Yakima Herald Republic: Hunting where their ancestors did

Scott Sandsberry in the Yakima Herald Republic covered a recent debate about tribal hunting in a pretty well balanced article:

Tribal hunting harvest has fluctuated since 1999, as has non-tribal harvest, but hasn’t climbed. In the two years prior to State v. Buchanan, reported tribal harvest averaged just over 700 deer and just under 400 elk. The averages in the 10 years since then: 622 deer and 333 elk. The tribes’ combined deer-and-elk harvest is typically around 3 percent of that of non-tribal hunters; for elk, tribal hunters typically account for 4 to 5 percent of the state’s harvest.

“I can pretty much assure you that the Mucklshoot tribal harvest would never negatively impact the (elk) population,” said David Vales, a Muckleshoot tribal wildlife biologist.

“The tribe’s goal is longterm sustainable populations of animals. We cut our regulations based on sound biological principals — those are key words we fall back on any time we’re thinking about changing regulations. It has to be good data.”