House approves Rep. Tom Dent’s bill to manage Colockum elk


Legislator: Rep. Tom Dent
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The state House took action Monday to commission a pilot project that would work to reduce highway collisions with elk. John Sattgast reports from Olympia.

SATTGAST: The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife says a manageable population for the Colockum elk herd in Kittitas County is about 45-hundred. But in recent years, that number has exploded to more than 6,000 elk.

Moses Lake Republican Representative Tom Dent says it's out of control.

DENT: “The result of that – we have these elk spilling out into areas where we don't want them to be – in the farmer's yards, their hay barns, just about everywhere. But the biggest issue we have is they're also crossing I-90.”

SATTGAST: Last year, 60 elk were killed in collisions on Interstate 90 near Vantage.

Dent is the sponsor of House Bill 1353. The measure would create a pilot project in Kittitas County to manage and reduce the elk population, including special depredation hunts and general hunting opportunities of the Colockum herd.

The bill passed the House with a near unanimous vote. It now goes to the Senate for further consideration.

John Sattgast, Olympia.

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