WDFW Answers thru the WAG 2012-2016

Discussion in 'Washington Flyway Forum' started by john4wdh, Jun 19, 2012.

  1. john4wdh

    john4wdh Elite Refuge Member

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    I only have WDFW answers to those inquiries passed on to me before the WAG meeting on Saturday. They are written in red. I notice the thread has gone on substantially from then. I will try to get as many answers as I can to your later inquiries.

    When he returns to his office in Olympia, WDFW Waterfowl Section Manager, Don Kraege, has also agreed to send me slides from a power point presentation made at the WAG meeting, and I will share that with you.

    ----------------------------

    Geoduck 06-14-2012 01:57 PM
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    OK,

    I'd be happy to start the pre-WAG complaining.

    Seaduck managment in this state is a joke. There science on survey data is extremely weak (mid season surveys that don't factor in the effects of hunting pressure, etc) and there is little consistency between NWF flyway guidlines and the states approach to seaducks.

    If mallards in E. WA were managed like puget sound scoter, there would be no mallard hunting in eastern wa and the wigeon bag would be 2.

    fatlab 06-14-2012 04:32 PM
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    Please ask them to revisit the sea duck limits including the ridiculous reduction on GE.

    I second meats on the spinner issue. I would like to have the wag complete this sentence "even though electric spinners are legal in 48 states and studies have shown no reason to ban them for waterfowl management purposes, and even though a majority of hunters surveyed would like them legalized and despite the fact that pull string spinners are legal, the wag still recommends they be banned because ____________"

    Or something like that.


    hunter 06-14-2012 05:29 PM
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    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v6...untitled-8.jpg

    Please thank WAG for making the correct choice in regards to spinners...:tu

    ________________
    Originally Posted by Geoduck (Post 9276421)
    OK,

    I'd be happy to start the pre-WAG complaining.

    Seaduck managment in this state is a joke. There science on survey data is extremely weak (mid season surveys that don't factor in the effects of hunting pressure, etc) and there is little consistency between NWF flyway guidlines and the states approach to seaducks.
    ________________________________________
    Quote:
    ________________________________________
    Originally Posted by fatlab (Post 9276636)
    Please ask them to revisit the sea duck limits including the ridiculous reduction on GE.
    ________________________________________
    All I can tell you at this time is that the WDFW recommendation to the WAG is for the same daily and possession limits as last year. That means 2 Scoters and 2 Goldeneye daily in W WA., with a possession limit of 4 scoters and 4 GE in W. WA.

    Robo's are sure to be a revisited topic for discussion.

    The WAG didn't want to rehash Robo's any more than most of you. The topic was roundly booed when I brought it up. Even those WAG members that took the time earlier this year to testify against the ban, are resigned to the fact that this probably won't change until the WDFW Commission changes members.

    A swan hunting season will be argued for, as incoming WAG Chairman Rodney Vandersypen was elected 2 years ago on the specific platform of trying to establish a swan hunting season in WA.

    With a wintering population of Trumpeter Swans in WA now estimated at about 10,000 birds, WA already has an allotted quota for a Tundra Swan hunting season, which could include the incidental taking [5 to 10 birds] of Trumpeter Swans. The season would still need final approval from the flyway and USFWS. The WAG established a subcommittee on the issue of establishing such a season in the future and passed a motion for Don Kraege to discuss at the Pacific flyway meeting what it would take to have a swan season in Washington State. WA Trumpeter Swan Society to be part of this exploration.

    One WAG member noted that Montana, with a wintering population of only 12,000, issues up to 1,000 swan hunting permits every year. They all are not purchased and one can walk up to any license dealer and obtain one on the spot. Despite the numbers allowing such a permitted season in WA, the biggest obstacle will be non-hunting public opinion here, vs the more the hunter friendly Mountain and Central Flyways that allows Swan hunting seasons in Montana, Nevada and Utah.


    Smalma has already given me some great input how a permit season for swans could be set up to also "tax" the non-consumptive users [read this as non hunters] for the costs of swan management [read this as UW's Swan Mortality (from lead ingestion) Mitigation Program], which WWA has already donated some $14,000+ and hundreds of volunteer man hours,to.


    Smalma?s Proposal: appeared to be well received by the WAG. His proposal was a $20 to $40 application fee plus a $50 permit fee, with all fees going to a dedicated fund for swan management. Thus the non-consumptive users [read as non-hunters] who would purchase applications and permits in order to reduce actual number of permits issued to hunters, would be financially contributing to swan management.

    Smalma 06-14-2012 07:25 PM
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    john4wdh -
    Speaking of swans and topic that WAG might broach with WDFW is the Debay's Slough Swan reserve.

    That area has been set aside as a swan reserve. Without a hunting season why do we need a reserve. In addition until late in the season there is littel swan use.

    But more to the point over the last several years a significant amount of ag land has been acquire by folks like Skagit land trust. These parcels are de facto reserves without public access or hunting- in addition to providing salmon benefits they serve as waterfowl refugia. In today's world with the increasing demand for the limited amount of public land (especially that which potentially provides public hunting) can the State and its managers really afford to continue devote significant acreage to a single use - especially when there have been other nearby land acquired by others that serve that same single purpose?

    I realize that changing the status of that resevre will be a tough nut to crack but given the loss of other Department lands for hunting activities I think now would be good to starting laying some ground work to move in that direction. Debay property would potentially be good place for pheasant release early in the season as waterfowl later.

    I would remind the folks at WDFW that the use of Skagit headquarters, etc for salmon recovery etc has provided significant benefits to the ag community (restoration efforts in public lands instead of private), the non-hunting public, etc. With limited public lands multiple layering various uses juxt makes good sense and from the bird hunters point of view helps balance the ledger.

    Anyway something to think about.

    curt

    WDFW Answer: Debay?s Slough was purchased with federal NAWCA [North American Waterfowl Conservation Act] funds for the specific purpose of creating secure trumpeter swan habitat. To change the purpose could mandate mitigation in the form of finding other property for the swans or return of the money to the feds. WDFW has discussed providing some hunting opportunities early before the area gets used by swans.

    Geoduck 06-14-2012 07:30 PM
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    Dear WAG,

    I am a concerned Washington waterfowl hunter, descended from a long line of waterfowl hunters and have hunted waterfowl for over 25 years. During my seasons as a waterfowler, I have seen the inevitable ups and downs in waterfowl populations, and WDFW has clearly promoted scientific management of the states waterfowl resources during this time. The events since the August 2010 WDFW commission meeting, have been a abrupt break from WDFWs tradition of open and forthright scientific management of waterfowl. These issues primarily have to do with the management of seaduck populations.

    There have two deeply disturbing developments. First is a lack of transparency.
    The proposed regulation changes on seaducks and the proported rationale for them were not accessible to the public in any form until the day prior to the meeting (even though the report was dated a full week before the meeting, this would not have been an adequate time for comment were it to have been available). Furthermore, even the meeting agenda was not provided in enough time for the public to understand what was to be discussed. Finally requests by the waterfowling public to WDFW staff for information and clarification were not responded to or even acknowledged prior to the meeting. Taken together these shortcomings represent at best an administrative failure to be responsive to urgent public stakeholder concerns and at worst an effort to circumvent public comment and input on public waterfowl resources.

    The WAG agreed to have the minutes of its meetings available to the public. Rather than publish them as a separate page to the WDFW Website, the group agreed that the minutes would be available from WDFW upon request.

    Until then, I will post the minutes from the July 2010 and July 2011 meetings, when I learn to convert the pdf formats to jpeg.




    Second, the justification for these changes is not based on sound science for management of goldeneye ducks. While not classified as seaducks, by NFWS (or the biological community), the proposed and ultimately adopted regulations stipulated that goldeneyes which were formerly classified as diving ducks now be classified as seaducks. This is counter to the biological classification of ducks, tradition, and commons sense. Goldeneye are not that closely related to seaducks (scoters, longtail, harlequin ducks), spend much of the winter over freshwater, are frequently taken by non-seaduck hunting groups over freshwater.

    WDFW Answer: You are in error when you state that GE are not classified as seaducks. They belong to the waterfowl tribe Mergini (sea ducks), which includes harlequins, long-tailed ducks, scoters, and other species.

    SEE http://www.seaducks.org/species

    In non-scientific literature sea ducks are occasionally lumped with other species and called ?diving ducks? due to their feeding habits, but they are really a different taxonomic class.

    SEE http://www.ducks.org/hunting/migration-map/waterfowl-classification

    Unfortunately I could not access password protected WIFI access for my laptop at the meeting, and only found the following research after the fact.


    More Answers Below....
     
  2. john4wdh

    john4wdh Elite Refuge Member

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    Geoduck 06-14-2012 07:30 PM Continued:
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    The rationale is that a reduction in scoter harvest will result in a paradoxical increase in goldeneye harvest. This argument defies common sense and in fact is contradicted by published wildlife management research data. Under a similar management situation in the Mississippi flyway when scaup harvest was curtailed a concomitant reduction in ringneck harvest occurred despite increasing ringneck abundance. Decreased opportunity ultimately results in decreased harvest of all species, not selective targeting of non limited species.

    While I find the proposed scoter regulations an overreaction based on very incomplete sampling data, at least this proposal has some basis in actual scientific data rather than mere conjecture. I would be happy to provide what are held as weaknesses in this data, but this is a minor point in comparison to the two previously described issues. The main concern here is that overwintering scoter distribution has changed during hunting season due to hunting pressure. Doing surveys after hunting season would give a very different picture. Likewise regional changes in distribution have not been considered but are likely (due to the increased shellfish farming in British Columbia).

    WDFW Answer: WDFW surveys all of the Puget Sound shoreline and open water transects every year with a fixed wing Beaver aircraft on floats – a very expensive effort [approximately $75,000 per flight]. The survey design has been reviewed by several statisticians (UW and other universities) and other experts, and no significant changes have been proposed.

    WDFW says they are also working with USFWS and Canada to upgrade seaduck surveys in other areas of the flyway.


    To address the disturbing lack of transparency I recommend these regulation changes be revisited in an open public meeting. WDFW has had two seasons worth of data collected since the departure from scientific managment of seaducks began. Did the rule changes effect goldeneye harvest? Where is the data supporting these changes? I ask that the goldeneye regulation be reconsidered in light of actual data rather than mere speculation.

    I think the whole idea of Washington setting more stringent limits than FWS for the flyway needs to be re-evaluated.


    DR. DUX 06-15-2012 09:18 AM
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    I have a few comments about this. I am a current and original WAG member, have served as one of the first chairs, I haven't missed a meeting and since this will be my first I will miss so I will likely be re-elected to chair again, I wrote the current mission statement that governs the WAG, and I have always tried to be an advocate and source of information for the waterfowling public. For those efforts I have often and regularly been attacked as though I was the source and not the messenger.

    To sea ducks, I get it. Nobody is a fan that this "HAD" to happen. But based on the WDFW research and data which has been explained here many times, which has been posted on the WDFW web site, which has been reviewed by independent experts, which has been challenged many times, and when properly explained received almost unanimous support. The current seaduck harvest has been shown to have a punitive effect on to which there is a ton of historical data to a distinct population of sea ducks. NOBODY has been able to prove or show this population isn't distinct or transitory but there is a ton of data to the contrary. Will sea ducks survive continentially without intensive management in the Puget Sound? Absolutely. Could the biologically distinct population of sea duck in the Puget Sound collapse without intensive management? Absolutely. That's why after review and challenge the WAG supported that plan. This hunting thing we do can't have a punitive effect on populations. I will promise to challenge data but I will never be selfish enough to oppose regulation that prevents a punitive impact on populations.

    I don't like this either but I like the prospect of a complete collapse of a distinctive population even less.


    fatlab 06-15-2012 09:34 AM
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    My apologies if I am confusing the WAG with the game commission.

    The way the information is released, (from your memory on a web forum) is probably not helping. If the notes were public and posted, you wouldn't need to post anything yourself and you wouldn't get shot as the messenger either.

    They could be revisited easily, the WAG's position on things would be on the record.

    DR. DUX 06-15-2012 10:01 AM
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    That's a damn good idea. Minutes are taken and they should be made public. There is a very good question that should be asked.

    DONE. See on Page 1 Answers Above


    camano gibby 06-15-2012 11:33 AM
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    When Brandon Roozen speaks to the group, bring up a minor change in the Quality hunt program that he manages. Presently parking is limited to 1 rig per field. Allowing 2 per field would be an improvement.

    WDFW Answer: This decision is based mainly at the request of the landowner. Additionally these Quality Hunt areas are only authorized for up to 3 hunters. Allowing a second parking spot would allow an early hunter all set up and ready to hunt, to be interfered with by a late comer trouncing in or about the field, effectively scaring off the birds.

    Last year I got to a field early and was in the only space provided. My buddy showed up and there wasn't any place for him to park.......we went about a mile away to a spot that wouild hold him, transfered his gear and went back to the original field. In the mean time another guy had parked in the only spot and had the field sewed up. 2 parking spots would have avoided this.

    The majority of the fields have 1 established blind that must be used, so the 2nd rig parked would have to use the only available blind......this would stop multiple groups from using the same field

    WDFW Answer: Just need to do more advanced planning. Meet up with your hunting buddy at an earlier hour; transfer all gear to one rig; then go to your QHA of choice.

    I'm getting tired of beating this dead horse, and I'll bet the WAG is too. Any chance of increasing the Brant season from a 8 day season, to 10? I'm sending you a private email also.

    WDFW Answer: Last year Brant harvest in Skagit County was 647 of an estimated population of 6,700. Closely approaching a 10% harvest with last year’s 8 day season, increasing the season by 2 days would boost the harvest beyond 10%. Regardless, I brought your motion forward. At first it looked like it died for a lack of a second; when a second was made, he and I were the only 2 voting for your proposal.

    Thanks..................Gibby

    sully 06-15-2012 12:32 PM
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    John, I think Curt is right on abot the debays slough reserve not being needed. I would also like to see the snow goose reserve on Fir island opend to hunting especially since it is not needed and is also slated for restoration.

    WDFW Answer: Sully, basically the same answer as above with DeBay’s Slough, except that the purpose on Fir Island was for snow goose habitat. Because the purchase was part of a NAWCA project, WDFW can’t change the purpose without legally having to do mitigation. Also, keeping the snow goose reserve helps keep the geese off of private ag land, reducing crop damage, and with numerous other opportunities available to hunt snow geese, it is good PR for the department with the local ag community.

    DR. DUX 06-15-2012 02:34 PM
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    DUXRUS,

    Please tell me in your expert opinion how the science and data is flawed. Explain to me the where the misinterpretation in the long term trend in the data is.

    I would love to have another reasonable reason to challenge the data.

    DUXRUS2002 06-15-2012 03:37 PM
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    JUNK.........what 35 years of data........running the same transects (in now heavily hunted areas compared to in the past) and seeing a pattern of declining numbers. WOW, who would have thought with an increase in sea duck hunters (see increase in sea duck cards) in the same areas as are surveyed that there would be a decrease in numbers. You don't need anything over about a 6th grade education to figure that one out.

    WDFW Answer:
    1. Distinct population of seaducks in Puget Sound;
    2. Annual survey flights have been conducted in the past 18 years and include limited nearby areas in Canada. WDFW is working to get the remainder of important BC areas surveyed next year through Sea Duck Joint Venture.
    3. Flights have standardized the open water transects the past 2 years; but most scoters are seen on nearshore transects, which haven’t changed.
    4. The telemetry data show that scoters don’t move around that much – GEs have not been implanted with satellite transmitters in WA;
    5. Most survey observers have been around and doing this work since 1997 and have the necessary experience to correctly identify species. GEs are lumped from the air, but boat surveys were conducted in 2010 to determine species composition (~22% GE)
    6. GEs have shown some of the greatest declines of all seaduck species in Puget Sound; and
    7. The Department has two years of hard data and is waiting on one more year of surveys this winter to base decisions on a three-year average as they do with other species and limits. So, the restrictive limits will be reviewed again in 2013 to produce 2013-14 season recommendations. The WAG will involved in reviewing these before the Commission meeting next year.
    8. All of the breeding surveys for other ducks (dabblers etc.) have not been completed yet. Survey results and season options regarding pintail, scaup, and canvasback will not be available until late July. However, based again on the average of the last 3 years of data for sea ducks and on preliminary reports from breeding areas for other ducks, it is not anticipated that recommendations for limits and seasons will change much from last year when the WDFW Commission makes the final decision at its August meeting.

    See http://wdfw.wa.gov/publications/pub.php?id=01007

    Maybe we should keep a WDFW Sticky like the duckhuntingchat.com forum does, so that this info is always readily available to the ‘Fuge members without endlessly researching everyone past postings.

    Finally, I asked WDFW Waterfowl Section Manager, Don Kraege, to provide me copies of a couple of the slides presented in a power point presentation at Saturday’s meeting, so you all can see the summary of data. From Wenatchee where he is tonight getting ready for tomorrow’s goose banding, he said he would provide them to me when he is back in his Olympia office.


    Geoduck 06-15-2012 07:58 PM
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    The worst thing is that WDFWs got two additional years of harvest data and haven't shared any of it. Mayhap it doesn't support their agenda?

    WDFW Answer: I specifically asked this question, and WDFW denied that they have any harvest data that has not been made public. They say copies are routinely given to anyone who asks.


    The WAG should demand to see it. They certainly won't provide it to us peon hunters when it is requested.
     
  3. Billy Bob

    Billy Bob Elite Refuge Member

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    how could non hunters buy permits for swans? dont they have to have proof of a firearams safety course to get lisenced? im sure most will not do that
     
  4. Smalma

    Smalma Senior Refuge Member

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    John -
    Thanks for all your time and effort!

    Curt
     
  5. Tool_Man

    Tool_Man Elite Refuge Member

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    Thank You John :tu
     
  6. fatlab

    fatlab Elite Refuge Member

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    Thanks John!
     
  7. sully

    sully Elite Refuge Member

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    I appreciate the hard work, thanks John and the other members go WAG!
     
  8. camano gibby

    camano gibby Senior Refuge Member

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    John;

    Thanks for your extra attention to make sure all ideas were aired at the WAG meeting. You can't win them all, but it's important that different views and opinions are brought forward for discussion.

    Thanks to Rodney V. for his effort as 2012 WAG chairperson........sounds like he ran a great meeting, and the group got a lot acomplished.

    Thank you very much...............Gibby

    PS: Only 116 more get-ups till the duck opener
     
  9. john4wdh

    john4wdh Elite Refuge Member

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    Here's an attempt to post the 2012 WDFW Powerpoint Presentation to the WAG. (Sorry but the free download conversion for pptx to jpg left their advertising across the top of the slides).

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  10. john4wdh

    john4wdh Elite Refuge Member

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    [​IMG]


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