hunters. According to the agency, there is no consensus on the issue other than scents and natural agricultural practices should not be considered baiting. Members of the advisory group expressed several points of view, ranging from banning all baiting for deer and elk hunting to retaining the ability to bait using any quantity.

In a random telephone survey of deer hunters, 59 percent either opposed or strongly opposed baiting for deer. In the same survey, 68 percent of elk hunters either opposed or strongly opposed baiting for elk.

The commission will consider options that range from banning all baiting to retaining all baiting, including two specific options that consider a volume limit on the amount of bait allowed.

The commission, a citizen panel appointed by the governor to set policy for WDFW, will convene in Room 172 of the Natural Resources Building, 1111 Washington St. S.E., in Olympia. A complete agenda is available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/commission/.