Tribes: Hunting rights and the Treaty of Point No Point
"Now that the new year is under way, we, the elected leaders of the Port Gamble S’Klallam, Jamestown S’Klallam and Lower Elwha Klallam Tribes, would like to offer some perspective, and try to clarify the wildlife management relationship between the State and our Tribes.

Washington is one of the few states where state and tribal governments share responsibility for fish and wildlife resources. Our right to fish and to hunt wildlife was guaranteed when the Treaty of Point No Point was signed in 1855 with the federal government. With that right, however, comes the responsibility to co-manage fisheries and wildlife, and we take that seriously.

We employ biologists who monitor wildlife populations, determine the herds to be harvested, and work with the State’s Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists to develop recommendations for limits on hunting seasons. We use these recommendations when adopting our annual hunting regulations. We also employ a staff of experienced, professional law enforcement agents to ensure compliance with these regulations by tribal citizens.

Historically, our people hunted year round. That is no longer the case. The advent of population growth in Washington and the loss of wildlife habitat, increased science-based wildlife management, and modern weapons (giving an ever-increasing advantage to the hunter) are all factors in the evolution of our traditions.

Today, tribal citizens may hunt only during limited seasons, must comply with daily and seasonal bag limits, and face restrictions on hunting hours, weapon types, and age and sex of animals taken. Like the state, each tribe requires its citizens to purchase a hunting license and all the necessary permits. Tribal hunters must mark their harvested animals with big game tags, and must report each animal harvested to their respective tribal natural resources department."

Get the Story:
Jeromy Sullivan, Ron Allen and Frances Charles: Tribes provide insight on treaty hunting rights (The North Kitsap Herald 2/26)