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Hunters in Washington Lost Spring Bear Season for 2022

GUEST AUTHOR: Brian Clintworth

Hunters in Washington have just lost their Spring Bear season for 2022, but hunters everywhere should take note as the anti hunters will see this as a victory and look to further their agenda across the nation.  Last month the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Commission had a tie vote when approving the 2022 Spring Bear proposals.  Because of the tie vote, the hunt has been put on hold while the commission decides what to do.  Let’s look at what caused this outcome.  

Spring bear seasons across the nation have always been controversial.  Anti hunters are concerned with cubs being orphaned, too many females being killed, bears being in a weakened state from just waking up from hibernation, are a few of the many reasons they oppose these hunts.  From a biologist and sportsman perspective, spring hunts have been very popular with hundreds of hunters applying for the limited number of permits.  Spring hunts have been effective in harvesting bears(mainly boars) which subsequently helps out ungulate populations. In the Blue Mountains of Washington, it is estimated that up to 80% of the elk calves are killed by predators each year, primarily bears and cougars.  Spring harvest also helps minimize timber damage on westside timberlands.  

Here in Washington over the last several years, there have been attempts to shut down this hunt but they have not been successful until now.  In December 2020 there was a lawsuit filed to stop the Spring Bear hunt.  The state of Washington recently implemented new regulations for successful hunters to present proof of sex to a district office so they could document the low number of lactating sows that were harvested.  

The WDFW staff, presented science based evidence that these hunts do not cause a concern for the bear population.  Despite this evidence, the commissioners had a split vote, and because there was not a majority vote, the hunt was placed on hold.  During public testimony on zoom over 90% of the voices were to ban the hunt.   You can bet that many of these folks were from states other than Washington.  The anti hunting crowd showed up, and the governor appointed commission, many of whom are non hunters(or even anti hunting) listened.  They voted with emotion, rather than the science and data of the Department and hunters lost another season.  It is decisions like this, that should strike fear in hunters across the West.  The anti hunting groups are getting more organized, more active in wildlife management and this puts additional hunts at risk.  With more meetings being held via Zoom, it has become easy for these national organizations to flood the public comments with their emotionally charged thoughts.  

Currently there is a petition on Change.org seeking to bring back the Spring 2022 bear hunt.  Hunters can also contact the WDFW commission directly by email at commission@dfw.wa.gov to make their voices heard.  What will happen in 2023 is anyone’s guess, but with the current makeup of the commission and the momentum the anti hunters have from this decision, getting the Spring bear season in Washington back on the books is going to be an uphill battle.  It is time for hunters across the country to join in the fight, your state could be next. 

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2 comments

  1. Ignorant public is Chipping away again ! That Washington spring bear hunt will lost forever as well.

    Happened in Colorado in 1994. 10 years later the amount of negative bear encounters skyrocketed, Now 27 years later problem bears are beyond Belief each late spring into fall.
    The recent solution is everyone that buys a elk or deer tag is encouraged to buy a fall bear license in Colorado. It’s a total joke.

    Look what took place in New Jersey when the idiots shut down all bear hunting – the progression is very well documented every time they cut a bear season and the ridiculous outcome is 100% predictable. Washington will run the same course as other States.

    It’s no doubt that in 20/30
    years or less – all big game hunting will succumb to the same fate or they will continue to
    require such painful measures to participate most hunters will be discouraged to even participate.

    If ur grandkids want to hunt in the future encourage them to become State and Federal Wildlife officers – because they will be only ones legally doing all the shooting and trapping in 30 years !

  2. Wolves are doing far more damage to the Blue mountain elk herd than the bears or the cougars. Many pics of wolves eating elk and bears eating deer this year. Bears are definitely a huge issue though. The deer fawns in our area are devastated, only to have their livers eaten by the bears.

    I live in and walk the Blue mountains only to see the destruction daily. For the biologists to not include the wolves just shows they are bought and paid wolf pushers.

    Last year it was the shed hunters that killed all the elk. According to biologist this year bears and cats. 2 years ago 6 Indians killed (57) 300″+ trophy bulls and wasted the meat on almost all of them and no not on reservation either and no repercussions . The biologists do not factor all predators into their decline of our elk herd so it is hard to believe they would ever do anything right.

    Sounds like Typical liberal agendas to destroy everything in the state. They have reduced all tags in this trophy bull unit so it is possibly once in a lifetime tag to get drawn now. Was every 20 years now every 50 years.

    We had 3 different bears, 2 cougars and 8 wolves on our cameras this summer on our 30 acres and only 1 bull.

    We will Never hear the real truth Until biologists start addressing all predators and poachers. I guess I’m not quite done. There is group of archery hunters in our area that leases huge tracts of land. They gut shoot and lose half their elk but continue shooting till they get one they can find. This is in mind is poaching. Just another factor that biologists cannot take in account.

    Bad actors be it humans or 4 legged predators have ruined this area.

    Supposedly human is the smartest creature on the planet, some days I seriously question that perception.

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