New Training Program by WDFW For Dogs

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), is in the "pending rule-making" stage regarding training dogs to track wild cougars. Currently, dogs are used to track cougars that may pose a threat to the public. According to WDFW, dog handlers have very little opportunity to train their dogs for possible cougar encounters.

If the rule is approved, WDFW will develop a list of handlers to be used when needs arise. The list of handlers will undergo background checks and other agency requirements. The public comments are due by December 7, 2020. The comments may be emailed to: mailed to Becky Bennet, PO Box 43200, Olympia, WA 98504. A public hearing will take place from December 3-5, 2020 at 8 am. Please see website on instructions to join the meeting.

Here in Okanogan Highlands, we do get cougar sightings by people as well as game cameras. They are rare. Early cougar hunting season usually runs from September 1st to December 31st. For our area, Game Management Unit 204 (GMU), this season seem to run long. The late season starts in January 1 however, hunters need to be aware that the WDFW may close hunting when harvest guidelines reach the maximum. It is up the hunter to check hunting guidelines before harvesting.

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