Port of Woodland in process of acquiring properties used as a portion of the pheasant release site
OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) canceled the Woodland Bottoms pheasant hunt season until further notice on Wed., Sept. 19.
“We recently became aware that the Port of Woodland acquired a portion of the Woodland Bottoms pheasant release site,” said Kessina Lee, WDFW southwest region director. “Because the port does not allow any hunting on their property, we must cancel the Woodland Bottoms unit hunt until further notice, and no birds will be released at the site.”
In a news release, the Port of Woodland clarified the report issued by WDFW.
“At this point, the Port does not own any of the properties that Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) uses for the pheasant release site, although two of the four properties are currently subject to a purchase and sale agreement between the Port and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR),” read the statement. “The Port understands that WDFW allowed the release of the pheasants in years past without the authorization of DNR.
“While the Port supports recreational access to certain Port properties, it will nevertheless need to evaluate whether to authorize this property to be used as a pheasant release site pending completion of the transaction with DNR,” the release stated. “As noted, there is currently no agreement with WDFW to release the pheasants and use the property for recreational hunting. The Port will need to determine potential liability exposure, adequacy of insurance for hunting and the pheasant release program, and compatibility with current and potential future uses of the property. Until the transaction is completed, the Port is unable to take up the issue with its insurance provider and legal counsel. Furthermore, the Port has not received any agreement from WDFW regarding the release, which only informed the Port on Tuesday, September 17 of the impending release on September 21.
“The five-day notice of the release of the pheasants by WDFW was inadequate, even if the Port owned the property. But at this time, we do not have the title to the properties in question and had requested WDFW not use the property for hunting under its pheasant release program,” stated Executive Director Jennifer Wray-Keene. “Without any such review legally or by our insurance provider, or any agreement with WDFW and the current tenant, the Port is not in a position to make a determination of such activities on the properties.”
According to WDFW, hunters have opportunities to hunt pheasants in other areas of the southwest region including Lincoln Creek (Lewis County), Kosmos (Lewis County), and Shillapoo Wildlife Area on the South and Vancouver lake units (Clark County). Hunters can find more information about these sites at wdfw.wa.gov/publications/02100.
“We know that this is a difficult situation for our pheasant hunters,” said Lee. “The department is looking at options to continue to provide pheasant hunting opportunities in our region.”
More information on other hunting regulations is in WDFW’s Big Game Hunting pamphlet or Migratory Waterfowl and Upland Game pamphlet at http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/regulations/.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is the state agency tasked with preserving, protecting and perpetuating fish, wildlife, and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing and hunting opportunities.