Hunters question WA. Dept. Fish & Wildlife officials about 4-O Ranch property

CLARKSTON, WA - An opportunity Monday for local hunters to get some answers about an area that's under control of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

KLEW News took notes at Monday's meeting as hunters and others voiced their concerns.

A visit from Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Regional Director Steve Pozzanghera had many people asking a range of questions. A topic of concern was Washington Dept. of Fish & Wildlife's land in Asotin County. It's land the department has been getting over the years from the 4-0 Ranch. Audience members at the Asotin County Commission meeting Monday were eager to voice their concerns.

"You oughta be able to go out there and hunt a buck," said Asotin County resident, Butch Aiken. "Without having to go and draw for it. But now you've got a brand new area that we haven't been able to hunt for years and years and years and you should give us an opportunity to get a big buck."

"Generally it's driven by the habitat protection piece," said WDFW Regional Director, Steve Pozzanghera. "That comes with a fair amount of information that's been done looking at vulnerability of bull elk for example."

Pozzanghera fielded questions from commissioners who said a lot of people get confused as to who regulates the land and that they've had issues when trying to hunt.

"As the property becomes state land then the individual associated with the 4-0 operation are not speaking for the Department of Fish and Wildlife," said Pozzanghera.

He says the 4-0 Ranch does not control use or access to the land despite the fact that the ranch uses the some of the space.

"When the department purchases the property, we are not leasing that land back to the 4-O," said Pozzanghera. "We are leasing specific activities."

The regional director, who's based out of Spokane, said the WDFW is working on getting commission meetings in regional towns. At this time hunters and others have to travel to Olympia to voice their concerns.

Jay Holzmiller from Anatone was recently elected as a commission member for the WDFW and is available to field any questions you have.